Isn’t it heart warming looking at photos of parents when they were young or when they were married!
Following on with my series of blog posts on my family history and how it has influenced my writing, we have reached Mum and Dad.
They were both brought up in the Southampton area and were married at Weston Road Church, Woolston. As a family we made regular visits to see Grandma Green there while growing up, and so the whole area was extremely familiar to me. Being a family of walkers, you get to know a place far better that way. Thus, it wasn’t difficult to make it the main setting for my second novel Ancasta ~ Guide me Swiftly Home.
Over the years my parents have shared many memories of their childhood and adolescent days and I’m sure all of this has coloured my writing too.
Arthur Jackson (my dad) didn’t work at Supermarine, like his father (Arthur Walter Jackson) and sister. He joined the RAF right at the end of WW2, but he did remember seeing the prototype Spitfire fly overhead, before he was evacuated to Bournemouth.
Mum and Dad also shared my Great Grandmother Harriet’s love of dancing and, legend has it, that she could turn on a sixpence.
On this trip here, we shared my parents’ last voyage on their favourite P&O ship the Oriana, chosen because it had a good dance floor; our last port of call was (fittingly) Guernsey.
Here are Mum and Dad on deck waving their flags, just as we passed Sark and Herm, two of the smaller Channel Islands.
…and so The Channel Islands, particularly Guernsey and Alderney are in my blood and my family heritage and childhood memories are also of holidays in Wooston, Southampton.
As it happens, when I began writing the first draft of Riduna, my parents decided that they would have a go at writing too. There’s was a sort of prequel to Riduna, set at the time of Elizabeth Quesnel and John Taylor.
I started working on their little book with Dad when they were both showing signs of dementia. He had been frustrated that he couldn’t write conversation. In the end he did not have the patience anymore to focus on it and so, since they passed away, I have spent some time working on their story. It is now at proof readers, but then I hope to work with someone from Alderney Museum to check it for historical authenticity. I won’t say accuracy because, although inspired by our family history, it remains fiction. I’ll keep you posted.