Tuesday, 20 April 2021

The Distancing Diairies - 19th & 20th April, 2021

I'd been awake for ages but didn't get up till 6am when I could see the sun creeping up over the back of our neighbour, Shirley's house. I wrapped the eBay sales, did my first Wii Fit workout of the week & attempted to catch up on blog comments. After Jon was up, we'd had breakfast and went for a wander around the garden, discovering Kitty from next door asleep in the border by the pond with a rather handsome black and white tom who allowed Jon to stroke him but ambled off when he spotted Frank approaching. Jon left to do the post office run and to call around and see Tony who, after seven days at work finally had a day off (and an epiphany regarding his job in retail).

I put some of the seedlings outside and continued with my shredding, reducing the pruning pile by half and covering the area I'd cleared behind the Kinky Shed. After a couple of hours, I made myself a mug of chamomile tea and was reading in the sunshine when Jon got back. 

After our noodles, we cracked on with the clearing and shredding until I decided enough was enough and retreated to the lawn with The Silence of The Girls. Later we planted our Wilko purchases, watered the garden and swept the path as the magnolia was sadly starting to shed its petals.


Last summer Lynn sent me some sunflower seeds from her beloved Auntie Gladys's garden. Although I never met her I loved hearing Lynn's tales of her wicked sense of humour and the joy she got from gardening. I haven't grown sunflowers for years and I'm thrilled they've sprouted.


Tea was half a pizza with Jon's homemade Morrocan spiced jacket wedges then we watched a couple of episodes of Waking The Dead.


I was up before 6am and, after taking Jon a mug of tea up to bed, did my Wii Fit workout before joining him in the kitchen for breakfast. He was up earlier than usual as we'd got an engineer booked to look at the boiler as it was leaking and making a weird noise.


I'd decided that my mission for the day was to dig up and divide the ferns and create a fern and rock garden in the dead space in front of the gates and by 9.30am I was outside in my bikini top and hiking boots doing battle with the garden fork.


After Gary sorted our boiler (and fixed a leak) Jon joined me outside where we continued digging up ferns and planting them both in my proposed area as well as dotting them around the pond. We also shifted some of the rocks I'd unearthed from the old rockery wondering how long it would be before someone nicked one.


It doesn't look very exciting at the moment but hopefully, in a month's time, the fronds will unfurl and bring some much-needed colour to the front of the gates.


We had a noodle break, chatted to neighbours Ray and Florence who had a wander around the garden, met Jacob and marvelled at the area we'd cleared. The Royal Mail van pulled up and handed us the oxygenating pond plants Jon had ordered a few weeks ago, which we weighted down and positioned in the pond. 


Leaving the watering for later we wheeled out the garden waste bin ready for collection in the morning and called it a day. 


The previous evening I'd been doing a bit more research on Jon's family tree and if what I'd already discovered with the Packwood connection (HERE) & poor old William Field being betrayed by his son and killed by Cromwell's army wasn't enough, what I was to discover had me utterly lost for words. In fact, there are so many incredible stories to tell that I'm going to have to do it in installations or this blog post will go on forever. 

Blessed Adrian, detail of the icon "Our Lady of Phileremos" at the Malteser Commandery, Ehreshoven, Germany

Jon's 13 x great-grandfather, on his father's side, was the Blessed Sir Adrian Fortescue, Knight of St John of Jerusalem (b.1476), born to the English nobility and a cousin of Ann Boleyn. He attended Ann's wedding to Henry VIII when she was crowned Queen of England in 1533. Made a Knight of Bath in 1503, he frequently served in the court of Henry VIII and fought for England in France at the Battle of the Spurs (1513) and the Anglo-French Wars (1522 - 1526) and was present at The Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. Adrian married twice and had seven children - more about them in another post! 

Blessed Adrian, painting by Mattia Preti at St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta


On 29th August 1534, for reasons never explained, he was arrested on the King's Order and imprisoned for several months. He was arrested again on 3rd February 1539 and sent to the Tower of London where, without a trial, he was convicted of treason and found guilty of general sedition and refusing allegiance and condemned to death. He was beheaded on 9th July 1539 on Tower Hill, London.

Blessed Adrian: oil on canvas at the Collegio, Rabat, Malta

The Order of St. John of Jerusalem has considered Sir Adrian as a martyr and has promoted devotion to him at least since the early seventeenth century as a member of the Order. Leo XIII declared him a saint on 13 May 1895. 


I can't quite get my head around Jon being Ann Boleyn's second cousin 14 x removed. That seed catalogue knew what they were doing when they addressed the envelope to Lord Jon!

Blessed Adrian's beheading, 1539


Tonight, once Jon's finished watering the garden, we'll be having halloumi with roasted veg for tea and settling down for another couple of hours of Waking the Dead. Tomorrow I'll actually be leaving the house and going for my NHS breast screening on Morrison's car park. Oh, the glamour!

See you soon!