Wednesday, 29 January 2020

A bench with a view

I thought we needed a change of scenery and it seemed like a nice enough day to visit Conwy just to have a quick look round, a bite to eat and then back home again.

First stop had to be for a cup of coffee and the lure of a dog sausage for Annie was too great a temptation to resist.

 That hit the spot and then found my kind of place to have lunch later

I can't visit Conwy without walking down to the quayside 

I was really fascinated with this new bench and it certainly is a bench with a great view. I had no idea what a smart bench does but having looked online when I arrived home apparently it's solar powered and you can charge your phone or tablet and it has superfast internet connection and sensors monitor what happens on and around the bench. Weatherproof and vandal proof...... but it does beg the question who is going to sit on and use a glass bench covered in seagull poo?! 

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Vets not park or beach

So I took Annie to the vets today. She's started coughing again, certainly not as bad as before and I'm confident her heart tablets are working well for her. She's seemed to be off colour somewhat and not eating very much but still enjoys treats from her cupboard. I'm sure she knows the route to the vets practice and did not look happy at all.

She's lost a little weight since her last visit and the vet given her a course of steroids but she doesn't need to be seen again for another three months unless she doesn't improve.

Parked up in town and not wanting to linger for long I walked her through town to the beach but she wasn't interested in going down to the sand at all so back to the car to head for home.I passed a nail bar and happened to look up at the rooms above. Ignore the state of the building, in one window was a cat and in the other a giraffe, couldn't resist a photo for Eunice :)

Monday, 27 January 2020

Blank walls

the wallpapered wall behind the headboard

one corner of the room

The bedroom redecoration is finished. I'm pleased with how it's turned out. The wallpaper was a doddle to put up by pasting the wall and no matching of wallpaper necessary, it only needed the right lengths to be cut. It just remains for me to replace my clothes in the wardrobe. I'm going to take a charity bag upstairs with me and sort out some of my clothes. I even plan to sort out my sock drawer as I have so many black pairs of socks from when I was working and they can definitely go. I don't wear socks most of the time anymore and when I do I like novelty socks to cheer up my feet  and brighten my day:)

Friday, 24 January 2020

It's a small world

 Six degrees of separation

I have been totally engrossed in doing family research this week, not just my family but I have been working on a tree for a friend. It's true to say I have been surprised, amazed and shocked by what I have discovered this week so will try to record a little here on my blog.

Firstly it's worth noting that it's only six months ago I upgraded my membership of the site to a worldwide subscription and am very pleased I did.  The USA records contain much more information than are available on UK censuses. In the UK we have the 100 year rule which means we'll have to wait until January 2022 to be able to view the 1921 census. Of course the 1939 register is available but many records remain closed for people born less than 100 years ago until proof of death is verified. Searching for information in the 20th century can be very frustrating. Anyway the USA records are much more useful in tracing family members.

Not directly my family but I discovered the husband of a niece of a 4th cousin born in 1917 in Yorkshire. I found him on the 1939 register but struggled to find his birth until I realised he was illegitimate and must have been adopted by his mother's new husband. He emigrated at the age of 29 and married shortly after arriving in America. It was from US records that I found his wife's name, his mother's maiden name and the names of his siblings all born and living in the UK. What I then found surprising was at the age of 80 he was convicted of killing his wife but found to be mentally ill when he drowned her. Annoyingly when I tried to access a website to read about the case I was blocked from doing so by GDPR rules because we're in a country belonging to the EEA including the EU. OK, I accept that our privacy is important.

Now for the amazing. The tree I'm building for my friend unfortunately didn't produce the information she was initially looking for but she was still interested to find out about the paternal side of her family. I'd already discovered some distant cousins of my own living in the area she lives in some seventy five miles away. I'd confidently discovered my friend's great grandfather but going back another generation I discovered her great great grandfather married to a lady with a surname that seemed familiar in my own family tree. Back to my own tree I looked again at the 1851 census and my distant cousin was newly married living with his in-laws and his wife's younger sister who went on to marry my friend's great great grandfather just seven years later. Although my friend and I aren't directly related what are the chances of that happening. A really lovely online friend who I've only met in person a couple of times when she comes camping in my next of the woods. Methinks she should take a DNA test as there is a remote possibility we could actually be related :-)

As  I continued to branch out on my friend's family tree I discovered a shocking case at the end of Queen Victoria's reign. Life was grim anyway but I read the story of a man who earned good money as a bricklayer but used to drink away his wages. His boss would sub him money so he took home very little money on pay days.  His two year old daughter died of starvation just half the body weight of a normal child. Her father was found drunk in bed with the body of his dead child and his emaciated wife who died several days later herself. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to fifteen months in prison with hard labour, not nearly a tough enough sentence in my opinion The details of the case are in newspaper cuttings which made for very upsetting reading. The remaining children were taken into care and the baby of the family went on to marry my friend's great aunt.

So following all that computer screen time this week I will be doing something different this weekend. On a rare day out this week I bought a couple of tins of paint and two rolls of wallpaper to freshen up our bedroom now that the en-suite room has been refitted. Just plain wallpaper, no matching necessary, paste the wall not the paper so shouldn't be too much of a challenge. It won't even be worth a photo when it's finished as it's all very beige like the curtains and carpet and me :)

Monday, 20 January 2020


Photo taken yesterday

This isn't the best photo of a sunset you'll ever see. I had to crop out the garden fence, the side of the neighbouring house and Annie had followed me outside and wouldn't move away from the back door so our security light stayed on. It was too cold to stay outside for long but was worth a photo and a nice memory.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Before and after photos

 As promised here are some before and after photos of recent changes to our home.

 The en-suite before 

The bathroom before

When my daughter visited us and saw the new bathroom she really liked it and said it was reasonably priced too. She wondered if the fitters would do a bathroom makeover for her but seeing as she lives some eighty miles away I didn't think it was likely. Anyway, on speaking to the lovely lady in the showroom I told her my daughter was impressed with the bathroom and she replied that they could deliver to her but she’d have to have the fitting done by someone local. She'd also invited my daughter to enter a competition to win a fitted LED mirror, one exactly the same as we were to be given for free in our en-suite room but sadly daughter didn't win the prize. Here's the bathroom after photos fitted during my blogging absence.

 The bathroom after

Friday, 17 January 2020

En-suite bathroom finished

The workmen finished our en-suite room yesterday, a day ahead of schedule. They worked hard and we are really pleased with the end result. We weren't going to bother buying a mirror as our mirrored  cabinet in the main bathroom is more than adequate for our needs but we were given the LED mirror free of charge, an offer to anyone who booked a bathroom fitting during the month of November. The room is such a big improvement on what we had before. The old ceiling fan was temperamental and was driving me nuts, not to mention the cracked sink basin and leaking shower.

It's a small room so I have had to take several photos from different angles avoiding my reflection in the mirror of course :)

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Raking in money for garden waste

Our county council was the first to trial four-weekly refuse collections in our area back in 2016 which to be fair didn't pose much of a problem for us being just a two person household. The scheme did cause a stink for some families though saying the rubbish causes smells and attracts seagulls, mice and rats. The scheme was then rolled out across the county in 2018 and saves the Council £390,000 a year.

Then last year it was agreed that the county's residents pay a £30 annual charge for garden waste collections. They reckon this will save the council a further £620,000.  I'm not exactly seeing red over the green waste charges but when the leaflet arrived it is actually a £35 a year charge for one wheelie bin and fortnightly collections. The leaflet says this equates to £1.35 per collection but people don't generally put out any garden waste in the winter months. Anyway, I've paid it now. I'm wondering what other crafty charges they'll introduce next or with the savings they make will they reduce our council tax bill. Not a hope in hell!

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Photos from my past

I've been intending to scan some photographs to add to the family history site and today is a good day to do it while the workmen are here. I've started with some of myself  that my late mother had in her collection and some are really cringeworthy :)

This one was taken on a school trip to London when I was eleven years old and in the last year at primary school. It was the only school trip I ever went on. I remember that we were taken on a Thames river cruise and I imagine my teacher took this photograph.

Now for the cringeworthy,  I've called this one my model look and have no idea why I'd be posing like that considering how introverted I am now :) The photo was taken outside my grandmother's house with Dad's Ford Anglia. I would have been about eighteen years old at the time and had passed my driving test. I drove my parents car from north Wales to Manchester quite a few times, Dad's eyesight was failing and he'd been keen for me to learn to drive. I've definitely inherited my Dad's poor eyesight but hope I'm still legal to drive as I'm certain my Dad wasn't at that time.

Oh dear. I've called this next one my Deirdre look. I used to have my hair permed, that is until the time I was stopped in the High Street and asked if I was Deirdre from Coronation Street :)

The real Deirdre perm - Internet photo

Now I must get on and scan those photos of my family members, aunts and uncles long gone.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Work has commenced

The en-suite room has been gutted today and they've made a start on the tiling. The shower tray and  toilet will be delivered tomorrow, not quite sure what the problem is with those, I assume there is as the showroom manager turned up mid-morning to discuss with the fitters.

He chatted to us for quite some time and we learned he'd lost his dog the week before Christmas.  He was understandably still upset at talking about his loss. The bathroom fitter had already commented how quiet Annie is this time, no barking at him at all and he had no idea that she is ill. In fact she hasn't made a murmur as the workmen come and go, she just lies on the settee quiet as a mouse. It's made us realise what a big difference there is in her condition in just the two months since the fitters were here last.

That's the back wall behind the toilet and opposite the shower, the cubicle itself will have fancy tiles.

The weather is dreadful, with constant rain, strong wind and it's so cold. I'm not even going to attempt to take Annie for a short walk in this. I've made a start on reading my book, I know already I'm going to find it very interesting.

Monday, 13 January 2020

The body and skeletons in the cupboard

I've just been busy moving a chest of drawers and television out of our bedroom prior to the workmen arriving tomorrow to start work in our small en suite bathroom. I expect them to be here until Friday as they are replacing the shower cubicle, toilet and washbasin and tiling the walls floor to ceiling.

The same fitters did a nice job in our bathroom in November so the same guys will be returning. I just don't like the upheaval but the end result will be worth it. I kept out of the way of the workmen last time by busying myself online researching my family history but this time I plan to sit and read a book.

I bought myself The Body as a treat to myself. Hubby had been wanting a novel to read and it's easy to add books to the online grocery shopping order and this one appealed to me while I was busy browsing for him. The book has good reviews and tidbits like... if you laid all the DNA in your body end to end it would stretch ten billion miles.

I had intended to give the family history research a rest but this weekend I discovered a bigamist in the family, yes really.  On the 1881 census  my distant cousin is described as a cripple and I wonder if that had any bearing to her being taken advantage of. She married three years later but unfortunately her new husband was already married, I'll call him James. He'd married someone else in 1876 but by 1881 he was a prisoner at Her Majesty's Pleasure although I don't know what crime he'd committed. He had quite a distinctive name though and I was able to discover he had a son from his first legal marriage who had later moved to South Africa and died there. Those death records name the parents.

By the next census in 1891 my distant cousin had two children living, one bears the surname of her bigamous husband and the other by the man she goes on to marry later that year. She went on to have a total of eleven children and lived until the age of eighty-two. It's so nice that family members put these stories online along with family photographs for others to discover. I don't know what happened to James first wife but James himself seemed to have moved around the UK living in lodging houses working as a labourer and a dealer. On the 1911 census he states he only had one child yet he had three children that I know of, one in his legal marriage and two in his bigamous marriage although one had died aged just two years old. James died five years later in the room of a pub by falling out of bed and hitting his head on the hard floor. He seems to have been quite a rogue.

When I told hubby my family had skeletons in the cupboard I thought that would be a good title for this blog post. It also reminded me of a real life skeleton in the cupboard discovered in the town I grew up in. I remember my Dad telling me about it and I have been able to read the full details online, just search for mummy in the cupboard to find the story. I'm just glad we didn't live in that street. So reading or researching this week which will it be, that is the question :)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

One happy dog and owner

 I fancied a change of scenery today so took Annie to Colwyn Bay beach. It's handy as you can park up on the promenade and go directly down on to an almost deserted beach, deserted bar a couple of other dog walkers. It's a beach that Annie loves, she even had a very small run. The weather is mild at 14 degrees C, the sky is blue but it was oh so windy.

I'm anxious that Annie doesn't overdo things but the heart tablets she is on are giving her a new lease of life. I'd been taking her to the vets every couple of weeks since she was really ill in October, then at the end of November I was told she needn't be seen again for another three months. I was asked if I wanted to pay for three months worth of tablets but I said no as they are so expensive and it would have been too much money to pay out in one go just before Christmas. To tell the truth at that time I just wasn't confident that Annie would survive that long.

One of the vet nurses who I have known for many years told me that I could buy the tablets much cheaper online but I would need a prescription so that's what I have done. For just over £10 I was given a prescription for six months and a friend told me about a very good website where I could source her tablets. The heart tablets are a third of the price online and even her water tablets of which she takes three a day are sold individually and are a couple of pence per tablet cheaper online so the savings all mount up.  I am now able to buy six weeks worth of tablets for less than the price of two weeks worth from the vet. All I had to do was to photograph the prescription and email it to the prescription team at the online suppliers, it's good now for the next three orders. Handy for anyone to know if their dog has to take tablets for life as Annie now needs to do.

I am so happy Annie is showing such a marked improvement in her health. She even pulls her favourite toy from the box for a one minute play :)

Sunday, 5 January 2020

A sad tale

Internet photo of some of the town's mills

 Following on from my previous blog post about my family history research, when we had our new bathroom fitted a couple of months ago, workmen were coming in and out of the house all the time so I kept out of the way and busied myself online doing my family history research. During that time I discovered a very tragic tale about my 1st cousin's family four generations back in 19th century Yorkshire. I had access to the coroner's notes and the sad story unfolded and I will recount it here but I warn you it is quite upsetting and I've changed the names in this sad tale.

My cousin Mary married George on Christmas Day when she was 20 years old. They had seven children together but sadly Mary died when she was only 42 years old. Her children's ages ranged from twenty years old to the youngest being only two years old. Sadly George took his own life, aged 59  almost eight years after his wife's death. George had brought up his young children by himself after Mary's death. George was found hanged in the kitchen by his 14 year old son Harry and the coroner's notes were taken in view of the body.

Harry and his father both worked in a woollen yarn mill but work had been slack for some time and George had not worked for the last three months.  His eldest daughter had recently left home and another son was ill and had been laid up for ten weeks and the youngest girl had just left school aged ten years old. Although George looked after the house he hadn't been himself for three or four weeks and he'd been given medicine by his doctor.

One Saturday in winter George had remained in the house and the children had gone to bed as normal and hadn't heard their father at all. The following morning Harry got up and found his father hanging from a beam in the kitchen, a chair close to his feet. He ran upstairs and told his brother and sister. The youngest girl ran screaming in her nightdress and barefoot to a neighbour's house. Another neighbour hearing the commotion followed and cut the rope with a knife. The two neighbours stripped, washed and laid out George's body.

The Coroner's verdict was that George had hanged himself during a bout of insanity.

What was interesting to discover was that George's eldest son had emigrated to the USA eighteen months before his father's suicide. He had married the same year as arriving in the US. He had one son with his wife and the family returned to England following George''s death and their second son was born in Yorkshire. The family then returned to the US taking Harry then 15 and his sister then 11 years old with them. I expect the children were traumatised after discovering their father's body. The youngest girl never married spending her life with her eldest brother and his family. I found young Harry on the US census as a roomer working as a labourer in a wire mill but I can't find any trace of him after that. Another of the children had also emigrated to the US married but unfortunately his wife miscarried their baby boy and died three days later from complications of the pregnancy. I can't find any other descendants from the children of the family apart from the two children of George and Mary's eldest son in the US.

I was able to find out a little something of the particular mill, where George and Harry had worked, a woollen and worsted manufacturers and the factory had remained in place until the Second World War. The story a telling account of the hard life and poverty in those bygone days, it's very sad.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Finding family

The Christmas before last my daughter gave me a DNA test kit as a gift. Firstly she'd asked her Dad if he thought I'd be pleased to receive it. At first he said he didn't think so but then changed his mind as he knew how much I enjoyed doing my family history research. That test kit turned out to be one of the most useful and enjoyable gifts I've ever received.

It's enabled me to find cousins with whom we share common ancestors. I've discovered my second cousin who'd emigrated to New Zealand with her brother ( our grandmothers were sisters ) and her son who now lives in the USA. I discovered a third cousin who emigrated to Canada with her parents when she was about ten years old. Another 3rd cousin who lives in the UK told me about her mother who lived to be 98 years old and only passed away four years ago,.Her mother knew my great-grandmother who was her aunt.  My great grandmother died in 1927.

There are some DNA matches who have the same surnames in their tree, whose ancestors lived in the same area yet I cannot find that common ancestor. Not everyone replies to messages while other people are really helpful. It's such a fascinating journey of discovery.

So fascinating is this research that I asked my hubby if he'd take a DNA test so I could hopefully find his distant cousins. His family tree is more difficult than mine as he was born and bred in Wales and the maternal side of his family is Welsh and has many of the most common Welsh surnames. His father was English and we know his paternal side of the family has relatives living in London. To connect with them depends on which family members have taken DNA tests obviously.

I'd been eagerly waiting for the results of hubby's test only to receive an email this week informing me that after multiple attempts they were unable to use his sample. He's been offered a new free replacement test which we're now waiting for. I'd had my doubts he'd filled the tube with enough saliva but who knows what the problem was. Fingers crossed it'll be second time lucky.

Thursday, 2 January 2020


I've taken down the Christmas tree and decorations today, no waiting for twelfth night for me. We no longer put up garlands or outdoor lights as climbing ladders is a thing of the past. I just decorate the tree and the mantelpiece and have a couple of card holders and a few bits and pieces around the living room. Most of our tree decorations are years old in fact all I bought this year were these two baubles which had just been reduced to 20 pence each in a hardware store I visited on Christmas Eve.

 I can remember where most of our baubles  have come from, some gifted from family members and others mostly bought by us over the years. The ones below are from Harrods with the years featured on them and are a reminder to us of how fast the years have flown by. The Harrods teddy bear on the reverse of the 2003 bauble is adorable.

These ones are my particular favourites, a gift set of dog baubles bought from a shop called Past Times which went into administration about seven years ago.


Even our angel was bought from Woolworths long before the stores closed for good about eleven years ago.

We're not really back to normal, there's still the Christmas cake to cut into, tins of biscuits and chocolates to eat and wine still to drink. I bought a bottle of Pernod as I fancied a blast from the past, a lovely drink to have with lemonade and plenty of ice although the bottle remains unopened. I buy far too much for the festive period and always regret buying so much when it's all over. Anyway, now the decorations are down, the room will look bare for a couple of days but we'll soon feel back to normal.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

New Year's Day

It's a lovely day for a walk with winter sunshine but chilly at 4 degrees C. Annie likes to go to the beach but can no longer or doesn't want to jump onto the sea wall to go on the sand. So we settle for a short on lead walk through the sand dunes. I took a couple of photos of her in the car and can't choose between them so will post them both. She does look sorry for herself but then she is a poorly girl.

I stopped on the way home to take a photo of our friendly neighbourhood giraffe especially for Eunice.

So I suppose I should add  some New Year's resolutions to the blog.

Lose some weight.
De clutter.
Keep this blog going.
Enjoy everyday with Annie.

The first three are less likely to happen than the last one :)

Sunday's viewings

Just a  couple of photos from yesterday's walk at the harbour, it was a bright day despite all those clouds. I stood and watched the lif...