Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Random thoughts for plot and Notes for Research

Set the scene with an old man sitting in a wheel chair at the Pier Head in Liverpool. It is 2008 and the City is in the middle of celebrating it's year as Capital of Culture.

The old man is accompanied by a carer from the old people's home that he lives in. She is chatting away to him but he isn't responding. She panics when she realises that he has had what looks like a mini stroke.

The rational behind this tale is one of how we are perceived by other people. The old man is treated as just that, an old man, nobody seems to consider that he is a man who has a history far beyond their imaginings.

The man is Polish. He escaped from Poland during WW2 and travelled through Europe before getting on a ship to Liverpool

In Liverpool he starts work for a local builder, falls in love with the bosses daughter - marries her - become the father-in-law's right hand man and eventually takes over the business.

After his wife dies his children find him a very nice nursing home, no expense is spared - but the stroke brings back memories of his time in Poland and Europe that he has kept hidden for over 60 years.

We all see the old man but inside he can only remember being the frightened young boy who had to kill to escape the Nazis. When he first started working for his future father-in-law he was the hard man, the debt collector, the enforcer. I think that this hard man image is pivotal to the plot. He has to be ruthless in business but a gentleman at home. His wife is a lady and he treats her with love and respect. His children grow up with all the trappings of wealth never realising that their father is a ruthless operator with hard men of his own. His family are now very respectable and they don't know what he was like in those post war years. His son has taken over the business and is known as a good honest business man but is intolerant of his father, all he can see is a lonely old man who keeps interfering with the business. A lot of their work in based in London but the old man wanted to come back to Liverpool for the Capital of Culture.

For the story to be credible he would have to have been 15 years old in 1944 when he escaped. That will make him 79 in 2008.


Instead of him living in a nursing home I think that I will have him living alone in London/Surrey in an expensive house. He travels to Liverpool with his favourite grandson for the Capital of Culture and it is the grandson who has to cope dealing with hospitals etc after the stroke when the old man for a while can only speak Polish.

The grandson spends a lot of time with the old man and gradually learns some but not all of the story it is only after the grandfather dies that the grandson finds out the truth. He then faces the dilemma of whether to tell the rest of the family what he has learnt but I think that there could be a very emotional ending when he destroyed the evidence (??) and scatters the pages of his note book(??) in the Mersey on New year's Eve ie the end of 08.


  1. Polish names. The old man, his parents, 2 brothers and 1 sister
  2. Work out route he would have taken across Europe remembering it was during the last year of the war.
  3. Who does he kill and why
  4. Is he Jewish and if so would he have escaped earlier than 1944 (need to alter his age accordingly - he would have been born in 19290
  5. Street map of Liverpool for 1944
  6. Investigate the post war building plans for the city. Where would the builder have been working and is he just a landlord at first or is he an actual builder
  7. What was the posh area of the city where the father-in-law would have lived
  8. Was there a big Polish community in Liverpool and would our character have found them, maybe through the church?
  9. When was the building boom in London? hopefully our story would move on to there in the 1970s. It would be grand if the family were also involved in the development of Canary Wharf
  10. Where would he have found a ship bound for Liverpool and under what circumstances would he have been either given a job on it or stowed away on it.
  11. How were Polish names anglicized?
  12. When did the kinder ships leave Nazi Germany and did any Jewish refugee children end up in Liverpool?
  13. Get A-Z's of London and Liverpool
  14. Read up on Polish resistance fighters

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