Ready to get moving in 2023

Isn’t it amazing how you forget the harrowing times during your travel and remember the best of it. I look back down on our journey last September and the highlight, of course, was the time with my niece and cousin and our husbands exploring the haunts of our ancestors and meeting many more of our extended family.

I remember that wonderful feeling of snow gently falling on us as we walked to catch our train in St Moritz. I know that lots of you had far too much snow last year but it was such a treat for us Queenslanders to be there for the first snow of the season. I remember sitting comfortably on the trains enjoying the beautiful Swiss scenery and especially the snow capped mountains. I remember the delicious dinner we enjoyed on our last night in Zurich and try really hard to forget the horrible rissoles we were served on our first night in Munich.

I think the best parts of travel are the anticipation during the lead up and enjoying the memories and photos after you reach home. I think the travel itself is hard work especially as you get older.

Ten days after we arrived home, I underwent major surgery and it is only now that I’m feeling like my usual self. Thank goodness. I’ve just been resting up and I’ve done lots of reading. I haven’t even thought about family history until now. However, over the last fortnight I’ve cleaned out my cupboards, refocused on my exercise, walking 2 or 3 kms each day and spending an hour in the pool doing gentle water exercises. So now it is time to dive into 2023.

Where will I start? Which side of my family will I delve into? There’s a mystery on David’s maternal side that I’d like to solve with the help of DNA. I’d definitely like to tick that off but I’m no expert so I’ll need to seek assistance from the DNA group at the Queensland Genealogical Society to which I belong. That’s a good place to start!

I’m going to get back into my coloured pencil art this year with my first ‘Splat and Chat” session booked for early next month. I will go with one of my daughters who lives nearby and is very talented. I think it will be a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday morning. I used to be able to go to my book club on a Friday morning and then straight to my bridge game in the afternoon but that hasn’t been possible for a good while as book club was changed to the afternoon. I’m taking a break from bridge at present so I’ll be heading off to book club this afternoon.

During my post-surgery enforced laziness, I’ve been following three main authors. I’ve written before about Fiona McIntosh and “The Lavender Keeper” set in France during WWII. I love that book. I’ve just recently read “The Orphans” which is set in South Australia where Fiona lives. Previously her books were set in Europe but during Covid she was unable to travel there to do the extensive research she always undertakes. The story revolves around two orphaned children who meet up as children and then again later in life. The girl is adopted by a couple in the funeral industry and she develops a passion for helping people at this sad time – especially mothers and babies. It’s a lovely story. I strongly recommend it. Fiona has also written four detective stories, based around Jack Hawksworth, a London Detective. The last one, Dead Tide, has just been released and Jack is in Sydney Australia as Fiona couldn’t get to London to do her research. I can’t wait to get it!

I’m also enjoying a series of Norwegian crime stories by Anne Holt, based around a detective called Hanne Wilhelmsen. The last one I read was “Death of the Demon”, the third in the series. A twelve year old boy with many issues is placed in an orphanage as his mother cannot cope with him. The director of the orphanage is found stabbed with a kitchen knife. All of the staff come under suspicion as the clues are followed. It was a really easy read and interesting to see the interaction between the law and justice.

The third author I’m reading is Peter Lovesey. My cousin Kay suggested we find his books as they are set around Bath and, of course, we were there in September. Peter Diamond is the detective in this series of crime dramas and David and I are both enjoying them a lot. They are all really easy reads. “The Finisher” was the last I read and it contains it all: people smuggling, an impossible murder, competitive running – all set in the lovely countryside around Bath. It’s really fun to be able to picture the places you are reading about when you’ve actually visited them. We wish we’d read them before we went so that we could have visited more of the locations. Mind you, we were really busy trying to visit all the locations where our ancestors lived in just a week so we probably wouldn’t have had time anyway.

So that’s where I’m at. If you’re reading along, I hope you have a wonderful 2023!

A day of farewells and moving on…

This morning it was time to pack and make sure we left our lovely Freshford home clean & tidy.

Firstly we farewelled George and Graeme who walked to the little station down the hill at Freshford to train to Bath & then Paddington then Kings Cross then to their new home in York. I’m pleased to say that they made their fast changes and arrived safely.

Then Ben loaded up the car with our luggage, dropped us off at the Bath Spa Station & returned our car. Then the four of us sat in the station lounge until our train to Paddington at 13:13. Once there we hopped on the Heathrow Express and then cabbed to the Ibis Styles Hotel where we are staying the night.

We’ve just had a very pleasant dinner in the hotel restaurant with Kay and Ben & have said our goodbyes. It’s a long way from Canada to Australia. Will we see them again? I certainly hope so. I’m feeling very sad that we have parted once more.

Queen Elizabeth’s death was announced whilst we were having dinner. I think Australia should be a republic and have our own flag but I still feel sad. She was a great lady who worked long and hard and I admired her for that.

Tomorrow we are off to Munich bright and early so now it’s time to sleep.

We are so lucky to have spent this week with our extended ALLEY family; to have met new members and to have explored the places where our ancestors lived. It’s been absolutely great. Thanks everyone.

Travelling again

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged and even longer since we’ve been out of Australia but over the last couple of days we have safely, but wearily, travelled to the UK and we are now very comfortably settled into our home for the week in Freshford, a beautiful little village in Somerset. It’s just over the border from Wiltshire; which is why we are here.

Also with us are my Canadian cousin Kay & her husband Ben and my niece, Georgina (George as she likes to be called) and her husband Graeme from Geelong in Australia. They are all from a ‘Victoria’, just not the same one.

So why are we here? We three women are all descendants of Frederick Ernest ALLEY and Rose YORK and we have traced the ALLEY and YORK families back to somewhere around 1750 in Wiltshire. We are on a pilgrimage to go back in time and to visit the places where they lived and died. More of that in the following days.

George, Graeme, David & I travelled by train from Paddington to Bath Spa on the Bristol line on the Great Western Line through Swindon which was very relevant to our current search. There we met up with Kay & Ben and since our hire car wasn’t ready we caught taxis to our home for the week.

We have a delightful 6 bed home in Freshford and the whole area is so pretty. Here are the Victorians chatting (the men about football and the women sharing family pics) meanwhile David was catching up on the news from home

This is “The Freshford Inn” where we had a refreshing ale and a delcious dinner last night. David and I were very weary so we came home to bed (only 200m or so but very steep) and left the others to party.

It promises to be a wonderful week and we are all looking forward to tomorrow when we meet some of our relatives who still live in England. What fun!