|Lost and Found Lovers
|The Wednesday night Singles' meeting at the Bell
was interrupted when, with the passion of true romance, Nigel Winter burst into the
pub and declared his love for Mary Summers. As their story tearfully unfolded,
others attending the meeting learned that the true love of this couple was stymied by the
loveless marriage of Nigel. Unable to keep apart, they had communicated through the
classifieds in the Puckering Gazette, arranging meetings through the Lost and Found
After several months, Nigel called the affair off,
unable to deal with the guilt of infidelity. It was this that sparked Mary to populate the
village with mementos of their relationship, something which unfortunately affected the
outcome of the Best Village competition. Still, for Nigel it was the sign that she truly
loved him. When his wife left him last week to move in with an insurance salesman
from Crawley he knew what he had to do.
This reporter's eyes misted over when Nigel, hair carefully
parted, came into the pub with a bunch of flowers and dropped to one knee in front of the
emotional Mary. The couple were later seen sitting in the corner holding hands, sharing a
bag of cheese and onion crisps and poring over past classifieds - together. --Lumpy
Guild Gathers to Honour O'Rall
|Crowds gathered at the Upper Puckering Community
Library on Tuesday night to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of
Helena ORalls bestseller Last Taxi to Kensington. The library, in
conjunction with the South Downs Writers Guild, hosted a gala evening. This
included a lecture by noted literary critic Eugenia Dowley, a dramatic reading from the
text by librarian Katherine Crowder-Switts as Loretta and Guild member Ian Sonderleigh as
Arthur, and a fine reception.
Miss Dowley traced the
history of the books success, noting that whilst originally dismissed by critics as
"just another romance novelist," ORall has come to be recognized as a
pioneer in feminist literature. Her heroine, the young heiress Loretta Princeton, denied
her hearts wish, Sussex farmer Arthur Kingsley, to answer the call of God and
country as an RAF nurse. "Through her young lovers, ORall profoundly influenced
a generations understanding of the complexity of womens experience during that
troubled but triumphant period of our nations history," concluded Dowley.
"Loretta Princeton became a guiding light for later feminist authors."
After a half century, the identity of the author who adopted the
pen name of Helena ORall remains a mystery. Her most famous novel, set in wartime
Britain, reveals the authors deep understanding of the West Sussex way of life.
Indeed, much of the story unfolds during Lorettas fortnight with her aunt in
Puckering, and features local shops and businesses, as well as scenes set at the Upper
Puckering Parish Church and in the surrounding countryside. Following the success of Taxi,
ORall authored three additional novels, the last published in 1963.
"Based on the overwhelming success of our program tonight,
wed like to host other events honouring authors who write about local themes,"
said Miss Crowder-Switts. "Were in the planning stages for an afternoon program
highlighting Miss Betsy Winches Ten Cups a Day: A Tea Drinkers Guide to
Health, and have begun discussions on an evening built around Nigel Rockmortons Horses,
Hounds and Hedges: Rides through Puckering and the South Downs.Lumpy
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|Puckering Paper Published No More
|After nearly 100 years of covering local, national
and international news, the editor is sad to announce that this will be the last issue of
the Puckering Gazette in the foreseeable future. Founded in 1898 by the very late Nigel E.
Twicks, the current editor's great grandfather, the paper has served the community in war
and peace, adversity and prosperity. Over the last five years, competition from
other news sources, including electronic media, have significantly affected the
profitability of the paper. The newspaper does not bring in enough revenue to pay for
costs, and with the loss of talented reporter and writer Lumpy Gaites (see Puckering
Profiles) the editor is unable to continue alone. Unless a new owner is found it
seems likely that Puckering will permanently lose its only local newspaper. --Nigel
Puckering Profiles: Gaites to Close Career at Gazette?
|Reginald "Lumpy" Gaites has announced his
resignation from the Puckering Gazette to pursue a career as a novelist. Gaites, best
known for his gutsy coverage of the Irregulars, but also a regular contributor to the news
section, leaves the paper with mixed emotions.
really enjoyed my time here," he notes, "but Ive always wanted to
concentrate on my fiction. I have a bit of a romantic streak in me, you see, and it
cant be expressed by covering the Irregulars. Not that theyre not a fine group
Between stories of valiant efforts on the pitch and the steady
rise of local crime, Lumpy found time to write his first novel, an historical work set in
pre-war Germany. "Daybreak in Dresden," the first of a series, has been accepted
by a major London publishing house, and is expected out next year. The receipt of an
advance for the second book, "Noon in Nimes," has provided the budding author
with the financial freedom to pursue his passion full time.
Fittingly, his love of the historical romance genre began when,
as a young lad, he began reading the work of Helena ORall, the novelist who penned
such classics as "Adrift at Sea" and "Last Taxi to Kensington." Long
rumoured to be a resident of Puckering, her identity has remained a mystery.
"Ill never forget the last scene in Taxi," sighs
Gaites. "It can still bring a tear to my eye. If I could write like that, I
Gaites has outlined two additional books, "Sunset in
Sargosa" and "Midnight in Milan" to round off his fledgling series.
"The books will give me a chance to do some travelling, to see the world. Ive
always wanted to go to Spain, and the missus is a pasta fanatic. Write something about
Italy, she keeps pleading. I think I will." --Nigel Twicks
Excerpted from Last Taxi to Kensington 1949 - Helena ORalls
|"She came to him, heart fluttering beneath the thin gauze
that stretched across her ample breasts. He wrapped her in his arms, burying his granite
features in the soft curl of her luxurious auburn hair. "Ill never let you go,
mlove," he whispered. "You must," she sighed. "You know this
" And, tearing herself from his embrace, she turned to the taxi driver.
"Kensington," she sobbed, stepping into the maw of the black behemoth. Within
seconds, she had gone, and all that remained was the bittersweet memory of a warm summer
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