Wednesday 10 August 2011


Photo: Drollerie Press

'Just because Alicia Meldrew is a witch doesn't mean that everything in her life is double, double, toil and trouble. Then again, trouble does have a way of finding her over and over again, even in the cozy little town of Middlewitch...'

Sounds like a good read. I wonder if Heather Parker imagines she has made the name up (or very nearly, at least) or has ever heard of our own 'cozy (or even cosy)  little town'? Heather is a well-established author from the Lake District. Here's a link to her website: Heather Parker.

Then again, it may be that the name has been used deliberately as a tribute to its near namesake in Cheshire.

This book is apparently the second in a series called 'The Middlewitch Chronicles' ( the first one being called, simply 'Middlewitch').. Is this mere coincidence, or does it betray a knowledge of this area, imparted with a sly nod and a wink?

Should you be interested in reading this or any of Heather's other books, here's a link.

This is not the first near-miss by any means. The all time classic, of course, being 'The Midwich Cuckoos' by John Wyndham of 1957, later filmed as 'Village Of The Damned', which you will find appropriate or not according to point of view.

And does anyone recall a few years ago the furore caused by a cartoonist on a national newspaper who created a satirical cartoon about the education system (I forget the actual burning issue, but it was something to do with education) with a picture of a school in it? Seeking a nondescript but  likely-sounding though obviously fictional name for his school he lighted, unfortunately, on 'Middlewich High School', causing apoplexy among Middlewichian readers of the quality press. Did anyone keep a copy of that cartoon? I'd dearly love to see it again, and possibly reproduce it here.

I think the real irony there was the unintended comment on the education system made by the fact that said cartoonist had, seemingly, never heard of Middlewich.

Surely generations of schoolchildren have been taught about the salt towns of Cheshire?

Or is the following scenario more likely these days:

Teacher: Who can tell me where salt comes from?
Pupil: Please sir, is it Tesco?

Dave Roberts

P.S. Aw...forget it. Apparently 'there are lake monsters and the occasional spectral goat'. There always were. I could tell you a thing or two. In my day....etc....

P.P.S. Following the comment from Heather (see below) I took the trouble of reading an excerpt from the original 'Middlewitch' book. It's a light-hearted and very well written tale which struck me as something like the classic 'Bewitched' reinterpreted for the 21st Century. And yes, it's true, the sleepy little village in the story is originally called 'Middlewich' and is renamed 'Middlewitch' in honour of the heroine. I'm going to suggest to the Town Council that we should do the same...



  1. Delighted to find this - and wanted to thank you for publicising Middlewitch and Middlewitch Mayhem. In the first book, the litle town was actually called Middlewich but changed to Middlewitch as a tribute to the heroine, who just happened to be a witch. Any mentions of vampires, daemons or spectral goats are purely coincidental and in no way refer to any inhabitants - honestly!
    I love your style of writing. With wit like this, have you ever considered writing a novel?
    Thank you again,
    Heather Parker

  2. Hi Heather. My pleasure. We were honoured and, indeed, tickled to death at your choice of name. I was wondering if you understood the 'Chronicle' reference? One of our local newspapers was, until recently, called 'The Chronicle', but it has now been absorbed into the Crewe edition. Here's a thought - perhaps you could ask Middlewich Town Council for sponsorhip for future books? Might be worth a try...
    And thanks for your kind words about my writing. I've never thought about writing a novel, but you never know.
    Anyway, thanks again for putting us on the literary map.
    Dave Roberts


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