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Jeff
Like the Viking kings of olden times, Jeff Parkes has the song of the sea surging in his blood. Born in the fishing centre of Hull, England, to a schoolmaster and a selkie (his mum has never denied this), Jeff has trained his heart in the ways of the tide, and his spirit in the ways of the wind.

“For as long as I can remember,” he says, “I've been fascinated by the trawlers that regularly left for the distant grounds around Iceland and Norway. As a boy I'd take my bike down to the fish dock and watch them steam out through the lock gates, or return with their holds full of fish (if they were lucky). Then, one day, having left school, I did more than watch. I went to the office of a trawler owner and signed on. Mum and Dad were horrified. So was a neighbour who had the sad task of informing relatives whenever a boat was lost or an individual trawlerman killed. Three had gone down within a few days (60+ men lost) only a few weeks earlier. However, and the proof is typing this, all was well and I returned safe and sound – with a hold full of fish!”

Jeff has given time to the sea, to the stage, and to the fascinating, never-ending search for the stories of the men and women who were sentenced to “transportation” from Britain to the far away convict colonies across the oceans. His book on this subject,
BEYOND THE SEAS can be ordered through Amazon.co.uk or through the Inveraray Jail Museum in Argyll, Scotland.

Jeff has worn the skin of an actor, a stage manager, a director, an author of numerous short stories and books, and chief guide at the historic Inveraray Jail, where his soul companion, Irene (also an accomplished actress, dancer, costumer, and history guide – “Matron”– at the Jail) used to lock him away as a prisoner and feed him broth and haggis, if he behaved. He later escaped to become the man with the keys – “Warder” – and was pleased to lock up anyone who wandered into the cells. Jeff has since retired from the jail to devote more time to adventuring. His and Irene's love for other cultures and zest for life have taken them to China, Thailand, Russia, the 14,000-foot peaks of America, and points beyond.

Home is the mysterious, romantic landscape where long-forgotten witches performed their winter solstice offerings to the sea gods and where the ghost of the immortal Neil Munro wanders still. This is the land of the mighty Clan Campbell who vanquished the MacNaughtan of Dunderave and put the MacDonald to fire and sword. This ancient landscape of broad-shouldered mountains and misty lochs and deep tangled glens where the red deer roam, is dotted with Neolithic tombs, mossy kirks with mossier grave slabs, haunted croft houses, and vine-choked castle ruins — a place of inspiration, a land for the poet's eye. InverarayYet Jeff's inspiration comes from many places, including the American West, which spawned his love for cowboys and “cwazy wabbits.” He can conjure the drawl and walk the walk of John Wayne, and almost don the “skin,” except the Duke never had the regal countenance of a Viking king... although once upon a time in Ridgway, Colorado, USA, Jeff wandered out of the True Grit and for one brief bowlegged moment, made the Duke live again. And nobody shot him.

Come see what his flock of swans is hiding!

Mossy Coyote
_________________________________
Kedmôgidaômwawôgan,
Wawidahômwawôgan,
Kwsilawakamigzowôgan
Compassion, Understanding, Respect


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