During those months I've published a book, been almost crippled by my weakened knee and subsequent problems with an ankle, had an almost constant bout of flu/cold virus for about 12 weeks and still haven't managed to do anything about refurbishing my flat. Apart from the book, it seems like a complete waste of time (some may say "including the book"!).
Somehow, I have managed to find an artist to do the cover for the final book in The Carmarthen Underground series and write some song lyrics for a video to go with the publication later this year. A very kind man by the name of Iain has composed a theme to go with the lyrics and we have permission from the artist to use some of his other work in the video. The problem is that I have not anywhere near finished the book!
At the moment, I seem to be doing anything other than writing this novel, even though I have several chapters under my belt and a good idea of the ending. Rather than write fiction, I've gone back to my Ancestry site with a vengeance.
I started the site some years ago as I knew nothing about my paternal grandfather who, by all accounts, was a very nice man.
As he died in 1932, when my father was only a small boy, and my grandmother never spoke of him, I felt a great need to find out more. Now, when it's too late, I really wish that I'd discussed him with those few people who knew him and who have died only in the past 15 years or so.
He was born in poverty in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1890, to a Scottish father and Irish mother. My paternal ancestors came, respectively, from the Scottish borders and from southern County Cork. How my grandfather ended up in Wales, first as a farm labourer, later as a stoker in a gas works then, finally, as a pitworker, is something I wish I could have found out. The census helps a lot but doesn't tell us what happened in the intervening decades.
Visits to Leeds have been more frustrating than enlightening. The place where my grandfather was born has vanished under new roads and buildings, as has the street where my grandfather died (although I'm fortunate to have a picture of his house courtesy of a Leeds history society). My Irish great grandmother, who died at the age of 36 when my grandfather was only 2 years old, was buried at Beckett Street cemetery in a pauper's grave and there's no commemorative stone although I have found the burial location. I know nothing of what my great grandparents looked like and have only one picture of my grandfather.
These days, it seems difficult to stay out of touch with others yet even now so many people slip under the radar, just as they did before the era of mass-communication. History isn't just about the great and good, or about world-changing events; it's about small people, small lives and how they were lived. I would urge everyone to record details of their parents' and grandparents' lives and keep them for the future.
I'm a great believer that it's never too late to start doing something you enjoy, yet I feel great regret that I spent so much time in jobs that I disliked (sometimes hated) and which eventually affected my health. Yes, because I did that, I have a home of my own and I have friends who have made a difference to my life, but there is a lingering belief that I should have been doing something else. Now I'm in a position to write and publish, whether or not anyone cares to read the results, and there is some satisfaction in that, but why do I feel that I've wasted so many years and why does time fly?