To Orwell Today,
re: Reader looking for an English actor to narrate new Orwell documentary

I was very sorry to hear of Peter Powell's passing, which I stumbled across on the Internet today [Nov 26, 2008]: ORWELL WALKS ANGEL POWELL

I did indeed meet with Peter re an Orwell documentary earlier this year. Unfortunately, I have not had the follow up response from TV commissioners that I expected after their initial interest. It seems the high-profile BBC documentary on Orwell a few years back has made other channels want to leave Orwell alone for a while.

Please pass on my condolences to Peter's family - we had a fantastic chat that day and he was a real character I was looking forward to working with more.

Best wishes,
Nigel Hilditch

Greetings Nigel,

Yes, I'll forward your message to Beate Hohmann, creator of the GALEX-E OF STARS website, which hosted Peter Powell's ANGEL WALKS website and for sure she'll pass on your condolences to his family. It's been nine months now since Peter himself became an angel on February 27, 2008.

I was just recently talking about Peter in an email exchange with a reader who was asking how to contact Orwell's nephew, Henry Dakin, for a film she's doing on the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.

I told her that Peter Powell would have known where to contact Henry Dakin because he'd attended an ORWELL ANGEL WALK one time and the two had kept in touch.

Peter said Henry updated him on news about Orwell's son, Richard, and told him where he was living, but I don't recall if Peter said he visited him there or not.

Henry Dakin is Richard Blair's cousin, being the son of Orwell's sister, Marjorie, who had died shortly before Orwell moved to Jura.

Henry was in the same boat (literally & figuratively) as Orwell and Richard when it got sucked into the Corryvreckan Whirlpool that day back in the summer of 1947.

There was a write-up in the Sunday Times this past weekend of an interview with Richard, which focuses quite a bit on his memories of nearly drowning with his father in the Corryvreckan Whirlpool.

Big Brother's living legacy to Orwell's adopted son, Times Online, Nov 23, 2008

Richard says, in the interview, that when he dies he wants his ashes thrown into the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, just as he did with the ashes of his uncle, Bill Dunn, who was married to Orwell's sister, Avril, who raised Richard after Orwell died.

All this comes to mind when I think of Peter Powell who I had the fortunate experience of meeting (along with his friend John Dunne) that day we went to visit Peter's next-door-neighbour at 27B Canonbury Square, ie the late, great George Orwell.

Canonbury Square Door Orwell's Local Pub
photos above of open door of Peter Powell's flat next door to open door of Orwell's flat,
and later with Peter Powell & John Dunne "toasting Orwell" at his local pub

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Anelisa asks how to contact Henry Dakin for film on the Corryvreckan Whirlpool


PETER POWELL OBITUARY, by Beate Hohmann, website (...Peter Powell, 39 or 40, died on 27 February 2008, he was more than a client, he was a very good friend and we will sorely miss him...)

John Dunne: Playwright, Director, Producer: Croft Productions (...Beate Hohmann's Galax-e of Stars web service is second to none. Because she specialises in the arts, she is able to translate artistic requirements from page to web. She is also extremely patient and supportive in getting the main message across. I am extremely pleased with my website and even better pleased with the on-going support. I have no hesitation in recommending Galax-e of Stars to anyone wanting to get into websites)

Henry Dakin describes Corryvreckan Whirlpool experience
(excerpt from "Orwell: A Life" by Bernard Crick)
Smithsonian Magazine, August 2001

"...When we turned round the point there was already a fair swell, the boat was rising and falling a lot, but we were not worried because Eric seemed to know what he was doing and he did spend a lot of time mending and caulking the boat, and we had an outboard motor. But as we came round the point obviously the whirlpool had not receded. The Corryvreckan is not just the famous one big whirlpool, but a lot of smaller whirlpools around the edges. Before we had a chance to turn, we went straight into the minor whirlpools and lost control. Eric was at the tiller, the boat went all over the place, pitching and tossing, very frightening being thrown from one small whirlpool to another, pitching and tossing so much that the outboard motor jerked right off from its fixing. Eric said, "the motor's gone, better get the oars out, Hen. Can't help much, I'm afraid". So I unshipped the oars and partly with the current and partly with the oars, but mostly with the current, tried to steady her and we made our way to a little island. Even though that bit of it was very frightening, nobody panicked. Eric didn't panic, but nobody else did either. Indeed, when he said he couldn't help you very much, he said it very calmly and flatly. He was sitting at the back of the boat, he wasn't particularly strong, I was younger and stronger and sitting near the oars.

We got close to a little rock island and as the boat rose we saw that it was rising and falling about twelve feet. I had taken my boots off in case I had to swim for it, but as the boat rose level with the island, I jumped round with the painter in my hand all right, though sharp rocks painful on the feet, turned but saw the boat had fallen down. I still had my hand on the painter but the boat had turned upside down. First Lucy appeared, Eric appeared next and cried out, "I've got Ricky all right". Eric had grabbed him as the boat turned and pulled him out from under the boat. He had to swim from the end of the boat to the side of the island, still hanging on to Ricky. He seemed to keep his normal "Uncle Eric" face the whole time, no panic from him or from anyone. And they were all able to clamber up on to the island. . . . So we were left on this island about a hundred yards long and I could not see all of it because the rocks rose in folds we were left with the boat, one oar, a fishing rod and our clothes. Eric got his cigarette lighter out, never went anywhere without it, and put it out on a rock to dry. We had not been there three minutes when he said he would go off and find some food. A slightly ridiculous thing, it struck me afterwards, because we had had breakfast only two hours before and the last thing that any of us was thinking of was eating or of hunger. When he came back, the first thing he said was, "Puffins are curious birds, they live in burrows. I saw some baby seagulls, but I haven't the heart to kill them."

"I thought we were goners", he concluded. He almost seemed to enjoy it. We waved a shirt on the fishing rod about, and after about one and a half hours a lobster boat spotted us and picked us up. Picked us up with some difficulty, because he could not come up close to the island because of the swell and had to throw a rope across and we clambered along the rope one by one, Eric taking Ricky on his back. The lobsterman landed us at the north of the island and we just walked about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes and came across Avril and Jane working hard hoeing in a field. They said to us, "What took you so long?"


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~