top of page

My aim in writing “Cheshire Cheese and Camembert” was to take some of the younger characters who appeared in “Blessèd are the Meek and “Twenty-six Nil” and place them in a more modern setting, ie. the early years of the 20th century. The turbulence of the period between 1913 and 1919 made for a vibrant background: the suffragette movement, the Easter Rising in Ireland, the Russian Revolution, not to mention the Great War.

Inevitably the war had the greatest impact on families like that of my narrator, Charlie Knott, but I did not want to turn my novel into a war story. Reports of events in northern France come only from newspaper reports or more graphically from letters from Charlie’s son Alfred.

As Charlie has left Hyde for work by the docks at the eastern end of the Manchester Ship Canal, the town of Hyde is less of a feature than in the previous books. However, perhaps I should have made at least a brief mention of the sacrifice Hydonian men and women made at that time. 710 men of Hyde who gave their lives are commemorated at the cenotaph on Werneth Low, a windblown hill overlooking the town and the great pattern of distant boroughs. It is one of my favourite places in the world.

  • Writer's pictureBrent

The Stickler, 25th October 2015

Being so close to the comings and goings of a big road race, and yet quite clearly at the fringe of things was quite disconcerting. I had vivid memories of taking part in plenty of races like this, taking part rather than racing, it must be said, and the sweaty camaraderie, the sticky handshakes, the congratulations and the hard luck stories, the complaints of tight calves or, even worse, blood from a fall, all of that bubbly post-race banter ran the length of the station platforms at Shillingstone along with the hundreds of runners and their proud families at one remove from me, an unattached spectator sitting at my table watching and waiting, hoping to sell a few books.

This was the twenty-first running of The Stickler, and calling it a road race is to do it a disservice. The Dorset Doddlers running club organise a slickly run ten-mile race over three large hills; they call it without exaggeration a Three Peaks Challenge, and those peaks (Okeford Beacon, Hod Hill and Hambledon Hill) frame this part of the Stour valley at the centre of which sits Shillingstone, its station project hosting the final sprint finish and the attendant celebrations.

On such a bright, sunny Sunday morning I wished my knees were ten years younger and I could have taken part. Instead I sat drinking tea, eating chocolate cake and convinced half a dozen souls to part with £7.99 and buy a signed copy of Shillingstone Station. So, a different kind of challenge.

Recent Posts

See All

Seven hundred and ten

My aim in writing “Cheshire Cheese and Camembert” was to take some of the younger characters who appeared in “Blessèd are the Meek and “Twenty-six Nil” and place them in a more modern setting, ie. the

Comments


bottom of page