Piano Sanctuary – Press Release

‘Patricia’s Pen’ has something for everyone. Today brings a press release from Procorda’s Piano Sanctuary.


New ‘Piano Sanctuary’ for adult learners

of all ages and abilities from Pro Corda


Covid-19 has prompted invention and innovation at Pro Corda, the music school and charity based at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk. Inspired by the success of a lockdown podcast, Pro Corda has realised long-held ambitions for adult piano leaners with a relaunched learning and lifestyle offer named ‘Piano Sanctuary’.

At the end of March, wanting to connect through lockdown with staff and students, Pro Corda Chief Executive Andrew Quartermain took to the school piano and recorded his first-ever podcast which he dubbed ‘Piano Sanctuary’. It was a decisive moment, crystallising years of thinking and experience.

Andrew Quartermain said: “My idea was always that there was such a need out there for busy adult learners to get an exciting and fulfilling relationship with the piano that wasn’t stuck in a score based approach. The other thing I learnt from years running adult piano weekends is that the social aspect is so important. How people who have the piano at the centre of their lives want to come together and share that love with like-minded people. Recording the podcast, I slowly but surely realised how Pro Corda could bring all of these things together.”

Taking the podcast’s name as its overall brand, ‘Piano Sanctuary’ has been conceived to offer the widest possible welcome – or welcome back – to adults of all ages and abilities wanting to study the piano in an enjoyable and creative way that also offers community spirit and connection.

With lockdown still a fact of life for many, two digital courses have been created to enable home study. Piano Sanctuary Starter caters to adult beginners, while Piano Sanctuary Adventure is for more advanced students interested to fast-track progress through a creative, score-free approach.

Full-board piano retreats at Leiston Abbey were successfully trialled over the weekend of 4-5 July, with specially reduced group sizes and distanced teaching in line with regulations.

One adult student commented: “It was very special to be playing together again but also felt very normal. I feel optimistic that the measures needed for safety can be lived with.” As regulations hopefully relax into the Autumn, Pro Corda aim to further add to the lifestyle-social element of Piano Sanctuary with concert meet-ups and social gatherings.

As for the original Piano Sanctuary podcast, it continues to broadcast weekly and has also spawned a weekly offshoot, Piano Sanctuary Spa. The shows have drawn nearly 20,000 listens from pianophiles around the world, and fan-mail from as far afield as Estonia, the USA and Brazil.


Pro Corda are offering a 15% discount on their new online Piano Sanctuary Adventure and Piano Sanctuary Starter courses. Please quote SANCTUARY15 by email to hello@pianosanctuary.co.uk or by phone on 01728 831 354. Offer valid until end of September 2020.

Visit Piano Sanctuary Website 



The above photo is an old one of me being instructed in a piano workshop at Procorda – Leiston Abbey.

Andrew Quartermain, director of Procorda will be featured on ‘Patricia’s Pen’ later this month. Don’t miss out – sign up to keep in touch.


Hi everyone, I was hoping to bring special news today about how you could order a pre published signed copy of my debut poetry pamphlet ‘Taxus Baccata.’ Alas although the courier has delivered to the publisher, my batch has not yet arrived. Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow.

Instead, here’s a poem I wrote quite early on after the pandemic was announced. I was feeling desolate but after watching and listening to Nature on my early morning walk I experienced a new vibrancy and was full of hope. I’d like to share that Hope.

I am captured by blue cloudless sky, over sun-kissed ripples where Canada geese play and Egyptian goslings nuzzle up to Mum. I am together with family, friends, yet miles apart, distance lost with Facetime and (2)

Guest Feature – Gaynor Kane

Today my guest, Gaynor Kane, is a poet who I have met virtually through Hedgehog Poetry Press. Gaynor has come along to talk about Inspiration for her poems. So without further ado, it’s over to Gaynor.

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Thanks to Patricia for the opportunity to talk a little bit about how and where I find inspiration for poems.

Inspiration and Poetry

Gaynor Kane

In August 2018, I co-curated and took part in a collaboration between Women Aloud NI and the EastSide Choir, a community choir based in East Belfast, my home ground. The premise for the event was that authors would write new work inspired by the songs which the choir would sing. I was given a very quirky song called Lightning! by Greg Gilpin.

I was interested in the early aviatrixes at the time, having bought a book about them for the bargain basement price of 99p. During some research, I discovered the story of Maude Bonney whose plane had been struck down by lightning, as she attempted her first transatlantic flight. So, literally, inspiration struck me like lightning, and I put myself into her shoes and wrote a poem about her flight. The event took place in a beautiful deconsecrated church and I read it to a full-house from the pulpit.

Several more poems were inspired by the women pilots, whose stories I read in the book.  These then found a home at Hedgehog Poetry Press, when editor Mark Davidson, very kindly, asked if I would like to publish a Stickleback. Sticklebacks are a series of micro-pamphlets. In November 2018 I launched my Stickleback, Circling the Sun, in Holywood Library.

2016 saw my Dad celebrating his eightieth birthday. In the run up to it, I asked him how he wanted to celebrate it. He replied that he wanted to have his wake, that he would like to be there and hear the stories people told about him. We didn’t have his wake but we did have a great party!

That conversation inspired me to write a poem called I want to be Awake for my Wake and I included a few lyrics from a song that my Dad often sings. I had already had a conversation with my parents about what they wanted at their funerals. I’m an only child and felt I had to be prepared. It struck me as we sat around my kitchen table, discussing hymns and joking, that these conversations do not have to be difficult.

That gave me the idea of putting together a collection of poems about last wishes and burial rituals. I spoke to friends and family, conducted research on rites across the globe and drafted poems. These went on to form my pamphlet Memory Forest, also published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in December 2019.

I often find inspiration in pictures and news stories. For example, in 2017, I read this article in the local paper and was inspired to write a poem about it. It sat as a draft after several failed attempts at editing, until last year when I went to a workshop on prose poems. It struck me that it worked as a prose poem and if I justified it, it could look like a newspaper clipping. I was delighted when it was longlisted for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing this year.poem

This poem will be in my debut full collection, due out soon, from Hedgehog Poetry Press. I am so grateful for Mark Davidson having such confidence in my writing and giving me so many opportunities to share my poetry with readers. I have found a home at Hedgehog Press as a member of the subscription group, affectionally called, The Cult of the Spiny Hog.

As part of the ‘cult’ you get a monthly challenge in the form of a writing prompt. I like prompts, particularly if there is a deadline to motivate me. Sometimes the winners will have their poems published in a pamphlet. Often the prompts are pictures to inspire ekphrastic poems. One challenge example is the ‘Who lives in a house like this?’

You can see the picture and read the winning poems here.
Who knows it might inspire you to write your own response!


Thank you, Gaynor, I’m sure our readers will find the above very interesting. Let’s find out a little more about you.

About Gaynor 

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Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She came to writing late in life, after finishing an Open University BA (Hons) degree with a creative writing module in 2015/6. Mainly a writer of poetry, she has had work published in journals and anthologies in the UK, Ireland and America. In 2018, Hedgehog Poetry Press launched their Stickleback series with her micro-collection Circling the Sun. Gaynor released her chapbook, Memory Forest, also from Hedgehog Press, in December 2019. She is currently putting the finishing touches to her debut full collection, Venus in pink marble, after receiving an Arts Council NI grant in 2019, which allowed her writing time and mentoring and editing services. It will be released in the Summer of 2020.

Gaynor is a member of Holywood Writers’ Group, The Irish Writers Centre and Women Aloud NI. She also volunteers for EastSide Arts during their summer festival and the CS Lewis festival in November. Gaynor is a keen amateur photographer and has had some of her photography published in journals and anthologies, also.

Social Media Links 





Purchase a signed copy of Memory Forest and other publications from here 




Taxus Baccata Patricia M Osborne

Taxus Baccata 

A couple of weeks ago I revealed the cover for my upcoming poetry pamphlet, Taxus Baccata. (A nature collection with some of the poems based on myth, folklore and legend around trees.)  This will be released by Hedgehog Poetry Press on 24th July 2020. Watch this space to find out how to pre-order your signed copy. I’m so excited to share it with you all.


You will now find a Shop on here where you can order signed copies of House of Grace and The Coal Miner’s Son (UK deliveries only). Prices (including postage and packaging) work out at a discounted price than Amazon and bookstores and you get a signed copy. Signed copies are great not only for yourselves but make wonderful gifts.


As mentioned in my last news update, I’ve been trying to re-organise a few things to make my life a little easier and less stressed to prevent me from burning out.

Changes are as follows:-

The Sunday writing challenge will now operate monthly for the foreseeable future. The next writing challenge publications will be on Sunday 12th July 2020 which will include work from three writers consisting of two poems and one story. Make a note in your diaries or better still make sure you’re following the blog so you don’t miss out.

‘Patricia’s Pen’ is still open for writing submissions but please check the full guidelines here before submitting via the online form. 

Tuesday Guest Feature

Tuesday Guest Feature will continue weekly on Tuesdays until September when these too will go over to a monthly basis for a period of time. Ad-hoc guest features and other posts will continue as and when.


Wednesday is the start of a NaNoWriMo challenge which for those of you who don’t know, the aim is to write 50,000 words in the month. I plan to bash out the second part of Book 3, The Granville Legacy, which will then be ready for me to begin layering and editing and let the story spring into life. Anyone else taking part?


I’m hoping to set up a newsletter in the near future and I hope you’ll all subscribe. I certainly shan’t be spamming you, but a means to keep you posted of any news such as new publications.

Other social media 

That’s all for now. Remember you can follow me on here, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thank you for reading. 







Guest Feature – Henrietta Newell

Something a little different from my guest, Henrietta Newell, this week. Henrietta  is a good friend of mine who has recently started a new family business venture – Sundog Clothing – and she has come along to tell you about it, so without further ado, it’s over to you, Henrietta.

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Sundog Clothing

Introduction to a new British Organic brand

Henrietta Newell

Sundog Clothing was born when I made the chance discovery of my daughter’s sketchbook. I had gone to chat with Isabella, my daughter, and noticed a sketch on the open page of her book. She let me look through her drawings and I loved them! In the moment I saw them, I knew they were good enough to share.

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(sketch – unedited)

Seeing the sketches made me feel joyful and inspired, reminding me that among all the routine in our daily lives, there is always creativity to be found. This belief reminded me how exciting that sense of wonder feels when you see something for the first time and my aim is to share that feeling with you.

The ubiquitous T-shirt was chosen as the canvas for Isabella’s drawings as they allow the design to be the principal feature. This decision to use the T-shirt as a showcase is very traditional and is really due to the fact that the T-shirt itself is a genius garment and explains it’s longevity since the 19th century when it was adapted from an existing garment to something more functional. It is a fortunate coincidence they are also fantastic to print on.

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Following T-shirt tradition, cotton was the choice of fibre for Sundog Clothing products because it has fantastic qualities. Not only is it soft, absorbent and breathable, but there is evidence from 6000 BCE that cotton was grown and used in Pakistan and India, probably appreciated for the same reasons. Its enduring popularity and increasing production volumes are taking their toll on the environment which has earned cotton the unfair title of the ‘The World’s Dirtiest Crop’ in recent years.

Sundog Clothing do not want to be part of any disregard for the importance of the environment and also because irresponsible growing of cotton fibre goes hand in hand with poor labour standards and working conditions. We believe and stand for fairness and equality.

Sundog Clothing garments are sourced from a trusted supplier who embodies the ethos of Sundog Clothing; that clothing is responsibly sourced, fairly made, and from sustainable origins. Like us our suppliers continually endeavour to improve the impact made on our world. To do this meaningful and transparent, certifications are the best way to ensure that the processes from raw materials to finished product are made with the highest ethical standards at each stage. This way shoppers can feel confident that their garment has been made with care and consideration with all the best intentions for the purchaser and the planet. Our garments are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard which is endorsed by the Soil Association and is the ‘Gold Standard’ of organic certification. The garment manufacturer also follows the The Fair Wear Foundation’s labour code who are audited annually against this by the Fair Wear Foundation.

Sundog Clothing celebrate creativity and we know ‘who made our clothes’ and ‘what our clothes are made of’ so that however a purchase is made, the buyer knows it’s genuinely ethically made.

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Now that you know more about this eco friendly company Sundog Clothing , why not pop over to the website and browse their fabulous garments. 

Let’s find out a little more about the founder, Henrietta Newell.

About Henrietta Newell 

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Henrietta Newell is the founder of Sundog Clothing, a British Organic brand selling exclusively designed printed T-shirts and sweatshirts established in late 2019.
Her love of fashion led her to a career in fashion working as a Garment Technologist which she still does freelance. The skills and experience she has built up has served her well in her latest venture.
Discovering her daughter’s brilliant sketches has taken Henrietta on a journey to starting her own ethical business and joining the change to slow, seasonless fashion as a way of bringing creative designs to the market in a responsible way.

Where you can find Henrietta on Social Media 











Publication News – Anna Shenton

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Congratulations to Anna Shenton on the publication of Don’t Go Back, Book 2 of the Sleep With One Eye Open novella series, and sequel to 76 Silver Street. I have Anna with me to tell you something about her new release.

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Hello, I am delighted to have been invited as a guest to your lovely blog Patricia. It’s a real pleasure to be here and I thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.

The pleasure is all mine, Anna. Having read and loved, 76 Silver Street, I for one can’t wait to hear more about Don’t Go Back and I am looking forward to downloading it. For now though, it’s over to you.

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Don’t Go Back is a Historical Romance set in the suburbs of Manchester 1906 – a scandalous tale of courage, secrets, passion, love, loss and lies. All the characters have played a wonderful part in this heart-breaking story and told me how they wanted it to be. They really did take over the page. A mix of tone in this story brings much empathy as well as a wide array of emotion.

Times were tough for some in those days and I wanted to portray this in the most fitting way. Set the scenes in great detail. Let readers experience how it was, smell the hotpot and fresh bloomer bread, shiver to keep warm by a paraffin stove, wash via a washstand, feel the damp lumpy mattresses etc. Research has played a huge part in creating this series, and I feel honoured to have learnt so much.

Below is an introduction to Don’t Go Back. I hope you enjoy reading and get a flavour to this wonderful story.

Introduction to Don’t Go Back

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His heart broken, Dan, a wealthy textile factory owner, is determined to track Rosa down and bring her home to Gorton after she took off months ago without a word to anyone. He is shocked to discover Rosa has her own boarding house at 76 Silver Street in the next town and is soon to be wed to the ruffian Jack Howard, and is with child.

Dan’s housekeeper, Molly, is also desperate to find her long lost sister Rosa, who was dumped on their aunt’s doorstep at birth. Molly longs to tell Rosa how her mother always loved her and had no choice.

Molly agrees to help with Dan’s plan, and board at 76 Silver Street undercover, where many ruffians live, in hope of bringing Rosa back.

Molly’s heart aches when she sees her sick sister and nephew and doesn’t know how long she can keep her secret.

Now filled with fear, Dan rushes to Silver Street and wonders if he will ever regain Rosa’s heart and bring her and her baby back?

Or will Rosa stay in the rundown town Pembertown with Jack Howard?


Wow, thank you for that Anna. Well that’s wet our appetites I’m sure.

Links below to download Book 1 and 2 in the Sleep with One Eye Open series.


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76 Silver Street 

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Don’t Go Back

About Anna Shenton 

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Anna Maria Shenton from Staffordshire, World Poetry Day Prize Winner 2015 at Vind & Vag Publishing House.

Her boys flown the nest, Anna took a home study course which led to publications in various  magazines, including Writer’s Forum. Anna’s flair to write continued into fiction where she enjoys creating many wonderful characters and story plots.  Family life experiences are her book of inspiration, often creeping into her stories. She independently published her debut novel, short story collection, writing for beginners and novella series.

Anna loves to write from home and in her caravan when enjoying travels with her husband.

Where to find Anna Shenton 



Amazon Author Page 






Guest Feature – Suzi Bamblett

My guest today is not only a fellow writer but a very close friend. Suzi Bamblett has come along to talk about her writing. Without further ado let’s go over to Suzi. 

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My Writing

Suzi Bamblett

I always wanted to write. From earliest memories, copying envelopes at my grandmother’s house to starting a novel at the beginning of each school holiday, the yearning has been there. At the age of thirteen, having exhausted the library’s stock of Agatha Christie, I was introduced to Daphne du Maurier.

I loved her dark Gothic tales, Jamaica Inn and Rebecca, her sense of the uncanny in The Birds and Don’t Look Now. I’m also a huge fan of the twist in the tale and rate John Irving, Sarah Waters and Diane Chamberlain among my favourite authors.

By the age of twenty-five I was married with three children under the age of four. Seven years of study with the Open University culminated in a PGCE, followed by twenty-three years teaching teenagers at a girls’ grammar school. I wrote creatively in school holidays and studied part-time with The Writers Bureau.

When my grandson came along, I realised ‘time to write’ was running out. The following year, after losing six members of my family in quick succession, I knew I had to make a change so I took early retirement and signed up for an MA with Brighton University. The Creative Writing course was wide and varied. I engaged with collaborative projects, enjoyed forays into screen writing and poetry and became ‘writer in residence’ with Tamba (now Twins Trust) I became a granny befriender and launched a project to create a memory quilt, each square representing the story of a child ‘gone too soon’.

Sue with her amazing Quilt of Lost Dream (002)

I began my MA with three novels in various stages and ended it with six. During my dissertation I undertook a personal journey with Daphne du Maurier, culminating in an autoethnographical project, Coming to know a Writer. This work introduced a new method of writing, The Imagined Dialogue and I’ve submitted a chapter to an anthology of autoethnographic writing. I have plans to develop this into an autoethnographic novel, part memoir, part fiction, focussing on links between my own life and that of famous writers – Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle.

I meet fortnightly with my Friday Writing Group in Hove and regularly take part in National November Novel Writing Month. NANOWRIMO has enabled me to produce drafts of several novels over the years: Three Faced Doll, a psychological thriller about triplets; Prescient Spirit, an uncanny story about a ghost from the future; Pearl Seekers, a YA novel about a missing sister and a religious cult; The Changeling, a middle years’ fantasy. I also have a work in progress, an erotica novel, inspired by the sad and sudden death of my brother in 2019.

In 2020 I set myself the goal to independently publish my time-slip novel, The Travelling Philanthropist. An early extract from this novel, along with reflective commentary, featured in BrightONLINE, the online journal of literary criticism and creativity, Issue 7. To spur myself on. The cover has been designed for The Travelling Philanthropist and I hope to return to Patricia’s Pen when my book is launched.


Readers are in for a treat once Suzi Bamblett releases all of the above novels. And how about that quilt? Isn’t it amazing? Watch this space for Suzi to return later this year and tell us more about The Travelling Philanthropist. In the meantime, let’s find out a little more about her. 

Sue with her amazing Quilt of Lost Dream (002)

About Suzi Bamblett

Suzi Bamblett graduated from Brighton University with a distinction for her MA in Creative Writing. Her Imagined Dialogue is featured on the Daphne du Maurier website. Suzi write psychological thrillers and suspense for YA and adults. Her poems and short stories have been published in three Brighton University Anthologies – Small Worlds (2014), Reflections (2015) and Resistance is Fertile (2018), and her short story, The Girl on the Swing, was published by Shooter Literary Magazine – Issue 11 Winter 2020 Supernatural. Besides writing, walking and generally ‘being creative’, Suzi is a proud mum, ‘hands on’ granny and bereavement befriender for Twins Trust.

Sunday Writing Challenge (Monthly)

Today I bring you a lovely poem from Dorian J. Sinnott, titled Star Seeds. Enjoy.

Star Seeds by Dorian J. Sinnott






Star Seeds 

I count the dewdrops that collect in your hair,
painted pearls in auburn skies.
So long we’d waited for summer sun,
basking on the breath of blossoming light;
captured in silk spider webs.

Beneath the dogwood we sold our oath,
a fragile promise to the earth green.
And at nightfall we watch the stars,
making wishes on celestial rays;
an ode to kaleidoscoping cosmos.

Like roots we were sworn,
tied together by nature’s thread.
But under starfall we sever the tethers,
bidding farewell to the stratosphere;
freedom from gravity.

Born from comet dust and star seeds,
we plant our new universe.
Yet in our souls the Earth sings,
rejoicing in the garish sunlight;
baptized in solar flares.

Children of the soil,
Bearers of the stars.

You can find Dorian on Twitter.



News updates on ‘Patricia’s Pen’ but first…

Cover Reveal

… a cover reveal for my debut poetry pamphlet to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press on 22nd July 2020.


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Don’t you just love that cover? I know I do. And hopefully you’ll enjoy my collection of nature poetry which includes poems based on myth, folklore, and legend around trees. Watch this space to find out how you can order a copy. Signed copies will also be available.


On to other news


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Unfortunately over the last few weeks I’ve been suffering from burnout. I imagine this is a problem for many other writers who blog, edit, tutor etc. Just not enough hours in the day. I am therefore making some small changes to Patricia’s Pen, albeit they may just be temporary, but the idea is to allow me time to write.

The proposed changes  

From September 2020 the Tuesday Guest Feature will no longer be every week but once a month, although there may be ad hoc features.

Accepted stories and poems from the Sunday Writing Challenge  will also be published once a month after this week – this will mean each fortnight from September there will be a Tuesday Guest Feature or a writer’s poem/story published on a fortnightly basis.

The Sunday Writing Challenge will continue so please keep sending in your high quality stories or poems to ‘Patricia’s Pen’ but please read the FULL GUIDELINES  before submitting via the online form.


In Other News




It is the Indie Festival 13th – 20th June 2020 and there are lots of Question and Answer Panels happening. To see all of the events and watch the Question and Answer Panels you need to join this Facebook Page 

I shall be part of a Question and Answer Panel ‘The Pros and Cons’ of Indie Publishing’ 

This will be happening on Saturday 20th June 2020 at 2pm so I hope you’ll come along.

Indie Festival 2020 

And don’t miss out on the other wonderful activities and events. Don’t forget to join the Facebook page using the above link.

Everything is happening virtually so you can stay safe in your own home.

One more thing before I sign off


I plan to set up a newsletter in the near future and hope you’ll sign up. Subscribers will be offered something special. I’ve still to work out the finer details. I hope you’ll join me though.

Keep safe everyone and I hope you’ll stick with me and ‘Patricia’s Pen’.