Monday, 12 January 2015

Digging and Dropping


The weather has been interfering with play so far this year. I can do cold but I can't do cold and windy. No matter how well wrapped the wind seems able to permeate and cause havoc. So apart from nipping to the greenhouse and the odd quick reccie of the garden I've been devoting time to indoor activities.

I have been doing some gentle digging whilst sorting out the folder of family information that came into my care after my Dad's death. He had managed to trace his ancestors back until the early 1800s, before the onset of dementia cruelly meant that he became increasingly unable to pursue his many interests. I've been peeking in the folder on and off since Dad died in 2011 but it's really only now that I feel ready to try to take things on further a step or so if it's possible. The folder contains not only quite a detailed family tree but also several old photographs, a cassette tape (remember those) of one aunt and uncle (sadly no longer alive either) talking about life in their community in the 1930s, as well as several letters written in reply from people Dad had contacted during the course of his research. There also a couple of newspaper snippets, one of which describes a court case involving a murder trial. The accused was a relatively dim and distant ancestor but still I was most relieved to find that he had been found not guilty! I've now got the folder's contents into what seems logical order to me and I'm looking forward to more digging and delving whilst winter is still with us.

As far as the dropping is concerned I'm now waiting with bated breath for the arrival of some new special snowdrops from Cornovium Snowdrops and Avon Bulbs. This involved much studying and brow furrowing whilst I made some difficult decisions. Now the deed is done, the orders have been made so now it's just a case of waiting for the postie. In the greenhouse where most of my specials are in residence there is already quite a show of white. If I thought that many of them opened early last year they are even earlier this year. I'm hoping for a sustained cooler spell to slow them down. I plan to take photos sometime this week. I'm especially keen to take photos of the unlabelled ones as some fellow snowdrop lovers might be able to help me put names to them. I'm also keeping the old grey matter occupied tackling this cryptic crossword . One lucky winner will receive a selection of unusual snowdrops from Colesbourne Gardens. Progress is painfully slow but I have a few weeks longer to work on it.

 Meanwhile out in the garden snowdrops have also opened during the last few days whilst several hellebores are on the point of unfurling. Exciting times are on the horizon but for now I'm content with indoor pursuits until that wind drops.What about you - are you braving the elements or keeping out of them?

26 comments:

  1. I braved the elements on Sunday morning - the wind had dropped and I managed to have a lovely potter in the garden for an hour. It felt like such a treat after weeks indoors. I only have one patch of snowdrops and some in a hanging basket - no sign of any of them yet.

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    1. You must be on the mend Elaine if you were out and about. That's good news. Snowdrops sometimes have a habit of appearing overnight in my experience.

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  2. It wasn't too bad at ours and we managed to do some gardening. The winds did return last night though! Good luck with the crossword, hope you win it and looking forward to seeing photos of your sprouting and new snowdrops!

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    1. Glad to read that somebody was able to get out into the garden. Thanks your good wishes regarding the crossword. I will need lots of good vibes behind me to complete it never mind win it!

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  3. I'm with you on the wind, it scares me to death when I'm in bed and I can hear it whipping round the house. Genealogy is a fascinating hobby, I've come to a bit of a standstill with my own research as I'm stuck at the moment but I'm sure I'll get back in to it, as you say, it's a good winter hobby. Good luck with the crossword, I hope you win.

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    1. Yes it's rather windy again tonight Jo and there are various noises afoot. I do hope that you get further with your research.

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  4. Definitely keeping out of it. It is cold, windy and wet today and even the short walk to the greenhouse is totally unappealing. I risk being called a fair-weather gardener, but it's just not enjoyable when the sky is hurling stuff like this at you.
    It is fascinating digging back into your history, good luck!

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    1. I'm pleased to hear that this wimp is in good company then Jessica :)

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  5. I hate the wind too, and we get a lot here! The week of New Year was dreadful but as I was ill there was double reason for not going out. Good luck with finding out more about your ancestors.

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    1. Oh the wind together with being ill sounds like a definite recipe for staying in and keeping cosy Christina. Thanks for the good wishes.

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  6. Decorating in the kitchen and utility room until the storms blow over and reading garden blogs!

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    1. I like it Brian - well not the decorating bit but the reading blogs bit :)

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  7. Hello Anna. I am also keeping indoors as much as possible. It was very stormy the last few days and more wind is forecast. Hopefully a mild wind... My snowdrops aren't opening yet, so look forward to some more photos of yours! :)

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    1. Cathy, I hope that the forecast wind is mild and southerly and that you can venture out into your garden soon. Will try and oblige with snowdrop photos soon.

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  8. Oh I love snowdrops - they are certainly more courageous than I am when it comes to braving the elements. It was horribly windy at the weekend - I planted 1200 bulbs (yes, I know it's ridiculously late, but I was busy working in autumn and eating at Christmas) and I can't tell you how horrible gardening in all that wind was. I should have eaten less at Christmas and done more planting. Good luck with your research! How lovely to have that cassette.

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    1. Oh welcome Sarah and thanks for your comment :) Yes the snowdrops are the real stalwarts of the gardening world aren't they? 1,200 bulbs sounds like a marathon! I hope they reward you for all that hard work.

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  9. I also spotted the first snowdrops a few days ago, Anna, what excitement! Cheers me up to with my dreadful cold and depression over these horrible things that happened in Paris. As for family history, I'd rather not dig too deep and prefer to face wind and weather ;), keep warm!

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    1. The sight of that first snowdrop of the year is so exciting Annette. I'm sorry that to hear that you have been unwell. Sad, sad days for France and the rest of the world. Our flowers are welcome tokens of some stability in this crazy world. Sending you hugs.

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  10. Hi Anna, you may not have done much in the garden recently but at least this post has shown that you are not completely obsessed with snowdrops to the exclusion of anything else at this time of year, even if that crossword does involve snowdrops! You are very generous opening up the chance to win Colesbourne Gardens special snowdrops to anyone who reads your blog - but I think it would be churlish to do so, don't you? Re identification of snowdrops, it took me a couple of years to identify some stray bulbs I found, but at least I knew the options because of my original list - still have one sitting in a pot waiting for it to flower so it can be identified too! Hope we can help with yours - did you know what they were when you acquired them? Are you going to make a transcript of the cassette and some of the other paper documents? It must be fascinating looking into this even though it brings back those memories of your father and his declining health ps nice title, by the way

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    1. No I'm not completely obsessed with snowdrops Cathy - well not yet anyway :) It would be indeed rather mean spirited to keep the crossword under my hat. I will be struggling to complete it let alone win it :) I did know what all the snowdrops were or purported to be at the time of purchase so that helps. The confusion is mainly down to lost labels. I'm still waiting to listen to the cassette as we do not now have any method of playing it. Himself is on the case. Looking at the information does bring back some sad memories but at the same time I know that Dad would be delighted that I was delving further.

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  11. Hi Anna, What a gift your beloved father left you! How interesting it must be to look back and get a grasp of your history. I wish I had something similar. I've been Google Earth-ing my paternal grandparents' homestead but have been unable to locate it. ... I hope the wind dies down so you can go outside without freezing to death. I bet your greenhouse is a cozy place for your treasures to spend the winter. Your snowdrop photo is so sweet. We're weeks away from seeing them here yet. Have fun with your winter projects.

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    1. Yes a precious gift Grace which I will cherish. I will keep my fingers crossed that you can locate that homestead in the future. Still windy and cold but then it's winter :)

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  12. What a treasure your father left to you! Too often these family stories and interesting tidbits of family history are lost through the generations. My father has researched our family tree and has kept a daily journal for years, but I sometimes wonder if he has written down some of his earlier memories of our family. I should ask him to before it's too late. As for gardening, no, I haven't done anything outside in a long time--it's 0 degrees this morning (-17 C) and the garden is frozen solid!

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  13. Rose, do ask those questions whilst you can. I regret not asking now :( Keeping a daily journal requires real discipline. It's something that I fell out of doing in my 20s but often wish that I had as it such an excellent way of preserving memories and recording events. It sounds rather cold with you!

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  14. I'm glad you feel able to pick up the family research folder Anna, I'm sure it will yield lots of fascinating detail. And how precious to have recordings to listen to. A friend of ours only recently persuaded his Nan to put down in writing some of the many stories she had of rural life on Anglesey in the early part of the last century. She sadly died just before Christmas, but at least part of her lives on in her memoirs.

    I look forward to your snowdrop photos, though I remain a staunchly "Nivalis" only zone myself ;-) And no, no gardening bar the occasional scurry to the greenhouse to pick chillies and check on watering...

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  15. It is such fun to look into your family tree. I did it a bit a few years ago and found that one branch of my family came from Suffolk which I was delighted about. No wonder I feel so at home here. I thought we were all from the North.
    I have had a look at the crossword and goodness, it is difficult. I can only do one clue. My Blonde Inge shoot is getting bigger, I am very excited about it.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.