Tag Archives: ancestry

Reading and writing past and present

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old when Mr Alistair a therapist/teacher told me that I had a gory imagination and extraordinary talent; back then my specialism was horror and it has only been in the past seventeen years that my writing has moved onto fantasy, comedy and poetry.  I started writing stories about alien invasions, vampires and alarmist ideas about climate change, El Niño and the end of the world.   I have for most of my life been a dedicated environmentalist, but since I talked so much in a spiritual forum about my concerns I lost confidence to continue writing this journalistically (is that a word? if not why not?), because I was accused of being a doom-sayer and me being a very uplifting positive person this accusation hurt me enough to stop me.

My first ever short story of any real length was based on Persephone in the underworld that I wrote when I was eleven.  I imagined how life must have felt like living in the underworld and even when I was that young I had a good clear understanding that not everyone is 100% evil or good, so I wrote about Hades in a positive form and it was very much influenced by my passion for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  This is a theme that has followed me through my writing life; if there is a misunderstanding in something, I am always willing to show another side to it – determined to prove to everyone that nothing is just black or white; it is a multitude of colours.  I can do this to the most indigestible of subjects too, according to a few people who have seen my handwritten work – thus I am sometimes known as an excellent mediator and diplomat, as long as the subject doesn’t get me too personally hot under the collar. 

One friend recently told me that they see me as society’s apologist, whatever that means.  I looked it up and I am not really that religious enough to be considered an apologist, though I suppose if you were to watch me answering questions whilst I am watching many quiz shows on religion, you’d say I seem to know an awful lot about religion for someone who isn’t interested in being religious.  You see I think this is where people misunderstand me – it is not that I am not religious, I am more humanist because I think that religion by and by causes division and I am all for world unity.  However I am a deeply spiritual person who literally believes in anything until it is absolutely solidly proven not to exist – hence why I leave milk and honey next to the stove at night for the house spirit (Nisse/elf) and ask permission to the tree itself before I prune it and honestly believe in various ancient customs and ideas – though I am still soul searching, but I will make this abundantly clear now, this is not an invitation to be converted to anything.  My ancestry history is so mixed, whenever I feel I should dedicate myself one way or another, I feel like I am upsetting some ancestor on the other side, so I don’t bother myself with dedication of that sort.

Anyway, this post was going to be about how I started writing and what I started with and where I have ended up.  I have written a lot of comedy and comic themes recently that I have noticed I have more and more of the fantasy and sci-fi comedy genre, if that is a genre.  I told Paul the other day that I feel like I am being possessed by the spirits of the deceased members of the Monty Python gang and Terry Pratchett, I try and write serious high fantasy and I can’t help putting in some silliness into it and I am seeing corny puns in everything!  The more I fight it, the funnier I get.

Unfortunately the comedy themes are rarely if ever posted on here, because I have made this mostly into a life update and poetry blog, rather than the intended fantasy blog, because I worry that my worst writing might be my best and my best my worse in the eyes of the world.  So I never really know which short stories and snippets to risk posting here.

I have decided to make this blog more of a writing diary, but again I have fears that I might reveal too much of my plans.  Fear is a major factor for me not posting much lately.

I have a handwritten diary I update about once a week on average because I keep forgetting to add to it – this diary is purely about my writing, my plans and any strange themes I have noticed that day or week.  For example, I have noticed I get a story idea in my head, then a book falls off the shelf in the library of a similar theme I was thinking about – weird coincidences like this happen a lot to me.  Then whilst television flicking, subjects of things I have been thinking about or themes of the day seem to be found everywhere, even on my sons chocolate wrappers as adverts at times!

I was thinking about sharing these day to day themes and the weird occurrences they have been discovered as part of my day to day blogging, as these things often develop into story ideas for me as I sit back and wonder what the universe wants me to do with these supposed signs?  What story is she prodding me towards and I believe this is why I have more ideas than actual work – I am never without a new idea, the problem for me is writing them down fast enough and concentrating on less than three at a time.  This is extra difficult for me because I am an attention deficit sufferer, I get bored doing the same thing or thinking about the same thing for longer than twenty minute bursts – hence why my current reading list on Goodreads usually has around twelve current books on the go!  It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a book, it just means I really can’t concentrate for more than twenty minutes.

Thinking about my reading list on Goodreads has actually just reminded me to make a point here on a matter a friend recently said to me the other day – she noticed that I have all these books on Goodreads I am currently reading but I only manage to read between ten and forty pages a day of maybe two or three books and she said that as far as she understands I am always reading but the Goodreads activities doesn’t prove it.  I said it is simple really when you consider that Goodreads is not designed to update magazines and newspapers and out of print books that are not listed on their site at all as well as local pamphlets and guides, game back stories, research websites, other people’s blogs and so forth. 

Here is a list of my magazine subscriptions and I do mean, I read them every time they are published either weekly or monthly;

Writing Magazine

Garden News

Sci-Fi Now

Gardeners World

Tesco

Yours

Pets @ home

Total TV Guide

Amateur Garden

Kitchen Garden

Lego club magazine

WWF membership news and stuff

Bibliophile

BBC History

New Scientist

Focus

Classic Rock

When I pick up a new magazine, that is the only thing I can read from beginning to end and it takes me around an hour to two hours – the reason why I can do that with a magazine rather than a novel is simple, the subject changes every few minutes.

Honestly, I am addicted to reading, I am addicted to downloading new information into my mind on a constant basis and I am a person who doesn’t enjoy sleep – I see it as a waste of time, but being ill, I have to sleep more than most and it literally drives me crazy!  All I want to do is think learn and do.

So there you have it!

Hello, I am Tina Cousins and I am a reading and writing addict and I don’t intend to cure myself of it, goodbye.

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Family tree research

So I unwittingly took the week off from writing, this wasn’t planned; I tend to go into fazes of genealogical research.  I have a family tree which I take great care of; especially for my father’s side of the family, nan told me as much as she could before she died and it helped me very much but she focused on her side of the family and didn’t tell me anything at all of granddad’s family.  I’ve neither idea what granddad’s mother’s name was, nor how many siblings he had other than great auntie Florence.

I’ve discovered many things about my paternal grandmother’s ancestors though, such as we can date one part of the family down to 1450 and another side is supposedly an old Roman family, who have been aristocrats for nearly two thousand years in Europe; I say supposedly because there was an Italian migrant in my family in 1480 to the UK who had the surname Senex and was an aristocrat who married a barons daughter and he had to anglicize the name to Maude when he bought some land; Senex is supposed to be an off shoot of a Roman family name Caesilius who are directly linked to Scipii and Secundus (that means there’s a possibility I am related to Pliny), though I can’t be sure and I doubt there’s going to be much information on it, though there might be records in Rome about Roman families, unsure.

This is all pure speculation because I found a website that can follow Pliny’s line to the present day, but I am skeptical because a lot of people just add any old connection to their surname without being sure if they’re true blood or not.

My paternal grandmother’s side of the family are both Italian and Dutch migrants who were aristocratic right up until 1840 when a lot of them started to migrate to Australia, America or marry beneath themselves, there was also an incident where a member of the family was heavily fined because they owned cottages and his people were found to have poached on a neighboring lords lands and was a little too sentimental about evicting them – also he gave a lot of money to the society of friends as he was apparently, very pious and found money a detriment to society, which is quite odd.

There’s information I’ve researched about my mother’s family, though some of mum’s cousins demand that my lead is wrong, because there’s a lot of tales of grandeur on that side; but I’ve bought records directly linking mum’s lineage from Kew itself when I’ve had some spare money and they’re wrong, I have proper recorded proof.  Such as my grandmother was raised in Enfield in farm cottages and her grandmother originates from Crawley as a dairy maid to a manor house, in fact all her family does and they even have the surname Crawley as they didn’t move from the area for hundreds of years.  My granddad’s family are half Jewish who converted to Catholicism for love which in those days was apparently sinful to marry outside of your religion; they owned a dressmaking boarding school and a tailor business in Soho, they were the original Jewish tailor business migrants of Victorian England, these days they have a chain of restaurants and don’t communicate with this side much and some have kept to their Jewish roots.

Mum’s cousins are very upset with my findings that great granddad was a foundling child – that’s similar but not as horrible as being a workhouse child; they insist he wasn’t a foundling, though they admit they never knew of his past as he never told anyone anything and was always evasive about it. 

Foundling children are different to work house children because they don’t remain working in the foundling hospital all the time, like workhouse children – when the children are 14 the boys are expecting to join the navy or army and live their lives as soldiers that are their fate, nothing else.  Girls tend to be trained in all domestic work so that they can be literally, sold into servitude for manor houses and wealthier people from the age of 14, though they can choose to leave as soon as they were an adult though life for them would usually be hard and terrible if they left their positions.  But all in all it was much better being a foundling child than a workhouse child.

Anyway, now you know what’s been keeping me from you, I am still involved with doing my tree, almost 2000 people in there now, but it does tend to gobble my time up as I get so involved with it all.  I want to get things right for my kids to sit back and look at where they’re from and how we’re likely to progress or digress as a family in the future, how the wheels of fortune constantly turn.

 

 

 

 

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