Middle-Age Musings

The years described as ‘middle age’ are arbitrary, but commonly believed to occur later now than one hundred years ago. The middle years occupy about one-third of our life cycle, and can last between twenty and thirty years. For the purposes of this article, I’ll suggest ‘middle age’ is the period when you feel past your prime until you reach old age.

Realising you are approaching middle age can be either exciting or daunting. Exciting because your children, if you have any, are preparing to leave or have already left home. You may be looking forward to the freedom that brings, alternatively, you may be dreading it, worrying how you are going to fill all the time you’ll have. This is certainly true if you and your partner are not getting on.

You may never have had children, and now those opportunities are gone
you could feel depressed, wondering what options are left for you now. Illness will certainly affect how you see your middle years too. Take heart; life is still what you make it.

You can choose to sit back and practice for your retirement years, or you can grab the new opportunities open to you. From my point of view, life is for living. Now is the time to try all those things you thought you would never have time for. Research your family history, write poetry or a book, take up a sport, read more, or learn a new craft. The list is endless. So many things you can do even if you have impaired mobility. I went back to college when I was forty and I loved it.

Join a club and make new friends. You may not have had time for friends before, so grasp this opportunity now. If you are lucky, these middle years– where you can finally do all the things you’ve ever thought of doing– will last a long time.

Some people, however, will go straight from looking after their children to looking after their parents. For those middle-aged carers with children still at home, it can feel like a lifelong cycle. Having two competing parties demanding your attention is often crippling. Many middle-aged people caring for their parents are also looking after grandchildren while their parents work. They too  have the problem of split loyalties, like those still caring for their children.

For those caring for elderly parents, as the years go by, they will find their parents regress into babies. You care for your own babies as they progress into toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults, and then start all over again with your parents’ in reverse order. In the beginning they are just adults who need help with certain things. As the years move forward, so the list of everyday things they need help with grows. You watch helplessly as your parents get frustrated at the things they cannot do. Soon they are like children looking to you for their every need, and eventually, if they live long enough, they regress to babies. Dementia sufferers are often waiting around for their mum or dad to come, and will talk as if they are still living with them. Even worse is when you have to cope with parents who have lost control over their own bodily functions.

Be cheerful though, caring for elderly parents isn’t as miserable as it seems. Do you remember how much laughter your little ones gave you? How hilarious some of the things they did were? Well, I’m pleased to tell you, you’ll also have those wonderful rib-tickling laughter moments, peppered in between the despairing ones, when you care for your elderly parents.

I can recall many incidents with my mum and dad that had us giggling. One morning my dad telephoned us, and my husband picked up the phone. My dad thought he was phoning Liverpool County Council to tell them he needed the toilet seat replacing. No matter how many times my husband told him he was speaking to his son-in-law, dad kept strongly insisting the council replace the toilet seat in his rented flat. He was using his trump card of being ninety, and he was growing impatient and angry. Frustrated, because he could not make my dad understand who he was speaking to, my husband pretended he was from the council, and told dad someone would be there right away to fix it. So we bought a new toilet seat, took it to my parent’s flat, and fixed it for him. Dad could not understand how we knew he had broken it again. This was the fourth one he had broken in a year and probably did not want us to know he had done it again. The funny thing was, he had left Liverpool more than thirty years earlier, and so had not been under Liverpool County Council for many years.

on another occasion, he telephoned us to ask for his grandson’s telephone number. We tried to give it to him over the phone, but it was a disaster. Each number took about eight attempts on his part to get it right, and when we got to the sixth number, he just could not get it at all. My husband put the phone on speaker and we were both in hysterics with him. Dad was laughing too, and I would not be surprised if he was doing it deliberately to get us over to his place again, because that is what we ended up doing even though we had only just come back from there.One time he rang us, and when my husband answered, dad wanted to know what we had called him for. We tried to explain it was him who telephoned us, but he would not have it and insisted we had called him. There were so many funny incidents as they aged, it is impossible to recall all of them. So if you are currently facing that situation, cheer up, it’s not all bad. If you are not dealing with that particular situation, then you are lucky.

There’s another tension packed scenario I have not mentioned yet. That is when married children come back to live with you, often bringing their partner and children with them. This is potentially a stressful time for all. Take comfort from the fact it won’t last forever. The younger ones will find the situation as harrowing as you. They will strive to get their own space again.

So those of you who so far have none of these complications, make the most of these middle years while you can. You just never know when your situation will change.

Posted in Caring for Elderly Parents, Children, Couples, Family Life, Humour, Life, Marriage, Middle Age, Parents, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Don’t Let Memories Die

As an avid family historian, I’m a great believer in memoirs and autobiographies. If your aged family members are capable, encourage them to give you a written piece on  their life experiences. If that would be too difficult, encourage them to talk about their lives — the times they laughed until their sides ached, or when sadness overtook them, in fact, to tell you about everything, including what they remember about great uncle Fred.

I know, it’s not always easy in our busy lives to find time to sit and talk but, just remember, those frail relatives will probably not be around when you finally do have the time to spend with them. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard those researching their family trees say they wished they’d asked the questions. Please don’t be one of them. We often only develop an interest in our roots as we age. Don’t leave too late.


Memoirs Kindle Cover

Available as an eBook or paperback direct from Amazon

I’m so pleased I encouraged my mother, then in her eighties, to write about her life. Elizabeth Alker, the only child of humble, working class parents,  was born in Pemberton, Wigan. She seems to have had it all, born to loving parents, and then later, fortunate enough to have a happy marriage, caring children, and a long and healthy life. Her journey, however, has not been straightforward. Fate has a way of disrupting the smoothest of paths, and that’s how it was for her.

As an only child, a series of illnesses and deaths marred her teenage years leaving her an orphan, bereft of close family. She married quite young, only eighteen. Soon after, when her mother died, and she was still reeling from the shock of losing the last of her immediate family, her husband did his utmost to ease her loneliness and shock. That is, until fate threw her world into chaos again.  As the second world war loomed, her young husband, already in the territorial army and among the first sent away, unhappily had to leave her alone with her firstborn.

Follow her on her journey through an extraordinary life, sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious. An ordinary young woman, living her life in the same area and time frame as George Orwell’s study of the working class, Elizabeth would  have witnessed the same scenes he depicted. Orwell concentrated on the negative side of the 1930s Great Depression, while Elizabeth’s recollections show the sheer grit and determination of the community at that time. It is eighty years since Orwell published his work in 1937, a fitting time to publish the memories of Elizabeth Smith.

Posted in #Love, Army, Books, Couples, Economy, England, English History, Family History, Family Life, Humour, Lancashire, Marriage, Parents, Second World War, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Author’s Dilemma

Author’s Dilemma


In Appreciation of My Blogging Friends

Oh! What am I doing? I swore I never would
Broadcast my whole life in sight of every hood.
“You’ll be taking a risk,” So everybody said.
“They’ll know about you,” They’re filling me with dread.
“But I have to do this,” I answered in alarm.
“To promote my book I’ll need lots of charm.”
‘Tissue of Lies’, suspense thriller I created.
If I don’t act now it will be outdated.
Creating my blog page I made it so unique.
Not entirely true, just a bit of my cheek.
In truth, I didn’t know what topic I should write,
But I gave it my best, crossed fingers really tight.
What I didn’t expect was the sterling support
My fellow bloggers gave me with each effort.
They make blogging a joy and much more; a pleasure;
Likes, comments, reblogs I know I will treasure.

Carole Parkes (Copyright 2014)

Tissue of Lies cover 2


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Christmas is Even More Complicated When You Have a Secret.

Christmas is even more complicated when you have a secret.


Only £1.99 from Amazon – Buy Here

Read the first few chapters free – See Inside

Free with Kindle Unlimited – Here


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Has it really been a year?

My co-author, Doug Lafuze.

Doug's Scribbles and Ramblings

I was scrolling through old Facebook messenger conversations yesterday and I came across some I had with a few of our advanced readers at this time last year! I can’t believe it’s already been a year since Carole and I were looking for advanced readers for Your Last Breath. The time has flown by!

So much has happened in this past year, and a few things haven’t happened. We have sold a bunch of books, we have had several glowing reviews left for YLB, (even our 2 star review had positive things to say about the story), we have made many new friends and contacts, and I have learned it’s more work to sell a book than it is to write one! For those many readers awaiting a sequel, Carole and I have discussed one, but not until we have finished a few of the projects we are currently working…

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Genuine Black Friday Sale

Get Both Gripping Thrillers for only $1.98


Genuine Black Friday Sale

Two suspenseful thrillers for less than the normal  price of one.

Both 5 star reads

$0.99 each instead of the usual price of $2.99

Be quick! Grab yours now. USA only. Lucky USA!

‘Tissue of Lies’ only 99 cents,  ‘Your Last Breath’ only 99 cents.

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Something to Whet Your appetite for Halloween!

Halloween is a mere few days away.  Here’s an excerpt from ‘Your Last Breath’ to put you in a scary mood.

Note – American serial-killer, Raymond Lang , has fled to England to avoid capture. The mix of British English and American English words and phrases in the following excerpt illustrate this.

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The muted tone of the hall telephone ringing behind her closed, home-office door interrupts Annabelle and reminds her she’ll have to buy another set of telephones soon. The one in the hall is the only one in her present set still working. Rising from her desk and moving to the hall, Annabelle picks up the phone.


There’s no response, just silence. Annabelle lets out a deep sigh of frustration. She wishes these irritating sales people would leave her alone. They’re always interrupting her when she’s busy with something.

She knows it’s one of them again because there’s always a prolonged silence before their automated message starts. Does she want double glazing? Will she answer a survey? These are only two of the many unwelcome sales calls she receives on a daily basis. These days they don’t get a chance to play their recorded sales pitch. She just hangs up as soon as she recognizes the silent period. She does that now, replacing the handset with her prolonged sigh.

Since the telephone has already disturbed her, Annabelle makes her way to the kitchen for a mid-morning drink and then spends the next couple of hours doing a few chores. She decides to prepare a casserole and pop it in the oven to slow cook. Now she can work a bit later and still enjoy a good meal when she’s finished. Living on her own, she can please herself about the hour she eats.


I let her ‘hello’ sink into my brain but I don’t respond. She sounds as beautiful as her profile picture. She doesn’t stay on the line long before she hangs up. The excitement of a new quarry stimulates my thoughts and the words for my book tease me, they just won’t flow forth on their own. I need this, I need Annabelle!

I don’t know anything about her apart from what I’ve read on the internet, and it bothers me a little, but the need to finish this book drives me from my chair. Grabbing my car keys I hurry to the car and unlock the trunk. Moving things aside, I pull a red, steel toolbox towards me, open the lid, and rummage around inside until I find what I’m looking for, a knife—no, THE knife. The same one which gutted Amy and made Laura bleed. I run my finger along its blade, admiring its sharp edge and deadly point. If fate will allow, in a few hours it will be stained with Annabelle’s blood.

I toss the knife onto the passenger seat and climb in behind the wheel. It only takes me about twenty minutes to find Annabelle’s house at the end of a quiet, narrow lane. Some way in I see a leaving delivery truck and he pulls into a passing place to let me through. A little way on I see a second place to pull off not far from her house, so I park there and walk the rest of the way. Apart from seeing the delivery guy, it looks an isolated, quiet area to live.

The single vehicle lane, devoid of any other buildings along its length, opens up at the top to reveal just two isolated dwellings. Annabelle’s cottage, similar to the other, is a cute little place with a modest and well-manicured yard containing a few small flower beds out front. Approaching carefully, I sneak to the back and find the back area is much larger than the front. Although it’s officially still winter and only a few daffodils are in bloom, its tidiness shows many hours of loving care and dedication from someone.

I peek in one of the side windows of the cottage and see her. Annabelle! She’s leaving a bedroom carrying a basket of laundry. I continue around the house and find her again, now in the laundry room filling the washer with the contents of the basket.

Annabelle is dressed in a pair of blue denim jeans and a pink cardigan over a snug fitting white top. She’s in her early forties but looks like she’s taken care of herself. She’s very appealing to the eye. She’s even more attractive in person than in her pictures. As she finishes her task and turns to admire her garden through the window I was watching her from, I have to quickly duck out of sight.

Annabelle and I continue this game of cat and mouse for a few hours as she goes about her chores, never suspecting I’m only a few feet away from her some of the time. I watch her put together some kind of dish, a casserole of some sort, then put it in the oven to cook. I watch her wash dishes, sort through her mail, and sweep a few floors. She dries and folds her laundry before taking it to the bedroom.

When she finally settles back at her computer, I decide it’s time to take action. She seems mild and meek, so I should be able to control her if things don’t go as planned. I still need to pull this off quickly and smoothly.

I see a shovel leaning against a wheelbarrow that’s been left beside a freshly dug flower bed. A plan comes to mind, so I grab the shovel and approach the back door. Through the glass panes in the door I can plainly see into the empty kitchen. I place my knife in my waist band and dial her number once more.


Annabelle had just settled back at the computer when the ringing of the phone disturbs her a second time. The sooner she buys another set of telephones the better, and then she won’t have to keep traipsing out of her study to answer it.

“Hello?” She hears that annoying automated silence again and curses the wretched sales people.

Again Lang remains silent. While she’s still in the hall, he grabs the shovel and swings it hard at the door, shattering the glass which cascades noisily onto the kitchen floor. Without delay he tosses the shovel into the grass. Then immediately drawing his knife with one hand while reaching through the door with his other hand, he unlocks the door. Turning quickly he flattens his back against the outside wall. Hidden from Annabelle in this manner he waits, listening intently…

Annabelle hears the loud, shattering crash from the kitchen and freezes.

Hell! That sounds like a window breaking….

Her unease turns to curiosity. Inquisitively, she takes a few strides swiftly down the hall before fear takes hold of her again and she stops. Standing just inside her kitchen, she hesitates uncertainly….

Lang hears her footsteps lightly tapping down the hall and entering the kitchen, but it’s silent after that. He grips his knife tighter and tries to control his breathing and heart rate. He wants her to come near the door—or better yet, open the door herself before he strikes. He doesn’t hear anything more for what seems like several minutes.

Why is she so quiet? Did she flee to the front door? She couldn’t have, I would have heard her leave the room like I heard her enter it. No, she’s just being cautious. Be patient, she will open the door….

Quietening her breath, Annabelle nervously enters further into her kitchen and sees the smashed back-door window pane.

Oh no!

Thousands of glittering pieces like sparkles in sand lay randomly scattered on the floor where they’ve landed. She panics, terrified. Her heart jumps in her chest almost reaching her throat. Glued to the spot, she’s acutely aware of her awakened nerve endings primed for flight.

Is anyone there?

Holding her breath, she listens…. There’s no sound now, just the faint ticking of the wall clock. Fearfully, she looks around…. The back door, thankfully, is still closed. Looking through the broken pane to the garden beyond, she can’t see anyone. Everything outside looks quiet—seems normal, yet, someone or something has broken the glass. Carefully, trying to avoid stepping on the shimmering fragments but failing, she slowly inches closer to the door….

Is it still locked?

The faint sound of glass being ground into the hard floor disrupts Lang’s thoughts.

She is there after all.

His adrenaline starts pumping faster. His pounding heart makes it difficult to hear what’s happening inside the house. He knows she’s close now; he can smell her perfume wafting through the broken window.

Come on, open the door!

He can feel his impatience building. He can’t wait! He grips his knife tightly and reaches for the doorknob.

She’s right there, I can feel her!

Frantically checking behind her while drawing ever nearer to the back door, Annabelle feels rather than sees, the smashed door crash violently inward with the propelling force of the intruder.

As he bursts into her house in one super-quick motion, he sees she’s only a few feet from him now. Sheer terror fills her face as he swiftly crosses the final few feet. She opens her mouth to scream, but his knife penetrates her flesh as he buries it deep in her stomach.

She inhales loudly as the pain takes her breath away. Her blue eyes dart around the room before settling on his face. Through the tortured, pained expression on her face he thinks he senses a hint of recognition in her eyes.

Does she recognize me from my blog picture? Who the hell cares?

Emboldened by the agony on her face he shoves her backwards across the kitchen until she comes up against the counter. He withdraws his knife then plunges it back into her body. He feels the tip hitting something hard.

She’s small—her spine possibly, or it could be the counter top behind her.

Her warm blood flows slowly over his gloved hand as he draws near her to breathe her in. The smell of her perfume, her blood, and the sweet smell of her terror excites him.

He withdraws the knife once again before driving it deep into her petite frame. Her gasp is silent this time. She starts to sink as her life ebbs, so he drives his knee between her legs to hold her up and feels her blood soaking into his jeans. Gripping her hair he lifts her head and looks her in the eyes for several moments. The life is leaving them so he twists the blade to get a response. They shoot skyward then back to him—sadness and pain look back at him—and he delights in it.

Slowly, he removes the blade from her body and holds it up between them so both of them can savor it. Her dark red blood trickles down the blade, running over the hilt and onto his gloved hand. Her breathing is slow and shallow as he places the bloody knife to her throat.

Annabelle’s strength is gone, her struggles futile. She watches him as he cruelly holds the dripping, bloody knife up for her inspection, sees him devouring her terror before he menacingly moves it to her throat. Her last fading vision is of his manic eyes oddly searching hers and his look of sheer ecstasy as she feels her life drifting away….


She’s barely conscious. Finally, I press the blade into her soft, pink flesh. I smile to her as I plunge it deep drawing it across her throat and opening her neck. What little of her precious lifeblood she has left spills to the floor. She lets out a gurgling gasp as her eyes flutter shut, and her head goes limp in my hand. I kiss her lips. Breathing in and relishing her final breath, I withdraw my knee allowing her to sag lifelessly into the pool of her own blood on the tile floor beneath her.

Leaning over her body, I place my hands on the counter in front of me and inhale the delicious aroma of her blood and the stench of death I’m becoming so used to now. With my cravings now satisfied, I push back from the counter and feel something sticking to my hand. It’s an open address book and one of the entries, on the page I’m staring at, intrigues me.

Under the name Alex Renshaw, dear brother-in-law, his business card is pasted down. That’s when I realize she has a private detective in her family. Alarmed at this revelation, I take one last look at the gruesome scene I’m leaving behind, then head for my car.

In less than thirty minutes, I’m in front of my laptop typing furiously away at my story. Annabelle’s dried blood flakes from my fingers as they speedily fly over the keyboard tapping out the keys.

It must have got there when I took my blood covered gloves and outer garments off outside her house.

I feel a bead of sweat trickle from my hairline. As it mixes with the dried blood on my face, I wipe it away with the back of my hand smearing blood across my forehead and the back of my hand.

I know I’m a mess, but I need to make full use of this clarity I’m feeling right now. There’s no time for a shower, no time to remove the evidence of what I’ve done. Only writing matters to me now.


Available for Kindle, tablet, computer, and phone, with Kindle app. Get book and app from:










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Finally, in England


I’m delighted, over the moon, excited beyond belief, and chuffed to bits as we say in good old Blighty.  My second book has received its first review on the Amazon United Kingdom site.

(sigh of relief)

I thought it would never happen because since it’s release in 9 months ago, ‘YOUR LAST BREATH’ has earned 10 reviews on the Amazon US site, 8 of them 5 STAR, but zilch on the UK Amazon site, even though I’m an English author.

That is until yesterday, when I saw a tweet on Twitter praising it. When I looked on Amazon, this lovely review was there.

YES! (punching the air). Anything is possible!

  Format: Kindle Edition    Verified Purchase

Absolutely fantastic book!!!
A gripping game of cat and mouse, so much suspense!
I couldn’t get enough of this book… I hope there is a sequel.
Great lead characters and a maniac who will get what he wants, regardless of the mess he leaves behind.
One of the best books I’ve read for a while!!
Loved it!!!
Thank you so much, reviewer! You’ve made my day.
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Do you remember this phrase as the first words when Frosty the Snowman first came to life from wearing the magician’s hat? Frosty was in awe and wonder at the world around him. Well, that was exact…


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“Your Last Breath” by Carole Parkes and Doug Lafuze

Between the Beats

Lafuze Carole Parkes

I was attracted to this book because the blurb said it’s about an author who takes extreme steps to write the perfect suspenseful thriller. Battling writer’s block he finds the only way he can overcome those blank moments in front of his computer is by actually committing murder. This fascinating premise is played out in England and the authors describe their settings well enough for any reader to relate.

Author Raymond Lang is a madman on the loose, from London to Liverpool. Each killing he performs seems even gorier than the one before, building in intensity as the story moves forward. The mind of the killer is revealed throughout, neatly interspersed with the ongoing investigations.

In addition to the depravity of the killer the authors explore the illegal activities of a corrupt government official who uses extremely questionable methods to cover up his own nasty activities.

Basically the story…

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What Will You Have When It Is Over? ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

This is so true. Take notice, folks!


Source: What Will You Have When It Is Over? ‹ Reader — WordPress.com


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Another Great Book on Free Promotion.

Your Last Breath

Chilling thriller ‘Your Last Breath is free from 27th to 31st May.

Take this opportunity to get a great book for free.


YLB Lonely Lane Poster 3

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‘The Secret’ – Free Book Blast

‘The Secret’ by Karen J Moss

The Secret


25th-26th-27th May

Kerry O’Brien has a secret so terrible it burns inside her. All she wants is to be part of a normal family, but with a stepfather like Bill, that is impossible.

Set in the 1970s when secrets like this were only ever whispered about, Kerry somehow keeps her humour by pretending everything is fine. Then she meets biker Tommy, and he has his own secret; one that impacts on her.

 Kerry’s secret becomes harder to keep and the tell-tell signs harder to hide. Can she keep it together? Can Tommy and Kerry get it together?

 Then the worst happens and Kerry’s secret is a secret no more.


What the readers are saying:

The story is gripping and interesting, the romance warm and simmering. I absolutely loved the ending, which gives the story an almost fairy tale-like feeling. All in all, it was a very enjoyable two hour read, and I whole heartedly recommend it to fans of the genre.

S Anderson

I really enjoyed this book and I was automatically drawn into the characters world, from the very first page. Tommy treats Kerry like a queen and it’s so refreshing to read a story where the man respects and truly loves the girl.

Jenna Hodge

The characters were so real and the story definitely so believable. These sort of secrets unfortunately still go on. Let’s hope others can find the strength just like Kerry to come out on the other side.



Karen J Mossman lives in Anglesey in Wales with her husband. She had written 4 books, three themed short story collections, The Missing, Behind The Music, Heroes and Joanna’s Journey, a novel set in the 1980s.












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The Secret eBook: Karen J Mossman: Amazon.co.uk: BooksFree 25th to 27th May. Take advantage of this free offer and get your copy now.

Download here


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Kindle Countdown Deal

Tissue of Lies

Now on offer at $1.99, USA only

Get yours before it goes back up to $2.99

Countdown Promo 6c

Posted in Adoption, Books, Crime, England, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Reduced Price Book, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day? Download an EBook

My Kindle Countdown Deal starts Tomorrow.

Countdown Promo 6a

Buy it here: http://authl.it/49y?d


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What Can Your Ancestors Tell You?

Uncovering Secrets in Your Family History

Have you ever delved into the lives of your ancestors? I know some of you are thinking there’s nothing  more boring than this hobby, but I think otherwise. 17 years of research has shown me how widely lifestyles and experiences can differ in one family. You just never know what you turn up in your research. Besides, why wouldn’t you take advantage when family history research is so much easier now there are so many record sites Online. Many of them are free too!

My Alker Family

I thought my unremarkable working class family would be boring,  but I’ve found lots of interesting tidbits that expand the knowledge we already had.  I already knew my mother’s uncle, Samuel Alker, gained a BSc in Agriculture at Lancaster University, England, and worked in Argentina as a chemist at La Forestal, Guillermina, Santa Fe. Buenos Aires. We have four of his letters to my mum dated 1938 to 1942 giving this address.


Samuel Alker B.SC. Born 1878 Pemberton died in Villa Guillermina, Santa FE. Argentina in 1950's

Samuel Alker B.SC. Born 1878 Pemberton, Lancashire. England, and died in Villa Guillermina, Santa FE. Argentina August 1950.

My mum was an only child.  Her father died in 1933 when she was just fifteen. Then her mother died in 1938 leaving her alone apart from my dad. They’d married young knowing her mum wouldn’t last long.

The first of Samuel’s letters dated–22nd April 1938, after her mother had passed– demonstrates his concern for my mum. He wants to know what her husband does and what his salary is.  The other letters show the difficulties of mail during wartime, and continue to show his concern. In fact, he set up an income of ten shillings a week to my mum right through the war years while my dad was away. Samuel never married and when he died he left his money to his nieces. He bequeathed my mum twice the amount he left the other nieces, presumably because she had no other support.

I found find him on several passenger lists returning from Argentina. These entries show him as a chemist travelling first class. The first one in 1938, shows him having doubts about which country he intended as his residence. His mind was made up for him though, as his next letter explains he was told to return to his work at the onset of war. Although he died in Argentina, there is a gravestone dedicated to him at Highfield Cemetry, Wigan, England.

Samuel Alker comes from a long standing Lancashire farming family. I have traced them back to Wigan in the early 1600s. Prior to this date, there were several Alkers living in Ormskirk. I have not yet proved that my earliest Alker ancestor Thomas Alker was born in Ormskirk, but I believe he was.

When I began researching my family history, I made the choice to include all my direct  female ancestors as well as the male lines. My great grandmothers were just as important to me as my great grandfathers. While this meant an enormous amount of surnames to study, I’m glad I included them. Otherwise I would have missed out on so many interesting stories. Many sent to me from other countries.


My Barton Family

My Barton family includes several prominent pioneers of Utah. I have a letter from one of them covering the journey from Liverpool which took 5 months in all including 63 days over the plains and Indian territory  with a wagon and oxen. It’s dated 13th August 1910. John Alker born 1806 is my great, great grandfather’s brother.

Men of Utah textMen of Utah









My Thistlewood Family

My Thistlewood Ancestor was a prominent church bell ringer of Liverpool. Campanologist is the correct term. There is a plaque at St Bees, Cumberland, England that states this Liverpool team, of which my William Thistlewood ancestor was a member, rang the first peel of bells in Cumberland. This was on 9th November 1858, and they played 5040 Grandsire Triples in 3 hours, 10 minutes. Quite something I’m led to believe. This William Thistlewood was also instrumental in preventing the demolition of St Xavior church Liverpool. He organized a successful petition which led to the plans for demolition being scrapped.




My Holt Ancestors

I’ve spent many years following my Holt ancestors, alongside other knowledgeable family historians on the same path. It is widely believed by this group that my Holt ancestors are related to General Joseph Holt, Leader in the Irish rebellion of 1798. The Irish birth records of my Joseph Holt have yet to be found. I know, from the 1841 and 1851 census of Liverpool, he was born in Ireland around 1796. The naming pattern of his children and his occupation suggests  he is the son of Joshua Holt of Sandyford, General Joseph Holt’s brother. It is just a matter of waiting until the right documents come Online, and that makes it exciting. Information regarding General Joseph Holt, and his wider family, is on http:www.josph-holt.org

I have so many stories to tell, stories I learned while engaging in this fascinating hobby. It’s also taught me a great deal about history. Why don’t you give it a go. Always start with what you know is fact, like your mother or father’s birth or marriage record. This will give at least one of the parent’s names and the registration area of the birth or marriage. Then you can search the Online births, marriages, and deaths civil registers.

Posted in English History, Family Drama, Family History, Family Life, Lancashire, Life, Marriage, New Author, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Why on earth do you want to farm?

Doug’s beautiful evocative writing portrays such wonderful images of the life my grandfather must have had, and also his grandfather, and so on beyond several generations earlier. How I wish I’d known such a life but my farming grandparents died before I was born. Their name was ALKER and they farmed for generations around Lancashire, England. Before that, I believe from their name they may have been Vikings. I traced them to the 1600s where they lived in Ormskirk. Orm was a viking and Orm’s kirk was his church.

Doug's Scribbles and Ramblings

I am reposting this from a previous blog I had since it was kind of popular, and I am really feeling sentimental today.

“Why on earth do you want to farm”?  I was asked that countless times over the years that I farmed.  Even more times before that when I was in high school!  They were quick to point out the long hours, dirty work environment, dangerous conditions, and of course, low income.  I usually answered with something like “because I love it “, or “I like knowing I’m helping to feed the world”.  Both good answers, but I never really felt like I  answered their question.

  It’s only now that I haven’t sat on a tractor seat in almost twelve years that I think I have a decent answer.  And that answer comes to me as I come to realize my spring and fall depressions get worse as…

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Painting Just for Fun

Painting for Fun

Painting is a great way to relax, rid yourself of stress, and have fun all at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw a straight line and you feel absolutely hopeless. This little exercise is a great way to get you started. You can buy cheap acrylic paints and brushes from the pound shop, but try to use proper painting paper for this exercise. I bought some really cheap small books of acrylic, oil, and water painting paper from my local supermarket. This technique is known as ‘wet on wet’ because you drop wet paint on to wet paper and see how it spreads and changes. It’s ideal for the beginner and professional painters too. Good luck!

Wet on Wet Fairy 2




Why don’t you post your efforts on your blog page and give the link to it in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with.



Posted in Art, Artists, Challenge, Fun, Original Paintings, Painting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Springs Alarm

This post by Elle May B was in response to my post ‘Waiting for Bluebells’.

Elle May B

Soft light caresses my eyelids
I stir, a deep sigh
Warmth kisses my cheek
I stretch, open my eyes
Music lifts my soul
Singing, a robin, a sparrow?
I rise, pull back the curtain
Sunlight floods the room

Misty dew caresses the green
Life stirs, deep under the earth
Warmth kisses the trees
Bark stretches, buds open
Bird music, blossom singing
Sap is rising, winters curtain is lifted
Life floods the garden

The alarm, mechanical tinkling
No need, I’m awake

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