Friday, 28 June 2013

Let's have a June cuppa

Come on in! sit down, oh isn't it nice to go out without a coat? The kettle is on and it will be ready in a jiffy. In the meantime let me move all this fabric off the table.
 I have been sorting out some stuff to make neat little carriers for small jars. My cousin gave me one that had three small jars of honey in it and it is so cute I want to make some so that I can give people my chutney and pickles for Christmas. The pickled onions were a huge success last year, although Mr M was very reluctant to let them go. I hope to have two small jars of different chutneys and a larger jar of onions in each gift pack, what do you think?

I have been busy taking pictures for Rinda's Scavenger hunt. take a look, it is a great idea for the summer and involves so much chatting when we are out and then I get to scrapbook the pictures!

Another cup?, oh you have to go. Oh well.... But you'll pop in next month for another cup! Excellent! I'll have the kettle on and see you then. Thank you for stopping by it has quite made my day.

This was brought to you courtesy of Abi at Paper Dreams why not go and read all the others too?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Simply a moment - June

Simply a moment is the brilliant idea of Simply Alexa who asks us to take one moment of our time every month and pay special attention to everything we see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Then all we have to do is write it down. Go and see what everyone else has written after you have read mine

It's Friday 12th June 2.30pm.

My favourite son-in-law, my ex daughter-in-law and my grandson are sitting around the table chatting and laughing because we are waiting. I am trying hard to beat some frosting into submission so that it will go in and on the carrot cake that my daughter has insisted I make for today. I am so nervous I could easily throw everyone out and lock all the doors, but I won't.
Ronnie and Merrilyn are coming today all the way from Australia. My throat is tight, I keep thinking I need a wee but I don't. I wonder how they will feel about coming into my house. I wonder what "the others" have said. Oh for goodness sake I just hate this WAITING! The sound of a key in the front door, my daughter's voice as she ushers someone in, the sound of their laughter as they walk down the hall and into the breakfast room.

They're here!Suddenly I am in a gentle hug from Ronnie and then a hug and a quick kiss from Merrilyn.
Andrea, Uncle Ronnie and Merrilyn
The tension is gone, the nerves stop quivering. I am filled with delight to see a face I haven't seen for more than 30 years. Everything is ok. My ex brother-in-law still likes me!
I spread the the now submissive frosting into the middle of the carrot cake and reflect briefly on just how much it meant to me that Ronnie should still like me, and then I grin delightedly and hand the cake and the knife to my daughter as she is in charge of today's celebrations.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Family History and why I had to be there.

 On Saturday I went to Gwent Family History Society Open Day. It was held, this time, at Rougemont School. The old venue was County Hall but that has been demolished now to make way for a housing estate - funny how they discovered concrete cancer at County Hall just about the time that building land prices began to go up. Oh, OH, I must digress a little and tell you this. When the developer began the process of examining the plans and maps of the site to see what hidden expenses might be there they discovered that under the County Hall was not only the basement where the archives used to be kept but a nuclear bunker! They were very surprised, apparently, and told the local paper that no one knew of its existence. I knew. I asked my cousin and he knew too. Now I wonder how I knew. I think my Dad must have told me, but how did he know?................. enough already! back to the Open Day.

I spent most of the week trying to think of a way to get out of going. I am Editor of the Journal for the Society and it is kind of expected. It is a crowd and I don't do crowds to well yet. There would be lots of people I know and like. It was a strange place, but that meant I would get to see inside the gates of Llantarnam Hall and that's long been an ambition - ever since I went to primary school the other side of the fence.

Mr M was going to see his Mum at the home so he wouldn't be with me and I might have to talk to people and.......and......and. I went.

I saw loads of people I haven't seen for ages and did not even have a hint of a panic attack, never gave it a thought once I was there and involved. Then I met Hazel who had brought her friend because she has just started her research. They asked me which of the Branches of the society would cover Llandogo because Kathryn had ancestors from there and from the surrounding area. I pointed to the Chepstow and Wye Valley branch and said that Jonathan, who was busy talking to someone, would be the person to ask as he lives in the area.
Then I asked what name she was researching. If you are not a family historian you won't have done this but once you start your research it is the first question you ask when meeting a new researcher - they might be after one of your names and that might mean they could be related and...... you get the picture.

"I'm looking for ROSSER" she replied "All over that area and in Clytha and Llanarth and Raglan."
"When we lived in Raglan,"I said, "the house we lived in was owned by a ROSSER family for most of the latter part of the 19th century."
"Really? where did you live?"
"Rhiwlas Mill"
"That's my family!" she said quietly - I lied about that. She didn't quite shriek in my ear but she did grab my arm and we did jig about a bit - ok we did the happy dance. She told me some of the names and I promised to send her some of the pictures that were taken over the years.
In the back of my head that little voice sounded just like my Dad and it said "See, I told you that you had to be here, now you see why" So thanks Dad I have been able to send pictures of the mill to someone whose family lived there before WW1 and it has given her a strong link to her family's past.

For the Win!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Baby Stuff - Story Telling Sunday - June

It's the first Sunday of the month and that means Story Telling Sunday over at FromHighinTheSky with Sian. This year the theme is "My Precious, where we tell the story of something we have kept as a reminder of a special time.
Why not take a look at her story and then use the links on her page to visit all the other storytellers - but don't do that until after you have read my story.

This time the "precious" is a group of baby clothes. A little hand knitted "matinee jacket" (this is a tiny cardigan for a new baby. No I don't know why they were called matinee jackets, this was the 1960s when old names were still used),  a lace covered dress and one tiny hand knitted bootee. My grandmother knitted the jacket and the matching bootees for my first baby. She knitted it in the fabulous new-fangled nylon wool that was now available in the shops. It was supposed to last longer than boring old wool and to stay white. Well it seems to have done both those things, however, it feels dreadful! so stiff and unyeilding and it has a greyish hue. There is no way I would put that anywhere near the delicate new skin of a baby. The complicated pattern shows me how accomplished my beloved Granny was with her knitting needles. I never saw her use a pattern and yet there is a "picot" edge around the neckline and around the top of the little bootee.
The lace covered dress is also made of nylon - oh come on! this was 1965 when my daughter was born. Everything was nylon or crimplene - synthetic was the new everything!
My daughter was baptised in that dress, the plan being that any new baby after her would also be baptised in the dress and I would keep it for grandchildren. This never happened because my daughter was an average size baby but her brothers were bigger, a lot bigger and even as new-borns would not have fitted into the dress. In fact my youngest son was not baptised until he was nearly a year old so it wouldn't have gone around his left leg as he was nine and a half pounds when he was born. By the time the grandchildren came along nylon was A Bad Thing and the dress was fortunately too small and to out of fashion. I keep it because, well because I can. It lay wrapped in old tissue paper in a biscuit tin for thirty years or more until I received my box. The lace has not kept its whiteness and it feels quite brittle, though it will probably outlast me. I wrap it in new, acid-free tissue paper and replace it in my treasure box with all the other stuff.

Something for my children to worry over.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Tyntesfield 1944 style

Today we didn't intend going anywhere. Then Mummy arrived and asked if we were going to do anything and if not had we thought of going to "that place I fancied over by Bristol". So we went, all of us.

To Tyntesfield.

Mr M and I love Tyntesfield and we have been there four times now since it was bought by the National Trust in 2002 for something like £20,000,000.00. We even contributed to the fund to buy it.

What we didn't know until we were at the gates today was that this weekend time had been turned back and it was  June 1944. We went in and it took 20 minutes to ravel down the drive to the car park where we were directed straight through to the overflow car park (an adjoining field).

We strolled up to the entrance where a very tall young man in 1940s army uniform told us in a very tall voice to take our membership cards out of the wallets and out of the plastic covers. He then thrust admission tickets for the house into our hot little hands and fast tracked us past the queue and out onto the path to the house.

Oh that was sooo good. I know it's awful to admit it but I really loved it when we were able to just walk past everyone that wasn't a National Trust member and get in before them. Not charitable of me but for once I allowed myself the luxury of NO GUILT.

We strolled past a small encampment where a man in uniform told us that there was to be a fly past of old planes - or an old plane - he wasn't really terribly clear. As the sign by his tents said Achtung Minen we figured he didn't speak the language very well (this is a joke).

We saw an Anderson Shelter and Miss Em sat on the bench outside it for Grandma to take a picture - not the lovely hat she is wearing. Then the Dakota arrived. Well Mummy got a bit over excited when it flew past and then came around twice more. Nearly as excited as last week with the downey ducklings.

I took a picture of the sundial in the kitchen garden because that is the substitute picture in this years Photography Scavenger Hunt.and then we had a cuppa in the pavilion cafe. This was where I got another picture for the PSH when Grandpa put Miss Em's hat on - it clearly doesn't belong on his head and it did make everyone laugh too.

 Next we did the tour of the house. It was great to see the changes made since we were last there and I also got a picture of some of the stained glass - PSH YUSSSSSSS!

By this time Mr M's knees were hurting badly and my feet felt as though every bone was in the wrong place. We made our way slowly back to the visitor centre where we had a sandwich and another cuppa to restore the strength for the final push to the carpark.

 On the way through all the cars we spotted this one. Leave it to the Fairies Cleaning Company. Well it made us laugh.

We have crossed several items off the PSH list and we are feeling so tired now. Mummy and Daddy and Miss Em have just arrived from the chip shop so we are having fish and chips for dinner and then we will sleaze in front of the TV for the rest of the night.

Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt

It's on! the photography Scavenger Hunt, This list went live today at Rinda's blog why not nip over there and copy the list and have a go. It is great fun and does mean that you are extra observant whenever you go out, just in case you see one of the items - and boy! are there some good subjects this year...

Give it a try