John Wasn't
Sixty Years

Gardening & Food Shopping 
Today saw this first visit from our gardener to mow the lawn. I don't think it ever really stopped growing this year. It certainly needed a trim and now looks better for it. The daffs,crocuses and snowdrops are all in full bloom. The sun is getting warmer and my mood is lifting, that is until I have to do the gardening! Over the winter we seem to have cultivated a healthy crop of Celandines! Well it sounds more up market than buttercups but to my untrained eye they look the same!

Did the weekly trudge to Sainsbugs today and at the risk of sounding a grumpy old woman again the choice of everything is increasing by the week. In the good old days milk was milk. Now there's pasteurised, sterilized,ultra high temperature, homogenized, 1.5% half cream milk, skimmed, semi-skimmed, Protein-enriched fat free skimmed milk, vitamin D-fortified milk, lactose-reduced milk, soya milk and so it goes on! Then you walk round the corner to buy some sugar and once again you are greeted by endless varieties! Then onto the Coca Cola! Once again the array is endless but guess what - the Sainsbugs basic sugar free Cola is behind a pillar on the top shelf and for those of us who are vertically challenged it then takes me ages to find an elusive assistant to get one for me!

Perhaps I'll try clothes shopping tomorrow!

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Is it a sign of age I wonder when the weather affects your mood so much? Perhaps itís a sign that I have too much time to sit and look out of the window. Yesterday morning the sun was shining, washing blowing nicely on the line and all in the world was hunky dory, even when the hailstones from nowhere were bouncing on the patio. Today itís gloomy and the rain mizzling down and so is the spirit. Roll on summer, I just hope the weather settles down because, it has seemed to me, this last year the weather has been unpredictable. There is one sunny day then the murk settles in again. Must stop grumbling, Iím giving my age away, grumpiness is also setting in!

It went to the creative writing workshop last night; my story of two faerie dragons living in Brighton went down really well. Once again I got some constructive criticism, positive comments and inspiration for more writing. Just hope the new power supply for my pc arrives this morning as promised and that it survives the open heart surgery.

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PHEW! I made the decision this morning to add a blog - it only took nine attempts to log in! I just couldn't recall my login details! Old age is definitely creeping up on me slowly. Right now Iím into this letís be getting on with it.

Iíve just looked out the window at the weather and realised spring is on its way, there are hailstones the size of marbles hitting the window! It is also Lent and I know itís usual to give something up for lent but Iíve decided that seems a bit negative so Iím taking something up instead!

Iíve resolved to TRY and write a blog everyday! My problem is that I read other blogs and everyone else seems to have a far more interesting life and is much more adept at writing. Since writing my last blog, over a year ago, I have started attending a creative writing course which Iím thoroughly enjoying. I am convinced that everyone else on the course can produce much better work than me but the exchange of ideas and inspirations keeps me going! The amount of y writing varies wildly each week. I did really well this week until my pc went with a crack last night and emitted a smell of burning! Perhaps it was the short story I had just completed about a family of dragons living in Brighton!

Sadly like the majority of people I am convinced I have an original idea for a novel. This is as a result of eight years of delving into my family history. Climbing back through 12 generations I found some branches proved to be interesting and full of tales to be told whilst many were simply downright boring. Also whilst climbing my tree I have trawled through what seems like hundreds of details on various censuses, those in themselves leave you speechless. I never realized that baby farmer could be an occupation or that you could become a retired prince! Some of the stories I have uncovered do not belong on my tree, some do though and I felt they were too interesting and deserved to be recorded. But documenting these stories is not an easy task I fear but Iím determined to have a go.
Well the sun is out now so Iím off to the Ďboringí tasks of the day. The new power supply for my pc is on order and should arrive tomorrow!

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I'm sat here listening to 'northern' music courtesy of Kate Rusby. I sat earlier this evening watching Christine's Garden on BBC2 - she visited Lancashire and reminisced on her past(Not too unlike mine). What is it about age that makes you wonder about the past? Is it something to do with the lack of hormones or the prospect that tomorrows are getting fewer than yesterdays - who knows! Perhaps it's the fact that it's easier looking backwards over your shoulder than looking into the future! Perhaps I really am a born again coward and stick with the things that I know are safe and cosy!!

Less of this maudling(as they say in Lancashire) - I'm off to surf the net for Stannah stair lifts, Saga holidays, comfortable footwear, bath cubicles that I can bathe in whilst wearing my dressing gown, Terry Wogan's TOGs and a cure for my creaky knees!!! ---------- Ohh and a subscription to the Red Hat Society!!! I'm not giving in gracefully!

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Family Trees  
Many people I am sure have wondered what their ancestors looked like, how they spent their days, how they earned a living and generally what sort of lives they led. I have for the last eight years been climbing my family tree. Some branches proved to be more gnarled than others, some had nuts on them, some were fruity, some were interesting and full of tales to be told whilst many were simply downright boring.

Whilst at school I hated history with vengeance therefore I never paid any attention to dates, events and I couldnít begin to tell you who was on the throne at any given time!

Since climbing my tree I have become fascinated by how people led their lives in past times. Looking at my great great grandmother details for instance she married at eighteen and had eleven children. Family folklore tells that three of her children died of diphtheria within a fortnight, and she herself died on December 26, 1885 when she was only 45 and her youngest child was only three years old. Her death certificate gives valvular heart disease and exhaustion as cause of death, I canít imagine what life was like for her Ė did she ever have happy times I wonder, how did she manage a family of that size and what happened to her family after her death? I know my Great Great Grandfather remarried six months after her death and his new wife was twenty years his junior and she gave him more children.

All those tales to tell from only one family!! When you consider I now have 700 names on my tree I could fill volumes if only I could be sure of the history!!

Also whilst climbing my tree I have trawled through what seems like millions of names on various census, those in themselves leave you speechless. I never realized that Ostrich Feather maker could be an occupation or that you could become a retired prince! Many of my relatives came from a small area of Norfolk and by looking into the census itís easy to find cousins, future brides or grooms and young men who went away to war together all living within a very small area. Ancestors that came from Kent lived along one street and you can easily find numerous families with the same surname living in the same area.

So over the years I have decided that whilst I couldnít possibly sit down and write the story of my ancestors I have decided to write the story of the Gissmoe family. I make no apologises if the historical facts arenít quite correct. After eight years of pouring over dates and figures I have decided to throw caution out the window. If you recognise any of these characters it is purely coincidental as they are all a figment of my imagination. If you happen to recognise any of my characters that vaguely resemble yourself please donít be offended Ė it is not intentional Ė itís just a figment of your imagination Ė maybe. J! You will of course find myself on the tree but thatís my privilege! Remember this Ė you are certain to have a character very like one of these hanging on your family tree. They may be someone to aspire to, someone youíd rather not be associated with, even a nut or they could be a little like you. After all Ė it may be in the genes!

So here I go I've compiled the Gissmoe tree. I've begun with the story of Vicki daughter of William and Bridie.

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