Category Archives: Uncategorized

Genealogy and How it has Shaped my Writing

Part 1 Introduction

My parents were seriously researching our family history at the same time as I was researching for my first novel RIDUNA, inspired by the story Dad shared with me of my Great Grandmother Harriet (Hopkins/Jackson). We were holidaying on the island of Alderney; a fitting place to tell us her story as he knew it:

Harriet sparked my imagination; an orphan living on the island of Alderney at eight years old, being brought up by her Grandmother (Elizabeth Renier) and Step Grandfather (John Taylor) until the age of fifteen years, when she became too much to handle. Sounds familiar? Anyway, she was shipped off to her aunt’s on the island of Guernsey.

Here’s Harriet’s true story as we knew it back in 2010.

Now we know more about the plight of Harriet’s parents, her actual story would make a good book too.

Over the next few weeks I will share how Mum and Dad carried out a painstaking search of our family history, which began its journey on the island of Alderney when Dad, Mum and I poured over acetate after acetate of records held at The Alderney Museum, guided by the later curator of the museum, Peter Arnold, the island potter back in about 2005.

As I wrote my first draft, my imaginary story of Harriet and her true story became intertwined; veering from truth to fiction and back again. You see, at the time of planning the novel, I did not know the end of the real story!

Next post ‘Harriet’ and her family history as we know it.

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Filed under Alderney, Channel Islands, Family History, Inspiration, Planning a novel, Uncategorized, Writing a novel

Book Blogger Hop July 17th to 23rd

How does book blogger work? Follow this link to find out.

Each week, although I’m going to aim to participate monthly, there is a question.

Here’s this week’s question:

 Do you bring along books when you go on a vacation?

(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

Yes, I always take my kindle with me on holiday, which I fill with three or four new books to choose from, half traditionally published and half Indie. I used to take paperbacks.

I also look out for paperbacks in the area where I am staying. There’s nothing like relaxing to a historical fiction set in my current surroundings, where I imagine, absorb the atmosphere as well as learn about the evolution of the place and it’s people. It’s also a way of taking my holiday back home with me and extending the pleasure. The pictures in my mind are still so vivid!

How better than to read a book set in the Outer Hebrides when you are there for example? (Or the Greek islands but that seems a distant dream at the moment.)

Secrets of the Sea House set in the Outer Hebrides was my June book review. You can check it out here.

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Dementia Awareness Week 17th to 23rd May 2021

This week is close to my heart because both of my parents were diagnosed with on set dementia a year or so before the first lock down. They lived in a warden assisted flat and gradually their lives narrowed. It was tough supporting them under normal circumstances, but during this pandemic it was unbearable at times.

This Dementia Action Week, the Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the Government to cure the care system now! All they are asking you to do is click the link above and sign their petition. Please take a few moments to sign this worthy cause. As they say on their website:

Right now, the broken social care system means that in the UK, nearly 1 million people with dementia and their families are struggling to get the support and care that they need and deserve.

 With the right support people with dementia can live a good quality of life, doing what matters most to them for as long as possible.”

My parents were not two of the lucky ones. Tragically, they did not survive covid, but attitudes and the care support in the UK CAN CHANGE FOR THE BETTER.

A bit of GOOD NEWS: Help is at hand if you are at your wits end, as we were. Dementia UK have a wonderful free service; The Admiral Nurses Service who you can email or phone for advice, guidance or even a shoulder to cry on at any time. Their advice to us was invaluable:

The lines are open ‘seven days a week, on 0800 888 6678 or The Helpline is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm and at weekends, 9am-5pm

Throughout the difficult time of the last eighteen months, as a cathartic form of therapy, I wrote poems and prose about our experiences which I might share with you in due course.

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