An amateur genealogist solves the mystery of how a letter was flown out of the Paris siege in 1870 and later found in Australia.
It was really quite something to feel the buzz around South Wales ahead of the NATO Summit. OK, so in Cardiff and Newport we moaned about road closures, diversions and interruptions to our daily lives, but it was only for a few days and we got over it.
According to news reports ‘Wales is well and truly on the map’, well actually we have been around for quite a long time. Remains have been found in Wales dating from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. The first copper and bronze tools appeared in Wales about 2500BC and the Romans mined for gold at the Dolaucothi mine in Pumpsaint, Carmarthenshire. Quite a long history wouldn’t you say?
Wales has 641 castles, 11 million sheep and around 3 million people. It has 750 miles of coastline and is beautiful place with mountains and valleys, a bustling capital city, interesting towns and villages, and some very welcoming people.
Come, Visit Wales and see for yourself.
Watch the video welcoming the NATO Leaders to Wales
Well I’m back from holiday, feeling refreshed and relaxed, so bring it on! I missed you all last week, and your stories. Internet connection was spasmodic to say the least. I hope you all had a good week.
In answer to Rochelle’s photo prompt this week, two stories popped into my head. I’ve gone with the stronger of the two. Thank you as always to our gracious hostess Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her patience and unfailing encouragement.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 100
10 May 1933
‘Come with us, it’ll be fun. We can get rid of all those books we hate.’
‘I don’t hate my books, how can you hate a book? Some are difficult to understand, but burning books, whatever are you thinking?’
‘If you don’t come, they’ll know. All students are expected to be there, they’ll give us books if we don’t bring our own. It’s time for a change; we are to be re-educated, the Propaganda Minister has said so, he will be there in person.’
Werner watched the burning with great sadness, fearing the world would never be the same again.
Historical Note: On the night of May 10 1933, an event unseen in Europe since the Middle Ages occurred as German students from universities once regarded as among the finest in the world, gathered in Berlin to burn books regarded as being ‘UnGerman’… Visit The History Place to read more
Read more great stories here,
I thought I wasn’t going to make it again this week – apologies to Doug for missing his very intriguing photo prompt last week. I have been attending a conference in Italy – no, it was not lovely, nor was I lucky. The trip went something like this – 2 hour drive – 2.5 hour flight – 2 hours on a bus – 3 hour conference – half hour bus ride – 3.5 hour dinner (no time to change after arriving) 1 hour to hotel – 6 hours sleeping – 1 hour working breakfast – 3 hours of meetings – 2 hours on a bus – 2.5 hour flight back – 2 hour drive back home.
Are you exhausted? I was!
For some reason, I saw Spanish Civil War…
Genre: Historical fiction
Moonlight on The Ebro
The Ebro shimmered in the moonlight, unimpressed by our consuming passion. We lay holding each other so tight, we could scarcely breathe. The Brigade left quietly, at daybreak.
I taste the saltiness of tears and open my eyes. The music of the street floats in through faded shutters, it stirs memories of ‘Viva la Quinta Brigada’ your anthem, our song.
I am old, tired. I’ve waited a lifetime for my passionate fighter, mi amante.
In the cool evening air, I feel again the pressure of your strong arms. I fall freely, as I did all those years ago.
For more information on the Spanish Civil War and of the men who went to fight against fascism in Spain – The International Brigade
There has been quite a lot happening in my life just recently and the urge to write just got up and walked out. I had to have the lenses in my eyes replaced – not as horrific as it sounds I assure you – but a worry nevertheless. My work has also taken up too much of my time and I found I didn’t want to write – anything. I have missed Friday Fictioneers very much indeed; missed the contact with people who had become very supportive friends; missed the exchange with people who are kind enough and interested enough to follow my blog, such as it is. I did try to post something for the prompt last week, then deleted it as it was not much good. I am back to try again.
Forgive the out-pouring, but it matters to me that you know why I have been AWOL.
Word Count: 100
Beth found the bones at 6pm.
They lay in a shallow space between the overhanging rock face and the old irrigation channel she was working in; she had been clearing stones and old debris from it for the past two weeks.
Rob came over when she called and casually inspected her find.
‘Looks small, a child perhaps?’
‘No!’ Beth shuddered at the thought.
‘Children worked in places like this; the find is not unusual.’
As he gently moved the bones to one side, a soft sigh whispered past them and floated up on the cool evening air.
Once again we fire up our little grey cells and try to come up with a germ of an idea. An idea that will grow into another piece of fiction fit for Friday Fictioneers.
Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her dedication and time, keeping Friday Fictioneers growing straight and true.
Word Count: 100
A Family Tree
After the war we had nothing. Stripped of our possessions, we wandered the land searching for food, shelter, kindness. Maria, mourning her child, lost her mind. Men found her dancing in the field and amused themselves, then fearful of the consequences, tied her to a tree and left her.
“This can’t be true, who would do this?”
We found her after animals and birds had fed, we buried her.
“It happened” said the genealogist, handing me more yellowing pages, “there is a gravestone, with details.”
That night, the dream came again; a tree tied with red ribbons.
Now I understand.
1st March is St David’s Day here in Wales. It’s the day when children are allowed to leave school uniform at home and dress in something resembling National Dress. Tradition has it that the ladies wear a daffodil in their lapel and the men wear a leek – not the real thing, just a lapel pin. The daffodil and the leek are National Emblems of Wales, along with the more widely know heraldic symbol of the Red Dragon.
We also tend to eat Welsh Cakes – haven’t a clue why, but they just taste good.
Cardiff also had Royal visitors today, in honour of St David’s Day
I started researching my family tree almost ten years ago and today, like thousands of other people across the world, I am still trying to find my story; where I came from and what shaped me. I started where all good ancestry researchers should, with my living relatives. From them I got a lot of basic, necessary information like dates and places of birth and names of spouses etc which was a great place to start.
As I built my family tree, with more and more information gleaned from various sources, not least of which was ancestry.co.uk a story from my childhood kept coming back and niggling at the back of my mind. My paternal grandmother was a great storyteller; I used to sit at her feet enthralled, listening to stories ranging from fairies at the bottom of my grandfather’s allotment to the tale of the man who, being wrongfully accused of a very, very bad crime, was sent far, far away from his family and friends to a desolate place across the sea, never to return. I remember my sister and I having very bad dreams about him and my mother telling us not to fret as it was only a story and not true.
Over the years my research dragged on. Then one day, I got a letter from my aunt, in response to a plea for help with the seemingly endless list of children borne to my great grandparents. She listed all the children that she knew of and then, at the bottom of the last page, mentioned just how bad life had been for some people in those days and gave as an example, the visits made to Lancaster Castle by female members of my great great grandmother’s family. She had been told the stories as a little girl, about women walking miles to vist a male relative imprisoned in the jail there.
This must be the man in my grandmother’s story. He was real! I knew then that I wouldn’t rest until I had found out all Icould, I just had to know who this man was and if indeed he was one of my ancestors…………….(to be continued)