Thursday, May 28, 2020

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If Only They Could Talk by Ian Walker - Book Tour

If Only They Could Talk by Ian Walker

Summary:
Miles Goodyear’s whole life has been planned out for him.
Born into a wealthy brewing family in Chesterfield between the wars,
he knows he will go to the local grammar school, followed by St John’s College, Oxford.
After graduating, he will then follow his older brother into the family business
where he will remain until the next generation eventually takes over when he retires.

But life - and a series of bad decisions - go against him and, as a result,
things turn out very differently from what was originally planned.

If Only They Could Talk is the story of one man’s reflection on his life, his failed relationships,
his regrets and his dashed hopes. It’s about someone born with so much,
who loses everything as he struggles to cope with a changing world.
Or at least that’s what his relatives are led to believe as they clear out his house following his death.

Gradually, the house reveals its secrets,
but nothing his relatives find there can prepare them for the final twist to Miles’s story.


Information about the Book
Title: If Only They Could Talk
Author: Ian Walker
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 28th May 2020
Page Count: 270
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing


Excerpt

“We have entrusted our brother Miles Goodyear to God’s mercy, and now we commit his body to be cremated: earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust: in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our frail bodies that they may be conformed to his glorious body, who died, was buried, and rose again for us. To him be glory for ever. Amen.”

The service was nearly at an end and mindful that there was another cremation in ten minutes’ time the vicar continued: “Before we depart, the family has asked me to inform everybody that you are invited for drinks and a buffet at the George Stephenson on Newbold Road immediately after this service.”

The George Stephenson was a large brick-built pub dating from the 1950s. It stood on a main thoroughfare less than a mile from Chesterfield town centre and had been named after ‘the father of the railways’ and inventor of the Geordie miner’s safety lamp.

George Stephenson had resided in Chesterfield for the final years of his life. He was buried in the graveyard at Holy Trinity church, just down the road from the pub that now bore his name.

“We will finish by singing one of Miles’s favourite hymns, ‘Praise My Soul the King of Heaven’,” the vicar continued.

Mind you no one present could remember Miles ever going to church, let alone having a favourite hymn.

Once the service was over the congregation filed out of the crematorium and gathered shivering by the flowers, which had been laid out at the back of the main building. It was early January and the temperature was close to freezing on a dull, overcast day, a fact that only served to add to the overall gloom of the occasion.

“Well, it was a lovely service,” said Emma. “It’s just a pity that there weren’t more people here.”

“He was 92 and it’s an unfortunate fact of life that most of his friends died years ago,” commented Nigel.

Nigel and Emma were brother and sister, nephew and niece of the deceased and his closest living relatives. Although both of them had been born in Chesterfield, neither of them lived locally anymore. Nigel was the nearest as he lived in Ashbourne along with his wife Molly and Bruce, their black Labrador.

He was formerly the financial controller for Rolls Royce in Derby, joining straight from university. It was one of those good old-fashioned jobs for life, or so he thought until they offered him early retirement in 2018. Not that he’d been disappointed. It was manna from heaven where Nigel was concerned, as he’d worked for them for nearly forty years by then. So after receiving a six-figure severance payment he was able to start drawing his pension and spend more time pursuing his hobby restoring classic cars. In fact he’d just completed his latest project, a 1948 MG TC, which he’d discovered in a friend’s barn. It was in a truly dreadful state of repair and had taken eighteen months of painstaking work, but he’d finally got it back to its original showroom condition.

Nigel loved his hobby and the same was true of Molly who nowadays enjoyed one of her own. She’d taken up making pottery after the hotel where she’d worked as a receptionist closed back in 2017. Fast forward three years and she now designs and makes her own range of vases, which she sells locally at various craft fairs.

Nigel and Molly had been married for 35 years and although their interests didn’t overlap, they always made sure they supported each other’s pastimes. Molly attended classic car rallies and Nigel helped his wife at the monthly artisan market in Bakewell.

The two of them may have retired, leaving them free to pursue other interests, but the same was not true for Nigel’s sister and her husband. Emma was four years younger than her brother and was employed as a school secretary at a large comprehensive in Guildford. She was married to Ralph, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon working at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. He had just turned sixty and was considering retiring himself in two to three years time. But in the meantime his work kept him busier than ever.

Neither Emma nor Ralph had made any plans for their retirement. Work and children had taken up all their time for the past thirty years. But with the children now having fled the nest and retirement looming large for both of them, they knew they had to make some decisions pretty soon. Perhaps they’d travel. After all neither of them had taken a gap year when they were younger. They could always buy a campervan, just disappear and spend months travelling around Europe. Or if they were really adventurous, they could go even further afield.

But all that was for the future. Today was about family.



Author Information
Ian Walker was born in Chesterfield in 1956. His father was chief clerk for a brewery in the town
and his mother was a ballet teacher.
He went to Chesterfield School before gaining a place at Leicester University where he studied Chemistry
and Maths. After graduating he got a job working in the laboratory at Truman’s Brewery in Brick Lane London.
The following year he transferred to Watney’s Brewery in Mortlake, where he moved into the sales department
18 months later.
A variety of sales rolls then followed until eventually he ended up as Regional Sales Director for Scottish
and Newcastle in the West Country based in Bristol.
All this came to an end in 2006 when aged just 50 he suffered a stroke and had to give up work.
After 12 months of physiotherapy he felt sufficiently recovered to buy a pub in the North York Moors
along with his wife Eunice.
In the eight years that they owned it they achieved listings in both The Good Beer Guide
and the Good Pub Guide. They also were in The Times the list of the top 50 places to eat in the British
Countryside.
In 2016 he decided to retire and move back to Chesterfield where he hadn’t lived for 40 years.
He and his wife now live just around the corner from the house where he grew up.
He has two grown up sons by his previous marriage.


Tour Schedule


Monday 25th May

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Thursday 28th May

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