Wednesday, 29 May 2013

After Publishing

It was so satisfying to receive from Amazon - 'Congratulations your files are printable' and as such, I can now say amongst other things, that I am the author of a book - "The Grape Escape Story".

At this juncture I have to thank Peter Richardson, who was the first person to mention to me about writing a book and kept encouraging me all the way through and enabled the steps to be taken in publishing a paperback and  Ebook. Without his encouragement and help "the Grape Escape Story" would have never have been written.

I now await with a certain trepidation feedback from readers. As I wrote and did the editing of the book which is apparently; in the 'writing and publishing world' - is not the way to go! It's out there, now - and if a publisher wants to pick it up and have it edited - that's open for discussion. Having completed the exercise I have such respect for writers and editors. Writers, for the tenacity of completing a body of works and editors for the determination of keeping the flow and the detail in the  micro.

Would Ido it again ? I don't find the task daunting, there is an idea festering in the mind, however the marketing side of the equation is the predominant task at hand - trying to sell the book is the task at hand for the present. From research carried out to date, I don't think I' m going to be spending to much time on the marketing, as I can see that unless you have a best seller on your hands, there is no money in writing books.

I have found a letter from my grandmother, amongst my fathers papers, written on a letter head - "Phoenix Hotel" Puerto Santa Cruz, Rep. Argentina. Dated January 25th 1920. It was written to her sister Kathleen about living in Patagonia. It was not in an envelope, but in The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Track Chart, that when unfolded -  showed the map of the world, with the track of the  trip she had taken from UK down the coast of Brazil and Argentina to Santa Cruz in southern Argentina.Which is where she had written the letter from.

The letter was about her giving birth to "Mathers No.2 and apologising that he was not called Jimmy, as he was already christened Dennis I hope you approve". This was my fathers brother, who was eighteen months younger than my father.She then goes on about sending her sister a piece of Dad's hair from his first cutting and how his final four double teeth are cutting through and making him a "bit peevish".

She continues on with some of her recent experiences, whilst her husband, my grandfather Harry, was away looking for I presume work, she was offered accommodation at one of his friends farm. On the way, going through what they called the 'sand pampas' the car which was called an Overlander caught fire, and it was three days later that they arrived.

The farm was called "Cerro Redondo,"her words - " a delightful farm, a big bungalow of 12 large rooms a glorious kitchen with tiled floor and a white and brass stove about eight foot long. They had cows and cream separators and butter making machines, one of the finest farms out here". Whilst there, they heard of rumours there were bandits in the area and were told to be vigilant and hide any arms and valuables, after ten days their vigilance had slipped. One of the farm hands spied what appeared to be a dust-storm approaching across the Pampas, as it came closer it  revealed; some three hundred men on horseback and a few automobiles, heralding the arrival of the bandits previously rumoured to be in the vicinity.

The bandits stayed at the farm for a day and a night, stealing provisions and stores, two automobiles, a about two hundred horses and kidnapping the owner, who they were to hold for ransom. They departed for their hideout in the foothill of the Andes Mountains. Before reaching their hideout they were apprehended by the Army, who executed the leaders and returned the owner unharmed. My grandmother said they did not molest or threaten the women, however she slept that night with a sharp stiletto under her mattress.

With this letter was another letter, headed Santa Cruz, March 1st 1921 and was addressed  and started as the following-
"Dear Mrs Mathers. Yesterday afternoon while we were partaking of the cup that cheers, but does not inebriate,  your hubby showed me your pat on the back from the King of England, honourable mention etc. We all rejoiced with him re his noble wife". The writer was Eleanor Lewis, I presume an English friend of my grandparents, who also lived in Southern Argentina. Who wrote further; how their generation of women, who have the opportunity of education was producing heroines such as Edith Cavell and were proving themselves to be the equal of men in every branch of thought.

This congratulatory letter, was brought about by my Grandmother's actions, who before she married, was an officer (Administrator) in the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) during The  War of 1914-1918. Her group were posted to France to serve. Where she was wounded by  shrapnel on her hand and was mentioned in a Despatch by Field Marshall Sir Douglass Haig on 16th March 1919 for gallant and distinguished services in the field. Commanded by the King to record his Majesties high appreciation of the services rendered. signed by Winston Churchill - Secretary of State for War.

My grandmother was an amazing person, my father held her in such high regard.  It was not long after that letter, that she lost her husband from wounds suffered in the Great War. How she coped with a newly born son and another of toddler age in a remote outpost location as Southern Patagonia defies belief. Dad told me she had no support and her only option was to return to England.

Fortunately once there her whereabouts became known, to a past suitor who eventually became husband number two and she became the wife of Arthur Gibbons.  He owned flour mills and was a chartered accountant, from whom she had another son, my step uncle Brian Gibbons.According to my father, both  he and his brother Den had a privileged upbringing going to Palmers School, one of the oldest in Britain. They lived in a large house in Engayne Gardens, Upminister, which backed onto a golf course and  employed a gardener and maid that helped my grandmother bring up the three boys. Holidays were spent travelling Europe and later Dad was employed after laeving school by his firm.

That was not in Dad's scheme of destiny and after further work experiences with Lever Brothers he decide on leaving England and Australia beckoned as adventure and new territory to explore for a young Brit.

The arrival of Dad in Australia and working on a farm in Maxwell, Northern New South Wales  and then joining up in the Australian Infantry Forces and marrying my mother all within a period of twelve months, I have written about in my book 'the Grape Escape Story'.

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