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The Island Of Serenity
She found that man in my father, James John Ferguson. J.J. Ferguson, as he was known to everybody had also come from a type of royalty, as popular myth would have it. One of his direct ancestors was supposed to have been an illegitimate son of one of the King James’s. His mother, in a bizarre type of mirroring of the story of my mother’s family, (which is so unlikely that it could only be true), fed the young bastard with stories of his true nobility and of how, at some future moment in history, he would regain his true, noble status. This aristocratic, family heritage was passed on, from generation to generation, finally arriving at a miserable, terraced house, in the darkest streets of one of Glasgow’s dormitories for its army of dockers. J.J., like most of his generation was apprenticed into ‘the works’ and fought his way through to the end, to resurface some years later as a highly skilled engineer. He could, of course, have stayed, as chose most of his compatriots, to live and work, in and around the family and friends that they had known all their lives, but J.J., nurtured with stories and promises of a stolen birthright, knew that he was destined for greater things, gathered his few belongings and headed down South, ready to retrieve his fame and fortune. The poverty and hardship experienced by our Scottish neighbours, (speaking as one born and breed in the comfort of the English Southern countryside), over many generations, has produced a race, where survival has had to be fought for and hard working is the lowest level of effort. That said, when my father started working in an English factory, alongside the average English worker, it took hardly any time, (seven years, I believe), before he was promoted from simple worker to supervisor, to shop supervisor, to factory supervisor. The other national trait, much attacked and much maligned, is that of thriftiness. J.J. was surely true to his Scottish heritage on that regard. He lived as frugally as was humanly possible; where others of his level would buy themselves cars, fancy clothes, even houses, not to mention the money to seduce all manner of available women, J.J. scrimped and saved, schemed and plotted. All the time waiting for an opportunity; the hunter, patiently sitting on his rock, contemplating the horizon, confident that sooner or later, like an iron bar, to a charged electro-magnet, it would be attracted to him, and then, with one, swift, sure stroke, it would be his. The British economy seems somewhere to be heavily influenced by the fact that we are an island nation. Just as the tides can mount and parts of the country can find itself flooded, at other times, they recede so far away, that we can fear to be living in a dessert, experiencing weeks of parching drought. In much the same way, the economy has an unsettling habit of passing from boom to bust, which is to say, that there are periods of wealth, inflation and optimism, unfortunately, just around the financial corner, we find ourselves pitched into poverty, deflation and pessimism. During one of these, ‘up periods’, the factory owner, imagining that the economy would continue to boom for some years to come, borrowed a vast sum of money to expand his factory and earn himself a fortune into the bargain.