Sunday, 12 March 2017

Dylan Update March 2017



Dylan has become extremely interested in football! both playing it himself and watching it on television.  He attends football practise at the weekends and loves running around and getting a bit dirty.  Since he is very tall for his age, he is often chosen for goal-keeper, but I'm not sure that is his favourite position.


He has won several awards.


He is quite a cool dude these days!



and a front tooth just came out last week! The two granny fairies had to dig deep!


He loves his baby sister. Aren't they so cute together?


Oh and in case you missed it on my side panel - Larry and I are expecting a new grandchild to be born in June  2017 .

Have a great Sunday.

Friday, 10 March 2017

My Memoirs, My Little Nanna


This is a picture of my little Nanna, Ethel Mills. She is in her nineties. Also in the picture, on the left, is my stepmother Ronda Mills, who died last year.

Every picture tells a story. I know the story of this one.  On the face of it is a little old lady, standing proudly beside a reproduction dresser, but there is much more to it than that.  This picture may end up in my scrapbook or perhaps inside a shoebox on the top of the wardrobe. When my children find it, after I am gone, they will not know who these people are, unless I tell their story. In My Memoirs, I am attempting to do just that because I would like them to know about the family. They may not be interested now, but in years to come, when their own lives are progressing past the half-way line, they may begin to wonder who went before them.

I wish I had more pictures of my Nanna.  We weren't really very close. I wish we had been, but due to the fact that my mother was not welcomed into the family, relationships became difficult for me to maintain and it was easier to just let things slide.

Ethel was born in 1882, the youngest of eleven children. She was born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire and lived there for quite a short while because when she was two, her father died and her mother took her to Luton together with one or two of her older siblings.  With such a large family, Ethel probably didn't know the eldest ones. They would have flown the nest already. Luton was a cheaper place to live in those days, as it is now and nearer to the work in the hat industry, which provided so many women of this generation a living. My Nanna was taught at an early age to trim hats and I remember her doing that many years later when I went to visit.  There were piles of hats in all corners of their tiny house and ribbons and cotton to trim them on the tables.

Ethel married Frederick Mills in 1905 and set up home in Luton. They had three children: my auntie Connie, my uncle Bert and my dad, who was the youngest.

So, back to the photo.  I think my dad took the photo. Whoever it was, they were standing in the doorway to the outside world.  The front door of this little house opened directly onto the street, no porch, no hallway, no front garden, straight out.

On the left is a sideboard, which I remember well. There used to be a big elephant on it with an Indian boy sitting on its back. As a child, I was fascinated by it, but I don't see it now.  I wonder where it went? A fern has replaced the elephant.

Behind the fern is my stepmother Ronda. My dad married her in Australia many years after he was divorced from my mother. She was a very nice lady who died last year. I was sorry not to be able to communicate with her anymore.

The door behind Ronda led to the back room by was of a tiny square of carpet with a cupboard at the side.  As a child I was a bit frightened of going from one room to the other because the cupboard had a dark, heavy velvet curtain in front of it and I always wondered what was behind that curtain. If there was a monster in that house, that is where it could be lurking!

On now to the reproduction dresser against which my Nanna is leaning.  My mother bought that dresser. She and dad had two of them. This is the smaller of the two, which stood in our dining room for many years. When my parents split up, my dad took the smaller dresser and deposited it in his mother's front room. My mother kept the larger dresser. I don't know if my Nanna wanted the dresser in her front room, but she housed it anyway and there it stood until it was moved to my auntie Connie's bungalow when nanna died.

The dresser remained in my auntie's house until she died and then I had it. It currently stands in my front room!

My Nanna lived in the tiny house all her married life and died there. She was 95 years old when she died. There was a front room and a back room and a scullery where my Nanna did her washing and where the family washed themselves in the sink.  There was no bathroom. I remember my dad standing at the sink, stripped to the waist, washing himself in yellow carbolic soap and singing at the top of his tenor voice. He loved to sing Richard Tauber's songs. The back door to the tiny yard was next to the sink. You could see the light coming through all around the edge because it was more like a shed door than a house door. He didn't seem to mind as the cold wind whistled through the gap.

Outside was a tiny cobbled yard which led down to a handkerchief sized patch of garden. The outside toilet was at the end of the scullery and next to the garden. There were three concrete steps leading up to the wooden door of the lavatory and a latch to shut it once inside. It was dark, cold and full of spiders. I hated going in there and only went in when needs must!

Upstairs were two bedrooms.  They were accessed by a very steep flight of stairs leading up from the middle room and once at the top it was necessary to step off the ladder straight into the bedroom, either to the left or the right.  I never went into either of the bedrooms.  I was too frightened of stepping off the ladder.

In his later years my Granddad Fred suffered terribly from rheumatoid arthritis. He was also gassed in World War 1. When he could no longer ascend the ladder, a bed was made up for him in the front room downstairs, where the dresser is standing in the photo.

The house has now been demolished and replaced with a small block of flats.

My mother was Dutch and to the English in the mid 1940's it sounded as if she had a German accent.  Consequently she had a hard time of it over here, where she came to marry my dad after the war.  They married in 1948. The family, according to my mum, did not show much of a welcome to her when she arrived.  I think they had already sorted someone out for my dad to marry and it wasn't his Dutch girlfriend. However, despite that and cultural differences the marriage lasted sixteen years and produced one daughter - me.

I wish I could have known my Nanna better. I'm sure we would have had a lot in common.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Larry's Book - Creating Eric






Larry has been very busy lately, writing his first novel. You can buy it on Amazon for the Kindle, or download it and read it on your I-pad or computer. Here is a synopsis of the story.


"The American way of life survived the first half of the 21st Century, but at great cost. There are those within the government who believe drastic change is the only way to recover America's previous glory. Their plan will take over thirty years. The key to success or failure must be carefully designed. Eric's parents mistakenly believe they are the only ones who have designs on his future. As a genetically engineered child, Eric soon realises the advantages he has over others, but struggles to understand why he must die on a predefined date. Follow Eric's unique education experiences, his interactions with his grandfather, and the difficult choices he must make to save himself, his family and ultimately the Presidency of the United States from destruction."

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Memories of summer


Memories of summer always return in January. Whilst I enjoy the colder weather, the snow and frost, it is always good to dream about warmer days. My favourite place in all the world has to be Kessingland, a small town on the east coast of England and the place where I spent most of our summer holidays when my little boys were small.

You can read all about it here.  It won't take you long - it's only a small place, but it has a big character.

Here is the town sign:


We used to take my mum on holiday with us quite often and she liked it here so much that she moved here for the last five years of her life.  In those days the sea came right up to the promenade, but I was surprised to see, on my last visit, that the sea had receded almost half a mile where sand has been deposited on the shoreline.  Consequently the holiday cottages that were once in view of the sea and where we used to lay in bed and count the waves coming in, had now found themselves way away from the sea and the sea itself was way out yonder!

This is the bethel, a small church built, I believe, especially for fishermen in times gone by.



This is The Sailor's Home, a public house, which used to be a lot nearer to the sea than it is now! In the picture you can see the family room, which is at the front -  a welcome place to sit if it's raining. The little shop opposite used to be run by Eldercare. It was a charity shop where clothes, books and other useful items could be bought, raising money for Eldercare, a local charity for the elderly. The local senior citizens benefited from trips out to the nearest town - Lowestoft or to the Kessingland wildlife park in a small van, ideal for the purpose. There were also get togethers once a week and a small party at Christmas.  Sadly, I don't think Eldercare exists anymore.



This next picture is taken from the seashore. It shows clearly how far out the sea has receded. The Sailor's Home is on the far right of the picture.


The next three pictures show the High Street, leading away from the sea and into the middle of the village:





Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas is just around the corner!


Happy Christmas to you all!  We have dressed the tree and done some of the shopping. Over here in England, the shops are extremely busy right now. Christmas Day falling on a Sunday means that the Saturday and Sunday shoppers, which includes me, have to go a different day and there has been much conjecture in our house as to which is the better day to go. Will it be Wednesday this week, or Thursday? I can't go Friday because I will be preparing for Saturday when we have visitors. Decisions, decisions!

We have a five foot tree and a four foot tree.  This is the five foot one. It's in a corner where it can't be knocked over easily. Panda is still an adventurous teenager. So far he has ignored the tree, but there is still time for him to go into attack mode!

I used to wonder why he kept on climbing onto the back of Larry's chair and looking upwards at the old barometer, which used to belong to my dad. Then, one day, I realised he was trying to get at the ornate wooden bird, which sits on the top of it. I removed the bird, temporarily I hope, to give Larry a bit of peace and quiet from our adventurous cat.  Millie, who is now twelve and a stately old lady, is not interested in things like this anymore, preferring to sleep most of the time with the odd moment of madness, which usually manifests itself in her running up and down the stairs for exercise.


Here is our adorable Ruby, six months old now and all dressed up in her father Christmas outfit.




Dylan has been an exemplary older brother to Ruby and it is plain to see that he loves her to bits.




In a child's eyes at Christmas.  Here is Dylan looking at Father Christmas, last week...



Ruby loves Dylan reading her stories.  Dylan is six years old and has a very good reading age. He is enjoying reading a bedtime story for his little sister.  She is copying him already.



Panda enjoying a quiet moment on his favourite chair.


I hope all your arrangements are going well this week?

Monday, 14 November 2016

Donald Trump is president!



I've been reading your blogs over the past week and doing my own thinking too and I still can't get my head around Donald Trump being elected the next President of the U.S.

How did that happen?  Who are these people who voted for Trump?  Are they all mad as hatters?

Well, just like Brexit, it has happened and now we have to accept it and run with it!  I've written quite a bit about Brexit lately. You can read my posts here if you want to see what I've put. When I write blogs I don't usually expect that anyone will be particularly interested in what I put so most of what I write is for myself, like a diary, something I can look back on it  in years to come and enjoy or remember or whatever.  Some of it is for other people.

When I was in America I discovered that life over there is very different to what I am used to so I started writing about the differences, both for my England friends and for the American ones.So when all this election business was going on, I found it most interesting. My husband, who is American, assured me that Donald Trump would never win the election. He is a businessman after all. What does he know about running a country the size of America? He's never been elected to public office (but never mind, he can't be any worse than the others! or can he??) He's rich and America apparently worships RICH!? If someone is rich, they must be doing it right? Right? No, wrong. What could he possibly know about how the poor live? How the African Americans suffer, even today? How people struggle to afford health insurance? or choose between having the insurance or sending their son or daughters to college? But never mind, he's rich, he's a good example of how it's supposed to be.  Everyone can be like him, can't they? If not, why not? NO NO NO

He's got a very big learning curve to follow. Perhaps he'll have some good advisers.

The result of the election in America has been compared with Brexit over here, but in my opinion it is not the same thing at all. Yes, the world order is changing and we haven't seen all of it yet, but Brexit was about leaving the European Union, not electing a new President. Different all together.

So last Tuesday I woke early and put my I-pod buds in my ears. I didn't put on the radio because I didn't want to wake the rest of my expanding family. There are four of us in the house these days. I listened to Radio 4 from the BBC, which is a reliable source of news over here.  I could not believe my ears when I heard the news and had to go and tell Larry straight away. He hardly believed me. 'No', he said, 'All the results aren't in yet,' but the ones that remained to come in would not make any difference as it turned out.

My first thought was did Trump pay people to vote for him? That wouldn't surprise me. Second thought was more about acceptance. Then I got annoyed because I thought people were not voting for a woman. Poor Hillary - stuck under that glass ceiling again.

Now, a week on and Donald Trump is back-tracking on almost everything he said during the campaign.  Did that surprise me? No, of course not. After all he lied before, he's lying now and he will continue to lie and say whatever pops into his head in the future. We can all like it or lump it.

Just like during Brexit, the opinions have split the country.  Interestingly, mostly older people over here voted for Brexit whilst the younger ones wanted to stay in the E.U. but over there it was mostly the rural communities who voted for Trump and many younger people too.

So what if Donald Trump was saying all those outrageous things just to get votes? Is that fair? Is that the way to go about things these days? Does it matter? It matters to me, does it matter to you?






Sunday, 23 October 2016

Ancient Britains




I have been doing a lot of family history recently.  I also had my d.n.a. analysed through 23andme.com, which gave me some fascinating results.

One of the things I discovered was my maternal haplogroup, which is X2b4. This follows down the female line so I got it from my mother who got it from her mother who got it from her mother etc. My three sons will all have X2b4, but their children will not.  They will have the haplogroup of their own mother.

You can read about haplogroups here.

I discovered that the haplogroup X2b4 is very rare yet widespread and where it is found in abundance is in the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland. It seems that ancient people of that haplogroup travelled to far flung places like the Orkneys, Nova Scotia (the Miq Maq's), but they originate from the Levant, Syria and particularly amongst the Druze community in Israel.

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to get your d.n.a. tested.  You never know what you will find.



Happy Sunday!