Tuesday, 26 August 2014

ONE LOVELY BLOG


I've been nominated for the ONE LOVELY BLOG award by talented author and stimulating blogger Terry Tyler. You can find her post here 

Here are the rules for the One Lovely Blog Award:

• Thank the person that nominated you and link back to that blog. 
• Share seven things about yourself – see below.
• Nominate 15 bloggers you admire – also listed below.
• Contact your bloggers to let them know you've tagged them for the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD 
If I've nominated your blog, please don't feel under any obligation to join in.  I am just pleased to recommend your blog here.

So at the risk of boring you, here are 7 things about me:-

I have always been a book worm and after over 30 years running a junior school library I am especially fond of authors like Rosemary Sutcliff, Joan Aiken and Philip Reeve. These days I am actually moving from Young Adult books into adult books but I may revert! 

 History has always been very important to me. I taught Tudor history for many years but my particular interest is Victorian London, where my barge building and lightermen ancestors lived.



 I am a volunteer researcher for St Luke’s Hospital Heritage Project and we have established an exhibition and a bank of artefacts and digital resources in the old Casual Ward of Guildford Workhouse.  I love finding out about the lives of individual workhouse inmates, nurses in the War Hospital and what happened to the workhouse children who were sent to a new life in Canada. You can read about our project here:-

 I have been researching my family history since 1998.  While searching for ancestors in Scotland, Ireland, East Anglia, Berkshire and south London I have discovered distant cousins in the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa, some of whom have become good friends.


The Far East is a special place for me.  I lived in Singapore for 3 years in my late teens and have revisited twice in recent years.  The changes have been dramatic but it is still a place of sunshine and flowers with a blend of customs from many cultures.  I first visited Hong Kong in 1967 and returned several times when my husband was working there.  It really is the city that never sleeps and is so exciting and vibrant.


Sunshine and the sea are a necessary part of life so my husband and I travel to the Algarve for a few days most months.  We have started Portuguese lessons and although reading with understanding is becoming much easier, speaking and understanding spoken Portuguese is much more difficult!

 

My guilty secret is my daily dose of Home & Away.  I would love to visit Summer Bay and meet those River Boys.

Here are my 15 blog recommendations:-

Monday, 11 August 2014

My book reviews are moving to new site.  You will find them at Lizannelloyd lost in a good book
http://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/  You can reach it by pressing the tab above.



Friday, 1 August 2014

Eaten by Cannibals

The story of John Williams, missionary

Yesterday a photo of the ship halfpenny, used in Britain from 1937 until 1969, was posted on Twitter. As soon as I saw it I was back in my Sunday school class in the late 1950s putting my ha’pennies into the collection box for the John Williams VI missionary ship.


As you might expect John Williams VI was the sixth ship of that name, but who was John Williams?  John Williams was born in Tottenham in 1796 and he became an apprentice to an ironmonger where he worked in the foundry and as a mechanic. Originally brought up as a Baptist, he joined the Congregational Church and in 1816 knew that he wanted to be a missionary.  He was commissioned by the London Missionary Society at the circular Surrey Chapel in Blackfriars Road, Southwark.  The LMS had been set up to, “Spread the knowledge of Christ among the heathen and other unenlightened nations.”


In 1817 John and his wife Mary set out for the Society Islands, an archipelago which includes Tahiti. They were accompanied by William Ellis, another missionary, and his wife. After a long voyage via Australia and New Zealand they arrived at the island of Raiatea where John and Mary Williams established a missionary post, from where John could visit several other Polynesian island chains.  This included the undiscovered island of Rarotonga, covered in dense jungle on a mountain of orange soil surrounded by a coral reef and a turquoise lagoon.

In 1821 John revisited Sydney where he preached and addressed public meetings.  He was influential in the later establishment of the Aboriginal Protection Society.  He bought a ship to trade between Raiatea and Sydney and employed Thomas Scott to instruct the Raiatean people in growing tobacco and sugar cane.

John and Mary had 10 children and they were the first mission family to visit Samoa.  By 1834 Mary was quite unwell so she and John returned to England.  They were accompanied by Leota from Samoa, who wished to live as a Christian in London.  When he died he was buried in Abney Park Cemetery.  John published his, “Narrative of Missionary Enterprise.” Appealing to the public, he raised £4000 to purchase a ship, the Camden, and he also supervised the printing of a New Testament in the Rarotongan language.
In 1837 John and Mary returned to the Polynesian Islands to continue their mission.  In Tahiti, John built a boat, “Messenger of Peace,” and later another, “Olive Branch.”

Sadly in 1939 when John Williams visited the island of Erromango in the New Hebrides, accompanied by fellow missionary James Harris, they were clubbed to death and eaten by cannibals.  In December 2009 descendants of John Williams travelled to Erromango to accept the apologies of descendants of the cannibals at a ceremony of reconciliation.


The London Missionary Society were able to purchase a new ship to continue John’s work using money raised by “Juvenile Friends,” a fund collected by children in the Congregational Church.  The ship “John William” was launched in 1844 and set sail from Gravesend with new missionaries.  Over the years there were seven John Williams ships, the last “John Williams VII” being decommissioned in the 1970s.

To read more about John Williams please go to:-

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Round and Round by Terry Tyler

Have you ever wondered what might have happened if you had done things differently, taken that job abroad, studied harder or married your first love?  Well in Terry Tyler’s new novella, “Round and Round,” heroine Sophie does just that.  As she approaches her dreaded 40th birthday she looks back sixteen years and wonders whether she made the right choices.


I warmed to Sophie very quickly.  She is trying to make the best of her life but indecision in the past and the loss of her greatly loved Aunt Flick cause her to question her way of life.  Looking back to 1998 when she had lost weight and made advances in her career, it seemed as though she would have a golden future but there were four men in her life and she couldn’t choose between them.

But this is not a lightweight romance.  The story is set in the modern world, with concerns about career, home and family.  Sophie’s mother Alana is an embittered, abandoned woman who wants her daughter to settle down with a reliable man.  In contrast Flick is a woman of the 1960s who talks about karma and auras.  She takes Sophie to the Angel tree, a special place where all cares disappear and life seems clearer.

The four suitors; cheerful, affectionate Chris, handsome, artistic Seb, carefree Kieran and Neil, the friend who shares her interest in the theatre, are believable, well-drawn characters who gradually change over time as their lives progress.  Sophie is not naturally promiscuous, she is aware that each of them offer her the possibility of a happy, fulfilling future and she doesn’t want to hurt any of them; or herself.


What makes this book different is the way in which alternative life paths are shown.  It raises the question, are we entirely responsible for the way our life turns out?  And if things go wrong can we do something about it?  Of course a little bit of magic or help from a guardian angel is always useful.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Another family separated by Transportation to Australia

In April I wrote about the separation of the wives of transported convicts
http://somerville66.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-wives-of-transported-convicts.html
Recently while researching a fascinating self-made 19th century manufacturer I have come across a similar story.

Frederick Savage, a renowned manufacturer of Carousels and Agricultural Machinery in the second half of the 19th Century might have made his equipment in Australia rather than in England if only his mother had agreed to join her husband in Tasmania.

His father William Savage was a hand-loom weaver in Hevingham, Norfolk who owned a small farm and six cottages, but with the introduction of power looms and decline in demand after the end of the Napoleonic War, William was forced to sell his property and take to poaching for survival.  As a result of the threats he made to a local gamekeeper one night, he was sentenced to 14 years penal servitude.  Young Frederick was only 18 months old and had a new born brother, when his father was transported to Tasmania in December 1829.

After 7 years William Savage was released and he asked his wife Susannah to join him but she declined and remained in Norfolk.  Within a year she had given birth to a son, followed by two more children within the next 6 years, all out of wedlock.  William lived his remaining years alone in Australia.

Despite growing up in poverty, Frederick Savage worked hard for several employers in Norwich and Kings Lynn, learning how to make agricultural implements, to work iron and as a wheelwright.  This basis in engineering enabled him at the age of 25 to obtain premises to set up a forge. Starting with forks he moved on to producing threshing machines.  In the 1870s he purchased several acres of land in Kings Lynn to build St Nicholas’ Ironworks.  There he produced a patent cultivating system, powered by a 10 horse traction engine.

In the early 1880s Savage turned to fairground rides.  These included a circular velocipede of 24 linked bicycles, “Sea on Land” and the “Galloping Horses” which are familiar to any Merry-Go-Round rider.  It was his use of steam power which made more sophisticated fairground rides such as the Razzle-Dazzle and Steam Yachts possible.


In 1883 Frederick Savage became a local councillor and he held his seat in Lynn for 10 years before being elected an alderman.  He was chosen as Mayor in 1889 and as a consequence of his prodigious fund raising for the local hospital a statue of Frederick was erected in the town.

For more information and photographs of Savage's fairground rides  http://nfa.dept.shef.ac.uk/history/rides/history.html

Sources
Glimpses of Fiddaman's Lynn by Rosemary & Stan Rodliffe
"Frederick Savage, I presume" by Brian Morgan in "Merry-G-Roundup" Summer 2014 official publication of the National Carousel Association The Wives of Transported Convicts

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lost in a Good Book

Wild Water by Jan Ruth



Writing contemporary family drama is probably the most difficult genre in which to achieve success, so it was a pleasure to find myself instantly immersed in the ever increasing disasters of Jack, the unlikely hero of “Wild Water.”  Successful estate agents from the wealthiest part of Cheshire don’t come to mind as empathetic characters, but Jack works hard, cares about his family and has sufficient stress to justify his intermittent smoking habit. His faithless wife Patsy, however, is difficult to like.  Her parental skills leave much to be desired and she always seems to be in search of better things.

And then the reader meets Anna, a quiet, artistic lady from Jack’s past who is trying to survive in an old, crumbling house in North Wales, by taking in guests.  Like Jack, she has a teenage son, but her life is also complicated.  She is warm, likeable and calm, in total contrast to workaholic, impulsive Jack. Their lives are entwined by Jack’s large complex family and ever more momentous events.

It is the strong characterisation which make “Wild Water” such an enjoyable read.  Jack’s children, his mother Isabel and especially his brother Danny are all given clearly identifiable personalities and the possibility of new stories to follow. Some of their names, such as Chelsey, are stereotypical and the break-up of a family is almost normal these days but the twists and turns of the plot combined with the emotional response this invoked kept me turning the pages avidly.


Combining the beautiful description of the Welsh countryside with a roller-coaster storyline makes “Wild Water,” an ideal holiday read and I can’t wait to read the follow up, “Dark Water.”