AT SCHOOL I discovered the love of the written word, and in a school magazine, circa 1960, my first poem went to print.
It was a miserable tale of a shipwreck which was in complete contrast to an earlier discovery of the joy in making people laugh.
Fifty years on, at last, the two come together in my book, Down on Red Bucket Farm.
I have throughout my life written many poems for fun, marking events in the lives of friends and family, but then this happened.
I opened my compost bin and saw a mouse sitting there.
Before leaving my vegetable patch I had the first lines of the poem that started it all.
My partner Sylvia Sinanan liked the finished article and pushed me to create enough material for the book, which is a collection of whimsical and humorous rhyming stories and comical musings about the countryside and its folk.
Having put so much time, love and effort into it, I decided that it would not be just any old book, and thanks to Sylvia’s niece Tracy Sullivan, the Emsworth water colourist, it is beautifully illustrated and is in hardback.
However, when thinking about the fun we had putting this all together, we can never forget that at the same time Sylvia’s daughter Serena Sinanan was going through a terrible experience in her long but successful battle with breast cancer.
So, with the end of her treatment and the release of my book coinciding, I was delighted when Serena suggested that we pool our resources in supporting a fundraising event for Breast Cancer Care.
It is a drop-in event at Fareham Snooker Club, Broadcut, on December 10 between 11am and 4pm.
I will be reading excerpts from the book and for every one sold I shall donate £1.
I really hope anyone who knew me from school, football or amdrams comes along.
Who knows, someone just might have kept a copy of that original school magazine.
I will also be signing copies of the book at Boxgrove Stores, Chichester, at 9am this Saturday.
And I’ll also be at the The Star and Garter, East Dean, Chichester, on Tuesday, December 6.
Author Francis Emery is originally from Portchester but has recently moved to East Dean, near Chichester.