Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Your Say -

BRING on the gas and air. I’m cel­e­brat­ing the birth of my book which comes out this week. It re­ally is a bit like hav­ing a baby; maybe slightly less painful.

Tales From An Old Hack – Me­moir Of A Lo­cal Re­porter, cov­ers my 20 years as a jour­nal­ist in Hilling­don, as well as a per­sonal me­moir. It in­cludes some his­tor­i­cal, and hys­ter­i­cal, pho­to­graphs in­clud­ing the cover, taken in 1997, with Scream­ing Lord Sutch when he was a par­lia­men­tary can­di­date here.

You will see me as a small child wear­ing the Fair Isle beret that kept me safe and, as an 18-year-old stu­dent, wear­ing droopy over­alls while a chalet maid at But­lins. Much later, I’m liv­ing it up with some boozy friends at the Prospect of Whitby at Wap­ping, in­clud­ing Mr F, although we were not then an item.

I’m also pic­tured with a pit­bull and with a group of Green­ford chil­dren when I was their class teacher. Dif­fer­ent pho­tos and hap­pily no con­nec­tion be­tween these two in­ci­dents.

There’s a re­cently elected Tony Blair, snapped when he vis­ited Uxbridge, and Ken Liv­ing­stone, when he was Mayor of Lon­don, pop­ping into West Dray­ton.

Then there’s me try­ing to catch up with for­mer Uxbridge MP Sir John Ran­dall on the po­lit­i­cal trail with Jef­frey Archer (who walks very fast).

This was all in the dark ages – pre-phone cam­eras and cer­tainly be­fore self­ies be­came the norm – so I am in­debted to the many Gazette pho­tog­ra­phers who gave me hard copies of their pho­to­graphs to keep.

The book oth­er­wise would have been se­ri­ously pic­ture-de­fi­cient and we all know the im­por­tance of vis­ual aids, don’t we? (I am par­tic­u­larly ad­dress­ing teach­ers here!)

It’s been a mind-bog­gling ges­ta­tion pe­riod (longer than an ele­phant ac­tu­ally), as many of the poignant, happy and some­times ridicu­lous news sto­ries and fea­tures were be­fore the in­ter­net, so had to be tapped into my com­puter.

I’m still not ab­so­lutely sure I can throw away the boxes of old news­pa­per cut­tings even now, as de-clut­ter­ing is a con­cept I’ve yet to get to grips with.

Though no longer a staff re­porter it’s great to still have links with Hilling­don bor­ough through my Bm@il col­umn – and be­cause we’ve lived here for 40 years. It’s al­ways good to get feed­back from so many of you (most re­cently a group of ladies in the Swan and Bot­tle, Uxbridge).

We share a lot of his­tory, don’t we? Join this old hack if you can, for a book sign­ing on Satur­day Oc­to­ber 6 from noon at

Water­stone’s in Uxbridge.

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