Talking about Brushstrokes in Time and Oxfordshire Limited Edition on Local TV

With Linora on  That's Oxford TV

Chatting with Eve Ahmed and Linora Lawrence on That’s TV’‘s Talk Oxford. As well as talking about Brushstrokes in Time, we promoted our friend Gina Clay’s lovely and useful book ‘Don’t let them tell you how to Grieve‘ which I give to people who have suffered a bereavement. Linora was fascinating on early Jewish history in Oxford.


Part 2

The launch of ‘I Love You All’

Tim Metcalfe, before his tenure as editor of Oxfordshire Limited Edition came to an end, agreed to send Trevor Cowlett to Oxtopia . My April 2015 Castaway was not famous like castaways  Sir Roger Bannister or  Peggy Seeger  but is the director of a village choir –  the  Kennington and District Choir.  But Trevor Cowlett’s story is an unusual one. Throughout all the difficulties of his life a driving passion has sustained him, music. Now in his eighties and on dialysis, Trevor still teaches 60 students a week. His amateur choir faces their biggest ever challenge  on Sunday April 19 when they will sing Duruflés Requiem in Exeter College Chapel. The choir’s concerts are always un-ticketed but donations are requested. Over its 40 years, the choir has raised £430,000 for good causes, local, national and international.  Click on the pdf to read his story.Trevor Cowlett.

 In recognition of the choir’s contribution, I have written ‘I Love You All’, ( Trevor’s words) the story of the choir told in a chorus of voices. I drew on the experience  gained from writing the castaway series…biography with a twist!  In the case of ‘I Love You All‘  I asked choir members, soloists, pianists and Trevor himself to talk about their lives and how music has come to play an important part in them.   140 people ( A Full House) attended the launch  in Kennington Village Centre  on May 2. Some of the ‘voices’ in the book queued for Trevor to sign their copy. Ali Jones interviewed Trevor and I on Radio Oxford. Here is the link. Forward to 1.10 pm.

I Love You All is available from Blackwell (Oxford), Mostly Book (Abingdon) and from choir members. Any problems contact me on

T . i-love-you-all-cover…..  Trevor , Nia and Yasmin   The author of I love You All!

Mezzopiano are coming to Kennington on March7

Smoke and Mirrors Flier A4 V1

The talented Nia Williams has written the musical Smoke and Mirrors about twins born into poverty in Berlin in 1900, who become separated when fleeing Berlin and the Nazis. One finishes up in California, where she becomes involved in the war effort. The other goes to Paris where her story becomes entwined with the jazz age and the subsequent occupation by the Nazis. Rebecca sings the parts of both sisters, two very different characters, as well as singing in three languages — German, French and English — and being on stage throughout the entire piece, with no interval: a huge challenge. I saw her impressive performance at the Old Fire Station. If you live in Oxfordshire, see for yourself on March 7@ Kennington Village Centre. You can read their story on this castaway Pdf.Mezzopiano

Oxtopian Event

Weimin sketching at the Albion Beatnik  Albion poster Sketch at the Albion Beatnik  me  James and victor at the Beatnik Bookshop

Speaking at the quirky and fun Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Walton Street, Oxford

Wednesday December 10  2014 @ 7.30pm

Among the castaways  present were illustrator of Winnie the Witch, Korky Paul, Victor Glynn the film producer (of among other things some Mike Leigh films) Joanna Harrison of The Snowman and the Snowdog.  Weimin He artist in residence at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter  sketched . I told the story of the creation of Oxtopia & James Harrison of Oxfordfolio interviewed the castaways present. Documentary film maker Dai Richards and wood turner Richard Shock were also there.

Music CD by castaway composer Beatrix Forbes

By |November 27th, 2014|Events|0 Comments

Oxtopia came to Kennington

Gillian James and I KenningtonFOKL Gala Night OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Saturday November 15 Kennington Village Centre

Cabaret style Gala Night  for 100 people in Kennington Village Centre.

A full Kennington Village Centre hummed with controversial discussion as everyone debated the kind of society they would like to create on Sylvia Vetta’s mythical  island of Oxtopia. What aspects of life in Oxford and Oxfordshire would they like to recreate and what do they want to leave behind?

The Oxtopian Gala Night was a fundraiser for the Friends of Kennington Library (FOKL). ( Oxfordshire County Council in non- Oxtopian style  declared Kennington library a community library so FOKL have to fund 4.5 hours  of staffing per week in order to have a professional in charge and provide 7.5 hours volunteer hours to assist  the library manager)

FOKL’s president is Korky Paul the illustrator of the Winnie the Witch books. Korky kicked off the debate with Helen Peacocke, the  food writer of The Oxford Times, Euton Daley who was for 23 years the director of Pegasus Theatre,  Ray Foulk, the award winning green architect and founder of the Isle of Wight Festival (Ray brought Bob Dylan to England).The fourth speaker was  Nancy Hunt of the Nasio Trust. Nancy had hot footed it from the NAT West Venus awards where she had been presented with the award for most inspirational woman in Oxfordshire .

Among the other Oxford Castaways present whom Sylvia has had the privilege of interviewing was documentary film maker Dai Richard,  local film maker and web designer Philip Hind and children’s writer and art director of the film  Snowman and the Snowdog, Joanna Harrison. Joanna also designed the cover of Oxford Castaways 2 which was produced by Oxfordfolio in part to promote Vale House the first home to specialise in the care of people with dementia. Gillian Cox was the founding chairwoman of Vale House and she headed up a table. To see images click on the link…

By |November 19th, 2014|Events|0 Comments

Sylvia – talking ‘castaways’

Speaking engagements between November 2014 – April 2015

Tuesday November 18: @7.30 Stonesfield WI

Wednesday December 10@ 7.30pm @ the Albion Beatnik Bookshop, Walton Street , Oxford ( £2 to Vale House). Just turn up.
Tuesday January 15 @ 7.30pm Marsham WI Denman College
Tuesday February 3@ 7.30 Botley WI
Tuesday February 10 @ 7.30 Appleford WI
Wednesday March 25 @  2pm Southern Electric Retired Employees Association

To buy copies of Oxford Castaways 2
Go to
and click on the cover image.