When I retired three years ago I looked around for something to fill my time and joined a WEA Creative Writing course that happened at the Pearson Centre every Thursday morning. It was a good choice for me, making new friends and having a writing project every week to keep me on my toes.

One Thursday earlier this year before lockdown, our brilliant tutor Debs Tyler-Bennett, showed us a press cutting that she had found about a box of memorabilia found in the loft of a house that was being cleared ready for sale, the owner of the house sadly was now in a care home suffering with dementia. The memorabilia showed that in 1934 a Mr and Mrs Fuller from Derbyshire had bought a motor home and trekked to the Sahara desert, taking their maid with them, Mary who slept in a tent outside the caravan all the way to the Sahara! The box of photos and press cuttings was sold at auction, which was why it had come to the public eye. We talked about the article as a group and then Debs said ‘ok you’ve got 10 minutes to write something about this story – go!’

It was amazing how, after the 10 minutes had passed, the ten of us in the group had each come up with a different take on the story! I had put myself in the shoes of the maid, Mary, thinking she was probably a young girl with limited education who had never left Derbyshire in her short life and now found herself leaving home for an indeterminate length of time and camping out all through Europe to the African continent at the bidding of her employers.

I found I couldn’t stop writing about this epic journey and the result is this short story, ‘Dear Mam… ‘ which is available to buy on Amazon and Kindle.

I have been a volunteer at Attenborough Nature Centre for many years, behind the reception counter and am sad that I can’t be there at the moment, due to COVID. So to keep involved as much as I can I have donated a number of copies of my book to the Nature Centre for them to sell. So please pop along to Attenborough and help them out by buying a copy of ‘Dear Mam…’

You could read it while you’re having your coffee there!