In skies azure blue and emerald glistening, Memories stir of that which I am proud; My place, people and past. Who's listening? For now they are gone, and a ruin stands Where once life curled upward from altars In sweet-smelling billows across the lands Of my fading forefathers. Who do I call to On a day such as this Where robins fly? What I silently miss Is that ghostly cry: "Englalandum!"
Sarah has a surprise visit from her old friend Kaye. They last saw each other thirty years ago at our wedding. Sarah and Kaye were together at university studying drama and dance, and shared a flat in London for two years after graduating. It was at that moment I met Sarah; so Kaye is also an old friend of mine. She has been busy working in film, television, musicals and theatre. Doubtless now we've renewed contact we'll see much more of her.
Louisa is one of the daguerreotypes shown in the collection above. She is the one on the left in an oval mount within a leather case. Louisa was born in Middlesex, England, on the 7 January 1854, and christened at Stepney, London, on 17 March 1854. I shall refrain from providing her surname and middle name out of respect for the family with whom I have corresponded. In 1881, she married Joshua in Islington, London, and went on to have four children. What fascinates me about Louisa is not her life, but her death. Or rather the absence of any record of it happening. Her grandparents, parents, in-laws, husband and children all have their deaths recorded. But nothing exists for Louisa. The question is why?
In the same year that my novel Carmel was published, my father died. I had quit London following the death of my mother eight years earlier; the place having become too polluted and altered for me to remain a moment longer.
Subsequent visits to London, in the years that followed, found it had returned to a friendless, faceless city. But those weeks at the end of the millennium year were to offer a time warp where the past was almost witnessed through a weathered window. I felt like a phantom, who was not even present in the capital, passing through sadly unfamiliar places. Indeed, I felt like a time traveller.
Yet there remains ghostly images, reminding us of how special that place once was.