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! 


44 comments:

  1. Wow, what exciting (albeit gruesome) history in Jon's family. I love working with plants - your yard just gets better and better. I started this weekend with planting my large clay planters (strawberries, lobelia and succulents). Hoping to find some flowers to fill the top of the planters with this week. Slow and steady I will make sure that we have tons of flowers this year - but it took all my energy Saturday to scrub the pots and do the planting I did. I enjoyed every minute of it!

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    1. I know! He didn't really study much history at school so he's a bit overwhelmed by these names I keep shouting at him. We watched three hours of documentaries about The Tudors so he's got a bit more insight into their ruthlessness and why so many of his ancestors ending up losing their heads!
      Have you planted any nasturtiums? Ours were amazing last year and went on flowering until November. I shall add lobelias to my list of garden centre treats when we next visit, they make me smile. xxx

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  2. How wonderful to read this from NewZealand. I adore your blogs especially when I can’t sleep. It is 6am my world is upside down after my my husband died. I love hearing all about your life. What a wonderful time you have in your great garden. I am stuck inside and can’t tell you what a joy you bring me. Gardening is what I miss most. Also your sweet cats. Thank you. đŸ„°đŸ˜“

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    1. Sending you lots of love across the oceans, Sally! I know how much pleasure your garden gave you, I'm delighted to share ours with you. xxx

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  3. This is incredible - never mind haloumi for tea, you should be having a hog roast (well Jon anyway I know you wouldnt eat more than the apple in it's mouth!) I am very excited to start my ancestry journey next week but finding it very exciting reading yours and Jons :)

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    1. Haha! He'd be well up for that. He's already said he wants a ruff to wear to Wetherspoons when social distancing is over!
      I'm really excited to learn about your family! xxx

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  4. Wow-that is a family history that Jon has. My daughter's favorite tourist stop was the Tower of London, and kept bringing up factoids for the rest of our trip, as she would look in our rest times on her ipad, then went down rabbit holes to additional facts-she probably uncovered your relatives story! I just do not have the energy, physically or mentally to have a massively planted yard, or garden as you call them, but I appreciate a good one.

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    1. That's not the half of it. I've now gone back to 850AD and we're both staggered by what I've found!
      Like your daughter I've always loved history, the more macabre the better. Discovering these people I read about in books are related to Jon is mind-blowing! xxx

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  5. Woahh!! Blessed Adrian, complete with actual paintings and an illustration of the dirty deed! What an amazing find Vix. The fernery is going to look great. You have been so busy. I love that little beam of light in the photo of the kinky shed. Lulu xXx

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    1. Can you believe it - even a picture of the actual beheading!!!
      I loved that beam of light, maybe it's a message from Blessed Adrian! xxx

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  6. The garden looks more amazing by the day and that sweet black and white kitty looks just like my Nuggy boy. The ancestry research just keeps getting more and more exciting! Best of luck with your screening tomorrow Vix.

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    1. Thanks, Martha! I don't remember reading about your cat but no wonder we're virtual pals, any cat lover is a friend of mine. xxx

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  7. I read The Silence of the Girls a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    1. IT really was a wonderful read. Loved the ending. x

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  8. I was inspired to make vegetable curry after seeing the photos of all your delicious food and it is now one of our favorite meals. Do you mind sharing the spices used on the potatoes? I'm enjoying playing with recipes using all my newly acquired herbs and spices.

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    1. Hello! We use a pre-mixed jar of Moroccan seasoning from the supermarket - it contains salt, ground cumin, chilli flakes, ground coriander,mint, garlic, ground carraway and cayenne pepper if you want to make your own. x

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  9. How far back does your family history Go!!! Even if it a bit macabre !! The workmen started on the garden only to hit a bloody water main!! i did tell them in the planning stages it was there and they even marked it! So we had no water for a day which was fun ! as the water company had to come out and fix it and give them a good telling off. It was comedy gold!!
    Milo decided my tooth palette was a dog chew so £200 later and a temporary palette I have a temporary smile. Paul laughed his head off. Shame I didn’t think it was funny .
    Take care and keep safe love and hugs

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    1. I've gone back as far as 850AD now! Can you believe it?
      Those workmen sound like a but of a distater, surely they'd have looked for water mains before digging? I bet the water compnay gave them a right telling off.
      Oh dear, Milo is a naughty boy! xxx

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  10. I'm digging(!)all the gardening inspiration from my fave blogs. You should get in touch with Gardener's World and send in a little video of your progress. You and M'Lud would be an instant hit! The little girls here planted nasturtium seeds about 2 weeks ago and so far not a glimmer of anything growing. On the other hand, I've got about 40 tomato seedlings raring to go!Good luck on the breast screening. Glad to see they're still doing it whereas our GP's seem to have gone into hiding!xx

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    1. I'll get Jon a ruff and he can parade around the garden and make a video!
      My bought nasturtium seeds are a disaster, the ones we harvested from last year's plants are doing really well. Exciting about the tomato seedlings, Jon's potting them on this morning, they've had a spurt with all the sunshine.
      I was pleased that mammograms hadn't been disrupted. The only change is that you have to wear a mask and don't get a gown so have to walk into the screening room topless, which felt a bit odd! xxx

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    1. How can they make us wait a week? xxx

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  12. wow, I'm admiring the huge amount of work you're doing in your garden!, and looking so fabulous in your crochet bikini tops and maxi skirts, so lovely outfits and so appropriate for getting some sunshine. Hope you've been using sunscreen too!, I'm so pale that I have to plaster myself with sunscreen every time I show some skin.
    And so amazing that you could research on Jon's family so far away and find a Saint!. This means that some miracles happened!. ;DDD
    History research is so enthralling! (and I'm amazed that so much information is accessible nowadays!)
    besos

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    1. Thank you! Factor 30 at all times, don't want to look like the typical British lobster!
      The ancestry thing is so exciting, I'm amazed at how far the records go back, it's really addictive! xxx

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  13. It looks lime high summer where you are, its lovely and sunny but not that warm here.
    Jon's antecedents are mindblowing, you live with the descendant of a saint, I don't think that can be topped!!! xxx

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    1. I think our garden walls create a bit of a micro-climate. I'm pottering around in a bikini top while people walk past in coats! It has been glorious though, today is already a stunner!
      I thought the saint was exciting, wait till I share more! xxx

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  14. You look lovely and summery. Can you send it up here, I’ve got the heating on.
    I love ferns, it’ll be exciting to see how your plot develops. How nice auntie Gladys sunflowers are popping up. We bought two beautiful garden sofas yesterday in her memory. We will have a lovely social area to sit out now with friends. Philip is well on with the new pond now. We will have to go back to the garden centre to get some plants for it. I’m not a gardener but I do like to faff around making display areas haha.
    Send the sunshine please xxx

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    1. I’ve just realised I’ve said half of that the other day. Ignore me, it’s my age haha xxx

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    2. I love your dispaly areas, you're so good at them.
      Your new garden furniture is such a lovely thing to remember Auntie Gladys by, a lady who loved to soend time in her garden.
      I'm a bit weird in that I prefer weeding and shredding to planting things, it seems such a responsibility! xxx

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  15. Jon's family history is getting more excited by the minute! Ann Boleyn's second cousin 14 x removed, indeed! I just knew there was a reason that seed catalogue company kept insisting to call him Sir Jon :-)
    You're newly planted fern and rock garden will look fantastic in no time. The first of our fern fronds are starting to unfurl, so I guess Stonecroft's won't be far behind.
    We've only got garden waste collection a couple of times a year, which is very annoying, so I've just mentioned to Jos we need to buy one of those shredders. That'll teach our noisy neighbours :-)
    You're looking gorgeous in your crochet bikini tops and maxi skirts. The perfect gardening attire! xxx

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    1. That seed compnay knew something we didn't!
      I've managed to trace his ancestry back 35 generations and the names keep coming. It's utterly addictive!
      I love it when the ferns start to unfurl. Ours have spread like mad since last year and I'm spltting them up and replanting them everywhere. Stonecroft will resemble Jurrasic Park by this time next year maybe even with a dinosaur or three! xxx

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  16. Well, not satisfied with the aristocracy it's royalty and saints now! How astonishing and how amazing that you can trace back so far. I hope you call Jon 'Saint Jon' from now on! The Ann Boleyn connection is uncanny...

    The garden sounds like such a lot of hard work but you are doing such sterling work; it will all be worth it in the end. I think the ferns will be brilliant at the front. Loved your skirts and crochet tops - it looks like summer in Walsall. We've had 17 degrees in Cornwall; lots of sun but the wind here (by the sea) is chilly - all the time.

    Cats galore in your garden!
    xxx

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    1. Wait until I share more about his family tree, it's so mind blowing my head's all over the place. The good thing about being descended from the nobility is that the records go back centuries - and I mean centuries. I've gone back to 850AD!
      I keep telling myself that the more effort we put in the garden will eventually be tamed and start looking after itself when life returns to normal and we can spend summers on the road again! xxx

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  17. awesome! ann boleyn and a saint! i wonder what jon´s saying to that?
    filling that place at the gate with ferns is a great idea - if they love the spot it will be lush green in no time.
    love your crochet binkini tops!
    i´m still in wool sweaters - although short sleeved now.
    xxxx

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    1. Jon's a bit bewildered about it all, he didn't do much history at school and he's a bit overwhelmed by all these names I keep shouting at him! We found a three part documentary on The Tudors that we watched a couple of nights ago so he could learn more about The Tudors and now he's fascinated.
      Sending heat and sunshine - it's supposed to be 19°C today, prtty good for an English April! xxx

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  18. What fantastic family history to discover in the tree of Lord Jon! No wonder strange animals allow him to pat them. ;-P

    Your garden is so inspiring and right in time for Earth Day! I love your beautiful skirts and bikini tops. I spent some time in a vintage store yesterday (you'll want to see the 50s skirt I found!) and often thought of you and Ann, what you'd each look at and point out. It was lovely, like I was shopping with you.

    Happy mid-week, Vix! Chin scritches to the lads from me.

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing that skirt, it sounds incredible. I often think the same when I'm out shopping, picking out pieces I think you and Ann would like. xxx

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  19. Happy Thursday Baroness Vix and Lord Jon! wow you are finding out so much interesting family history on both sides! Makes for a fascinating read. So I see the bikini tops are out in earnest now you look fab as always. I can visualize the rockery at the entrance to Stonecroft and it will look great! That was an inspired idea. I keep thinking what are homes and gardens looked like at the start of all this we have come a long way and so indeed have you. I just love how you keep cooking up new ideas. An inspiration as always. Have a great day and hoping your screening is not unpleasant. Take care Shazxx

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    1. Hi Shaz! Jon's ancestry is utterly amazing, very grand beginnings for a working class lad from Walsall!
      It's been fantastic to live in bikini tops and cotton skirts (along with hiking boots and socks - very glam!) The weather has been utterly wonderful and I'm itching to get out there and crack on shortly. xxx

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  20. Your garden is coming along nicely. Thanks for the reminder that I must book my Boob appointment.

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    1. Thanks, Cherie! I didn't have to book - I just got a date through the post. xxx

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  21. So sorry I haven't visited you for so long, Vix! Life has been pretty busy lately. Lovely to be back, and seeing you wearing your gorgeous clothes in your beautiful garden again. What a fascinating family tree! My hubby's goes way back too and has royal connections (mostly, it has to be said, wrong side of the blanket ones haha!).

    Hope the kitties are OK. Ours are thoroughly enjoying playing in the garden now we've got this lovely spring weather. Our garden is looking so pretty with the spring flowers - more violets than ever this year.

    Shoshi xx

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    1. Hello Shoshi! Lovely to hear from you, I've been dipping into your blog regularly and can see how busy you've been.
      Jon's family tree gets more and more exciting. Mine looks very tame in comparison! xxx

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  22. How fascinating to know that Jon is Ann Boleyn's cousin 14 times revolved. Isn't it amazing how much our world changed in about a dozen generations. When you look at it that way, it doesn't seem such a long time ago, does it?

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix