Category Archives: Southampton

Arthur John William Jackson (b:1927) and Patricia Jackson (b:1932 ne Green)

Married 29th August 1953

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.

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Filed under Ancasta, Channel Islands, Family History, Inspiration, Southampton, Supermarine, Woolston

Arthur Walter Jackson and Daisy Clara Colmer 1897-1981

My grandpa Arthur Jackson was born on 30th November 1896 on the island of Guernsey.

Here he is on the 1901 Guernsey census at the age of four, just before the family moved to Wooston Southampton.

The reason for the move was that work had literally dried up for his father, who was a painter of gold leaf at the various military establishments on Guernsey, because by this time the buildings were complete.

Arthur Walter married Daisy Colmer in Woolston 1925.

I remember Grandpa singing ‘Daisy Daisy’ many times when I was growing up.

Here’s Nat King Cole’s version. What memories it evokes hearing in sung once more!

Below is the family tree Dad drew up, with Grandpa and Grandma Jackson at its heart.

Grandpa was in the Navy during WW1 and visited Port Said once, where his brother was in hospital and subsequently died. He was later in the Battle of Jutland.

He worked at Supermarine in Southampton after WW1 in the drawing office/ library, where he looked after all of the drawings and worked alongside RJ Mitchel.

A family story goes that Grandpa was walking home for lunch during WW2 and his friend pushed him to the ground just as Supermarine was bombed. If he hadn’t been saved, then I wouldn’t be here now.

Another story was the everything was recycled and reused in those days. The drawings of prototypes of aeroplanes (eg the Spitfire) were drawn on starched linen. Grandpa used to rescue those thrown in the bin, take them home and Grandma J washed them. I’m told that our mum then used them for my sister Christine as nappies!

This is how I remember Grandma and Grandpa Jackson, living at Whilestone Way, Swindon, where they settled after the war with the move of Supermarine after it was bombed.

It is the story of the birth of Supermarine that I tell in my second novel, Ancasta, Guide me Swiftly Home, the sequel to Riduna.

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Early Flight, Family History, Southampton, Supermarine, Woolston

Who’d have thought it? ~ 60!

images3As I approach my 60th birthday, in between a dream of a lifetime trip to Venice and a quiet celebration with my husband, mum and dad up here in Scotland (God willing), I have been reflecting on my ‘path’ to this moment in time in my writing life.

I have penned stories and poems since my teens for my personal pleasure, much inspired by Mrs Yates, my English teacher to A Level. However, it wasn’t until my late forties, the first time in my life I was made redundant, that I was inspired to write my first novel Riduna, (the Roman name for the Channel Island of Alderney) which was finally published in 2009.

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Fort Albert, Alderney

It was on a family holiday to the island of Alderney in fact, that I learnt about my wayward Great Grandmother Harriet. She tragically lost both parents at sea when she was eight, then in her teens she became too much to handle for her grandparents, who ran a public house and guest house, and was shipped off to live with her aunt on Guernsey. Her misdemeanor was allegedly too much fraternising with the soldiers stationed in the newly built forts of this ‘Gibraltar of the English Channel’!

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My family history inspired its sequel Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home (Ancasta is the Goddess of the River Itchen, Hampshire), which was published in 2012. Then a series of chance remarks in emails led me to write Murder, Now and Then (published in 2014)a book which linked where I lived in Bedfordshire to the Channel Islands in two time zone murders 100 years apart.

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Nellie Rault’s grave in Haynes churchyard, Bedfordshire

That same year Fife beckoned us, with a work transfer for my husband simultaneously to me being made redundant for the second time in my life. The Healing Paths of Fife naturally transpired from this life changing move north to Scotland. It is  a special book for me and a way of saying thank you to my new community, friends and the lovely Kingdom of Fife, which has welcomed us.

…and so in the months leading me up to my 60th birthday I have been writing once more in earnest. This new novel is a very different venture. It is a mystery inspired by social areas of need pertinent to our age, all of which we are all struggling to address. I hope it challenges perceptions but also that the reader warms to the colourful characters.

I will say no more at this stage because it has a few stages to go through before publication, but I am very excited about this project and feel full of hope for my 60th year.

For a more personal reflection on my 60 years visit http://www.selectionsofreflections.wordpress.com in a few days time.

Thanks for all your support!

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Filed under Channel Islands, Fife, Southampton, Writing