Monday, 11 March 2013

It's All In The Genes

The McAndrew family garden party at Prudhoe. Mam,dad, me in dads arms picking my nose

Is it in the genes. Writing that is. Artistic talent. I think it must be where my family are concerned my cousins are also writers.  Self published debut author Gerard Gray, with his dark psychological thriller/horror Dead Broken and his sister Katarina Frogpond, Huffington Post,  Blogger, MP Taunter/Children's Writer.

My dad spent nearly a life time mastering the craft of making children's rocking horses. In his retirement he rented a workshop in the picturesque Northumberland village of Corbridge,  where he made and sold his beautiful horses to people from all over the world. until  finally retiring at the grand age of eighty. Thankfully he is still with us, although now eighty four and very frail.

My mother could dress make, cook, knit, garden and write beautifully. I had so many pretty dresses and woolen coats she made for me as a child.  She would spend hours at her sowing machine making clothes.  In the photograph above is my sister Helen.  My mother made her wedding and brides maid dresses.They were a winter wonderland fashion extravaganza. The bridesmaid dresses made in berry red and holly green velvet, with white fur edging to the hems, sleeves and hoods and white fur muffs to keep our hands warm.
We were all,  that is my sister's and myself, me being the youngest of four girls,  always, classically dressed. Typical little girls in our black patent shoes, white socks and frilly frocks that tied from the waist into big bows at the back. My mother loved fashion.
I remember she told me once she could darn socks from the age of seven. But then she lived through the second world war and I suppose learning to cook, growing your own food and darning socks was a necessity for a working class family living with rationing.  Times were hard for my parents generation but the skills they learned were invaluable and many passed those skills down to their own children. I'm glad my mother taught me how to garden, love books and basically have a go and tackle anything that comes my way, she gave her determination.
Admittedly,  I can't knit or dress make but I do have a love for creating things. Projects such as furniture painting, and doing up old junk. My largest project to date aside from writing my book was stripping and staining my staircase.  If it's something you are considering doing yourself  I warn you,  it's not for anyone who like's to keep their finger nails nice or afraid of manual work. It took me a year to complete the job along with several packets of anti inflammatory drugs. I would never attempt it again  but the finished result was well worth it. Towards the end I did have a little help my elderly neighbour Joe who knocked at my front door one afternoon and kindly offered to  help me with the sanding. The two of us would sit on those stairs for hours sanding away, whilst he would tell me story's from his youth and his longstanding friendship with the family who had lived in the house before me.To tell a great story one first has to learn how to listen to great story's.

It's the love of story telling that brings the connection between us all in my family. My aunt Teresa, my dads sister I'm told by Catherine loved to write also and my aunt Cicilia loved to tell story's too. My mother loved books and she could tell you everything about her ancestors and their life in Friars Goose ship yard on the banks of the river Tyne as well as tails about her Jewish grandfather Hoffany Octaviouse Bye.

  My uncles and other cousins love to paint and some are musically talented playing the guitar/piano, singing and song writing. As I look at the picture above of my dads aunt's the nuns it  brings a smile and the name Von trapp springs to mind. Happy memories from so long ago.

If anyone would like a copy of Gerard's book  Dead Broken  it's on Amazon at the moment or you can follow Gerard on twitter @GerardGray101

Or if it's a bit satirical that takes your fancy.  You can find Catherine/Katarina Frogpond at the Huffington Post or on twitter Katarina Frogpond2  @DeltaPanda

And as for me, I'm never far away if you need me.  I'm author of  Fantasies From The Kitchen Sink. @twtfiona    So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.

Thanks for taking the time
Fiona x