Alfie Norrington was born into poverty in London’s East End in the first minute of the twentieth century. His life was a battle. From the Brick Lane markets where young Alfie pilfered and pickpocketed, to the trenches of Flanders, Alfie fought every step of the way.
Almost killed by a trench bomb he battled to recover and while in a military hospital Alfie made a promise that dramatically change’s his life. A true East End hero, Alfie begins his journey away from poverty armed with a robust moral compass and an open heart.
Becoming Alfie is the first in the Alfie Norrington series. It follows the life of a man who positively influenced thousands of people. The world needs more individuals like Alfie Norrington, that give much more than they take.
Author Bio – Born in South Essex close to the River Thames and directly East of London, my childhood was peppered with memories of the mighty river itself.
We would swim, fish and discover hidden treasure in the tidal mudflats with the fragments of clay pipes we found taking us back to another era. It was here that my inspiration for writing was born. I began to keep a diary of my observations from life and documented my feelings and thoughts.
My wife was twenty two and I was twenty four when we migrated to Australia with a glorious expectation. The sun was shining, the people were friendly and Sydney Harbour simply magnificent. Together we were committed to making the most of this opportunity beginning the next step in our lives. Everything was new which gave me endless writing opportunities that I recorded in my diary which had spilled over into a number of books. We travelled around this incredible country meeting people from all walks of life and from many nationalities. We lived and worked in a variety of capital cities enjoying each and every experience. All this was tremendous fodder for my writing.
I began to write short stories and poetry, none of which I sought to publish. By my fifty second birthday I was able to finish working and focus full time on my writing, the results so far are The Alfie Norrington Series with Becoming Alfie the first in the series of four. I hope that you enjoy reading Becoming Alfie as much as I did writing it.
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Guest Post by Neil Patterson
The freedom to write without constraint is one of the most wonderful aspects of being human. The citizens of the UK along with the majority of people in the world, can write whatever they wish, publish it in some form and discuss the contents locally or globally. It can be shared around the world at the press of a button. These are the two aspects that I would like to dig further into, the freedom of expression and the technology that allows us to hold, share and discuss our musings. Note, this is not about technology, just the concepts thereof.
Many of us have been terribly constrained by the Coronavirus pandemic for the better part of six months, with more to come so it seems. Hand-sanitising, face masks, isolation, devastation for some, loss of income and the rest, you know what I mean. Not one of us has needed to don our safety suits, boots and gloves to sit at our home computer and write. They concerned governments cannot fine me for writing without squirting clean smelling liquid on my hands prior to, or not registering that I am, in fact, about to write. Writing is Covid free, and whilst my trusty old computer may attract the odd virus I am certain it won’t be the virus that sounds like a famous Mexican beer, that has shut down our planet.
So we have complete freedom to write whenever we want to…. but do we have the freedom to write whatever we want to? Some years ago I was extremely lucky to meet with a truly inspirational man called Dennis Waitley and we discussed the concept of freedom in its broader sense. After a few minutes he said to me “Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. There can be no freedom without responsible action.” He was absolutely correct with that simple statement so let me apply this to the freedom to write. If the writer holds no responsibility for what they write, but just blurt out irresponsible tomes, is this acceptable? Or a leader (think of him as a fictional character, a former reality TV Show host who now is heavily involved in politics, you know him, he has a fabulous comb-over!) that ridicules other world leaders on twitter, is this acceptable? The amount of written violence, as I call it, that pollutes social media, is a perfect example of no consequence writing.
My point on the first part of this blog is that, as writers, if we crave freedom to write, then we must be cogniscent of the implications of our words. The written word, its power, its ability to evoke passion, to make your readers cry and laugh and all emotions in-between, is in your hands. Use it wisely Luke Penwalker!
The second point I raise is more an observation and for any of you who are under thirty and reading this, it will sound almost Victorian. Myself and my beautiful young wife arrived in Australia in February 1981 we had migrated. Sydney was just so far away from London in every aspect. We thought that we may never see our families again, a bit dramatic I know, but that is how isolated we both felt.
Now for the shock; this was pre-internet, pre mobile phone technology, pre desktop computing, pre any communications technology that you can think of, except the telephone. Can you, for just one minute, imagine writing your poems/stories by hand? There were no methods of contacting our families outside of Air Mail (I used to send my Mum an aerogramme each week, google it if you want to know more) and the telephone. Our rented flat didn’t have a phone so we used to book a call to speak with our families every other Sunday night at 8.00pm. We were ushered into a booth at Sydney’s main Post Office in Martin Place moments prior to the call and with one minute of our ten minute call remaining, the operator would come over the line and tell us. On the ten minute mark we would be rudely cut-off, then pay our $20 and miserably head home, some 20 minutes away.
The revolution in technology has changed the above forever. It has given us writers so much more scope, a greater audience, tools to help us find our audience and so much more. What a great time to be alive. You have the skill, you have the desire, you have the technology. Use it wisely Luke Penwalker
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