The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

Everest Explored

Paul Bowers came on 27th September to give us a talk and slide show entitled Everest Explored.

Paul’s trip was from 6th to 13th April 1998, a year after his trip to Inca, with the Company ‘Explore’. He flew to Lukla which is popular because it is the place where most people start the climb to Mount Everest base camp. The runway is quite short, and the plane has to fly over a mountain to land on the runway, which can seem very scary, but Paul had seen a programme before he left in which the airport and runway was shown, and he knew what to expect.

He travelled to Kathmandu and to Pokhara which is the third largest city in Nepal. The people are Hindu and Buddhist. They were very friendly. In Paul’s group there were about 18 people and 20 Sherpas.

There were no cars or vehicles. All their belongings had to be carried by themselves. The local guide’s name was Sanjeve. The trail that they followed was sometimes very frightening especially along the valleys with a large drop on one side.

Before they got to their base camp, the Sherpas would run along ahead of them to put up the tents and to cook the meals.

Rhododendrons were along one trail and a bridge which moved from side to side as a person walked along it. As anybody walked along the bridge, if they needed to go to the toilet there was a wooden hut alongside with a window in it facing the bridge, which you could see in and anyone could see out.

Paul wore long trousers because if he wore shorts, he would burn. It was very hot at times. He thought he would lose weight, but in fact put on stone. The food was so good.

He made friends with a man from Chandlers Ford called David and another called Joseph who was 69 from USA and he was on honeymoon!

There were animals, they had horns and were unusual looking beasts. They were called Yaks. They were very strong and could carry heavy loads.

He saw a Monastery which is the highest in the world. The views from this spot are said to be one of the most magnificent in the world. Mountain Goats can be seen here. Rocks are carved with prayers and bright flags hung in high places carry prayers of compassion skywards.

Ama Dablam is the most beautiful alpine rock climb of its kind and is considered one of the Himalayas most spectacular ascents.

One of the many things Paul ate, was sardines in a can. I think he ate so many that now the thought of eating them makes him feel sick. Lemon Barley was the drink he had.

Paul returned to the UK on Easter Monday.

Local author, Dee Williams

Dee Williams our local author came to give us a talk on 11th October.

She has written 22 books in 22 years. The money from sales of books during the evening went to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Dee sadly lost one of her daughters to this disease in 1999.

Dee was born before the War. In fact the day before World War broke out, which she says “makes her feel very old”!

She was evacuated to Billingshurst. She went to many schools. Between the ages of 4 to 14 years she had been to ten schools. Her spelling is not very good. She now uses a computer with a spell check on it.

Dee left school at the age of 14 and didn’t know really what she wanted to do for a job. She didn’t want to work in a shop, but thought Hairdressing would be nice. She did then meet her husband at the age of 16, got engaged at 18 and married at 20. She had two daughters, Julie and Carol. She would stay at home and was happy to write short stories which she would read to her daughters.

Dee was kept busy doing her normal household jobs. Julie was diabetic so would come home to lunch. Les her husband worked for USG as a mechanic.

In 1981-82 the family moved to Crete and then to Spain in 1983. Dee started to write short stories and sent them off to the Weekly News. She received a parker pen. Lilian Harry said to Dee “You will have to do something about your spelling”!

So Dee invested in a typewriter and started writing her first novel. The family would go home for Christmas as Dee’s youngest daughter’s birthday is on Christmas Day. At the time Julie lived in Tempest Avenue.

Dee sent three chapters to Headline Publishers in London, she didn’t use carbons, so there were no copies. She eventually heard from them saying they liked the story but instead of starting the story with the girl at the age of 16, could she start it at the age of 21. So she set off to start this task. She used around 1,000 sheets of paper and used Tipp-Ex so many times it looked like snow. She sent three chapters to her agent. Dee decided she should buy a word processor.

By this time Julie had her own house and Dee moved to Hazleton Estate. The house needed a lot of work doing on it, but on 24 April 1989 Headline published Dee’s first book which was called Carrie of Culver Road. The contract came and Dee was asked to write two more books.

The second one is called Polly of Penn’s Place and the third one Annie of Albert Mews.

When Dee received a cheque in the post for 450 she was overjoyed. She asked Midland Bank if she could have the cheque back to keep, she has proudly placed it in a scrapbook. The money she spent on a tea set.

Dee’s latest book came out last week and is titled The Flower Girls. She was going to be in W H Smith book signing during the following week.

It does seem a shame, but Dee’s older books are sometimes sent to prisons. The prisoners make holes in them so they cannot be read again.

Dee is only allowed to write stories between the years 1900 and 1960. If she went to another publisher she would have to change her name. She sometimes wishes that she did not have a surname that started with the letter ‘W’ as it is usually on the bottom or near the bottom shelves and can be hard for some people to have to bend to look down there.

Dee’s husband Les had a heart attack and then when she lost her daughter Julie, she wrote her book Wishes and Tears. At this moment, Dee is writing part 2 to Katie’s Kitchen and she is reading Lucille Ball’s book.

Priscilla Barlow

Christmas Edition 2012

St George’s Ladies Group