Saturday 15 August 2020


Following the now standard pattern, here are the contents of my monthly Mailchimp newsletter (August edition) which has now been opened by 39 of its 66 recipients. 

 This MailChimp newsletter is an opportunity for me to show you the latest image of a Jago watercolour that has come my way through cyberspace - and to tell you more about what I am now writing.

First, news of the latest Jago painting to arrive on my screen. The story begins with a Facebook message from Daphne Smart in mid-July in which she replied to my thanks for a Like she had given for another Jago painting. I had noted that Daphne was connected with Bicester (Daphne is the former Head Gardener at Turweston House) and remarked that 'Bicester is part of Jagoland!'

'Yes I know', she replied. 'I have met him. He painted a picture of our cottage in Turweston, nr. Brackley, in 1982. I also know Brian Knibbs who mentioned your book.' Brian Knibbs and his story about Jago have two page references in Chapter Eight of the biography. I love this combination of communication through cyberspace and at the same time by simple word of mouth. 

This week, Daphne sent me the Jago Stone painting as promised. Here it is: 

What a fine watercolour! Jago's technique has developed further in the early 1980s. Note his membership of the Oxford Society Rural Artists.

Daphne gave me this story about the time that Jago painted the picture:
'My memory is that he just appeared one day in June, set up his easel and painted our cottage. I didn't get to speak to him much other than to ask if I could buy the finished picture. I can't be absolutely sure but I think he asked £15 for it.
My youngest son James (he would have been six) can recall riding up and down the drive trying to look over Jago's shoulder in order to see what he was painting. He had set up a small easel, and his paint box was open on the ground. James can recall accidentally riding over the paint box as he circled him to get a better view. Jago didn't bat an eyelid and wasn't flustered at all. He had finished the picture by then and chatted to James for a few minutes.'

Another story to confirm how good Jago could be in connecting with children. His own childhood had not been easy. His own children did not get his attention. But the charismatic gypsy artist liked being in the company of the young, albeit briefly.  

Kenneth Griffith and Jago Stone - 1969 - Notley Arms, Exmoor


Now for more news of my latest literary venture. 

As February turned to March this year, the Covid-19 pandemic appeared. My inspiration had arrived. 'Dying To Know' began to take shape. My first four chapters have been drafted and now I am working on chapter 5. Fourteen and a half thousand words written. as I explained last month, I have two critical readers to help me, one in the States and one in the Netherlands - both friends made in the course of the writing and publication of the Jago story. They are very good at their job; chapter two has been rejigged in the light of their critique and a number of slips and lapses in sharp focus have been addressed. 

Whatever I write has to satisfy two criteria: Is it readable?  And is it worth the reading - will the reader be enlightened? 'Dying to Know' is passing those tests.

My aim is to have the book complete by the summer of next year to coincide with the arrival of a vaccination schedule.   

If you would like to read in advance the first chapter in order to get a taste of the book and its direction, I'm happy to send you a personal copy if you contact me using my email address:  

PPE in the 17th century

 As for Jago's biography, please, please - add your own reviews on line on Amazon or Waterstone's  or send to me by personal email when you finish reading. This is hardly the best time to have a book published and sales will, to some extent,  depend on word-of-mouth recommendation. If you can help publicise the virtues of a cracking good read, Unicorn and I will be very grateful.  


To end this newsletter, a story of marketing success:
I am a member of COUS - the Cornwall branch of the Oxford University Society. Alumni of Oxford University here in Cornwall get together for lunches and dinners and concerts. We also support students who want to apply to Oxford and who live in Cornwall. In these Covid times, COUS activity is limited. I got a chance of circulating my flyer for the Jago biography in the last COUS newsletter that was published this week. I checked the Amazon sales ranking for my biography this morning - and it had climbed nearly 3,000 places to 821! I don't understand these figures but it seems likely that some Oxford graduates have bought a copy or two in the last day or two.  

Here are the links for ordering copies of the biography of Jago Stone:





If you know anyone you think might be interested in these mailings about 'Jago' and/or 'Dying To Know' please encourage them to follow the link to my website. Here it is: They can join you as subscribers - 66 to date. 

You can also use this page to access all my Jago Stone blogs. The blog-posts are also there for your enjoyment - and comments. Press this link here to start accessing these posts:

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