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Author Archives: Susie Gutch

My Grandfathers’ Chests [part 2]

It seems a long time since I wrote about William Slaughter’s small leather trunk in the December blog post, with Christmas and New Year falling in between. Now it’s 2015, and the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign falls this year, reminding us that there were many other theatres of war than the Western Front, during … Continue reading »

Categories: Legacies, World War One | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Grandfathers’ chests

Two leather chests,side by side in the sitting room, reminded me of my two grandfathers – their  original owners.And then I realised that the smaller one, with the initials W.C.S. on the lid, must have belonged originally to my great-grandfather, William Capel Slaughter, a city lawyer, and been passed on by him to his son, … Continue reading »

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A Dog’s Life by Michael Holroyd – a review.

This is a fictionalised account of Holroyd’s eccentric family, detailing 24 hours in the lives of the inhabitants of the house called ‘This’ll do’. It’s a study of old age, and of a middle class family in reduced circumstances struggling to cope with the post-war world of the early 50s. Best known for his biographies … Continue reading »

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Where do we think we are?

At the group meeting in April we discussed re-assessing our writing projects – what we’ve achieved so far, and how we think we might progress towards a conclusion.It is three years since we did the Faber course and I think we have done well to keep the core of the group together, supporting each other … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write | 2 Comments

Different views of Cyprus

There is a small black and white photograph of my grandfather, Arthur Slaughter, sitting on a sunny verandah. On the back it simply says ‘Self, Cyprus 1916′. That is all I know of his stay there. It must have been taken some months after he was evacuated from Gallipoli in July 1915. He suffered from … Continue reading »

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An old legal document

Further finds unearthed while clearing the house include an impressive legal document, handwritten on parchment. Measuring 60cm x 75 cm approx it is an indenture dated 11th March 1859 between Sarah Newnham Hall of Paddington Green [a widow] and Thomas Tidy of Titchbourne St, a builder.It is an 80 year lease which refers to a … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Patches and patch boxes

Clearing the house after 37 years has meant the rediscovery of all kinds of interesting and half-forgotten items.Among them are two small patch boxes. One is oblong,probably ivory, about 4.5 cm. in length with a hinged lid.The top is decorated with a small glass cartouche, which may once have held a tiny lock of hair.Inside … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Legacies | 1 Comment

War Baby

My mother-in-law, Diana Gutch [nee Worsley], who died three months ago would have celebrated her 100th birthday on 26th February 2014.It used to amuse her to call herself a ‘War Baby’, although she was born six months before the outbreak of the first World War. However,her early life was greatly affected by the events in … Continue reading »

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Ammonites and Leaping Fish, by Penelope Lively

Published by Penguin/Fig Tree in 2013, this memoir is sub-titled ‘A life in Time’ by its distinguished author. She describes it as not exactly a memoir, ‘Rather, it is the view from old age.’ As well as being a fascinating read for anyone who is familiar with the writer’s work, it would also be helpful … Continue reading »

Categories: Books we've read, How we write, Legacies, Strong Women | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Twelve Years a Slave and The last Runaway

The film, Twelve Years a Slave, directed by the artist and Turner prize winner Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, is a powerful portrayal of the kidnap and enslavement of the educated and successful black musician Solomon Northup in 1841. Abducted, and and torn from his family and comfortable life in New York State, he … Continue reading »

Categories: Books we've read, How we write, Journeys, Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment