Saturday, 10 April 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 9th & 10th April, 2021

On Friday I did a load of washing and, as it was raining, hung it in the utility room to dry then booked our next National Trust outing. We'll be revisiting a favourite property which, much to our utter delight, we've discovered it was the ancestral home of Jon's 9x great grandmother (genealogy, the gift that keeps on giving!). After my Wii Fit workout, I caught up with blogland before joining Jon in the kitchen for breakfast. 

Jon did the supermarket run and popped round to Tony's who, after almost four months on furlough, returns to work on Monday when non-essential shops are allowed to reopen. I gave the bathroom a thorough clean before settling down to a bit more ancestry.

My beloved Grandpa (Mum's father), Reginald William Harris (1913 - 1980), bought Stonecroft in 1952. Like generations of his family before him, Reg grew up in Stone in Staffordshire (twenty-seven miles up the road from Walsall), the area is known as The Potteries, so-called as it was the centre of ceramic production from the early 17th century due to the local availability of clay, salt, lead and coal. When his aunt Phyllis (his mother's sister) researched the family tree she followed her father Thomas's branch so I decided to investigate his mother Alice's heritage. Once I'd found her grandmother I noticed that the family members were listed as residing in very grand-sounding houses such as Byrches Head Manor, Fenton Hall and Bucknall Hall. What on earth was going on? Once I got to my 8 x great grandfather, Edward Adams of Bank House, Bagnall (1661 -1727) I discovered why. My family was one of Staffordshire's great pottery dynasties, The Adamses. I didn't have a clue!

Edward Adams of Bank House, Bagnall (1621 - 1727)

Bank House, Bagnall, Staffordshire


My six times great-grandfather, William Adams of Bank House, Bagnall and Cobridge Gate (1702 - 1775) was, like his father and grandfather before him, a master potter. He was one of three North Staffordshire William Adams potters working around this time, all cousins. The Adams's founded the Greengates Pottery, producing fine jasperware table sets, plaques, medallions and other products stamped Adams & Co. One of the cousins was apprenticed to Josiah Wedgwood where the master noted that he was my favourite pupil. They remained lifelong friends and the family leased their Brickhouse Pottery to Josiah Wedgwood until 1772 when he moved to his premises in Etruria. Greengates Pottery was absorbed into the Wedgwood group in 1966.

Greengates Pottery, circa 1780


I knew there was a reason why I love The Great Pottery Throwdown! 

Greengates bottle kilns (circa 1880)

To further add to my excitement, Izzy the postman arrived with two parcels, one containing another Gujarati kediya - this one a traditional hand-embroidered Rabari piece that had been listed as a boho blouse. I was the only bidder.


 The other was a box packed with some fabulous goodies from my lovely friend Lynn who'd been having a clearout and had thought of the Kinky rails as well as some veg seeds donated by her wonderful mum. That silk Johnny Was dress is already hanging in my wardrobe!


After lunch, Jon and I braved the rain and walked into town. The last time we'd visited Wilko they had some raspberry bushes for £2.99 but as we were already loaded down with shopping we didn't get one. Typically they'd sold out since then so we compensated by buying a few packets of seeds instead.


Back at home we had a cup of tea and learnt that Prince Phillip had died. We watched the news for a bit before planting our new seeds.


A lady shouted I love your look, bab! as we walked into town. I'm wearing my Anokhi riding coat (Jaipur, 2019), a vintage hand-painted maxi dress by Kate Beaver (99p, charity shop, 2014),my Mexican tooled leather bag (eBay. 2019), my trusty alpaca wool beer mittens (End of the Road festival, 2015) and a me-made pompom hat.


After sag aloo sausages, mashed potato, peas and home-grown purple sprouting broccoli we watched Gardening with Carol Klein as the BBC had cancelled Gardener's World to show extended footage of the Duke of Edinburgh's death. We also watched Waking The Dead and drank rum but I was sent to bed at 10pm as I kept nodding off  (I'd been awake since 5am). 


On Saturday morning Jon was up first, made tea and brought it back to bed where we lay and read until 8am. Leaving Jon on plant duty, I stripped & changed the bed, cleaned the bedroom, loaded the washing machine and pegged the washing out we had pain au chocolat for breakfast. 


As it was dry, we spent the day outside. I repotted our four olive trees and a few houseplants and potted up some of the many sempervivums into the teeny antique terracotta pots I'd rescued from the parental home before I sold it. Jon started off by resiting the gazebo ready for planting up (he's treated us to a climbing rose) and then went completely mad, hacking away at the wilderness beyond the pond. The garden is double the size now!


After a break for a cheese, potato and onion pasty, we watched some of the Duke of Edinburgh's 41-gun salute then we continued with the gardening until mid-afternoon when the sky went a very ominous shade of grey. We'd just put all the tools away it started to snow - as we'd been working flat-out all day we hadn't even noticed it was cold!


Tea was Jon's homemade vegetable tikka with masala chips, half a naan and some coriander freshly cut from the new herb bed. Tonight we'll be drinking rum and watching last night's postponed Gardener's World, although judging by the state of Jon I think he'll be asleep even earlier than I was last night.


See you soon! 

49 comments:

  1. Amazing reading your ancestry Vix, incredible even - I didn't even know you could find out stuff like this! That little top's a winner, very pretty. Your silk Johnny Was dress looks promising (the label sounds familiar and the pattern looks like an old friend, I know not why!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've hit a dead end with some ancestors and with others I'm almost overwhelmed by the information out there. It really is addictive.
      I'd not heard of Johnnu Was but googled the name and their clothes are incredible. xxx

      Delete
  2. Are me and Betty first??!!I watched Carol Klein too, for the want of any other gardening progs (Beechgrove has started up again, you could watch on Iplayer?). Will also be watching Gardener's World tonight, with my right foot elevated - I got up during the night for a loo break and belted my foot against my scales, precipitating a very sore and swollen little toe and a lot of bad language! I love your new top and your 'Further Adventures with the Archivist' slot. Wonder if you'll discover any living relatives in your searches. Happy weekend to you and His Nibs.xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope your toe's okay, that sounds like the kind of thing I do!
      I'd forgotten about Beechgrove, you'd got me into it last year. I shall track it down on the i-player pronto.
      What about Line of Duty then? Who left their DNA behind? Is it Dot? xxx

      Delete
  3. One of my grand daughters researched some of one of our family trees online, without joining Ancestry.com. And I've found a cousin, through that site. Joined very briefly. About 6 years ago, I was at a seminar, and as is the custom in New Zealand, we all introduced ourselves, and our DNA lineage. In walked a very good looking Maori man. I recognised him immediately, although we had never met. He was the exact replica of one of my Dad's cousins, surname York. He introduced himself, and said: "I am a York, and I'm Jewish". It came to my turn, I smiled at him and said "I too am a York, and Jewish". He came and chatted with me as soon as he could. Yes, he was a cousin. We could feel the family connection. It was amazing. We were close as, immediately. The Jewish is from my Dad's mum. Turned out my newly found cousin was a world famous choreographer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a brilliant story, Ratnamurti! What was the chances of that happening? I love strange coincidences like that. xxx

      Delete
  4. I've been having a ton of fun with the ancestry stuff too. All the Doctor's, no matter the road, lead back to Norway. We can't get away from the bloody Vikings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jon was really excited when his DNA results said he was part Norwegian and part Icelandic. He always fancied being a Viking! xxx

      Delete
  5. I love seeing all the garden activity but the genealogy stuff you've been discovering is just amazing! You have me very tempted to start researching mine too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You ought to have a go, Martha. It's fascinating! x

      Delete
  6. My favourite (and very much most expensive) piece of clothing is my Johnny Was silk velvet jacket. I hope you enjoy the silk dress as much. Garden is looking excellent. Yesterday we ordered some 'bush food' plants; native finger limes, native thyme, warrigal greens and other. We thought why not eat the food of our land, fingers crossed they survive/ thrive. Loving your family history adventures, looking forward to seeing these grand estates, no doubt dreaming about 'what if'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Lynette! I woner if that silk velvet jacket is the one I was drooling over on eBay? It was a crazy price but something you'd love forever - like yours so obviously is!
      The plants you're growing sound really interesting and as they're native they stand a far better chace of surviving.
      We're going to be looking at tomorrow's National Trust property with fresh eyes now we've discovered a family connection. xxx

      Delete
  7. I am so impressed at your family ancestry. My dad did our family a few years ago, he went back many generations and every person was a labourer or another unskilled person. One man was a music teacher, he was the exception! Very unexceptional. One poor lady was described as a "lunatic" on a census back in Victorian times. Very unpolitically correct. Your plants are looking healthy I bought some plant potting compost and repotted mine a couple of weeks ago, they all looked unhealthy afterwards, disappointed, hope they will settle down and begin to perk up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Carole! I must admit I wasn't expecting anything exciting and on Dad's side it was generation after generation of coalminers. Jon can't believe there's coats of arms, knights of the realm and posh houses in his, he'd be the first to tell you that his parents were really hard up. Isn't that awful describing someone as a lunatic? It really was a different world back than.
      Don't be disheartened with your repotted plants, I'm sure they'll settle down - if not get yourself some seaweed feed, they'll soon buck their ideas up. xxx

      Delete
  8. I love your ebay finds. The cost of shipping to Canada is prohibitive, so I can only look and lust after things.

    Family trees have always fascinated me, but I just can't fit in another hobby.

    It's just started to snow here. Hopefully, we'll see our tulips by the end of the month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's some fab stuff on UK eBay but yes, shipping to Canada and the US is so expensive. It's the same when I look at Etsy.
      Geneology is seriously addictive, every time I check someone else has added more inforation. I can see how it can take over your life.
      Fingers crossed your snow doesn't hang about! xxx

      Delete
  9. Loooove your outfit with the Kate Beaver dress �� (I love all of your outfits, but this one is a total fave ��). I haven't seen this colour combination before with her clothing, it's absolutely beautiful!
    I have been lucky enough to snaffle a couple of Kate Beaver dresses over the years - my favourite vintage label. I can't believe how much they sell for nowadays though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Holly! I was amazed to spot that Kate Beaver dress in the 99p charity shop window. The manager said it had been there a week and nobody had taken a blind bit of notice of it!
      I've seen it in two other colour combinations but this one is my favourite! xxx

      Delete
  10. I haven't found many of my present day ancestors in the old world. But I have some distent cousin in Great Britain. Although did any of your family migrated to Canada or United States.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't found anyone who migrated to another country although my Dad was in the Canadian Air Force. xxx

      Delete
  11. Your ancestry research sounds fascinating. It's simply amazing just how much information you can uncover these days. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! I've got as far back in a week as my great-auntie did in her lifetime. It's so much easier now the internet and not having to get the train to London! xxx

      Delete
  12. ancestry research can be a right giggle , we have found bigamists , adulterers and criminals a one in four incidence of autism for the last 180 years , asylum and workhouse inhabitants . All interesting stuff but not according to my Hyacinth Bucket mother at 87 shes still convinced of her middle class origins...lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was expecting hundreds of years of coalminers and clerks, not the landed gentry and pottery dynasties. I've not found any skeletons in the cupboard, sadly! xxx

      Delete
  13. It’s also a joy to see what you two are upto and now I’m enjoying reading about the family histories.
    I hope you don’t get the pile of snow that thudded down on is last night. It didn’t half lay heavy on the trees and plants. The little succulent plant display looks good. I really like that and not a lot of maintenance either.
    We are off to the garden centre this week to get a new pond liner and some outside lights, ours are all capput.
    Mum says hello.
    Lots of love from us two xxx. Himself is ironing today as snow stopped play

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our snow didn't stick around, thank goodness!
      I love house leeks, they seem to breed like rabbits in this garden. I'm always sticking them in teapots and old tins but I loved the uniformity of the teeny pots.
      Jon treated me to some lovely solar lights from Morrisons when he did the shopping last week - £5! They look fabulous in my newly repotted olive tree (also Mozza's!)
      I'm looking forward to seeing your new pond. That's our on-going project, making ours less swamp like!
      Big love to your Mum and the pair of you! xxx

      Delete
  14. How wonderful to learn more about your family ancestry. I'm not surprised to learn that you have master potters and pottery dynasty as your ancestors. If I remember well, you blogged something about pottery and ceramic making in your area. I remember you mentioning some of the buildings and factories. There you go, blood runs thicker than water.
    I really like your riding coat, the orange maxi dress and hand made by you pompom hat. Fabulous outfit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It had never occured to me that I'd have potters as ancestors despite the family living in the Potteries for generations. Now I really need to try it and see if I have inherited their talent! xxx

      Delete
  15. How exciting! I can't wait to see which NT was the ancestral home of Jon's 9X great grandmother! Your own link with the one of Staffordshire's great pottery dynasties is equally fascinating. And wow, you found another Gujarati kediya. How lucky you were to be the only bidder! Wasn't Lynn's gesture lovely? I'm loving the look of that Johnny Was frock and hope it won't be too long before we can see you wearing it.
    You look stunning in your Anokhi riding coat and vintage hand-painted maxi dress. No wonder that lady gave you a shout of appreciation.
    Dove Cottage has the twin of your stone cat, and I'm loving the look of those mini pots of sempervivums. I'm working on a little plan involving those as well. Just waiting for the weather to improve. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm worried it'll go to Jon's head and he'll be shouting "Get off my land" at any Gore-Tex wearing rambler than wanders across the garden when he's taking a photo later this morning!
      That Johnny Was frock is a delight and I can't wait to wear the new kediya but I shall wait until the need for thermals beneath both has passed!
      I tried to find a photo of my twin cat on your blog as I knew I'd seen him before! xxx

      Delete
  16. Well done on that Kediya! What a beauty it is!
    How exciting to discover that about your's and Jon's ancestry! Wow!
    Lynn was a kind one to send along those items for you and the shop!
    The Anokhi riding coat looks really nice- I'd like to see the dress by itself also!
    Typical about the raspberry bushes- I have lots of raspberries, but I'd always be tempted by a few more!
    Always love seeing your dinner.
    We had a lovely dinner tonight of Chick pea curry (with added courgette and my Mum's home grown Chard which we snaffled as we did a drive by her on Thursday after cycling with my sister and niece) and Aubergine chutney which we bought from Leon Lewis- love his food!x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't wait to wear that kediya! It's mad to think it's part of the male costume, isn't it? The Rabari women wear black!
      I'm always a bit envious when you mention your impressive raspberry yield. Morrison's do some brilliant plants and the ladies on the garden bit often give Jon free plants as he's cheeky with them!
      I read your comment yesterday and planted some chard! Tha curry sounds delish, I'd love to try his stuff! xxx

      Delete
  17. We're having another round of chilly rain, prompting me to retrieve the warmer polos from the back of the drawer and turn the heat back on. Nevertheless, the lettuces and onions are thriving, so we live in hope of spring! Must say the patio still lacks color and those mini sempervivums are an idea worth copying.

    I envy you the Johnny Was dress. The only items I've ever dared to order from the catalogs are masks. The catalogs are passed on to a young artist dabbling in floral collage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great news on the lettuce and onions! I can't believe how hardy some of the plants are! We dusted snow off the lettuce last week before picking it and having it for tea.
      My poloneck is ready for an outing today, it may say Spring on the calendar but Spril in the UK is often colder than December.
      I wasn't familar with Johnny Was until Lynn sent me that dress, I wish I hadnt googled their website, I want everything! xxx

      Delete
  18. That is another beautiful blouse you got, you are so lucky . Mum got me this fab skirt it’s from river island but the zip won’t stay up!! So she is going to have to contact the buyer. I wouldn’t care it would have been a steal as well at 99p.
    I felt so sad when I heard Prince Philip had died, I always liked him, he didn’t care what he thought or said he just said it. I hope the queen stays in post. Mum said it snowed over the weekend I burst out laughing, I thought no way in April it can’t can it? But it has I suppose. I just hope her plants are ok.
    Lynn has sent you some lovely stuff, I love the Jonny was dress, I wished I could afford to buy one at the time but they were always out of my reach.
    Make sure Jon doesn’t hack up any plants you want, Paul did it last year and hacked a bush and i tree I really liked. I could kill that men. It feels odd as Paul is working properly now away for 3 back for 4. It’s odd. But I will get used to it. Plus he always brings me something home. Which is nice. Love and huggs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a shame about the skirt. Are repairs expensive in Japan? We have some amazingly tailors in Walsall and they charge £5 for a small zip - I can do it myself but sometimes it's easier to give them the business than do it myself!
      I was sad about Prince Phillip, he was one of a kind. Every time we visit Corfu we intend to vist Mon Repas, the house he was born in, but never get round to it. Next time we shall!
      I wasn't familar with Johnny Was until Lynn sent me that dress. Aren't their clothes gorgeous? Amazing quality, too. A bit like Anokhi!
      The top of the garden is so dark with all the trees that nothing exciting survives up there. I know what you mean though, Jon is inclined to go beserck with the loppers, I think it's a man thing! Loads of love. xxx

      Delete
  19. love the firework of orange and turquoise formed to an outfit by you!
    no wonder people shout compliments.
    the sempervivums in the pretty pots look gorgeous - if i had the place to decorate them i would steal the idea with my found pots....
    speaking of terracotta - you come from a famous family! i totally see you taking up pottery for a hobby - maybe jon is building a pottery shed on the new won land :-D
    happy dances here because the gazebo gets it right use now with a climbing rose! 3 days ago we errected our own, homemade rose pergola - pics will follow!
    if it was´t for the huge out of EU postage & customs duty i would send you our outgrown vintage too..... here is not much market to sell via ebay.
    xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Beate! Isn't the dress a wonderful combination of colours? I've taken it to india in the past, that shade of orange is perfect with the light over there.
      I had such fun planting those sempervivums in the tiny pots. One alone is a bit lost but on mass I love the impact they make.
      Bloody Brexit and parcels, I'd happily pay for your old vintage but I've heard of so mnay parcels going missing and being delayed for months since the nightmare began.
      I can't wait to see your homemade rose pergola and hear about your plans for planting it! xxx

      Delete
  20. Always lovely to read about your interesting ancestors, master potters!, so amazing!. Going up any family tree can be such a thrilling experience!.
    No wonder you received compliments when walking in this magnificent outfit!, so lovely colours around this fabulous coat, and love the orange dress and cool matchy mittens and hat!, looking gorgeous!
    I always admire all the hard work in your garden, wow, it's looking more and more fabulous!, spring is going to be a stunning season for sure!
    besos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is fascinating! I'd expected clerks and coalminers like my grandfathers were but am stunned by the pottery dynasty and generations of shoemakers. I'm happy there were artisans in the family!
      Every time I wear that Kate Beaver dress on my blog I get emails offering to buy it off me, it's going nowhere! xxx

      Delete
  21. Thought I'd left a comment but gone. Good morning vix! I reckon your master potter ancestors would be proud of how artistic you are! I love the fact you get complimented when you are out and about - so you should. Orange and turqouise look great together. You were a lucky girl with two parcels. I reckon you are "good" at eay because you know what you are looking at. How many people scrolled past your superb find I wonder? Well spoke to Mum in aus todya and she told me a wonderful story of how when when she was in whe Wrens she served Prince Phillip she got hauled over the coals because she waved at him but she said he just waved back. Also she served him cocktails and didn't recognise him at first so had her back to him she said he was just normal and joking with the others. I am in awe of how much you have found out about your family trees in such a short time. You sertainly have no time to be bored another hobby emerges. You rock. Shazxx ps the snow has just stopped here. The new front fence is done so now on with the fun bit of planning (or not planning lol) a new border.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Shaz! I absolutely loved your Mum's tale about meeting Prince Phillip, from what I've heard about him on the news since he died and about him hating a fuss I bet your Mum waving at him and not recognising him at first must have been a breath of fresh air after all the stifling formality. He was a bit of a looker as a young man, wasn't he?
      A new fence sounds exciting, I bet your head is full of ideas about climbers and paint colours! xxx

      Delete
  22. Now you must try pottery classes, Vix; you'll probably be a natural as it's in your blood. Next you'll appear on the 'Great Pottery Throwdown' and you'll win!! Now you've more room in your garden you could install a kiln...

    Loving the look of the Johnny Was dress and I think along with your blue maxi dress I love your Anokhi riding coat second best.

    What a lot you've been doing in the garden. We planted sweet peas yesterday; a tray from Lidl and we have more coming in the post.

    Enjoy your NT visit!
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I should sign up when life goes back to normal. I loved The Great Pottery Showdown even though I didn't enjoy how much of result depended on what happened in the kiln, it seemed a bit too uncontrollable!
      My Anokhi riding coat has missed it's annual trip to India, everytime I wear it I wonder why I don't wear it every day! The Johnny Was dress isn't my size but it's such a lovely thing I feel like it shoule be mine. Their website is stunning!
      We've never grown sweet peas before, just enjoyed the wild ones in the garden. Good luck with yours! xxx

      Delete
  23. Compelling and interesting this post ... it is always a pleasure to read you and admire your embroidered outfits ... I love them, together with your embroidered "messages" ... A hug !!
    Carmela

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm in awe of all of your family tree research, Vix! We have traced my family back to England (Staithes, Burton-on-Trent) on one side, and the Huguenots in France on the other.

    Love your orange/turquoise outfit - such a great colour combo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know Burton-On-Trent quite well, we often pop over to go charity shopping (or did until Covid!) xxx

      Delete
  25. That's some good work by Jon! All the more garden to enjoy.

    Will you be looking out for some Adams pottery now?

    ReplyDelete

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

Lots of love, Vix