Friday 3 February 2023

Rhapsody in Black

 Ever had an heirloom passed down to you, something made of gold? I have. "That belonged to one of your ancestors," I was advised. The object was a ring. I had it valued but decided not to sell it because, after all, it did belong to one of my forebears. 

When I had the ring valued, the jeweller, scrutinising the hallmarks, revealed that the ring was made in Ireland. This created great interest because of what my father told me some years before he died.

"It's family hearsay that we had an ancestor in The Charge of the Light Brigade. So I was told, his last name was Macgoran." Dad and I were interested in doing family history research. We would go to various record offices and afterwards we'd stop off for a pint. Beautiful treasured memories. Anyway, dad and I never came across any information about an ancestor being in the charge, but I did a few years later. Private Thomas McGorrine, number 1332, of the 13th Light Dragoons was posted as missing presumed killed in the charge, but he was found to have been wounded, and was in the hospital in Scutari, which was under the supervision of Florence Nightingale. I found out that Thomas came from Roundwood, County Wicklow in Ireland. He married one of my ancestors.

Having found that information, the Irish ring took on great value. I had its size adjusted and, because my own wedding ring was lost, I began to wear the ring. 

So, these hand-me-downs sometimes link us to our ancestors and if it wasn't for those people, we wouldn't be here, so objects, whatever they are, sometimes take on a special value and meaning to us. 

This is the theme of my latest novel, Rhapsody in Black. It's a historical novel telling the history of the owners of a spade, from when in 1768 an apprentice in a Black Country forge mill made it as his apprentice piece. It is a compelling story, telling of the lives and loves of the owners, their experiences, and sometimes their hard struggle to survive. The book finishes in modern times, the ending being based on fact. 

Give it a try. You can get it either as an eBook or a paperback. The link's on my website,

Until next time,

Take care,