Friday 30 April 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 29th & 30th April, 2021

After my Wii Fit workout on Thursday morning, I mopped the kitchen floor and swept the downstairs rugs. One of the festivals we regularly trade is planning to go ahead in September so I paid the, thankfully, refundable deposit and joined Jon in the kitchen for breakfast.

With rain forecast for later, we cracked on with our tasks in the garden. I potted on my dahlias while Jon continued in his quest to remove the enormous holly tree. Our friend Kev popped round with some vintage incinerator tiles someone had dumped in his neighbourhood, he'd brought one round the other day and Jon knew he'd be able to make use of them.

By lunchtime Jon had felled the tree and, after our noodles, he cut it down into smaller pieces and I shredded them. 

With the rain we've had this week, the garden is really starting the wake-up and it's all very exciting although, typical of a British Spring, we had to down tools and rush indoors to shelter from a sudden sleet shower. 

Richard the postman had called earlier with a package containing some plugs of Mind Your Own Business (Soleirolia soleirolii) Jon had bought from eBay - always a brilliant source of plants and seeds. Some people consider it a weed but, if it's good enough for Monty Don then it's good enough for us. When the sun made a fleeting appearance we squeezed it in cracks and crevices around the pond and rockery, hoping that in a few months time we'll have a carpet of green.

Back indoors I did more genealogy research before tea - pizza, sweet potato wedges & a large glass of vino. Later we settled down to another evening of Waking the Dead.

I was awake at 5.30am on Friday. Before I did my Wii Fit workout I'd already deep conditioned my hair, booked next week's National Trust adventure, done a load of washing, bought something amazing on eBay and caught up with Blogland. By the time Jon was up, I'd washed my hair and repotted a plant. I love productive mornings like these!

Stephen was due his thyroid check-up so he and Jon went to the vets whilst I wrapped my eBay sales ready for the Post office run and chatted to Richard who'd delivered my &keep order - a replacement for my usual Lush deodorant (which I've used before and love), dental floss refills, my regular facial soap as I'd opened the last one and some bamboo plasters to try.

Jon came back with the news that Stephen's blood pressure was slightly raised, apparently a common side-effect from his medication, so he's on more tablets for a fortnight -  hooray for pet insurance! It's also a  good job Jon's a cat whisperer and can administer pills like a pro. 

With appalling weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend, we needed to get as many jobs outside done as we could. Some Nepeta we'd been rooting on the windowsill was potted up, radishes & rocket moved to the raised bed and a tree I'd found growing in the patio bed eased out with the roots intact and stuck in a pot until we'd determined what it is. 

 Any ideas, gardening fans?

I dug up this Victorian terracotta roof tile the other day, it's perfect under my rosemary.

After our noodles, Jon did the post office drop-off & supermarket run whilst I went through our seed stash and planted parsley, chervil, caraway and anise. 

Vintage Dollyrockers printed cotton maxi worn with Indian block printed quilted waistcoat (Xmas present from Liz & Al) and Lotta from Stockholm highwood aubergine clogs (eBay)

Sue had commented on how much she liked a paisley print, which I do, too. I was reminded of this 1960s  maxi dress friends Lynn & Philip had found for me on their travels which I dug out from the depths of the wardrobe and wore today.

Anyway, time to share more of Lord Jon's family tree. If my recent discoveries weren't exciting enough it turns out that his 29 x great-grandfather on his Dad's side (the same branch of the tree as Blessed Adrian) only happened to be William the Conqueror!

William the Conqueror (King William I) C. 1028 – 9 September 1087

Also known as William the Bastard, William was born in 1028, the illegitimate son of Robert, Duke of Normandy but, when his father died in 1035, William inherited the title. In 1064 Harold Godwineson was shipwrecked off the coast of Normandy, he was rescued by William and offered to support his claim to the throne of England however when the monarch, Edward the Confessor died in 1066, Harold declared the throne for himself. Outraged, William gathered his Norman army and set sail for England, facing Harold's Saxon army at the Battle of Hastings on 14th October, 1066. The fighting lasted all day but towards the end and, as legend has it, Harold took an arrow in the eye and William won. He then marched to London to crush English resistance which was gathering around Edgar Atheling, grandson of Edmund II and the Saxon heir to the English throne. William mounted a campaign of devastation eventually forcing Edgar to surrender and for William to be crowned King of England on 25th December, 1066.

Henry I, King of England C. 1068 – 1 December 1135

William died from wounds received in the Battle of Nantes on 9th September, 1087 and was succeeded to the throne by his third son, William II. Following his death thirteen years later, Jon's 28 x great-grandfather, Henry Beauclerc, William's youngest son, was crowned King Henry I and ruled from 1100 until his death in 1135.

Malcolm III of Scotland (c. 26 March 1031 – 13 November 1093)

Of course, two kings in the family weren't enough for Lord Jon, there's a third! Henry I's first wife, Matilda (1080-1118) was the daughter of Malcolm III, who was King of Scotland from 1058 -1093. Malcolm's father, Duncan, was the king killed by Macbeth, immortalised by Shakespeare

Saint Margaret of Scotland c. 1045 – 16 November 1093

 Malcolm's second wife, the mother of Mathilda, was Saint Margaret of Scotland and yes, there's another saint in the family! Born in the Kingdom of Hungary to the expatriate English prince Edward the Exile, Margaret and her family returned to England in 1057. Following the death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, along with her brother Edgar Ætheling, she and her family fled north where she married Malcolm towards the end of 1070.

Saint Margaret at Queensferry, William Fergusson Hole RSA (1846 – 1917)

Margaret was a very pious Christian, and among many charitable works, she established a ferry across the Firth of Forth for pilgrims travelling to St Andrews in Fife, giving the towns of South Queensferry and North Queensferry their names. In 1250, she was canonised by Pope Innocent IV and her remains were reinterred in a shrine in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife. Her relics were dispersed after the Scottish Reformation and subsequently lost. Mary, Queen of Scots, at one time owned her head, which was subsequently preserved by Jesuits but lost during the French Revolution
You'd think three kings and three saints would be enough for anyone but I've managed to go back another eight centuries! More to follow - if you can bear the suspense.

Tea was posh pasta with broccoli and mushrooms in Jon's homemade tomato sauce topped with lashings of cheese. There will be more Waking the Dead later and, of course, our Friday highlight, rum and Gardeners' World.

Chin Chin!

Wednesday 28 April 2021

The Distancing Diairies - 27th & 28th April, 2021

On Tuesday, after a Wii Fit workout (me), watering the ever-increasing number of seedlings  (Jon) and breakfast (both of us) we fired up the camper and headed to Shakespeare's county of Warwickshire, a journey of just over 25 miles. 

Our destination was Baddesley Clinton, a moated manor house dating back to the 13th Century, eight miles from the historic town of Warwick. 

The manor was purchased by the under-treasurer of England, John Brome, in 1438 and subsequently passed on to his son, Nicholas (d.1537) who rebuilt the nearby parish church dedicated to St. Michael as penance for having murdered the parish priest, a crime reputed to have taken place within the house (the blood-stained floorboards were pointed out to us on a previous visit).

When Nicholas died, the house was passed to his daughter who had married Sir Edward Ferrers, the Sheriff of Warwickshire, in 1500. Baddesley Clinton remained in the Ferrers family until 1940. It was sold to the National Trust in 1980.

Under the care of Lucy, the head gardener, her three full-time staff and an army of 45 volunteers, the gardens at Baddesley Clinton are glorious, a riot of colour and a jumble of blooms. The shop had bags of ten spent hyacinths in a rich beetroot purple available for a suggested donation of £1.50 (we gave them £2!)

Baddesley Clinton has, like many National Trust properties a resident cat or two. This is Tommy who was far too busy mousing to hang around for fuss.

We sat in Gilbert, drank tea and ate our cheese sandwiches accompanied by the bleating of lambs in the neighbouring field, under the watchful eye of a robin hanging around for scraps. 

Baddesley Clinton's gorgeous garden had inspired us to get a few more tasks done in ours so, back at home, I cut off the flower spikes from our newly acquired hyacinths, planted them in a border and gave them a good watering. Jon got started on radically pruning one of the holly bushes while I potted on my sunflower seedlings. The forecasted rain started just as we'd finished. We've had our driest April since 1936. The average rainfall for this month should be 78cm, here in the Midlands we've had 5.1cm. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, it'll do the garden some good! After roasted halloumi and veg, we watched more of Waking the Dead.

By the look of the puddles in the avenue when I opened the curtains on Wednesday morning, I think we'd probably achieved our average monthly rainfall overnight. After my Wii Fit workout, I threw a load of washing in the machine & hung it up in the utility room then joined Jon for breakfast. As it was still raining I thought I'd crack on with a bit more ancestry.

Deserted China Clay Pit, Herbert Truman (1883 - 1957) SOURCE

When I wrote about my ancestors, the Adams family, a Staffordshire pottery dynasty, Lulu commented that William Adams once owned shares in the long-abandoned Cornish China Clay Quarry at St Dennis along with her 5x great uncle, Joseph Poulson. I thought it was brilliant that my ancestor was in business with one of my virtual friend's ancestors and wondered about his interest in Cornwall, a world away from the Staffordshire potteries. I didn't have to ponder for long, tracing William Adams' branch of the tree a little further I discovered he - and I - had Cornish ancestors.

Thomas Flamank (my 13x great-grandfather, above) was a lawyer and a former MP from Cornwall who, together with Michael An Gof, a Cornish blacksmith, led the Cornish rebellion of 1497, a protest against taxes imposed by Henry VII to raise funds for a war against Scotland. Thomas argued that it was should be the business of the barons in the North to defend Scotland's border and that the taxes were illegal. An army of over 15,000 Cornishmen arrived in London on 16th June, 1497 and although they fought bravely, without artillery or trained soldiers they soon found themselves overwhelmed by the King's trained and well-equipped army. On 27th June, 1497 Flamank was hanged and beheaded at Tyburn in London, and his limbs exhibited in various parts of the city.

Cornish memorial to Flamank & An Gof

And there's more! Thomas's granddaughter, my 11x great-grandmother, Margaret Fauntleroy (1507 - 1582) married Sir Thomas Hill of Heligan. This was the family who originally owned The Lost Gardens of Heligan (although they weren't lost back then), one of the biggest visitor attractions in the UK. The family sold the estate to the Tremayne family in the latter part of the 16th Century. I've only been to Cornwall once, I've always fancied visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan, now I'm keener than ever.


By mid-morning, the rain had cleared and it was time to play in the garden. We had a to-do list as long as your arm but with high winds and it being damp underfoot we stuck with clearing the bottom of the garden and shredding as we went along. 

After a break for lunch, a sandwich & crisps just by way of a change, we continued until Jon declared we'd enough and downed tools for the day. 

Back indoors I got the wheelie bins ready for collection on Thursday morning and had a massive blog catch-up while Jon planted lettuce seeds and artichokes.

Liz and Al called round for an alfresco coffee and a wander around the garden. The temperatures had been predicted to plummet and our teeth were chattering when they left. Tea was a goat's cheese, marinated tomato & basil quiche with broccoli and mushroom mornay (made by me). We'll be cracking open the rum shortly and looking forward to The Great British Sewing Bee, the happiest programme on the TV.

See you soon!

PS My lovely friend Kezzie's post made my day (HERE), she's been inspired to create a Vix-like outfit.