It was gloriously sunny when I got up on Friday morning so I did a load of washing and pegged it out on the line before booking next week's National Trust trip and doing my Wii Fit workout. I'd had a flurry of eBay sales overnight which I'd wrapped in readiness for the post office run. After breakfast, Jon stripped and changed the bed as the weather forecast was terrible for Saturday so it would our only chance to line-dry the bedding.
The MyHermes driver arrived with a skirt I'd bought from eBay less than 24 hours ago and I decided to throw caution to the wind and wear it immediately. It's the second skirt I'd bought on eBay this week! I know I didn't need another vintage Indian cotton block printed midi skirt with a quilted hem but this exactly matched the waistcoat Liz bought me for Xmas and what're the chances of that happening?
The other skirt was waiting for me when I got back from Attingham. It'll be perfect for Greece...when I get there!
We'd had a bit of a disaster when we got home from our trip to Attingham on Thursday, the glass from Gilbert's headlamp fell out and cracked into a million pieces. Jon ordered a (costly) replacement and needed some specialist screws to attach it so, after he'd dropped the eBay parcels off, we had a drive up the road to B&Q, the DIY superstore. Needless to say, I couldn't resist a browse around the garden department and couldn't resist a scabious reduced to half price and a tray of alyssum for £1.15.
Back at home, we had a bowl of noodles before changing into our gardening gear. Whilst wandering Attingham's woodland I'd spotted this pack of wildflower seeds tied to a tree. At the bottom of our lawn where our garden becomes wild and woody I decided to clear a space and sow my seeds, so I dug the ground over and scattered them, planting my new scabious in the middle. Jon made wigwams with the bamboo sticks we'd salvaged from the plants we'd dug up and we planted out the sweet peas we'd grown from seed. He used some of our stash of logs to edge the border.
A couple of days ago I was leafing through the fabulous book, Garden People (which I wrote about HERE) and spotted a Cotswold stone trough very similar to one we'd unearthed from the undergrowth years ago.
We managed to manoeuvre it onto our sack truck and drag it down to the area I'd cleared to make way for the compost bin. I filled it with compost and planted it out with alpines.
While Jon continued repositioning logs, I planted my alyssums around the stepping stones and in the rockery that borders the path, I gave everything a thorough watering and retired to the bench for a mug of tea.
After a salad and flatbread we continued watching the wonderful Johnny Vegas: Carry On Glamping, Waking the Dead and Gardener's World, accompanied by a few rum and colas.
On Saturday the torrential rain woke us up at 5am although we soon went back to sleep. The lads generously allowed Jon to stay in bed until 6.45am & after he'd seen to them he returned with mugs of tea and we lay and read until 8.30am. I cleaned the lounge while Jon made sausage sandwiches. After stripping off my nail paint I watered the houseplants, spent a lazy couple of hours on the internet and ended up buying a garden bench, as you do!
Richard delivered a book reader Elizabeth mentioned when she'd left on my blog the other day. It sounded right up my street and I was really pleased to track down a secondhand copy for 88p.
We'd just about managed to finish our tasks before the rain returned so we scuttled back inside for a posh coffee and a couple of biscuits.
Thanks so much to everyone for your suggestions and thoughts on my Australian branch of the family. Amanda managed to find James' probate notice and told me that his son was a politician. An internet search led me to find his photo and to confirm this. James Chapman was born in Melbourne in 1855 and in 1922 was elected to the Tasmanian Legislative Council as an independent member for Hobart. He died in office in 1925. On his Ancestry.com page, someone had uploaded a photo of his headstone also inscribed with the words And Loved Son, Norman Morris Chapman, master mariner and airman, born 28th November 1899, killed in air accident Queensland, 3rd October 1934.
|Norman working on his Gipsy Moth, 1931 (SOURCE)|
It turns out that my fourth cousin was one of the pioneer pilots of Australian aviation!
Norman began his working life at sea at the age of 14 as a cadet officer working his way up to becoming a ship's officer in passenger and cargo vessels on the Australian coast and on overseas missions. In 1925 he took up flying, leaving his seagoing career to fly a single-engine aeroplane purchased by his older brother Geoffrey. In 1926 the plane crashed near Victoria, killing Geoffrey but leaving Norman only slightly injured. After the tragedy, Norman returned to the sea but due to the Depression, desk officer's jobs were in short supply so, with the help of his father-in-law, purchased a De Havilland Gipsy Moth (see photo above) and became well-known for his joy-riding missions between Tasmania and Victoria.
|Norman, in the foreground, 1933 (SOURCE)|
In the early 1930s, he joined Matthews Aviation and was one of the pilots responsible for pioneering the Bass Strait air service between Australia and Tasmania. Flying his own aircraft, he achieved the distinction of landing on ice at the edge of the Great Lake in Tasmania. It is also believed he achieved the first landing on Tasmania's rugged West Coast. In May 1934 he joined Qantas, at that time still a domestic airline. Based in Queensland, his duties included carrying mail and passengers between the company’s ports in western Queensland, and supporting the Aerial Medical Service (later renamed the Flying Doctor Service).
How amazing is this photo?
|Norman in 1933 by George Matthews (SOURCE)|
On 3 October 1934 the Qantas DH-50 aircraft Atalanta he was piloting crashed near Winton in Queensland while en route from Longreach on an early morning flight killing Norman and his two passengers instantly. He left a widow, Ella, and two young sons, Geoffrey and James.