Friday, 1 June 2012

Jets no longer lagging :-)

Dark, Satanic mill right our Granny's front window.

The remains of an old cobbled street off Kelly Row.

The common graves in Westhoughton Churchyard.

Deane Parish Church

Forget Me Not!

A Ginnel! Anyone familiar with that term? It is just an alley from the street to the backs of houses.Nice Lancashire word I have not heard in a LONG time!

The mill on Slater Street
Well, we had a wonderful three weeks in England and Scotland, despite  nasty bugs that plagued my husband. However, we are hard to kill off so we enjoyed ourselves anyway and to heck with the germs! The weather was ...variable! We had everything from sun and heat to rain, cloud, wind and cccoldd! We HAD planned for all eventualities though and when the weather was foul, we wore our foul weather gear.

England was MY time because I got to see where various parts of my family came from. I had been to Cumbria before but never to Lancashire and not to the right parts of Yorkshire so this was a wonderful treat for me. I have walked where my ancestors walked. I have seen where they were born, christened and buried. It makes  me feel part of a grand continuum instead of the centre of the universe the way one does sometimes. We are all just one paragraph in a long story. We all need to remember that. None of us is any more important or significant than any other but each of us contributes something important to life and to history.

I am always struck in Britain, where it is deemed important to preserve the past, how many past lives there have been . I have an idea rattling in my head now of a little series of quilts about Past Lives. We saw evidence all the way from ancient prehistoric ruins to a very recently deserted farmhouse front door with many examples between. One site we visited in Scotland was Carnmore, an old Townland settlement where twenty four families lived and loved and worked until about 1852 when the "powers that be " decided in their wisdom that sheep were more profitable than farmers so they cleared them all out in a single day and put them on the ship, Melissa and sent them off to Ontario . Ontario benefitted - we hope, although one gentleman who is VERY much in the know, suggested that the Melissa never reached North America. This would have been the fate of so many Clearances victims, shipped off in leaky tubs into the wild North Atlantic. Their families would rarely have known their final fates.

My own family , on my Dad's side , lived and worked in Bolton, Lancashire. They were two maiden sisters who adopted Dad as an infant when they, themselves were 50 and 60 years old back in 1919! They were members of a poor family of cotton mill employees who eked out a living in the "dark Satanic mills" of Lancashire. I saw the little dingy streets, the huge looming factory buildings and the enormous churchyards full of ancient tombstones. Many stones were very elegant and well preserved while others were badly worn and encrusted with mosses and lichens and now illegible. Grandma and Aunty's family were mostly buried in an unmarked section of the cemetery, likely too poor to pay for a stone to mark their existence. We saw a number of little white feathers around the country, which my cousins attributed to the presence of angels ( or maybe cats who had caught pigeons !). I choose to believe it was angels. Lots of Forget- me- not about too. I will Forget them not !

The joyful presence of many many lambs and calves in Scotland cheered our spirits in the cold and the rain . On sunny days, they made us positively giddy! Whoever chose the lamb as a symbol of Christian innocence did a clever thing. Lambs have to be some of the most endearing young animals ever!

I had the great pleasure of visiting the home and studio of the well known quilter,Celia Eddy in Maryport, Cumbria. She was working with a group of ladies who were learning about Landscape Quilting. Very interesting to see and I was awfully pleased to be let in to observe. My dear friend, Dorothy, made the arrangement and I am so grateful Stupid me though! I did not get a single photo!!! I wonder how those ladies' little quilts turned out?
Church of St Laurence, Scalby Yorks. My Great Great Gran was baptised here in 1828.

...at this font!

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Ebberston Yorks, where my ---wait for it!--five great Grandpa and four Great Granny were baptised and some of that family married too!!

In the Ebberston churchyard, a HUGE cedar of Lebanon with a tomdstone swallowed up by the growing tree!!!!

Angels??

3 comments:

  1. Definitely angels! Cool post. I luv the old cobblestones, the ginnel, and the walk past the headstones (past) up to the church (present). I think God first used the analogy of lambs. Jesus is The Lamb. I'm not so much into geneologies but your "centre of the universe" quote gave me pause for thought. Great post.

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  2. I love your post, at least the part which I read now, the rest I will read at home. I love your pictures. I am sending you greetings from Croatia. My internet connection is very limited. Love!

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  3. Hi, Carolynn. What a marvelous trip that included family history. I've inherited my mom's genealogy project and have been trying to make the info accessible to everyone in the family. I think that ultimately the study of family history allows us to renegotiate our relationship to our family. We can see the bigger picture, which gives understanding.
    best, nadia

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