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  • simonnancyjones


Updated: Oct 3, 2023


“Presence, the Play” won the: Mary Shelley Award for Fiction from the MEA (Media Ecology Foundation founded by Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman) on July 9th.

The Gilded Age was nominated for one Emmy for: Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (one hour or more) for Episode One: “Never The New”.

In the meantime, I was made a member of The Television Academy, the body that oversees the Emmy Awards, but too late to vote.

I was filming on my 72nd birthday, and was caught by surprise in what I thought was a ‘take’ by a serenade of “Happy Birthday’ from cast and crew, led by the most excellent Christine Baranski.


Only scheduled for one day’s filming this month in Albany on the 11th, I raced back to NYC that evening, caught a plane for London on the 12th and made it, in spite of a rail strike, to Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire with son Tim to join in the celebration of the 100th Birthday of my Uncle John Mills (my late Mother’s younger brother).

He must have been one of the last recipients of a birthday card from HM The Queen, and a personal letter from the then Prince Charles in his capacity as Patron of The Burma Star Association. Uncle John is one of a handful of survivors of the Burma Campaign of World War Two. He caught Dengue fever and was airlifted to Deolali. *

He recovered from various illnesses, and now at 100 is anything but “doolally” (see note).

The party was at The Petwood Hotel which in the 1940s housed the Officers Mess of 617 Squadron (“The Dambusters”) There is a rusting specimen of a Bouncing Bomb (invented by Barnes Wallis for the raid on the Mohne and Eder dams) in the grounds, So it was an appropriate locale for the birthday. Though his military career accounts for about 7 years out his score of 100. Curious to reflect that he has been retired for longer than he worked – for Reed International Paper.

*Deolali was a British Army camp 100 miles north-east of Mumbai (then called Bombay). It was the original location of the Army Staff College (now the Defence Services Staff College of India and the Pakistan Command and Staff College).

It is also the source of the British slang noun doolally tap, loosely meaning "camp fever", and referring to the apparent madness of men waiting for ships back to Britain after finishing their tour of duty. By the 1940s this had been widely shortened to just "doolally", an adjective meaning "mad (insane)" or "eccentric".[3]

As I wasn’t required for The Gilded Age until September 9th, I stayed in the UK until September 1st.

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