Daydreams, Moonbeams

And Wings Over The Common


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About The Author

About The Author

This section of the website provides some information about me, Louisa Middleton-Blake, the book's author!

Just a brief history about the Family Middleton name, and a bit about my ancestors.

The Middletons can be traced as far back to the year 1296, and I am told that the family name is taken from one of the many place names of Middleton, and the one in question is near Laurencekirk in Kincarineshire, Scotland.

The earliest recollection of the clan relates to a certain Malcom, son of Kenneth, who received a charter in the reign of William the Lion, for the lands of Middleton of Conveth, in Kincarineshire, and it was here that Humfrey de Middleton paid homage to King Edward I in 1296.

A Peerage was granted to John Middleton of Caldhame in 1660, and his son (name not known) became Secretary of State for Scotland in 1662.

John eventually became a soldier, and he joined Hepburn's regiment in the service of the King of France. Then later, he returned once more to Scotland in 1642 to join forces to oppose Charles I, first as a cavalry commander, and later as a general. He was pursued northwards by Montrose at Philphaugh, and when the marquis received direct orders from Charles to disband his forces in 1646, it was General Middleton who tried to talk his way out of a difficult situation, as he didn't want to surrender the King, as this would result in him being accused as a traitor (for which he was) and ultimately being tried for treason! He was taken prisoner after the Battle of Preston, but he later escaped; then wounded and captured again at the battle of Worcester in 1651. But again he escaped, only this time to France. In 1654 he once more returned to Scotland to join forces with the Earl of Glencairn, but was defeated by General Monck, where he had to once more escape to the continent. At the Restoration, a grateful Charles II made him Earl of Middleton. In 1667 he was made Governor of Tangier in Morocco, where he died. His only son, Charles, second and last Earl of Middleton, was ambassador to the imperial court at Vienna, and Secretary of State for Scotland, following in his father's footsteps, and so just like his father, he too was imprisoned in England for refusing to recognise the Revolution of 1668, and he also escaped to France. He later married and had sons who carried on their father's tradition of stirring up forces against the monarchy, and they were captured whilst attempting a dramatic invasion of Scotland, with the assistance of French troops, and immediately taken to the tower of London, where they were locked up to await their fate. Good fortune must have shone down on them, as they were later released (reasons unknown), but their titles were forfeited and never restored.

The Middleton's name is also connected to the Clan Forbes, and we have our own tartan, which is red and green. On our wooden mantle-piece hangs a shield made from oak, with the Middleton name and motto on it, and the shield is bordered with the Forbes own tartan, which is dark green and dark blue with a thin white border. My mother proudly sits in her chair, looking very cosy, with her very special Middleton tartan lap-rug.

***

Grandad Middleton used to often sit me on his knee, and tell me long and interesting stories about his great-great-granddad, who used to play as a young boy with Robert Clive, who was born on the 29th September, 1725, and lived with his parents, Mr and Mrs Clive, on the Herbert Estate near Market-Drayton, Shropshire, where the Clive family had resided since the twelfth century. My granddad's great-great-granddad's father worked on the Clive's estate as head gardener.

It seems that the two boys, along with many other young lads from the village, used to get up to some very naughty pranks, which included scrumping apples from the vicar's orchard, where they first had to scale a very high wall. The vicar, on finding out who had picked nearly all his best apples, was not at all amused, and told Robert's parents off for not keeping their lad under control!

One of the best known stories was related on how the young Robert went out one night, with nothing but mischief on his mind. He climbed to the top of a local church steeple, and the noise he made brought people out of the cottages to see what was making all the din, and the sight that greeted them of young Robert Clive clinging to the highest point of the spire, caused much amusement amongst the villagers, and a great deal of embarrassment to his parents. I hasten to add that my ancestor was not involved with this particular incident.

When Robert reached adulthood, he later became Lord Clive of India.

My great-great-grandfather was named Herbert, after the estate, and the name was carried on down the line to my father, but unfortunately it stopped when my brother was born, and so ends the 'Herbert' name in the family.

My father was given a silver spoon which was passed down as a family heirloom, presented to the Middletons by Lord Clive's grandmother, but sadly it was stolen before it could be passed on to my brother.

I have also been told that one of my ancestors, a female, (name unknown) was burnt at the stake at Lewes, in the County of Sussex; accused of being a witch - possibly around the fifteenth or sixteenth century. I would like to think that her only crime was that she probably practised herbalism, which was often thought to be a form of witchcraft at that time.

***

Let me first tell you a little about myself, so pull up a chair, and if you're sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.

I was born within a mile of the grand old white windmill (depicted in my book) on a cold, very early, Boxing Day morning, on the 26th December, 1942 at Warren Cottages, North Chailey, East Sussex, England.

This was the home where my mother, Agnes Mabel Short, lived with her ten brothers and sisters, and my Grandma and Granddad, until she got married to my Father, Herbert Wilfred Middleton. This particular area is also bordered by the gentle rolling hills of the South Downs.

Hills seem to dominate my life. Even when I lived for two years in the West Ridings of Yorkshire, in a large old farm house (part of which was built in Cromwellian times), this remote place was also surrounded by high Fells, leading over the range of the Pennine Way. Then even more hills and mountains when we all moved to the beautiful countryside of West Wales.

My early childhood school days were nothing to write home about, and because I missed out on a great chunk of my education through various illnesses, I didn't exactly graduate with a string of degrees, and left school at fifteen to take up a private secretarial course, but although my typing speed was reasonably good, my shorthand was a bit dodgy!

My first clerical/typist job in the East End of London, was working for an Insurance Company at Old Lloyd's Building, where I worked for two years, within hearing distance of the great Lutine Bell, which rings whenever a ship has sunk. My first job in the morning was to collect the Lloyd's Shipping Lists from a funny, dingy dark store-room, situated at the side of the building. I then had to take these precious lists (which were torn up before the day was out), up to the office where I worked, by one of two very ancient lifts operated by two smart lift attendants dressed in dark blue uniforms fastened with bright, shiny brass buttons, with little pillbox hats perched on their heads One of the men was quite tall, and the other was very short, and he wore his little pillbox hat at a jaunty angle on the side of his head. I often wondered how he managed to keep it on. These two lift attendants had a friendly smile as they greeted you at the door, which I thought was a very nice start to the day.

My next job was at small patent office in Chancery Lane, not very far from the Daily Mirror newspaper building, which was brand new in those days, and looked very impressive, as that part of London was still undergoing extensive building after the destruction caused by the Second World War.

One day, I remember looking out of the high-up office window down onto a procession of very official looking cars, and in one of them (which was open-topped) stood the famous first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, and he was standing up at the back of the car waving to the crowds who lined the streets to see him as he passed by. I recall looking down on this blonde-headed man, and as I did so, he glanced up and smiled. That was a very memorable moment of one particular day in London.

At that time, London was a very safe place to be, and I loved wandering about the different lanes and places of interest in the East End, and some evenings, after work, I would take the tube and walk around the squares and parks of the West End.

In between my secretarial posts, I decided to change course in my career, and took on a job as groom/secretary to an MP from Woking, and moved with my new boss and his wife, plus their two horses, one golden retriever, one very old cat and my pony Nutmeg, to Yorkshire, where I spent a wonderful two years, until my mother's first illness brought me back South again (the wandering Middletons!), and after another spell of office work, I then entered into marriage with a young Italian man from Napes, who I met in the local library when he came up to me and asked me if I had a match or a light for his cigarette, which of course I hadn't as I didn't smoke. That first meeting started up a romance, and after a short three-month courtship, we got married...well, twice actually. First at a registry office, then because he was a devout Catholic, we then had to go through yet another ceremony in Church. Unfortunately it all ended in divorce seven years later. Not to be defeated, I thought I would give it another go, and attempted marriage twice more, and twice more failed. Wedded bliss is obviously not for me! But at least I do have one son, Adam, who will be thirty-six years old this July 1st.

I still have my ninety-one year old mother living with me, and occasionally my brother Derek.

We have two dogs at the moment. Charlie is a white peke, now aged eleven this year, but doesn't look a day older than two. He was rescued from a local animal sanctuary. Then there's Esther. She is a medium sized, black and white cross-breed, also rescued from a dog's home. The story goes that she was abandoned by gypsies who tied her up to a railway sleeper, where she would have starved to death if she hadn't been spotted by patrolling 'stray dog catchers', who picked her up when she was found to be near death from lack of food and water. They took her to the police station, where she was put in a dog pound, and as no one came to claim her, she was due to be put down, but the dog rescue people found her just in time when they happened to be on one of their routine visits to the police station to see if they did have any strays in, and fortunately they discovered poor Esther. She is a very bouncy three-year old now, and she has a very healthy appetite, eating anything and everything put before her. What a very lucky dog! And she knows it!

We also have two cats. One is a little black cat called Millie (also featured in my book) and she is now fifteen years old. She was found as an abandoned tiny kitten in the hedgerow, discovered whilst I was out riding on my pony Humphrey (also a star in my book), and she became a close buddy to Maggie. The other cat is a very fat boy called Bobby. He is a huge cat, and he is mostly white with large black blotches over his body, which look as though they were fired at him at close range from a paint ball!

We have had numerous other pets in the past which include rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, gerbils, canaries, budgies, tropical and gold fish, cats, dogs, horses and ponies, a hairy tarantula spider named Boris, a jackdaw...oh, and a certain magpie called Maggie!


My main hobbies were horse-riding, gardening, walking, and just generally visiting interesting places or going on holidays, but unfortunately these activities I can no longer take part in, due to looking after my mother on a constant, day-to-day basis. But I now do my writing; mostly stories; and sometimes composing short poems, but these are not so frequent as I need something to stir my senses in order to create a theme for them.


Watch out for more about me - soon!




2005 - 2007 All Rights Reserved. Louisa Middleton-Blake.


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