More from the seventeenth century

Thanks everyone for the Race for Life donations – it made all the ‘running’ in the hot weather worth while. The medals, that were awarded for not expiring from heat exhaustion on the way round, are equipped with safety gadgets in their ribbons. I suppose these are a nanny state necessity in case any hapless racers attempt to hang themselves.

 A nearby village has a scarecrow competition running. I accelerate nonchalantly hoping no one noticed that I slowed down for the lollipop lady. I did wonder why she was so far from the nearest school. Well she was very life like. The last week has seen us spend a seventeenth century day in the hottest classroom in the world. Fifty children were crammed into said room making matters worse. Some excitement was occasioned however when a gardener began some not very seventeenth century strimming outside. Obviously all the windows were open making said strimming distractingly loud. I was half way through the fourth of four hourly sessions so my voice was beginning to falter somewhat. I was just shouting my way through what happened when armour was hit by a musket ball when the strimming man’s strimmer flung up a stone and shattered the window. Any teenagers rendered comatose by the heat jerked into an excitable frenzy. I extolled the virtues of armour when being attacked by flying stones.

We rush home to show a Clovelly Archives Association member round her ancestral village. Needless to say she is related to Chris. Pretty much anyone with North Devon ancestors is related to Chris. Walking up and down the cobbles makes my muscles remember that I have raced for life the previous day.

Then one of our best ever days back at the 1646 ranch. Four wheelchair bound, brain injured, residents of a local care home come in with their carers. I open secondary doors to allow wheelchairs to pass through. I knew it was going to be a good day when one of the lovely carers, of ample proportions, suggested that this might be for her benefit, rather than that of the chairs. We were able to dedicate our day to these wonderful people. Pike drill was a blast – ‘place the right wheel of your chair against the base of your pike’.

A meeting to discuss our proposed Buckland Brewer History Group followed. Not being a milk drinker, when offering guests a cup of tea, I check the sell by date first. Unfortunately I did this after I had removed the lid. I did realise and stop tipping when my foot started to get wet. June 13th by the way.

Off in our new to us caravan, in preparation for the South West Family History Fair at the weekend. We are struggling a little with the downsizing that is a concomitant of the new van. We call in at Street. For the benefit of my foreign fans, Street is the home of the Clarks outlet store. Clarks being one of our premier shoemakers and this being their largest store. We then commence the farce that is me attempting to buy shoes. My feet are pretty much square and when approached by assistants asking what I am looking for I am not joking when I say, ‘Anything that fits’. On previous occasions I have left this store because nothing does fit. This time I am after sandals. This is better than shoes as, with sandals, ones feet can sometimes hang over the edges a bit. I would really like some the same as I am wearing, purchased in this store about eight years ago. My shoe wearing and buying resembles that of my ancestors. I buy a pair of shoes (yes, singular) and then wear them until they are beyond economic repair. This is to postpone the awful shoe buying scenario for as long as possible. It is still very hot but shoe trying on requires sock wearing. I am now looking natty in my three quarter length trousers, sandals and socks. The assistant looks at me as if I am seriously sad when I ask if 2005 fashions are still in stock. I head over to the children’s department. The one advantage of having feet my shape is that I can fit into children’s shoes and thus avoid paying VAT. Oh silly me this is July and predicted to be the hottest weekend of the year. Of course sandals are not in season. Oh to live in days when shoes were home made and were for comfort not fashion. Of course at this time of year, many of our ancestors would have gone barefoot to preserve a valuable asset for the winter. The weird thing about historical shoes is that, allegedly Medieval and Victorian footwear had a left and right, yet in the seventeenth century shoes were identical. The reason I have heard given for this is that, if shoes were identical, it was quicker to pull them on in a time of war. How does this work? Were there then no wars in the Medieval period? I then try to emulate my ancestors by tripping barefoot down the prom at Weston super Mare for the first paddle of the season.

I pop in to a high street bank to pay in some cheques. Super keen Simon approaches. Would I like to try paying them in using the machine to save queuing? Well, not really but Simon looks like he is on some kind of payment by results deal so I agree. It is not a quick option this and first my debit card and then my cheques are swallowed by a machine. After a lot of whirring they are duly spat out again. Simon thinks it is because one of my cheques is not a standard size. Now I am at least three places further back in the queue to pay them in the conventional way.

One comment on “More from the seventeenth century

  1. Caro - Claire Wiles says:

    Thanks again for sharing your adventuress in such amusing ways. They are very enjoyable to read

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