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Maggie/915

The Coal Seams

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Many thanks Maggie and Sym,I sometimes think I drag on a bit,so it's nice to know my experiences being shared with you are appreciated!

I already finished book one of my life story,in hand-written form,which starts from about age three,with everything about my childhood that I can remember,where I was born,lived,played,schools,etc,right up to starting the pits at 15 years of age ,straight from my school desk.

The intention was to record my life,for posterity,for my family only,so I started book two,which leads the reader all through my experiences in the mines,

but seeing as time is a limiting factor in my life,[i am a full-time carer for my Wife,who is disabled],it is very difficult for me to write for any length of time,

[myself having disabling conditions in my hands also].

That is why all my postings are,if you notice,usually about midnight  up to about 2-0am,after my commitments have been met.

I really enjoy this site,and some nights when I intend to lay a few paragraphs down in my book,I come here and forget to stop!!

The trauma of sitting behind a school desk one minute,then going down on the end of a cage rope,into the conditions I was thrown into,lives as fresh in my mind,as it was then,in 1959.

So that is how my recollections on this site are so vividly..[i hope!..] ,portrayed.

Sym,I am 72 this year,and in my book,I am only up to my age 17yrs,at Choppington High Pit,...I have all the other pits I worked at,to recall!!

The trouble with publishing my book is,I wouldn't want one single word changed,or edited out,and I don't think any publisher would touch it as it is,cos I have named names of people in high up positions in Government,and the N.C.B.,not slanderous,only truthfully,which could be taken to be slander!!

What do I do?!

HEH  HEH! I have just been re-capping over my comments here,and noticed I said that I was 72 years old this year!!

Having been born in 1944,it doesn't take a college education to figure out my mistake!!

I turned 71 in July,and I'm NOO heading for another year older  and deeper in debt!....[an old song!!!]

Sym,how do I get in touch with a literary agent that I could trust not to pirate my book?

The world is such that now,with cameras and voice recorders on every phone,[except mine,which is an old Motorola c520!! brick!],nothing is sacred anymore.

My Son in London has his own recording studio,and he is ,[i'm sure!] a re-incarnation of Joe Meek,of "Telstar" fame,who produced many other

hits in the 60's,and was known for his vivid imagination and creativity.

He had a wealth of unique techniques to create the weirdest sounds,and jealously guarded his secrets.

Well,My Son has exactly the same creativity,and uses everyday objects on his recordings,to create unusual sounds,the only difference nowadays,is

that,when he is recording a track,say rhythm guitar,or backing vocals,the other band members hang around in his studio,behind his back,taking clandestine video and still pictures of all his studio effects and other vintage [some 1940's and 50's] gear,then loading it up on Facebook within minutes,without his knowledge.

THIS is what would concern me about trusting my book to someone to have it published.

Am I being too obsessive about this do you think?

Has anybody had any experience with the publishing industry to guide me here?

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!

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Hi  Sym!

Many thanks for your PM and advice.

I have been researching different articles such as self-publishing also,as well as the the one you mentioned in London.

Certainly got me inspired to try and get on with my book and finish it.

After reading a lot about ghost-writing,and it's history,including things about Mozart writing for wealthy patrons,who labelled his work as thier own,it strikes me as being fraudulent,with no  disrespect to Merc,for offering genuinely to  help me,which I truly appreciate!

My thinking is,no-one could possibly put into words,all my experiences,with the sense of actually being in a situation underground,the noises,the smells,the creaking of timbers ,the sound of a hydraulic chock leg bursting under thousands of tons pressure....right in front of you,spraying you

with hydraulic fluids under 4000 pounds per square inch,and hitting you like a bullet from a rifle.....with cancer-causing agents within....

....roadways actually being crushed before your very eyes,girders twisting and buckling like bits of tin...noises like that of thunder as the strata eases down and grinds and crushes everything in it's path.........then settles after a while......leaving a ghostly silence in it's wake....yep,you had to be there to experience all this,to be able to describe it as it was,without exaggeration.

Trouble is,even though my memory is vivid,arthritis is beginning to show in my hands,and especially since the bad car smash we had at Easter Sunday night,which has left me with whiplash to my cervical spine,and awful pain and headaches,worsened by holding my head too long in a stooped or lowered position,such as when I am typing here.

Think I better pop the pills and get the pen in my hand,a little each night,and see what progress I can make.

Any way,Sym,I am looking forward to more tales of YOUR childhood!!....they are more fascinating than pitwork....to me that is!!

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There is The History Press HPW but I am not too sure how safe any of these are for your personal and valuable memories of mining.

Your ability to relate the details of life underground are unique in their insight and detail.

First hand accounts are always the best.

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There's a huge appetite for memoirs based on now defunct industries, especially the mines and the shipyards.  To gain the widest audience it's best to avoid those publishers who do things like "Town X through the ages" as they restrict the possibility of a wider readership - in a sense the stuff is only of interest to the locals.  A carefully selected Literary Agent will be a mine of good advice and contacts who'll help to steer a project in the right direction ... however, the trick is to 'hook' the agent on just how interesting the project is.

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Thanks Folks!

                     Yesterday I went for me bread at what used to be Walter Willson's,at Bedlington Station,and one of the smashing lads who own the shop now,was telling me that a regular customer who comes in often,is a publisher,with many books to his credit.

Bill,[one of the Brothers who run the business],said he would  ask this guy for his number,and pass it to me,with a view to getting a bit first-hand advice as well.

I will keep you posted.

Last night I started to Proof-read book one,which charts my entire childhood in detail,my birth-place,the things I got up to as a laddie growing up in the post-war years of austerity,in a coalmining close-knit community.

I started to write book one in 2009!,and it has lain a long time,while I have been writing book three,[book two also having lain finished for a few years.]

The amazing thing was,I got carried away reading it,from about 11-0pm,and next time I looked at the clock,it was 1-0 am!!

I found it so interesting,it was as if someone else had written it about me!!

I got halfway through and had to reluctantly put it down and go to bed shattered!

How crazy is that!

My Wife has suggested that it might be better to try and get the three books published separately, as a trilogy so to speak,rather than put all my eggs in one basket.

Each book has over two hundred pages,and I have only just started on my life actually underground!![you have already read a lot of my memoirs

on this site.....!!]

My  Wife thinks I will never ever get it finished,cos I spend what little bit of spare time I have, on me beloved Bedltn Com. site!!,[instead of just pressing on with me book!]

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Now here I am going to have to agree with your wife HPW.

Come on , get that book or three , finished so we can buy it/ them.

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HPW - here's a hook to snare an agent ... a bilingual book.  Every alternative page in Betty Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's English juxtaposed with a Pitmatic translation.  Killing two birds with one stone ... telling your tale AND keeping a local language alive (or at least on life support).

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Now that's a very good idea! Pitmatic would be wasted on the majority. I'm sure there are miners all over the UK who would thoroughly enjoy HPW's 'ramblings'. OR and even better, the book written in standard English and including a cd with the narrative related by HPW himself.

Edited by Canny lass

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Howw,eez lot!!,ya ganna wear me aad bones oot heor thi way ya taakin!!

No,a really DO appreciate all your kind words of encouragement on the subject of my life story!!

This past week,I have been proof-reading books one and two,and believe me,I have been unable to put them down!!

Naturally,after not reading them since they were started in 2009,it's been a nostalgia trip,stirring up more memories for me to write about!!

Considering book one is about my life from earliest childhood.....just over two years old,[i can remember my little brown leather and sheepskin reins!!],and includes silly little things like us laddies playing bays wi the lassies.....etc......rambling over the fields and woods,plus loads of stories you have already read about on here.......would it REALLY be interesting to the wider uninformed reader? [not forgetting I try to write as dramatically as possible without exaggerating or distorting facts].

Each book has 200 pages,[A4 size],and in book three,I am just covering my first years down Choppington High Pit,with as many interesting facts,and events that I can clearly and vividly recall,and still have my life at Bedlington A pit,Bates Pit,[including my 7 years as a Pit Deputy/Acting Overman...on occasions],my visits down Lynemouth Pit,Ashington Workshops,and a coach outing to Craster Bay,to see the geological aspects of the Whin Sill,and it's effects upon the adjacent strata,as part of my Deputy training course,and  finally,Ashington Pit,whereby my Mining career

came to an end!.....[to be re-trained as a skilled Master-Craftsman making very expensive hand-made furniture..the old-fashioned way!]

How am I possibly gonna sell all that?.....it's gonna be thicker than a stack of encyclopaedia's!

Heh heh,every time I meet any of my aad Marra's from aal thi pits,and tell them about my book,they aal ask thi same question!.....["a expect AAM in ya byeuk Wilma,mind!!",followed up with....."get it done,and AAL buy a copy.."!].

Whey , folks,Little Black Jess is staring at me with those appealing big brown eyes,[waakies],but a hae a stack o' dishes ti wesh and dry and put away,so if ye dinna hear from me for a day or two,ye'll knaa that aam cracking on as best as a can wi me clerkin' !!

Once again, a big thanks for your kind support,wi sum gud ideas![mind,Sym,aam lost on Betty Saxe and Co.....?? !!]

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Needs must HPW.

Just do what you can.

We all want to read the book but you have already given us so very many insights into mining.

Well done just Gan Canny.

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HPW, Betty Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is what all right-thinking folks call that 'placewoman' squatting on Blighty's top chair;  the placewoman (and her spawn) suckin' the Nation dry.  Remember, during that first big bun fight with Fritz Betty's gang changed their Fritzy family name to a more Anglicised  one (Windsor) so they could continue to rob poor old Blighty. 

 

So, Betty Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's English means The Queen's English.​

 

Ah, just to remember that wonderful night in July 1918 in Yekaterinburg.

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Thanks Maggie!

....and Sym,ye bugga,ye leave me stannin' when it cums ti wit!

A cudn't hae worked that one oot in a month o' Sundays......aam too much doon ti earth ti think like that....nice one!![..mind...aam still just a bairn when it cums ti wor royalty's history,a divven't knaa whoo's hoo!!]

Aam ganna get in contact with a local Publisher tomorrow,who a was advised ti hae a crack with.

"Ticketyboo press" is the name,so a might be a bit wiser after speaking ti this lad,who is local,apparently!

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Hi folks!

             Checked out above publisher,now thinking about self-publishing.

Sym,do you know about Grosvenor House Press?

£795 flat fee gives you 5 professionally bound copies,retain all your rights,publicity on Amazon,etc......so they say!![looks a good deal.....but any catches....I wonder!]

Any advice welcome from anyboody,bearing in mind I am a LONG LONG way from being finished my book!

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@HIGH PIT WILMA :- Were you at Choppington 'B' pit in 1965? This photo posted on the Past Times History Group, Facebook, by Gordon Smtih , chairman of the Blyth Local History Society (BLHS)  Gordon has named the lads but No 3 looks remarkably like Dennis Davies, lived in Burnside, Bedlington Station.

Did you know Dennis?

 

1965 Gordon Smith named2.jpg

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Hi Alan, aa was transferred ti Bedltn Aad Pit in 1965,from Choppington B Pit. Bob Muter and his Wife and family are very good friends of ours. They were our next door neighbours for decades, till they, and us, moved from West Terrace. Ken Sellick and me worked together at the pit, then Ken worked in the Medical Centre at thi Aad pit, aa went onto Coal cutting, hand filling, then on the mechanised Shearer coalfaces. A divvent knaa the other two.... aa was aan aad timer (21 yrs aad!) when these youngins came alang!... apart from Sellicka! When they were daeing aal this, aa was on the coalfaces, working different shifts, so a lost touch wi thi young recruits just afore a transferred. Great ti see this pic! Cheers Alan, and thanks for posting it! Bill. 

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15 minutes ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

Hi Alan, aa was transferred ti Bedltn Aad Pit in 1965,from Choppington B Pit. Bob Muter and his Wife and family are very good friends of ours. They were our next door neighbours for decades, till they, and us, moved from West Terrace. Ken Sellick and me worked together at the pit, then Ken worked in the Medical Centre at thi Aad pit, aa went onto Coal cutting, hand filling, then on the mechanised Shearer coalfaces. A divvent knaa the other two.... aa was aan aad timer (21 yrs aad!) when these youngins came alang!... apart from Sellicka! When they were daeing aal this, aa was on the coalfaces, working different shifts, so a lost touch wi thi young recruits just afore a transferred. Great ti see this pic! Cheers Alan, and thanks for posting it! Bill. 

Bill - names updated from your comment and Dave Shepard (Bedlington Facebook groups) has confirmed No 3 is Dennis Davies and Gordon Smith who posted the photo says it's from the Blyth News records and he is not surprised that any of the names were wrong :)

1965 Gordon Smith named2.jpg

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Thanks again Alan,a wonder if Davy Shepherd is my good friend's Brother,who is now very ill,a haven't seen Davy for a while,wud ye just say Halloww ti him from me,and if he is Mick's Brother,he will knaa hoo aa aam.

Thanks Marra!

Bill.

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10 hours ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

Thanks again Alan,a wonder if Davy Shepherd is my good friend's Brother,who is now very ill,a haven't seen Davy for a while,wud ye just say Halloww ti him from me,and if he is Mick's Brother,he will knaa hoo aa aam.

Thanks Marra!

Bill.

@HIGH PIT WILMA - I think it is Bill - I've asked him - let you know his response.:)

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On 24/01/2020 at 10:37, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

@HIGH PIT WILMA - I think it is Bill - I've asked him - let you know his response.:)

Dave says - 'Halloww' back and that he hadn't seen you for quite a while. 

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