You may recall we lost my Dad back in April. As a family we have taken great comfort that his remains are scattered at one of his favourite spots. He was passionate about the Cotswolds and Gloucester and surrounding areas and there could be nowhere better for his final resting place than a high point looking out across the county and the River Severn.
It was his love of the area that prompted him to research local history, going back centuries rather than decades. He was always a great story teller and although severely dyslexic, with the advent of computers he gained the confidence to put some of his stories down in writing. Most of these tales were inspired by a little pebble he found, with a flaw in it in the shape of a heart. Beginning over 5000 years ago, the little pebble is found then lost again in each story, only to be picked up by someone new in the next. We get a glimpse into life at particular points in history, largely in and around Gloucester and The Severn through the telling of individual stories. The pebble itself is a symbol of comfort and connection.
Dad always said he wrote these stories to stimulate his grandchildrens’ interest in history. He would read them out loud to them and anyone else who wanted to listen, although he was always very clear they there were for private consumption only and he had no intention of seeking a wider audience.
As we considered what we might do as a memorial to him, we wondered if it might be possible to have these stories made up into book form. Not really sure how to go about this, we approached The Choir Press in Gloucester, who specialise in self-publishing. They were so fantastic; sensitive and responsive, they immediately understood the project and helped us ensure it was exactly as we wanted.
The end product is a fitting memorial to him, something for the family to treasure and to pass down through the generations. The back cover includes an image of the River Severn (or the Great River as he calls it in the stories). There is also a quote, taken directly from one of the stories in the book;
“So when my time is over and I go to the Silent Land, where we all must go, and I can forever look out over the Great River as it wends its way majestically to the sea, I will leave my little pebble, so others can find it and hold it in their hands, and feel the loneliness disappear, as I have done ,and others before me. Maybe it will tell them its stories too, and of that silly old man who wrote these stories for his grandchildren.”
As my brother says; “You can hear his voice on every page”.