About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Friday 5 October 2018

On Shadow Factories

Quite a lot of my early childhood was spent going up and down the Gloucester Road in Bristol on the bus. 

My mother had grown up in Bishopston, and kept her allegiance to the family doctor and many of the local shops after her marriage and subsequent exile out on the edge of the city in Filton. So what with this and weekly visits to my grandmother, who still lived in Bishop Road, I was familiar with every inch of the journey and the buses that made them.

Later, in the 70s, the 73 bus went to Filton and the 74 to Patchway, but back in the 60s, we had a choice of the 3, 6, 36 and 98. The buses I liked best were the ones whose rollsigns bore the legend PATCHWAY [SHADOW FACTORY]. 

Not that I ever got to see this fabled place. The Shadow Factory was at the junction of Gypsy Patch Lane (itself an enticing name) and the A38, quite a few stops past where we got off, at the Fine Fare in Filton Park (formerly the Cabot Cinema). 

What did a Shadow Factory make? Now I know it was a Back-Up Factory established Before The War, to Implement Additional Manufacturing Capacity; then I didn't dare ask for fear of being disappointed. 

Which sounded far less exciting than my preferred answer, which was 'shadows'.  

The Shadow Factory is long gone, demolished in 2oo9. The site lay unused for many years, and is currently being redeveloped, with retail units, a hotel, warehouses, and showrooms mushrooming every time I drive past. But in my head it's still there, always will be there and can manufacture whatever it likes. Poems, for instance. 

Which is why my next collection of poems from my publishers Indigo Dreams will be called The Shadow Factory.  It's due to be published next year. More details when I have them. 

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