I wish someone had told me my writing roots run deep

“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Colin Ford.

My great-grandmother, Mary Ford, was a formidable woman. She and her husband, Henry (not the Henry Ford) were Christian missionaries in China in the early part of the last century. My grandfather, Colin – after whom I am named – spent his formative years in China and, according to family legend, was transported to and from boarding school once a year by palanquin.

To reach China these days we simply hop on a plane. But back in 1914, it was a different story. Grandma Mary outlined her voyage by ship and rail in a letter to an unnamed newspaper, although I suspect it was published in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, which her father Thomas Hodgson founded in 1860. It’s beautifully written, perfectly capturing the essence of the era. (I love the part where my grandfather, who was probably about four years old at the time, almost boarded the wrong train in the Russian city of Perm!)

Here’s the letter, along with a few bits of memorabilia from the time and place.

Colin is our resident wordsmith. He can write absolutely anything and loves to read, too. He even has his own book club.