Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Conclusion of Paris in July

So, we have reached the end of Paris in July and it has been rather fun!

Here is the round up of the various posts that I have published.



Paris in July was hosted by Karen from BookBath and Tamara from Thyme for Tea.

You can see a list of all participants for Paris in July HERE

The Siren of Paris by David Leroy

Amazon Summary

In German occupied Paris, a group of unlikely people join in collaboration to smuggle Allied airman south to Spain. One of those intrepid heroes happens to be American. The Siren of Paris, the debut work of historical fiction by David LeRoy, tells a searing story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, and war that brings to vivid life the shimmering City of Lights during its darkest hours during World War II.

The story starts in 1939, when Marc Tolbert, the French-born son of a prominent American family, takes off for Paris to follow his dream of becoming an artist. Marc’s life soon sparkles in the ex-pat scene in Paris. His new friend Dora introduces him to a circle that includes the famous Sylvia Beach, owner of the bookstore Shakespeare & Company; and he accepts a job with William Bullitt, US ambassador to France. At art school, he finds himself further enchanted by the alluring model Marie.

Marc’s Parisian reverie, however, is soon clouded over by the increasing threat from Germany. As Americans scramble to escape Paris, he finds himself trapped by the war, and nearly meets his fate on the disastrous day of June 17, 1940, aboard the RMS Lancastria. Upon returning to Paris, his fate grows more troubled still, as he smuggles Allied airman through the American Hospital to the Paris Resistance underground, until a profound betrayal leads him into the hands of the Gestapo and onto Buchenwald.

Rigorously researched and vibrant in historical detail, The Siren of Paris reimagines one of history’s most turbulent times through the prism of an American abroad in Europe’s most harrowing days. Poignant, gripping, and thought-provoking, The Siren of Paris mines the human dilemma of revenge versus forgiveness, and vividly captures the conflicted state of survival.


Excerpt:

     Marc decided to walk home instead of taking the Metro. He approached one of the main boulevards that led from the east train station. All along the road, people carried whatever baggage they could manage. A few were injured. Marc stood on the side of the street and watched as they passed. At first he was going to cross over, but then decided to join the crowd and walk for a bit. He knew after a few moments where they were going. He could overhear them speaking among themselves in French or Dutch. After crossing the Seine, and walking a few more blocks, 

     Marc briefly lost track of time. It had not been long, maybe only twenty minutes or so. The crowds grew denser. There was less room to walk on the sidewalks or even the street. In another block, he could see the faƧade of the station in front of him. He did not walk any further, and instead turned around. He walked against the crowds coming down the street, turning his back to the south train station with a horde of people before it. A herd of goats being led by a peasant farmer did not faze him, because livestock had now become common in Paris. After another thirty or so minutes, he stood in the street below his apartment. Bricks crushed a car on the other side of the street. People took what they could from the building. Marc stood in shock, as he looked directly up into the parlor room of his fourth-floor flat. He made his way in through the door and up the marble staircase as others were coming down. Marc opened the door to his apartment, and the evening breeze gently flapped the drawing he’d done of Marie back in early December. 

     He turned over the armoire, pulled out the clothes, and packed his bags. He found the keys that Nigel and Dora had given him. The bowl’s rose-colored glass lay shattered on the floor. He stuffed the francs from Dora into his jacket. Marc felt cold and detached as he gathered his belongings. He fully accepted the loss of the wall to the outside street below. It did not bother him at all that he was not sure where he was going to stay. He had two sets of keys, after all, for two other Parisian apartments. They could not have got all of them, he thought to himself. Nothing could take his mind off the crowds at the south station. The desperate voices, the stares of the other refugees looking to flee the city, echoed in his mind. Before he left the apartment, he looked around. He saw the drawing again on the wall, and remembered with a small laugh what the instructor had said. “This is what you came to France for, Marc.”

(LeRoy, David. The Siren Of Paris)


David Leroy did extensive research on the German occupation of France for his debut novel The Siren of Paris. This historical novel follows the journey of one American from medical student, to artist, to political prisoner at Buchenwald Concentration Camp during World War Two.

You can purchase The Siren of Paris in Kindle e-book format from 
and learn more about this author and novel at http://www.thesirenofparis.com/

For more information about this virtual book tour, please visit -- 
http://bookpromotionservices.com/2012/05/22/siren-of-paris-tour/


Taking part in Paris in July which is hosted by Karen from BookBath and Tamara from Thyme for Tea

Stay tuned for an author interview and a book review.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Ramblings from my Desk.....(7)

It has been a couple of months since my last Ramblings post, so I hope that I am forgiven. The time has ticked by very fast and I looking back I am not too sure what I have achieved.

The biggest issue has been on the work front and I am in the process of taking my research business to the next level and adding the additional focus on bits of the day job - mainly in terms of training and care home work. I need to add the day job focus because of the rules around registration with the regulator, but as soon as I am set up being an employee is looking to be a thing of the past.

On the genealogical front, I am still plodding away researching, filing and trying to get organised and if I see another stack of papers anywhere in my study I shall scream. I had no idea I was SO messy! I really need to get into the habit of replacing into the filing cabinet items which I have removed. If I achieve that then that will solve the problem.

I am quite behind on some of my genealogical blog posts, which I find irritating. If I take part in a weekly series I do like to post in order, but I have a bit of a plan and all should be resolved soon.

On the book and reading front I seem to have acquired an enormous amount of books to review. They are like buses, nothing for ages then four (or more) at once! I have been given the opportunity to write regular blog posts for Historical Fiction which is wonderful and I am still contributing to the not so frequent Graveyard Rabbits blog - in fact I have a post due in a few weeks. I have also been asked to write a piece for Any Subject books, which should be finished in the next few days.

Alfie our lovely Border Terrier gets cuter every day. I had a few days away last week, joining hubby where he was working - more on that later. Our friends looked after Alf and from the looks of him he had a wonderful time. He had a walk on the beach and managed to find a very wet patch of sand. The result was he needed a bath, which is not one of his favourite pastimes!

The Olympics has just started and I wish the team members of Team GB lots of successes. I am not especially sporty. Sports at school was an inconvenience, as it reduced my reading time. Then when I got to about 12, I was introduced to hockey and that became a real passion. I kept playing for a while after my school years, but gradually it was a hassle to play, it caused huge discomfort to my joints and I eventually stopped. As a colleague said  recently "built for comfort not for speed!" and I could not agree more!

Well. that is it on the ramblings until next time.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Address Unknown by Kressmann Taylor

Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann TaylorOriginally published in Story Magazine in 1938, this is the fictional account, through letters of an America Jew called Max and his German friend Martin. 

We join the story as Martin and his family relocate from America back to their homeland of Germany. They have been business partners and friends and once the relocation happens Martin and Max continue their business dealings and friendship with Max sending Martin chatty letters which contain brief financial details.

The year is 1932. Germany is not in a good shape, there is poverty. We are at the eve of the rise of Hitler in Germany and he is bring hope to the people....

Over the coming pages we see the once sturdy relationship and friendship of Max and Martin come under strain. Martin is greatly influenced by the political developments in Germany and how those of Jewish descent are being treated. Max continues writing, despite Martin asking that he does not and at once we see the formation of censorship and those who receive certain letters being held to account. We see the division of a nation driven by the policy of Germany at that time. The book concludes in March 1934.

Although a slim volume, just 95 pages this book has left a lasting impression. This is certainly a classic of the 20th Century and this is most definitely a case of less is more.

There was a play broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The various episodes are available via YouTube and they are just as powerful as the book.

The Olympics - London 2012 - Reading Challenge

Well, the opening ceremony was beamed around the globe last night and I was blown away by the ceremony. OK there was the occasional cringe moments, but overall it was an amazingly well produced and arranged ceremony.

As I sat and watched the presentation of the Countries participating in the Olympics I was surprised at some of the names - some I had never heard of, some were new Countries, those created following the collapse of the USSR.

My mind wandered very slightly across to books and I wondered if I could read a book written in or by an author that represents all of the Countries participating in the 2012 Olympics? I think I can and therefore I will set myself a personal reading challenge which will commence today on the first full day of the Games and conclude on the day of the next opening ceremony in 2016.

Whose going to join me? You can read the details HERE

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Olympics - London 2012

We are just hours away from the Olympics opening ceremony. The Olympics runs from 27th July  through to 12th August. The focus seems to be typically on London, but there are numerous other venues around the Country taking part. The official website is HERE

I came across the following video which is about how the BBC Olympic theme was created for the opening ceremony.



Here is the video featuring the famous band Muse, who has links to the Devon town that I live in. This is the official Olympic song.



This morning I was reading the Daily Mail on-line and spotted that an article that there was to be no official photograph of Team GB. A sports photographer from the Daily Mail then set about photographing all the athletes taking part.

Although all 541 of Team GB are representing us as a Country they are not all going to be in the same place, so with the aid of some technology a single photograph of the individual athletes or small groups of them has been taken and then it has all being pieced together.

GB
Courtesy of The Daily Mail
You can read the full article with names of all the participants of Team GB and see a video of how it was all done HERE. From what I can establish this is of the Olympic Games, and I hope that the Daily Mail will produce something for the Paralympic Games.

The Olympics - London 2012 runs from 27th July  - 12th August 2012
The Paralympics - London 2012 runs from 29th August - 12th September 2012

Good luck to Team GB!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Inside the Olympics by Nick Hunter

An interesting book looking back to the start of the Olympics and the revival of it through the International Olympics Committee. 

The book features the early aspects of the Olympics from its conception in Greece through to the most recent Olympics to be held in London 27 July - 12 Aug 2012. 

The involvement of women at such events from women being unable to watch let alone participate in the games to the very fact that women play an considerable part in the games. The book also includes the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

A well planned book showing not just the history of such an event, but much of the behinds the scenes planning.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Library Loot - 23rd July


My book group met on Monday, so I tied this is with a trip to the library to return one of the books I read last week and renew a book that I have had at home for far too long.

As always I could not resist looking at the shelves and left with a few books.



Butterfly soup by Jan MarshThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by…Riptide Volume 7 (Riptide Journal) by Bill…

The book we discussed was Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which I did not enjoy. You can read my review HERE. For me the mix of genres didn't work and from the discussions around the table only one of the group enjoyed it.

The next book for the group was issued, so I shall see what that is all about over the coming weeks.

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Taking part in Library Loot and you can read the details HERE

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Guest Post - Anne M Powers

Author ImageI recently had the opportunity to interview Anne Powers, author of the recently published A Parcel of Ribbons - The Letters of an 18th Century family in London & Jamaica. Here is what Anne had to say -


As you researched the story of your ancestry was it always your  intention to publish this as a book or did it just happen that way?

I had no idea that what I would find would be so interesting or worth writing a book about – but when I found the Lee letters I felt they deserved a wider audience. That’s how the book came about, and while I was working on it I felt I wanted to share my Jamaican research, so that was how the website was born.

What was the biggest surprise as you researched and wrote ‘A Parcel of Ribbons’?

The biggest surprise was discovering the connection with Jamaica. I had been searching for an ‘Indian Princess’ and had spent quite a lot of time looking at the Lee family of Virginia, searching for a family Pocahontas. I knew there was someone called Richard Lee in the family and I had found his Will which connected him to my mother’s great grandmother. Then I found his 1851 census entry. This was the first time place of birth was recorded and I was astonished to find he had been born in Jamaica in 1765. Had he not lived to such a great age I’d probably never have realised the family had been in Jamaica, nor that my ‘Indian Princess’ came from the West Indies.

Are there any tips you would like to share about the research or publishing stage of your book?

Most of my research has been done on the internet, or by contacting people directly. People are incredibly helpful when it comes to family history research and I wrote to a number of people along the lines of ‘You have no idea who I am, and do feel free to bin this letter, but....’. On numerous occasions people got back in touch, often to say they could not help, ‘But, do try my cousin so-and-so’. I always enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope and give full details of my email and phone so they can choose how to make contact.

Although so much material is now available on-line, including wonderful scanned images of parish registers and other documents, there are times when only an actual visit to see an original will do. The best advice I could give for that is to be sure you know in advance what you are looking for, that you have all your own id with you to register as a reader, and to allow plenty of time. We are so used to instant access on-line that sitting waiting 40 minutes for a document to be brought up can seem a slow process, especially if it is handed out one page at a time. Plan to have something else to be getting on with while you wait – even if it’s just grabbing a coffee!

As for publishing, I decided to go down the print-on-demand route as it gave me full control – the down side of course is that you do have to do everything yourself which otherwise would be handled by an agent and a publisher. I am very happy with how the book has turned out – now I just have to hope others are too!

What's next?

There are always stories that pop up on the fringes of what you are researching – which is why my ‘Jamaican Connections’ database on Ancestry now has over 5,500 individuals, and my family one is almost as big. I record lots of people who may not be of interest now, but who might be relevant one day. I am intrigued by the story of the Rooker family. Lydia Rooker is mentioned in my book as the ‘lady from Chelsea’ with a fortune, who married schoolmaster William Rothery. She had several sisters who made interesting marriages (one whose husband made his fortune in Jamaica) and a brother involved as a key witness in a court case concerning the murder of two little apprentice sisters. I’d like to find out more about them.

Synopsis
Set among the sugar plantations of Jamaica and the balls and masquerades of Georgian London the story is told by the Lee family in their own words. In 1749 thirteen year-old Robert Cooper Lee sailed to Jamaica taking a parcel of ribbons for sale. When his family was left all but penniless, Robert and his brothers forged new lives in Jamaica, fathered children with women who were the descendants of slaves and supported their sister left behind in England. Robert returned to London with his family in 1771. A prominent attorney, respected throughout Jamaica and among the West Indian lobby in London, he had built a fortune that enabled his children to mix with royalty. This remarkable collection of letters tells a story of triumph against adversity, of a family that suffered sickness, bankruptcy, sudden death, a clandestine marriage and an elopement. Through it all the bonds of family endured.

A Parcel of Ribbons - The Letters of an 18th Century family in London & Jamaica was published in July 2012 and is available from HERE

Anne's website to accompany the book is at http://aparcelofribbons.co.uk/

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutRecently read for my book group. I really struggled with this one....again.

I first came across this book when I was sitting my English O Levels back in the mid 1980s. I hated the book and struggled to get into the book then, finally gave up and together with a friend we clubbed together and purchased the study guide! More than 25 years later I was confronted with the book again. I still dislike the book, but this time I read it.

I simply did not understand the need for the science fiction part of the story. Was this the way the author copied with his feelings of survivors guilt I wondered? For me the story had to be either about his time as a prisoner of war, which he spent in Dresden or a science fiction novel, a mix of the two did not work for me and I was relieved that I finished the book.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Historic Tapestry

I am excited to announce that I am to become part of a regular and established group blog called Historical Tapestry with four other people -

Ana of Aneca's World

Kailana of The Written World

Marg of The Intrepid Reader

Nannette of Confessions of a Recovering English Major

Why not nip over to Historical Tapestry and read my introductory post

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Guest Post - Gillian Mawson

I have recently had the good fortune to interview Gillian Mawson, author of the forthcoming book, Guernsey Evacuees. This is a fascinating subject and I am delighted that Gillian agreed to be interviewed. Here is what Gillian had to say -

What was it that inspired you to research the topic of Guernsey Evacuees?

In early 2008 I was researching the Manchester Blitz of December 1940, when I discovered a June 1940 newspaper which described the arrival of thousands of Guernsey evacuees in England. 2,000 of them arrived in my home town of Stockport, Cheshire and I knew nothing at all about these evacuees. I tried to find out more but could discover very little, and I realised that this was an untold story of the Second World War Home Front which needed to be captured. This prompted me to trace surviving evacuees, when I discovered that many had not returned to Guernsey after the war, but had remained in England. As I began my interviews in England and in Guernsey, I was gripped by these previously untold stories and, due to the advanced age of the evacuees, I decided to record as many stories as I could before it was too late. I left my full time job as a university administrator/researcher to pursue this Guernsey research more fully, and I have now interviewed almost 200 evacuees.

At what point did you realise that your research could become a book?

Between 2008 and 2010 I began to put together the various pieces of the Guernsey evacuation story and it was similar to putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I realised quite early on that these emotional and untold stories would make a great book, but I was intent on continuing to collect as many personal stories as possible. Last year I was delighted to be approached by the History Press who asked me to write a book for them. I chose to write a book aimed at the general public rather than to write an academic book. I want to bring out the very human element of these evacuee experiences – the joy, the sadness, the family separation, the courage and determination, and the bonds that were formed between many of the evacuees and their neighbours in England. Many of these bonds continue today.

What was the most surprising thing you learnt from your research?

Guernsey evacuees arriving in
Cheshire, Summer 1940
I was surprised by the way that these evacuee experiences gripped me, due to the emotional issues contained in each unique evacuee's story. The research practically took over my life. I was not only drawn into the history of the island of Guernsey, but also drawn in to the story of the English Second World War Home Front in a way that I had not previously been. Five thousand school children were evacuated from Guernsey with their teachers and some of these schools were re-established in England for the duration of the war.  Thousands of Guernsey mothers left home with their infants in their arms and little else, and created new lives for themselves in England. In addition, the Guernsey evacuees' contribution to the British war effort during the Second World War was amazing! 

I have formed friendships with many of the evacuees I have interviewed. I attended an evacuee reunion in Guernsey in May 2010, and in June 2010 I organised an evacuee reunion in England which was attended by evacuees, their friends and many local people. After this event I set up a community group for the evacuees who remained in northern England after the war, to enable them to share their wartime experiences with the local community. I also produced a short documentary film about 'Guernsey Evacuees in Lancashire, England', with my colleagues from Bury Archive Service. I sell copies of the DVD via my website to raise funds for our evacuee community group.

We also speak to school children and museum audiences to bring home the story of the Guernsey evacuation, and this brings the younger and older generations together in a unique way. I also organise 'Guernsey evacuation' events in museums and galleries. 300 people attended our event in Stockport in October last year, which was filmed by the BBC. You can watch an online clip of the event at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-guernsey-15536660

How easy was it to conduct the research & interviews?

I prefer to interview evacuees in person, but I sometimes have to conduct interviews over the telephone as I cannot always afford to travel to their homes. I have travelled around England interviewing evacuees who did not return to Guernsey after the war.

I have visited Guernsey six times and spent most of that time interviewing people. A typical day includes interviewing an evacuee in the morning, another at lunch time, another in the afternoon and sometimes one more in the evening! The cost of travelling from England to Guernsey is prohibitive, so I have to do as much as I can each time I make the journey. I also try to squeeze in a trip to a Guernsey archive during these visits. Sadly, this leaves little time for me to undertake any sightseeing on that beautiful island!

I have used the internet recently too, contacting evacuees via email to ask if they could email their story to me. I have also been approached by evacuees through my website, and also through Twitter where I can be found as @Guernseyevacuee

What's next?

I hope that my book is successfully received by the public, and I hope to write another. I have a number of ideas for books, all relating to the British Second World War Home Front. However, I will continue to capture Guernsey evacuation stories for as long as there are evacuees around to share them with me. There are so many aspects of the evacuation that are still a mystery to me. I will also continue to work with my Guernsey evacuee community group for as long as they are fit and able to share their stories with the public.

My book “Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War” is available for pre order now, via amazon.co.uk, and amazon.com - published on 1 November.

My website and blog can be found at:

and you can read my diary of an evacuated Guernsey Mother at:

Gillian, Very many thanks for such a great interview, and I am really looking forward to reading and reviewing Guernsey Evacuees.

Images courtesy of Gillian Mawson and published here with permission.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Library Loot - 18th July

Having read a review of Address Unknown by Kressman Taylor last month I ordered it from the library. I went to collect it yesterday and have devoured it already. A review will be up shortly.

I hadn't planned on selecting any more, or at least until next week, but just as I was leaving I spotted One Musician's War on the shelf and hesitated just for a moment. Thankfully I had hubby's library ticket so that one went on their as I already have 12 books out in addition to the 3 e-books I wrote about last week.

Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann TaylorOne Musician's War: From Egypt to Italy…

Taking part in Library Loot and you can read the details HERE

Franco - British Exhibition, held in London England in 1908

I love to collect commemorative things. It really all started when we bought our late Victorian house and we wanted to decorate the house with some plates and alike from the Victorian age. We then spotted some plates and saucers that were made to commemorate the Jubilees of 1887 & 1897 for Queen Victoria and suddenly an obsession was born. Gradually we acquired small items that were produced to celebrate a particular event and this postcard is one of those items. 

Produced for the Franco - British Exhibition, held in London England in 1908.


Notice, how the sender has fixed the stamp to the front of the card, rather than the back.





Taking part in Paris in July which is hosted by Karen from BookBath and Tamara from Thyme for Tea.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Sew Deadly by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Tori is delighted to have been offered the job of town librarian in Sweet Briar, South Carolina, to get away from her cheating ex. She starts gently revolutionising the library and adds a children's corner to the library and then starts to win over the women's sewing circle. Just as her life is starting to settle and she becoming accepted a local girl is murdered and found at the rear steps to the library.

The police investigator thinks Tori is the culprit and gradually the towns folk start to believe him. Tori has to rely on her new friends to help her prove her innocence.....

A really easy read and the first in a series.....

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday Salon - Reviews, writing and further ponderings....

Over the last week I have been catching up with writing up my book reviews.

The Twitter Diaries by Imogen Lloyd Webber and Georgie Thompson is the story of friendship that forms across the Atlantic and consists of the 140 words permitted by Twitter.


A Postcard from Umbria by Damaris West was next and is the realistic view of moving from the UK to Umbria and building a new life there.




Poetry is Dead, Living is Not by Jay Hobbs
is a collection of poetry, both in a traditional sense and includes some religious verses.

My final review for the week was Impeccable Petunia  by Katie Christine with illustrations by Jonathan Edward the story of a hen and her owner. This was a lovely story with a nice feel good factor!

And if that wasn't enough I have been continuing with the huge task of adding my home library to Library Thing and catching up on a few of the genealogical type threads that I enjoy participating with.

I have also written a few posts again for Paris in July and they can be accessed HERE where I have been enjoying reading the recipes in the cookbook I featured last week Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo.

My current read is Turtle Island by Sergio Ghione about Ascension Island and the book ready for the local book group is Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut.

Impeccable Petunia Part 1: Claws, Paws, Feathers and Jaws by Katie Christine & illustrated by Jonathan Edward

A delightful and gentle book about a hen called Petunia who lives as part of a brood in the garden of a house.

Petunia is almost an outcast in the hen world. She likes to enjoy the sunshine and flowers and develops a relationship with the owner of the house and the owner's cat called Macy.

The hens disapprove and feel sure that Macy and Petunia are plotting against them.

This is a story of love and affection between a hen and her owner. With lovely illustrations (http://impeccablepetunia.com/)

Disclaimer - I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

A website accompanies the series which can be accessed HERE

Poetry is Dead, but Living is Not by Jay Hobbs

Poetry is Dead, but Living is Not is a collection of 3 books of poetry written by Jay Hobbs. Not a huge volume, just 95 pages but the collection is thought provoking and emotional.

Within the book is a huge variety a poems starting with life, love and death, which are typically traditional themes of poetry, it then moves on to Religious inspired poems and then concludes in the third section with a mixture of traditional and religious poems.

I liked the whole collection, as I said it was very thought provoking and my favourite has to be "When I died alive"

Disclaimer - I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

A Postcard from Umbria by Damaris West

Written in a conversationalist style, Damaris reveals an honest approach to the trials and tribulations of relocating from the UK to Umbria in Italy. Damaris and her husband purchased a house which they renovated and dealing with the bureaucracy of such an event. Including surprises when they finally moved in!

In addition, the book reveals the frustrations of the weather, food, learning a musical instrument, developing new language skills and homesickness to build a new life in Umbria.

Whilst a short book at 60 pages I really enjoyed this one. I liked the style of the writing and the reality of the events along with the photographic illustrations. I hope to hear more of the author's experiences in Italy.

Published by Any Subject Books and available from Amazon

Disclaimer - I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge: I is for....

On the back of the A-Z April Challenge, the lovely folk at Gould Genealogy devised another challenge - Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. Each week, we work through the letters of the alphabet sharing perhaps an elusive ancestor, a favourite or particular ancestor, or perhaps a heirloom.

is for Italian

Part of my ancestry that has not been explored nearly enough is my Italian connection. I was born in England and bought up neglecting the Italian side of my heritage. Strictly speaking I am half Sicilian and my ancestors come from a commune in the middle of the Island called Sutera.
Orlando ONS
Commenced & Registered in 2002

Researching ancestors in Italy and Sicily require you to actually know the village where your ancestors live. There is no central depository in Italy. I am in the middle of a fairly large project involving this part of my ancestry which is why virtually no information is posted here, but there are likely to be some changes in the future!

I do though host a One Name Study for the Italian name in question, which is Orlando.

Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge: H is for....

On the back of the A-Z April Challenge, the lovely folk at Gould Genealogy devised another challenge - Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge. Each week, we work through the letters of the alphabet sharing perhaps an elusive ancestor, a favourite or particular ancestor, or perhaps a heirloom.
is for Health

We take it for granted. We have access to medicines, health professionals and medical knowledge. We can access qualified professionals who, using their medical and professional knowledge along with medical technology make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment. That has not of course always been the case.

Conditions such as Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Asthma, Heart issues and mental health issues have always existed and they did so without treatment because of a lack of understanding, money and knowledge. Conditions that are hereditary. Very often the unexplained condition was labelled and "treatment" was to dispatch the individual off to the local asylum. 

In my early twenties I developed a "suspect" Thyroid condition. The treatment was a partial Thyroidectomy and medication. In my early 30s I had a repeat situation and again I had surgery and the remaining lobe of my thyroid gland was removed. I will take medication for the rest of my life. 

I gave the condition no further thought. That was until I made contact with a researcher whose daughter had a Thyroid condition. Coincidence. Then about 10 years ago I made contact with another researcher from the same genealogical line with the same condition. Still a coincidence? I am not sure.

Our common ancestor is a chap called John Butcher, alias Woolgar. He was born in 1795 the son of James Butcher and Sarah Woolgar and was illegitimate, although his parents did marry when John was 6 years old. All of John's children were born in Wonersh, except for the last son.
  • Charles born 1823 *  - my line!
  • William born 1826 *
  • Mary Anne born 1828
  • Thomas born 1830
  • Alfred born 1832
  • James born 1835 *
  • Henry born 1837
  • Ellen Jane born 1841 died 1844
  • John born 1844 died 1855 born in Shalford
* The represents the ancestral line of those who have a thyroid condition.

As far as I know no one else in my family has this condition so is this coincidence, or is this something that is in the genetics? Perhaps I will never know.

Sepia Saturday 134

I have missed the last few Sepia Saturdays, not intentional, life has taken over! The moment I saw the prompt for this week I knew exactly which photograph to use from our family archive.


This was taken in early 1947 and is of my Mum who was born in the big freeze. Not in a pram, Mum was quite small and was placed in a draw in the chest of drawers!

And by a way of including a baby in a pram how about this one?


I can not work out whether this little chap is about to have a really good cry, is unhappy about the sun, or perhaps snoozing.


Taking part in Sepia Saturday

Weekend Cooking - Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo

Carrying on from last week's post  and an post from last Monday - this is another joint weekend cooking and Paris in July post

The author reveals that she leaves London to undertake a course at a well known cooking school in Paris. From that she learns that food and meals in general are a enjoyed and timely affair and not rushed.

The book reveals the use of local shops, family run grocers, bakers, deli's and butcher's. Shops that have almost disappeared from the UK high streets in favour of the large, non de-script supermarket chains we have here. What local stores there are need to be supported especially in a recession!

The recipes contained within the book, might be seen as easy run of the mill cooking, with a bit of a twist and whilst I might not cook any within the Paris in July month, I think I will give a few of them a whirl!

Each recipe is shared with a small background to it, with a hint and tip and a colour picture with little snippets of French culture and photographs of people and places in Paris.

The book layout is easy to follow with the recipe and instruction on one page and the photograph on the opposite. Recipes are presented in sections

  1. Everyday Cooking
  2. Snack time
  3. Summer picnics
  4. Aperitifs
  5. Dinner with friends and family
  6. Sweet Treats
  7. French basics
  8. Cook's notes
  9. Paris addresses
  10. Index of recipes

A great book and I really enjoyed reading it and noting a few recipes down. I am not sure that I would use it sufficiently to warrant purchasing my own copy, although I am very, very tempted!

Taking part in Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads and Paris in July which is hosted by Karen from BookBath and Tamara from Thyme for Tea.

Paris in July 1 - 31 July 2012

Friday, 13 July 2012

Library Loot - 13th July

Last week when I was having a wonderful time wandering around the local library I noticed a poster advertising that soon we could download library books.

I had planned on visiting the library as the book I reserved has now arrived, but I have not felt like going out and it has been raining, so I thought I would explore the downloaded library books access.

Well I was not disappointed. Once I had managed to log in I could select a maximum of 3 books and then set the access period from 7 -21 days. I opted for 21 days (3rd August) and selected 3 books.

Rosie's War by Rosemary SayThe Boy I Love by Marion HusbandInside the Olympics by Nick Hunter

I didn't want to access via my laptop and for copyright reasons they can not be downloaded to a Kindle so I opted for viewing on my iPad. I downloaded on my laptop and then sent via email the three files. Opened up my email on my iPad and then opened each attachment. The books are then read in Blue Reader, (which is a free App from the iTunes store). They will simply become inactive in 21 days time or disappear. I wonder if I can renew?

Taking part in Library Loot and you can read the details HERE

Thursday, 12 July 2012

100 Word Challenge - Week 49

Joining the weekly 100 words challenge for Grown ups. This week the prompt is to use the following prompt. Total word allowance - 100 + 10 words of the prompt.

….Murray was just about to serve for the Championship when… 

The only noise on the court was the sound of the ball as it bounced against the tarmac. It has been a tough season, and here he was at the final, he could hardly believe it.

Murray was just about to serve for the Championship when he looked down and spotted a small black mark on his shorts. Suddenly his concentration was gone. Why on earth had no one said? So here he was, about to serve in what would be the highlight of this year’s tennis and he had a mark on his shorts.

Alas, the damage was done as the ball whizzed into the net. Game over.

Taking part in the 100 word Challenge for Grown Ups – Week #49

Memories of Renior, Monet and Piaf

Back in the Summer of 1985 I visited the Hayward Gallery in London to see the Renoir Exhibition. I do still have a selection of postcards and the exhibition guide from that visit 27 years ago.

I phoned the friend last night who came with me to that exhibition and asked if she remembered. She dug deep into her memory pocket and said she did. We had a wander down memory lane and I mentioned that I still had the items I purchased that day. I could not recall what she had purchased and asked if she could remember. She could and tells me that it is on the rear of her bathroom door, and chuckles that I can not recall it. The poster has always lived on the rear of her bathroom door of the various houses she has lived in.

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette 1876
Just as we were closing our conversation with a promise of speaking next week I was suddenly asked if I remembered going to the Monet Exhibition. For a moment I did not recall then suddenly remembered that we had planned to go somewhere else and stumbled across the event by accident. 

Here is a picture of my favourite Monet.
Water Lilies, 1920–1926
We carried on chatting for a bit and by the way of a parting shot, she mentioned a project we had worked on many years ago about Edith Piaf.

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