Date April 1994


There were 22 members at Winterfest, though not all were able to attend for the whole weekend. Sadly our Cavern meeting was timetabled rather early on Sunday (especially as the clocks went forward that morning!) and with a very good episode of Deep Space Nine showing next door (Armin is BRILLIANT) we had only a small attendance. Those who made it said that they enjoyed the meeting and we now have volunteers for some of the parts in the presentation we plan for Masquerades '94 next August. We still need volunteers for remaining roles. There is plenty of scope in there if you only feel able to Sign a little bit. The introductions for example are very short and we will help. Amber and I plan a get-together to produce your `training video' in May. So come on! Let me hear from you if you're going to Masquerades '94 and you haven't already got your name on the list. Remember our aim is to make people more aware of Sign Language and how beautiful it is. There won't be a judge or examiner giving marks so it won't be dreadful if you make a mistake. We are all family so think of it as `standing round the piano' after dinner. (And no! I'm not old enough to remember that!!) I do understand though if you are just too nervous to take part and hope that you will take some photos for us instead.

Still no reply to our letter to Terrylene I'm afraid but I do have this from Sally Newman "I was there when Cindy (Riddles) gave Terrylene your letter and could see her response while she read it; you all made quite a favorable impression on her." David Greenlee has said that he will continue to try to reach Terrylene on our behalf but she is not listed with any agency so this could prove difficult. In the meantime it is nice to know at least that she approves what we do in her name. I know that Terrylene is busy and I have received news of her battle with Burger King (press cuttings were kindly passed to me by Gwen Lord at Helpers Network UK) I did not realise before that she is married and has a young son.

I now have a copy of The BSL Video Phrase Book and can offer copies (usual terms) to any who want them. This is excellent whether you have enrolled for a course or if you aren't able to do so.

I'm not sure whether Edna Wilson plans to take her Level I Exam yet but I know Mary Tummon hopes to take hers in June/July so please think of them. My re-take of Level II is in early July so please spare me a thought or light a candle or whatever... I really do need to pass this time. I have again been accepted, conditionally, by Wolverhampton University to do the Interpreter Degree Course beginning next October. Other news is that Gill and John have signed up for a Stage I course which begins next September. Good on you both!

Be Well and keep those hands busy!


When I leave my job next August to begin University I will not only lose my salary, I will also lose the facility to photocopy at cost (0.7p per copy on my own paper) I'm afraid that together this means that I may not be able to run the Cavern out of my own pocket in future. I am sorry that I will have to ask members to contribute towards postage etc. - the last newsletter cost me 16 to produce and mail (38p per addressee) Please will you send 2x19p postage stamps (or $1) if you would like to receive the next newsletter.

Date November 1994


Laura's Cavern is already two years old! By the time you read this, both Masquerades '94 and Masques '94 will be well in the past so I don't propose to make this a full convention report - others are already in print. What I will do is record some "golden moments" from each convention, from the Cavern's point of view aswell as my own:-

I arrived in Sheffield on Friday afternoon - early enough to catch a glimpse of Jamie Murray before Myhr took him over but not smart enough to realise who he was! I am pleased to report that he has since agreed to become a `Special Member' of Laura's Cavern. He was very impressed with the signed song "The First Time I Loved For Ever" and says that he is "honoured" to join our number. Three new members joined during the weekend and our number now stands at 51. (One or two have dropped out since the last newsletter)

At the opening ceremony Roy Dotrice wore his Laura's Cavern badge - I made sure beforehand...
"Can I just put this on for you Roy?"
"Certainly darling... What is it?"

I am grateful to those members who were good enough to "mind the shop" for me on Saturday while I took photos or rehearsed those taking part in our signed presentation on Sunday afternoon. We had quite a good audience for the final run-through as we were running a bit late and everyone thought it was the proper show! Amber and I were extremely pleased with the amount of work that the participants had put in before and at the con. Congratulations on a very good performance go to:-

Marilyn Preston (Lena)
Bernadette Crowther (Catherine)
God Bless The Child
Mary Tummon (Sophie) Siege
Marilyn Preston (Brian)
Mary Tummon (John)
Ruth Merry (Brooke)

Others who sat in the circle and lit candles during the Winterfest Speech:-
Joanna Periera, Joyce Clarke and Pat Bacon

Thanks to all who took part - the performance was very well received. I'm sorry to say that the guests were still 'at lunch' but Amber and I reprised the song at the disco in the evening.

The auction proceeds were to go to 'Hearing Dogs For The Deaf' - Myhr and David Schwartz were very able auctioneers! Myhr in particular was very persuasive if there was doubt in the bidder's mind... he 'purred' in her ear to convince her. I'm sorry to say that he didn't 'purr' in my ear but that wasn't surprising as Chris was sitting next to me! David read out bits from 'zines stopping short to make them sound desirable. They both worked really hard to get a `goodly' sum from the audience. I am on the mailing list of Hearing Dogs For The Deaf and I am enclosing (* can't be done on e-mail!) a copy of one page from the latest newsletter 'Favour' which tells where some of the dogs come from. If anyone can help with `socialising' young dogs or knows of anyone who can offer a good home to a dog that didn't quite make the grade please contact them. Similarly, if you'd like to receive their catalogue or newsletter the number is 01844 353898 or write to them at: The Training Centre, London Rd(A40), Lewknor, Oxon OX9 5RY ENGLAND.
(there is a link to their website on my links page)

I arrived very early Saturday morning and was able to get straight into my room... on the seventh floor!! I've never been so high up in the Moat House! I spent a good deal of the day rehearsing for our evening presentation but there were still some precious moments. I missed the only item that I wanted from the auction but a suitable bribe to the young lady who did buy it was sufficient to wrest it from her - she made a fair profit and I paid less than I had been prepared to bid so we were both happy.

After the banquet we signed our scenes from the series. As Amber couldn't be there we had to omit Labyrinths and Dead Of Winter but as John and Gill were with us they signed the scene from Temptation. As we were all in costume it was truly a scene to treasure... John, appropriately dressed, signed Vincent's words and Gill (as the Spirit of Autumn) signed Mouse. I can't wait to get the video!! Many people told me how much they enjoyed the show - that's what I like to hear! Special thanks to Belle Pescod for "shifting the scenery"!

Another "golden moment" was during the entertainment on Sunday morning. At the end of her story (with sound effects) Belle Pescod sang a little song and was joined by an unwelcome voice from young Anna beside her. I will never forget her solution to the problem... she frowned a bit but without missing a note she simply covered Anna's mouth with her hand and continued singing alone! Did anyone get a photo? My camera was turned off so I missed it.

But the abiding memory from the weekend is the joy we all felt as we watched Nicky Shepherd at her very first convention. It does your heart good to see the wonder in a newcomer's eyes as they take it all in. And then when "Vincent" arrived in the evening, and HE stood with her for photos, and HE danced with her, AND sang to us all... Nicky isn't a member of Laura's Cavern but she told me that she was moved almost to tears as she watched our performances. Whether she joins us or not is not important. What matters is that she and others now think of sign language as something beautiful and moving.

Finally - and nothing to do with either convention - I would like to tell you of an outing Chris and I took recently to The Friends Of The Young Deaf (FYD) who, to raise funds, organised an evening of "Signed Singing". There were a number of members there signing to songs of all kinds such as Any Dream Will Do, Devil Gate Drive, Love On The Rocks, Starlight Express, Money Money Money etc. and the audience joined in (well some of us did!) The finale was a beautiful song Wind Beneath My Wings... it was SO moving. I'm hoping to get some help from them in the future so that my signed songs will improve. In the meantime FYD has organised about 170 venues for "Signed Carol Singing" around the country to be held on 10 or 17 December. So look out for them in your home town... and if you would like to get involved (by signing or rattling a can) please let me know quickly and I'll pass your name on.

As the next newsletter will be in March/April next year may I wish you all a Happy Christmas, A Peaceful New Year and a Joyous Winterfest.

Be Well and keep those hands busy!


PS Watch out for Terrylene's new film "Natural Born Killer" currently on release in UK but not on video yet.

According to Barry Norman on Film '94 the British Board of Film Censors has refused to grant a certificate to the movie `Natural Born Killers' because there is too much violence. Oliver Stone insists that the movie does not `glorify' violence but unless the Board changes it's decision those of us in the UK may never see Terrylene in her first movie role. I gather that Oliver Stone had to make numerous `trims' to get the film passed for general release in the USA.

Date April 1995


We welcome two new members; Nicky Shepherd from Eastbourne and Marit Rasmussen from Hagan in Norway. At the same time we were sorry that some members who had hoped to get to Winterfest were unable to make it; notably Marilyn Preston and Joyce Clarke - we missed you! also Joan Chiu from Nelson and Ellie Hair from Malta who planned this to be their first con - so sad that it didn't happen! Lynda Morgan, was not well enough to attend but is on the road to recovery I hear and I hope so because she is planning the trip to LA! All our best wishes go to Lynda for continued improvement. Belle Pescod had to stay away because she had a drama exam coming up and a skating lesson to go to but she did pop in on Sunday.

Sharon Uuga attended her first Winterfest and brought her daughter Ceri with her because it was her birthday on Saturday (along with Ritch and Ann Hewitt) Chris and I met them from the train on Friday wearing our red noses and holding one each for them to wear. Well you wear your poppy don't you so why not wear your red nose? We spent a pleasant evening nattering and watching videos (The Never Ending Story and The Princess Bride; I think Andre The Giant is really Ron Perlman in yet another make-up job!) before turning in (reasonably) early so that we could set off at 6.30am on Saturday morning for Northampton.

On the journey down... The sun was coming up.... The sky was pink.... well, apricot but you get the idea. We listened to my tape of Mouse and it just happened to be in the right place for Dead Of Winter! As usual I'm late getting this letter out so I won't give you a full con report, just some special moments the first of which was when Marit introduced herself to me as she had read my letter in The Chronicle. We later discovered that we share another interest... ice skating. We bored our Sunday breakfast companions; Steve Nottingham & Chris as we nattered on about Norbert Schramm, Alexander Fadeev, Kristie Yamagucci.. okay enough of this! Back to B&B. The auction went well I'm told. I stayed for the first item but I could feel my right arm fighting to rise so I thought it wise to leave.

The candle ceremony was wonderful. There was plenty of room for everyone to get in the circle. Ritch read the speech superbly as we passed the light from candle to candle. I took my courage in both hands and turned off the flash on my camera to get one or two really good shots by candlelight.

The banquet was excellent. The tunnel togs competition was great fun with some imaginative entries... including the tunnel cleaners, complete with mop and bucket, who "mop up the drool" left behind as Vincent passes all the ladies Below. After the disco `Vincent' serenaded us as usual (pretending to be John Picton but he doesn't fool us!)

I would not have made it through the night without the aid of the excellent audiotape produced by Pat Paone - entitled Vincent. I played it through three or four times as I am one of those people who cannot sleep at cons. I retire late and I'm one of the first down to breakfast - but not exactly `bright-eyed and bushy-tailed'. Thank you Pat. I can recommend the tape to all who like Vincent's voice (Is there anyone who doesn't?!!)

On Sunday morning in a variety of videos we saw Stephen McHattie beheaded by Adrian Paul (Highlander) the latter looking a lot healthier than he did in Ashes Ashes. (AND HOW!) We also saw Jay Acovone playing a rat in NYPD Blue and Roy Dotrice in his role as the elder in Earth 2 (dressed not unlike Father but with long blonde hair).

We learned quite a bit about Ritch in his two "on stage" sessions. Did you know that his daddy was a preacher man? He said that `standing in' for his daddy was his first acting training! Ritch also sang to us, read poetry and let us hear two of his `radio voices' - one calm and serious for a classical music show, the other wild and raucous to host a Country & Western show. We also had cactus candy and `big money' given to us when we got our autographs. Ritch and Kathi did their utmost to ensure that everyone felt special'.

After lunch, when half the con attendees took over the local pizza restaurant, Sharon had to leave to catch her train back to Redruth. Chris had driven down to collect her so that I could stay for the closing ceremony to Sign the now traditional closing song by John Picton "Promise Of Someday". I left, in no hurry, in time to drive home `into the sunset' - what a beautiful way to end a very special weekend. I do hope that there will be a Masques this year. I gather it will depend entirely on whether enough people are prepared to go to it. If you do want to go (definitely) please let Kevin and Sheila know that they will have your support.

I recently found myself on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall! I kid you not. I have become involved with the FYD (Friends for Young Deaf People) and their Signed Singing which is done to raise funds. Well, the BBC heard about us and when the RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People) challenged Anneka Rice (for her TV show Challenge Anneka) to put on a concert at the Royal Albert Hall for deaf people we were asked to go down and sign two songs. It was a wonderful day - the atmosphere was just like a con (AND I had con-fatigue AND post-con depression afterwards). All this happened because I'm learning Sign language - and that happened because of Beauty and the Beast. The show will be broadcast (they say) in September.

I can't get to `Reunion' in June because it's the end of term and the middle of exams but I hope all who attend have a great time.

I am travelling to A Distant Shore a week before the con and would love to hear from anyone who will be around and able to meet up and spend some time. I've never been to the USA before so nothing fancy is needed to entertain me... I just want some company as I'm travelling alone. Most of my friends from England aren't coming out until 4th July but I'll be there on 29 June so if you, or someone you know, will be there and have some free time could we meet?

Finally... At `A Moment In Time' in Manchester in May 1996 Laura's Cavern is planning to put on a Sign Language Workshop. We hope that those who attend will learn some basic signs and a song or two. I am open to any suggestions as to what the content should be (from members and non-members). I am hoping that our celebrity members will be involved too but this will depend on other commitments they have and remember: they must have some free time too. If you have any suggestions for the workshop please let me know and I will do my best to oblige.

Be Well and keep those hands busy!


ps. There are some members I haven't heard from for a very long time. Please drop me a line to let me know you are still around!