Historical Goings On at Woolsery Show

After a week of manic sourcing, printing and laminating, we were ready for the first public appearance of The Clovelly Community Archives Association. On Sunday four of us managed to find the right pitch and began to erect the booths to protect us from the summer weather. Let’s just say we were no longer expecting to suffer from heat stroke. Just how many people does it take to put up a display stand? The men enjoyed the post ramming, whilst the ladies assumed a vital supervisory role.

How Many People Does It Take…?

The stall is ready so we don our historical costumes, I achieve this by skulking behind the stall. Looking at the menfolk I doubt the wisdom of the ancestral costume. We are supposed to be attracting people to the stall!

‘Attracting’ People to the Stall

Who sited us next to a book stall? – this demands danger money. As I have forgotten to bring any money with me it probably won’t lead to bankruptcy. We started slowly but by 11.30 people we had a steady stream of people and they didn’t just pass by, they stopped to chat. There was a great deal of interest in the project and we were all encouraged by this. It was also a good opportunity for the team to get to know each other better. People had fun identifying themselves in the school photos and we managed to name all the people in the pictures of the 1970s and 1980s. Mind you, some people may have preferred that we hadn’t named them. One highlight was when I overheard my fellow helpers chatting to two people, both interested in the Headon family. I assumed they had arrived together but no, they had never met before.

The historical costume did attract press attention and may lead to an item in the local paper. I am just sorry I didn’t manage to get a picture of our lady helpers. Now to pack it all away until next time.

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More Clovellying for The History Interpreter #Clovelly

Mad laminating fest today getting display materials ready for The Woolsery Show on Monday where Clovelly Community Archive Assocition has a stall. Given that summer now actually seems to be here I am wondering if deciding to man the stall in historical costume was such a good idea after all. For the most part, my C17th costume is quite practical but on days like today it is a tad cosy. The Clovelly Community Archive Association now has a webpage. As yet it is just a single information page but it is a start.

Also taken two more bookings for C17th talks in the autumn.

The History Interpreter @Clovelly, Herding Sheep and Other Stories

Lovely time @ClovellyVillage Maritime Festival on Sunday.

On the way home we spotted some sheep loose on the A39. Fresh from researching ancestor John Hogg the shepherd, I encouraged Chris to do a little herding. You can see why shepherds use dogs. We (that would be the royal we) did manage to rescue one sheep and alert the owner to the bid for freedom of the other – well that’s living in the country for you.

Monday I headed south to find out about a new research request. Makes a change to be following up an armigerous family instead of the usual ag. labs.

This week saw my first experience as an e.bay seller. I have thus managed to convert a 1950s retro table into a wooden hand butter churn. Well strictly I converted it to half a butter churn. The instructions suggest that butter making will take about half an hour. Yet another physically demanding and arduous task for our female ancestors. I am safe in the knowledge that for Mistress Agnes in the C17th at least, butter making would be over for this year. Butter making was a spring time activity. With the addition of plenty of salt it would last for the rest of the year.

I have been invited to take part in the Marine Lives Project this looks like an exciting venture, combining several of my interests.

More progress on the Clovelly Community Archive Association front. Helped to sift through a room full of treasures this morning, to assess the archival storage requirements. Nearly added metal trunk related injuries to those occasioned by the gravestone last week. Who would think that being an historian would be such a dangerous job? Some wonderful gems discovered, which we hope may become more widely available before too long. Also previewed the future home for the Community Archive – exciting. Now back to planning the Association’s stall for the Woolsery Show.

The Future Home of Clovelly Community Archive

The History Interpreter does #Zumba and other Gravestone Related Injuries

I should perhaps explain straight away that the Zumba and the gravestone injury were two separate incidents. Firstly, rain and other activities having stopped play for the last couple of months, the photographing and recording of the Buckland Brewer gravestones has resumed. Some of these were moved to the hedge some years ago and have been stacked more than one deep. Could I ignore the ones that were at the back and were now embedded in stinging nettles, ivy and other undergrowth? Having had a nasty encounter with stinging nettles when seeking a ‘comfort’ spot as a child, I enlisted help. Here I need to point out that the hedge against which the stones were resting drops some ten feet on to the road on the other side. My trusty companion clung to the top of the hedge on the road side, risking life and limb in an attempt to unearth enough of the concealed stones for them to be read. Then there was the stone that had slipped down from its original position and was only prevented from crashing on to the road below by the brambles. I had spotted this one from the road in the spring when it was less precarious and less overgrown. Knowing it referred to a smallpox victim, I was particularly interested. Lacking abseling ropes, retrieving this stone from its and probably an innocent passer-by’s, fate was not easy. Manfully Chris managed not to plummet backward whilst lifting the stone over the row against the hedge. Unfortunately, I somehow got my leg in the way as he did so. Good job it isn’t the weather for shorts. So RIP Mary Walter, we now know how you died.

Spurred on by the ‘benefits’ of my 5km ‘race’ for life – I decided I’d try Zumba classes, which have just begun in the village. Trying to ignore the lack of movement occasioned by the run and the growing egg shaped lump on my leg, off I set. It was actually quite fun and I managed to keep going for the full hour. I wasn’t even the oldest person there. It is a little akin to trying to pat your head and rub your stomach simultaneously but fortunately all the other participants were too busy with what their own arms and legs were or were not doing to worry about mine.

Clovelly Bits and Pieces and the Aftermath of ‘Racing’

I’ve found some lovely photos for Clovelly Archive Association to display at the upcoming Woolsery Show. It also looks like we have found a way of digitising some unique Clovelly records – more on this soon – now all we need is the funding. If anyone can recognise any of these Clovelly school children from 1912 please let me know.

Today was ‘race’ day. Thankfully the rain held off but it was incredibly humid. I don’t mind being overtaken by lycra clad 20 somethings with stop watches but it is a little humiliating to be left standing by three year olds hampered by scooters, those in their late eighties and anyone weighing more than 30 stone. I certainly did better than last year when I inadvertantly ended up taking part on the much hillier Plymouth course. Thanks to a burst of speed at the end, which I am now regretting, I made it in 39 minutes but I do have to confess that the course was 200-300 metres short of the 5k it should have been owing to a puddle induced official diversion. Could I have done that extra 200-300 metres and still arrived back in 40 minutes, which is my goal – who knows? My last minute sprint also fooled my official photographer who was still waiting for me to trot past some ten minutes after I actually finished, so no action shots this year – probably as well – not a pretty sight. I promise you I did actually run the course! Many thanks to my sponsors/supporters. I would also like to thank my physiotherapist, my trainer, my sports psychologist – oh just remembered I don’t have any of those – been watching too much Wimbledon!

Mistress Agnes ‘Races for Life’ – sponsors welcome

Ok, so I am Racing for Life on Sunday. The weather forecast is for 2 weeks’ worth of rain to fall on that day. Have I done any training? No. In fact the job I mustn’t mention has meant that I have barely moved from my computer for the last few weeks. The good news is that a friend who does hundred mile runs for ‘fun’ says the procedure is to bulk up on carbs pre running. Where’s the chocolate? Please sponsor me in aid of Cancer Research.  http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/janetfew775

The History Interpreter goes on a shopping spree

Just cheered myself up by spending the wages from the job I mustn’t mention. A new edition of Family Tree Maker is on its way – my old edition was on floppies – yes really – edition 3! Also invested in Ronald Hutton’s The Ritual Year.

It really does look as if I have found gg grandad in the 1851 census – now all I need is a trip to Northumberland archives.

This is the only picture I have of great grandad John Hogg – together with my grandmother Bessie. My daughters and I are their only living descendants; so descendants of elusive gg grandad would be my closest relatives on this side of my family.