A Chequerboard of Nights and Days

A Chequerboard of Nights and Days


A compelling story based on the actual lives of a family living through the dying days of British Colonial rule in what was then Northern Rhodesia and is now Zambia, utilising extracts from the diary of Charles Barlow.

In 1945 Charles 'Chas' Barlow is a man in his 80s, with 3000 acres of farmland at Lemera, where he lives with his wife Beth who has a child called Rick from a previous marriage. As a stepson Rick is a burden to Chas, constantly owing money and not pulling his weight when employed.

With the birth of Rick's own first son, also named Charles, his wife Helene suffers serious postnatal depression and the elderly Chas and Beth find they are left to look after the new infant. Chas, in particular, becomes a real grandfather and mentor to the boy and this is later repeated with a second child named Jamie.

This real story of the two boys' upbringing, largely undertaken through the caring and indomitable spirit of Chas, together with the problems surrounding their parents, and those of running such a large farm, reflects strongly the historical background of the era, with all their lives so different to those in England at that time.

Gabriel Ellison has carefully woven a moving account which records the lives of Chas and Beth, and their close friends and grandchildren, using archival material from the period, with the book beginning and ending with poignant memories by their grandchild Jamie.

ISBN: 9781852001643 

Size: 217x140mm 

Binding: hardback 

Length: 262pp

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About the author:

Gabriel Ellison

Gabriel Ellison is a renowned graphic design artist and writer working from Zambia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and received an MBE for services to Graphic Art as well as an OGDS (Order of Distinguished Service). For many years she was a fellow of the British Display Society and the Chartered Society of Designers, and the Head of the Graphic Art Section for the Zambia Information Department. 

Her writing includes children’s story books published by Macmillan, UK and Bookworld Publishers, and also novels and non-fiction work of Zambian historical interest. Some of her stories have been broadcast on the BBC World Service.