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A Summer Idyll in Adanaland.

Visit to the Hedgehog Press, 2nd August 2014

“Sometimes, at great garden parties, literary luncheons, or in the quiet of an exclusive print room, a laugh rings out. The sad, formal faces for a moment relax and a smaller group is formed within the larger. They are admirers of Alan Brignull who have found out each other. We are badly organised, we know little about ourselves and next to nothing about our hero, but we appreciate fine printing when we come across it, and a wit that is ageless united to a courtesy that is extinct.”

On a summer’s day with a cooling sea breeze coming in from Flatby, it was most pleasant to be invited to Adanaland to enjoy the company of fifteen of our printing friends. The printerly chat, the tea and coffee, together with a delicious buffet lunch provided by Julie Brignull proved to be one of the best gatherings to date.

I met and spoke with everyone who was there and learned a great deal about the finer points of letterpress printing whilst enjoying excellent company. It was a pleasure to meet Stafford Baker, all the way from Toppesfield and the Happy Dragon’s Press. I admired a copy of his 17th book in the New Garland series. “Talking ToThe Weeds” Poems by Kit Wright exquisitely letterpress printed, together with superb lino cut illustrations by Julie Orpen (some in five colours!) Printing of fine quality indeed. Sadly Stafford tells me this is the penultimate book in the series. A great privilege to meet award winning printer Paul Hatcher who is currently holder of the Sussex Cup, also rare visitors in the charming form of Mike Elliston and his wife Pat. I could listen to the arcane knowledge of printing and acquired wisdom that flows from Mike, for many hours, and still be fascinated.
Our hard working mailer Ron Rookes and his wife Margaret our stalwart and equally hard working membership secretary chatted merrily in the happy throng enjoying the “Flatby Municipal Gardens”. Pat Walker of the Aspen Press in Orford in Suffolk had made the journey and it was a delight to see her again. Gwen Harper our very own branch secretary had also made an extended journey from Rayleigh. It was good to see you again Gwen after your triumphant tour of The Skills Station on 12th July.
Our old friend Peter Gauld of the New Basement Press and owner of Green Lion Books had managed to travel from his new premises and home in Suffolk.
A terrible stressful time for a printer and publisher to have to move premises, but Peter had accomplished this and still had energy enough for our B.P.S. treat at the Hedgehog Press. Our much loved leader Len Friend then called the meeting to order and announced the details of our next big push in promoting the B.P.S. We will all be letterpress printing at Barleylands Essex Country Show on 13th and 14th September. Our biggest pitch yet and with a jumbo marquee as well. Bob Richardson (our ink sprite) had made the journey from Northolt in Middlesex. He certainly looked very sprightly, if not inky! Seriously Bob it was good to meet you again. My good friend Mike Perry kindly travelled from Ongar, and I am glad he did because he arrived with a heavy package of Gallia type which I had been searching many moons for.
Many thanks Mike.

One of the feature attractions at Adanaland this year was “The Treasures of the Adanaland Archive” A superb exhibition of rare booklet and leaflet memorabilia from Alan’s private collection. Many as rare as hen’s teeth. The centrepiece being that extreme rarity a complete run of “It’s A Small World”
As far as I know not even the British Library can compete with this!

During the course of the day a game of “consequences” set in letterpress by volunteers who were brave enough to have a go, resulted in a piece which may or may not be publishable!
Result of consequences
All too soon it was time to depart from Adanland. Our society of friends had once again enjoyed a perfect day, with thanks to Alan and Julie Brignull. Long live the jolly camaraderie of the B.P.S. and our favourite private press The Hedgehog Press Wivenhoe.
I left, happily laden with free lino, courtesy of Mike Elliston, and two industrial size tins of ink from the Brignull European ink mountain (or should that be lake?)

N.B. for those of you wondering about the quotation used at the beginning of this report, it was written by Cyril Connolly writing in The New Statesman in 1935 and was only slightly altered to suit our purpose.

Report by Chris. Brinson - Photography Ron Rookes

Group shot of members