Being a Guest and other Randomness

It has been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately – places to go, people to see, sunshine to enjoy. I have been being visiting the descendents. That’s always a joy, even if the travelling can be tricky. There was an incident that illustrates the stresses of such journeys and perhaps has something to do with the effects of spending ten days in the company of the under 4s. Travelling from the World Athletics to Lincoln we passed though the Dartford Tunnel. For those who have not had this dubious ‘pleasure’, the toll charge for the tunnel has to be paid online by midnight the following day. Great, we think, we will pay that when we get to Martha’s. Our homeward journey is via Hounslow, to allow me to talk to West Middlesex Family History Society about the impact of non-conformity, as you do – well as I do anyway. On the way through some horrendous traffic back to the caravan I muse, ‘I wonder if we will go back through the Dartford Tunnel.’ DARTFORD TUNNEL!!! We didn’t pay the toll charge when we went through ten days earlier. How could we have forgotten? We grumble about the fine, which is in the region of £80. There are better things we could have spent £80 on. There will no doubt be a letter waiting when we get home. Next day, back home, the letter has not yet arrived. I am bemoaning to Martha that we forgot to pay the fine. ‘No you didn’t,’ she says, ‘you paid it while you were here’. This would have involved me on the computer and the fisherman of my acquaintance handing me his credit card with which to pay. Neither of us have the slightest recollection of so doing. Perhaps Martha is wrong (err, no, actually Martha is never wrong). Said fisherman checks his online banking and sure enough a £2.50 deduction for the Dartford Tunnel. STILL neither of us can remember paying! Should we be worried about this?

Not only have I had a wonderful time as a guest of the grandchildren but while I was away I was a virtual guest too. I had the honour of being interviewed for Wendy Percival’s blog. Wendy writes mystery stories with an historical and genealogical flavour, highly recommended, especially for my family history friends. Wendy was in one of my blog advent boxes last year and I am reliably informed that there will be a new Esme Quentin adventure soon – hurrah!

England has been enjoying what actually passes for some sort of a summer; I am endeavouring not to blink. In between bouts of attacking the still half-remodelled garden, I have been lounging in my amazing new garden swing chair. I have been trying to read books that might pass for ‘research’ but who am I kidding. I even managed to assemble this wonder single-handed, despite what purports to be the instructions indicating that it was not a one-man job. There was only one slight ‘mistake’. Let’s just say I now know how to disassemble the chair as well. It is super relaxing, to the extent that, after an hour in the chair, I still feel as if I am rocking when I am in bed at night. Now just to work out if I can use the laptop in the chair and I am well away!

There has been a surge of interest in the Braund DNA project that I administer, with several new results and more in the pipeline. Inevitably the results are not all as predicted but it has been fascinating as well as throwing up a few dilemmas. One of my DNA related posts has just appeared on the blog of the In-depth Genealogist, so another guest appearance. A webinar, about Following a Surname Around the World, that I gave earlier in the year for The Surname Society is also now available on the Legacy platform, so you can’t get away from me.

My ‘In Sickness and in Death’ online course for Pharos Teaching and Tutoring is going really well, with a very active bunch of students, all keen to research the history of medicine and its relevance to their family history. I have just found some wonderful new ‘cures’ involving boiled frogs, goose dung and trouts – great stuff! Next on the timetable is another presentation of ‘Are you Sitting Comfortably: writing and telling your family’s story’. This starts on 17 October and runs for five weeks, a must-do project in the run up to Christmas. Sign up, you know you’ve been meaning to organise your family history for eons.

Daisy and Hollyhocks#Daisy has been making progress and is currently requiring me to research the poetry of World War I and the Bideford shops of the 1890s. I have just realised that #Daisy is about anorexia, shell shock, death, menopausal women, depression and war – just wondering if that might be a tad dark! Still it is enlivened by depictions of the beautiful Devon landscape.


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