28 March 2009

The elusive grandfather

Got him! I finally found the date of death of my paternal grandfather, William George Oldman: registered in Lothingland in the 3rd quarter of 1936. I was beginning to think that he was either immortal, or had spontaneously combusted! Nobody seemed to know exactly when it was that he died, and I’ve more or less run out of relatives to ask.

The death date isn’t that important in the general scheme of things, but it was exasperating (not to mention untidy) for one thing, and for another led me to wonder all sorts of things – had he died outside England, perhaps (since I knew that he used to go as far as Lerwick in the course of his work for a company that supplied coal to the fishing industry), or had he even absconded? If so I would have expected my father to have used it in trying to help heal a rift on the other side of the family.

Heaven knows why the date was so difficult to find: just about every genealogical database I looked in drew a blank, even over a range of years, and I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find any record of his death. It didn’t help that I had been told that it was about 1932-33, or that William and George were such popular names; even Oldman isn’t that unusual a surname if you come from Norfolk or Suffolk. I’ll probably send off for the death certificate, even though probable cause of death isn’t hard to guess, given his size, evident love of cigarettes, and the fact that heart problems run in the family.

Ah well, now for the other great family mystery – did my grandmother Ayers have any more children after she left my grandfather?

23 March 2009

Origami for cats

What's a pusser to do when the weather's bad? Sally's predecessor, Pickle, had basketwork as a hobby - undoing it, that is. Sal prefers something a bit less energetic, like rearranging the mats in the bathroom...

12 March 2009

Spend money to help the economy? Well, OK, but on what?

There’s a nice long list of things I won’t be blowing it on, that’s for sure:

Having my nails wrapped (I don’t even like long nails, really, leave alone having something stuck under them to make me look like some kind of calcium freak)

Having my eyebrows threaded (what???)

Buying a designer handbag (It costs how much? C’mon, it’s a bag, for heaven’s sake. I put bus tickets and sandwich wrappers in it)

Sessions on a sun bed (even leaving out the skin cancer risk) (I am pale and proud of it)

Taking out a gym subscription (I. DO. NOT. DO. EXERCISE) (if you work in a museum, that’s enough to be going on with, frankly)

Taking out a subscription to WeightWatchers (OR DIETS)

Detoxing (an even more stupendous con than designer bags)

Taking up golf (if sailing is standing under a shower tearing up banknotes, I hate to think what golf is)

Vertiginous heels a la Victoria Beckham (as illustrated on Zen Mischief recently – nuf said)

Anything described as (quote) Must Have

I’m sure there are others, too, lots of ‘em. Maybe the peeps at the auction I went to in January had the right idea – though I do begrudge the buyer’s premium and VAT – at least those are things you can take pleasure in owning, and can sell again if you change your mind.