The Girls from Greenway

The Girls from Greenway, the next book about mods in Chelmsford has just gone to the typesetters and it will be out on 19 September 2019! The book features all those iconic aspects of Sixties life – scooters,

the Orpheus, Wainwright’s Milk Bar, the Golden Fleece, the Bus Station,


plus a few more – Carnival Queens,

The Saracen’s Head,  the County Hotel, and Bonds Department Store.

All accompanied by the great sounds of Motown, Stax and Mark Shelley and the Deans.

There’s also a slight peppering of fashion and a few magazines, like Honey and Vogue.  And a new men’s boutique in town. Everything to look forward to! And here’s a synopsis

1960s Chelmsford

Angie Smith lives on the Greenway estate in Chelmsford, with her elder sister Doreen, their struggling mother and their drunk, violent father. Bored of her job, and of her dull, ordinary boyfriend Roger, Angie dreams of bigger and better things.

But then she meets boutique-owner Gene Battini, older, handsome, charming – and married. She is completely swept off her feet. Little does she know that Doreen too is falling for Gene, and that their affair will have disastrous consequences.

As things at home go from bad to worse, Angie and Doreen must struggle to fight for what they want.

Can the girls from Greenway ever achieve their dreams?

o o O o o

And in other news, The Saturday Girls is out on 1 May in large print!

It was (nearly) fifty years ago today

In February 1966 David Bowie came to Chelmsford Corn Exchange.  I had trouble spelling his surname and my diary is a mess of crossing out and rewriting.  My mum had even let me stay to the end of the evening (Sandra and I got a taxi home), but I didn’t write a word about his performance, what he sang, how it went down with the crowd.

To be fair to my 15 year old self, if his act consisted of songs like the 1967 Sell Me a Coat I’m not surprised I wasn’t impressed.  Rather too much like a hit from the shows.

On the other hand if it was Liza Jane, which was more my (mod) style, ramshackle rock’n’roll, then perhaps I had slipped out for a reccy in the Golden Fleece, and missed it.  Or it could have been that I was distracted by someone rushing up the steps of the Corn Exchange to say that a mod friend of ours had just hit a policeman.  I didn’t believe it, but the report in the paper next Tuesday indicated it was true.  In fact it was two policemen.

What is also interesting about that weekend is that the next day I went to a meeting at the Quaker Meeting House about Oxfam. Oxfam, 1966 – important then and still needed today.  Have we learned nothing?  Short answer – yes, nothing.  Longer answer, a little, maybe, but not so as you’d notice.

The day after that I went to Poetry in a Pub with friends from school, Corinne (another mod – she had a fabulous floor length maroon? navy? leather coat and her hair swung easily in a shiny Cathy McGowan Cleopatra hair-style) and Slang (who was in my class, and wore glasses except when she was going out).  Of course, in my frustrating diary, I wrote nothing about the poems, who wrote them, who read them, who organised the event or even which pub it was in – only that someone walked ‘all over my leg’ on the way there so I spent the evening ‘with a darn great hole in my stocking’.