My elder sister has been researching our family tree. She has been concentrating on our maternal grandmother's family and after just a few night's research on line we now have a list of rural Irish and English ancestors stretching back to the 1700 's .
My sister is like me, in the respect that she doesn't have a " need " to visit family graves, but given the nostalgia of her search, she took herself off to find my grandparent's grave , a visit that resulted in a mini panic attack when she couldn't quite locate the exact spot where my grandparents were buried.
I have been thinking about my Grandmother's early life today.
These thoughts were sparked by my sister's research and by a book loaned to me by affable despot Jason which chronicled the photographic work of Horace Warner in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Warner took some extraordinary photographs of the street children from the slums of Spitalfirlds, and one such photo of a young girl called Adelaide Springett, dressed in what was described as her best clothes, almost broke my heart
My grandmother was born into a poor Irish/ Liverpudlian family in 1900. The family lived in basement rooms near the infamous Scotty Road and were no strangers to poverty, Gran was estranged from them when she married my grandfather, who wasn't a catholic and She seldom talked of her blood family as an older woman.
The sadness of my grandmother's early years seemed to have been compartmentalized as we grandchildren always remember her as being one of the few fun people in our growing up lives.
Today on the way back from walking the dogs on the beach, I took a detour and stopped at Coed Bell Cemetery. I wondered if I could remember where my grandparents were buried.
Leaving the dogs in the car, I walked up the hill , through the stones and crosses and strangely walked straight up to the grave. There was absolutely no hesitation at all.
In our modern day world of benefits for the poor and needy, and council initiatives and social housing, it is easy to forget that only 100 years ago, the poor were effectively on their own.
My grandmother was no stranger to the pawn shop, fear of the rent man and scrubbing other people's floors. She left her husband and two young children to waitress tables in the Isle Of Man to make money. She put camphor candles out each night to ward off the cockroaches and learnt to waste nothing at all in the kitchen.....
She lived in a world that was so different to our own. That photograph of little Adelaide is a reminder of just this.......
I spent a good half hour in the rain and the wind with my thoughts about all this
But was suddenly transported back to "John Gray world " when I returned to the dogs in the car.
I had parked in the tiny car park in front of the Graveyard and the trusty Berlingo was standing right up close to a white estate car.
A slightly harassed looking middle aged woman was sitting in the passenger seat with a hyperventilating Bichon Frise bouncing around on her knee. And as I started to unlock my driver's door the little fella tried to claw his way out of his window towards me gasping and gagging like that cartoon Tasmanian devil!
" I don't know what's gotten into him" the woman explained as the little bastard's eyes rolled back in his head..." he's usually so well mannered with other dogs nearby"
One look at the berlingo' back window told me all I needed to know.
Winnie was standing in her best " come hither" pose, with her fanny positioned directly in the open window crack!
Hormones are very powerful things!
I own a slut