The story of modern Easter

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6982358

So I ask myself every year…
“What the hell does an egg laying rabbit have to do with a crucifixion? What does a chicken have to does with Christ’s death?” I have no love for December 25th bring the birthday message of Christ. As far as I can tell it’s all lies. Easter and Christmas. All lies. The Valentine’s day bull is the worst offender. I hate them all but Christmas the most.

For this piece, I’m going to concentrate on Easter because it is that time of year. Please comment on this bit. I’d like to hear how much you’ve been deceived by commercial gain and tradition.

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Unbelievable Discovery!

It’s my family’s fault that Scotland and England are tied together in a partnership that millions are upset about right now. If not for the dear woman who bravely did what she did, then Scotland would be independent today and have its own rule of law without the rule of Westminster over them. Yes, I know that it is an astounding claim to make but it is true. My gran told me the story but not until now at nearly 4am on 31st March, 2015 on the doorstep of national elections have I realised the import and courage of a single woman. I really need to find that little green A5 hardcover book my gran wrote. All these stories she heard handed down trough her grandparents to her and this is one of them. I shall name the lass Marie. It’s probably Anne or something more primordial prior to Queen Victoria because the story is older than even that monarch.

The Tale of the Golden Pocket Watch

Please remember that this story is based upon facts I have not yet researched. There may be inconsistencies that need clarification and dates and names that are confused, but it is nonetheless true. It is not a story available on the Internet prior to me telling it. If it does exist, I’ve net yet heard or read anything about it so therefore you will be able to learn the truth for yourself.

I’ve already told you about the mystery of the stolen Victoria Cross. We know where that medal is. In this tale, we don’t know where the stolen item went or even who has it or worst scenario: it has been destroyed or hidden in a treasure hoard somewhere that will not be found. I dearly hope that the provenance I provide here will one day meet with the fate of that golden pocket watch… the one that went missing from all living knowledge and memory in my family. I may be the last living member who knows this story and it must be told. Geez, I talk too much!

It was a torrid time. It was aDangerous time. The entire country was on high alert looking for this one man. There was a huge reward on his head if he was discovered and turned over to the right people. They would kill him. No beating about the bush, he was a dead man running. I don’t know what he was running for or why they wanted him, but he was on the run. A wealthy man upon whom the history of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st century politics of what would one day be called Great Britain rested. Not just the Welsh, but the English and the Scots and the Irish too.

Fleeing from Edinburgh, I presume, on horseback, by cart, on foot and by boat. This is the making of the great nation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and her colonies. Thus, one man whom had been chosen to change the fate of centuries of Status Quo beyond easy redemption. He did not know this nor would he ever know it, but I do. It dawned upon me with great shock and horror what Marie has done all those hundreds of years ago in the south west near Cornwall or somewhere like that. Devonshire even…

Marie was a quiet woman who lived alone. She was an ordinary woman whom loved the idea of royalty and riches but was really just a simple lass. I believe her husband had died not too long before and that the estate she lived upon was his. That brings up an interesting question as to how she managed to remain a widow for so very long a time and keep the property. I must investigate that. Maybe she sold it and lived as a tenant in the cottage on the edge of the farm. A little thatched cottage made homely and warm in the silence of the chill autumnal air. It may have been any season, but I choose autumn or fall as the Americans would later call it. America hadn’t even been discovered at this juncture. The old world was The Whole World and the earth was Flat. Everyone knew that. Even the church said it was flat.

The same church that employed rather devious men to hunt witches: Salem had it easy. This church was all about power, superstition and evil skulduggery. The authority was given to a single man to represent God almighty on earth. I don’t know which man gave this man that authority but it certainly was not God Himself! Sometime about 325 years after Christ vanished in a blinding flash of light into heaven, some bloody idiot decided to decree that Saint Peter, who was a rabbit (that’s a whole different story right there!), would be the founding father for the special church that is named Holy Roman Catholic Church today. They even modified the bible to include their name in it so that the more literate plebs would… remember the pleb gate story? Hah! I have a good one too… yes, the semi-leterate plebs would believe what the written word meant. Of course you have to believe every word that is written on the Internet today because it ties up with other stories on the Internet that get edited to match each other which means they must be true, aren’t they?

It was all Greek to them. Even those who could read. Some clever dick decided to learn Latin and made reading the bible nigh impossible by translating it into Latin. The fools. Damn fools. So much history was list in that translation and so many errors introduced. We don’t even know if they destroyed the good original copies of the ancient texts. How did they come to posess those texts in the first place? Have you ever thought of that before? 400 years after Christ and the Catholic Church already had original text of the first bibles. No codex’. Codices? Ffs. Sidetracked again! So much in my head that wants to go walkies around the world.

Yes. 325 A.D. the church was founded. That is where it began. The church. Back to the time of Jesus Christ. Look at that! My story goes back to the time of Christ! Who can say that of their family history? Oh, almost every single European… not so important now. Miniscule importance except for Marie… why did she do that?

Whatever happened to her prized gold pocket watch that that man gave her, I wonder. Where in the world is it today? It was a treasured family heirloom for many, many years. It passed from each generation into the hands of the next for about 4 or 5 generations and then it faded out of knowledge and was lost from legend into myth in the mists of time. If it exists today it will be worth a fortune with this provenance.

The man fled! The roundheads were gaining on him and now everyone knew he was running! He couldn’t trust a soul because his life was forfeit if they caught him. On the blessed heart of the Virgin Mary, he had to get away! Travelling by night he had removed himself from battles many leagues distant into territories that had not yet heard of his escape and flight. The authorities who thought they were authorities were just self-styed murderers after his blood. They let rally wanted his head on a stake to parade through the streets of London and then impale on a spike at the portcullis of the Tower of London. He would not allow that to happen. Never! Oh, the fear! He was so very nearly caught a few days before because the traitorous farmer wanted the reward from the men with iron helmets. He really had to flee with his special advisor and companion.

I seem to remember something about him being dressed as a woman, as a disguise when he arrived at Marie’s home. Wigs were so common and in vogue that knowing whether a woman was actually a woman was really hard to discover in a polite manner and the men dressed like Robin of Loxley: men in tights. How peculiar. The partisans and the partials. The puritans really wen to town in those days and destroyed even the religious monuments and buildings like the modern Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are doing at this time in 2015.  Holy cow. Religious extremism is not new! The British were doing it before the Muslims! And we have the cheek to call them terrorists! Our puritans were exactly the same kind of her endows bastards as the modern jihadis are. The killed folk in the name of God. The God who so lobed the world he sent his son to die for us that we might not perish but have everlasting life… if we wanted it. Jesus! We were bastards, weren’t we? Damn ed puritans were causing a huge shift in global politics and even changed the course of events that would never change anyway. They tried to stop this mystery man from escaping and failed.

Marie invited the man and his lady companion into the warmth of her humble abode and set down a bit of food. Some bread and a bit of rabbit stew. It was the first bit of hot food the had eaten in many days and it was well received. After their supper they settled down to have a chat about the state of the country and how the hunt was going for the escapee. Marie knew that the roundheads wee looking for somebody important but she had sympathy for the man. He was a good man and the parliamentarians had no business trying to kill him. This news really encouraged crown prince Charles to reveal his true identity. Yes, he was the Bonnie Prince Charlie. So fond was Marie of the royals that she hid him in her house for a few hours while she went to fix a boat for him as he requested. He had explained that he needed to get to France beyond the reach of the roundheads. Who the hell decided to call them roundheads anyway? While Marie was away the prince rested fitfully on her bed. His royal escorts kept weary watch out in the darkness. Eventually Marie returned. She had fixed a ride on her friendly baker’s boat (I’m making up the baker bit, but it sounds good). It was a rowing boat that could secret them away over the channel but they had to hurry… shh! What was that? The whispers were almost imperceptible to each other as they all snuck out. Marie quickly chased the prince to an old oak Tree and hid him in its branches high above the ground then ran quietly and quickly to her house. As she walked in there was a gang of impetuous men demanding to know where her husband was! He is dead! They knew she had had visitors but who had told these clowns! Fuck!

There was no evidence that anyone except her had been in the house and even her bed was unmade because somebody had been sleeping in it. It was obvious. She was alone. The grumpy men left her after many impolite questions and threats of violence. One had the cheek to proposition her against her will but the captain ordered them all out. There was nobody here and time was short. The Scottish prince was to be found fast. Or heads would roll…

The Power of One. Marie had changed history for England, Wales, Scotland,France and Ireland in a few hours on her own. The letter F. Now the game was afoot. She rushed over to the oak Tree after the men had been gone a long time and called the Bonny Prince out of the tree. They made their way down to the shore and just before the light of early dawn, they handed her a gift from the prince: a solid gold pocket watch of finest design and encrusted with a few gems as a farewell gift for her assistance and fortitude. The gracious royal embarked on his journey to France and they never met again. Marie treasured her gift for the rest of her life. She passed it on to her children who delivered the watch to their children and so on for 4 or 5 generations then it is believed that some thieving bastard stole it from their posessions. Highwaymen were common in those days so until that particular watch is recovered, we may never know it’s full history and that is if it even exists anymore. So much gold was melted down form old gold and heirlooms between 2006 and 2015 that it may have been destroyed by some unsuspecting ignoramus. Or maybe the legend of its heritage survives in some family history somewhere else that an odd pocket watch that once belonged to King Charles is in their collection…

It would take the wealth of an aristocratic Lord to discover the truth. I don’t know much about English history, but I do know that marie existed and the she helped the Scottish prince escape certain death. That same prince later raised an entire army and invaded England two or three years later and took the throne of England as was his royal right and bound the future of Scotland with the history of England for many hundreds of years to come. That is how my ancestor made Scotland subject to the rule of Westminster today. In a little over a month’s time we vote for the next prime minister, and the fact that the gold pocket watch is still missing really irritates me. The Power of One.

The Power of One

You see it is all about the power of one. Oneself is the resin that history is made. It only takes one person to make one decision to change all of history for all time. One.  That’s all.like the disgustingly naughty letter F. There are many works and words in the English language but none so offensive or dirty as the letter F. One letter. When said with other letters, the D has far less power to offend. Even the letter L has less offence than the D. When we write a word it ought it have a simple direct and comprehensive meningitis in itself. No. The letter just refuses to be normal. It even wants to be proud by standing above the line and height of all but capital letters. Only Versals are greater in stature, but the F is just rude. Of course you may be puzzled with this discourse on the simple letter and wonder what the hell it has to do with the power of one. I give you full permission to wonder. I also present you with a duck. What a lovely animal. It waddles and is so inoffensive and even tasty when roasted but not so with fuck. There it is. The f word. If I said I wanted to duck off for a minute you’d not be bothered and agree… change that d to an f and it’s just coarse and vulgar and some french idiot decided that Saxon English was a poor excuse for a language. Fuck is English. Very old English. Older than my family history old in of English. The German fich is so much more inoffensive yet even sublime but the meaning and placement of the letter F is just absurdly rude. Number six. “F” For fail. Fk in digital conversations too via radio waves and the pervasive parental admonishment not to use the word. The Power of One. One word. It is all of the parts of speech in a single word. It is verb, noun, adjective, expletive; future, present and past tense-able it is procreative and destructive. It is constructive and destructive. It is addictive and extremely well used. It is one word that is a cliché and yet not. It jumps out of your vocabulary like a vulgar swan. The Power of One.

The French idiot who changed English language did not give fuck a chance to become socially acceptable. As much as I don’t like using it and cringe at the thought of using it as an example, it is definitive. The definition of self-aggrandising filthy despicable banal words used since time began. Oh, so you don’t believe me about it? Fine, which do you prefer: pig or pork, fuck or fig? They are exactly the same thing with distinctly different approaches to convey the identical meaning. The power of one. One choice does not leave the avenues of decision open. It closes them. Forever.

Success is the journey to achieving each of your goals. Goals are the markers on your journey to achieving your dreams. Dreams are your ideas of what your ideal life should be. It is the domain of dreamers who achieve their goals that are considered successful and it is the unimaginatively stupid who decide that success is a destination to arrive at because they don’t have the faintest idea of the Power of One. Duck. Fuck. You ought to understand by now. It’s as clear as day. Duck off. Duck it. Take him for a duck. But you can never get ducked. You must be quacks to duck the real meaning of one decision. The French idiot won out in the end. Now it is officially rude to say fuck in polite circles but they themself say it rather politely and with great relish and pomp. It sounds as if it belongs in their speeches. It doesn’t even sound coarse or vulgar because the polite way to use the f letter is in a nonchalant and underhanded almost casual “forgotten that it existed” kind of way.

Like the day my grand uncle won the Victoria Cross. I’m sure he said it. He must have. All that breeding and bravado means he knew what it easy but he knew how to use it. What in the world do you say when you are standing with your horse’s reins in your hand, an 18 pounder cannon behind your horse and then for God’s sake! We’ve run out of ammunition! Damn it all to hell. What am I to do without ammunition? We are sitting ducks with  three machine gun nests and a cannon with empty guns. Fuck it! We’re dead. Charge! And so he jumped on his horse and dragged the cannon along and pretended to snipe at the enemy, on a galloping horse with a gun that had not a single round of ammunition. Over open sights he aimed and shot nothing at the enemy. It’s incredibly difficult to shoot accurately from horseback and hit your mark, but temporary leuiteneant Robert Vaughan Gorle did. He killed the German line with nothing and scared the shit out of them so much that the first nest surrendered and then without thinking of safety, turned their own machine gun on the other nest and fired at them. Upon realising that the British had taken the first gun and was firing over open sights from the hip at them, the second nest of Germans shat themselves too. They were firing real bullets at them. There were no pretend deaths in the Great War. They fucking died. Permanently. Rob’s volley distracted the enemy enough that the English realised what was happening and all of them jumped up and ran towards the next forward point of safety in support of the Lieutenant. Good old blighty! Then horror of horrors he jumped up when the gun jammed and ran over to the next nest and took that gun and ripped off a load at the third nest of Germans! Horse, pistol, canon and not a single round of British ammunition left, broke the back of the enemy at Ledegham in Belgium. 1918. 1st of October. He was pissed off. He decided that if he was going to die, fuck it, he’d do it gloriously! Not quite the way my beloved grandmother told me, but most likely the way he thought to himself, our dear uncle Rob…

He’d be proud if he were alive today to see his famous medal in the Imperial War Museum today. This very day. He’d also be extremely pissed off if he knew some filthy fucker had stolen the damn thing from his sister! If he broke the will of the Germans without ammunition in a real war, what in the blazes would he be like in peacetime about this!?  (Yes, apparently and interobang is actually considered officially as a mark of punctuation as a singly expressed idea. No I don’t care. It fits there quite well, thank you very much for offering. Time to duck off.

The Power of One. The greatest power known to man is his ability to decide and stick to his guns. Like the letter F, it makes history. Big history. One man. One decision. Alone.

The Mystery of the Gorle VC

This is an incomplete transcript of a series of emails about this mystery. It is slightly modified and identifying personalities have been removed.

(Data Protection Act 1998)
(Privacy and Electronic Communications ( EC Directive ) Regulations 2003)

There is no possible way that the curator for the Ascroft Collection could have known the medal(s) had been purloined  for a few reasons which I shall explain.

-When the medals were discovered to be missing they had already been aquired for the Ashcroft collection. No allegations of impropriety have been levelled against the right honourable lord or his affiliates. It is unlikely that any will ever be laid either.

The culprit has likely escaped scotfree and needs to be charged with a crime from the Zimbabwean authorities and that is virtually impossible to get them to do. The British police have already informed me that they cannot do anything without having first been asked for assistance of the Zimbabwean authorities. Interpol would be my next port of call except they only work with national authorities.

-I have personally requested that the BBC Oxford research team help me investigate the history of the medal since it disappeared from our possession in the early nineties.

-Their heir of the collection was Joan Gorle, daughter of Major Harry V Gorle. She inherited the medals of her father’s estate. She married Capt Geoffrey Vincent. When she was widowed the second time, she married Duncan Howson. After she was widowed a third and final time she eventually moved into the family home of her son, David Vincent in Harare, Zimbabwe from Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa in the period between 1990 and 1993. I’m uncertain of the exact year although I was there the day she left Pietermaritzburg in her little red Ford Meteor which nearly killed us a few years later…

It may have been during the move that the medal vanished. We just don’t know. My gran thought she knew where it was at that time. I never asked her. I was living with my gran most of my life as she put me through school in South Africa and looked after me when I finished high school and was studying at college in Pietermaritzburg.

I don’t know when or where the medals were valued and writing out this response to you has highlighted a plausible time frame that we can narrow together and track down to a specific country… which will lead to a suspect eventually, I hope.

It was during this period that the medal was to go missing without suspect or knowledge for several years and I am doing my best to clarify the situation which is where I am having a spot of difficulty. David Vincent was my mother’s brother. Both he and my grandmother, Joan are now deceased and they knew all the details about the circumstances of it going missing. It falls to David’s widow, Mrs Vincent, to fill in the blanks and there is the problem. She lives in Cape Province, South Africa. As yet I have not been able to contact her for further information as yet.

I am acting upon information passed by word of mouth to me by my grandmother, Joan Howson, that she told me prior to her death. I cannot remember all the details but I believe her word to have been true as she was of sound mind until a few days prior to her passing away (as I was reliably informed).

Please understand that I have no intention of removing the medal from display but I am not necessarily the heir apparent either which means that that may change according to their wishes in the future. I would advocate strongly in favour of it remaining in the Ashcroft collection even if as a loaned selection. There is also the issue of the campaign medals that were taken with it too. I’m not sure of their origin either and there may well be the possibility that Robert Vaughan Gorle’s father’s DSO may have been taken but this all needs clarification by Sue Vincent because she and her husband both knew what was in the chest prior to the valuation “expert” removing the items.

Our family lost a great deal and it really upset my gran. Mrs Vincent may well remember the name of the VC valuation expert too and that is critical to my investigation. He appeared to be a well known and reputable dealer who travelled widely and had famous contacts, according to my gran. She was impressed enough with his reputation to allow the items to be valued. Foolishly, some other items required professional valuation by world experts and had to be taken away. That’s the last I heard of the matter until after the items were lost.

There are no ulterior motives or hidden agendas from my end. I would rather build a friendships than create enmity. This should be resolved amicably and to best advantage of the historical value of the family history that we hold in high regard.

I should very much like to be able to tell Lord Ashcroft the story my gran told me about how her brother won the medal because it isn’t exactly what was printed in The Times. As I heard it, it was from Robert’s version that is really inspired or foolish and understandably why the army published the formal version.

——– Original message ——–
From: Authority.
Sent: 25 March 2015 11:46
To: ’email@redacted.co.uk’
Subject: Gorle VC

Dear Mr Shattock,

In view of the content of your recent e-mail to Lord Ashcroft, it has been passed to me for reply.

As you already know – since I have also been contacted by “X” who runs a VC website – that the Gorle VC group is in the Ashcroft Collection and has been so since it was bought in 1993, I would ask you to leave this with me whilst I investigate the background to the acquisition. I  would like to give you my absolute assurance however that the medals were purchased through the agency of a bona fide specialist…

== END OF CONVERSATION ==

My initial thoughts were started by this very blog about the middle of March, 2015. Whilst I was deciding what to write about from a creative context that I remembered my English teacher from high school saying that the best novels are written based upon personal experience…

Well thank you, Lawrence Bransby. Your advice has really triggered some interesting times in my life and this is another one of “those events”…

image

Yet again I am writing at stupid o’clock in the morning and really wondering why I feel so compelled to write about something that has been missing from our family for well over 20 years and that I personally have never seen. I have always been curious about my family heritage because it is so rich with stories and deep history with medals, wars, buildings and ships and even the Titanic itself. An ancestor built the lifeboats for the Titanic, another invented a way to dig tunnels underground. Yes, it sounds like an oxymoron but it really isn’t. Let me explain: some tunnels were dug as huge trenches that were open to the air and then the structure was completes with the earthworks returned to cover the trench and the remainder carted away to create new Land in the water of the Thames. And for you Americans out there (and other nationalities, Thames is pronounced as “Tems” not like James with a TH! Some news agencies worldwide need better research teams…
Even my grandfather’s maternal grandfather has a statue in London. Somewhere the history of Prince Charles’ exile to France needs to be told as a relative received a pure gold fob watch from the Scottish prince himself for her assistance in getting him put of England by some little boat.  Apparently it was a rowing boat of some description and under the cover of darkness too. Some soldiers came looking for the prince at her house so she hid him up an oak Tree or some nonsense like that. I don’t know. My gran wrote out a little green book of her memoirs and had it typed and bound professionally. I wish I knew where it had gone. So much history is in that little book. All the way back to Kempsey in 1427 and there’s also Sir Thomas Moore who was something to do with King Henry the VIII. Ok, now I’m really wondering where that darn book is because it was so interesting!

The dear old girl! My gran knew so much and I tried to pay as much attention to our family history as o could because I knew she wouldn’t last forever but the stories she told must. I really wanted to tell her stories so my children would know where they came from and what an important part of history everyone is. From landed gentry to paupers in London. The stories of the Boer War and the Great War. The Mystery of My grand in ke who was lost at sea as a pilot for the Rhodesia Regiment RAF “gardening bombers”. I will never know. He has no death certificate and is commemorated at Runnymede in London with an inscription. So much colour, the weft and
Weave of history woven into our bloodlines forever.

How do you tell a story like it and where does one begin except from before the beginning of the beginning beginning? So much to tell. Who would ever believe it either except for the fact it is all true. Every word. I’ve got do much research to do to piece it all together and figure out how my beloved grandmother found out about so much of it and that it wasn’t from history books because there details in it that the history books do not tell singly. Many details in the stories are only revealed over many versions printed and separate from each other yet much of the specific details are missing from the whole story as to be consistent enough to be accurate as equal to an eye – witness account handed down through family history stories. She did not embellish her stories. No, she didn’t. Very peculiar I thought at the time. I half wished that the stories were more flared and grandiose, but now I see them as they are: truth.

Yes, it can only be told from the very beginning of the beginning before the beginning. My beginning. I am only a piece in the entire massive puzzle and patchwork and have a small part to play if I so choose (can I have a “hell yeah!” On that?) to do…

About

WHAT is it about? Well that’s just the question I asked myself so many thousands of  hours ago. The why of where and who the hell did they think they were? For godsakes! I didn’t want this life and if I’d had a choice I’d have told them to stick it up their arses. Not very Christian of me, but that’s how I felt. Still feel. Life is a sexually transmitted disease. I’m human. Of all loving beings, I’m human. The shame of it. I’d rather not have been born but, hey Ho.  I’m alive. I get on with living. That’s what it’s about: relationships. The greatest wealth on earth is being able to value your relationships above all else. Shame it doesn’t pay the bills, but I’m alive. Let’s hope that it will influence you positively and enrich your mind with creative bull. I do swear. This is English after all. It’s not pseudo – french. We swear. Let’s not beat about the damn bush. I will try be polite but if I’m not… I don’t give a fat rat’s arse anyway. My mother might not like me being too candid. Tactless would be the word shed use, but honest is mine. If this gets published and that’s a big frikking if at that, then what? I dint know. I need to tell it. The story is like a good little girl who deserves her reward and I’m being a bad parent and refusing to allow her to have her merit awards for being so good. Bad parent. Very bad. I must tell all…

 

Only Adam.

Before it began…

Gorle

It was well over a thousand years ago when it all began. I cannot remember it all because it was all so long ago. There is no comprehensive proof that there ever wasn’t a beginning to this beginning of the beginning… It was England in 1427. The village of Kempsey. Walter was his name. We never knew where he came from but he stepped out of nowhere into the record books. It’s all in fine clear digital print. Irrefutable. Irreversible. Undeniable. His bloodline exists. Walter Gorle had no idea what an event he was to start and what it would cause so many hundreds of years later…

Kempsey’s Famous Sons
The grave of granduncle Robert Robert Vaughan Gorle, V.C. of Napleton, Kempsey, enlisted in the Royal Artillery and won the Victoria Cross as an acting Sub-Lieutenant in Belgium in 1918. He later immigrated to South Africa and is buried there at Stellawood cemetary in Durban. His father, Major Harry Vaughan Gorle of Kempsey was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for service in South Africa. and also gained the A.S.C. too to his. The Gorle family has long been associated with Kempsey. The first record available is a Walter Gorle around te time of 1427. Thank you Reverend Gorle. Joan was very happy about that little bit of info and the pieces that lead back to Sir Thomas Mo(o)re. There is the matter of the gold fob watch from King Charles that is still missing and the troublesome issue of the stolen Victoria Cross that is now in the Middle East in the possession of a war memorabilia collectors private collection. I do wonder how he managed to acquire it without paying out our family in any way. The Victoria cross that was taken for evaluation and accreditation and never returned to the family heirlooms ever again.

Descendants’ Ascendance

I remember my grandmother tracing years of details on a huge sheet of paper when I was only a little tyke. My mum’s mum. She was the most awesome person I ever met in my life, by the way. This is in effect the legacy she has left to me. It’s a legacy left to you. It’s a good legacy. What a time she lived through too! Old folk were so… risqué in those days but how they kept it so hushed and silenced then could never be achieved now. No, the Internet provides an incredibly invasive and pervasive sheen of Big Brother tech that little stays hidden for long.
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Shattock
The earliest records date to the mid 1800s. Leonard. Such an obscure name, Shattock. Originated from the farmland of South east England. An ancient and proud name. A lion’s gambit. Unusual. Leonard. Mysterious. Famous. By marriage. Always just out the limelight but still in the Borders of fame. Not quite the outer darkness. Still the darkness. Always the darkness. How could he have known. It wasn’t his plan nor his fault. He just fell in live with the daughter of a great man. How could he possibly know that the fate of his life would be tied into the history of millions of people? It was unthinkable. Completely. Poor Nancy wasn’t to realise what she hoped for and lived so much longer than expected. Exceptionally longer. Her dad was brilliant. His ideas were patent and published. James. The James Greathead. James Henry Greathead. Engineer. Chief engineer. Of London. Celebrated and revered. He helped Mr Barlow out of a very nasty predicament of reputation. The same Mr Barlow who finished the immense task of the Clifton suspension bridge after the demise of Brunel. Yes, it was The Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Barlow made a complete horse’s of the under – Thames railway attempt. It cost over £600,000. A very expensive mistake and loss of many lives too. James helped him save face in that he designed a rather special bit of engineering equipment that the patent office verifies. He made it alone. As Barlow’s understudy, he designed it and presented a working version that was patented and then presented on the next attempt to dig a tunnel under the Thames River. It succeeded. Visit London today and you can still see that success. Jim Greathead made it work and Mr Barlow’s reputation was saved. The past disastrous attempts of Mr Barlow were nearly forgotten except the men who died had families. They loved their men, but no record remains of them or their descendants which is shamefully shameful. No known compensation was paid out as far as can be found. They died for nothing. Jim made sure that wouldn’t necessarily happen again by better design.

Come to think of it…

I don’t know where it’s going to take us as a family but I can tell you that it is very interesting… if you like history. Real history. Not the pretend “my dad dug trenches for electricity cables” history but men who fought wars and protected millions from bombings and tunnels that were dug for the first ever underground trains and mysteries of King’s ransoms kind of histories. Real history. Titanic lifeboats kind of history. Our history. The history that got medals and royal gold and meetings with kings and Queens of England kind of history. The kind where members of parliament debated the truth of a patent kind of history. Life changing stuff. The stuff you wish you had in your family… you have got in your family. Wait! WHAT?

Yes, for my children and others I write this so you know what really went down. The dirty secrets and the horrible deaths and the tragic accidents and the unbeatable sadness of unborn children and more than you could ever make up in a trio of fiction novels. No. This is solid. All I’m going to do is show how I found out each story as it is known to the world and put some family touches to it that you know who did it, when they did it and God knows why, but they did it.

With so much to be done and so many places to research, the time available and, I still haven’t quite plucked up the courage to write this book that I promised to write so many years ago. Oh dear, Lawrence will be so miffed if I don’t complete the thing. There’s so much to tell. I’ve had it in my head all these years and done nothing about it. Over a decade I’ve known these things. I’m ashamed of my infinite procrastination. Deadly ashamed.