Monday, 30 August 2010

The Winner and I'm going to tell you a story .....

Good Evening Ladies

Using the Lala scientific random number generator (Mr Lala) a number has been chosen and I am thrilled to say that following my desperate plea there were 17 lucky names entered into the draw. 

And the winner is .......

Sue at Vintage from the Village

Congratulations Sue
please e-mail me on debra.brown11@virginmedia with your address and I will post the goodies to you in the next couple of days

Now for my story.   Around 20 years ago I started delving into the family tree and sat for hours with my paternal grandad listening to his stories and gathering information.  He always used to say that we are from the Greens & Catchpoles in Suffolk and that somewhere along the line we were related to the infamous Margaret Catchpole.  Who I hear you say!

CATCHPOLE, MARGARET (1762-1819), convict and pioneer, was born on 14 March 1762, reputedly at Nacton, Suffolk, England, the natural daughter of Elizabeth Catchpole and a farm labourer, although the baptism of a Margaret Catchpole on the same day is recorded in the register of Hoo, near Framlingham, some fifteen miles (24 km) from Nacton. Her early life was spent on the farms where her father worked and she became a skilled horsewoman. She had little formal education, working as a servant for various families until she was employed as under-nurse and under-cook by Mrs John Cobbold, wife of an Ipswich brewer. Here she was more a member of the family than a servant, and was three times responsible for saving the lives of the children in her care; here too she learnt to read and write.

She left the Cobbolds in mid-1795 and, after being seriously ill for months and unemployed, on the night of 23 May 1797 stole John Cobbold's coach gelding, and rode it seventy miles (113 km) to London in ten hours. She was caught and sentenced to death at Suffolk Summer Assizes. The sentence was commuted to transportation for seven years, but on 25 March 1800 Margaret escaped from Ipswich Gaol using a clothesline to scale the 22-foot (6.7 m) wall. Again her sentence was death, commuted this time to transportation for life. The simple weft of these facts is criss-crossed by the warp, fiction or otherwise, of her single-minded devotion to William Laud, sailor turned smuggler: she left the Cobbolds because of their disapproval of him, she stole the horse to help him in London, then escaped from gaol to meet and marry him, but Laud was shot dead on a Suffolk beach when Margaret was recaptured.

She was transported in the and ched Sydney on 14 December 1801. For some eighteen months she worked as cook for the commissary, John Palmer, and wrote to her uncle, 'i am well Beloved By all that know me and that is a Comfort for i all wais Goo into Better Compeney then my self that is a monkest free peopell whear thay mak as much of me as if i was a Laday—Becaus i am the Commiseres Cook'. To this letter is a postscript: 'i hav at this time a man that keep me Compeney and would marrey me if Lik But i am not for marring he is a gardner he Com out as a Botnes and to Be a Lowed one hundred pound par year'. Many have without question taken this to refer to George Caley who, although he was receiving only £40 a year, could not in any sense be called a gardener. A far more likely candidate is James Gordon, sent out as a botanist by J. A. Woodford of the War Office.

Margaret worked for various well-known families, the Faithfuls, Rouses, Dights, Woods and Skinners. The Rouses respected her 'as one of ther owen family', and left her to act alone as overseer on their property at Richmond. She was proud of leading a decent and industrious life, and in her last letter to the Cobbolds on 1 September 1811, wrote 'i am Liven all a Loon as Befor in a very onest way of Life hear is not one woman in the Coloney Liv like myself'. This theme runs through all her letters together with her longing to be pardoned and return to her 'owen nativ Land'. She was pardoned on 31 January 1814 but did not return to England, spending the rest of her life keeping a small store at Richmond, acting as midwife and nurse, and always helping others. Her last service was nursing until his death a shepherd, ill with influenza on the Pitts' property near Richmond; from him she caught the infection and died on 13 May 1819.

Margaret Catchpole's letters reveal her as a warm, loving, intelligent woman of great integrity. She was one of the few true convict chroniclers with an excellent memory and a gift for recording events. Her letters of 8 October 1806 and 8 October 1809 are the only known eyewitness accounts of the Hawkesbury River floods of those years; she described graphically the countryside, the Aboriginals, and the wildlife; she wrote of the first convict coalminers at Coal River (Newcastle) and of the savagery and immorality of the inhabitants of the colony, and by her writings added richly to Australia's early history. Richard Cobbold, the son of her former employers, in The History of Margaret Catchpole, 1-3 (London, 1845) provided the source of many plays, books and articles. He distorted the facts brilliantly, rewriting and, in some cases, originating in genteel and proper English Margaret's letters from Australia to his mother. He chose to attribute Mary Reibey's successful married life to Margaret, who did not marry, and to this day the lives of the two women are still confused.

Courtesy of the the Australian Dictionary of Biography

It was a fascinating story and while dusting the bookcase today I came across my copy of the book written by the Rev Cobbold entitled The History of Margaret Catchpole ... A Suffolk Girl.  My copy has a previous owner's name written inside the cover with the date 1912 so it is a bit of antique itself.

Where is the family connection?  Well in the photo on my side-bar of My Family shows Florence my great-grandmother  ...... Florence was a Green before marriage and her mother Caroline was a Catchpole who was born in 1820 in the Mickfield area of Suffolk and her mother was Elizabeth Catchpole who was not married at the time of Caroline's birth.

  Whether I will ever establish a confirmed connection is doubtful but I like to think that there I am in some way related to this remarkable lady!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Here come the girls .....

Lala is smiling again

Thank you so much for responding to my appeal for the giveaway,  sounded a little desperate really didn't I?  I know blogland is quiet during the summer months and I have to confess to not reading my favourites thoroughly and leaving comments during the summer hols but thank goodness normal service resumes next week when the schools re-open!

I have had a thoroughly enjoyable first day of the Bank Holiday weekend with a visit to an auction house general sale    ....  I haven't been for ages and was getting withdrawal symptoms.  I love them ..... piled high with other people's tut and house clearance but you know what they say ....... one man's trash is another man's treasure ;-)

We had an hour to view and this particular auction house has four different rooms, two with furniture, one with collectables & house clearnance and another with better quality items.  I eagerly marked off the lots that I was interested in and took my place .... when I first went to an auction I was worried to death that I would scratch my nose or do something silly and end up purchasing something I didn't want by mistake and I would shake when my lots came up.   As a seasoned old hand now I set my limit and don't jump in straight away .... I find it's best to let others do the running and then take them by surprise just as the hammer is about to fall.  One important thing to remember about auctions is that the house commission has to be added which in this case is 15% of the sale price and this is then subject to VAT.

I was surprised that in these financially testing times there seemed to be an awful lot of people bidding silly money today  .... one example was two boxes of textiles which had an estimate of £30 .... I had my eye on this one and would have gone to £50 but two daft bats went into a battle of the bids and it finished on £130 .... I was gobsmacked!   There really was nothing in there that warranted that sort of money and just shows how easy it is to get carried away.   The only lot I ended up with in this room was a group of framed prints of greyhounds which included four nice vintage ones .... mine for £8  ..... cheap as chips.

After a bite to eat we wandered into the main room ..... there were three lots of vintage dolls in here and I really didn't hold out much hope of getting any of them.  I set my limit and off we went ..... the first lot was a group of four composition dolls with an estimate of £70 and the second was two walking talking Pedigree dolls estimated at £50.  Someone must have been smiling on me today because the doll collectors appeared to be absent and I got both lots for £80.

Do you want to meet them???

Here they are in a naughty state of undress as the clothes they were wearing are having a gentle soak at the moment.

The two walking talking dolls are both Pedigree although the one with the funky hairdo isn't marked .... their mechanisms are in perfect working order and as the legs move the head moves from side to side.  Their 'mamma' cry boxes are also working.  They date to the 1950s and I confess now that when I was around 8 years old one of my friends had the black one and boy did I covet it .... I have a dilemma now ..... do I treat myself and keep her but having seen their current selling price I could cover my outlay on the whole lot and have some leftover if I sold her.

The others have no markings so I am still working on identifying them.  If any of you doll enthusiast bloggers recognise them I would love to hear from you.

Hope you have all had a good day too x

Friday, 27 August 2010

Disappointed :-(

Well my little bloggeroos.   Lala is somewhat disappointed at the response to her little giveaway so here are some things I've added to try and tempt you.

some vintage knitting patterns, Ladybird Learning to Sew book, an old wooden cotton reel with pins for French knitting, vintage knitting pins and crochet hook, a pair of hand embroidered napkins

a selection of vintage buttons

some more vintage buttons

an edition of the Home Companion from November 1954

A pair of vintage bunny print children's hankies

Please don't worry if you cannot think of anything for the 6 degrees of separation part ..... I just thought it would be a bit of fun and get you all thinking.

Don't forget that the draw will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 30th August at 8.00 pm

In the meantime I hope you all have a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend and that the sun shines for you whatever you are doing x

Monday, 23 August 2010

Nellie the elephant packed her trunk ..................

and said thank you so much Freecycle!

I just happened to be in the right place at the right time yesterday and spotted an offer for a vintage travelling trunk.  The brain cell start whirring again and I thought I would take a chance as it would be ideal storage and for display at the craft markets and I was so lucky to be the receiver of this magnificent specimen ...

It has the manufacturer's name plate on the side which is John Pound & Co of London who had shops in various locations including Oxford Street and Leadenhall Street in the late Victorian/Edwardian period.  John Pound was also a Lord Mayor of London.

The surface looks like hide of some sort and it has wooden battens with brass protectors (but no key sadly) and original locks  ... internally it is very clean for it's age and has a sectioned insert.

I need to do a little detective work on how to clean it up but I don't want to strip it of its age and character.

As for the initials I think they must stand for Not Enough Holidays!!!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Post 200 and the Giveaway

Apologies for being such a slow coach but the past week has been very hectic with the minded children and then the grands at the weekend plus a sewing order to fullfil!

I've been racking my brain cell for something interesting for post number 200 and have come up with this .... I hope you like it :-)

Have you ever heard of the phrase "Six Degrees of Separation"??

Six degrees of separation (also referred to as the "Human Web") refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

In a strange way this has applied to me in blogland ..... I have met (virtually of course) with the daughter of the baby in the gorgeous picture that I use as my Avatar, Julie over at The Cloth Shed.  Another virtual friend who lives miles away from me just happens to have lived a few minutes away from me as a child and attended the primary school where I take my minded children ... take a visit to Dancing on a Blade of Grass ... her photos are just fantastic!

With this thought in mind I would like to lay down a challenge for my 200th post giveaway ...... just leave a comment on this post, place a link to this post with the 6 degrees photo and undertake a post of your own on this subject.

The giveaway prize is a copy of the classic Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework book ... a heavy tome with 504 pages absolutely filled with useful info on anything from Embroidery to Quilting (printed in 1982).  I will also be including some vintage sewing, knitting & crochet items.

It's a very small world after all!!!

OOps forgot to say draw will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 30th August at 8.00 pm

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Post 199

I can't believe I've been able to yatter on for 199 posts since January last year! 

The past week has been virtually child free (DD2 forgot that their work shifts clashed on two days so the grands had two sleepovers) but very productive. Following a visit to the nearest Scrapstore last Monday we came home with a car laden with goodies including some paint .... I've been nagging encouraging the OH to do some decorating for ages so what better time.  The whole of the downstairs needs a freshen up so we started with the kitchen .... there's not much money in the kitty at the mo so thriftiness was the word of the day.  I wanted to get rid of the tiles that we put up 15 years ago when the extension was built and you should have seen his face!  Thought we were heading for argument number one just 10 minutes into the work but I left the room, shut my gob and let him get on with it.  We spent just £52 in B & Q on some white emulsion for the ceiling, plain white tiles for the cooker & sink splashbacks (just £6 in the bargain corner), plaster, paintbrushes, a new roller and some more odd bits and I remembered I had a lovely Laura Ashley swag curtain in my stash from the car boot last year which was just £3.  The dresser top has had a coat of LA Linen eggshell, everything has been cleaned and I've had a good de-cluttering and we are feeling rather pleased with ourselves.

These two soppy dates looked on in bewilderment with that 'can we come in yet' look on their faces

and even Zachary Binks had to get in on the act .... once I'd cleared the bottom of the larder cupboard in he got!

I'm just psyching myself up for the return of the children tomorrow and crossing everything for good weather and no more downpours like last week.

At some point during the coming week I will write post 200 and announce the giveaway so keep your eyes peeled x

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Whizz of a weekend & a Giveaway

Wow this weekend has certainly disappeared at a rate of knots!  We started on Friday evening with a surprise Silver Wedding Anniversary party for my sister, organised by my nephew, which went off splendidly and she didn't suss anything out.  She was crowing last week that nothing ever gets past her ..... well this one did .....  she was gobsmacked!

I was up early yesterday morning to take DS1 to the railway station for his journey home to Nottingham ... he has been staying with us for 2 weeks so he could be here for the grands birthdays and the party. The rest of the day was spent tidying up but I don't know why I bothered because the grands had a sleepover last night and it was back to square one by this afternoon.  We went off to the car boot with them this morning .... this one has only just started for this season and it was packed but I had to have one eye on them and one on the stalls so I am sure I missed loads of bargains. 

They both did very well .... Ellie is into Roald Dahl stories at the moment and Care Bear soft toys and she found some all by herself .... not bad for a 6 year old (she has her nanny's eye for a deal!).  Charlie found a lovely big megablocks transporter with vehicles and he kept saying he wanted something with a cone in it, then I twigged he wanted an ice cream.

I didn't come away empty handed myself of course and here is my booty

A vintage curtain which has washed up beautifully and will be stashed for a rainy day project

Some FQ of Christmas fabric and there was a whole stall selling fabric to my absolute delight .... Liberty prints at £5 per metre .... well what was a girl to do!

A box of vintage Anchor threads and a wicker basket

We came home via Barton Watermill where we stopped for a coffee & cake.  I was saddened to hear that the Crafty Quilter's shop will be closing down in a couple of weeks but there is an online shop here so please support them if you can.

The postie also brought a nice surprise yesterday morning ..... I won a bag of buttons in a competition from The Button Company via The Sewing Directory  ..... they are both sites that I recommend any crafter to bookmark as a favourite.

I'm planning on visiting my nearest Scrapstore tomorrow morning  .... I have just discovered this via blogland and what a wonderful idea to keep perfectly good arts & craft materials out of landfill ..... I just cannot believe that they would dump this stuff if not for the scrapstores.  I will update on what I find during the week and I'm hoping to get stocked up on lots of bits to keep the children occupied for the remainder of the summer hols.  This week is my week off and I am so looking forward to getting up and slobbing round in my jim jams in the morning .... my day usually starts around 7 am with the first child arriving at 8 am and the last one leaving just before 6 pm.  A massive de-cluttering is called for this week and some painting with a bit of luck.

I have just realised that I am close to my 200th post so a celebration giveaway is called for methinks ..... give me a day or two to get some goodies together and I'll be back xx