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Heard of ‘The Road TO Wigan Pier’ by George Orwell, a social study of the north west town of Wigan? Now you can read ‘The Road FROM Wigan Pier’; a true story of one woman’s life in that same town.
It’s misleading to believe this town was alone in its hardship and squalor, the Great Depression of the 1930s affected most, if not all of them.
Elizabeth Alker was eighteen in 1936, the year of Orwell’s study. While he concentrated on the filth and deprivation he found in that working-class industrial town, Elizabeth’s story shows the closeness and love evident in her extended family circle. Read her true story and marvel at her courage and resilience during those tough times.
At the time of Orwell’s study, various illness had taken most of her close family. Only her mother was left and she had serious lung problems owing to her work in the cotton mill. Knowing she was dying, her mother’s greatest wish was that her only child, Elizabeth, would be married and settled before she died.
Fortunately, Elizabeth already had a young man from Liverpool who was keen to fulfil her mother’s wishes. They married that same year, a few months after Elizabeth turned eighteen. Just a couple of weeks after her twentieth birthday in 1938, her mother, the last of Elizabeth’s close family, died. She had a baby by then and felt the loss of her mother keenly.
Even worse, the following year, when WW2 was declared, her husband, as a territorial reserve, was among the first to be called up. Now, Elizabeth, alone with a toddler, had no close family to turn to, Yet, even in the uncertainty and fear of the following war years, she coped and found humour.
READ HER FASCINATING STORY NOW
Reblogged because there is much truth here. Also because I’ve been ignoring my own blog lately, lol. Well written Paul. I enjoyed that and found it amusing too.
I first published this post, or a version of it, back in 2015 on my blog, ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind‘. I share it here today because… well, read on, it is self-elucidating.
Ex Libris Legatum
As we age we amass many life skills; some taught to us by teachers, lecturers, professors, our parents and some self-learned by patient practice and repetition.
Many lessons are simply and, often unexpectedly, thrust into our consciousness by the events of living and from life itself, love, passion, loss, hurt, births, pain, grief and death.
At some point, during the period betwixt being born and gasping our last breath, we have also, hopefully, gained some wisdom.
Although, only too often, such wisdom is realised and recognised far too late in life for us to use it in any true and meaningful way for any length of time, such as the cruel nature…
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As I’ve just turned 75, and my husband is also in his 70s with serious health issues, we are just two of the many elderly and vulnerable people who feel we have to self isolate to protect ourselves. In consequence, we have been doing this since March, the week before the government advised us to do the initial 12 week isolation. That’s 9 months so far, and next week, when we come out of this current month long national lock down, our area of Lancashire will be entering tier 3, the one with the most severe restrictions. We would have preferred the initial lock-down to be a more severe, short, sharp act of defense to prevent the epidemic rather than this start, stop, action which does nothing except slow it temporarily. That didn’t happen. Now we are left with the consequences.
I really don’t think the testing and tracing helps that much either, and such a huge amount of resources have been thrown in that direction. For one thing, testing results are only a guide to see if you have it on the day you are tested. If your results come back as negative, by the time you receive them, you may have actually been infected. The only way testing would work, is if you live alone, are tested at home, and stay at home, with no contact with others until you receive the results. If anyone else in your household is going about their business, then you could still contract corona-virus while awaiting your results. This doesn’t even take into account the people who won’t isolate, even when told they have the virus.
Until vaccination becomes a reality for everyone, the only real way of stopping the virus is a world-wide synchronised lock-down. No shopping, no eating out, no working (for anyone, even emergency services), no travel of any kind, no contact outside your household, at all. Yes, it does sound ridiculous and would be impossible to implement, but it would be the only way to eradicate it. Failing this solution, we are left with this on/off stab at controlling the numbers affected with the disease. It’s not perfect, by any means, but I’m convinced, there isn’t much else we can do.
So many businesses are struggling to survive in this current pandemic situation. It’s not just the small enterprises, but also the huge concerns too. Even knowing this, I still believe the temporary closure of businesses, where people meet and mingle, is the correct response to stop people spreading the virus. I know those who have businesses at risk will disagree with me but, in a civilised society, we have to put the welfare of people first, especially those who are vulnerable. It all boils down to a choice of protect the people, or protect the economy.
It is regrettable some businesses will close, without a doubt, but there are some new opportunities. A few businesses are booming as a direct result of the pandemic and ‘stay at home’ rules. The growth industries include online stores selling everything you can buy in the High Street, Online grocery shopping, delivery services, and PPE suppliers, and these are only a few of them.
Even with the new business opportunities, it is inevitable the number of people unemployed is increasing as the old businesses die. This may be a transition period while the new industries become established, or it may be more permanent. Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, those who have lost their jobs, and often their self-esteem during this pandemic, must be helped as much as possible. Along with losing their source of income, these people may also have teenage children whose education qualifications have been compromised at this time, and younger children who have missed vital education lessons. All this disruption is bound to affect future opportunities for them. It is up to those in power to remedy this for them.
My 3 boys had experience of some lean unemployment years when they were in the early years of their working lives. Here is a poem I wrote about them, during that time.
Wise words from Michael Bronte, author of nine crime fiction thrillers. This is my favourite genre, so I just had to reblog.
Michael Bronte is the author of nine crime fiction thrillers – all available to buy here. His protagonists are everyday heroes and his stories could happen to anyone; exploring how these ordinary people react to extraordinary circumstances is his speciality and it’s what makes his novels unique. Learn more about him on his website!
So, Michael, tell us about your latest work!
I have just released Homicide: Party of Twelve. The short description is: When his boss is gunned down in a drive-by outside Chez Alain, the Jersey City restaurant where Frankie Fortunato works as a server, Frankie takes over as manager. Reluctantly, he becomes an integral part of New Jersey State Police Detective Matt Klimecki’s investigation aimed at bringing the criminals who perpetrated the crime to justice.
When did you start to write? What was your first work you wrote ‘for fun’ (as opposed to school…
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Great free magazine for readers.
It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Ellen Read to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews for A Tea Break with Mrs B, a short form author interview series. To help celebrate the release of The Inca’s Curse, we sat down for a chat. Thanks Ellen!
What is your drink of choice as we sit down for a chat about your new book?
At the moment I’m having a cappuccino. With this year being so restrictive, I bought a coffee machine. I can’t do without one cappuccino a week.
Can you give us an overview of your writing career to date?
I’ve written since I was very young. To start with I wrote poetry and short stories. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen. One book was accepted by an agent in London and I very nearly had a contract, but the publisher merged with a…
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You have a very fertile mind. Who would have guessed that would work? I’m sure it does though, knowing you.
As I am reviewing all the stories in this anthology, I can’t review mine, so instead, I will tell you little bit about it, and where it came from.
The whole tale evolved from a dream I had way back in the nineties. I was being forced to cross a river and was terrified I was going to drown. A nice guy, no idea who at that time, helped me overcome it and coaxed me to take the first steps to join the others on the opposite bank. I’m not scared of water, in fact just the opposite, I love it. So it probably came from something I saw or read.
At the time Yugoslavia was being broken up into what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia. Slobodan Milosevic was a politician and instigated the break-up of the country. He was continually in…
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What a fascinating blog post. As a girl, until I was sixteen (1950s), I lived in an old house with an unusual door bell, not a knocker. Your photo of number 11 reminded me of it because our house was number 11 too. Our door bell was similar to the picture but ours was a Lion’s head and the tongue could be pulled out to ring the bell. I loved that door feature.
I’ve had a ‘thing’ for pretty front doors for a long time. It all started when I realised that we had actually been living in the house of my dreams for a few years and took a photo of our own front door, just to remind me in the future of how lucky I’ve been to have lived there.
Over the years my camera roll has been slowly filling up with front doors from here there and everywhere that I’ve quickly snapped. Whilst Europe may have some amazing front doors i found classic British front doors are just as fascinating.
The caravan has taken us out and about into villages and towns here and abroad capturing old, new, magical and heavenly front doors.
Doors are the entrance and exit into and out of peoples lives. Doors so old they could tell a story or two. I love a trip out…
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VE Day Celebrations
With today’s problems, people are celebrating in a quiet way. How about playing some wartime songs to get you in the mood for celebrating this momentous event.
Do you know what your parents’ favourite wartime song was? If you do, why not add the title in a comment and maybe the link to a recording on You Tube.
My mum and dad loved the song ‘Yours’ by Vera Lynn.
They also loved an earlier song called ‘A street in Old Seville’.
You can read about my mum’s experiences from 1918 to 2002 in her autobiography ‘The Road from Wigan Pier’. Her experiences were sometimes heart-rending but sometimes hilarious.
Get it here: Autobiography
Although I’m self isolating and have been since 10th March, I’m lucky enough to have both a front and a back garden. They are only small, but they give my husband and I the opportunity to take in some fresh air.
Others self isolating, maybe living in flats or apartments, don’t have gardens to sit in. I’ve just discovered that The Wildlife Trust has gone some way to bring nature into the home of those who cannot get out in the country. They’ve got some great web cameras situated around the country so you can see wildlife. Here’s one showing nesting ospreys. Enjoy!
#NestingOspreys #WildlifeTrust #WatchNestingBirds #BeatTheBoredom
Today is Valentine’s Day so here’s a little poem to celebrate it.
Not everybody is naturally romantic. Yet, relationships can be loving and fulfilling regardless of that fact. Don’t confuse romance with real love.
Despite not being particularly romantic in the way of bringing flowers etc,. my husband of 54 years shows his love in a million other ways. He’s always here, calls me his best friend, keeps me supplied with coffee, tea, breakfast, and lunch, looks after the garden, and considers me in everything he does. In return, I keep the house and all the gadgets in it clean, wash and iron our clothes, make our evening meal, and also help out in the garden. That’s the type of love I wouldn’t swap for anything.
What is your ideal type of love? Describe it in a comment below.
Karen J Mossman writes an interesting article about missing people and how their stories have inspired her to write fiction based on the same theme.
By Karen J Mossman
Like many people, I enjoy a good mystery. Stories where you need to know what happens next. Tales that pique your curiosity, and keep you turning the page to get to the end.
Over the years, I’ve found missing people intriguing. Why did they disappear in the first place? Was it an accident or something more sinister? Is there a happy ending or does it end in tragedy? Also, just as importantly, how does it affect those left behind?
Before I thought about becoming a published author, many of the stories I’d written over the years involved this mystery.
Did you know there are 300,000 people reported missing each year in the UK alone? That works out at almost 900 a day.
The first high profile case I recall was that of Lord Lucan in 1974. His wife claimed her husband had attacked her, and murdered…
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When my youngest son was two, he could recite every nursery rhyme I knew. So, I visited my local library to find some new ones I could teach him. Although I did find a few more that were suitable, my hubby and I couldn’t stop laughing when we read the one below.
I put my finger in the woodpecker’s hole,
And the woodpecker said, “God, bless my soul.
Take it out, TAKE IT OUT!”
Well, do you think it’s suitable for a child, or is it just a reflection of how our minds work? Since it’s been turned into different versions of songs which can be found on Google, I don’t think it’s just us.
Funnily enough, by the time my son was 12 , he could hardly remember any of the nursery rhymes I taught him. Maybe he was too young.
I’m not very observant! How do I know this? It was brought home to me one day, many moons ago, while out shopping on my own.
Minding my own business walking to the next shop I wanted to visit in the high street of a busy town, a lady with a clip-board and pen blocked my progress and spoke to me.
“Tell me everything you’ve just seen and what you think just happened,” she said, her pen poised ready to record my answers.
“Pardon?” I was stopped in my tracks and taken aback by this interruption out of the blue. “What do you mean?” I was now on my guard as I didn’t know what was happening and why this strange woman was asking me these odd questions. My mind was occupied by the items I’d just seen and the possibility I might find a better match to my requirements in the next store.
Raising a well-defined arched eyebrow, she continued, “You must have seen the man in a mask running out of that shop and heading off down the street.” She gave me a quizzical, unbelieving look as she pointed in the direction the man had taken.
I didn’t have a clue what she was going on about, but she went on to explain they were staging a robbery to test how observant passers-by were. I’m afraid I failed miserably. I never even saw the man, nor heard the shocked gasps of other shoppers who had seen him. I just stood there feeling such a fool.
It did teach me a lesson though and I’m much more aware of my surroundings nowadays when I’m out and about. This was in the days before mobile phones. Now people are texting while out and about, I wonder how many of them would actually see an incident happening around them.
Have you ever missed something you should have seen? Tell me about it.