Waking at 8 a.m. I soon discovered that there was no trace of my project on the Mail website, and was glad to be able to re-enter dreamland and end up somewhat fresher by the time I arrived at the memorial service that afternoon for Donald Stileman's daughter Elizabeth. The church was full with so many people whose lives had been touched by Elizabeth, and that her husband and children were all able to speak so movingly and joyfully of her was a testament to their love for her and the strength of her faith. It was great to see so many members of the family again in the Village Hall afterwards, even if I was the butt of some good-natured ribbing about all their purchases of the Daily Mail that morning. And so I have come to realise that I have been the unwitting agent of the Daily Mail's cunning plan to increase their circulation (!). I have since heard from Amanda and she has advised me that she will eat her hat if they don't run my feature at some point - they have again told her that they really love it, but given that it is not attached to a particular date, it is just the case that it gets bumped out when something of more time relevance comes in. Last Saturday, there was a feature on the 20th anniversary of the Dunblane school massacre and I can understand why they wouldn't want to include another piece that was also about a terrible event and how it effected the families of both the victims and the survivors.
On Monday, I headed back in to BBC Radio Norfolk in Norwich, this time to be interviewed by Paul Ross for BBC Radio Berkshire. The tiny broom-cupboard of a studio on the ground floor that I'd been in for the Jeremy Vine interview had been taken over by Farming Today so I actually found myself promoted to a huge studio upstairs, surrounded by screens and buttons which I did my very best not to touch. I was taken aback by Paul's introduction in which he made it clear just how much my book meant to him, including saying, "One of the most moving books I think I've ever held in my hands" and "I can only think of half a dozen books that have actually reduced me to tears, and this book is one of them". It was also apparent from the specific nature of his questions (many of which I had never been asked before) that he had really looked at the book in detail. You can listen to the whole interview at http://extra.groupphoto.co.uk/andrew-tatham-paul-ross-interview-7mar16.mpg.
I've had a good turn-out at my recent presentations in Mickleham, Jarrolds in Norwich, and in Firle, with several people driving long distances to come and see me, and I was delighted to see members of the families of Louis Klemantaski, Thomas Lawrence, Cyril Spartali, & David Glen, some of whom I'd never met before and some who I'd no idea were coming and whose presence was a wonderful surprise (including 2 very very recent additions to Cyril Spartali's family tree who I'm sure were doing some kind of call-and-response with the babies' cries in my animated film). I've now got further details about exhibitions/festivals I'm going to be involved in as follows:
- Who Do You Think You Are? Live at the NEC in Birmingham have given me stand 332 for all 3 days: 7th, 8th & 9th April, to coincide with a major feature that is coming out in the next issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine. The exhibition organisers are different from the people organising the speakers for the presentations and with the latter not being aware of my involvement, I will not be giving a presentation, but I will be making some projections to display on my stand, and of course will be available to chat about my project and research.
- Chalke Valley History Festival (at the end of June) haven't got a sponsor for a light-fast tent this year so I won't be able to do any projections, and quite honestly it's very difficult to scale down other aspects of my exhibition, particularly for an outdoor site, so I'm not going to be exhibiting there this year. I'm still hoping to give a presentation, but their standard slot is an hour so I won't be showing my animated film as I usually do.
- Appledore Book Festival (patron: Jeremy Vine) (late September, early October) have invited me to give a full presentation and will be getting back to me with a date.
And finally, two last bits of news. Firstly, Findmypast are running a competition to win a copy of my book which they started today along with posting a guest blog from me: see https://www.facebook.com/findmypast/ &
https://blog.findmypast.co.uk/i-traced-all-46-of-the-men-in-a-wwi-ancestor-1651543748.html, so yes, you lucky people have got two huge bits of
And secondly, my favourite comment of recent times has come courtesy of a friend who's a teacher in a girls' school: "Everyone loves the book and I have to lock the Library copy up when I am not there to prevent it from disappearing. The only other book that has this distinction is a glossy one about the filming of Poldark." !!