I've been trying to phone you to wish Marg a safe journey etc.
For those who've not heard of Brian, he was a special man and a proud Liverpudlian,who died last month.
He was a great entertainer and folk singer and he appeared at many of the pubs I ran and even at my wedding celebrations(?).
He particularly supported The Liverpool School for the Blind and his stories were so graphic because he wanted them to be accesible to the blind children.
He loved his flat caps!
Brian Jacques, who has died after a heart attack aged 71, was the author of the bestselling Redwall series. Hugely popular with children from the publication in 1986 of Redwall, the first in the lengthy sequence, Jacques's books were among those that they needed no adult guidance to find; they latched on to them hungrily and then shared them with friends. Written in a flowing, flowery prose, the simply structured stories tell of the epic struggles between the good inhabitants of Redwall Abbey and its surrounding Mossflower countryside, and the bad invaders who must be kept at bay.
Jacques's vividly created imaginary world is entirely anthropomorphic; mice supported by voles, badgers, hares and other peaceable creatures live in a world of harmony within the confines of the abbey and the nearby countryside. Led by the good Abbot Mortimer, the abbey's mission is to keep the world peaceful and ordered. However, their calm is constantly disrupted by waves of violent invaders led by desperadoes such as the rat Cluny the Scourge, a rascally creature with only one eye, a whipping tail which he uses freely, a foul temper and a black heart, who leads a rough band of "bad" creatures, such as weasels, stoats and ferrets.
In the opening title, Matthias, a young mouse who dreams of heroism, draws on the mythic stories of previous warrior mice and leads Redwall's inhabitants into a fierce and bloody battle. It is a story pattern that is repeated throughout the books.
A passionate Liverpudlian, Brian Jacques revelled in being recognised within his hometown.
The combination of a completely imagined world full of domestic detail – especially the kind of institutional feasts later made familiar at Hogwarts – with a strongly created mythology to underpin them, big-scale plots and Jacques's rolling prose quickly turned Redwall into a leading international brand in children's books. Worldwide sales exceeded 20m copies, and spin-offs included maps and family trees to increase the sense of reality.
The almost annual flow of titles, including Martin the Warrior (1993), Lord Brocktree (2000) and the upcoming The Rogue Crew dotted about chronologically, mining the past history of Redwall Abbey for mythic characters from earlier generations. As the chronology of publication was different from the chronology of Redwall, the books can be read in any order.
Jacques tried other kinds of stories, including The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (2001) and its sequels, before returning to the Redwall world.
Jacques was born in Liverpool and grew up in the dockland area of the city. He remained a passionate Liverpudlian for the rest of his life and told stories of the poverty of the city of his childhood, from the vantage point of its recent extensive redevelopment, as well as his own later acquired wealth. He always claimed he drew much from the city for his novels, in terms of place and character, as well as drawing on his memories of the bombing of the city in the second world war for his set-piece battles. Above all, he drew on his early experiences as an altar boy in the Catholic church, and particularly the Latin in which the services were conducted, for the rich language and imagery of his writing.
Jacques went to St John's school, Kirkdale, until he was 15. He then joined the merchant navy before returning to Liverpool. He had a variety of jobs, including driving a milk truck, while beginning a creative career as a playwright and host of his own radio show, Jakestown, on BBC Radio Merseyside.
Delivering milk to the Royal school for the blind in Wavertree, Liverpool, brought Jacques into contact with the pupils, and it was for them that he first told the Redwall stories. The needs of this first audience encouraged Jacques to describe his newly created world as vividly as possible; wisely, he retained the same detail and drama when the stories were written down. Their quality was recognised by a former English teacher, Alan Durband, who sent them to a publisher without telling Jacques and secured him a contract.
Jacques was a natural storyteller. He told touching stories of the responses he got from young readers, with tears springing to his eyes. He revelled in being recognised within Liverpool. He was generous to his readers and his city, including becoming a patron of the Royal school for the Blind, a role which he valued highly. He was intensely proud of his success and worked tirelessly to maintain it.
He is survived by his wife, Maureen, and two sons, Marc and David.