About The Author
About The Author
This section of the website provides some information about me, Louisa Middleton-Blake, the book's author!
a brief history about the Family Middleton name, and a bit about my
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
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.
Peerage was granted to John Middleton of Caldhame in 1660, and his
son (name not known) became Secretary of State for Scotland in 1662.
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.
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
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
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!
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
Robert reached adulthood, he later became Lord Clive of India.
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
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.
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.
me first tell you a little about myself, so pull up a chair, and if
you're sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
still have my ninety-one year old mother living with me, and
occasionally my brother Derek.
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!
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!
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!
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.
out for more about me - soon!