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The Martian Sculpture in Woking Town Centre

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Designed by sculptor Michael Condron and opened in 1998 by Carol Vorderman, the sculpture stands seven metres high. It is situated at one end of Crown Square in Woking Town Centre. 
 
The “War of the Worlds” was mainly written while H.G Wells was living in Woking. He made Horsell Common, on the edge of the town, the landing site for his Martian invasion force. 
 
 Wells describes the Martians making use of their tripods, to travel around the Common.  In the Woking sculpture, tentacles protruding from the vehicle’s opening can be seen!  Fortunately, the sculpture is static! 
 
A few metres along the pavement lies the cylindrical pod, depicting the craft in which the Martians landed in Woking.  Patterned paving slabs represent the bacteria which ultimately destroyed the Martian invaders. 
 
The installation in 1998 marks the first publication of “War of the Worlds” in 1898 and confirms the town’s connection to H. G Wells.
This excerpt from the book describes the Martians progress on landing on Horsell Common.
 
Photo: © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

“And this Thing I saw! How can I describe it? A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses, striding over the young pine trees, and smashing them aside in its career; a walking engine of glittering metal, striding now across the heather; articulate ropes of steel dangling from it, and the clattering tumult of its passage mingling with the riot of the thunder. A flash, and it came out vividly, heeling over one way with two feet in the air, to vanish and reappear almost instantly as it seemed, with the next flash, a hundred yards nearer. Can you imagine a milking stool tilted and bowled violently along the ground? That was the impression those instant flashes gave. But instead of a milking stool imagine it a great body of machinery on a tripod stand… Seen nearer, the Thing was incredibly strange, for it was no mere insensate machine driving on its way. Machine it was, with a ringing metallic pace, and long, flexible, glittering tentacles (one of which gripped a young pine tree) swinging and rattling about its strange body. It picked its road as it went striding along, and the brazen hood that surmounted it moved to and fro with the inevitable suggestion of a head looking about. Behind the main body was a huge mass of white metal like a gigantic fisherman’s basket, and puffs of green smoke squirted out from the joints of the limbs as the monster swept by me.”

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Books

Book Review: All for You by Louise Jensen

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Louise Jensen is by now a fairly well-known author in the psychological thriller/domestic noir thriller genre but I think this was her first book I read. It is about a family of four, Ellen the mother an orthopaedic surgeon who is currently not working, Aidan the father a vet and the two boys Connor and Kieron. Kieron has some rare possibly terminal disease while Connor is a sensitive 17 years old. In the picture, there are also two of Connor’s good friends: Ryan and Tyler. We know that something happened to Connor’s girlfriend Hailey’s but we don’t know what. First Tyler then Ryan disappear and everyone fears that Connor might be the next as the three were always together and they were together the night something happened to Hailey.

Connor disappears as well but it is not what it seems. It’s a complex thriller with several punchy twists, I couldn’t work out who could be the kidnapper and the ending was genuinely surprising although a bit far fetched and very dark. You can tell that Jensen is a bit more accomplished in writing thrilling plots than other authors. Overall it took me a while to get into this book but then I was engrossed in it and read it late at night. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery with lots of family secrets. I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This book will be out in October but you can pre-order it now. 

All For You: don’t miss the next thrilling and shocking psychological thriller from best selling author of The Date and The Sister in 2021!
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jensen, Louise (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 10/28/2021 (Publication Date) - HQ (Publisher)

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Keeping Up Appearances; from Hyacinth Bucket to Eleanor Rigby

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Keeping Up Appearances was a British sitcom that ran on BBC television from 1990 – 1995. It featured a woman called Hyacinth Bucket, which she insisted was pronounced Bouquet. The humour lay in watching her attempts at social climbing. She lived to impress her unfortunate neighbours, who tried to avoid her! 
Coincidentally, at that time, I was in contact with relatives, who erroneously insisted on a French pronunciation of their surname, and were oblivious to their ridiculous behaviour.
 
While the programme was enjoyed for its comedic effect, some people in real life struggle to keep up appearances and it is no laughing matter. People who have social status, such as by being a home owner, but lack actual income, are said to be in genteel poverty. This leads to reduced  spending and failing to replace things that are broken. By keeping up appearances, others are not aware of the true state of affairs.
 
 
The March family in the novel Little Women, by Louisa M Alcott, are an example of genteel poverty. They gave up their Christmas dinner to take to a family, who were in absolute poverty. Today, people who have very little themselves, may leave an item to be collected for the food bank, on their way out of the supermarket.
 
Another sort of keeping up appearances, is the disguising of emotions. This may extend to hiding actual physical or mental abuse. Victims of controlling behaviour may show no sign to the outside world, suffering at home in silence. 
 
In “Eleanor Rigby”, the song by Paul McCartney, the woman disguises her loneliness by appearing cheerful, wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door, as the song says. She is an example of all the lonely people,  who keep up appearances.
 
 Footnote : As a tribute to the Beatles, Tommy Steele commissioned a statue of Eleanor Rigby, (a fictitious person, although the name is found in a Liverpool graveyard) It is placed not far from the site of the club, the Cavern, where the Beatles first performed.
Bestseller No. 1
Little Women
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh (Actors)
  • Greta Gerwig (Director) - Amy Pascal (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)
SaleBestseller No. 2
Little Women: Louisa May Alcott (The Penguin English Library)
  • Alcott, Louisa May (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 06/07/2018 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

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Books

Book Review: All Her Fault by Andrea Mara

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I have read many psychological thrillers but this was something else. Many books say they have unpredictable twists but very few deliver on that promise. This one does. It all starts when Marissa Irvine goes to collect her kid Milo from a playdate. But at that address, no one knows the kid or the family that was supposed to live there. What follows is 7 days of police search for the four-year-old boy, quite quickly it becomes obvious that he was taken by the nanny of the kid he was meant to play with. But the question is why? Why would a young woman kidnap a little boy?

 

The plot was quite watertight and when the twist arrived, it made sense. The characters were interesting and everyone was a bit suspicious, But to understand this crime, we need to know the motive and I can’t say much more without spoiling the book. If you like psychological thrillers, not scary ones but well thought out, this book is for you. I was given a copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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