Saturday, 30 March 2013

Sepia Saturday 170 - Coffee shops!


Happy Easter Folks!

A quick medley of coffee and tea establishments I think for this week.





This was taken around 1910 and is of the Compton coffee house.







This one is of Vokes Tea Gardens at Normandy taken around 1902.





Here is a picture of the cafe area and stalls in Liberation Square, St Helier Jersey - taken July 2011

This final picture, taken in July 2011, is the cafe at the Underground Hospital on Jersey. The boards at the back of the room show pictures and some information on those who were deported from the Channel Islands during the German Occupation. They went to camps across the occupied territories and sadly, many never returned. You can read about the various days we spent on the island HERE

We visited the Underground hospital on a very cold and wet July day. There was a very sombre mood from the visitors, driven by the weather and the venue. Once we were in the cafe having a rest and reflect on what we had seen the mood didn't change, except there was a degree of urgency from visitors as we all headed to the wall to discover the fate of the individuals, whose name appeared on the facsimile identity cards we had each received upon paying the entrance fee.


Taking part in Sepia Saturday

Friday, 29 March 2013

Taking part in the A-Z April Challenge

Well, there is just a few days to sign up to the A-Z April Challenge.

This is when bloggers come together to blog every day, except Sunday's. Each day representing a letter of the alphabet. Some bloggers have a theme, other do not, others have a mixture of themes. It really is a free for all!

You can still sign up HERE and you can share your posts via Twitter using #atozchallenge.

My theme for this year is fairly similiar to last year, so I hope you will join me through April to read the daily posts.

Taking part in the A-Z April Challenge

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Easter Bunnies!

Catherine over at Seeking Susan, Meeting Marie has started a weekly theme called Thursday Thoughts. I don't guarantee to play along each week, but here is this week's offering.

Today is Maundy Thursday. Traditionally, in the world of the day job the worse day in the calendar, including Christmas for being super busy. This year I do not have to think, worry or stress of the day job and that does feel good.

Instead my thoughts turn back to my childhood and the regular Easter surprise from my Aunt. Each year I would be given a small box of Lindt chocolate bunnies.  I have not seen them in the little box for years, but as I wrote this post I wondered if I could find a suitable image. This is the nearest I could find, I guess after more than 30 years Lindt might have changed the packaging!

Gold Bunny White 50g 5 Pack
Image courtesy of Lindt

I have written about my Aunt Doll several times and you can read those posts HERE and HERE and always at this time of year I look in the shops to see if I can see a packet of those bunnies just like Aunt used to buy. I never do, but I always mention to who ever I am with that Aunt would buy me a box of those little bunnies.

Quite a few years ago I was in Carlisle and as I walked passed an old fashioned paper shop I noticed a box of those very chocolates in the window. I dashed into get them, discreetly checking the sell by date!

A few weeks later I visited my Aunt, arrived with notebook, freesia's and the box of little bunnies. We sat together to have tea and I pulled the box out of my bag and asked if she remembered them, to which she replied "of course I do". We sat in the conservatory looking out at the flowers and garden, enjoying the sun drinking our tea and sharing those bunnies. 

What a lovely day to remember.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories by Dr Bill (William L) Smith

Yesterday I reviewed this great book by Bill Smith. Today I have a real treat.

I have a digital copy of the book to give away - as this is an e-book the give away will be international.

So what are you waiting for?

To enter and have a chance of winning please leave a comment about what your genealogy plans are if you win the copy of the book along with your email address.

The giveaway is open from today until 3rd April 2013 and the winner announced on this blog & via email. The winner will be selected by www.random.org


The giveaway is now CLOSED

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories by Dr Bill (William L) Smith

From the back cover
"Dr. Bill enjoys telling and sharing ancestor stories and related family history social context. He has published four family histories, to date, with more in progress.
For the latest on Dr. Bill, his writings and stories, see his complementary blog at: Dr Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

Do you have family history and ancestor stories collected and researched?

Do you want to share them and tell your stories, but don't know how or what venue to use?

This book has your answer.

Preservation and interpretation of your ancestor stories will occur most effectively if you use multiple approaches to telling your ancestor stories to your family and interested others. Showing you how to this is the purpose of this book.

The content of you telling of ancestor stories includes your life as well as the lives of your two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents, etc., and their siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Ancestor stories include the social context in which these folks lived, their clothes, their farms or ranches, their religion (or not), their occupations, their loves and antagonisms, their education (or not), their friends and neighbors, and the mundane details of their daily lives.

13 sections suggest a variety of ways to tell your ancestor stories; each section has a Planning Worksheet to assist you in doing it most effectively.

"Telling a story about an ancestor can be a gift to oneself and to one's family. It is powerful to have your stories heard". - Judy Shintani"

Author

Dr. Bill is a life-long learner with a passion for family history and, more generally, the social history of each of his ancestors and their descendants. He enjoys writing on various platforms and venues, including six blogs, novels, non-fiction books and ebooks, three topics published at Examiner.com .

He is author of The Heritage Tourist column published at the digital magazine The In-Depth Genealogist.

Check out Dr. Bill’s first novel, “Back to the Homeplace,” which is a family saga loosely based on my family history research and life through the years; and blog: The Home Place Series He can also be found at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories: Dr Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

Review

I recently had the opportunity to read Bill's book and I am so glad I did. As an experienced researcher it is very easy to get caught up in the whole research aspect and delve deeper into our ancestry and to forget that behind each of those names was a person who had a life and a whole series of emotions just like us.

Bill's book enabled me to grounded, to take a step back to almost basics and contemplate the stories behind those facts and to debate how I was going to share those stories. The book contains a series of worksheets which allow for reflection, development or change. The subjects of the worksheets are -

  • Blogs
  • Book
  • Newsletter
  • Website
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Wikis
  • Scrapbooking
  • Brochures
  • Posters
  • Arts & Artefacts
  • Oral Performance
  • Other - Re-enactments & National Heritage

Many researchers and family historians use a combination of those mentioned, but what struck me was how much do we use them and do we really use them to their full potential? This book gives us an opportunity to explore how we use the mementos left by our ancestors in order to tell their story. 

A memento maybe a ticket - I have one of a plane journey that I took. At first glance it shows that during 1994 I left the UK to go to Kenya. The story behind it is the detail. The burst of heat the moment the plane doors opened, the walk across the runway to the shed like immigration area. All those details and more build up a snapshot of an event. In this case, whilst I kept the ticket all these years I had not actually delved deeper until I read this book. If we are not recording our experiences for future generations how are those generations going to know?

As I said, this book enabled me to be grounded. To look beneath the facts and realise that there was a story to be told and that those stories can be told using a variety of methods. Different methods will suit different researchers and similarly engage different readers. By using a variety of methods you will keep the engagement of your reader for longer. Going a step further, this book is also a great tool for planning engagement and involvement for those researching a specific location or family group. 

This book is a great reference book; I certainly view it as an essential in the family historian tool kit.

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories by Dr Bill (William L) Smith is available to purchase from Dr Bill's Non Fiction Book Store. Stay tuned for a giveaway raffle tomorrow!

Disclaimer - I was provided with a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Library Loot - 25th March 2013

It was the book group meeting this afternoon to discuss the latest book which was The Help by Kathyrn Stockett. The feedback from the group was that it was well received on the whole, but someone thought it was working at a superficial level, someone else thought it was reasonably paced, another reader thought it was muddly. You will have to wait about a week or so until I get my review post scheduled.

Meanwhile a trip to the library means I never return empty handed, this time I returned home with just three books.

The next book group read is

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman












And these two books caught my eye

My Father's Notebook by Kader AbdolahCream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke

A quick flick through the Cream Puff Murder and I can see a reference to the Yum Yum coffee shop, who could resist that?



Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The One Penny Orange Mystery by Morris Ackerman

The One Penny Orange Mystery by Morris…
I was intrigued with I saw this book , and reminded of happy memories of 40 years ago when my Grandfather put a 1p British stamp into a matchbox and told me to see if I could find any others amongst a pile of envelopes.

The book made it's way across the Atlantic and I was fairly impatient to start reading. I did early this week and finished it a day or so ago.

There was a real sense of innocence about this book. The storyline and the characters and I knew within a page or two that I was going to enjoy it.

The character names are great, a play on the world of stamp collecting, which all starts when an British Official who spent many years working for the Government, first in India then in Mauritius fleas the start of an uprising taking with him a set of old historical papers.

The character, which has the wonderful name of Major Edward Postmark returns to Mauritius after some years to the house which he owns to sell up before returning to England. He sorts through his belongings in the house and comes across the pile of papers he recalls fleeing the embassy with years before. Amongst the papers is the One Penny Orange Stamp which is the catalyst of the whole mystery.

What follows through the rest of the pages is the valuation and then eventual sale of the stamp alas it is not without its problems. The author introduces readers to a series of characters, the stamp authenticator, stamp dealer, security agents and rather enthusiastic stamp collectors. Also thrown into the mix is a few red herrings. All of these individuals wish to own a valuable stamp, and some are prepared to regardless of the stakes.

The mystery structure was a good one, I certainly did not solve the who done it before the end of the book. This was a great book, with a strong storyline and none of the violence that perhaps might have wielded into the pages. It was a gentle page turner and it is this gentleness that had an innocence about it which I enjoyed.

This has potential for the start of a series, perhaps involving a Two Pence Stamp, but we will have to wait and see, but I do hope so. I loved this book and is certainly one of the favourites for the year.

The book which I do recommend is available from Amazon US, UK and Book Depository

Disclaimer - I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Ramblings from my Desk.....(11)

It's been months since my last ramblings post; where does the time go? Christmas passed in a flash and now we are apparently in Spring although the British weather is lingering onto Winter with vengeance this year. As I type half the Country is covered in snow and ice. Locally we have escaped the snow remarkable well.

We came back from Australia at the end of October with a plan and then set about pondering over it. Would it work? Heck, were we brave enough to follow it through, but here we are three months into a new year feeling brave. Our house, with the wonderful original Victorian fireplaces is for sale and there is on the horizon a new chapter in our lives.

The biggest challenge is the cull. If it was a musical, there would be dramatic music played about here. I am not musical, so you will have to image that dramatic tune!. The cull has already started and will go for a while yet. Books, collectibles, you name it. It is going to be a challenging few months.

We have seen our new home, it is a substantial reduction in size, but will be well worth it for the views alone.  We have seen plans and had a minor tweak or two, to accommodate our study to enable me to retain many books and genealogy and research files. There are several things that will have to go and I am shelving the thoughts momentarily.

Onwards and upwards!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Libraries

Catherine over at Seeking Susan, Meeting Marie has started a weekly theme called Thursday Thoughts. I don't guarantee to play along each week, but here is this week's offering, albeit a day late.

Earlier in this week I was reading a post on another blog, I can not remember whose blog (sorry). I read the post and mentally moved along. Later on I was in my study looking for a book when I came across a book that I once been a library book but had been sold off. I picked up the book and turned to the back cover.

Inside was a small brown cardboard section, securely fixed that had once held a ticket. My mind cast back to those days when I used to frequent a library at Guildford, my home town. Then borrowers were allowed 6 books and were entrusted to hold onto 6 card, each one representing a book. When you checked the book out, it was stamped and the card which was held in the brown cardboard section at the back of the book was then attached to the library ticket.

When you returned the books, you were handed round discs, in pink I think they were, the number you were given was determined by the books you returned. If you did not want any books, then you were handed your tickets.

How labour intensive that was. I remember being issued with my Surrey library ticket with a bar code on and being told that I could now have 12 books on loan. Everything was done quicker, simply by scanning the card and the book with a electronic mouse typed pen.

Since then, the process has become even slicker with renewals and reservations available on line, not to mention library catalogue and access to various on line facilities.

Isn't the world of book reading and borrowing a wonderful place, revolutionised by the Internet? Despite this brilliant technological change I still have great memories of my early library borrowing days.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Horton Parish Mug - Queen Victoria Jubilee 1887


Horton Parish Mug

This mug would have been presented to members of the Parish. It bears the following details of Officers of the Parish

Parish Councillors;
 John Munro - Chairman,
William Harrison - Vice Chair,

John Challenor
Ralph Heath
Henry Clews
Thomas Meyer Simister
William Critchlow,
James Holdcroft,
Sampson Warrington.

Treasurer - James Swindells.

Clerk, Herbert Clews.

Vicar, Rev. Bennett Blakeway

Churchwardens – Thomas Meyer Simister
 John Challenor.

Overseers of Poor - James Morton,
Sampson Warrington.

 Assistant Overseer - Herbert Clews.

Highway Surveyors for - Horton, George Thomas Heath.
Horton Hay, Richard Heath.
Blackwood, William Harvey Sear.
Crowborough - Job Bailey.
Gratton - Arthur Cotterill
District Councillors - Ralph Heath
John Challenor.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting…
Well, I have had a bit of a performance sourcing, no trying to source this book.

Devon Libraries do not have a copy anywhere in the County. I asked at the library if they could source a copy from an out of County library. The answer was yes, but there are only 3 copies in the Country available for loan. I filled the request form in and then headed to Amazon.

Amazon listed the book and was out of stock. I completed the alert function that asked that I be dropped an email when back in stock so I could order it.  I looked at the Kindle version which was over £7. Too much, for a kindle book that I am not likely to read again. Incidentally, the physical book came back into stock at a much higher price, so I passed.

I looked at Book Mooch and a few other options, but failed miserably. So I have not managed to read the book, I have however managed to read the very limited preview available on Amazon.

The preview gives a small section of each chapter and I especially liked this one as it, like last month's book features index cards - I love 'em!

From the limited access I had, the book has a similar style to that of Bird by Bird which I reviewed last month and you can read HERE. It feels very much conversational coaching and that is a much nicer reading and learning style.

Writing for the screen requires, I believe vision and when you turn a book into a screen production - play or movie without the correct vision it does not always work. I am a visual person. I like to see the result rather than a series of plans. I once looked at a house that was going to be a new build. The agent was showing us where the bath was going to be and then tapped the plans. That does not work for me. I need to get a sense of context and reality.

Any writing that I have done has always been with the plan and vision of the work being text. I have never had the plan or want to turn any of it into a screen version. I don't have that ambition or vision. Does that make me a poor writer? What I can do is write and portray an image of a historical period, context or individual, but taking the next step to a touch of the theatricals is not my thing.

Taking part in the Progressive Book Club

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Turtle Island by Sergio Ghione

Turtle Island: A Journey to the World's Most…
This was a fascinating account of an Italian doctor who travels as a companion to his friend, an academic who was travelling to what is described as the remotest inhabited place on earth to study the amazing sea turtles that arrive each year, with the sole purpose of laying their eggs.

Turtle Island or its formal name of Ascension Island is truly remote with a population of around 1,000 people who live on the island because they are involved with working for the RAF (Royal Air Force) or NASA. Some people are fisherman and others work providing a functional service to the island.

The island is described as quirky, because this island exudes Britishness despite being in the Atlantic. Ascension Island is recorded as being a British Dependency, along with Gibraltar, the Falklands and St Helena.

The book is not laid out in diary format, but written in a comfortable and easy to read style recording simply the events that happened (or not) and why over the course of the month Sergio spent on the Island.  By the time the author had completed his book in October 1999, the island was less sleepy with some limited tourism and legislation was going through Parliament that would change the dynamics of the residents of the island.

At the end of the book is a fantastic webography and bibliography and I spent several hours reading and looking at the various web pages mentioned.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sunday Salon - Book Stores & Survival

During the week a fellow blogger - BookTalk wrote a post following a recent business trip to the UK from the US. In that post the author expressed the view that books in the UK were expensive.

I commented with a similar thought following a recent trip to Australia and gave the example of:
"I was in a bookstore in Geelong (Victoria). There had a hardback size paperback edition of the wonderful The End of your Life Book Club for AU$37, now that was about £28 – hugely expensive for a paperback even if it is hardback size. Because of weight issue for the flight home I only bought 2 books and one of those I had purchased whilst in the UK and collected when downunder, so I noted the book title down. Back home I nipped onto Amazon and bought the hardback edition of this book for £6.38"
That gave rise to further considerations and whilst I posted a follow up to that thread at BookTalk, which you can read HERE I thought it would be a great post for Sunday Salon.

When the UK supermarkets started to sell books, they did so at reduced prices and there was almost an out cry. The books, often best sellers were at reduced prices – a paperback chart topper retailing in Waterstones with a recommended price of say £7.99 – 10.99 was on sale in Tesco for £3.86. The prices have gone up in the supermarkets more recently, but are still cheaper.

That said there is little appeal of book buying along with toilet rolls and a loaf of bread compared with the wonders of browsing (and hopefully buying) in a bookstore. Even though there is less appeal I have done it, tempted by the latest book of a particular author as way of offsetting the whole grocery shopping chaos.

Have I mentioned I hate queues, crying children and people who are pushing trolleys with wonky wheels and then stop in front of me to reach something from a shelf. There is something about supermarkets that turn reasonable, sweet elderly ladies & occasionally gents into violent, trolley pushing individuals. I know I am Mrs Grumpy!

In order to survive, bookstores need to diversify slightly – book marks, notebooks, cards and bookish items and be competitive. Bookstores need to gain back their zip factor, the thing that makes someone want to go into a shop and mooch about. In that mooching they may discover a book they feel that they can not manage without. At under a fiver (£5) they might purchase and if the book does not deliver well, it was cheap enough. At the price of books that are over the £7 mark people think twice. I know this because I have done it, and the moment you start to question yourself the book heads back to the shelf, where it probably remains. 

In the past I have worked for a major retailer - not books but a chain well known on the High Street. I often had to attend meetings at one of the larger stores which was located 3 doors up from a Waterstones. I would often arrive in this town early to spend an hour browsing the shelves at Waterstones and then head off to the meeting. A favourite was a meeting on late shopping day when I could spend time browsing without fear of being late! I nearly always left with a carrier bag with at least one book. Whilst I no longer work for that company and rarely go to that town I make no attempt to seek out Waterstones for a special trip because they have lost their zip factor.

On line bookstores have come along and all of a sudden that market share has reduced. A few years ago I was given a Waterstones voucher. I managed to purchase 4 books with the money and added a couple of pounds to complete the purchase. I can't remember if I paid for delivery. I do remember the wait for the books, of at least 3 weeks. There had been no indication that a wait was likely. Those same books had I been able to purchase from Amazon would have left me enough money to buy a 5th book and half a 6th! Included free delivery and would have been with me within a week. Waterstones, wakey wakey! 

If the major retailers can not cope with the competition, how do the independent booksellers? The independents have a significant advantage. They have no corporate image to maintain. No central head office with planning the store and the stock done from behind a desk. Independents have the ease to diversify and to do it tastefully and in doing so appeal to perhaps another type of purchaser who perhaps will become a devoted shopper.

The keys elements to get people through the door and buying are
  • Window appeal - bright, clean and a wow factor
  • Stock presented nicely
  • a friendly, cosy feel
  • Pricing
  • good service
  • staff going the extra mile
If booksellers can do those things then they have a chance of remaining in our towns providing a great service and shopping environment, if they can't well the doors close and Amazon gets another slice of the market share.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Weekend Cooking - Cheese & Beer by Janet Fletcher

Cheese & Beer by Janet Fletcher
I had a real urge to eat a huge chuck of cheddar through this book.

It is a rather fascinating account of which beers to drink and whilst consuming various cheeses.

A huge focus on beers of the US, but there was mention to some European beers and ales. Lots of explaining and information on why some beers are heavier than others and then why particular cheeses work with those beers.

There was mention to the various regional and area beers of the US and those that had a basis on beers from other Countries for example the beers that had an Irish heritage.

I have to say that I love cheese and probably rather boring in my consumption of it. I like a very strong cheddar. In England we tend to classify them with 1 meaning very mild and 5 very strong. I usually by at least a 4, whilst hubby likes a mild cheese usually a 1 or 2. Every now and again I offer him and piece of cheese which he takes and then I watch the facial expressions as he realises he has been "had" again!

That said, I do eat various Italian cheese, Edam from The Netherlands and I always used to like Roule with strawberry. A lovely soft French cheese was perfect with Hovis biscuits. Sold in very few places, there was a cheese shop in my home town and Harrods amongst a few others. Sadly, the makers have stopped making it. I did email the company, but never received a response.

Turning to the beer aspect of the book. I am not a beer drinker really, although I do like a shandy on a hot summers day, but those are few and far between in the wet isles! Meanwhile, hubby is the occasional beer drinker, liking lagers, and ales.

Here is a picture of a tinned advertising feature. These are reproductions, well they were made in the late 1980s from 1930s originals. The picture is of Newcastle Brown Ale, which is always the ale that I put in the Christmas Puddings then hubby gets the left overs!


For me this book was a winner. It made me think and reflect on our eating and drinking habits. Shared conversation hubby as we chatted about the various beers and cheeses.  This is definitely a book that would be great on my cookbook shelf and there is potential for someone to write a similar book featuring the various beers and ales of the United Kingdom.

Overall the book was comprehensive, well written and researched.

Disclaimer - I was provided with a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.


Taking part in Weekend Cooking hosted by BethFishReads



Sepia Saturday 168

Having a mooch around my Guildford collection postcards.

eBay Image Hosting at www.auctiva.com
This first picture is of St Catherine's school in Bramley and taken around 1905.











This postcard is after the effects of the storm in August 1906



Now in my original notes I had a question mark around the location.

On reflection, I think this is showing the Rodborough Buildings in the background. This is dated around 1904.



Taking part in Sepia Saturday

Friday, 15 March 2013

The In-Depth Genealogist - Digital Magazine - Issue 2 - OUT NOW!

Picture
The next issue of the free digital magazine is available NOW!









Enjoy this digital edition of the magazine? then why not stop by The In-Depth Genealogist and read the
You can read my Introduction post HERE and you can follow the column by visiting The In-Depth Genealogist website and subscribing via email or via twitter and Facebook.

This is a great addition to the genealogy market and I am very proud to be a part of it.

Happy reading & researching!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Google Reader

Catherine over at Seeking Susan, Meeting Marie has started a weekly theme called Thursday Thoughts. I don't guarantee to play along each week, but today has been particularly irritating, so I though that I would share my thoughts.

Despite the fact that I once had a job role where I had to actively encourage, coach and support change to a business following a merger which in reality was a bit of company eradication, but that is another story, I actually don't particularly like change.

I know what I like and if it works then why change it? Of course some things are not controlled by me and therefore the news shared in the early hours of Thursday morning about Google Reader closing in July was not in my opinion good news. I went to bed pondering on my next step.

By the time I got up the news was well across the internet with suggestions of alternatives out there for me to play about with.....and I did, a few of them.

I use Google Reader and I read all my RSS feeds via my iPad using an application that I paid for - Feeddler Pro. I like my system and it works.

Well after July it won't! Maybe this is a bit out of proportion, but that is my Thursday Thought.

Are others as irritated as me?
What are your plans for an alternative?

Please share your thoughts.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Two Days to Go......


Next issue March 15th

Click HERE to subscribe

A Genealogical No Smoking Day


*13th March 2013*

Over the years I must have had countless conversations about giving up smoking as part of the day job. Well, for the first time I don't have to follow a pitch to patients or have that discussion, but I didn't feel that I could let the day pass by without a mention.

A few weeks ago as part of Sepia Saturday I shared a few photos, one of which was of my Grandfather, complete with a cigarette. Someone made a comment that people were not usually photographed with cigarettes and I thought that was a good link in to No Smoking Day! You can read the original post HERE

I do vaguely recall both my Grandparents smoking. My Grandfather was in hospital during the early parts of my childhood and I recall missing him. He had breathing issues caused by asbestos, we are in the days before Health and Safety! and certainly smoking didn't help.

After he passed away my Grandmother stopped, with none of the patches, gum or inhalers of now, she simply used willpower, but then that was very much her way.

A search through some other photos revealed this one of my Grandmother taken around 1941.

This second photograph was used in an exhibition held at Guildford a few years ago. The exhibition was about war time evacuees and I submitted this photo, although I was not 100% sure if it fitted the criteria. I was delighted that it was used within the display, which was on line and sadly now is not!

My understanding was the three evacuees who stayed with my Grandmother all came from London, one was Joyce Moore who remained in contact and friends with our family until she passed away about 10 years ago. There were also two others, both nameless and one of them is thought to have married an American or Canadian serviceman and returned back to either the States or Canada with him. On the back of the photo is the name of Edie Greenaway. My Grandmother is in the middle. So this is either a photo of my Grandmother with two of the evacuees or two people from the laundry.

I do wonder what happened to the evacuee who made a new life across the pond, and is she still alive today? The address of the house where the evacuees lived was 17 Walnut Tree Close Guildford. If that address rings bells with anyone please get in touch. Whilst my Grandmother is no longer here, we would love to hear more about the events of this time.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Ruling Caste by David Gilmour

Recently, I have been focusing my genealogical time on India as I work on a book about part of my family who spent time in India. Nothing special, except the research has unravelled some real surprises and I felt the stories were worthy of being shared through a wider audience.

The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the…As part of that research I wanted to fully understand India during the Victorian period and I came across The Ruling Caste by David Gilmour.

As always I turned to the index and was delighted to see a reference to another family connection.

It is those references I thought I would share here -

"Lewin Bowring felt that the great void in his life was travel. In 1854 he therefore set off on a long journeys through Rajputana, China (where his father, whom he had not seen for 10 years, was Governor of Hong Kong), France, Italy and Central Europe (which he toured three times), and the British Isles, where he inspected seventeen cathedrals" (page 276 Source Unpublished Memoirs).

"Lewin Bowring, who joined the Bengal Civil Service in 1843, won several prizes at Haileybury for Persian, Sanskrit and Hindustani. Yet on arrival in India he found his proficiency in these languages was "nearly useless" "(Page 40 Source Unpublished Memoirs)

I think we always assume that those who travelled to overseas destinations did so with little chance of returning home. That is a inaccurate. The amount of travel depended on your means in terms of financial and your status. The family whom I have been researching made several journeys, yet the time it took to travel and the conditions must have been very trying.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Fishing Fleet – Anne de Courcy

The Fishing FleetWhen the author was undertaking her research we did correspond rather briefly, but my interest regarding my ancestral links to India was out of the time frame for Anne's book.

I waited rather eagerly for the book to be published. Once it hit the shelves of my local library I managed to grab the book and then quietly enjoy it.

The book looks at women who migrated to India looking for a husband during the period of the mid 19th Century until 1947, when India gained it's Independence.

I loved the colour of the cover which for me set the tone of the book. I enjoyed the depth of the research, which was gathered from letters and memoirs of the time and the focus of the book.

There is a suitable explanation of why the women were there, and why they risked travelling the globe to find a husband, but there was little detail on how the women adapted to the change in culture and their experiences. The author further explores the processes in India at this time, the bureaucracy of India and mixed raced children and how they were viewed.

Despite all that, I was a little disappointed. There is little scope given to how these women coped, not only with the country and culture, but also how they experienced married life with the men they met in India. I felt as though the author ran out of steam with the subject matter before the end of the book.

I enjoyed it, but it could have been better.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Roadford Lake

Earlier in the week I spotted on Twitter that there was to be a Fly Fishing event at Roadford Lake. I forwarded the details to hubby incase he wanted to go.

So at lunchtime we headed off to the event. Roadford Lake is situated on the edge of Dartmoor, not too far from Launceston in Cornwall. Where else can you drive through a hamlet called Broadwoodwidger? Isn't that a great name?


The weather was a bit gloomy, although not as foggy as at home. In fact I think a glimpse of the sun was seen. The lake is fairly big and I managed to get a couple of snaps.




We had a lovely couple of hours, although I am not overly in the slightest interested in fishing.

There was a selection of trade stands and a whole assortment of tackle delights - lines, rods, flies and other equipment all to aid the fisherman secure his catch. As I commented to hubby they didn't have this kit 200 years ago and they still caught fish!

Much to hubby's delight this appears to be an addition to the fisherman's calender.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
Just before Christmas Maisie and her employee, Billie see a man commit suicide in the street. The man was clearly a War Veteran and events very quickly turn Maisie back to her nursing days during the Great War. Soon after an anonymous letter is received by the police threatening violence if the comments in the letter are not adhered to.

Soon, Maisie is seconded to the Police as she and the police try and unravel the circumstances of the two issues. Is that deceased man part of the conspiracy to cause chaos in London? Next some animals in an animal shelter are found dead, the potential result of inhaling a poisonous gas, and then on the back of another letter some birds are found dead.

Maisie springs into action as she and Billy try to discover the truth whilst confronting their own fears. Billy meanwhile, is still struggling with his wife Doreen who can not move past her grief following the death of their little girl and soon Doreen is admitted to hospital to receive treatment.

In this book, which I think is one of the best, the author has tackled some real issues for the early 1930s. There has clearly been research done into early offerings by the War Office and poisonous gases and the 1930s treatment of those who were suffering from some kind of mental illness.


About Jacqueline Winspear


Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education, and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer.

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, and Among the Mad, as well as five other national bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book. She now lives in California and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and find her on Facebook.



Book Tour Hosts
Monday, March 4th: The House of the Seven Tails – Maisie Dobbs
Monday, March 4th: BookNAround – Birds of a Feather
Wednesday, March 6th: Peppermint PhD – Pardonable Lies
Thursday, March 7th: Melody & Words – Birds of a Feather
Thursday, March 7th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Anglers Rest – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Lavish Bookshelf – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Olduvai Reads – Maisie Dobbs
Friday, March 8th: 5 Minutes For Books – Pardonable Lies
Friday, March 8th: In the Next Room – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Anglers Rest – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: The Road to Here – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: A Bookish Way of Life – The Mapping of Love and Death
Friday, March 8th: The Book Garden – The Mapping of Love and Death

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Library Loot - 6th March

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire fromThe Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries. Marg has the Mr Linky this week!


I finally made it to the library. I don't know the weather and just greyness of England has made me want to stay home and read, work and actually avoid the continual mess in my study. Well the library books were due back, so it was either head out into a dash of spring sunlight or get a library fine. I opted for the going out method!

Women of the Raj: The Mothers, Wives, and…A few weeks ago I reserved a book to aid my research and I had received an email advising the book was in and please collect within 2 weeks....the clock had been ticking and the book was in danger of being returned from where it came, which appears to be Budleigh Salterton.

I staggered down with a few books for renewal and subsequently bought them home again, along with the requested book and another book. I also collected the book which is the read for the March book group meeting.

A Year of Doing Good: One Woman, One New…The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The help is the book for the book group at the end of the month and will be a re-read. I also notice that I have not added my review to my blog or LibraryThing, which I will do at somepoint.

Today is World Book Day and I didn't notice any signs in the library, but then I was disappearing under the mountain of books I was renewing!. 

The IslandI heard last week that I have been selected to receive 20 books as part of World Book Night on 23rd April. The book I chose and know I have been allocated was The Island by Victoria Hislop.

I read this book back in 2007. The central character, Alexis is about to go on holiday with her boyfriend, to the country of her mother's birth Greece. She knows nothing about her heritage and suggests that she might visit the village her mother was born in. Armed with a letter to one of her mother's friends Alexis embarks on a journey that she will never forget.

Having reached Crete she leaves her boyfriend heads to the village. She heads off on a trip to the nearby deserted island of Spinalonga, which she establishes is a former leper colony. She spends a few hours there and heads back to the village to seek out her mother's friend. She meets up with Fortini who then shares with her the loves and lives of her mother and the generations that went before her and the connection the family had to Spinalonga.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear

This is the fourth book in the Maisie Dobbs series. This series gets better and better and as the character develops and takes further shape, we as readers are drawn in all the more to a great series.

Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline WinspearThe central character is Maisie Dobbs, a former nurse during the Great War. Now, though Maisie is a private investigator working in London and owns her own business, car and home. A rarity for the 1930s, this book is set during 1931. During this page turner Maisie is asked by Georgina Bassington-Hope to investigate the death of her brother, a former soldier and artist who died tragically whilst he is setting up an art exhibition. Nick has experienced war. His way of coping with the events he witnessed, first as a front line soldier and then as a war artist, is to paint what he sees and this does not always bode well with those around him. As Maisie investigates she encounters secrets, war stories, smuggling and does eventually seek out the truth.

Meanwhile, her associate Billy encounters a tragedy of his own and Maisie breaks off her relationship with her latest suitor.

The author has captured the essence of a "modern woman", perhaps Maisie was a woman before her time as she sets out on the road to independence and maintaining that independence. Very well researched and despite being a fictional book based upon tragic life events and the aftermath.


About Jacqueline Winspear


Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education, and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer.

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Elegy for Eddie, A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, and Among the Mad, as well as five other national bestselling Maisie Dobbs novels. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards for the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs, which was also nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel and was a New York Times Notable Book. She now lives in California and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and find her on Facebook.




Book Tour Hosts
Monday, March 4th: The House of the Seven Tails – Maisie Dobbs
Monday, March 4th: BookNAround – Birds of a Feather
Wednesday, March 6th: Peppermint PhD – Pardonable Lies
Thursday, March 7th: Melody & Words – Birds of a Feather
Thursday, March 7th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Anglers Rest – Messenger of Truth
Thursday, March 7th: Lavish Bookshelf – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Olduvai Reads – Maisie Dobbs
Friday, March 8th: 5 Minutes For Books – Pardonable Lies
Friday, March 8th: In the Next Room – An Incomplete Revenge
Friday, March 8th: Anglers Rest – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: The Road to Here – Among the Mad
Friday, March 8th: A Bookish Way of Life – The Mapping of Love and Death
Friday, March 8th: The Book Garden – The Mapping of Love and Death

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Elstones: A Novel by Isabel C Clarke

I have had this book on my list of things to check out for a while. The book itself was published in 1919. The reason for my interest is that my Great Grandmother had the surname of Elstone and lived in Hampshire before moving to Surrey. The family though had spent about 200 years in the same area, where the boundaries of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire meet.

By chance about 10 years ago we were driving from Exeter to North Devon and drove through a hamlet with the name of Elstone. Brief research revealed that the Elstone's in this part of Devon had links to the paper making industry, as did my Elstone in the Sussex & Hampshire area. So I was immediately intrigued.

This book eventually made it to the top of my pile and I stepped into reading it. I made sure I had a notebook as I wasn't completely convinced that this was a novel. Perhaps there might be a grain of non fiction?

The first scenes are set on the Downs in the County of Sussex. Lady Cynthia Elstone is looking out and makes a visual comparison to her native Devon. Meanwhile, her husband who she married 28 years previous and is unwell and dying. Sir Simon requests that his wife call for the priest in the Shawhurst and Cynthia refuses. The family are not Catholic hence the refusal. Meanwhile, her daughter, Irene, nicknamed Ernie overhears the conversation and asks her brother Luttrell to go and fetch the priest. He does and despite all the general confusion and anger from Cynthia, Simon Elstone converts to Catholicism on his deathbed.

The eldest son, called Ivo does not play a very prominent role in the book which is surprising for the time. There is real anger of the religious conversion and the daughter Irene returns to school complete with a hidden rosary and as I read through the pages it is clear that she is turning her religious mind.

Overall I enjoyed the book. It was refreshing to read and I had to keep remembering that this book was written before women achieved the vote here in the UK. I was surprised by the anti Catholic feeling at this time. I feel sure that this is a novel, but I can not help wondering why the author chose the name of Elstone and who and what provided the inspiration behind the plot.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Persian Square by Iran Davar Ardalan


Introduction

The moment I saw this book I was intrigued. As regular readers of my blog will note, I have a distant ancestor who died in the Gulf of Persia in 1812 and therefore whilst not a direct link with that time, I was curious and wanted to read  more on the region.

This book did not disappoint. Firstly, it is not a e-book in a regular sense. This is a interactive book which embraces, as all books do, a conversation between the reader and author, this takes that conversation to another level and allows those of us with an iPad to truly experience that reading and conversation on another level entirely.

Furthermore, the book is incomplete. I do not mean that the author simply had enough half way through, but instead Iran has developed the book to enable others to be inspired to share their Iranian heritage. With submissions made via the website and the book revised and updated.

About the Author (details from the press release)

Davar Ardalan is a Senior Producer at NPR News, responsible for the daily live broadcast of NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin. From the opinions of global newsmakers to listeners, the wisdom of renowned thinkers to activists and spiritual leaders, Tell Me More brings fresh voices and perspectives to public radio. In October 2012, Ardalan was part of the NPR team that produced a live Twitter Education Forum, engaging a diverse community via social media tools on the topic of education reform.

Prior to TMM at NPR, Ardalan was in charge of Weekend Edition were she helped integrate social media tools and expanded audience interactivity. In 2009, she collaborated with the Association for Independents in Radio (AIR) on cutting edge interactive media projects that captured stories and images from around the country and encouraged audience participation across platforms.

Ardalan has also worked as a Supervising Producer for NPR’s Morning Edition where she helped shape the daily newsmagazine, and was responsible for decisions that required elaborate coordination such as broadcasts from Baghdad, Kabul, and New Orleans. She is the author of My Name Is Iran. 

Links

Official Website - http://www.thepersiansquare.org/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/persiansquare

Information Video - http://vimeo.com/60423991

Review

The book is available to download from the iTunes store. The download took a little while to download and once it had and I started reading I could see why. The book contains:

  • 30 media files. 
  • Hyperlinks to guide you through the book
  • Images, sound recordings and interviews
  • Notes enabling the reader to learn more about a fact
  • A full bibliography at the website http://www.thepersiansquare.org/
  • Favourites
  • Twitter enabled - Tap on any of the text and add the twitter #PersianSquare
  • Video
Within the interactive functionality of your iPad you can explore the history and depth of Iran with the individual who is believed to be the first Iranian to visit America and become Naturalised in 1875. You can read about a publication written in 1898 with the aim of educating Americans on Persian women, Educational influences, sporting events. You can listen to music clips from the early 1910's. Touch the screen to explore the hidden photographs of Philadelphia's Persian Pavilion.

The author has shared a great deal of her own family history as an illustrative point, with her Grandmother falling in love with Persia following marrying an Iranian Doctor. Together they lived in Iran and established a hospital there.

In 1935 the Persian Monarch changed the name of Persia to Iran. This was a turning point of the Countries heritage. Americans in the region were encouraged to return back the America in the years leading up to the Second World War. In the late 1970's the political instability in the region meant that there was mass migration from Iran to American. Incidently many also fled to England, as very good friend of mine did with her family.

There is a rather interesting chapter on Iranian author's and in particular female authors and various book suggestions. This is further followed by chapters and information about those of Iranian descent as they made their mark in the Western world in an assortment of fields, journalism, medical and business.

Overall, I enjoyed loved this book. It was so much more than turning the pages, literal or otherwise. It was a completely interactive experience and one that clearly shows the love the author has for both her heritage land and her profession. This was a rather unique way of bringing the two together and to share the stories contained within the book.

In much the same way as the book, my reading of it is also incomplete as I shall periodically continue to read about the region.

The Persian Square is published on 4th March 2013 and is available from the iBooks Store.

Disclaimer -  I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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