Thursday, 28 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 28

Well, we have made it to the last day of the photo festival, and the final photograph is of my Great Grandmother, my Grandfather's mother who you met on day 6.

I remember this photograph being taken, I was about 3 years old. This photo was taken for the occasion of her birthday in October.

The location of the photograph was the  home of my Great Aunt Rose who you met on days 13 and 17 and her address in Foxborough Avenue at Guildford. Granny, as we all called her lived with Aunt and her husband, my Uncle Ern.

Every other week my Grandparents would take me to see Granny. I was either carried up the stairs or allowed to navigate them myself and then once at the top was allowed to go and sit with Granny on the bed. I am sure I tired her out and I remember her letting me cuddle in and we would snooze together.

She was an amazing lady, born in Puttenham in 1878 and it was seeing her name on the 1881 Census and making that connection from a written official document to my cuddly Great Granny that made want to understand my maternal history. Granny died in 1973 aged 92 years old, having been a widow for 30 years.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 27

This is another photograph from around 1950. This part of a series of about 30 photographs we have all taken at   Southend Essex whilst my Grandparents visited my Grandfathers sister and her husband, my Uncle. We met Aunt and Uncle on day 18.

Mum thinks that this was the year before she contracted Polio, which I talked about yesterday.

From looking at the photographs it looks like my Grandparents went to Essex at least twice a year.

I like the way my Grandfather still has his jacket on yet has his trousers rolled up. A true fashion statement!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 26

We know from other photographs that this was taken at Brighton on the English South coast. In this picture is my Grandfather George Butcher and my Mum who was about 7 in this photo. My Grandmother was taking the photograph. I recognise the black bag from other photos.

If you look closely at my Mum's left leg you will see that it is noticeably thinner than the one of the right, a legacy of her contracting Polio in 1952.

Mum tells me that she remembers being unwell and the doctor paying a house call. He did not know what the problem was and suggested that my Grandparents continue with their holiday plans, a pre-arranged visit to Southend to stay with my Grandfather's sister and brother in law who appeared on day 18.

The day she went to get out of bed and collapsed. My Grandparents called for an ambulance and Mum was admitted to hospital, initially to The Royal Surrey Hospital in Farnham Road Guildford before being transferred to the Isolation hospital at Pyrford. Mum remained at Pyrford for around 8 months, during that time she could only see her parents through the glass. Stories, cuddles and hugs were not possible. Eventually the diagnosis of Polio was given and from the age of 5 until Mum was 17 she visited the hospital and had regular check ups.

She and the medics had no idea that in around 40 years, she and a whole generation of Polio survivors would be diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome and subsequently have another battle to fight. Mum was a lucky one. She remained free from callipers, sticks and wheelchairs all her life and only in the last 2 years has finally given into needing a stick and very strong pain killers. You can read other posts I have written about Polio HERE

I love the friendly, fun and family feel of this photo. My Grandfather wearing her sunglasses and clearly happy to have his little girl back!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop by Kirstan Hawkins

Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop by Kirstan…
Each year the members of my bookgroup select two titles each. This month's selection was mine and selected in the same way that I select horses in the Grand National - because they have a nice name!

The story is set in a small sleepy town in South America. The inhabitants are happy with their lot and the central character, Dona Nicanoras has always had a dream to open a hat shop. She is widowed and yet only in her early forties and she has known more grief as she as buried several children. Times are tough.

The sleepy village has very few visitors, that is until Dona's eldest son returns from another failed trip of making his fortune, he is his father's son! He brings with him someone he has met and this is the catalyst for change.

From this moment on Dona considers with the money she has from taking the traveler in as a lodger that she could open her hat shop after all, yet, the mayor has other ideas and wishes to wake up the sleepy town and bring in more visitors, of course the consequences are that town does not get rich, only the people that have the money in the first place.

I loved the characters and felt that they were portrayed as being vibrant. There were some great one liners from Gloria and Ramon.

On one level the story shows the potential exploitation of places and people and that sometimes greed can consume all logical thought and overshadow all the great things. In doing so it strips away the very sole of something to the point of ruin.

Ultimately, this was essentially a love story. A story of loves, those endured, lost and endured. The story of dreams, even if they come at a price.

Inheritance by Nicholas Shakespeare

Inheritance by Nicholas Shakespeare
The storyline is fairly simple. It is about a man, Andy, who leaves his uninspired job at a self help publishing house  late to attend his late teachers funeral. However, he eventually realises that he is in the wrong chapel, but then does not leave.

Later, he finds out that he is one of the people to inherit Christopher Madigan’s estate, simply because he attended the funeral. That simple act causes him to become a millionaire many times over, a fact that goes to his head, as he enjoys holidays and cars. Andy is though becoming increasingly curious about the man who provided his inheritance.

I did not like the character of Andy although I understand though the point the author is trying to make about how money changes us and perhaps steers us from who we are to who we believe we aspire to be. I felt that Andy was a weak man and for me his character drifted. He became selfish and openly lies to the daughter of Christopher, simply because he liked her.

The story of Christopher was more engaging, but for me this book didn't work and I think it could have been developed more, and there were many storyline opportunities missed.

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 25

Today's photo is a little blurry, sorry about that, but that is the photograph!

This is the garden of my Grandparents home in Guildford. This photograph, despite being so blurry is a favourite. I date this around 1960.

The detail in the background is the old laundry which I mentioned in last week's Sepia Saturday post. As I type this I wonder if those two pictures were taken the same day.

The thing that strikes me the most is that they look so very happy. I don't mean that they were not, but simply that they were happy to show they were.

From the way their vision is, they appear looking down, so I wonder if the photographer was in fact my Mum, which might explain it being blurry!

The house was situated in the road where my Grandmother was born. After her brothers gave up the house, she went to live with her sister Elsie and brother in law Bill. When she married in 1939 she moved with my Grandfather into a house at Bright Hill at the other end of Guildford and then they moved into this house in 1940. The house remained with the family until 1996.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday Salon - February Catch Up!

Do you know, I really do not know where February has gone? I have been busy and here in the UK we have had a really cold spell. Brr!

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing…I have slowed down on the reading front. I have had a few books to review and then last week was the first on line meet of the Progressive Book Group. The first book for discussion was Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, which I personally enjoyed. You can read my review HERE.

I also wrote a book review and then a guest post with Delancey Stewart, whose book Through a Dusty Window was a fictional account of the residents of the same brownstone New York building from 1910 through to 2010. This I loved, the genealogist in me wonders what the real residents were doing in that same time frame, and who were they?

Meanwhile, I have started working on two regular columns, the first at Smitten by Britain a site dedicated to the love of the United Kingdom and the second is at The In-Depth Genealogist, which hosts a substantial website and blog in addition to a digital magazine which you can download free.

I have spent much of the time during February working on a project involving my own ancestry and one of my links to India. This coincided with my review of The Fishing Fleet at the Historical Fiction.

February is also the time of the Family History Writing Challenge and this year the Photo Collage Festival. So I have been busy and enjoying things.

Tomorrow my book group meets and the books for discussion are

Dona Nicanora's Hat Shop by Kirstan…Inheritance by Nicholas Shakespeare

Those reviews up shortly.

Until next time!

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 24

Today's photograph is one of two baby photos that I have. This is me, taken aged 9 months old. The photograph when Mum and I discussed recently I think gave rise to some memories for her.

Apparently I had been sat initially wearing blue shoes. I was given the ball and was unimpressed. Mum said to me that I displayed that look that I still use now, of when I am less than impressed.

The shoes were taken off and Mum said this look is classic, to her it says " I supposed to be impressed?....."

I sat and obliged and when I had, had enough I cried. The whole event apparently took several hours as I was  not overly helpful.

I have in my study an old suitcase that had been my Grandfathers. Inside in tissue paper is a really soft and smooth wool blanket given to me by my Great Grandmother who appeared on day 6. At the time I was born I was not her only Great Grandchild, and wonder if she purchased a similar blanket for my cousins. I must ask them. I have kept the blanket in the hope that I might one day use it for my own family. This has not been the case and I shall pass this on to my Cousin's daughter who is currently only 11 and that way it will hopefully provide a link between the past and future.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Cleveland's West Side Market: 100 Years & Still Cooking by Laura Taxel, Marilou Suszko, Barney Taxel and Michael Symon

Cleveland's West Side Market: 100 Years…
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to review this delightful book. Sadly I had the e-book version as this would have been a delight to have read in the flesh.

The book has been thoroughly researched and explores the foundations from 1912 and growth of the market on Cleveland's west side.

It shares a combination of historical facts and memoirs from those who dedicated a whole lifetime to working within the confines of the market. It brought to life the "smell" of the market and how the internal organisation of such a market and how the business develops into becoming a local landscape and a professional business.

It provided information that some of the stalls within the market had started in those early days by immigrants and are now into a second or third generation ownership.

There is a good collection of old photographs and various comparisons with modern pictures.

This was a true delight to read and if I had ancestral connections to the area I would, without hesitation purchase the hardback book.

I was provided by a review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Taking part in Weekend Cooking hosted by BethfishReads

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 23

Today's photograph was on the occasion of my birthday, just before I left for Australia.

The lady on the left was my Great Aunt and Godmother Dorothy, who we called Doll and was the youngest sister of my Grandfather and the lady on the right was my Grandmother.

The venue was the hotel The Inn on the  Lake at Godalming.

The consensus was that I should have a party before I headed off to Australia. I was not overly keen. Instead I went for the more select option of those people I wanted to say goodbye to and those people who were the most special to me.

We had a round corner table in the restaurant and being later in the year it was not overly busy. There was a small group of us, comprising of my Mum, Aunt and my Grandmother, my "Aunt and Uncle" neither were of course relatives, by "Aunt" had been my Grandmother's evacuee during the war that friendship continues between our families to this day. There was also two very close friends present. So, a nice group of 8 of us.

In this photo we are from memory looking at the desert menu and Aunt is reading the menu to us, Gran had forgotten her glasses.....again!

It was a lovely menu and evening and in my journal I can see what I had for dinner. I have enclosed a napkin with the printed logo of the hotel and the bill.

Some of the younger family members arranged with me to meet for a quiet drink and instead turned the following evening into a lovely enjoyable and loud send off with a great many more people that 8 in attendance, so I was glad I had opted for the select group.

Friday, 22 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 22

This is a recipe for Wheat Wine. The letter is from my Great Grandmother who has already appeared during the festival on day 6.

This was written in around 1965. This was written in the days when Royal Mail used to delivery second post around lunchtime. From reading this letter, it would appear that my Grandfather, who is George must have asked his Mum for the recipe. No different I guess when my Mum and I share bits via email.

What is special about this is the handwritting and the fact that my Great Grandmother could write. The address at Hurtmore is that Granny, as she was known was living with her daughter Marg and her husband Ernest who was my Grandmother's brother. This was the days of no telephones.

Mum recalls this being made and my Grandfather taking a bottle along to a family wedding. From the comments it was clearly a lethel drink and had everyone's head spinning!

I shared the recipe with a cousin and we keep planning to make it. That said I am not convinced I would drink it, but would like to experience what my Grandparents experienced.

Guest Post - Delancey Stewart, Author of Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001

What was it that prompted you to write Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001?

Through a Dusty Window was inspired by my time living in New York City in my early twenties. I was a West Coast kid, and the idea of living in a building that had been there since the 1800s was mind-boggling.The concept of a city that had existed since the 1600s was beyond that for me. I lived a bit of a wild life there, definitely living in the moment. But all that time -- which was only four years -- I was conscious of the ghosts that lingered in the city. I felt them on the sidewalks, in the park, on the subway, and especially out on the stoops of the brownstones that I wandered past when I was having my adventures. I always wondered who had lived in my apartment before me, and what it had been like before the building was sectioned off into studios and the whole building was one house. I lived on the Upper West Side, where the book is set, for a year, but not in a brownstone. I eventually moved down to 15th Street, and the building I lived in there had once been a single family home, I believe. 
How much research did you do prior to writing?
As I wrote each story, I did a lot of research around the specific time frame involved. For some stories -- like Darkness Unleashed, which is about the blackouts in 1977, an event inspired the fiction. The blackout of 1977 came during a summer that had already seen racial discord on the Upper West (and the rest of the city), the Son of Sam slayings in Queens that had everyone tense and afraid, and a general degradation of the city as the economy suffered. I read about how there had been a blackout in the city in the mid-sixties, and how neighbors had mingled in the streets, laughing and having parties until the lights came back on. The blackout in 77, though, saw people staying in their homes, afraid of the darkened streets and of their neighbors. So much had changed so quickly, and I thought it was a great backdrop for a story.

The Internet makes research so easy, and it was fascinating to increase my own knowledge of my favorite city while I prepared to write about it. My favorite stories are The Vault, which is loosely based around the liquor vault at the 21 Club, which I've read about in several places; The Harbinger, which was based on the sighting -- and subsequent newspaper reporting -- of two rhesus monkeys on the Chambers Street subway platform (I changed the date on that one to make it work for my story); and Darkness Unleashed, which really focuses on the way the city changed and degraded so quickly from the late 60s to the late 70s. The last story, which is somewhat autobiographical, was also obviously based on real events, and deals with the downing of the World Trade Center.

For each bit of fiction, I tried to overlay the atmosphere and consciousness of the City at that point in time.
Were you tempted to turn this into a non fiction account of a specific address in New York?
Though each story is set in the same fictional building, I never thought to try to do a non-fiction version of the same idea. Though I enjoyed the research involved in the work I did, I think that trying to track down enough specific detail about an anonymous building might be tedious enough to put me off wanting to write about it! And for me - learning is fun, but the writing is the best part!  
What are you currently working on?
My current projects are pretty drastically different than Through a Dusty Window, though New York City still figures prominently. I've signed a deal with Swoon Romance to publish a series of New Adult novellas called "Girlfriends of Gotham." The first one, Men and Martinis will publish in June, and I'm very excited about it. The books follow a group of young women through their trials and tribulations on the work, social and dating scenes of New York in the late nineties, when the Internet economy was in full swing.

I've also signed with Swoon for a young adult romance novella, and am working on another series of contemporary book-length romances that are loosely tied to wine varietals. (I know, it sounds odd, you'll just have to read to understand!).

Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001 by Delancey Stewart is available from Amazon.

You can follow the author via - Twitter * Facebook * Blog

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Review - Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001 by Delancey Stewart

This book had a rather familiar feel to it. The setting is a brownstone in New York. The same building features in this collection of fictional stories, each story set 10 years apart and tells a fictional account of the inhabitants of the building.

The catalyst for the stories was the author's former residence and the contemplation of the lives of those who may have lived in the building, what their lives was like and the sort of people they were.

The stories were good and with each turn of the page I wondered if any of the story line had a glimpse of reality in relation to the characters. Specific historical events give the characters perspective and dimention.  The genealogist in me hoped that there was, and if not it is perhaps a project for the future.

Well, I asked the author and tomorrow you can read the guest post and her answer to that question, amongst others.

You can follow the author via - Twitter * Facebook * Blog

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 21

This photograph was taken in the Autumn of 1982 according to a friend of mine she recalls it was a Friday afternoon!

This is at Guildford County School which was my senior school.

The structure of the school was interesting, almost back to the days of Grammar Schools. We had a headmaster, Mr Smith who is on the front row, the 5th teacher in on the left. next to him on his right is his deputy head, who was called Mrs Davies. A fairly fierce lady, who had a heart of gold and taught physics. To the left of the head master was the senior master, called Mr Tanner. His son is also in this photograph. Next to Mrs Davies was another Mr Smith, (no relation to the head). He was the head of the year and taught history. The other teachers there were Mr Oliver who taught music, not to me, he realised it was pointless! A lady whose name I can not remember, she taught French, another lost cause I am afraid and then Miss Francis who taught PE and geography. The teacher on the end was the young Miss Fay, who the boys teased dreadfully.

Mr Tanner taught English Literature with such a passion. His combination of the books with the history of the setting as I was preparing for my O level History was without a doubt a help to my achieving a great understanding of the books and decent grades. He is also responsible for my love of the writings of George Orwell.

This photograph is taken in the main hall and up onto the stage. Each teacher here was a class tutor, apart from the head, deputy and senior masters. Mine was, as we called him Young Mr Smith! We had full assembly in the mornings and special events at the end of term and end of year with commendations. I still have those that I received. We had to wear those apple green shirts and on our last day our friends wrote all over them. I still have mine! There were 120 people in the year group.

Happy Memories!

See if you can spot me.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing…
Until I signed up to take part in the PBC I had never heard of this book or author. I ordered my copy from the library and waited for the email telling me it had arrived.

Then on 22nd January I received an email from Delancey Place. I had previously subscribed and each day an email plops into my inbox with details from books etc. As soon as I read the email of 22nd Jan I knew that I would enjoy Bird by Bird. I can not give a link to the article, but head over to the site and search for Bird by Bird and you should find the article.

The email from the library eventually arrived, and I set about reading the book.

The task set by the Progressive Book Club is to read the set book, in this case, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and then review sharing what each reader will take away from the book.

The following is the passage that was shared in the email on 22nd Jan. I then read the same passage, obviously, in the book.

From page 19
"‎30 years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird"
On page 59
"You need to keep moving your characters forward, even if they only go slowly"
The Chapter on Index cards I found particularly useful and interesting. Back to my study days at school and the college and university I was a fan of index cards. I recall carrying around chunks of them and reading them continuously, almost up to the point of sitting the final exam. In my early days of genealogy I used index cards to record what details I knew about specific ancestors.

Anne talks about always carrying a card or paper or a notebook with her to record any thoughts or ideal writing material.  By coincidence, I explored a similiar idea in a column that I write regularly at the In-Depth Genealogist.  In that article, which you can read by HERE and scrolling through until you reach Across the Pond. I explore not only recording points to jar your memory, but writing the story behind it. Even Anne mentions that sometimes she doesn't recall the story behind all her references on the index cards.

I really enjoyed this book and have ordered my own copy from Amazon. Apart from the content, I enjoyed the writing style, it felt as though Anne Lamott was sitting in my sitting room.

A great first choice to kick off the Progressive Book Club

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 20

This is the year after the photograph taken yesterday, which makes this Spring 1976 or so.

The teacher was called Mrs Cressfield and boy could she be fierce.

Her speciality was maths and she would become so angry she would go red enough to burst. To a 6 year old that is terrifying and it undoubtedly put me off maths, despite the fact that to go into pharmacy I needed a good understanding of maths!

Despite having a bit of a rage, she was a very nice lady and like Miss Jerome, remembered her students long after they had moved on. The last time I was in Guildford I saw her in town, the first time since the early 1990s and she still remembered my name.

Again, see if you can spot me.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 19

This is my very first school photograph taken in the summer term of 1975. This was at Sandfield School at Guildford. By the time of this photo I had been at the school almost a year and I remained here until 1978 when I moved to the next school.

At this point Surrey had a three school system 5-8 years, 8-12 years and then senior school 12-16 years and then the facility to stay onto until 18 before heading off to University.

My Mum was no stranger to the school as she herself went there from the age of 5 until she was 11, before moving along to senior school.

The teacher at the top right was called Miss Jerome and not only taught me, but also Mum. She was a lovely lady who recognised her students long after they left her classroom.

Now, I am not going to tell you which child is me, see if you can guess.

Monday, 18 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 18

Today's photograph is of my Great Aunt Glad, my Grandfather's sister and sister to Rose who appeared here yesterday and her husband my Uncle Frank.

This photograph was taken around 1960. Aunt was born in 1901 and Frank in 1899. He had been born in Dodford Northamptonshire and some point moved to Surrey/Hampshire.

Uncle was in the Army so I suspect he was either posted to Aldershot which was just over the border into Hampshire from Wanborough or stationed at Guildford when there were army barracks there.

My Cousin has the military papers of his father and shared them with me.

They reveal that Frank enlisted at Maidstone in November 1922 in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. He then served at home within the confines of the UK for 2 years. He then trained into the Military Police and then was posted to Germany between 1924 - 1928. He then returned home, still in the Military Police between 1928 and 1936 and then transferred again to Singapore between 1936 and 1938. He then returned home and remained serving again in the Military Police in Essex until February 1939 when he was discharged. He served just under 17 years.

When Frank enlisted in 1922, he was no stranger to the army, as he had served in the British Army during the First World War, enlisting in 1916 and was discharged in October 1922. He married my Aunt in June 1924 at Guildford, although without the permission of his commanding officer and they had to repeat the ceremony at the registry office. I am guessing that my Aunt went with Frank to Germany, as she certainly went to Singapore with him during the 1930s.

Frank and Gladys raised 3 children. The eldest recalled spending time in Singapore and also spending time with his Grandmother in Surrey, whilst his parents were overseas.

However, his military connection did not end at discharge. During the Second World War he remained living in his military home and worked from what I can establish from the limited knowledge in the military barracks in a defence position.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 17

Today's photograph is of my Great Aunt Rose, who appeared earlier in the festival on day 13.

This is the last photograph I have of her, taken in 1993. Aunt at this point was still very very alert. Her body failed her with terrible arthritis and not brilliant eye sight. She had glasses, but that really wasn't much of a help to her.

Here she is sitting in her room and I often used to describer to her the flowers outside in the garden at her request. She loved flowers and loved even more getting into a wheelchair and being pushed round the garden. Even though her sight was poor she could tell the flowers very often by the smell. I have so limited knowledge of gardening that Aunt would say oh that smells like a...... and expect me to confirm or deny. My view was, she was 93 and as sharp as a knife and if she said it was whatever flower who was I to disagree.

Aunt passed away in August 1994, just weeks after I returned from getting married. I had not even had chance to tell of her of the trip and she had been so looking forward to hearing about it.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sepia Saturday - 164

I searched several times for photographs in our family collection. Nothing with an tortoise, and I can not see one that I had of my father in law, where I was sure he was smoking a pipe, anyway here is one I did find - I am sure a cigarette counts!

This is of my Grandfather, George Butcher and taken circa 1960. He is in the garden of the family home which was near the railway station at Guildford. Behind the small fence is the River Wey and the tall tower like structure is in the grounds of the former laundry at Guildford. I am sure that large bushy flower behind him is either marigolds or wallflowers as they seemed to be favours. In this photo he is wearing a waist coat that matched the suit, which is rare, he  usually wore a brown jumper with an orange fleck in the wool. So I wonder if this was him getting ready to go to an event.
I recall the laundry which was a derelict building during my childhood. It had been used during the war as dealing with sheets and alike from the military. During the war my Grandmother worked there and after then hated ironing with a passion and the smell of starch.  Gradually the laundry knocked down and Guildford Crown Court built on the site.

Taking part in Sepia Saturday

Weekend Cooking - Living Gluten Free for Dummies

Living Gluten-Free for Dummies: UK Edition…
 A few weeks ago I borrowed from the library this book, as we were not sure whether removing gluten from hubby's died would help the abdominal pains he was experiencing.

The blood test checking for the allergen markers were negative, but we decided to experiment with the diet in case there was any improvement.

In this case there was no improvement and hubby had his gallbladder removed last week.

This book was a really great, informative and yet easy to read book. Aimed at the UK market specifically, it discussed the amounts of items available to Coeliac patients on prescription and included details and recipes.

Having Coeliac disease is not just a condition or diet. It is a way of life that does take considerable getting use to and adjustment. Should hubby have been diagnosed with Coeliacs Disease I would have had no hesitation in buying this book.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by BethFishReads

What’s your favourite AWW 2012 review? Scribe Book Giveaway

Are you a lover of literary fiction? Or nonfiction, history, memoir and biography? Would you like to encourage more reviews that make you want to race out and buy or borrow a book?
Scribe Publications are offering AWW readers a chance to win books by selected AWW authors in a special giveaway. All you need to do is to nominate your favourite review from the Australian Women Writers 2012 Challenge in the Literary and Classics, History, Memoir and Biography or Nonfiction categories.
A reviewer's perspective & Meg Mundell's Black Glass: Annabel SmithTwo entrants who nominate winning reviews, as well as the top three reviewers, will be invited to select a book by the following Scribe authors.
How to enter: Fill out the Google form below to nominate your favourite review(s) – you can enter more than once. Eligible reviews can be found on the Literary and Classics ,History, Memoir and Biography, and Nonfiction pages on the AWW Review Listing site. State why you think the review nominated deserves to win.
Winners will be chosen on the basis of merit by author Annabel Smith in consultation, if necessary, with members of the AWW team.
  • This book giveaway is available to both Australian and international residents.
  • You don’t need to be signed up for the AWW 2013 challenge to enter. (Though you might like to!)
  • If more than one reader nominates a winning review, the winner will be decided on the basis of his/her nomination.
  • If you reviewed for the AWW challenge in 2012, you can nominate your own review.
  • You can nominate more than one review. (Just fill out the form again.)
  • Entries will close when a sufficient number of reviews have been nominated to make a fair selection.
  • Winning entries will be announced as soon as they become available.
  • Winning entrants will be notified by email. Winning reviewers will be contacted via their blog (or GoodReads page, if applicable). If any winner does not respond within 5 days, another winner will be selected. Once all winners have been notified and responded, the results will be posted on the AWW blog.
  • Contact details for each winner will be forwarded to Scribe to arrange delivery of the prize.
To access the form please click HERE

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 16

After the ceremony we were taken into the formal grounds of the wedding venue for the official photographs. It does not look particularly sunny, but it was and it was around 5pm by now.

I had a lovely bouquet made of tradition flowers which were kept in our room until they had seen better days. Whilst we were at the ceremony, the staff had been busy and had decorated our bed with petals that spelt out "Happy Honeymoon", sadly we only just realised what it said as hubby hit the air conditioning unit and the central fan sent the petals everywhere!

We were at Turtle Bay, which is one of three bays at Watamu on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya within the confines of the Watamu Marine National Park

From looking at the webpage of Turtle Bay it has matured. The rooms look just as I remember them and I think that weddings there are more popular that they were in the early 1990s. I had planned to go back to celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary, but think we have a visit on the cards to Australia!

Friday, 15 February 2013

The In-Depth Genealogist - Digital Magazine - Issue 1 - OUT NOW!

You may remember that I wrote HERE of my new regular column, Across the Pond at The In-Depth Genealogist.

Well, the first issue of the free digital magazine is available NOW!

Enjoy this first edition of the magazine, but 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!

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 15

After yesterday, it is only fair that hubby takes part in the festival.

It was just after 4pm as I few a minutes late, as is the bride's prerogative! In this photo he is listening to the registrar who is giving the reading as he carries out the ceremony. I wonder what he was thinking. Possibly that it was too late to run!

The choir remained for the ceremony and they wore typical African vibrant colours. You can just see the flowers above hubby's head. His corsage is made of Frangipani's. The same flower appears, amongst others in my bouquet.

After the ceremony we were taken into the gardens for the official photographs. I recall we paid the photograph extra to have the negatives of the photos, money well spent given the distance we were from the photographer.

I am not alone in having to make the downsize decision as I notice that hubby still has the suit in the wardrobe and the tie which he still wears every now and again, and has the affection name of the "Kenyan tie"

Thursday, 14 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 14

Today's photograph is of yours truly! This was me on my Wedding day in July 1994.

I became engaged in October 1993, I was swept off my feet! I can not recall when I originally went shopping for my wedding dress, I guess it was November or so. I do recall that I jumped on the train at Sutton where I was living at the time and headed home to Guildford to Pronuptia, which was a well known wedding dress shop.

This dress was actually the first I saw. There was a huge amount of dresses all hung up, but this one was hanging sideways, as if someone had moved it to admire from a distance.

It caught my eye and I tried it on. I then looked at a few others, but I knew that this one was the one.  I then progressed to veil and head piece and of course shoes.

You can just just make out the floral detail on the dress which I thought when I bought it was a peach colour. It was only when I took a friend to look at the dress that she said to me it was pink, so we had to have a hastily head dress colour change!

We approached the vicar of the parish in Guildford where I, my Mum and my Grandmother were all christened. Furthermore, my Grandfather's sisters had all married at the church. I was then surprised and fairly upset that the vicar refused to marry us, because I no longer lived in the parish. No amount of coaxing would change his mind.

My future in laws suggested marrying in Scotland, but that did not console me. Whilst it may seem fairly trivial to some, it was not to me and we looked at options. Meanwhile, we were looking at honeymoon destinations, but obviously could not progress further until we had a date and venue to have the ceremony!

The end result was we got married in Kenya. We had a lovely and magical 3 weeks there and in October we had our marriage blessed in the church where we were living. The vicar at Guildford even refused to grant us a blessing.

I kept the original dress that I had seen, I had a minor adjustment made to the length and then it was packed up in the sales box to make the journey to Kenya. The dress survived the journey and hubby did not look at the dress prior to the ceremony. I took with me my Grandmother's 22 caret wedding ring as my something old, my Mum lent me a hanky and a friend gave me a garter in the traditional blue.

We married under an arch made of traditional reeds and grasses in the grounds of the hotel. I watched the local women make the archway during the morning. Our wedding was at 4pm and as I walked up from our room I could hear the local choir singing in Swahili.

Now, almost 20 years later, as we approach downsizing, I am pondering what I should do. I still have my wedding dress, head piece and veil in the box that made the long journey. I still have the receipt and the boxes our wedding rings were in. Sad to say I may have to make a hard decision, but perhaps I will delay that one for a while longer!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 13

Periodically I have mentioned my Great Aunt Rose, who was the sister of my Grandfather. This is her. Born Rose Butcher to Charles Butcher and Annie Prudence nee Harris in April 1900 at Wanborough. Rose was the eldest of the siblings and for the whole of her life she was the stable influence in the family.

She married in 1931 to Ernest Marshall, who was her first cousin a fact that she vehemently denied, but we all knew! She grew up in an envionment where her mother looked after her mother and likewise, Aunt looked after her mother.

Aunt was an amazing woman. She worked tirelessly. She raised 3 children and worked at the farm where the family farmed in Wanborough. After 1930 the family moved to Manor Farm Onslow Village Guildford, which was where the University of Surrey now sits. Aunt carried on working on the farm and at the Manor House.

Before her married she was in service at Wanborough Manor, although I have not explored this as yet.

Aunt lived in her own home right up until she was around 90 years old. Insisting that she would manage with assistance. She went into a nursing home where she lived for about 4 years. She passed away in August 1994 and left an amazing hole in the family.  In her adult years she was a true linchpin of the family.

As a child I always visited her, into my teenage years and then adulthood I continued. We spent many, many hours together, her chatting about the old days and me writing furiously gathering the facts. She was such an amazing woman and even though we spent so much time together there are many questions that I wished I asked.

So it seemed very fitting that she take part in this photo festival, after all this is where it all started.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 12

This is a photograph of my Great Great Grandparents, Henry and Caroline Harris nee Ellis. Taken on the occassion of their 60th Wedding Anniversary. Like the photograph from yesterday this was given to me by my Grandfather's first Cousin Ivy.

Quite a few years ago Ivy accompanied me to see my Great Aunt Rose, the oldest of my Grandfather's sisters. We were also joined us was his youngest sister, Doll.

Whilst I was in the kitchen getting the tea done as instructed, I could hear the three of them chatting away. It was truly wonderful and if I could turn back the clock and relive a moment this would be that moment.

We had the tea and cake and I had been making notes furiously. The chatter was free flowing and not in a very logical order. To give my arm a rest I pulled out this photo, which I knew would get them chatting again.

I asked, that I wondered who took the photo. I was not really expecting an answer, until my Great Aunt Rose said that she had and named the occasion, their 60th Wedding Anniversary in December 1924 at the family home at Manor Farm Wanborough.

The talk that day steered round to Caroline and her fierceness and Henry being a really gentle Grandpa. They spoke of Caroline giving the boys, my Aunt's brothers a smack for taking apples of the trees and as I watched my Aunts and their cousin I could see that they had all cast their minds back to a previous, more carefree time.

It was a truly special day.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Family History Writing Challenge 2013 - Day 11

As I said yesterday, I had always known that one of the sisters remained in the UK, but nonetheless, I decided to revist the book written by Margaret Bellasis in 1952 to see if I had overlooked any further clues with regard to Ruth King.

In that respect I had not, although I was suitable reminded of a few details which I thought I might discuss today.

I have always pondered on what it was exactly that was the catalyst for the King daughters to be sent to India and Margaret Bellasis has perhaps provided a line of enquiry that I had overlooked. On page 133 of Honourable Company it reads

"....There was a family friend, a rich Mr. Holmes, retired from India, and whether from his introduction or not, the eldest of the sisters was early wedded to a Bengal civilian named Morris. The next eldest, Esther, was thereupon invited out to her; and so it was that she came to marry "the handsomest man in India......"

The handsomest man in India was George Bridges Bellasis, and more of his story later. I was intrigued what was the location for the marriage of Mary King and what exactly was Mr Morris doing in India and who was Mr Morris?

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 11

This photograph was presented to me quite a few years ago by my Grandfather's first Cousin, Ivy.

My Great Grandmother (Annie Prudence) who appeared on day 6 is on the left, followed by 3 of her sisters Mabel Sheffield, nee Harris, who was Ivy's Mum, Kate Cox nee Harris and Rose Cresswell nee Harris.

The lady sitting in front of them is their mother, my Great Great Grandmother, Caroline Harris nee Ellis (1844 - 1935).

Caroline was a formidable lady. A true Victorian stickler and thought nothing of telling her grandchildren off with a very hard smack! All my Great Aunts and Ivy stated to me that she had a really fierce wack for someone who was fairly petite.

I wonder whether my Great Grandmother, who we all called Granny was ticked off by her mother as she is clearly laughing with Mabel. 

Caroline was born in Puttenham and was the daughter of George Ellis and Prudence Budd. The Ellis family were fairly complicated. George the son of a military man and from Guildford, although there were Ellis families that were related in nearby Godalming and Elstead. She married Henry Harris from Headley Hampshire, which is just over the border from Puttenham, and further research shows that his family would have known my Grandmother's Elstone and Denyer families. 

Caroline lived with Annie and her husband Charles Butcher in Wanborough, where the family farmed at Manor Farm. When the family moved to Onslow Village in 1930 she went with them. This photo dates from 1930.

Caroline died in 1935 aged 91 years. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Family History Writing Challenge 2013 - Day 10

I have always known right from the start of this research over 20 years ago that one of Esther's sisters did not it would appear go to India. I could not help, but feel slightly troubled. Had I missed something?

The book written by Margaret Bellasis in 1952 devoted a whole chapter to the King sister's in which she mentions there were 7 sisters. One sister, Jane died in 1795, and one sister Ruth remained in England. The remaining 7 sisters were in India and the tenth sibling was a son.

Ruth King was born in Puttenham in 1773. She married William Trod (Trodd) on 2nd December 1800 in Guildford at Stoke Next Guildford church. From research it appears that Ruth was quite insuluar and resided in Guildford after her marriage.

Between 1801 and 1814 Ruth and William reared a family of 6 children, all baptised in the same church at Stoke next Guildford -

William baptised 25 Jan 1801
John baptised in 1804
Hannah baptised 3rd August 1806
Henry baptised 23rd July 1809
Mary baptised 27th October 1811
Dinah baptised 13 Feb 1814

There seemed to be a logical pattern to the names, although I do realise that all of them are quite common names, with the exception of Dinah. Presumably William was named after his father, John after his mother's brother and father and the same applied to Mary and Hannah, both named after her mother's sisters. Henry was the name of Ruth's Grandfather, the father of her mother, Mary and called Henry Budd.

William died in Stoke Next Guildford in October 1825.

I feel there is a storyline here and I am rather intrigued by the lack of an India connection. I am also rather curious of the marriage being held in Stoke Parish as both her parents were still alive and yet she broke with usual tradition of marrying in her parish.


February Collage Photo Festival - Day 10

Today's photo is the only known photo of the early life of my Great Grandmother, who was my Grandmother's mum. I have talked about her on both day 4 and day 7. In this photograph she is just aged 18 years old. I really should try and do something with the photograph and see if I can make an improvement.
In her early days, Mary Elizabeth Elstone was born in Liphook and baptised in neighboring Bramshott, in Hampshire. The Elstone's had been in this part of Hampshire and across the border into Sussex since around the early 1700s. A John Elstone inherited a papermill in the area through his marriage into the Pim family.

Map courtesy of  the Parish Council of Liphook & Bramshott
Readers, may recall an earlier post in which I mentioned that the Elstone's were papermakers and that there was a small hamlet in Devon, along the banks of the River Exe called Elstone.

Well, the coincidence increases. The Pim family had again been in the Sussex and Hampshire border areas were involved with paper making. Exeter has instances of a Pim and Elstone family involved in the region with paper making.

Coincidence? It is possible the the families migrated across the south west of England into the south east region. There is healthy research into the paper making  facilities across the UK and in particular the South of England, so when I get a few minutes (make that hours and possibly longer!) I will research this more fully. Over the years I have looked at the data, but I do need to devote more time to it.

I have no idea as to whether or not Mary Elizabeth knew of her paper making connections. The family were labourers in the passfields area of Bramshott and later moved across to Burpham at Guildford not far from the Merrow area where she met her husband John Matthews.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Sepia Saturday - 163 Snow

The moment I saw that this week's prompt was snow I  knew that I had to use this photo. This is from my Guildford and District collection. It is a photograph of Farnham Road at Guildford which was the main road to Farnham and it was along this road that was the most direct route to Puttenham

The photo is dated in the bottom right, and reads "Farnham Road, 28 Dec 1927

I know the recent snow here in parts of the UK had been challenging, but we don't see Winters like this anymore and it was all coped with on a very different scale to these days.

Taking part in Sepia Saturday

Family History Writing Challenge 2013 - Day 9

The biggest issue for me with the whole King family saga is how we made the journey from rural Surrey to not just India, but the whole peerage issue. There is so much more research that can be done on this family. Every thing discussed so far has been about the marriage of John King and Mary Budd and just one of their offspring. I had already discussed Esther King who went onto to marry George Bridges Bellasis.

A quick recap of the children of the children of John King and Mary Budd, who married in Puttenham in 1767, all the children were born in Puttenham and John joined Mary's parish and lived in Puttenham where he died in 1803 and Mary in 1817.

Mary born 1767 married Thomas Morris
Esther born 1770 married George Bridges Bellasis
Ruth born 1773 married William Trodd
Elizabeth born 1775 married William Kent and George Bridges Bellasis
Jane born 1777 and died in Puttenham 1795
Hannah born 1780 married William Stringer and Robert Gordon
Ann born 1782 married Joseph Dacre Watson
Amelia born 1785 and married George Waddell
John born 1788 and died in the Persian Gulf in 1812
Lucy born 1790 married Captain Robert William Eastwick.

For me it is important to get things into concept. All these children were born before Queen Victoria ascended the throne.  I want to explore what their lives were like, the foods, society in terms of what they did. Did they sing, play games, quilt and sew. Did they read books? What clothes did they wear?

This is Regency England.

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 9

This has to be one of my very favourite photographs. It is a photograph of  my Grandfather, George Butcher.

This was taken around 1940, so he was aged 32. He had only married the previous November. At the outbreak of the Second World War he lived in Guildford and was working for Unigate Dairies. His 3 brothers were working at the farm that his family had been at since 1930.

For whatever reason, he decided to join up and was posted initially to Africa where he spent over 2 years. He then returned to England for a short time before being posted to France, Belgium and The Netherlands.

I called for his service papers about 5 years ago and it is one of the things that I really must do, to breakdown the fine details of his war experiences.

The reverse of this photo simply reads "Your loved one George X" and I am guessing that this was done and then given to his family members. This copy was my Grandmothers.

There is something very special about this photo, maybe the simplicity of it, but my Grandmother always kept it and now it has passed to me. I have had it copied and enlarged and it now sits in a frame in my living room.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Family History Writing Challenge 2013 - Day 8

I wanted to really get to grips with the King family in Farnham. I had various transcriptions and records from earlier research so I revisited that data. Much to my surprise (and annoyance) it would appear that I had already explored this data previous.

Having established that the John King, who married Mary Budd in Puttenham was born in Farnham in 1744 and was the son of John King and Jane Planner. What could I establish about John King senior?

Well, he was born in 1716 and was the son of Henry King and Anne Cooper. They had married on 26th November 1711 in Farnham and raised a family of 4 children -

Henry born 1714
John born 1716 and married Jane Planner 1740
James born 1719
William born 1723

In Farnham, it would appears that the trail of the King family goes cold in regard to the birth of Henry, who would have been born circa 1686 (1711 his year of marriage -25 years).

However, I have located a birth of a Henry in 1688 in Hampshire and is recorded as the son of Henry and Ruth King. The birth is recorded in the Dorset and Hampshire QM, which is the Quarterly Meetings of the Quakers.

I am going to follow the trail on this Henry as John King (born 1716) named one his children Ruth, and Esther King who married George Bridges Bellasis had a sister called Ruth. It's a tentative link, but the hunch factor feels that this is right to research this further. Furthermore, just up the road from Farnham is the town of Alton, which is actually over the border into Hampshire. Alton had a reasonable Quaker population, so guess where we research next?

February Collage Photo Festival - Day 8

Today's photo was taken in around 1971 or so. I am obviously on the left of the photo and the lad on the right is my Cousin Paul, who was the Grandson of my Grandmother's sister Elsie.

This photo was taken in the garden of my Aunt, she loved her garden and had one of those hanging seats  and I recall loving to swing on it and lay on the cushions.

I have not seen Paul in over 30 years, but I know he still lives in the Guildford area, and is married. I wonder if he has a copy of this photo? I could look up his phone number and ring him, but a lot of years has past and I have had a name change, or perhaps Facebook. Would he even remember that lovely sunny day?

In the background you can just make out the wheels of a tricycle and I can recall Paul being able to ride a bicycle and being so jealous. That jealousy lasted a while, as the stabilisers came off my bike and I had no balance at all and would often fall off. I fell off so often I gave up and still can not ride a bike.

Some really happy memories with this photo.


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