Today I have been guest author on a Facebook Site called Meet the Authors run by the brilliantly supportive, Helen Pryke – who also writes really good books set in Italy, where she lives.
I am contributing six posts about my life, my memories and becoming an author. It has been fun putting the posts together with photographs, I thought I would share this one with you as it led to me becoming an author decades after it appeared in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph one Christmas in the early seventies. The younger members of the family sat around the table and joked about it, none of us knowing the story, because none of us really talked to my husband’s grandfather. Even his wife and yet she had lived part of the story.
He was a quiet man, living out his life of disappointment on sufferance. His wife had never forgiven him for leaving her twice for years, two decades in total – but having researched the family, I totally understand him and wish I had spent time talking to him.
He was born to riches, born to follow in his father’s footsteps and succeed. Maybe, he was arrogant. One story I found was when he was pulled up for speeding in Geelong and said those awful words, “Don’t you know who I am?” He mixed with the cream of Australian society, The Murdochs, Dame Nellie Melba, Sir Sydney Kidman and other racehorse owners – then everything that he had known disappeared and he spent years trying to recoup and failing. His wife refused to return to Australia, why should she? She hated it, hated the outback where they had lived on a sheep station, hated the drought and the snakes and the spiders. She blamed him for abandoning them but he refused to abandon his country and his dream.
He loved his family although the arrogance surfaced again when he returned to England to try and stop his daughter marrying a police constable – not good enough for the child who had been driven to school in a Rolls Royce. His daughter would not talk to her father after that. I wonder, did he know that his terrifying grandmother was the daughter of convicts? That his antecedents trekked England as itinerant workers or pedlars. He once walked from Melbourne to Adelaide, 700 miles, looking for work. His father drove a covered wagon across the Nullarbor Desert to seek work building railways, How we are destined to repeat the lives of our forebears. Yet doesn’t this show grit, determination and a refusal to lie down and take what comes? He may have had his faults but I admire him. And he was my inspiration.