Saturday, 17 July 2021

A Beautiful Day In Wadhurst

 My sister and I were so lucky to have such beautiful weather yesterday. We spent the morning at Bewl Water and had a lovely long walk around the water's edge. When I say around, we walked for just over two hours, walking for an hour then turning round to walk back. The walk around the water is 12 miles and I would love to walk the whole walk one day. I'm going to try and build up my fitness to this level over the year and walk the whole route. I enjoy a challenge, the only problem is at the moment I have a bit of a niggling pain in one heel and ankle, that I'm not quite sure what it is. It isn't constant and when I am walking it is a bit better, it's when I stop it hurts and I end up having to take painkillers which I hate doing. I'm trying to decide whether it is worth going to the doctors or it may just go as things often do. 

After our walk we drove into Wadhurst to have a pub lunch. We sat in the garden with Cassie who just loves being out all on her own with us. Youngest son says she has "little dog status" as she is so easy to take places the other two can't go as easily. We had such a delicious lunch sitting in the sunshine and the lovely young waitress brought Cassie a bowl of water and two dog biscuits on a tray! I couldn't fault it, I really must take the time to write a review as I feel often only the people who have had bad experiences, fuelled by anger, seem to make the effort. You can see how much she enjoyed herself!

After we had eaten our lunch we went for a walk around Wadhurst which is a really pretty little village. The only fault I could find was that in very narrow streets there as quite a lot of traffic but I suppose that is everywhere at the moment. We even found an independent book shop to browse around who welcomed Cassie which was a added bonus to the afternoon.  We walked around the beautiful graveyard in the local church, that had the most perfect views towards Bewl Water, certainly a very pretty final resting place.

We sat for a while on a carved bench in the church porch. It was ever so moving the inscription read "In Loving Memory Of Annora Violet Watson Smyth Of This Parish Born October 23 1901 Died April 29 1912. These Seats Her Own Wish. Given By Her Mother" There were two identical seats on either side of the porch with the carving of a little girls face on the sides. Little Annora, immortalised for ever in the pretty village she lived her short life in. It was a beautiful place to sit for a rest and end such a nice day. 

It's another sunny day today and the weather forecast is for very hot later. Tom is on and early and when he gets in after a short sleep we are going to go to the caravan for a few days. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and enjoys this sunny weather if you are lucky enough to be able to enjoy it. Back soon. xx

Friday, 16 July 2021

Happily Plodding Or High Flying

 Scarlett was so full of her two days at school when she came yesterday. A few of her friends from nursery are starting with her so it has made her more confident. Typically of Scarlett she has entered into it all with such enthusiasm. "Hands up!" has become her favourite expression "Hand's up who wants tomatoes at lunch, hand's up who want's to go for a walk!" I had to join in of course and even Cassie was expected to hold up her paw before we went for a walk! Eldest daughter is so beautifully organised and has written out a date list of every day I will have to pick her up from school right through to next March, when her partner is being transferred to a new job so his shift patterns will change. I'm going to have a few dummy runs during the school holidays to get the timing just right. It has taken me back to when my children started school and even when I started school. It all seems so much more relaxed and easy going. I keep thinking how lucky Scarlett is but I can't help but have these nagging worries in the back of my mind. 

Even primary schools now have resident psychologists, I know a very nice family, who work so hard to give their children the best life yet both of the children are seeing a psychologist regularly for "low self esteem." The news loves to give us statistics all the time about how many percent of children now have mental health problems and how much up that is from previous years. If it all seems so much more happy and relaxed than in my days of starting school why has this happened? I was terribly shy at school, maybe today I would have been sent to a psychologist for having "low self esteem". Has the modern world really changed children so much or is it just experts are so quick to put labels on people now.

I have lots of old school photos in my collection, the top two are the 1950s to the two photos at the bottom from around 1910.

I look at all those little faces and wonder if life was really easier and less stressful or was it just a different kind of stress. We talk in our small group of old school friends all the time about it wondering why we all seemed so much happier as children than children today. In days before league tables, targets and constant testing. we just seemed to have fun, or are we just looking back at life in a rosy nostalgic way. I don't have the answers and probably I may be "overthinking" I'm sure an expert would tell me so. I've always been a bit of a happy plodder in life, never a high flyer and I think that was always my personality even in childhood. I'm just glad I was born in a time when that was acceptable to be. 

It's a lovely sunny day today and I am going with my sister to our caravan for the day and having a walk around the local area. We are only taking Cassie so at least she is nicely trimmed for our long walk and pub lunch. Have a lovely day everyone and I hope the sun shines for you. xx

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Grooming Dogs And Special Friends

 I was busy all day yesterday, working, weeding and washing. Oh and walking, there is always a dog to walk! There seems to be so much to do all the time, I don't really mind as I do love to be busy but I can't help but miss that feeling at the caravan when we have nothing to do. I often set to cleaning it and polishing dogs nose marks off the windows but the hole van takes half an hour. There is a lot to be said for downsizing! In the afternoon I started a job I hadn't been looking forward to and if Cassie had an inkling of it she wouldn't have been looking forward to it either.

Last weekend when we were at the caravan I decided she must have another trim. It was so muddy when we were out walking and as she is so low to the ground she got covered. It was so hard to get the mud off her legs when we got back to the caravan with limited water and I had to brush the dried mud off later which she absolutely hated. Cassie always hated the groomers. I took her a few times and she did look lovely but the woman was very off with me and told me she had been very naughty, and wouldn't stand still. She developed a fear of my Mum's fan oven hating the noise as they used a hot air drying cage. I decided enough was enough, what was the point of scaring her like this. I bought some clippers and I trim her myself. She still doesn't like it much and she often looks a bit rough around the edges, but she is happy which is the most important thing.

It really reminded me of an incident that happened with my Mum in the 1970s. We had a lovely little Yorkshire Terrier, just like Cassie, called Dougal, who we got on my 11th birthday. In those days Yorkshire Terriers weren't really trimmed, they had long flowing hair and walked along like Dougal in the Magic Roundabout which is why we called him his name. We were watching an episode of The Generation Game and Bruce Forsyth brought his little Yorkie on at the end. It had had a short clip and looked lovely, My Mum was so taken with it she phoned the BBC to ask where he had got it clipped. A few hours later a man from the BBC phoned back and said "Mr Forsyth say's to tell you his Yorkie was trimmed at ..." and gave an address in London. Can you imagine that happening now! My Mum and Dad duly took him to be clipped and next to the groomers was a restaurant. They decided to have lunch there while he was being trimmed. After this every time they took Dougal they would go in for lunch. Years after Dougal was dead and gone they would still go to the restaurant all the time and built up a lifelong friendship with the head waiter and his family until his death a few years ago. He was such a special friend to them. Isn't life funny, I often think this, one chance phone call led to such a long friendship. I was going to post a photo of trimmed Cassie, but she is still sulking a bit and won't look at the camera so here is a photo of Dougal, one of the most special little dogs I have ever been lucky enough to have in my life.

Scarlett is here today so we will busy all day but have lots of nice things planned to do. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Bravery And Gardening For Life

 It turned into a lovely day yesterday, warm, sunny and thankfully dry. I went into the garden to feed the birds in the morning and there, they were two fox cubs sitting together in the flower bed! They both looked very pleased with themselves and quite happy in the sunshine, probably feeling just like me, relieved that the heavy rain has gone. The other sight that met me when I went to the aviary was little Todd the pigeon happily swinging on the cockatiel's swing in the sunshine. He's lost his fluffy look now and his face is looking more adult. He manages fine now, feeding and drinking in fact when I fill up the food bowls he's first in. It's decision time I think.

On the way to my Dad's house I noticed that the mural had been finished at the station. I love the way our large fox population in the area is celebrated. I know many people don't like foxes but in our area of London people seem to love them, our local butcher tells me he does a roaring trade with people buying off cuts of meat to give to them, no wonder they all look so healthy, 

My sister and I got all the jobs done that we needed to for him and we still had plenty of time to sit and chat and catch up. I had taken a book about First World War Victoria Cross winners of mine to lend to him, so can read about our newly discovered distant cousin Geoffrey Vickers. I had been reading it while I was sitting on the train and I felt completely humbled by the bravery of these young men. I can't imagine what it must be like at such a young age, being put in such terrible situations and then showing such courage. I think it will be a really interesting read for my Dad who is so interested in military history. 

Dad's garden was looking absolutely lovely. He is out in it so much at this time of the year, cutting back, dead heading the roses and generally making it look so pretty. It keeps him going and gives pleasure to a lot of people. I remember reading once that "Gardeners Live Forever." I know no one lives forever but I do think gardening can give an old person a real reason to keep going. My Dad always wants to see how a particular plant or flower will do each season. It is a constant in life when so many other things at the moment seem completely out of our control.

Talking of gardening that is what I must try and catch up with today, we have been spending so much time at the caravan and with all this rain everything is getting very wild. Definitely some hard work needed. Have a lovely day everyone what ever your plans. xx

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Rain And Floods

It was rather a dull day yesterday. I worked and caught up with lots I had to do, the dogs slept and slept, exhausted after their weekend. While I worked the fox cub slept on the path in the garden too. Youngest son has built such a rapport with it while we have been away, it comes and sits by the fence and he opens his window and chats to it.

When I went out to feed the birds, it had moved to the side of the garden and was sitting watching me. I put some dog biscuits down for it and it sat munching on them while I was round and about. When I walked up to the aviary I was really surprised to see another cub sitting looking at me. It was about the same size as the cub that was in the garden eating the biscuits. I have never seen two cubs together this year, I really wonder if it could be a sibling I have just not seen or maybe a cub from another nearby pair of foxes. It was quite an exciting discovery.

While I was out in the garden the sky was getting darker and darker and I could hear plops of rain starting on the aviary roof. I had to dash in as it was getting heavier and within a few minutes it was absolutely pouring. It poured and poured, thunder and lightning, it was relentless. For the first time I was worried we were going to flood. There was a small river running down the path by our back door that was getting deeper and deeper. Since our neighbours have had their extension built the water really rises on our terrace with no where to drain to in heavy rain, it is quite a worry. 

I had some shopping to do at our local shops and I waited and waited but in the end decided I would just have to get on with it. All the shops were in chaos. Every shop I went in was mopping up from flood water that had come in through the back doors and one had water pouring in through the roof as well. I felt really sorry for them all. As the woman who works in the chemist said to me "This is all we need on a Monday!" I think the problem is our little area is on quite a steep hill and it just seems to rush downwards to the shops, the more houses and extensions that are built and the more front gardens that are paved over just seem to be making the problem worse and worse. 

At least the forecast is better today, but I hate to complain when I see the terribly high temperatures and wild fires some people in the world are having to deal with. I'm off to see my Dad today, hopefully I won't get soaked again, but I'm definitely not forgetting my umbrella. Have a lovely day everyone what ever the weather. xx

Monday, 12 July 2021

Relaxation And Disappointment

 We had a really lovely few days at the caravan, we arrived in glorious sunshine and left in glorious sunshine. A few of the bits in the middle were a bit wet but we've adapted now to managing so it's not really a problem. The traffic was so clear on Friday we got there in no time and after setting up ate our lunch outside with just the sounds of the birds and the sheep in a nearby field. I think the hens were thrilled to see us back and actually ran across to greet us!

We took the dogs to a local park in Lamberhurst for a walk in the afternoon. We had seen it as we had driven by on previous stays and it always looks so nice and peaceful. It was a really nice walk, not to arduous, just a few circles round and the dogs had burned off so much energy, they were tired for the whole evening.

There is an airfield near where we are staying and we have become really used to the sound of the light aircraft going over. I think it is a lovely sound, a bit nostalgic like the sound of a steam train. While we were walking one flew over and did a perfect loop the loop in the air. I was disappointed I didn't manage to catch it on my phone as it added a really exciting moment to our walk.

It was so warm and sunny we sat and ate our evening meal outside. Tom and I commented how in tune with nature you quickly become when all the modern noises and devices are taken away. I start to recognise the sounds of different birds and even notice the smell of different flowers in the hedge People talk about sensory overload and I'm sure when you live a modern life in a town you suffer from it without realising. Even though we had a lot of rain on Saturday, to just sit and enjoy the sounds with the windows slightly open was so relaxing. It makes me realise how normally we are always in a rush, it is very sad.

Yesterday morning we walked to Bewl Water, even though it was busier on a Sunday than other visits we had a wonderful walk. There were lots of people out in boats fishing or just enjoying the water, the dogs love it there. Layla of course was filthy, I don't know why it is if she sees a muddy puddle she has to run right through it, the other two dogs look on in horror!

We drove home after lunch full of so much excitement for the evening. Well of course we all know how that ended. All I will say is that England have been fantastic this tournament, they should be so proud of how well they have done and I'm sure next year the country will be going into the World Cup with such high hopes again. It will be the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and we have been promised so many celebrations and holidays for that, can you imagine if England won the World Cup too. What a summer that could be. 

This morning poor Tom was up waiting for the staff bus to pick him up in the pouring rain at 4am. He looked about as miserable standing there as next door's England flags sadly flapping in the wet. Their children had put them up so excitedly I felt ever so sorry thinking how disappointed they must be. Oh well there's always next time! I have so much to catch up with today and it's raining, I think I'll just put the music on and get on with it, nothing like a trip back to the 1970s to lift my spirits. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Friday, 9 July 2021

Lidl's Centre Aisle And That Perfect Garage

 We had a really fun day with Scarlett yesterday. We went to Lidl to get some food to take to the caravan this weekend and she loved it. Isn't it strange she went around the shop in amazement and at one point I heard her say "Look at that isn't it wonderful!" It did make me smile, simple new experiences are such fun for little ones and I think there was something about the mix of food and that enticing centre aisle of goodies in Lidl which she just loved. It's not just Scarlett though, Tom would spend ages browsing that tempting centre aisle and he keeps saying "This is such a bargain!" I always say "It's only a bargain if we need it!" Tool boxes, drills, packs of nuts and screws he could spend an hour going through them all. I remember my Mum used to laugh when she got back from Lidl with my Dad, without fail he had bought some "bargain" he didn't need. He always had some sort of gadget to give to me or the children, we still have an enormous telescope under our bed that is still in the box. I would love to use it but we are surrounded by trees and are far too close to other houses to set up a telescope in our bedroom window! Only the other day my sister and I had to get something out of the shed in his garden and we were climbing over discarded electrical items, you can't get into the back of his garage for electrical extension leads. If Tom didn't have me keeping an eye on him our shed would be the same and I suppose it's just as well we don't have a garage. "If we move house we must have a garage." Tom always says. I'm sure it would soon be full of as much rubbish as our loft. When we are out walking the dogs sometimes we see garages with their doors open and with screws and tools in perfect order on the walls. "That's how I would have a garage" Tom says as we pass. Somehow I'm not too sure. It would be the case of me saying "Shut the garage door! I don't want all the neighbours seeing what a mess it is!" This is Tom's idea of a perfect garage. I doubt it would be the reality! Does anyone have a garage like this!

We're off to the caravan this morning for a few days but will be back in plenty of time to watch the match on Sunday. We can't risk not getting a reception on the TV for that one! Have a lovely day and weekend everyone. Back soon. xx

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Exciting Times

 I was out in the garden early yesterday checking the birds and Todd is looking very happy. He still can only fly up to a low branch and then gradually make it up to a higher one but he spends a lot of time walking around on the floor of the aviary eating the seed I have put down there for him but surprisingly he has really taken to Dottie our rescue dove. He tries to sit next to her all the time and flaps his little wings hopefully, quite clearly thinking she may be able to feed him. She tolerates him sitting next to her but looks a bit bored by the whole thing. It has made me wonder if we have made a mistake and she isn't actually a white dove but a white pigeon. Apparently they are specially bred for release at weddings and funerals but still many of them never make it home. We have always commented that she and Del, the dove we bought to keep her company just ignore each other, both seem very happy, they just don't interact. What ever the ins and outs of pigeon or dove breeds, and I am amazed at how many different breeds of domestic pigeons there are when you look into it, Dottie is definitely giving Todd more confidence as he gets used to being independent so that has to be a good thing. 

I had my telephone consultation with the Royal Marsden yesterday morning and the thyroglobulin levels from my blood test hadn't come back yet. This is the marker to shows if there are any thyroid cancer cells circulating in the body. All the other results were normal and the doctor told me they have no reason to believe there will be anything wrong but I will just have to wait a little while longer to know for sure all is OK. 

Of course there is one other exciting piece of news. England won! They are through to the final on Sunday playing Italy. I'm not quite sure how that will play out in eldest daughters home as her partner is Italian but it should be a brilliant game! I could hear the little girl and boy next door singing "Football's Coming Home" all evening before the match and I felt so happy for them. Eldest son was only four and in the nursery part of the school in the Euros of 96 when the song came out and he says he can still remember the excitement of singing it with his friends. I remember so clearly the World Cup final in 1966 and the excitement of everyone in the country. I had a little World Cup Willie toy I loved. I wonder where that is now, it's probably worth a fortune! Win or lose what happy memories are being made for children all around the country. It has given everyone a real lift after such a bad 18 months.

Scarlett is coming this morning and I'm looking forward to hearing all about her day at school and as Tom is off too he will be able to spend some time with her. I hope everyone has a lovely day what ever you are doing. xx

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

The Song Of The Day

 Singing songs about sunshine didn't really work yesterday, there was heavy rain on and off all day. I'm still trying not to put the television on in the morning though, just five or ten minutes to get the main new points, then switch it off and music comes on. I don't even listen to the radio just my Spotify play lists and it has made a real difference to my mood. I find myself singing away as I'm tidying up and it is so much nicer than the constant stream of stress and misery on the news. I have often said music was always so much a part of my life when I was growing up and I wonder if it could have been part of the reason everything always felt so cheerful. 

Yesterday I went to meet my sister to go to my Dad's house. I really wanted to share this beautiful piece of art work being painted at our local station by a young artist. She has managed to bring in so much local life, the ducks on the ponds, the lavender, the beech trees and even the local foxes. I think it really brightens up the station.

 Despite the rain, my sister and I managed to get all the jobs at my Dad's house sorted out. I had told him a really interesting piece of information I had found out while studying the family tree. Someone had shared a photo of a portrait of the sister of my 4x Great Grandfather on Ancestry. I saved it to our family tree and sent the original uploader a message thanking him for taking the trouble to upload it as it had been so interesting to see it. He messaged me back to say he couldn't really take credit as it had been given to them by his wife's late 2nd cousin and my 3rd cousin Geoffrey Vickers, with a link to a Wikipedia page. Geoffrey was the great grandson of my 4x Great Aunt (I'm glad Ancestry worked out my relationship to him as I wouldn't be able to!) Geoffrey Vickers is a famous First World War Victoria Cross winner I have studied and copied photos of for my First World War website. Vickers is a name in our family that is used all the time as a middle name through the generations and I had never made the connection between the two families. Geoffrey Vickers lived until the 1980s which was an incredibly long life for a First World War veteran. Dad is so thrilled to have someone so brave as a relative, if a rather distant one and my sister has sent him some links to pages to read all about his exploits, which we left him happily doing. I have a feeling he will be sharing this tale with every person who talks to him outside the house for weeks!

There is a big match on tonight of course, Tom is working late again which he is ever so upset about but at least he'll be able to watch the highlights when he gets in. I know exactly what song I will be singing all day today, it's the song my children would sing all the time in 1996 and children are singing it in schools all over England today. What fun for them, win or lose they will have happy memories to look back on all their lives. Here is a wonderful rendition of the song by the Coldstream Guards outside Clarence House yesterday. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. Good luck England. xx

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Taking Steps To A Normal Life

 So all the restrictions are being lifted on the 19th July. I'm not quite sure what I feel about it, one thing for sure I'm glad I'm not making the decisions. Everyone, depending on what your life is has a different view. If your sitting at home watching your business slowly fall apart you want everything to get back to normal. I have an old school friend who is a musician, he has had a lifetime of making money singing and playing at pubs and small venues. Never a fortune, but a lovely relaxed life of paying his own way his entire life. He has not had a penny of his own earnings since the beginning of the last lockdown so of course he wants everything to get back to normal. At the other end of the balance a friend of youngest daughter is recovering from cancer surgery and looks after two elderly parents and would like restrictions to stay high. Of course she is worried and who can blame her. There are always going to be completely different view points on this one. One thing I do think is if we don't relax them now but hold on a few more months we will be relaxing them going into winter which doesn't seem very sensible, so do we hold on until next spring? That will be what some people will be saying this in the autumn I'm sure and it is not a nice thought at all for so many people who are just hanging on to their jobs. As I said I'm very glad I'm not making the decisions.

One thing I made a decision about yesterday and then worried non stop was my plans for little Todd the pigeon. I took him out into the aviary for a practice fly around. He is not very good at flying at all yet, he managed to make it to a low branch and then sat there wobbling. I left him for the afternoon and he just walked up and down the perch a bit. In the evening I was going to bring him back in but after much thought decided if I am going to let him free in the park in the next few weeks he needs to get used to being outside at night. I checked him just before it was dark and he looked perfectly happy but I barely slept all night worrying as I lay there listening to the rain battering down. It was ridiculous really as there is a roof on the aviary and if he was out in the wild he would just be getting wet but I still worried. This morning he is fine and was happily sitting in one of the food bowls eating away. All the other birds are ignoring him and just getting on with their morning as usual. I said to Tom, who had been at work so not part of the decision making "I decided to take a chance, I know something may go wrong, but he can't stay in a cage his whole life." I suddenly realised it was very like our own situation at the moment. I hope both of the choices that have been made go well! 

I'm off to meet my sister to go and see my Dad today. It's raining heavily here but hopefully it will dry up a bit later on. I've started an experiment of not putting the TV on in the morning but listening to music when I get up so am slightly unsure what the weather is going to do but never mind I'll just put an umbrella in my bag, hope for the best and sing songs about sunshine. Here's one to get me started! Have a lovely day everyone what ever the weather. xx

Monday, 5 July 2021

The Turns Of Fate In Life And Links To South Africa

 Tom was working on another late shift last night and in the evening I settled down to watch the film Yesterday. It was about of a young man who is an aspiring singer song writer, was involved in an accident and woke up to find no one could remember The Beatles. It was funny and sad in places and I really enjoyed it. I loved the John Lennon twist which I won't give away but it set me thinking. Fate is a very funny thing, choices we make in our lives alter the course of life for everyone. Not just the course of lives now but for generations, forever. It is a bit of a scary thought really. 

I have thought often when I've been researching my family tree how the action of one particular person, led to them meeting someone and marrying and having children. There is a line of real daredevils in our family. As a distant cousin I made contact with on Ancestry several years ago said "Our family were once seriously rich, but unfortunately we got the wayward son, who then went on to produce a line of wayward sons ever since!" Although I laughed it is true, chances and risks were taken all the way along but while researching I discovered the daring went back before this one wayward son. 

The "wayward son", who I will write about in a future post, was the son of a woman who I think changed our family history most, by one mistake she made, my 4x Great Grandmother Judith. Judith was born where I live now in 1791. She was Christened in the church I walk by all the time, five minutes walk from my house, and a ten minute walk from the hospital my four children were born in. When I moved here at 18 years old to start my nursing training I had no idea I had any links with the area at all. Part of a London borough now, it was a tiny village  in 1791. Judith's family were very comfortably off, her grandfather was a barber and wigmaker in the village with apprentices and her father owned a farm and had two homes. Carshalton ponds I take Scarlett to to feed the ducks were there then, maybe Judith and her eight brothers and sisters fed the ducks there too. Here is an engraving of the pond in 1806 when Judith would have been 15 years old. 

However when Judith was 20 something happened which changed her life forever. Although unmarried she became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl called Emma. Despite the family being quite well off she went to the parish and named a man from nearby Mitcham as the father to force him to pay upkeep. (Good for you Judith!) He was a much older man who was married with a son and his occupation was given as a fencing master, someone who taught fencing apparently, and a Captain in "His Majesty's Land Service". I suppose that must mean he was a Captain in the army. He sounds like a bit of a dashing character but seemed to totally abandon Judith with her little girl. At first I thought Judith's family must have abandoned her too but over the months I have discovered clues which point to the fact that they didn't. 

Somehow, and I think we may have found out how but that is another story, Judith ended up in Simons town South Africa and married a young naval officer, 6 years her junior, from a very well to do family from Nottingham, who was stationed there. My 4x Great Grandfather Samuel Rogers. She had five children, one dying in infancy and in that small British community it appears they were a happy young family. Sadly for poor Judith, although she had found happiness in the end, it was not to last. She died at the age of 39 leaving, a young husband and four young children, the youngest only four years old. An obituary in the local paper dated the 30th March 1831 hints at the sadness. "Died at Simon’s Town on the 12th March, my dear wife Judith Rogers (Born Sprules) aged 37. Respected and regretted by her friends, and leaving four children and myself to lament so afflicting a bereavement."

I really wanted to know what happened to Emma, her little daughter born in 1812 and was delighted to find there was a happy ending. Judith had a younger brother called James who married a young woman called Lucy. They appeared to not have had any children and took little Emma on as their own. When Emma married in 1839, James was listed as her father on her marriage certificate and he was witness at the wedding. Did she ever know James and Lucy were not her real parents, I wonder.  Emma and her husband emigrated to Australia in 1857 with five young children in tow, what a daring move that was! There are now generations of family in Australia, distant relatives, all living their lives, just as our family is, because of that one event in Judith's young life. If only she could have known. 

It's a lovely morning here today and although I have to work, later on when I walk the dogs I may take a stroll down to the church were Judith was Christened and spent so much of her young life and think of her. Have a wonderful day everyone what ever you are doing. xx

Sunday, 4 July 2021

No Need To Shout

 The weather wasn't as bad yesterday as predicted. There were a few really heavy downpours but by the evening it dried up and was quite mild too. I had booked a Too Good To Go bag to collect at 9pm as they are really good when Tom is on late shifts. There are always sandwiches or salad bowls that he can take with him as the canteen is shut in the evening. I decided if I went down at half time and picked it up on the dot of nine I would only miss five minutes of the second half. I felt so sorry for Tom missing it all at work and he is such a football fan too.  As the first half was going so well, I thought I would pop down to the Co op before I went down to the petrol station to buy a couple of bottles of beer for him when he got in. I was sure England were going to win and I thought at least he can enjoy the highlights a bit later on. 

Pop down! That was hopeful! The whole world and their wife had decided to dash out at half time. I queued up with all the young men buying their beer who were all incredibly happy and chatting to me. When I left the shop to quickly walk down the road I realised it was 9 o'clock already. It was as if everyone was suddenly spirited away. From the street being packed, every person disappeared. I was completely alone, it was very strange. All of a sudden I heard the loudest roar that spread across the houses and knew England had scored. I picked up the bag at the petrol station which was totally empty, except for one poor young Deliveroo driver waiting for his order. There was not a single car at the petrol pumps as I crossed the forecourt and as I did there was another loud roar. It seemed to spread right across all the houses all the way to Sutton and I could here singing in the distance "Football's coming home!" 

When I got home youngest son and daughter said "You've missed two goals." "I know!" I replied. At least they scored one more for me to enjoy. When Tom got in he enjoyed the highlights with his beer but was a bit fed up as he is on late a late shift  again for the semi final on Wednesday. They'll have to get through to the final now so he can watch on Sunday. One of the things about it all, I am most pleased about, is that mild mannered manager Gareth Southgate is having such success. It proves that you don't need to yell and shout to get results. Everyone would talk about the "Hairdryer treatment" Alex Ferguson would deal out yelling and shouting at the players at Manchester United. I always used to think that was nothing to be proud of. We must all be able to remember those few teachers at school that who got fantastic results and the class behaved perfectly yet they never even raised their voices. Well I think Gareth Southgate would be that sort of  teacher and because of that I am especially pleased the team have done so well. 

It is raining quite heavily this morning but there is a really peaceful feel around. I can hear Del in the aviary but there is also a lovely wild bird singing, I wonder what it is. There is a morning after the night before feeling!

Tom is working another late shift and I intend to stay in and catch up with work. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday what ever you are doing. xx

Saturday, 3 July 2021

A Lost Family

 I went to The Royal Marsden Hospital to have my routine six monthly blood test first thing yesterday morning. It is such a wonderful place and so perfectly run. When I first got my Royal Marsden letter three and a half years ago I left it on the coffee table unopened all day. I didn't want to open it, I didn't want to go there at all. When I finally did open it and of course go to my appointment I was so surprised at how different it was to what I expected. It almost didn't feel like a hospital it's so friendly. It's not just the feel of the place though, they dealt with each problem in such a matter of fact way and organised way. I really trust them and as soon as I walk in I feel as though I am among friends. Hopefully I will be told my blood results are fine when I have my appointment next week, but if they aren't I'm sure any problems will be dealt with in their usual professional way. 

It was quite a coincidence, as I mentioned a while ago a young woman had contacted me to say some family had found two large framed photos from around the 1920s in their loft when they moved into a house in Shirley near Croydon. They contacted the previous owners who weren't interested in them and a local history society who didn't want them either. After an internet search this young woman found my Photo Archive website and asked if I would like them. Of course I was thrilled, it is just the sort of thing I put on the website all the time, forgotten photos that no one knows what to do with. She emailed me this week to say she had an appointment nearby and would drop them off yesterday. When she arrived with them she told me she was on her way to The Royal Marsden, which is just up the road, to have chemotherapy which she was receiving for cancer she was diagnosed with last November. I told her I had been there that morning and we had a little chat about it all, she was so young and kind and I couldn't get over she was taking the trouble to bring these photos round while she was in the middle of her treatment. I wished her all the best with her treatment but told her in my experience she was being treated in the best place in the world. Sometimes fate can make you meet someone in your life, just fleetingly, but you feel all the better for having met them.

I spent an hour yesterday taking the backs of the photos and giving them a good clean. They are enormous! Sadly there is no way yet to identify the photos but the photographer was in Peckham. I love them! I think the family look almost theatrical, definitely different with lots of character. I copied them while they were out of their frames so I can add them to the website. 

It turned into such a lovely afternoon, I managed to get a few jobs done in the garden. The little fox cub was round and about again. It seems rather sad to see him on his own all the time, with no siblings. In the evening when I was putting things away, he (or she) was asleep on our neighbours shed, no doubt sleeping off his evening meal we had put out earlier.  

Of course there's another big game tonight. Poor Tom is on a late duty and will miss it all, driving an empty bus around all evening, in the rain apparently, while everyone else is watching it. Have a lovely day everyone what ever your plans and I hope you manage to avoid the rain. xx

Friday, 2 July 2021

Getting Ready To Go Out Into The World

 I had a really busy day yesterday, catching up with work, giving the house a clean up and the garden a tidy up. It is lovely to be away but there is a lot to do when you return. Youngest son has been feeding the fox family and he really enjoys doing this. He is getting to know the different personalities as much as Tom and I do now. He says the cub has really been gaining in confidence while the dogs have been away and had been sitting near to the house too. I noticed while I was out in the garden yesterday it was getting closer and closer to me, looking really inquisitively to try and see what I was doing. It is a lovely little animal, just like a puppy with so many mannerisms the same. It certainly looks very healthy and I hope it's good food has given it the best start for it's life.

He has also been on baby pigeon duties and has obviously been doing such a good job, as little Todd has really grown and even learnt how to sit on the perch. I'm not going to bother weighing him again as I can see how much he has grown now. It's now the best way to get some safe flying practice for him before we set him free, that won't be for a few weeks. Youngest son walked the five miles home from work yesterday as he fancied the exercise, but stopped in the local park to have a breather. While he was sitting on the bench he noticed that while lots of people were feeding the ducks, lots of the pigeons were being fed too and that reminded me that when Scarlett and I go down to feed the ducks we always feed the flock of pigeons too, so maybe it would be a good place to set him free. Hopefully he could just follow the flock and with a bit of luck it won't be a place were someone will come along and decide a pigeon cull is a good idea. We want to give him the best chance possible.

Scarlett really enjoyed her half day at school yesterday. A few friends from her nursery were there which gave her more confidence. She's such a kind, sociable little girl I know she will be fine, but I feel quite nervous for her out in the big world now. In September I will be on picking up duties sometimes and it will be ever so strange to be standing at the school gates again. It really is standing at the gates as well as because of coronavirus no parents or carers are allowed in, they have to drop off and pick up all the children, even the tiny ones, at the gate. There has been no showing round the school for eldest daughter and her partner, everything has been done online, even the guided tour and meet the teacher. It has certainly been challenging for the school but I suppose Scarlett doesn't know anything different so will adapt fine.

I'm going to The Marsden this morning for a blood test, then on to Lidl do do some shopping for the weekend. I'm leaving early as there is rain forecast later and I've been soaked through enough this week! Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx 

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Mud, Mud And More Mud

 It's a lovely sunny start to the day here today, not quite what we had while we were at the caravan. We drove in dreadful traffic on Tuesday morning, or rather didn't drive. It was one of those awful jams on the M25 when you just sit with your engine off, stationary trying to accept just being stuck and thanking God you're not the cause of the traffic jam. "Vehicle stranded" had been flashing at us on the bridges as the traffic gradually slowed down to a stop. We had to sit for half an hour listening to Cassie whining but at least we weren't the poor people in the van with the blown tyre which had caused all four lanes to be closed. We arrived at the caravan site later than we hoped and in the rain but we didn't care we were just glad to be there. It was such a relief to sit enjoying a cup of coffee.

Then of course that afternoon there was the time spent trying to get reception on our little television for the England match. It's incredible how much time Tom was willing to spend out in the pouring rain adjusting the aerial to make sure there was a good picture. His perseverance paid off and someone must have been looking down on us, as somehow the game was the only two hours we managed to get a picture on the TV in the whole two days. The picture did depend on us not moving and a dog not scratching but let's just say that added to the tension of the game! In the end it was all worth it of course and we drove off after it to look for a takeaway two very happy people. It was a lovely evening looking out at the rain, eating our extra large pizzas, but the problem of mud was mounting!

By the morning there was so much mud in our corner of the field Cassie nearly sank when she went outside. Each dog had to wiped down with baby wipes before they could come back into the caravan! Tom had been assessing and decided we should move up to the top corner of the field. I did warn that in my experience it may not be quite as easy as it sounded but anyway he asked the owner and with Tess and Layla safely in the car and me carrying Cassie the caravan was hitched back on to the car and off we went. About two feet then we were totally stuck in the mud! "We need cardboard under the wheels." I said remembering similar instances from my childhood rather unhelpfully as of course we didn't think to pack any. The owner trudged across the field and said "Don't worry I'll go and get the mule to get you out." While we stood waiting for an oversized donkey to come to our rescue (only joking) Tom and I stood in the rain with only Cassie looking more miserable than us. In the end over came "the mule" which was actually a sort of buggy with big fat wheels and a tow bar on the back. He hitched up our caravan and dragged it to the dry spot at the top of the hill and then unceremoniously dragged our poor car out of the mud too. Once we were all set up at the top of the hill, we were exhausted. The whole morning had passed and our plans for going for a nice long walk in the afternoon were replaced by a nice long sit in the caravan reading and admiring our new view. We set up a lovely picnic table that came with this pitch and the sun finally came out. As we sat eating our lunch outside we couldn't help but laugh. "It took me right back to childhood holidays in our caravan." I said. So other than me going round the whole caravan cleaning off splatters of mud with baby wipes, we just relaxed until the drive home in the evening. 

Scarlett isn't coming today as she has a half day at her new school. How exciting I can't wait to hear from her how she gets on. I've got loads of mud splattered washing to sort out today, so all I can say is thank goodness for our new washing machine. Have a lovely day everyone what ever you are doing. xx
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