And so it happened…

…that I found myself unexpectedly promoted to Patriarch of my small, but growing, clan. Soon after, it occurred to me that the entire reservoir of stories and legends about my family’s history resided, almost entirely, in my head.

This wouldn’t have been a problem if we lived closer together but, being scattered as we are, late night chats around the kitchen table over a couple of beers are few and far between.

I, therefore, proposed to record the stories and legends (face it, most of them are legends) gleaned from kitchen-table discussions of years gone by. The idea was exciting, but when it came to actually write it, I found myself stymied by the sheer volume of available stories, the confusing plethora of loose threads and the jumbled recollections of childhood, all swirling around in the cesspool of my consciousness.

It then occurred to me that writing out my memories, not as a straight-up memoir, but as a hodge-podge of tales, memories and lore with no logical order or narrative thread, might help me get a handle on it. And it has.

What follows, therefore, is a rambling, non-sequitur of a blog I’m calling The Patriarch Diaries. The ultimate intention is to produce something I can pass on to my grandchildren, as a means of introducing them to a time before iPads, flat screen TVs and Skype.

I have no illusions about them being grateful for my efforts, or even desiring to read them, but I think I owe them the opportunity to acquaint themselves with their past if they so desire.

It is with this hope in mind that I dive into the cesspool in search of diamonds, shiny nuggets, or, barring that, some interesting sludge.

I need to state here that these are my memories, filtered through my eyes and my experiences. It would not be unusual, therefore, to hear a different version of events from someone who shared that same memory. But even though memories of the events may differ, it doesn’t make one version, or the other, any less valid.

Michael Harling
Sussex, England
June 2020