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Category Archives: History

National Elephant Appreciation Day

NATIONAL ELEPHANT APPRECIATION DAY – September 22

I have loved elephants for as long as I can remember and  have a large collection of carved elephants. We’ve seen herds of beautiful  live ones on our many visits to South Africa.  I shared this love with my Dear Friend Angie who died last year just before her birthday, a day we also shared.   I really miss her.

My tiniest elephant, carved into a glass cube

My biggest elephant, bought at an antiques fair many years ago. He is as tall as my knees.

My Elephant family, representing me and the lovely Mr S, our eldest daughter, our second daughter and our twins, a son and a daughter. The tiny one is the little person we never met but who will always be one of us.

And I wear the ring that Angie left me every day.

 

Hope, Positivity and Confirmation

We have several daffodil bulbs up and with buds!

Good advice from Gandhi.

My brother has written today to confirm the story I told you yesterday.  How Sidney Poitier came to hear of Mum’s work, we don’t know  except that she was known within the teaching world for her excellence in teaching deaf children. My brother thinks he had a deaf child himself and wanted to know from the best how to help her.

 

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Exhibitions at Truro Museum

We set off to see the Tony Foster exhibition at Truro Museum and came across two more wonderful rooms. What a day! Firstly we came across a beautiful Kurt Jackson painting.

In the next room we came upon a Welly Dog, aka a Tinners’  Hound, made by David Kemp. Regular readers will know that we have our very own Welly Dog and we love him very much, all the more so as he was a gift from the lovely Bill Mitchell.

Then,  a small room full of portraits where we came across a friend, an activist in the XR movement, a brave and beautiful person whom we admire so much. Antonia put me in touch with the photographer,  Gavan Goulder, who has very kindly and generously given me permission to share it here along with his words which introduce the exhibition and the words of Antonia herself. Here is the link to his website where the words can be read more clearly and many more rebels and their stories can be found. I am so in awe of the bravery of these people who are fighting for our planet and the futures of our children and grandchildren. We help in the ways we can but I am not brave enough to risk arrest despite my Great Granny being a Suffragette who was force fed in Holloway in her battle to gain the vote for us all. In fact, despite the beauty still to come, this exhibition was the highlight of my day. Thank you to Gavan Goulder and to Antonia.

At last, we came to Tony Foster’s work. We heard him talk many years ago, in the Truro Museum,  about his paintings done  in the Grand Canyon and the Himalayas and there were some of those paintings here today but the special works for me this morning were the little paintings done during lockdowns, all done in Cornwall on his daily and limited walks.  Here are his pieces from the second lockdown, each a painting done in the afternoon following his morning walk, whatever the weather based on the little sketches he made while out. Each sketch has a little commentary. Click on the photo and zoom in and you can, just, read the words. If you, dear Reader, are in Cornwall before Christmas, do go to the museum and revel in all the beauty to be found in there. The staff have done a wonderful job of curating all this loveliness.

 

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Special Discovery

For some time I’ve been thinking I need to clean up the frame of a sweet, hand coloured photo of me at three or  four years old, in a smocked dress made by my Mum. It’s a favourite and last week I took the photo out of the frame. 

Behind the photo of me, I found two more very special photos of my Mum and Dad in their twenties I am guessing.  I had no idea they were there! Aren’t they just the most beautiful couple?

My Mum, Cicely H M Wiseman nee Richards

My Dad. David Wiseman

 

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Treasures Found while Sorting

First in my discoveries  was a wonderful photo, caught up with some modern ones, of my Grandparents in 1919. Here is my Grandfather, the Reverend Richards, on his beloved motorbike and with my Mum on his lap and my very lovely Granny in the sidecar with my Uncle.

Next I found a little book which turned out to be the Manchester University Student Union Handbook the year my Dad was President of the Union..

I love his address to the students where his principles are clearly on show.

Lastly, for today, going through my sewing projects box, I found an unmade Clothkit for dungarees for a 2-4 year old. I never got around to making them but have a lovely young friend with a two year old. I asked her if she might like to make these for her little boy and she was delighted, saying she had grown up wearing Clothkit clothing herself. I am equally delighted to be helping her to carry on the family tradition.

I look forward to seeing A in his smiley lion dungarees……..

 

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Singing, A Toothbrush and A Cartoon

In 2013 some of our choir walked from Lands End to St Just, inspired by the March of the Women, 100 years before, who walked from Land’s End to London demanding Votes for Women. Tonight, in the atrium of the Eco Park we sang March of the Women, conducted by our leader, Claire, using a toothbrush.

Ethel Smyth’s rousing March of the Women was composed in 1910 to words by Cicely Hamilton, with a tune adapted from a traditional Italian melody. Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) introduced it as the official anthem of the Women’s Social and Political Union and it became associated with the suffrage movement more generally. Info from the British Library

In 1911 it was sung on Pall Mall in celebration of the release from prison of a number of activists. The following year, the conductor Thomas Beecham (1879–1961) apparently heard it sung in Holloway Prison, where Smyth and Pankhurst were imprisoned and it is said that Ethel Smyth conducted the imprisoned women singing at their windows, using her toothbrush as a baton.  Some of you know that my Great Granny was a Suffragette imprisoned and force fed in Holloway. I like to think she may have known and sung this song.

Two of our lovely choir members with whom I sing in the tenor section. I have permission to use their photos in my blog post.

There was a rueful smile when I saw this cartoon.

Covid rules in England say choirs can only sing outdoors in groups of no more than 30, all socially distanced. Have you seen/heard any football matches recently? 🙂

 

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My Mum, Gardening and Baking

It’s 28 years since my Mum died on this day and I still want to tell her stuff that excites me or that I need her wisdom on. It doesn’t go away.
Today I want to celebrate her life by recognising some of the gifts that came from her – my love of gardening and of cooking.
She would have been delighted with us having an allotment so here are a couple of the flowers from there today.

After she retired, she used to fill in forms that asked for her profession not as ‘Retired Teacher of the Deaf’ but as Head Gardener.
She was a brilliant cook too so here is a coffee cake I have made today for the cake stall at the Redruth Butter Market stall tomorrow.

 

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Seed Head, Posy and International Women’s Day

I love these seed heads, delicate and fragile.

We left this little posy on next-door’s  doorstep as a Wedding Anniversary gift and in memory of a dear friend.

It is International Women’s Day today and in The Guardian last week, a letter writer suggested that the sports pages on this day  should be devoted to sportswomen for a change. The next day, someone suggested that the letters page should be devoted to letters by women. Well, today they did that and I had a letter published!

 

DNA, Some Family History and Daffodils

My birthday present from the lovely Mr S was  a DNA test and the results came back today. Most of it was unsurprising – 44% England and Northern Europe with Manchester, Lancashire featuring heavily.  My maternal Grandfather was of Welsh heritage so 33% Welsh wasn’t a surprise either. Neither was the 8% Irish as my paternal Grandmother had Irish in her. The biggest surprises, though tiny amounts, were the 3% Norway and the 2% Sweden. Perhaps that’s all down to historic invasions!
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/dna/origins/share/ca02ee57-0a92-47bc-9dad-018617b9e10d

Coincidentally, as I was looking for something else in my family history folder, I came across the following message from my SIL who had taken notes from one of my Father’s story telling sessions, this one about his Father-in-law, our Welsh Grandfather.

“William Richards was, in addition to being the Vicar of Cockerham, the Abbot of Cockersand, which entitled him to the right to the fish from the baulk  on occasion (full moon or new moon or some such.)  Mum used to be sent fish at college in Ripon.  Dad went with him one evening to get the fish.  Whitebait, but also salmon.”
So much  to unravel here! I know my cousins in Australia read this blog and wonder if they can add to/expand this story.
I have only a few photos of my Grandfather, the Vicar. Here he is with one of his Grandchildren. I think this is my older brother but it could be me or my cousin.  The second photo shows what a handsome couple  my Granny and Grandpa were.
I was of the understanding that Granny had Spanish in her genes but, sadly,  Spanish hasn’t shown up for me.

I bought three bunches of Cornish Daffodils yesterday and am going to take a photo each day as they open.

 
 

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School Days, Bryon and Creative Reframes

A filthy weather day so a sorting day and among the treasures unearthed was this school photograph from 1957, first year at Truro County Grammar School. We all look delighted to be there and I do remember being very happy at that school.

1957

This from Lord Byron came my way so I thought I would share it.

I love Nature more…

and this……

 

 

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