Midsummer Day this year was a moment of triumph, Judy Manville who has edited all three of my Greyhound Trilogy and supported and encouraged me every step of the way said that Loneliness is a Killer will be ready for publication within the next two months. In next month’s blog I shall be able to give you a date. It has been a long haul but I hope to have achieved at least one of my ambitions, to show that eighty plus is not too late to prove to begin a new career. Seize every opportunity life has to offer and if you can’t find any then make them! The next stage is to pass the pages to Judy’s husband Ray who has taken the responsibility of preparing and presenting the finished pages to Amazon for publication.
My next self-imposed task is recast the purpose of this blog to share anything I find to encourage fellow mature or would be creative writers. To quote Winston Churchill who claimed “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it” and we can do the same. There will be plenty of journalists and historians who will record the big events but who will write up the small details which we as children experienced, the knee high visions that gave colour to our lives? Only we can do that, the stories that we can tell today will be lost unless we write them down.
Looking around my own circle of older friends we appear to be a generation of survivors and I have been wondering why? What is it that makes us different? Octogenarians are ten a penny and people of over ninety still enjoying active and fulfilling lives are common place. Some of this is undoubtedly due to the NHS and modern medicine but I believe that some of the reason may be that we grew up during the war and the immediate years that followed. Billy Bunter the archetypal comic strip fat boy disappeared from the scene of children’s’ comics in 1940, there were no overweight children during the war and the years that followed, even bread was rationed for a while immediately after the war. In my memory the sweet ration was twelve ounces a month and in addition to the items included in the standard weekly ration each person was allowed a number of points which could be used for items such as a tin of golden syrup or sweet biscuits. I remember my mother always bought broken biscuits, that way she could get a few extras. My aunt who ran the kitchens that supplied the schools in the villages around Lyme Regia was immensely proud of the quality of the meals she created from locally produced food. All school children had a hot meal every the day. In addition we all had milk in the morning and either concentrated orange or rose hip syrup to ensure the nation’s children grew up fit and strong. Many families had a few hens or even a pig in the back yard who would be fed any available scraps and would eventually become food for the family. All this had to be done quietly without alerting the man from the Min of Ag who might confiscate the family treasure. There will be some who will accuse me of having rose tinted memories but I have bad memories too such as travelling through Plymouth on a bus after an air raid where every building was flattened.
Other factors contributed to our well-being. Where today children are driven to school and air quality is heavy with traffic fumes we walked, created go-carts, or rode a treasured bicycle. Childhood asthma was rare. Crops were not sprayed as they are today there were fewer chemicals used on the land, farming methods were simpler than they are today and schools would have special harvesting holidays, I remember a week for potato picking, back breaking under a hot sun but a holiday nonetheless.
If you have memories to share I look forward to hearing from you, and I will do my best to reply within a week.