Jeff Ellis

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About Jeff Ellis

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    AwesomeDude Author
  • Birthday 08/05/1944

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    Cambridge UK
  1. Thank you Pedro, I'm delighted to see that you enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to seeing it appear here. In fact extraordinarily little is known about life in the British Navy as it existed at the end of Oliver Cromwell's reign. In 1660 it set out, very reluctantly, to bring Charles Stuart back from exile in Holland, to make Britain a monarchy again. I was lucky to find the Journal of Edward Barlow, a lowly boy-seaman who kept a diary... just like Samuel Pepys, who as Secretary to the Navy is on the same ship's quarterdeck when they set out to find a King. Between the two diaries I was able to read virtually all that is known about life at sea at that period.
  2. I second all of the above. Cole really has caught the spirit of an eleven year old boy... his interest in things that he should... and in things that his mother would scarcely credit. Wonderfully entertaining...and gritty where it needs to be. Thank you Cole.
  3. Truly sad news. I greatly enjoyed his broadcasts. He and Rabbi Simchah Roth gave great hope that the Abrahamic faiths could find it in them to accommodate gay youth. The best thing a Jewish correspondent said to me was that his gay-congregation was dis-banding because the regular synagogue was now so accepting that a gay congregation was no longer needed. Those two men between them achieved an enormous amount for us, and Lionel Blue was by far the most visible gay cleric in the UK.
  4. Thank you Merkin and Cole, always a pleasure to see that someone is reading what we write :-) Merkin is absolutely right this isn't the Royal Navy ... it's The State Ships! It is due to appear here with Mike's up-market white on black graphics in a few weeks. There's a lot more of me in this one than I intended. Beware of allegory, like autobiography it can tell you more about yourself than you wanted to remember.
  5. BBC4 (still available on iPlayer in UK) broadcast Karl Jenkins "Cantata Memoria" his requiem for the lives lost at Aberfan. There is a truly horrific moment in it, and that's rare in choral music. The chorus is huge, with a number of adult choirs and a very large childrens choir in the centre. At the moment in the music that corresponds to the waste heap sliding... the childrens choir turns its back on the audience. Suddenly, the reality of what 116 children look like strikes home. It's a very striking hour of music. With Bryn Terfil singing pieces such as "Buried Alive by the National Coal Board" it could hardly be less than striking!
  6. Well, today Friday 21 October 2016 has been a sad day for my part of South Wales. It's hard to appreciate the scale of the impact in that village, especially on the other children, the survivors. In one class, only 4 of the 24 children survived, imagine... when you start classes again there are only four of you. Your friends are gone. In the junior school, there was a "year" with only two boys left. One of them was trapped for two hours with his face pressed against the cheek of a dead classmate. Half the children disappeared from that village that day, in a few minutes. When the Queen visited two days later... a four year old girl (too young to have needed rescuing) presented her with a bunch of flowers, with a card that said "From the remaining children of Aberfan"
  7. One of my absolutely favourite stories. You really mustn't miss this one.
  8. On 21 October it will be the 50th anniversary of the 1966 disaster at Aberfan, when a coal waste heap avalanched in a South Wales mining valley and engulfed a primary school. 116 small children, their headteacher and four teachers died, together with people in neighbouring houses... a total of 144 victims. It happened at 9.15 in the morning and despite heroic efforts nobody was rescued alive after 11.00 that morning. Huw Jones wrote a magnificent story here recounting a boy's emotional survival at the loss. It would be fitting at this time to read it here... A particularly moving locally written blog of the disaster can be read here... An unsung hero of the following night was the volunteer miner who stood on the remains of the waste heap (which was still moving). He stood there in the dark with a siren to warn the rescue teams if the tip started to accelerate towards them... His task was to sound a warning until he was killed... a great man. I never heard of his name.
  9. Darker than we are used to. I like it... a lot
  10. Aw shucks Rutabaga has stolen the word I wanted to use... delightful As always Cole catches the mind of a 13yo so well Is it my imagination... I think his recent work has a sharper edge to it. I find it attractive
  11. Gracious me, Cole. That is really kind of you. In many ways Adult Fiction was a wish-fulfillment story. All my friends were at school, and the school holidays could seem interminably lonely. To have actually met another boy like that would indeed have made my summer. Prehaps it's that intense desire for companionship that attracted you to it. Thank you. As they say... it's what keeps us writing.
  12. Many thanks guys, your kind words are much appreciated. I do believe the Boy and the Level was the first thing I published here and at iomfats, that is, on a "quality site". Shades of Gray was still a nifty style romp in need of vigorous revision at that stage. The conscious sequel to the Level was "Adult Fiction" set in the bookworms local library. Both AF and B&L are largely autobiographical in setting... its just that the bookworm is generally luckier than I was, for me school holidays were lonely and the library was a refuge from boredom (did you know Charles Dickens invented boredom... the word I mean) Incidentally the level in question was last used in WW2... as an air-raid shelter for the nearby grammar school. That wasn't my school, we wore a rather stylish black and silver. The locals wore green... I could never have lived with wearing green!
  13. It's hard to believe that he comes from the same nation as Donald Trump... until you realise that the poem is addressed to 14 year old Donald Trumps. The next generation of Trumps is out there, waiting their turn to take advantage of their place on the top rung.
  14. It's nice to see this short story in the blast from the past section. It was one of the first things I wrote, so it's close to my heart... Thank you Awesomedude. Read it here... I fear I have been silent for a long while, an emotional wobble and work on the next novel have distracted me, but the new work is nearly done, a naval tale set in the Restoration Fleet of 1660, a century before Hornblower and Ramage.
  15. Oh dear, I raced to check how badly wrong I'd got in Wandervogel. If I ever have a penguin I shall call him Ben.