The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Lowdham Book Festival (2)

Continued from Lowdham Book Festival (1)

During the afternoon session of the final Saturday, the two remaining events at the Methodist Chapel really stepped up a gear. Beyond The Ice – Creswell Crags with archaeologist, Matt Beresford from Southwell was a simply superb presentation. An incredible amount of information was imparted to the audience by Matt in an interesting and entertaining style. What can potentially be a slightly dry subject for some was presented in a fascinating light. Creswell Crags, on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, is of huge historical significance with it’s early cave art and other exciting findings. During the talk, the author takes us from Neanderthal man in the area right up to the present-day new visitor built on the site. The style was authoritative, informative and light-hearted – particularly with one gent in the audience who anybody present will recognise by reading this!


Peeping out of the chapel door during the short break before the finale, the typical summer weather of late had returned briefly with an extremely sharp downpour. Just managing a quick drink before the 3.30pm start, I took my seat on the back row for the final session Made in Nottingham with Peter Mortimer. The Tyneside-based author explained to an enthusiastic audience the premise for his latest book by the same name as the talk. Peter had apparently wondered what if would be like to ‘go back’ to his native Nottingham after a period of over 45 years. Growing up on the Sherwood Estate near the city, he had determined to write to the current owner of his parent’s former home at number 97 Danethorpe Vale with the idea of requesting to stay at his old address for the period of a month in order to write of his experiences and feeling on returning. What did happen was that the author received a call from a nearby relative of the owner of the former Mortimer household, inviting him to stay just a few doors away.

Image of Peter Mortimer from

What follows is a decidedly non-nostalgic account of living in 2011 Nottinghamshire from the former false teeth factory employee, ladies underwear salesman and hopeful semi-professional footballer. Peter travels to the local pubs surrounding his old estate, The Five Ways, The Vale Hotel and the Former Garden City pubs. He tells quirky stories about his travels through 2011 Nottinghamshire on his trusty push bike bought for £50 at a shop in nearby Arnold and offers some intriguing and individualistic observations on his unique experience. Not least touching for me was his description of visiting another former home, the ‘big posh house’ his upwardly mobile family moved to in Redhill very close to where I live. What followed was an account of an empty visit to his parent’s grave in nearby Redhill Cemetery.

Peter presented as, to use a much overused expression, ‘character’. Individual of dress and thought. An interesting, creative yet down to earth man. I bought his book. The pages are flying by.

So it’s a fond farewell to Lowdham for another year. It ended for me on a couple of high notes despite some disappointments. I hope to see this excellent event receive the well-deserved funding it needs to restore it in 2013 to it’s former heights.

Well done to all.


July 6, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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