You have to admit that true mysteries don’t cross your path every day. Nor do real long distance romantic adventures for that matter. It’s not every day that one gets invited to New York by a beautiful school teacher or to Italy by an Italian nurse with the voice of Sophia Loren.
But when three secret messages fell into my lap when I was flat broke and living alone in an old caravan in the Aussie bush, and there was this granny who was dead when she was around, if you know what I mean, everything in my life suddenly got interesting.
Was granny really a ghost? What was she up to? And what did it all mean? How did this all bring about a total life transition for me in my sorry state with no hope of a future worth living sending me off on an adventure worthy of a romantic Hollywood movie?
When my 72 year-old mother decided to research the family tree she got rather more than she bargained for when she found that Granny Fitz, her childhood companion, had died 17 years before my mother was born. Had she been living with a ghost? Who was she? And what was the huge message her granny was trying to give her?
With these clues I was led to the early British settlement of Australia (New South Wales) and Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land), a certain enigmatic Lieutenant Commander who was an unsung hero of early Australian history and, more shockingly, to the early romantic affairs of the Prince of Wales who became George IV and died with no heir to the throne.
Or so we thought.
First there was the actress, then the courtesan and, finally, the Catholic widow. Could the two be connected, the prince and his unrestrained affairs, and the unfortunate paupers, men, women and children, who sailed on those First Fleets to the antipodes never to return? Both at exactly the same time!
My story embraces five countries – Australia, New Zealand, the USA (New York/New Jersey), Regency England and Italy, and includes my romantic encounters with not one, not two, but three soul mates from the other side of the planet (thankfully not at the same time).
All this as I struggled to survive, living in an old caravan in the hills with all my worldly possessions stowed inside following the bankruptcy of my one-man freelance copywriting business, reducing me also to pauper status.
You’ll have to read my book and be amazed, entertained and compelled to read more. It’s a page-turner, I promise.
What was this all about then?
What emerges from her extensive investigations, in pursuit of the mystery of Granny Fitz, is that there were 3 secret messages committed to memory among 3 different members of her family each being unaware of the other 2 messages.
It was these messages that turned an innocent search for her family tree into a mystery involving the First Fleets that colonised Australia over 200 years ago, a naval lieutenant who played a significant yet largely unknown role in the early settlement of New South Wales (now eastern Australia) and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), the early delicate relations with the New Zealand maori and the amazing survival story of an escaped convict who lived with the local aborigines for 30 years.
He was in the thick of Australia’s only military coup and was charged with the responsibility of returning Governor William (‘Mutiny on the Bounty‘) Bligh back to England to face court martial. Even more surprising is a connection with the royal family of George III and IV (and their mistresses). Could he have been of royal blood? Who was this unsung hero, an enigmatic naval lieutenant, Acting Commander of the brig ‘Lady Nelson’, without a past?
“The readers will truly love this material.”
“The characters are fabulous, as is the storyline.”
“This is a fun and entertaining book.”
“I am impressed with your imagination, writing skills, and storytelling ability.”
(The Writers Literary & Publishing Service, USA)
My adventures with nothing.
While all this is going on my freelance business of 10 years crashes and burns and I’m declared bankrupt. I retreat to the small country town of Hepburn Springs in the hills north of Melbourne, ill and exhausted, where Swiss-Italians settled in the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. Not to mention homeless, penniless, jobless and friendless.
For the next five years I live in an old caravan parked outside a new friend’s home with everything I own stowed inside. I have a struggle to survive while, at the same time, amazing adventures happen and I meet amazing people. My series of articles on the early Swiss-Italians, published in the local newsletter, triggers the start of an annual ‘Swiss-Italian Festa’. An extract appears as the Intro for the Pasta Competition recipe book.
Suddenly, my mother collapses in her home and spends her last four years in a nursing home, having forgotten everything about Granny Fitz and the mystery. Her files fall into my lap and, next thing, I’m on a plane across the Pacific to New York to be met by a beautiful school teacher from New Jersey. I live like I’m in a romantic Hollywood movie for six months.
Then across the Atlantic to Regency England, to the places where my ancestors were born, married and died over 200 years ago. Was there a connection here between them and the royals of the time. If so, what was it?
Portarlington, Victoria 3223, Australia.
Dewey: Genealogy 929.1.
237 pages softcover, illustrated.
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My Italian affair living 4 months in the north of Italy.
A few years later I’m off to northern Italy, living in a small Italian alpine village between Milan and Venice called Monte di Nese. Still penniless, for 4 months I’m treated to a personally escourted tour of the most romantic locations on earth by an Italian nurse with the voice of Sophia Loren … Rome, Venice, Milan, Santa Marinella on the coast, Florence and Sienna in Tuscany, Sanremo on the Italian Riviera.
We drive through the Valle Brembana where the Gervasonis and others came from to mine the goldfields where I’d been living only a few years earlier. For the first time I see that my adventure had come full circle.
Life truths and mystical occurrences.
There was an extraordinary synchronicity with the events that, once the mystery had fallen into my lap, seemed to set me up on a journey which was none of my doing. Was granny’s ghost trying to give me the story which I ultimately wrote about in my book? Was this a story wanting to be told?
‘The Mystery of Granny’s Ghost: A True Story of Princes And Paupers And a Ghost With a Secret Across Five Countries’
Illustrations above by Jeff ‘Wizard of Draws’ Bucchino at http://www.cartoonclipart.com
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