If all goes according to plan we'll shortly be launching a newsletter for visitors to the site. It will feature news of my activities, together with stories about my life in show business and links to related and interesting items on the web. Its aim is to be fun and entertaining. The first issue will be sent out at the end of November/beginning of December and will feature a competition to win signed items.
If you would like to receive the newsletter, please send your email address to [email protected]. Just put the words "Newsletter subscription" in the heading - and look forward to the first issue!
Many of you will know that my husband is Patrick Garland, the distinguished director. On 9 December, Simon Callow opens in Patrick's adaptation of two Dickens stories - Doctor Marigold and Mr. Chops - at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London.
The plays run until the end of January 2010, and make the ideal Christmas treat. To read more, and see a clip of Simon Callow talking about the plays, please visit the Riverside Studios website.
I have been asked to present the Green Apple Environmental Awards at the Houses of Parliament on November 17th. Apart from the animal rescue I have always been very involved in environmental issues so I am delighted to have been asked to take part.
Due to the popularity of the 2 abc sanctuary dinners we held inSeptember and October which were totally sold out we are holding another dinner at the Queen's Head , Pulborough on November 19th. Tickets can be obtained from Allan Simms on 01798812081 or by e mailing through the web site. The food was absolutely delicious and there was an animal quiz which was so hard I refused to enter!There was also a raffle and everyone coveted the gorgeous embroidered Chinese dressing gown which was the main prize on both nights. Finally at the end I made a speech which people said was funny- but it did contain some of my best stories about the animals!
We will also be holding a Xmas Fair on December 5th but more of that nearer the time.
My great friend KateO'Mara came to stay while she was playing Marlene Dietrich at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing. She was most charismatic, makes a very attractive blonde and sings beautifully!
Simon Callow is opening in my husband's play about Dickens' Doctor Marigold and Mr. Chops at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London on December 9th.
For people who have joined as Friends of the Sanctuary, we are taking this opportunity to advise you that we have organised two fund raising dinners and will be placing the below information on to our website at the weekend. It is our policy to notify our Friends before advertising to the general public to give you first opportunity to purchase tickets should you wish to attend. Please see Calendar of Events for further details.
I want to thank all of you who have written me wonderful letters as a result of the health article in the Daily Mail. I also want to thank all the people who have joined the abc sanctuary friends (see www.abcanimalsanctuary.co.uk ) and who have sent in donations to help us with supporting all the rescued animals in our care. I am writing to everyone who has left an address but many of you have simply sent a donation with no forwarding address so my only means of saying a big thank you on behalf of the animals is here.
My blog "Life is not a Dress Rehearsal" has Just been written which is a follow up to the Health Article that appeared in the Daily Mail on Tuesday. I am also doing an interview on BBC Radio South at 10.15 tomorrow from their studio in Brighton.
We had a wonderful day at the West Chiltington Village Fete yesterday and took along our own ABC Sanctuary marquee. 2 Shetlands and a donkey! The weather stayed fair and it is such a friendly village that the atmosphere was lovely with bouncy castles for the kids, carpentry and weaving exhibitions, an old organ playing, Morris dancers etc etc. There was so much to see and do. We had taken along our beautiful adoption certificates for the various animals," become an abc friend" forms and our very own raffle tickets- one of the prizes being a champagne picnic with me at the sanctuary along with donkey and pony rides!
Apart from that I am told there may be an article in the Daily Mail next Tuesday 28th July about me, my health and the animal sanctuary written by the distinguished journalist Roderick Gilchrist.
Wednesday I shall be taking a short 7 day break with my Italian cousin and his wife so will not be writing here for another week.
I have only just recovered from the Open Days at the sanctuary as there was so much returning of borrowed objects and writing of thank you letters not to mention the huge increase in the number of emails from visitors who had enjoyed meeting the celebrities, hearing the music of the Palm Court Trio led by Franck LePrince and the various activities.
We had an absolutely lovely open day today at the animal sanctuary and are expecting to repeat the experience tomorrow. The good news is that Peter Egan will be joining Lorraine Chase, Kate O'Mara and myself. The bad news is that William Gaunt has been called in for rehearsals as his play is opening imminently which is very sad as we were very much looking forward to seeing him.
Both Open Days are 11am to 4pm with the Blessing of the Animals at noon on Sunday. As the weather is supposed to get cooler we do have contingency plans with our huge barn, two marquees and several large gazebos.
The latest line up is Ed Stewart, the DJ, Kate O'Mara, Lorraine Chase along with Franck LePrince (violin) and his musician friends Graham Dudding (cello) and Patricia Bonelli (piano) who are all coming to the Open Day on Saturday June 6th. On Sunday 7th at noon Lorraine Chase , Kate O'Mara , Peter Egan and myself will be assisting at the outdoor church blessing which our vicar is giving for all our animals with Franck LePrince accompanying us on his violin. We will all sing "All things bright and Beautiful", and "Morning has Broken" and read some animal poems. I still wait to hear but hopefully William Gaunt - my co-star- in "The Champions" will be there too. He said today it was " most likely" as he is rehearsing at Glyndebourne nearby on the Saturday.
Tickets- available at our gate- are £4 for adults and £ 2 for children. The ABC friends £10 annual donation will give them access to the ABC friends enclosure where a glass of champagne will be waiting for them.
The latest Open Day news is that Franck LePrince will be joining us and with his musician friends will be playing lovely music in the open air. Also on Sunday Derek our local vicar will be holding a lovely service for the animals which will include some animal poems read by the celebrity actors and actresses. It will take place at noon. Peter Egan and William Gaunt have said that they will join us if work permits.
Entrance tickets will be £4 for an adult anf £2 for a child with a £10 family ticket for 4 or 5 family members.
Very good news is that apart from Ed Stewart coming to the ABC Sanctuary Open Day on June 6th my great friends the actresses Kate O'Mara and Lorraine Chase will be in attendance on both the 6th and 7th of June. The address where the ABC Sanctuary fete is being held amongst all the animals is the ABC Sanctuary, West Chiltington RH20 2JS on the corner of Juggs Lane. Parking will be in St. Mary's Church car park ( the nearest) and the large field opposite Haglands Lane on Smock Alley. We will be open from 11 to 4 pm on both days. We would be pleased if the ABC Friends could introduce themselves in person so we can entertain them at the ABC Friends' enclosure. If you want to become a "Friend" you can join on the day.Do come and see us and meet the real stars of the day- the Animals!
Our ABC Sanctuary open days will be 6th and 7th of June. Ed Stewart will be present on the 6th and the locall vicar will do a Blessing for the animals on the 7th. I am hoping - work permitting - that some of my celebrity friends will be in attendance. More news of that will come later.
2 of our Shetlands from the abc sanctuary are appearing on the Paul O'Grady show on February 23rd. Hamish and Mistletoe are very well behaved here but quite how they will behave on the show--- knowing them if there are enough carrots about they should be fine!
The Mantovani Concert at the Lighthouse Theatre Poole was a terrific success last night. The orchestra played that enchanting Mantovani music immaculately and with great feeling. And Ed Stewart and myself didn't do a bad job at presenting either! Many thanks to Paul Barrett, who was the brilliant percussionist, and Franck Leprince, the Chef d'Orchestre for organising everything so beautifully. It was a real pleasure to be involved in such a special evening.Ed Stewart said that he would be very happy to attend on e of the animal sanctuary open days in June, but more of that later.
January 10th 2009
"The Animals Know Best" is the latest wintry sanctuary blog.
January 1st 2009
The Mantovani concert which Alexandra Bastedo and Ed Stewart presented last year is being performed once again by popular demand on 31st January. For more details see Events.
Pip's Diary "The Indignity of It" just penned.
The November blog "A Day In The Life Of Part 2 "is now in place
I have just agreed to be patron of the Cat Welfare Society in Gibraltar where they are having a tough time helping all the poor abandoned felines. "The Champions" was a big success in Spain and South America and went under the name of "Los Invencibiles de Nemesis". I also did about 8 co-production Spanish films. Hopefully my name will help raise awareness of their cause. I do hope so.
My October blog called "A Day in the Life Of" is finally in place accessible through the links. My apologies for its lateness but due to circumstances beyond my control life has been somewhat problematical recently.
I was very sad to learn today of the death of my friend Mark Shivas, the film and television producer. He was immensely talented and produced some of the best programs on our screens over the last 20 or more years. He was highly ethical and very much respected by all of his peers. For my husband and myself just as a friend he will be much missed.
I have just returned from Corsica and was lucky to get back as Zoom and Excel airlines both went bust. As a result I am a little late with everything including replying to e mails and will send off the signed calendars and photos shortly. However I did manage to write my 3 blogs while I was away so the ones on the sanctuary, Pip and animal health are now in place.
My two episodes of EastEnders have now aired and it was fascinating to see what the scenes looked like. The weather had been awful but with the help of the lighting cameraman it looked like a reasonable summer's day. Many thanks to the EastEnders team and in particular Minty, Vinnie and Gary and the director John Greening for making the experience so enjoyable.
The latest animal health subject is worming.
August 16 th
Pip's Diary "Oh dear!" and my blog "Awful August " August 12th are just published.
My friend the famous wild life writer Mike Tomkies set up a hide down by our bonfire and set the scene with Pip the dobermann's toys littered about and choice morsels of meat. He filmed at dusk and dawn and was delighted with the film he took of the antics of the resident fox cubs.
A to Z of animal health on urinary infections and vaccinations are now penned.
Del Baggott and Lynette Sands came down today and brought with them our 2009 calendar. We really are very pleased with the way it has been designed and with the lovely pictures. We hope to have them available soon on this website in return for donations to the animal sanctuary
Also many thanks to Jo Bailey our website designer who has been working very hard on new ideas for the site in preparation for my first East Enders episode on August 25th.
The new chapter of Pip's Diary is now published.
I had some fan mail forwarded from the BBC East Enders office even though I have yet to make an appearance! While I am not allowed to divulge the story line it would seem that there has been some publicity giving the name of the character I am playing. However one person got things a bit wrong and wrote "Dear Cynthia, I understand you are playing the part of Alexandra in East Enders and I would be very pleased if you could send me an autograph" - the dilemma will be whether to sign Cynthia or Alexandra!
My latest blog "Not so flaming June" has just been penned.
Pip's Diary "Barking Mad" now in place.
A friend of my husband's rang and I answered the phone. He said he had been very ill and had in fact died. When he arrived at the pearly gates he said I was there to welcome him. While being pleased that I was in heaven it was a little alarming to be told I was there prematurely. However all was explained when he realised that when he finally came round from his operation the television was on at the foot of his hospital bed and he was in fact watching me in a repeat of my old series "The Champions"!
Filming my two episodes of EastEnders finished yesterday, they will be aired in August on 25th and 26th I am sworn to secrecy as regards the plot!
A sudden phone call has complicated my life as I have been asked to do 2 episodes of EastEnders, the famous TV Soap. I was cast on Thursday and go to work on Tuesday! I will give details shortly.
The May blog called "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" has just been published.
I don't know where the time goes but I guess running an animal sanctuary with approximately 150 animals means there are never enough hours in the day.
Franck Leprince the chef d'orchestre came to see me this week and kindly gave me a DVD of the Mantovani evening. He has also asked me to present another concert for him next January 2009.
My apologies for my absence at the celebrity convention last weekend. in Birmingham.Unfortunately my husband was unwell and I was unable to make it. Some fans have contacted me directly to sign their items and I am very happy to do so if they are sent to the web site P.O. Box address in return for a donation to the animal sanctuary for all the 150 or so rescued animals.. By the way I have just had a cheque from Granada TV for £171.30p for all 30 episodes of " The Champions" on DVD/VIDEO which gives you some idea why I ask for donations to the ABC Animal Sanctuary. The fact that all 30 episodes are endlessly repeated might give the impression that I am collecting huge financial rewards for the repeats. Unfortunately the very opposite is true.
My regular journal this month called "In like a Lion out like a Lamb" is now ready. My apologies for the lack of the March chapter but it was due to circumstances beyond my control.
May 1st Pip's Diary the latest chapter is called " Pip finds his Voice" at www.abcstories.wordpress.com and the Animal Health piece on peritonitis are now in place.on www.animalhealth.wordpress.com
I had hoped to ignore it but it wasn't possible!
My thanks to Drama Queen for organising a contingent of "Champions" fans to send their very welcome birthday greetings. My thanks also to PJ for his birthday gift to the animals. It is very nice to be remembered.
Personally though I am no longer celebrating birthdays but am instead celebrating still being here. Not something that I wish to go in to at the moment but there have been quite a few near disasters over the years. Once I missed a connecting plane from Paris after a modelling job in Spain only to hear the plane had crashed and killed all the models. So I am lucky I'm still here!
The Mantovani evening which I compered with Ed Stewart was sold out and went extremely well. Personally I had forgotten that he had had 45 hit records many of which like Besame Mucho I used to dance to in my teens, so I thoroughly enjoyed all the lovely music. The good news is that the reviews were so good that it is definitely going to be repeated and we wait to hear where the next venue will be.
My husband's play "Brief Lives" which won awards when it was first done 40 years ago is being repeated with the original actor Roy Dotrice playing John Aubrey. It was at the Windsor Theatre Royal on March 17th and Richmond the week after, The reviews for Roy Dotrice's performance are stunning. It will be going on another tour shortly which will include Cambridge, Oxford, Malvern and Guildford prior to a London opening. I will keep you informed about the exact dates.
"Visiting Mr. Green" the play my husband has directed which stars Warren Mitchell opened in the West End of London at the Trafalgar Studios on Tuesday April 8th to stunning reviews.