18 Mulberry Road
The 'Jack' series of stories
This series of stories is very loosely based on my life. Many of the actions are mine, but when all said and done, 'Jack the Lad' is simply a story, just like all the books that will follow in this series.
The overall story is based loosely in reality, tracing the fortunes of the Ingles family in the West Riding coal fields around Normanton and Altofts. Theirs is a saga that could be replicated time after time in an area where scratching a living wasn't easy and where coal, drink, and occasional infidelity played integral parts in the life of the community.
Their story starts in the mid-1940s, and paints a picture of the privations endured, the dramas enacted, and the joys and sorrows shared in a town where all understood how hard it was to break free from the shackles of traditional coal mining community constraints. Potentially fifth generation coal hewers, William and Jack Ingles did just that. They achieved the unthinkable by defying their father's wish for them to become coal miners, but at what cost to them and to their close family?
Jack's cosy and well-planned existence is shaken by several devastating events from which he can foresee no recovery. His chosen path into adult life becomes all the more difficult because of it, and makes him realise how hard it can be to make the right
decision.The decisions he does make have far-reaching ramifications for him and for those around him.
A chance meeting in a cemetery in his home town throws Jack into a turmoil as he tries to come to terms with his ailing marriage to Lee. Emotions and feelings that he thought he had buried, are thrust to the surface again, as events spin him into an entirely unexpected direction.
Close family life never runs smoothly for Jack, as problems with his grandparents' health take him back to those times he experienced with his mam only a few years before.
Life definitely is not an easy rite of passage for this likeable and resilient young man
After all his difficulties, Jack's family life seems finally to be improving. Incredibly, however, his brother, William, throws an unexpected - and potentially catastrophic - spanner into the works.
Jack's memories of his days as a young teacher in his first school begin to fade as he struggles to accept that his dearly-held principles are being challenged and rejected by a new head teacher.
He makes a momentous decision that he hopes will steer him towards a successful future. Unfortunately, two unexpected events - the second of which could lead to disaster - force him to re-evaluate his life.
Finally, has Jack's courage and heroism brought him to a grim and undeserved end?
What effect will his perceived demise have upon his immediate growing family and his extended family circle that seems to be widening in ways no one expected?
Has William's Far Eastern dalliance during his National Service come home to roost, making Val decide that 'enough is enough'?
It seems finally that William's luck with job seeking has borne fruit - but how long will that last, given his track record?
Jack's life, both professional and personal, takes a number of unexpected and unsought for twists and turns that leave him unsure about his purpose and resolve.
His life has always revolved around his family in its widest sense,
supporting them in all their endeavours without question or condition. Now, it is their turn to return the favour.
However, will his legendary resolve and pragmatism see him through traumatic times, where he questions his own value and the loyalty of some of his family members? Will he be able to carry on steaming ahead to achieve his sometimes-questionable goals?