Looking for interesting speakers?


We know how hard it can be for a programme secretary to find entertaining speakers prepared to commit themselves months ahead – why not try us?

We are a husband and wife team who have been giving talks to various societies for a number of years. We are used to making (and keeping!) commitments a year or more ahead, and we can offer a wide range of unusual and interesting topics.

We bring all the necessary equipment for the presentations, requiring only tables and an accessible 13 amp power point. A CD player is provided for the musical offerings, and for the audio-visual presentations, a computer, data projector, screen and speakers. Most topics are supported by information sheets for the audience to refer to and retain if they wish. We also bring along appropriate objects. These include craft items, models, prints, books, posters, photographs, and even garments or medieval arms and armour which volunteers can try.

Most talks are planned to take between 45 to 60 minutes, but some audio-visual presentations are a fixed length, indicated in the descriptions below, and these can be broken by an interval if appropriate. Please note that for all audio-visual presentations we require time to set up the equipment, and health and safety considerations mean that placing tables and running cables needs to be done before the audience arrives.

The fee we charge for our talks varies according to the distance we have to travel, and the size of the audience, but we believe our rates are reasonable and in line with what most societies can afford. The basic fee of £45 covers an audience of up to 40 people (for larger numbers please contact us) and travel is 50p per mile (from Shoreham-by-Sea).

Presentations on Japan, Local and Family History,
and Musical Offerings

For more details contact us on 01273 454006
or Click to email us


We have both studied Japan for many years. We taught adult education classes in Japanese language and culture from 1988 and have travelled extensively, visiting parts of the country which our Japanese friends haven’t seen!
Japan’s culture is very different from the West, and we always find that audiences enjoy the insight we give into the way of life there.
The following list of topics is by no means exhaustive, so if your members are interested in any other aspect of Japan, please ask us – we may well be able to cover it. We have gained a reputation as entertaining speakers, so don’t be afraid to try a talk on one of the more unusual topics!


The Seasons & Festivals of Japan Introduction to an exotic culture
The best introduction to Japan, as we take you through the year showing the culture and traditions, using artefacts you can handle and pictures (either printouts or projected)

The Elegance of the Kimono – How it’s made and worn
Gorgeous materials and elegant garments – we bring along a big range of items which you can handle, or even try on, together with books, pictures and many samples of material..

The Geisha – Fact & Fiction
Memoirs of a Geisha
generated a lot of interest in the West. While good entertainment, the book and film are far from showing an accurate picture. In this talk, illustrated with pictures (either printouts or projected), music, artefacts and clothing, we give a glimpse into the real world of the Geisha

Japanese Dolls
– Miniature Masterpieces
Japan has a long tradition of doll making, and many different styles have evolved over centuries. Handle several beautiful examples of the main types and learn their history. There will be pictures of many others (either printouts or projected) for you to admire.

Inspiration for the Impressionists and beyond – Japanese Woodblock Prints
n the late 19th century Japan was an exotic country newly opened up to the West. See how Japanese art, gardens, dress and culture influenced European painters of the time, such as Monet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh and Klimt. Illustrated with books, prints and pictures (either printouts or projected).

Ghosts and Monsters
folk tales of old Japan
Japan has a very rich heritage of folk lore, and this talk introduces some of the amusing, poignant and downright strange aspects. Includes practical tips on how to identify Japanese ghosts and gremlins, and how to chase devils out of your house! Perfect for Halloween or on dark winter nights! Illustrated with books, artefacts and audio-visual presentation .


In Praise of Shadows - Inside the Traditional Japanese House
Traditional Japanese houses are imbued with beauty, simplicity and calm. Listen to the story of these houses and what makes them so special. Illustrated with books, models and pictures (either printouts or projected)

Wives & Courtesans
– Women in Japanese Woodblock Prints
Beautiful women in woodblock prints were the “pin-ups” of 18th and 19th century Japan, and the leaders of fashion. See how different artists portrayed them, and find out what a “castle breaker” was! Illustrated with books, prints and pictures (printouts or projected)

Strongholds of the Shogun - Japanese Castles
Amazing architecture in beautiful surroundings, see pictures of castles quite different from those in the West and hear about the adventures of  the people who lived in them.  Illustrated with books, models, artefacts and pictures (either printouts or projected).

Travels in Unknown Japan memorable experiences off the beaten track
Japan is a country of many islands, but the main tourist trails are all on the main island of Honshu. Here we show you the beauties and wonders of some of the less visited parts of Japan, from frozen Hokkaido to balmy Kyushu, including the homes of the gods, the nature reserves where the tancho cranes gather, and the Shōgun’s gold mines. Illustrated with books, artefacts and audio-visual presentation

1001 Things to do with Bamboo – The plant that could save the planet!
The fastest growing plant, stronger than steel yet infinitely adaptable – a valuable and beautiful renewable resource. Hear how it can house, clothe and feed people, and handle many different types of articles made from it. Illustrated with books, artefacts and pictures (printouts or projected).


We have taught classes on using computers and the Internet for family history research and have extensively studied the way of life of our ancestors. We have successfully traced many branches of our own roots. On the way we have found innkeepers and craftsmen, farmers and potters, right back to medieval heroes and villains. This research has taken us throughout the UK, to the USA and Canada. We have made frequent visits to Newfoundland, where musicians celebrate their history and culture in wonderful folk songs, and this has led to a wider interest in world music.
A recent interest has been the story of the Russian Princess and actress, whose unusual gravestone in the churchyard of St Nicolas Old Shoreham arouses a lot of interest but about whose life there was little information. Our research into her life led to correspondence with people all over the world, and took us to Russia, Estonia, Finland, Italy and Georgia. The result was a copiously illustrated 350 page book, published in September 2016. The research continues, with updates on the dedicated website.

Finding your Forebears
Getting Started with your Family History
he fascination of discovering who our ancestors were and how to get started on the addictive hobby of genealogy. Illustrated with computer-projected slides and information sheets to keep.

Pioneers of Porcelain – the beautiful ceramics of H & R Daniel
Most people have heard of Spode, but few are familiar with the work of Henry and Richard Daniel. In the early 1800s Henry's workshop did all the decorating for Spode but from 1822-1846 he, and later with his son Richard, ran their own porcelain manufactory, pioneering techniques of enamelling and gilding which in 1826 won them the contract to produce stunning wares for the Earl of Shrewsbury's properties. Hear the story of the factory told by John, whose ancestor was a 'paintress' in the Daniel factory, and see slides and examples of glorious porcelain. Jeannette is Secretary of the Daniel Ceramic Circle, and John is Newsletter Editor; they are co-authors of a ground-breaking new work on Daniel Earthenwares, for which they won an award.
armers and Illegal Ale Brewers
Devon life in Tudor Times
Understanding the everyday life of our ancestors adds an extra dimension to family history. From old records we create a vivid picture of village life which rivals any modern TV soap operas! Illustrated with books and pictures (printouts or projected).

Princess of Dreams
the life and times of Lydia Yavorska, Princess Bariatinsky (1871-1921), the actress who brought us ‘Anna Karenina’
An audio-visual presentation about the successful Russian actress who married a Prince, took the English stage by storm, became a fashion icon and a suffragette, defied the Bolsheviks, and now rests in the quiet churchyard of St Nicolas in Old Shoreham –  a true life story more dramatic than the plot of Dr Zhivago. The full version is 90 minutes, usually given with an interval, but an abbreviated (45 minute) version is also available
More information about the Princess, including a new presentation for 2019, can be found on our dedicated website
  The Lords of Bramber Trilogy

A saga with local interest, graphically telling the story of the dynasty of the Norman Lords who ruled the Adur Valley for nearly 300 years, through the voices of their contemporaries.

Although best seen in order, each presentation is self-contained, so there is no problem for anyone who hasn’t seen the earlier one(s).

Lords of Bramber - Part 1 – Daily Life in a Norman Castle
The ruined gate-house of Bramber castle still dominates the Adur valley, but what do you know of the man who built it and the people who lived there? Hear the story of the famous family of de Braose, and share the life of the castle’s occupants - even try your hand with a Norman shield and sword. Illustrated with computer-projected slides and information sheets to keep.
45-60 minutes

  Lords of Bramber Part 2The Life of a Crusader Knight
Follow the dramatic story of Philip de Braose, 2nd Lord, from Normandy to Sussex, Wales and the Holy Land, brought to life through a self-contained audio-visual presentation . Handle examples of the arms and armour of the Crusaders and take away an information sheet which will enable you to follow in the footsteps of Lord Philip.   60 minutes

Lords of Bramber Part 3– The Fall and Rise of the de Braose Dynasty
This self-contained presentation continues the saga of the de Braose family, the Lords of Bramber, who played a significant role in the history of England from their seat in the Adur Valley. It brings to life the turbulent times of the Anarchy 'When Christ and His Saints Slept'. You will hear of the 'Ogre of Abergavenny' whose wife and child fell victim to King John's rage, of the bishop who built cathedrals and opposed the King, and of his brother the baron who regained the family's status and lands. 60 minutes

- Its Story in Song
From its re-discovery in 1497 to the social problems of recent times the story of Britain’s oldest colony has been recorded in song. Here we tell that story, illustrated with CD’s of catchy and often amusing folk music, while you look at pictures of the glorious scenery of the island or sing along from the lyric sheets provided.

Around the World in Music and Song – A world tour in pictures and sound
You are sure to discover some enjoyable new musical experiences in this programme of catchy recorded music, illustrated by slides.  Sheets with information and lyrics are provided, so you can sing along or just follow the story.

60 or 90 minutes
Here’s to the Women of Newfoundland
Pioneering partners
Just as with the early settlers, the modern fishermen of Newfoundland were dependent on their wives and mothers to keep the home and provide for the family during their long absences. The success of the colony is due in no small part to their efforts, and the island’s folk singers have paid them homage in songs which are sometimes moving, sometimes tinged with wry Newfie humour, but always captivating. See the pictures, listen to the music (from CDs) and sing along if you wish.



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