Farnham in Surrey is a pretty, Georgian market town, some thirty-five miles or just under an hour from London on one of the main train lines from Waterloo. This closeness makes it a commuter town, with all the advantages and disadvantages that distinction brings. It was Guy's deep-seated love of walking in open spaces and Farnham’s proximity to both the North Downs in Surrey and green fields of Hampshire that attracted him here more than anything else.
One of his other interests is local history. Guy loves researching basic information, which he can then regurgitate for the benefit of walkers on the hikes that he leads.
When he was younger, much younger, Guy tells us he lived in a house called Peregrines. At that time, he was blissfully unaware of the falcon species but knew the word peregrine meant a wanderer or a pilgrim from the Latin peregrinus. Guy took this theme to heart through his later life and wandered for more than thirty years. Eventually, in May 2017, he moved to Farnham, but before that he lived a nomadic life, pausing in London; Tennessee, USA; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Pattaya, Thailand and Siem Reap, Cambodia, to name a few of his temporary residences along the way. Unlike some of his previous dwellings, Guy relates that he fell in love with Farnham as soon as he arrived.
That lead him to mention one of the central features of his book. The stories wander from subject to subject, but each links to the previous one (or occasionally to one that is substantially previous). Sometimes the connections are geographical, sometimes through a person or subject, occasionally they are very tenuous – but a link there is. He points out from the start that although almost everything that follows is historical fact, an occasional streak of personal, unhistorical sarcasm does creep in. You have been warned! And the paragraph that opened this review offers the starting point, a peregrine.
But always the stories are fascinating, and that is the real central theme of this book - Fascinating Farnham.
Books available in Farnham at Blue Bear Bookshop (3, Town Hall Buildings, The Borough) - SIGNED COPIES
Waterstones Farnham, 11 Lion & Lamb Yard : Farnham Herald Office, 114 West St : Museum of Farnham, 38 West St
COFFEE WITH THE DUSTMEN
A life story of Sir John Verney, Bt
Sir John Verney, Bt (1913-1993) was the archetypical English gentleman. A decorated war hero, one of the early members of the SBS, a skilled and prolific artist, he drew the covers of Collins Magazines for fifteen years and wrote a dozen books including a best-seller about his experiences in World War Two. John became an ardent conservator of buildings, a founder of the Farnham Building Preservation Trust, a local councillor, served on diverse committees and became a friend to many. Known in Farnham for riding around town on his old black bicycle wearing a battered trilby hat.
John could number among his varied achievements being the inventor of the Dodo-Pad. Sir John was ‘of The Establishment’ without being ‘part of The Establishment’.
‘Coffee with the Dustmen’ is the full story of his life, from his birth, early years in India and his schooldays. The work covers his extraordinary war career, his family life, work as a councillor and conservator as well as covering his other eclectic interests in Farnham, Surrey. It concludes with a chapter on his ‘retirement’ to Clare in Suffolk and his legacy to the world.
“Fills a long-awaited need”.
BRITISH TRANSITION TOWN MONEY
In March 2007, Totnes produced the first known true British transition pound. Three-hundred notes were printed and handed out to the 160 people gathered in St John's Church at an evening called 'Local Money, Local Skills, Local Power'. These first issue pounds were rapidly followed by a second issue - more durable, wallet-sized and in far greater quantity. Other towns started to follow suit; Lewes in 2008, Stroud in 2009 and more. The movement was born. This book will attempt to catalogue all the known issues of the notes that followed on the back of the revolution. In a separate section, the world of LETS schemes and the vouchers that supported them is explored.
Finally, by way of a short diversion, a tour around a few of the 20th- and 21st-century vouchers frequently collected by followers of the transition currency completes the work.
The book includes local currency notes from British Transition Towns and similar schemes: Brighton, Bristol, Brixton, Exeter, Findhorn, Hawick, Hay on Wye, Kingston upon Thames, Lake District, Lewes, Stonehouse, Stroud, Tooting and Totnes.British LETS: Bath, Calderdale, Cardiff, Chichester, the People's Bank of Govanhill and Newcastle-under-Lyme. 20th- and 21st-Century Vouchers: Birnbeck Island, Cornwall, Herm and the Independent Money Alliance.
Printed in full colour throughout, this book contains scaled reproductions of over 150 notes in the above categories.