Sunday, 24 March 2013

Follow me down cousin Jack

Following my previous post on Family History, a folk song called Cousin Jack is one of my favourites and gives me the opportunity to forget the snow and heavy rain in our part of Northern Europe this week and instead recall a visit to Cornwall a few summers ago. The song tells the story of men and their families having to leave their homes and villages in Cornwall and emigrating all over the world to find new jobs. Although I am unaware of this being the case in my family  history the words "I'm leaving the country behind and I'm not coming back. So follow me down cousin Jack " always touches me!

In each decade from 1861 to 1901 the county of Cornwall lost 20% of its male population - of these the majority of these were miners who left Cornwall following the decline of the mining industry in Cornwall and a fall in the price of tin.  These men were nicknamed "Cousin Jack" there are various theories for this name. Some think that when they reached new countries that they asked if there were any jobs for their cousin "Jack." Another theory was they would greet fellow countrymen as "Cousin" and the most popular name in Cornwall for boys was "Jack".

A few years ago when we visited the mines between Land's End and St Ives we sat having a pasty lunch (what else in Cornwall!) and sat listening to this song as we looked out to the remains of the mines, many of which went miles under sea and  we thought of those men.

                                                                 Cousin Jack 
This land is barren and broken,

Scarred like the face of the moon

Our tongue is no longer spoken

The towns all around facing ruin

Will there be work in New Brunswick?

Will I find gold in the Cape?

If I tunnel way down to Australia

Oh will I ever escape?

Where there's a mine or a hole in the ground
That's what I'm heading for, that's where I'm bound
So look for me under the lode and inside the vein
Where the copper the clay the arsenic and tin
Run in your blood and under your skin
I'm leaving the country behind and
I'm not coming back
So follow me down cousin Jack.
Written by Steve Knightly Show of Hands

Wishing you a good week, hopefully the weather forecast is better than predicted and it starts to feel more like Spring than Winter! I hope the blue skies above are a reminder of warmer times!


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Family History an introduction

Have you done any research into your family tree? I loved both History and Geography at school and it was a hard choice deciding which of these subjects I would take forward to do at O level. (GCSE's weren't invented then!) I decided in the end to do Geography as our History teacher was a spinster that spoke in one tone of voice and we nicknamed Noddy as she could send us off to sleep! (She subsequently noticed what an avid reader I was and lent me all her books of the classics of Jane Austin and the Brontes - for which I will always be grateful.)

My great great Aunt's Wedding in 1910

In my mid-teens staying with my sister for a weekend my brother-in-law had a client over from America who wanted to trace his roots and he offered to help him. My sister and myself went along too, it was a cold day in October and we both stood cold and bored as we searched in vain for some gravestones in a damp deserted churchyard. Move forward in time 30 years to another churchyard and what do you see? Yes, I have to admit it is me searching for my roots too!

That first experience must have stayed in the back of my mind, so when in the 1990's my Dad started to research our family tree I was the keenest one in the family to find out what he had learnt. In those days the information was not so accessible so he would visit record offices and spend hours pouring over old microfiche.  He discovered that both his side of the family and my mother's had originally lived by the sea in Essex and Devon. (In my subsequent research I have discovered that both similar interests and jobs seem to pass through the generations - I'm sure this is not unique to us.)

The ship my great, great grandfather sailed in as Captain.

I took up the mantle in the early years of this century as family history on the internet became more available. My brother also discovered new generations and stories a few years ago after he had an accident and was off work for several months.

Has the quest been worth it?  Yes, I have found it so interesting and what fascinates me more than anything is to discover how my ancestors lived and how different it was to our lives today.  I have been lucky to have found wills, photographs, newspaper stories to give me this unique insight. We have also found, so to speak, - a few skeletons in the cupboard too. (I will tell you some of these tales one day!)

Great Grandfather

If you have done any family history I would love to know what sparked your interest in the first place, and if you haven't and are interested below are a few sites that you may find useful. I also regret not asking more questions to the older generation while they were still around. - information on births,marriages and deaths in England and Wales (not fully complete.) international site run by Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints

bbc family history getting started

There are some good paid sites too  Ancestry and Find my past. You can usually get good deals on Amazon when you buy Family Tree Maker which also gives you 6 months membership free on Ancestry.

I also regret not asking more questions to the older members of the family while they were still alive.
A word of warning  researching your family tree can get quite addictive!

I have discovered that many of my distant family have emigrated and lived all over the world including Canada and Australia and it is lovely to have made some many friends from overseas through blogging.

 Finally a big welcome to my new followers  AnneKathySusy CottageMichelle and Flo and Stan  also Jennifer came back with her blog name. Thank you as always for all your lovely comments, hope you are having a good week too!

Sarah x

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Albert Road

When my daughter had her place at Portsmouth Uni confirmed  two years ago one of my colleagues at work told me that I must visit Albert Road at Southsea, as it was just my type of place! Although I have driven along there many times it has usually been on a Sunday, or when we are busy moving my daughter in or out of lodgings. So last Friday we arranged to have a girls day out and while my daughter was attending a lecture, I took myself down part of Albert Road.

Albert Road, see link here, is a long road full of independent traders selling a multiple of items ranging from retro clothes, antiques and crafts and quirky shops. Bellamy's above is a beautiful shop with a lovely window display to entice you in! They had some lovely silver jewellery and glassware and metal signs and the owner had a very friendly nine year old labrador.

Albert Road is also home to the Kings Theatre I love the architecture of this Edwardian Playhouse and  across the road the pub is equally eye catching. Do you notice the two bikes hanging up on the front of the building ?

There was also a great display outside a shop dealing in Architectural Antiques.

In another lovely shop called Flo and Stan  that specialises in retro gifts and vintage treasures, I asked whether I could take some photos. I saw items that transported me straight back to my childhood. I remember egg cups like these!

At the back of the shop they even had a tuck shop. I had to buy some black jacks and fruit salad chews just for old times sake and they tasted just as good as I remember!

My visit ended at Langford's Antiques - my camera batteries by this time were giving out. I have never been in shop like this before. It was literally jam-packed full of bits and pieces. Items of furniture were piled on top of each other. There was so much to see I could have spent all day in there!

I am sorry it has taken me so long to visit these shops but it won't be the last time. I hope you enjoyed seeing them too. Do you have a favourite shopping area that you like visiting?

I have to admit I didn't come home empty handed! I saw this 1950's cup in Flo & Stan. The pattern is called "Quite contrary" and part of the Midwinter range. I love the exploding stars in blue, pink and turquoise and the shape of the cup and handle. It was designed in the 1950's, when after the war years they wanted to inject some fun into everyday objects.  (Another cup and saucer at home are now on their way to a charity shop - I do try to operate one thing in on thing out!)

Sarah x

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Down by the harbour

One day when the children were still at school I had rushed into town and while hurrying back to the car I noticed another mum and her parents sitting down by the harbour just watching the world go by. How I wished I had time to do the same. Today life is less hectic and I can now spend more time wandering around the harbour........

There always seems to be something to see - whether it is reflections in the water or different boats moored alongside and sometimes there is a chance to buy the produce!

 The marina found within the inner harbour is always full of yachts and smaller boats there aren't many "gin palaces" here!

I also like to walk amongst the old cottages  -

                                                   catching glimpses of the harbour below.

The seagulls are always never far away! I'm not sure these bird feeders were designed for them!

The Black Death In Weymouth and PortlandThe harbour played a part in the death of between a third and half of the population in England in the 14th century. A ship arrived in the harbour from France in 1348 and on board was a sailor infected by the plague. Villages close to the harbour soon became infected and some of the villagers took refuge in other parts of the country and spread the disease even further. How terrifying this must have been.
 Has anyone been watching Broadchurch on ITV on Monday evenings? It is a detective drama based around West Bay in Dorset starring David Tennant. If you saw it this week did you notice the yellow hut that they were searching was the same one as seen here last week!

Thank you all your lovely comments and welcome to my new followers Laurel , Melissa, Jennifer, Amanda, and Leanne. I can't see apart from Laurel and Leanne that you have blogs, if you do please let me know.

 I hope the weather is warming up with you, the best part of this week has been freezing here! Do you have a favourite place you return too again and again where you can watch the world go by?

Sarah x

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A Mother

It's Mothering Sunday today in England so .....

What is a Mother?
    A Mother has so many things to do,
    From washing, ironing, cleaning to tying a shoe.
    She scrubs, she mends, she cooks and sews,
    She bathes the children and washes their clothes.
    When they forget to wash their faces clean,
    And their clothes are the muddiest you've ever seen,
    Who repairs the clothes and scrubs them like new?
    Of course, that is what a Mother will do.
Me as a baby
      Who becomes the doctor or the nurse when they are ill,
      Applying a bandage or giving them a pill?
      Who becomes a teacher when a child has homework?
      She must never her duty shirk.
      Who becomes a detective to find a toy or a book?
      For missing things she must look and look?
      Who becomes a listener to every heartache,
      To every accomplishment that a child makes?
      Who scolds their children when they are naughty,
      Or remind them of God when they are to haughty?
      Who tends her family with love and patience, too?
      Of course that is what a Mother will do.
      - Unknown

My children  with me- 20 years ago!

Thank D & H for my beautiful flowers - my favourite.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Cliff erosion and landslips

All the excess rain we have had during the last year has resulted in more cliff erosion than usual. The South-west coast path, which celebrates it's 40th birthday this year stretches 630 miles (1013km) from Poole down to Land's End and back up to Bridgewater. There are usually 2 or 3 landslips a year, but this year between November 2012- January 2013 there have been 21. 

This is the cliff closest to where I live, we often walk here and during the winter a few more feet have disappeared. It has made us extra careful walking above or below the cliffs.

Even the sign has fallen down the cliff!

In Lyme Regis some of the holiday beach chalets worth over £200,000 have been demolished as they have become unstable. It must have been such a shock for the owners luckily no one was hurt.

Beach and cliff at Eype

The chalet below is at Eype (meaning steep place)  a bit further along the coast, the garden is gradually disappearing! The views from here however must be amazing.

Do you remember me telling you about the birds being rescued a few weeks ago - see here. Those that survived were released back into the wild last week - a wonderful sight to behold.

Oil stricken birds released from Portland Bill
Image taken from Dorset Echo

Has the recent weather caused any long term problems where you live ?

Sarah x

Sunday, 3 March 2013

New life

 This weekend what a welcome sight  - blue skies and blossom and signs of new growth emerging....

The sun shining through the petals of the hellebores showing the shadow of the stamen.

 Our first cup of tea outside in the garden this year (even if we were still wearing our coats) - a great way to celebrate my husband's birthday.

 Spring flowers in the borders miniature daffodils, snowdrops, primroses and heather.

A late afternoon walk shared with an owl flying overhead - quite magical.

We finished the day with a celebration meal at a local pub with friends, the windscreen were frozen over as we returned to the car and today has been cold again with grey skies!

This afternoon another birth- I became a Great-Aunt when my nephews wife gave birth to lovely little boy a month early but weighing 6 lbs. Welcome Harry!

Welcome also to all my new followers sorry I haven't said hello for a while so there is quite a list! It's lovely to have you alongside House of SeasonsCountryside TalesBunny MummyIsabella e le tre gatteWedding RoadH WIT blog and Diana.

Sarah x


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