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Issue No. 32 [Back Issues]
15th February 2005

This Week: [JKHS Runners - Masterclass] [Local People - Topical Photography - Nature] [Archive Ross - Letters - Rugby]

Local People - Chris Robertson

Chris Robertson, Reporter at the Ross Gazette since 1994 and Editor for the past seven years, is well known for her news stories, writing about others but she has also led a very interesting life herself.

Chris lived in Baghdad as a child as her civil engineer father was there designing the Baghdad town plan. Later at boarding school, which she did not enjoy, her favourite subjects were English and history. Chris enjoyed reading and writing essays, some of these were for her own school projects but some were for others, written 'at a price'. Whilst at school, the careers woman visited but was very unhelpful, telling her that her ambition, of being a journalist, was not an easy thing for a woman to get into. Chris later went to the University of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia which was run by Canadian Jesuits. She studied English, history and majored in journalism under a former editor of the New York Times.

Her father's work then took the family to Borneo, where for a time they lived in the jungle, amid very hospitable longhouse people, mostly Dayaks. Chris taught herself to touch type from her mother's old Pitman manual. Radio Sarawak asked if she could do reports and gave her a job as an announcer on the English radio channel.

Returning to the United Kingdom in the mid 1960s, Chris worked for the the BBC at Broadcasting House, training for studio management, part of which was on the night shift. Her husband was not happy about this and Chris took a job which came up at The Listener, with Editor, Maurice Ashley and Deputy Editor, Oleg Kerensky. But it was the lady sub-editors who appeared to do all of the work. They often had to fish things out of the bin after editorial meetings.

Chris researched and wrote about contributors. Jonathon Miller, Patrick Moore, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney were all regular visitors to the office. She then went to work for BBC World Service.

Later, living in Essex, Chris worked for an agricultural journalist before taking on a variety of jobs while her two children grew up, including being PA and a stock controller with Paddy Lightfoot, of Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen fame.

Chris moved to Ross-on-Wye with her partner in 1989 to nurse her mother and, on her mother's death took on the responsibility of her elderly father. Thinking that she needed to keep abreast of computer technology, in Ross, Chris took a course in Information Technology before beginning her career at the Ross Gazette in 1994. She worked as a reporter with editor, Tony Hall. The Gazette was Dickensian, it was like taking a step back in time. The paper was produced wholly in house, including 'paste-up', printing was done locally there was just one advertisement on the front and few photographs. Eventually computer technology reached the Gazette, Tony retired and Chris became the editor.

Chris has an admiration for female writers who have had to face male prejudice, such as the Brontes, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley and thinks of Kate Adie as a great example of a successful woman journalist.

Topical Photography This Week

Ref: DSC_8216

Above: The River Wye rose to quite a high level on Sunday 13th February, bursting its banks and flooding part of the Ropewalk.

Below: Congratulations to Doris and Stan Hindmarsh of Walford, Ross-on-Wye on their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Here they can be seen celebrating sixty years with a family meal at the Axe and Cleaver.
Left to right: Emma Dunning, Mark Mills, Doris and Stan Hindmarsh, John Hindmarsh, Lyn, Fred and Sarah Mills and Prokopis Revvis.

Ref: DSC_8225

Ross-on-Wye Nature Watch

FrogsPorn. DSC_8193

Above. Common British frogs of the amphibian family, Ranidae. The three above were photographed on 12th February 2005, along with several thousand of their eggs after spawning in one of my own garden ponds in Ross-on-Wye. British frogs live most of their lives on land, in damp places and begin spawning at about two years old, usually in February and March but sometimes as early as January in this part of the country. They tend to return to the place of their own birth to spawn after hibernation for the winter, then remain in the water until April. Tadpoles begin to emerge from the spawn after about two weeks. I will continue to photograph the emerging tadpoles and later baby frogs for this column as the happy events take place.

Below. Very early blossom on a fruit tree, photographed on 14th February 2005 by the River Wye at Ross. I am not sure of the exact variety of tree but I am surprised to see it in flower at this time of year. No doubt somebody will email me to tell me that this is a common occurrance for this variety of tree but for the time being I shall remain amazed.


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