EAST Literary Evening 21st September 2013

On Saturday 21st September 2013 twenty-two members and guests attended a cheese and wine buffet followed by an interesting and fascinating talk by Julia Jones, a local author, at the EAST Waterside Community Centre.

Julia has written the Strong Winds Trilogy of books, The Salt-Stained Book, A Ravelled Flag and Ghosting Home. A new book, The Lion of Sole Bay, was published in October 2013.

These books are based on and around the Orwell and Stour rivers and were inspired by the books of Arthur Ransome. They have been described as “a Swallows and Amazons for our times,” by Marine Quarterly.

In 1946 Arthur Ransome had Peter Duck built at Pin Mill and named her after the title character in his third novel, a fantastical voyage to the Caribbean in search of buried treasure. Peter Duck himself, an old Lowestoft seaman, was a sensible and reassuring character modelled on an old Baltic seaman who had sailed with the Ransomes in their first yacht, Racundra.

In 1957 Julia’s parents purchased Peter Duck and sailed her back to the Deben. The growing family spent happy weekends and holidays sailing the local waterways. In 1984 Julia’s father died suddenly and her mother reluctantly had to part with Peter Duck. In 1999 Peter Duck was for sale and Julia and her partner Francis were able to purchase her and again sail on the Deben. Now that Julia’s older children have children of their own Peter Duck is giving delight to a fourth generation of the Jones family. Julia is anxious to come to one of our sailing sessions and so we have invited her to come to a Discoverers Day next year and if possible sail Peter Duck back to the river on which she was built.

The Salt Stained Book
Thirteen year old Donny and his disabled mother set out to meet a mysterious Great Aunt and instead they fall foul of two grotesque and strangely hostile representatives of the Care System. Set on the Shotley peninsula in Suffolk, mainly on the River Orwell, Donny discovers his talent for sailing, makes important friendships and learns how a wartime tragedy has blighted his family’s life.

A Revelled Flag
Donny and his Allies adventure to semi-derelict docklands, up the deserted and beautiful River Stour and onwards to Britain’s most easterly point as they come dangerously close to finding out about twenty-first century pirates!

Ghosting Home
Once the mysterious red-and-white schooner is on the move, Donny Walker and his family are in danger. Even crossing the North Sea may not be sufficient to save them. Meanwhile in Fujian Province, China, a 14-year old boy must leave the Village of Living Widows and travel to England, the Country of the Ghosts. Will he survive the storm winds of the summer and can Gold Dragon help him?

-Geoff Dreher. 27th September 2013.