Sunday, 11th April, 2021
Beautiful day here this morning although I have woken feeling there is a hole in the world. It wasn’t a cold night and there is no sign of frost which my budding figs will be grateful for but my sister in Yorkshire posted this on Twitter early this morning. She takes shots of the changing year from her kitchen window which is both economical but also illustrative of the times.
I also had some photos from an old, College friend who lives in Rochdale. People say this is remarkable for April but I don’t really think so. We once set off for Manchester Airport in April with little time to catch a flight. As we drove from our home in Huddersfield, the skies opened and a blizzard hit the M62. Cars were literally going off in all directions, colliding with each other, sliding up the embankments, stopping dead out of fear. We struggled through and got there but it sticks in the memory.
There are things I miss about the North of England. I was there for almost 40 years after all but I do not miss the weather.
Monday, 12th April, 2021
The morning started out cold and wet but is gradually brightening up. Blue sky and sunshine has arrived but, even so, I’m going to do a big session in the gym today instead of going out. Before that, I am listening to a political podcast and starting on my Blog.
We are often told to stop looking back. Live in the present and look to the future. I try to get the most out of my everyday while maintaining great hope for the future but I do it from the roots of my past. I have been reviewing strands from my history recently and trying to tease out the elements which have been important and anyone following this Blog will know that my connection with my past is as much emotional as intellectual
I was born in the small, East Midlands village of Repton which will always be known for its famous public school with Alumni like Basil Rathbone, Roald Dahl and Jeremy Clarkson. However, it is also known for the Sanders family who were there and prominent for almost 150 years. They arrived there from Leicestershire in the 1850s when they bought the village water mill. By the 1880s, they still owned the mill but my Great Grandfather, Edwin Sanders, went in to partnership with Joseph Dolman and was branching out as a builder.
Edwin was doing well and became elected to the Rural District Council and made a Governor of Burton Board of Guardians. By 1920, Edwin bought Dolman out and partnered with his son, my Grandfather. It cost him almost £2000.00 which was the equivalent to an average man’s annual wages for 10 years. Edwin died 7 years later and Grandad carried on alone until 1938 when he reset the business with my father who had just passed his Building Exams.
I was supposed to be taking on the burden but Dad died in 1965 when I was just 14. Time would not wait and the business was sold. Effectively, it ended our prominence in Repton and the family gradually dissipated around the country. I would not go back to that world for anything but I recognise how fortunate I was to have that stability in my upbringing.
Tuesday, 13th April, 2021
Beautiful morning although a little cool at 6.00 am under a clear, blue sky. Going out for an early walk in the sunshine. West Sussex is reputed to be the sunniest County in UK although I suspect it is rivalled by Cornwall. Anyway, all this walking outside is turning me into a pickled walnut so must put some cream on. Soon be time to return to the local beach.
There is a family Messenger thread going at the moment and we are all now retired or coming to retirement so family research is popular. Members of the family are keen to reacquaint themselves with their roots and these things – people & dates – are so easily lost in the mists of time. I use all sorts of tools and sources to find people and it can be difficult and time consuming but, being a research geek, I love it. There is something really satisfying when you ‘crack’ a difficult case. I am still struggling with Pauline’s former College friends although mine are a little easier.
This morning the thread concerned one of my Dad’s sisters, Kath, who married and lived up the High Street in our village. I use:
You can still get seriously frustrated which is why success is so sweet. Although I can picture both Auntie Kath and Uncle Arthur clearly. They were both lovely, kind people but who remembers their dates? This morning I was able to supply them for the Family thread quite quickly.
I remember, they had Dalmatian dogs in the time of 101 Dalmatians being popular. Arthur was Head of Science at a local school and a very interesting, gentle man. They had lived all their married life in Repton village. He retired and they moved to their dream retirement in picturesque Branscombe in Devon.
As so often happens and, particularly with teachers, Arthur didn’t last long and Kath came back to the security of her home village. A tragic addendum to that story is that their eldest son and my cousin, Peter, who was not long married, unexpectedly died of a heart attack in his sleep 2 years after her return at the age of 36. It must have been an almost unbearable time for her.
Wednesday, 14th April, 2021
I shot out of bed at 3.30 am in absolute agony. My left leg had cramped so tightly I could barely walk. It’s all this exercise. I must be over doing it. It took me ages of agony to get over it and then couldn’t get back to sleep until the radio came on at 6.00 am. Lovely, lovely start to the day though. Blue sky and sunshine and warmer.
It is just under 8 weeks since our first vaccination and we know people here have been having to wait almost the full 12 weeks for their second. That would have taken us to the middle of May. Yesterday afternoon we received a phone call asking us if we could go down this morning for our second jab. Who would refuse that? So that is the focus for the morning. Must try to get my exercise in first. Got to do some serious weight training. We have a couple of sets of dumbbells, a step bench and mat in our Home Gym but may need to take it to another level. Goodness knows where I will get cramp next!
Lovely girls at the Medical Centre. Turned out one of them recognised us because she lived not far away. The one who did the injection was so small she only came up to my shoulder when I was sitting down. Most of these people were just volunteering. Nice experience altogether.
Thursday, 15th April, 2021
Mid-April already. We should be away. My Memory Store threw this up this morning from 12 years ago. We had been retired for just 2 weeks and had arrived at our house in Greece. The Spring rains there had left the island very green although another month would turn it all brown.
It is a beautiful day here and we are going out to enjoy the warm sunshine but there is something about a change of scene that raises the spirits. Still two vaccines will soon provide us with travel passports and freedom.
The other photo that came out of the Memory Store was for 5 years ago today. We had been in our Sussex house for about 3 weeks and had been dining off garden furniture because our ordered stuff hadn’t arrived. It was such a relief when it did that I photographed it even before we’d had the blinds put up at the windows.
I’d found the The Dining Table and chairs on-line while we were staying in a Tenerife hotel. Ironically, it turned out to be from Housing Units in Oldham which we never visited when we lived in the North. I was very pleased with it when we finally took delivery. It’s hard to believe that it is 5 years ago. What will the next 5 years bring?
Did a really delightful walk down to the village – about an hour’s round trip. The sun was warm and the bird song incredible. There has been an explosion of robins in our wooded area. I love robins. They are so beautiful but feisty. The fat, brown rabbit seems totally oblivious to us nowadays. The walk was to the Post Office to return another £250.00/€290.00 worth of ordered clothes. It’s a great game.
Weird footnote: Even though I don’t eat pastry, I’ve been fantasising about big, juicy Cornish Pasties. Where did that come from? Is it me or is life strange?
Friday, 16th April, 2021
Glorious morning. Clear blue sky and strong sun from the moment I leapt out of bed at 6.00 am. Must be happy! Actually, we are having a Sainsbury’s delivery at 7.00 am. My increased exercise regime has increased my energy levels which is good. Another walk down to the Post Office this morning. More clothes going back. Never anything for me. I don’t really wear anything worth calling clothes. Anyway, more money coming back into the account.
The BBC R4 Today programme tried to deflate me with an article about China’s approach to global emissions. I know, it’s early for such topics but it helps me engage my brain immediately. China are arguing, and with some justification, that developed countries like the US and UK have been through their industrialisation and, therefore, global pollution process long ago. China is going through that process now and post-industrial nations like us should be considered more responsible for ‘greening’ our economies than them. What shocked me was their target for becoming carbon-neutral by 2060. I will be 109!!
My Ancestry app runs an algorithm which searches for new connections for me and regularly emails me with suggestions. This morning, it found a 1939 Census return which featured our house in Repton. It was No. 81 High Street but Mum & Dad knew it as Ingle Nook because it had an ingle nook fireplace of which they were proud. In the early 1960s, it was replaced with a coke burning stove and central heating and the name seemed to fall into obeyance but it was nice to see the written confirmation.
At the time, he was only 24 years old and single. I think he was quite handsome. Unfortunately, I think I inherited my Mother’s genes. I see her in the mirror every time I look. In 1939, Dad had passed his Building Diploma and was just about to risk his life fighting in WW2. As a builder, he was drafted into the Royal Engineers and found himself in the furnace that was Palestine. He rose through the ranks to Captain and, ultimately Major Sanders He never made anything of it in peacetime but my Mother loved to talk about it.
Although I was 14 when he died, I never really got to know him. He tried but he wasn’t very tactile or communicative. When Bob & I went to speak to him in his hospital bed where he was being treated for angina at the age of 49, none of us had anything to say. I remember it being very uncomfortable and it was the last time I saw him.
Saturday, 17th April, 2021
Glorious morning. We were out early to Sainsburys because they contacted Pauline about a product recall. She has been eating their Majool Dates like there is no tomorrow for a few weeks. They give an instant energy boost if its needed. Too many calories for me so I haven’t touched them. Yesterday, Sainsburys contacted her about the potentially infectious contamination of Hepatitis-A and provided batch numbers. Of course they were exactly the batch she has been eating for some time and she still had two boxes left. She had an immediate discussion with the Surgery about a possible blood test and we took the rest back this morning. I went for a walk in the sunshine while she was shopping.
We went on to the beach for a few minutes just to breathe the sea air. It really looked lovely and made me feel good. There were very few people out walking which makes it even more enjoyable.
I’m getting a bit worried that my neighbours are going to have me ‘Sectioned’ soon because of my behaviour in the Gym. My absolutely favourite television programme to watch at the moment is Would I Lie to You. Nothing I have watched in years has made me just scream with laughter. Particularly, I like Bob Mortimer’s tales. I am a very naïve, trusting person so it’s good training for me but my neighbours must really think I’m losing it as hysterics filter out of the garage.
They won’t hear it today because I’m going out for my second walk of the day to soak up the sun rather than the gym.