Mike Darracott is a Cornish born, disabled writer, Newlyn author of 'Proper Cornish Childhood'
Michael J Darracott has provided us with a brief account of his life and how he became an author and hopes that his life story will be an inspiration to everyone struggling with difficulties in their own life and how it is possible to overcome even the most unsurpassable of problems.
'After my dad's death I thought my whole world had come to an end, I struggled for years to come to terms with it, and at that time my mum had taken it very badly, my dad was just 47, and I had just got my first job upon leaving school.
Needless to say my mind was just not on the ball with my new job, after all, I had just had my dad’s hand almost broken, to release his hand from mine after he died, I still see this almost weekly especially before I close my eyes in the dead of night.
I then gave the royal army a go, but with my dad’s death still very much in the back of my mind, I only managed 5 months training and was so homesick being just 16, that I left.
I then by chance got a job in a cafe as a dishwasher, and became interested in catering, the boss gave me some simple food recipes to cook, and I loved it. So I was off to catering college to learn my craft. I came out of college as a qualified chef at the age of just 18, it was by now in my blood and I had finally found my vocation in life.
I got a 2nd chef position in the Lobsterpot Hotel in Mousehole; I prepared food for David Bowie, John Wayne, and Dame Judy Dench among just a few celebs I cooked for.
I stayed there until I landed a head chef job at the Camalot Hotel at the age of just 20, then with all my dreams realised, I went out one night with a friend as a passenger, and our car was hit by another car up near a place called Ludgvan Lease near Penzance at 90 MPH.
My seat belt snapped on impact and I was thrown right through the windscreen, next, the car that hit ours bulldozed the car I had been in, up on top of my neck head and chest, I was trapped for over an hour. I sustained 5 broken rips a fractured skull, right leg almost severed off while wrapped around the back axle of the car.
I was in hospital for 3 months, was told that I would never walk again, but I did, and these days you would think I looked healthy and normal, But Back then in 1976, there were no MRI machines to scan you in the hospital I was taken to. So, the damage to the back part of my brain was unnoticed, and for a further 22 years I suffered many medical problems that could not be explained, it was and still is a hell on earth. One of the lesser problems with my health is a constant ringing sound in both ears’ , constant since 1976.
Eventually I got a scan at the age of 42, I’m now 55, and the brain scan said that I had a rare brain disorder; the impact had made a small part of my brain start a downward movement to my brain stem, a cm a year or less, each year things get worse. I lost my best job week two at the age of just 20.
Since then I worked at anything I could get, but it was always hard, so at the age of 53 I took up writing, and published my first book, the book is all about my life before the accident, I now try to live off the proceeds.
So don’t give up, don’t give in, look deep inside yourself, remember who you are, and the positive things in your life will get you through. We are all tested some times, and we all feel isolated, ' why me!! ' there is no why, it just is, we can rise above any situation.'
His book describes his life before the accident and provides an insight into growing up in Cornwall in the 1960s when events such as the Torrey Canyon disaster were taking place, as well as normal day to day life throughout the years of his childhood.
Synopsis of Book
The picturesque fishing village of Mousehole and its surroundings, during the 1960s and 1970s, are brought to life in this personal memoir of a Cornish childhood. Born in Newlyn, Michael spent his early years living at Trereife Lodge and later became a chef at the renowned Lobster Pot Hotel.
The book is full of details of everyday life as seen through the eyes of a child. These include learning to cook with his mother in the family kitchen, family Christmas celebrations and the annual turning on of Mousehole lights. For those of us old enough to remember, the change from the old money to decimal currency was a big event, and this is covered in the book, one of many reminders of the 70s.
The Torrey Canyon disaster and its devastating effect on Cornwall’s coastline and wildlife are given considerable coverage. As anyone who remembers that era can testify, the beaches and harbours on both the North and South coasts were covered in thick lumps of oil for many years.
The author, as a boy of 10, watched the tanker on the Seven Stones reef being bombed to set fire to the remaining oil. There are many interesting insights and observations relating to West Penwith, and there is nostalgia for those of us who remember how things were and how things have changed.
A Proper Cornish Childhood can be purchased on Amazon by clicking on the link below.