The usual mixture of history has been interspersed between bouts of the job I must not mention over the last few weeks. Said job involves putting in an expense claim. I had carefully preserved my receipts from descending to the recycling pile by balancing them on top of my printer’s paper tray. That would have been fine had I not decided to print out pictures of my grandchildren for a relative. I wonder if the fact that my receipts are now emblazoned with pictures of small children has anything to do with the tardiness of the repayment?
The visit to the industrial north, that is part and parcel of the mystery job, gave me an opportunity to visit the John Rylands Library. A wonderful place but just a pity that the need to order documents in advance is not made clear on their website – even mentioning it in teeny tiny print would help. We threw ourselves on the mercy of the twelve year old (it isn’t just policemen who get younger) behind the desk and documents were eventually produced, while we clock-watched – very much aware of the horrendous parking charge that we were racking up. The place is a treasure trove, I need to spend a week, a month, whatever. Next year I will (I will) be concentrating on my Bible Christian emigrants’ research and I managed to get copies of some beautiful photographs. I did have to convince the twelve year old (having explained to them how their catalogue worked) that a picture of someone who died in 1894 came into the category of being photographed by someone who is dead but hey – maybe there are some very precocious 111 year olds out there.
We nearly did not escape from the multi-story car park following this visit. After several circuits following exit signs that clearly did not lead to anything resembling an exit, we tried enquiring of fellow car parkees. ‘I bet you didn’t have a beard when you arrived’ quips one wit, observing my hirsute companion – actually one of the funnier beard comments that he has had, just a shame they didn’t know the way out either.
The same trip north allowed us to visit the Derbyshire plague village of Eyam. Eyam House was a delight and what better than to witness the rehearsal of the annual street performance of ‘The Roses of Eyam’. What more could a seventeenth century lover want?
I have also participated in a Hangout-on-air on Three-dimensional One Place Studies, which gave rise to some amazing coincidences, there may be more about this if the story develops.
Work on compiling the book about life between 1946 and 1969 is now coming on really well. The role of my lovely volunteers is all but over and it is now down to me. The book has a cover design (still under wraps), five (of ten) chapters ready for the publisher and a proper title, ‘Remember Then: women’s memories of 1946-1969 and how to write your own’ (okay I know it is a mouthful.) The book and chapter titles are all songs from the period. It is still possible that this may be ready for Christmas – I am doing my best and am really enjoying it.
A book that is finished is The Ones That Got Away: tracing elusive ancestors who move into, out from and within Britain (I know, I love colons and wordy titles but I have avoided alliteration this time). It is also an ebook. It will shortly be available via UK and Canadian outlets as well. This is just in time for my Baltic Cruise – getting very excited about that now. I still have no cocktail dresses, or indeed room for many clothes at all as my seventeenth century attire takes up most of my suitcase. We do at least finally have permission to take instruments of torture a.k.a. Master Christopher’s barber surgeon kit on board. We have however had bizarre conversations in the pursuit of public liability insurance.
Insurance company: ‘Do you check your equipment regularly to ensure that it cannot cause injury?’
Me: ‘Well, we check swords and bladed tools to make sure they are blunt’ (thinking ‘how on earth are they going to un-blunt themselves?’).
Insurance company: ‘That’s not sufficient, we need to know that they can’t injure anyone’.
Me: ‘Look, madam, (through gritted teeth) these are heavy metal objects, if used inappropriately they might potentially hurt someone.’
Insurance company: disapproving silence
Me: ‘I am not wishing to be facetious, merely accurate. If I drop a book on my foot it will hurt, I could strangle myself on an innocuous looking shoe-lace. We take every reasonable precaution to ensure that these do not cause injury.’
Flippancy clearly does not pay; the quote came back three times higher than anyone else’s and we went with a different company.
Post cruise, I am looking forward to presenting a webinar for The Society of Australian Genealogists in August. Amidst all this, I am ‘racing’ for life, in aid of cancer research in next weekend’s forecast heat wave. So many lovely people have already parted with money; more sponsors welcome. Retirement? Remind me what that is – mind you I am still chasing official retirement age, which is receding rapidly into the unattainable distance.