Long time no blog

Today I took part in a networking course about blogging. Somewhere beyond the mists of time, I recalled I had once set up a blog on WordPress with the intention of spouting forth regularly about my books and inspiration to write, namely Rolo the rescue Jack Russell, eponymous hero of his own Secret Adventures. It was a wake up call.

Rolo and Debi

I logged into WordPress, searched, tried a few passwords and eventually rediscovered this long lost friend. It’s been a few years since I’ve written anything meaningful and so I shall attempt to rectify this.

I re-read my short story ‘I am Crocus’. It’s not bad šŸ˜€

Some pages need updating, I shall get to that – when I’ve found the right buttons.

So what have Rolo and I been up to? Well it’s about 9 years since Rolo rescued me. He has now written 5 books in The Secret Adventures of Rolo series – loosely intended for 7-12 year olds and enjoyed by adults too. There is also a colouring book with activities for younger children. ‘Colouring fun with Rolo Dog’

When Lockdown struck and primary schools closed, I started reading chapters as Facebook ‘lives’ with Rolo on my lap – some days were more eventful than others, particularly if someone came to the door during a ‘live’! These gave my days structure and I posted the videos afterwards to YouTube. Here’s a link to one of them. https://youtu.be/0vOixdOm6CQ

I regularly ‘zoom‘ to WI’s and other adult groups with my presentation ‘Dragons and rescue dogs: my inspiration to write books’. I very much enjoy these events and Rolo himself often appears.

Adults enjoy my books for two main reasons:

1) they contain history chapters, facts which involve a lot of research woven into an adventure with a carefully thought out angle as to how my Jack Russell might be involved

2) they are humorous – written as if by Rolo himself.

I also include nature observations in the first book Athelstan and the Time Tunnel in a handwritten font to differentiate with the adventures chapters, and Rolo’s own ‘dog blogs’ run throughout the series in a different font again – by books 4 and 5 he is quite adept at using hashtags!

With primary schools reopening this week I am hoping to ‘zoom‘ my assembly to spark an interest in history as narrated by a time travelling Jack Russell in my chapter books, and to inspire KS2 children to write their own fantasy/history stories.


Colouring Fun with Rolo Dog

March 10, 2021 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Listen to Richard lll classic mystery

duvet day listening

Through a history group facebook page, I have rediscovered the listening pleasure of an audio book. If you hurry you can listen to Josephine Tey’s classic ‘The Daughter of Time’ in half hour chapters. This is the ultimate mystery for Richard III fans written in the 1950’s by a pro-Ricardian – e.g. he didn’t murder the princes (his nephews) in the Tower.

Catch it quick – link above – 1st episode is on the BBC iplayer website for another week or so….


February 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Rolo the paparazzi pupsey

So we drove to Cheltenham Film Studios this morning.

‘Too old to be a Bond girl but maybe Miss Moneypenny’ I mused, then remembered it wasn’t about me – Rolo had been called to a photoshoot for a dog food brand – can’t tell you which one yet or will have to shoot you – well we were very near GCHQ!

‘Has your dog been filmed before?’ asked supercool Bradd from http://www.Skylark.agency
‘No but he time travels and is often papped by newspapers at book signings’ I replied. He probably thought I was joking.

wait for it...

wait for it…

Rolo in action

…and ACTION!

Rolo behaved like an absolute pro, jumping over string to order to get to the sausage. I saw fabulous photos of him in mid-flight, captured by prone cameraman Jim, and transmitted as a sequence to a laptop. My little JRT jumped so high he could have cleared Beechers Brook at the Grand National! I have never seen his face in HD before and only up close does his slight greying around his neck give away his age (approximately 8 years old).

We were a bit worried that Rolo might look too young – he was after all modelling a ‘senior’ dog (7 plus) anticipating his dinner, but I think his natural charm won the team over – Rolo’s trademark ‘one ear up and one ear down’ was very much in evidence. He didn’t put a paw wrong throughout our session and when the next canine model was brought in for the ‘puppy’ shot he was a perfect gentleman – the baby JRT was only 10 weeks old and whimpered affectionately trying to get to Rolo. ‘Good luck with getting HIM to jump over hurdles!’ I thought.

We thoroughly enjoyed our two hour photo shoot and I was exhausted afterwards, having drunk coffee, cut up sausages and eaten tasty provided lunch. Skylark, Sunhouse and their secret client were perfect hosts. Thank you http://www.urbanpawsuk.com for the invitation.

Rolo didn’t want to leave the studio. He loved all the attention and you’ll have to wait till at least Summer to see which brand he might be gracing. Meanwhile I shall wait for the call from Mr Spielberg. Never mind me for Ms Moneypenny, Rolo for the next Bond? Fee negotiable. Now there’s a thought…

Rolo resting between takes

where’s my trailer?

Rolo drinking

so many sausages…I need a drink!

January 4, 2018 at 5:09 pm Leave a comment

Nostalgic witterings

When I was growing up in the 1960’s one of my favourite children’s television programmes under the ‘Watch with Mother’ banner was The Woodentops, narrated by a velvet voiced man whom I mistakenly thought was Oliver Postage. I loved the familiarity and safety of the idyllic farm family setting with legendary spotty dog.
Each episode began with the introduction;

‘This is a story about the Woodentops.
There was Mummy Woodentop and the baby and
Daddy Woodentop.
And then there were Willie and Jenny, the twins.
And Mrs Scrubit who comes to help Mummy.
And Sam who helps Daddy Woodentop.
And last of all, the very biggest spotty dog you ever did
And they all live together in a little house in the country’

There was a delicious certainty that when the immortal words ‘and there we must leave them’ were spoken at the end of every episode, we knew that we would return the next day and everything would be just as we left it. Nothing bad ever happened to the Woodentops.


This is the essence of nostalgia – the whole ‘rose tinted glasses’ theory and exactly why listening to David Cassidy singing ‘How Can I be sure’ transports me right back to being on the verge of teenage-hood, dewy eyed and practising kissing the picture of my idol and his horse, blue tacked to my bedroom wall; a Jackie magazine centrefold circa 1973. I was secretly looking at the boys at school and none of them matched up to my ideal boyfriend – a David Cassidy lookalike, preferably with own horse (none of my peers had access to horses any more than I did). I was in love with the idea of being in love.

How can I be sure?

Jump ahead a few years and ‘Angie’ by the Rolling Stones and ‘Nights in White Satin’ by the Moody Blues will always transport me back to Whyteleafe Youth Club in St Luke’s Hall on a Friday night; we were about 14 or 15 and had friends’ dads take it in turns to pick us up, sweaty and emotionally exhausted after we had gyrated to the likes of Mud, Alvin Stardust and Status Quo with lots of glitter in our eyeshadow and platform shoes which we could barely stand up in, let alone dance and certainly not walk up the hill afterwards. I remember the lecture by deputy head Mrs Reay at de Stafford School – ‘wearing high shoes tilts your womb’ but I wasn’t thinking about motherhood or even avoiding it at this stage in my young life. I don’t recall any alcohol being involved but perhaps the occaisional puff of a Players No. 6 and a telltale over indulgence of Polo mints. The aforementioned ‘slowies’ were our favourite ‘ladies excuse me’ requests, when the interior flashing coloured traffic lights were dimmed and an opportunity was presented for the brave girls to pounce on the spotty youths in their drainpipe jeans as they hugged the walls of the small dingy hall. These dances signalled the end of the evening and we would emerge doe-like in the dazzling headlamps of the anxious dads waiting outside in their Allegros to whisk us home to safety where we in turn would dream of being whisked off our feet by Donny Osmond, a Bay City Roller or in my case the beautiful David Cassidy on horseback and gallop away from semi detached suburbia to some ranch somewhere.


I believe in Father Christmas

All time favourite Christmas record? Without a doubt Greg Lake’s ‘I believe in Father Christmas’ and no, I have no idea who I danced with. It amuses me that the old Christmas songs of the 70’s and 80s are still so popular with the youth of today. Is there a memorable Christmas song from the last 30 years or so? Nothing to compare to the likes of Slade, Wizard, Paul McCartney and Wings, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Jonah Lewie, Jethro Tull, John Lennon and so on – not in my humble rose tinted opinion anyway:D

December 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

Saturday October 14, 11:00am: The Secret Adventures of Rolo – book signing with Debi Evans (& Rolo the dog)

Source: Saturday October 15, 11:00am: The Secret Adventures of Rolo – book signing with Debi Evans (& Rolo the dog)

September 28, 2017 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

Marlborough’s own secret marvel – The Merchant House

I am thoroughly ashamed to admit I have only ever visited The Merchant’s House for gift shopping or seasonal decorations when they open the upstairs room with the marvellously hilly original wooden floor for festive purchases.
Today I took a guided tour with the extremely knowledgeable guide Ilse, and was enthralled by what the Merchant’s House trustees have achieved over the last 25 years or so since they leased the building from Wiltshire Council who acquired it back from WH Smiths in the late 1990’s.

interesting stripe painted design – unusual for merchant classes

a wig powder shaker

authentic costumes for dressing up as the former silk merchant and his wife

fabulous replica of an original bedspread now in York

pattons for keeping silk slippers above the puddles when alighting from a carriage


fireplace stripped back

a servant’s bedroom

view from upstairs window towards Whitehorse bookshop of a similar age

explanation of ‘sleep tight’

beautifully repaird floorboards

odds and ends

original 16th century Book of Martyrs – there for the handling

walls stripped back

view of the High Street



light interior

Mary Beale portrait

interesting carved chest with corrected inscription

What Durer and others thought a hippopotamus looked like

curious fly in the window with jokey Latin inscription

The photos showing how the rooms above what is essentially the gift shop were used to house WH Smith’s manager are a telling insight into the amount of restoration required to turn back the clock to reveal the home of Mr and Mrs Bayly, silk merchants with a fascination for striped decoration, unusual in the middle classes.

The renovation is an ongoing project, with a museum for Marlborough being created in the adjoining upstairs building (above Clarks shoe shop). What is fascinating about the Baylys is that they claimed money from Cromwell to rebuild their home as the original was lost during the Great Fire of Marlborough in 1653 (carefully documented in The Secret Adventures of Rolo book 1 Athelstan and the Time Tunnel, when my time travelling Jack Russell rescues a cat family from the inferno of St Mary’s church)

Ā£7.50 well spent, and happy to support this marvellous piece of local history being sympathetically restored. Do visit, and encourage visitors to Marlborough to enjoy and be amazed!

August 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

It’s exhausting being a famous canine author eh #rolodogblog ? šŸ¶šŸ¾latest from Rolodogblog https://t.co/TKGxis4a1C

from http://twitter.com/rolodogblog

August 12, 2017 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

It’s exhausting being a famous canine author eh #rolodogblog ? šŸ¶šŸ¾ https://t.co/kuTp7Y6phH https://t.co/ZrjF1Y1IQs

from http://twitter.com/rolodogblog

August 12, 2017 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

#jeweldogandthedragons #rolodogblog today’s tease from #book4 #trojanrolo! #these #thesecretadventuresofrololatestā€¦ https://t.co/mZmxG5dxrM

from http://twitter.com/rolodogblog

August 12, 2017 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

#jeweldogandthedragons #rolodogblog today’s tease from #book4 #trojanrolo! #these #thesecretadventuresofroloā€¦ https://t.co/IjUg0btlFD

from http://twitter.com/rolodogblog

August 12, 2017 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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