Celebrations for Norman Nicholson's 100th Birthday

Yesterday the Norman Nicholson Society were celebrating Norman Nicholson's 100th birthday with a gala lunch in Millom.  It's quite a trek by public transport from Appleby, where I live when I'm in the UK.  In the end I spent 8 hours on public transport - a bus, two taxis and four trains - but got there and back in one piece!  The journey involves a small train along the Cumbrian coast with fabulous views of the sea.  It's the Solway Estuary, so a bit muddy and the sky seems to go on for ever.  Somewhere over there is Scotland.

And then the dark bulk of a fell called Black Combe - the westernmost edge of the Lake District - which gradually gets closer and closer as the train skirts the edge of the sea.  Even in full sunshine Black Combe has a lowering quality and Norman wrote several poems about living in its shadow.

The lunch party welcomed us with a junior brass band - the Holborn Hill Royal Brass Band - which was absolutely fantastic (though conversation was a bit difficult while they were playing!).  It's good to see young people playing to such a high standard - also to see the northern tradition of brass being kept up.

Every table was decorated with red balloons and a geranium - both of which feature in Norman's famous poem about spending his life in Millom - 'The Pot Geranium' (which you can find here) Quotes from the poem were written on flags placed in every pot.

There were poems and tributes from family and friends and an excellent buffet lunch.  Happy birthday Norman!!

And then I came back to a wonderful surprise - the most fantastic review I've ever had - author Dennis Hamley has reviewed my biography of Norman 'The Whispering Poet' in glowing terms.

"one of the great strengths of this book, as with all Kathleen Jones's biographies, is the lucidity and quiet elegance of the prose. Unassuming yet transmitting sharp insights and engaging our feelings with its eloquent simplicity, its qualities resemble the poetry of its subject."

Thank you Dennis - you made my day and - just possibly - my week!!!


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