About Alex Pankhurst

It seems I have to write about myself on a website. Hells bells, what is there interesting to put down – or should that be put up?

Okay. I’m just a Very Ordinary Old Bird. VOOBs like me don’t take easily to Twitter, FaceBook or YouTube, and we keep hold of our privacy like skirt-clutching dowagers in a high wind. I live a very quiet life in Constable Country, East Anglia (For the far-flung, that’s the bulge sticking out on the east side of England, a land of rivers, estuaries and gentle countryside, part of it made famous by the paintings of John Constable.) Both novels are set there. That’s it. Job done.

Oh hold on, the books. I’m supposed to talk about what a good present Art and the Revolutionary Human Fruit Machine would make for a modern art sceptic, those who need cheering up, or just the hard-to-give-to. So’s you rush out and buy it.

Well nuts to that. Best you decide for yourselves. I do want readers to feel better at the end of a story than they did at the beginning, and certainly people bought multiple copies of the previous novel, Scoffing the Primroses, to give away. One reader said any friend who was ill or going into hospital was sent a copy to cheer them up. Another rang to report that she’d bought fourteen – and solved all her Christmas present problems at one go. That was wonderfully encouraging.

Scoffing the Primroses has recently gone out of print, but is still available as an e-book. It was enjoyable researching for that, but even more fun fact-finding for Art and the Revolutionary Human Fruit Machine. I took advantage of a boat trip organized by the RSPB on a lovely old sailing barge, the Victor. Armed with binoculars, everyone else excitedly flocked from side to side, riveted by the estuary’s bird life, while I sat by the skipper with a notebook, asking questions. The Victor duly became the story’s Hetty Jane.

I attended a small town regatta, relishing the communal eccentricity. And one day, quite unexpectedly, came across the wooded bay, sand covered with jetsam, that became Woodshey Bay. I was the only person there, and it really spoke to me.

None of the art-speak had to be made up. Would you believe people really do stand in front of some daub that would shame an opium-dulled orang-utan, and spout pretentious piffle like, ‘It pulls you into the present moment, there’s such a symbiotic relationship between the images and the metaphorical spaces’. Or ‘Fantasy and philosophy collide and set you off on an imaginative journey, a juxtaposition between the nebulous and the certainty.’   I just enjoyed writing this guff down.'

Rundleston is fictitious, but those living along the Stour and Orwell estuaries will recognize certain elements with affection. And the characters are close to my heart. I look down on the little beach and almost expect to see them there, young Jamie launching a dinghy, or Ben painting the sunset as it turns the river to gold, Bodger patiently at his side and the Hetty Jane in the background. Silly old VOOB.

So here’s hoping people like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing Art and the Revolutionary Human Fruit Machine. For excerpts of that and Scoffing the Primroses visit www.earlseyepublishing.co.uk.  No longer obtainable as a paperbacks, both are still available as e-books. Do I understand any of that sort of thing? What do you think.  Does it matter?  Nope.  Got another story to write...