Flights of Fantasy: An illustrated memoir, during and between two World Wars.
It's a story that began some 70 years ago when on occasional Sunday mornings, my dad would take me through the bomb damaged streets of Liverpool City centre. When it rained, I would pore over his watercolours and sketches at home.
He loved aircraft and when asked why he hadn't joined the RAF, his answer was "I tried. Too young to fly in World War One and too old to fly in World War Two. So instead of flying a fighter shooting down enemy bombers, I fought the fires from the bombs they dropped in the Blitz."
When he died unexpectedly just a few years later, I inherited his artworks, but they were missing. It was many years later when during a house move I looked in the rarely-ventured-into loft, to find an old tea-chest full of magazines. Buried beneath them was a cardboard box holding two books: one a dog-eared, hard-backed book with the water colours I'd seen as a child, the other was a Training Manual, with cartoons of his time in the fire service sketched on blank pages. Too good to squirreled away, I wanted to share them, a book seemed the obvious answer, but my work got in the way.
It did however give me time to think about an approach. During the years I lived in Ireland I listened to traditional Gaelic storytellers called "Seanchaí", wandering figures who passed on Ireland's oral history to ordinary folk. Tales in which dates and events were accurate, but described with a verve and dynamism conjured from the Seanchaí's imagination. It was a form of narration that struck a chord
Flights of Fantasy' is a lavishly illustrated memoir in which fact and fantasy are merged to give colour and atmosphere to the story of my father's childhood in Ramsgate during World War One, in Liverpool through the peaceful 20s and 30's, and on to the the contrasting grit of World War Two. It recalls the lives and bravery of ordinary people like aviators and the wartime firefighters as they fought the fires created during the Luftwaffe Blitz over Merseyside in 1940-41'
An early reader said, "Our copy came last week George. It's a fabulous book. Well done. The illustrations are so beautiful. Beautiful book ... ordering another two for a family member and friend who we think will love it."
"Flights of Fantasy" is obtainable in the UK (only) from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3alevsg
or during these difficult times, the publisher, World of Creative Dreams: https://bit.ly/37H4hm0