LOTS OF GIRLS - AND ONE MAN - ABOUT TOWN
Most of you will know by now that on Wednesday at the Swindon 105.5 Studio the “Girls About Town” programme is broadcast from 10 until 12 noon. This morning we were privileged to have John Stooke, the author of a wonderful book, as our guest. We all thought he was very brave coming into the studio with four “Girls” but it didn’t seem to faze him.
John’s book is entitled “Last Orders” and is the result of four years of research to trace the history of 120 local pubs and beer houses from the year 1700 onwards, which have now disappeared. The book is 400 pages long and includes 800 pictures and photographs - it is a heavy book, as you can imagine, and is A4 size, so excellent value for money - in fact, it is only £10 and £3 from the sale of every book will go to Swindon Women’s Aid.
John told us that he had had 3,000 printed and has sold over 1,000 since the launch in mid October; many of them are still on pallets in his garage, so the sooner he can sell them all, the sooner he can have his garage back! He is planning to do numerous book signings in the next couple of weeks, and it would be great if they could all be sold - hopefully, the programme this morning will help to get the word out and when a book is purchased, it will also be helping Swindon Women’s Aid. In fact, even me, who isn’t that good at maths, can work out that if they all sell, John will have raised £9,000 for the charity. How wonderful is that!
We listened while John told us numerous stories about those who ran the pubs years ago - and it was interesting that many of the pub landlords had streets in Swindon named after them. One of the landlords who led rather a colourful life, was accused of murdering his mother-in-law outside the pub he ran called “The Rhinoceros”, and then died in penury in a barn so needless to say, there is no street named after him. John obviously spoke to many people whilst compiling his book and he kept us amused and delighted with his various stories. We were really sorry when the first hour went by in a flash, and John had to leave, but not before we had taken a “selfie”, which also includes “Derek the Deer”, who will be gracing the studio at its joint Christmas Market and Fair with Liden Library, this coming Saturday, 30th November.
However, we were then joined by Sue and Lyn, two ladies from The Jovial Monk pub at St Andrews Ridge, North Swindon, who do sterling work to raise money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and who had organised a raffle for a Gin Advent Calendar at the pub. Jo had been asked to draw the raffle winner, but she was unable to do so, as she had bought a ticket, so I had the honour of doing it. There was banging on the desk and whoops of delight as I drew out the winning ticket, bought by someone named Brian. I guess he will either enjoy a little tipple every day on the run-up to Christmas or perhaps will save all the bottles and have a good time on Christmas Day with his family and friends. I must make sure I introduce myself to him when we go toThe Jovial Monk Christmas Fayre next Monday, 2nd December! Of course, we had to have another “selfie” - so that you could see Sue and Lynn.
We were told that the raffle raised £194 and the total amount raised so far this year by all those who enjoy the Coffee Mornings, Pop Bingo and Quiz Nights etc at The Jovial Monk is £2,700. A fantastic amount for a very worthwhile cause - vital funds for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance considering that it needs £10,000 a day to fly and has no other funding except voluntary contributions.
Of course, Sue knows how to win our hearts, as she had made a Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake, which she brought in with her - but she left this in reception, so we had to wait until after the programme, as no food or drink is allowed in the studio - I must say that there was a stampede to get out to the reception desk before Karen ate the lot - only joking!
“When life gives you lemons,
add gin and tonic!”