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1943 Anecdote

My  Mother was a very heavy smoker and as a consequence I was born with double pneumonia and spent my first six  months in Chingford fever hospital, dying, not dying.

Some years later she said to me “you were determined to  get me killed” I was somewhat taken aback by this statement, but she explained.

A policeman would arrive at the front door, no telephones in those days,  “He’s dying again” the policeman said, so my mother had to walk from Markhouse Road Walthamstow E17 to Chingford mount E4 every time I was dying

At this moment in time V1’s were falling on London and all around the capital were thousands of AA Guns firing at them as the Doodlebugs flew over, the shells exploded and all the shrapnel was falling down bouncing off the roads and my mother had to hide in porches and shop doorways to survive. That is what she meant.

The cigarettes eventually got her, a major heart attack when she was 57

I have enjoyed 77 bonus years having survived at the beginning.

Michael Biswell

Pen name Michael Douglas Bosc

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I have not often been asked why I write about sex, but this week a lady asked me why I wrote for Lesbians.  To say I was a little taken aback was an understatement, so I asked for an explanation.  It seems that after reading A Caring Killer she came to the conclusion that I write from the female to female point of view. Although I personally would say I write from a Bisexual point of view. Now it has never been my intention to write for one gender or another. I write because I like writing and being a normal male I also like sex. I feel that there has been a taboo on this subject for far to long. Plus I find that unless it is cruel or in your face, for some reason people do not find reading about it interesting.

I try to write with passion and a feeling of love. Here is a brief resume of both Jason Watson and Stanley Saunders two very different people living in very different times but with one link sex!

” Jason’s story begins in the late 1700’s relating of his adventures both in the Royal Navy of the day and ashore in Jamaica, where, because of his sex drive, he has some amorous adventures.  Jamaica in that time accepted having a mistress and a wife as normal, but it could and does get a little complicated when Jason’s women get together.  But running through all this is a love story, deep and open with a care for his wife that today could seem strange.  This love encompasses all aspects of married life including her relationship with his mistress who becomes her friend and lover, not to mention his affair with her sister.  History tells that the social acceptability that ensued in the Jamaica of the 1700’s, was not acceptable in Bath or London. It was quite acceptable for Jason to have a mistress or two but not for his wife.  In A Bengal Poppy I followed Jason’s activities in England via the Europe to China, where war, drugs and as always sex played a great part.

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Then there is Stanley:  Born to a single mother just before the war, she brings him to London where she takes to the streets to provide a home and food for them both.  When war comes she is recruited by the government however when she is no longer wanted, she again turns to the streets.  Here she meets and mingles with gangs, villans and other low life of London’s East end.  But Diane is a very resourceful woman. She saves hard eventually buying a home for her and her precious son. Stanley’s mother loves her son and he loves his mother who has provided for him and protected him, he loves her enough to kill for her – and does.  So begins his career first protecting her, then doing ‘odd jobs’ for various gangs finally becoming a skilled assassin. Through it all runs the love story of Stanley and Gillian who were school sweethearts.  Again the women turn to each other for comfort and relationships develop, but there is always Stanley getting his fair share of the action”

I asked her what she thought of the story line and the book in general. “It was fine. Fast paced, plenty of action, sex and intrigue. It showed me an insight into peoples attitudes towards lesbian relationships and politics, nothing changes does it. The action really worked and the sex was well written, not blatant just normal. – did Canada really happen like that? did you know Stanley well? – yes Michael I liked the book, now I shall have to read A Loving Son then A Fathers Kill to find out what happened.”

Telling life as it was for some people in the East end of London and not hiding its warts or scars, is a story of survival. Making things ‘pretty’ just to please the public is not good, life was often very un-pretty for Diane and Stanley. Along with rationing and making ends meet, went the seamy side of their lives. Prostitution, gangs, racketeers, corrupt police, murder and general mayhem. It was a dog eat dog world for some and to survive they did what they had to do.

Diane was no angle, she was manipulating, calculating and basically deadly. She adored Stanley but could control him as she wanted. The fact that she looked after her ‘girls’ was the one good point in her favour. She made sure they were clean, kept their bodies and general appearance in good order and spoke well. Afterall they were high-class ‘escorts’ and brought in the money, along with useful information. When the time came she also knew how to handle Rupert the ‘Man From The Government’ when he ’employed’ Stanley, and her marriage gave Reg promotion.

I suppose looking at the stories again, they are written from a womans sexual point of view. After all the girls like each others company and enjoy each others bodies. So yes if you look at it like that, I suppose it is written as a Lesbian sex novel. But on the other hand from a male point of view, Stanley has his sexy and attractive partner, then there is Gillian. So along with the adventure and action he has what he wants or has he?????

All my books are out on Kindle.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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Although I wrote about Stanley, but he was not my inspiration for writing Jason was.

I have always been interested in history especially Naval history, (and once again my sister has come up trumps, christmas pressie of three more naval books)  anything to do with ships and the sea I’m there.

Jason has a huge sexual appetite, but is an adventurer, sound businessman and good Captain.  He lets us into the social acceptances of the late 1700’s in Jamaica, then shows his compassion for the slaves on his plantation.   However, it is when he returns to England that things really hot up.

Sorting out his life, taking a mistress, then setting out on a most dangerous adventure. This he does not mind as he is back on the seas in the world he is most at home in.  He has his sexual adventures which become a little mixed up but he also shows how ruthless he can be when someone he cares for is harmed.

During the writing of this story I have written and re-written things.  Such as the attitudes to the Prince Of Wales and his spending something that was suffered by people too afraid to do anything about it.  There is an insight into the Prime minister’s life and attitude to his borrowing and spending, nothing really changes.  The city as it was then, was a strange creature but just as likely to fold as it is today.  So perhaps we should not be too surprised when things go pear-shaped.

But it is the way merchants got China to let go of their silver that is the main topic. Opium!  China would not trade in silver unless it was for this commodity. They would swap goods for goods but silver only for opium.  So of course, the merchants and governments plotted and schemed to get at it. The East India Company did very well in that department especially with Jason’s help and connections.

But the cost to Jason was a strange one, torture, near death and a princess for a wife. The how and when of this well, read the book and find out oh and look for the little bit of magic…..

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When you think of a forest  you picture tall trees, sun dappled glades, leafy paths, bramble patches, carpets of bluebells, swaths of primroses dotted with wood anemones. Flat tracks wending their way through the forest, perhaps a house here and there nestling in the arms of the trees, birds, deer, rabbits, foxes, badgers and other wild animals.

What you do not think of is war. Death, fighting, guns with bullets flying around, men fighting and dying on the terraces amongst the trees. A bloody time in Spanish history, when men fought their own people, even their own families, fighting for freedom and their rights – Civil War. This is the story of such a forest the one I live in and love.

The Bombed Church at Garcia

From 1936 to 1938  the Spanish Civil War  centered around this area, the river, train line, and mountains.  The village of Garcia was bombed by the Germans who used the civil war to practice their skills for when they took on England and the rest of Europe.  There the church was badly damaged, it has been left untouched, a memorial, and a new one was built in the village.

The rail bridge that crossed the Ebro was also bombed and destroyed  in an attempt to cut off supplies to the Republicans. It was later re-built in its present form providing a service to Barcelona one way and Llieda the other. Although passenger trains still run it is mostly freight that uses it now.

Memorial at Mora de Ebre

Every year the town of  Mora de Ebro re-enacts the crossing of the river and street fighting between the Republicans and Franco’s troops.  The town has erected a steel boat in commemoration of the event and planted a shrub at each corner.  On Catalan Day, the various organisations the Petanca Club included, lay flowers there.

The Republicans fought Franco and forced him back as far as Corbera de Ebro. The Russians, who had been supplying the Republicans with arms, stopped the supply, and the last battle in this area was fought at Corbera de Ebro. The village being raised, has been left as it was, their memorial to those who died both soldiers and civilians. A new village has grown up around the ruins and a thriving wine industry has developed. Amongst the fighting men of the International Brigade was George Orwell whilst Ernest Hemingway wrote for the North America papers, keeping people informed of the struggle

Since we have lived here I have dug up bullets and machine gun ammunition, some of it still live. We took a batch to the  History museum at Gandessa, here they have a pictorial history of the war as well as artifacts. Here we found out the just what the fighting had meant and saw a photograph of the railway bridge at Garcia destroyed by the Germans.

At peace

But that was then.  Today the forest is a place of quiet, with a sense of peace and safety. The only disturbance is the odd vehicle or bicycle going up or down the valley.  The track that wanders towards our farm, twists and turns its way through it, crossing the baranca then upwards and onwards. It is rough and stony, kept as natural as possible allowing nature to repair and heal its scars.

Parts are in dappled shade others in full sunlight, tall pine trees line the way whilst the natural oak trees, more like bushes than trees, dotted here and there, fight for their place in the ecological way of things. Today that is the only type of battle here, takeing a walk along the track reveals birds and flowers of  various types, some already known others new and interesting.

           

At this time of year the forest comes alive. Grape hyacinths, minature daff0dils, asters, poppies and much more flora than I can name. These are followed by wild Jasmin and Honeysuckle their perfume filling the evening air. The one flower we look forward to seeing is the little Orchid that grows under one of the olive trees. It’s small but perfect blooms are the highlight of the season, small purple slippers on green stems.

On a logging trip

I forage for fallen trees to stock up the winter log pile, noting where the squirrel drays and the misletoe balls are.  There are all sorts of shrubs and trees to be seen if you look between the pines. We have the odd Carib tree, Witch Hazel its stems corkscrewing skywards. There is one bush which spreads and covers a wide area, green with a reddish tinge in winter, which in spring is covered with red berries a birds delight.

To one side of the house is a terraced hill from where the views are spectacular, the local hunters  hunt there during the season on Sunday mornings.  Sometimes they shoot a wild boar but more often than not they leave as they arrived empty-handed.

A Squirrels Dray

The squirrels here are dark red almost black in colour. Thin furry sticks of mischief with pointed ears and a thick bushy tail, they dart along the branches of the firs playing games of run and jump.  It is later in the year we notice them more, when they are hunting for their winter stores. There is a Dray near the small house which is refurbished from time to time.

I have tried not to disturb my surroundings in the years I have been here.  Because I do not use chemicals on the land, the birds and insects have gradually returned to their habitat.   The olive trees, some hundreds of years old are doing well and with selective pruning, provide enough oil for the year.

Considering what has happened here over the years we feel safe. It is as if the forest envelops us in a healing of souls, just us and nature. This then is my forest valley, my home.

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