Today, #FriendBlogFriday welcomes a lady who needs no introductions. Jude Lennon, the storytelling, authoring, workshopping whizz who fills the shelves of many a Mersey home. Jude also happens to be a dear friend, and so it fills me with delight to include some of Jude’s work with you today. Come along, let’s chase the rainbow…
The Rainbow pub with its minimalist Norwegian style decor was busy. Despite the owners' fears, it had been busy since the end of the Corona Crisis. The neighbourhood had flocked to a pub that bore the name of the Corona emblem of hope.
Things had changed though. Whereas before, the pub had been a traditional drinking establishment, now it was more of a Hub Pub. Various groups and activities took part from within its tastefully decorated walls. Each day brought a different meeting from Stitch and Bitch to the Historical Society. The outdoor space was fully utilised too with a community garden and a Repair Cafe running in one of the old storage sheds on a Wednesday morning. Fridays however remained the preserve of the arty and creative - the Young and Beautiful.
From lunchtime onward they would gather around shared platters of hummus, olives and breads and the inevitable craft ales or bottle of red. The uniform was strict - shoes and no socks with ankle skimming trousers for the men, Rockabilly and Vintage chic for the women.
When the smart but decidedly not young woman pushed through the door one Friday lunchtime, the conversation didn't exactly stop but a slight pause filled the air. The moment was covered by the clink of glasses on the bar and the door closed behind her. There was no going back now. She was in and committed.
Her white bob was crisp and her black jumper adorned by a statement brooch hinted that she had style. The barman looked up and asked what she'd like.
"I've come about the painting. The pub's sign."
Conversation on the nearest table stopped. The barman threw a look at one of the women in 1950's vintage with DM's who crossed to the bar.
"It's me you need to speak to. I'm Roz."
"Hello Roz, I'm Cynthia. I believe you still have the old pub sign. I saw the advert on Facebook."
"That's right, we're trying to find out who painted it. If they're still alive we want them to have it back and possibly consider painting a new one for us. If they're dead, we'd like their family to have it."
"Well three birds with one stone; I'm the artist, I'm very much still alive and I would be happy to be commissioned to paint a new sign." Cynthia beamed.
"You do understand, we'll need some kind of proof. Anyone could walk in and claim to be the artist."
"Oh of course, I completely understand. Look, I still have a small studio at home. Why don't you come and see. All my archives are there."
The path through the garden at Cynthia's house was like something from a fairy tale. Wind chimes, fairy lights and a man made stream linked to a pond complete with a little footbridge. Roz was enchanted. Compared to the bustle of the high street this was an idyllic escape. Cynthia unlocked the door to a pale green large shed like structure and indicated for Roz to enter first.
A cross between an Art Gallery and a working studio awaited. The place was dripping with paintings in various stages of completion.
" I had to do a bit of digging but I knew I still had the initial painting and colour test somewhere. I had to get a piece of wood the same as would be used for the actual sign to ensure the colours would be just right." Cynthia's voice was full of enthusiasm tinged with nostalgia.
Roz felt a rush of excitement as Cynthia pulled a piece of sheeting off an easel and revealed the sign below. She gasped. It was beautiful. The colours of the rainbow were vibrant and alive. The painting of the pub at the end of the glowing spectrum was exquisite. A pot of gold in bricks in mortar.
"I hadn't realised how much our sign had faded over the years. The one we have looks so different." Roz stretched fingers to touch and caress the arc of colours.
"Well time and weather will do that to us all. To be honest, I'm amazed the sign wasn't replaced years ago. It's a bit twee for these days I suppose and it doesn't really go with your crisp, clean interior." Cynthia seemed so blasé about her work. Roz wasn't sure she'd have felt the same.
"So what were you thinking for the new sign?"
"Well, we were hoping for some input from the artist but the more I look at this, the more I like it. Could you just touch the old one up. Give it a bit of TLC instead?"
"I could yes, but it doesn't seem very bold or different." Cynthia looked a little confused.
"Who says different is better though? Who says pubs aren't the pot of gold for the community! Ours certainly is and now more than ever."
"Ah yes the Rainbows of Hope. We've all been changed by the Crisis." Cynthia smiled.
"For better I think. We've all remembered what's important. We've found our sense of community again. Look, we're a co-operative so we all get a say but I'm sure they'd agree."
"Very well, as long as they all agree - a bright, rejuvenated, vibrant Rainbow of Hope it is."
Roz stroked the painting one last time before leaving the shed and the enchanted bubble of Cynthia's garden. The Rainbow pub sign would shine once more.
ABOUT JUDE LENNON
"I used to be a teacher who loved writing, now I'm an author who loves storytelling."
Jude Lennon is a former Early Years teacher who now works as a Storyteller under the name Little Lamb Tales. She tells stories at Primary schools, community events, festivals and libraries. Jude is also a children’s author and is the current Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the North West of England. As an official Patron of Reading, Jude works with schools to spread the message about reading and writing for pleasure.
Jude published her first book, The Dragon of Allerton Oak in 2015. Set in her local park (Calderstones) it features the real Allerton Oak which has stood there for 1000 years. Since then, Jude has gone on to publish eighteen further books.
Her books cover topics as diverse as Mindfulness for children, phonics, dragons, pirates, astronauts and books set in other countries (including two bilingual English/Spanish ones).
Jude has written two books for the Bobby Colleran Trust to support their Slow Down For Bobby road safety campaign. As part of the campaign, Jude visits Primary schools across Merseyside delivering funded assemblies to highlight the importance of Road Safety. To date she has read the books to over 150,000 children across the area.
Jude is currently working with Will Hawkes (Hal's Books) a young man with autism. Together they have written two books featuring an autistic main character. Jude and Will's mum provide assemblies for schools to raise awareness about autism.
In October 2019, Jude launched her first book for adults - a collection of short stories called 'A Slice of Lennon'. It was well received and she's now working on a full length novel. Her most recent children's book 'That's Our Home!' launched in March 2020 and is all about keeping our beaches clean for future generations.
A proud member of Team Author UK, Jude provides a range of courses and writing retreats including -
6 Week Creative Writing Course
Preparing for an author visit
Workshops at the Wrexham Carnival of Words Writing group
Weekend writing retreats
For more information about her books, author visits, creative writing courses and storytelling please visit www.littlelambpublishing.co.uk
To connect with Jude, please find her on the following socials