Artist turned author’s humorous new book

Author John Meadows
Author John Meadows

A St Helens-born artist has swapped his paintbrush for a pen to produce a comic book about his life and experiences.

John Meadows uses You Did Say ‘Have Another Sausage?’ to cast a comic look at a varied career which has included working in teaching, art and a psychiatric hospital.

John, who was brought up in Blackbrook and attended Cowley School, writes humorous, whimsical accounts of his varied career as well as recounting some of his travel experiences.

The book covers his time as an art student, a teacher working in both primary and secondary schools and a psychiatric nurse.

It is the latter which lends the book its intriguing title, though John says readers will have to pick up the book to discover the meaning behind it.

The light-hearted scenarios in the book also include hilarious escapades such as one incident involving a human skeleton, a model and a lion and accounts of his time touring America on a Greyhound bus.

John, who now lives in Wigan, said: “There is a chapter about life at St Helens Art College, one about teaching at a local primary school and another about my time working at Rainhill hospital.

“My book takes its title from a story featured in the chapter about Rainhill psychiatric hospital. It was all a bit like the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and there was an incident over breakfast one day which I think is one of the funniest stories in the book.

“I decided to write the book because I’ve acquired all these stories over the years. People have always said to me I should write a book of them so I waited until I had retired and started putting them all down.

“I started sending things off to publishers and got signed to a London literary agency. I was told the managing director is American and the quirky northern English humour of it appealed to him.”

John is also working on two follow-up books, the first recounting an overland trip he made with his wife Norma from England to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, and the second about the school trips abroad he took part in during his career.

As well as putting pen to paper John works as an artist, with his paintings of the final rugby league match at Knowsley Road and St Helens’ greatest-ever team owned by St Helens Museum.

He studied at Leeds University and also obtained a Master’s from Manchester University before embarking on his career, returning to Cowley as an art teacher in the 1980s and rising to head of department.

He left St Helens to take up a position at The Deanery High School in Wigan as head of its arts faculty and retired in 2008, now dividing his time between Orrell and southern Spain.

You Did Say ‘Have Another Sausage?’ will be on sale in paperback from Wardleworth’s Bookshop in St Helens from April 8 and John will do a book signing at the Westfield Street store on Saturday April 16 from noon until 1pm.

John Meadows’ book You Did Say ‘Have Another Sausage?’ is out now on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats.