“So, where do you get ideas from for your columns?” people sometimes ask me.
Well, a chance remark can trigger my line of thought. However, when confronted by blank page and matching mind, I write as if talking to a friend.
Such whimsy at times seems a trivial pursuit in our troubled world. But then there comes unexpected encouragement.
Take my mother-in-law . . . no, that’s not the start of a joke! The other evening, while dining with us, Wynne said: “You know, I often hear your columns announced in the Talking Newspaper and feel rather proud and pleased.”
She meant Blackpool’s Talking Newspaper for the Blind, available free and run by volunteers collecting and reading articles from The Gazette, other newspapers and magazines.
Though fortunately far from blind, like many senior citizens Wynne now has trouble reading.
Her remark took me back a decade or two, when invited to an interview at the Talking Newspaper’s offices in Princess Alexandra’s Home for the Blind, at Squires Gate.
Charity chief Keith Gledhill welcomed and interviewed me. He was charming, richly spoken and put me at ease in a sound-proofed recording studio.
What a shock and embarrassment when his first gentle questions elicited from me a nervous, tongue-tied whine in return.
You see, dear reader, put a microphone in front of me and my mouth and mind go numb with nerves. I hadn’t realised that until then.
In later years this was confirmed by a broadcaster when I tried to further my career into telly and radio.
“On air,” he said sadly, “you sound like a drunken Eddie Waring.”
Well, none of that matters now because, according to Keith back then and my mother-in-law now, these scribbled efforts are popular to those relying on the Talking Newspaper.
For me that’s inspiration enough.
“What’s more,” Wynne added, “those volunteers read them so beautifully!”
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