Marilyn Freeman and her husband Barry run a company called Spellbrooktales and she came to talk to us on 8th January 2019 about how their company can create books from your pictures, memories, poems etc. to pass on to family members.

It all began with Marilyn editing and proof-reading the books which Barry wrote when he retired. I discovered this incredible service on finding a very mouse-munched photograph album in a box in our barn and, wondering what I could do to rescue it, found their advert in a local magazine.

Marilyn had been brought up in a shop in Hollinwood, on a busy Manchester main road. It was when her mother died in 2010 that she began setting down her childhood memories, partly in tribute to her parents and also as a way to help deal with her grief. She wanted her children and grandchildren to know something of her life growing up among the red-brick terraces and smoky cotton mills. She also described in wonderful detail the annual trip the family made, by coach or train, to the coast at Blackpool or resorts on the north coast of Wales. Her poems, included in her book, were so poignant and got us all thinking of our past lives and how different they were from the lives of children today.

A good place to start, perhaps, if you want to leave a written legacy for your own family? There are self-publishing sites online but they require a certain level of skill and an ability to proof-read, not to mention the time and effort it
might take to perfect those skills.

Marylin gave us many good suggestions for ideas of what to include and various themes to work towards, remembering to include thoughts, feelings and references to all five senses. She has produced a small booklet for anyone wishing to embark upon their own ‘book of memories’. Further information can be found at

This was our first meeting as barn@2, our all-inclusive group but……..where were you all? We did have a couple of newcomers but the audience remained gender specific!

Our new programmes are available with a membership fee of £5. Members fees for meetings are £3 and for non-members it’s £5 for which you get a talk, refreshments and a chance to win a prize in the raffle. Our talks are advertised so if you see something which appeals, do come along and join us. You will be most welcome and if you have a talk you can give, or know someone who could contribute to our programme for 2020, do get in touch.

Many thanks and a Happy Friendly New Year!

Val Fitzhugh

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