A granary on staddle stones
I just love blogging ! I decided to have a go when it became obvious no-one was interested in the story of my house and the people who built it ~ the Sanders in 1750 ~ and some of those who have lived here since, those I can trace, its interesting
architectural features plus a bit about the yard itself. So I thought bugger it ~ this stuff is worth recording so I'll jolly well start a blog !
At the time, a month ago, I didn't even know what a blog was or how to go about setting one
up. I looked BLOGGING up on Google, and as this lot ~ www.simplesite.com ~ came out top of the list ~ "In five minutes you can be blogging ..." ~ I signed up. Brilliant terms : £1
to register my 'domain', the first month FREE and £9 per month thereafter ! Wonderful !!
All my life I've been struggling to write ~ as a girl I had this crazy notion that if you were to become a serious writer, you must produce a novel
before you were sixteen ~ completely loopy, but that's what I believed. So all through my fifth form days at school, I'd cycle home, help get tea for all of us ~ six children at that point and another on the way ~ do my homework, and then ... and then
setlle down to My Novel !!! And sure enough I finished it in time to type it up (very badly) on Daddy's old Olivetti (?). With a great sense of achievement I sent it off the day before my 16th birthday ~ November 22nd 1949 !!
Mind you, aiming high, in my ignorance I chose Oxford University Press who didn't and still don't handle fiction. Nevertheless somebody there was kind enough to read "Adventure in Bordeaux" (based on our Bristol/Bordeaux exchange the year
before) and send it back (inevitably) but with a very helpful and encouraging letter ! They had actually taken me seriously !
Not long before Mother died, a week before her 102nd birthday ~ bless her, having kept it all those
years she returned the typescript to me ~ and it's pretty good ! It's a real novel, a bit of a thriller, and though the presentation was atrocious, that was cheering.
Having decided to "become a writer" LIFE got in the way ~ as it so
often does ~ mainly thanks to marriage and children, much as you love them they do take Mum's life over, don't they ? Apart from the odd article in The Guardian (of which I was inordinately proud) it would be nearly thirty years before
I was able to sit down to write seriously. By then I was divorced and living in a little Victorian terrace on the other side of Winchester with the two youngest of our four, Will was about 15, and Kate 18 months younger. Richard and Georgie
had already flown the nest. I took various jobs to supplement the allowance Howard gave us ~ in the Hampshire Record Office, the Winchester Museum, and briefly in the HHQ and museum of one of the Hussar Regiments based in the nearby barracks.
And every spare moment I was writing. But without much success as far as novels went, though still getting the odd article or story published.
The life of the struggling writer is basically one of STEADY REJECTION ! Yes, it's
true. I sometimes wonder whether it isn't the most talented who necessarily win through, but those with enough confidence to keep going in spite of so many knocks. Enough stamina. Having contacted an editor or a publisher, you work away madly
at your brilliant idea : write it, check it, print it off, take it to the post and . . . NOTHING !! As often as not, the masterpiece will be returned weeks later with no more than a rejection slip, sometimes "sorry" scribbled
on it !
Talk about disheartening ~ there's many a time if I'd had a gun I'd have blown my brains out !
In spite of this, I did manage to produce two novels. One of which I had published myself in 1996 when my Godmother left me some
money. This was not a good decision as I had 500 printed and still have a good few of them hidden away in the attic : unloved, unread, unsaleable. True Vanity Publishing ! Although people tell me it's good, I have always
felt deeply ashamed of myself for stooping so low. With the second one I had a bit more sense and published it through Authors on Line. This way, you order a few copies at a time but can always order more should anyone be interested.
I funded this in 2005 with some of the equity I had released on the value of my house.
There was also an academic study of farm buildings which was published in the Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club, and then as off-prints. And modest as
it is, at the time I believe it was the definitive work on the Staddle Stone Granary. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll attach a picture ~ oh, golly, this new printer/scanner is brill !!
So this is why I decided to have
a go at blogging ~ when nobody showed any interest in 'My House, My Home'. And I'm so enjoying doing it. Although I've only been at it for 3 or 4 weeks, I seem to have collected up a respectable following, so that's something !
For the first time in my life I can sit down and write my piece, add photos where appropriate, check it through and hey presto at the press of a button send it off to FaceBook. No interference or rejections from agent, publisher or editor ~ I do
it my way ! I don't much care how many of you are following the story, though it is immensely gratifying to get appreciative comments from people : "Fascinating stuff ~ can't wait for next instalment"
At 79 I thought I was too
old to start blogging, but ~ hell ! ~ if I can, anybody can ! As Obama might have said !
P.S. : In case it worried you, before I wrote the sad story of Bruno, I did check with Georgie to make sure she didn't mind if I mentioned her pregnancy and
baby Charlie ~ bless her, she had no objections : "It was so long ago, Mum, and there was a happy ending ~ go ahead."
Attaching one photo of the little house I moved to with Will and Kate after the divorce. And one of the
morning glory I managed to grow outside the front door ~ it was truly stunning but sadly I've not had any success with morning glory since ! Later : oh blast ~ can't find the morning glories but here's one of Georgie, Georgie's Charlie when she
came to find her, and me ~ three generations !