Sally Edmondson as she is today.

Sally Edmondson – Once Upon a Time in a Land Far, Far away

 A young Sally Edmondson, tip-tapping away in a field somewhere in rural Gloucestershire
A young Sally Edmondson, tip-tapping away in a field somewhere in rural Gloucestershire

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, before mobile phones and the WWW, a young Sally Edmondson tip-tapped away on an archaic typewriter, writing a column for the local paper called Serendipity.

The idea to call the column Serendipity was not her own.  An older, much wiser friend suggested it.  She thanked the older and much wiser friend for their suggestion and, not entirely sure what the word meant, she went away to look it up in her trusty dictionary.

The word, Serendipity, was coined in 1754,  by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’.

Calling the column Serendipity seemed like a good idea, because she never knew what she was going to write about until she sat down at her typewriter, because there wasn’t too much sagacity going on in her teenage brain.

As Serendipity often included some slightly risqué pieces, she decided to write it under a pseudonym because she didn’t want her mother to know that the content originated from her typewriter.

The name she plumped for was Tessa Barrie.  Tessa, after her Springer Spaniel and Barrie, a blatant misspelling of her Cococobana hero, Barry Manilow.

Very recently, Sally Edmondson came out as herself after she started writing about her life to date and how she’s survived it, having all fiction to her alter ego, Tessa Barrie.

Always the twain shall meet.

FROM MY LIFE TO DATE AND HOW I SURVIVED IT

‘I’m not someone who has left glittering gongs in my wake, nor have I led an intrepid or inspiring life. I don’t plan to blame my parents for my ineptitudes and failures. I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person, although some might say, I am delightfully vague.  Either way, I’ve always been quite capable of cocking up my own life, without parental intervention or outside influence.’

Sally Edmondson received her first writing accolade at the age of seven when she won a coveted Blue Peter badge for waxing lyrical about one of the Blue Peter dogs.

She didn’t have a particularly easy childhood, and writing became a form of escapism, along with her love of horses.

Bought up in a horsey household, she would disappear for miles, unsupervised, exploring the Gloucestershire countryside, riding the pony’s she grew up with.

Her writing career has been sporadic, at best.  After a flurry of pure teenage genius, published poetry at thirteen, and writing her first (and last) musical at fifteen – when her miserable pre-pubescent poetry evolved into tormented teenage angst lyrics, and she entered her songwriting phase – she has drifted between being in print, and not.

Sally Edmondson, Proud mother of Cassie the Blog Dog
Proud mother of Cassie the Blog Dog

Throughout her life to date, she has written on a freelance basis, while holding down a proper job.  The most memorable proper jobs, which both brought on the waterworks when she left, were with the George Veterinary Group and her ‘dream job’ at Durrell.

Brian Trubshaw - Test Pilot - co-authored by Sally Edmondson
Brian Trubshaw – Test Pilot – co-authored by Sally Edmondson

In 1998, she co-wrote her late stepfather’s autobiography, Brian Trubshaw – Test Pilot and assisted with his second book,  Concorde – The Inside Story, in 2000. Both books were published by what was then Sutton Publishing, under the watchful eye of Jonathan Falconer.  She is immensely proud to have been involved with both publications.

Happiest of memories – Book signing at Farnborough, Jonathan Falconer (Sutton Publishing), Sally Edmondson and Brian Trubshaw

Many moons ago, Sally decided to leave writing fiction to her alter ego, Tessa Barrie, while she ploughs on with her life writing project, My Life to Date and How I Survived It.

 

 

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