It’s been festival season recently here at The Reader Organisation – we’ve been making all sorts of appearances in Guernsey as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival, and at the start of the month Criminal Justice Projects Manager Amanda Brown ran some Get Into Reading taster sessions as part of Weaver Words Frodsham Literature Festival. Here’s a report from Amanda herself:
There is a walled garden at Castle Park, Frodsham. On Monday 3rd September, the old red-brick walls were sun-warmed and the air scented with roses. The formal planting of the flower beds, the sounds of children playing drifting in from the park and the stately architecture of our conservatory contributed to the illusion that we had slipped back in time. It seemed absolutely appropriate to read The Lumber Room and the extract from The Secret Garden in the two A Little, Aloud sessions which were part of the Frodsham Fringe in the first ever Weaver Words Festival.
I was joined by a small group of ladies for the first session. We spent much time exclaiming over Nicholas – his careful planning and his imaginative enjoyment of the fire-screen he discovers in the lumber room. One lady recalled being forbidden to touch things on her mother’s dressing table, but one day, with great daring, opening the box which contained a string of pearls. “I can see them now,” she said. Keats’s ‘A Thing of Beauty’ from Endymion concluded this session and worked its usual magic. A retired lady instantly spoke of the joy, for her, of watching the sunset from the top of Frodsham Hill.
When the second session was due to begin, we were still deep in conversation. I invited the ladies to stay on, if they wished. They did! The Secret Garden took us to Misselthwaite Manor where, candle in hand, we wandered the corridors with Mary Lennox. We could now compare Mary’s circumstances – and Colin’s – with those of Nicholas in the first story and found ourselves remembering the intensely felt pleasures, and miseries, of childhood.
I would like to thank Katie Atherton, a friend of The Reader Organisation and member of the Weaver Words committee, for inviting me to take part. Katie took time off work to organise and support this event, for which I am very grateful. Those who attended the two sessions had arrived separately, as strangers, but left together. Half an hour later, when Katie and I were carrying stacks of chairs through the garden, I noticed, through an archway, three of my ladies standing talking in the car park. Looks like it’s time for Frodsham to join the Reading Revolution!