Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Pretty things

I have a new favourite jeweller (apart from Christine, of course!) - Shaun Leane's cherry blossom earrings and pendants are gorgeous.

Sadly out of my price range, but they're evocative of Alex Monroe's beautiful organic pieces, and they're slightly (only slightly) more affordable. I'm saving up for a bird hoop necklace (and maybe one day a locket too)!

Until I win the lottery (or stop paying nursery fees) I'll have to settle for the still-lovely Eclectic Eccentricity. I've still got my eye on that pirate pendant!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009 made from these

Clever, n'est pas? I used to collect pencil points (when I was seven - it made sense at the time) but I never did anything as exciting as this with them.

Check out or pop along to Sable D'or in Muswell Hill for a closer look.


Now I am one

My niece turned one on Saturday so we headed over to Tim and Sarah's for a lovely family gathering in the sun. Happy birthday Sadie-May!

Family history

1900 map of Belfast: Avon Street is in the triangle at the top where the railtracks divide, just below the dock

I posted a few months ago about tracing our family tree in Northern Ireland. I've been trying to tie up a few loose ends since then, but without much success.

My great great grandmother, Elizabeth Jackson, was born in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, in 1878, and at some point moved to Belfast; she gave birth to daughter Frances Annie, my Gran's mum, in November 1900 in a place called Avon Street.

When we stayed in Belfast, we discovered that Avon Street had been demolished, but we found it on an old map in the Linen Hall library (just before my handbag was stolen, grr). It was in an area bordering the railway and just across from the docks, then one of the busiest in the world and the place where Titanic was built. According to our taxi driver, the area was popular with dock workers. It was something of a slum, too - the census returns we have for Avon Street show the houses consisted of only three rooms, some of them housing families of seven or more.

According to her birth certificate Frances Annie, my great grandmother, was born at 75 Avon Street. I searched a 1902 Belfast directory at the Linen Hall library and there were several Jackson families in the street, but none at 75. The Public Record Office has since sent me the census return for number 75; sadly it was unoccupied when the census was taken, so I've reached a bit of a dead end. All I can surmise is that at some point between the birth of her daughter and the census four months later, Elizabeth Jackson moved on.

The other mystery surrounds the identity of Frances Annie's father. Her birth certificate names William Graham; Elizabeth used to say that they were married but that he had died before their baby was born, from an illness caused by his work as a tanner. She also claimed that he was called Jimmy, not William.

We haven't been able to trace a marriage certificate, which suggests that Frances Annie was probably illegitimate. It's hard to know where to go from here - the truth may have died with my great great grandmother.

But we did discover one intriguing lead at PRONI - there was a Graham family living in Dee Street, round the corner from Avon Street, in 1901. They had several children, among them William, 19, and James, 25, neither married and both working in the iron industry. Elizabeth was 22 when she had her daughter; she may well have hung around with these Graham brothers. So perhaps the secret isn't lost after all.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Look Ma, I'm flying

Went for lunch with the Welhams on Sunday, it was great to catch up properly and we had a top lunch at the Maid of Muswell. Mark and James started swinging Logan to distract him but once you start it's hard to stop, which is why they both look a bit worn out ('Again, again!').

Monday, 21 September 2009

Strictly hoo-ha

4,107 people really have nothing better to do with their time than complain to the BBC about Alesha Dixon's new role on Strictly Come Dancing's judging panel?

If they'd unveiled her as the new presenter of Newsnight I'd maybe understand but seriously, it's a light entertainment programme, get a grip people! Even if you did love Arlene Phillips fawning over the male contestants every week.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Happy hen night

Lou's hen night started off very civilised - afternoon tea at The Tea Box in Richmond, highly recommended. As you can see, she wasn't impressed when the feather boa and headgear emerged!

Luckily I failed to take any decent photos in The Roxy (I'm sure they'll appear on Facebook soon enough) but I haven't danced that much or had that much fun in ages. Might regret it when Logan wakes up in 4 hours time but for now I'm even weirdly enjoying the novelty of being on the night bus at 3 in the morning. I need to get out more!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Logan's latest foray into painting

It gets quite messy but it's lots of fun and it stops the tantrums for a while! I think it's meant to be a car.

Potato printing - it helps to have a Mum who's a nursery teacher! Think I enjoyed it more than Logan though.

...and leaf printing...

...and hand printing too!

Chasing bubbles

Nothing falls like London Rain

Got absolutely drenched on Tuesday, but the wall was quite pretty. Didn't make up for getting drenched though.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Stoopid Americans

So Middle America socked it to the president on Saturday, marching on Washington, banners in hand. Am I the only one who sees the ridiculousness of anti-immigrant rightwingers equating Obama with the Nazis? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Check me out on the Datablog!

I had a really busy day at work yesterday, most of it spent putting together a few blogposts for the Guardian's Datablog. It's quite exciting writing something directly to the web which you know people are actually going to read.

The first was a list of Patrick Swayze films and the money they made at the box office - hardly cutting edge news I know but interesting anyway. And the second was a post about crop circles, inspired by Google's crop circle doodle. Much more interesting and useful, and the data can definitely be manipulated to create some interesting mapping or diagrams (and not, as one commenter thinks, to run rampant over some poor farmer's field).

The crop circles even makes it to the top of the list on Google's news site, if you search for "crop circles" (well, almost to the top, but I can't begrudge a fellow Guardian post).

I did some work on the department spending post too, so I'm feeling pretty smug workwise.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Dancing with my baby

The happy couple

Mr and Mrs Wesley

Wedding day

Went to Mile and Cheryl's wedding just outside Southend yesterday, so much fun! Logan was brilliant during the ceremony, stayed really quiet. He made a few friends and stayed up late, but we left the dancing to Mark.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Did it!

A bit pink but otherwise ok. Crossed the line in 37 mins 17 secs, hurray! Allow me to be sentimental for just a second - there's something really empowering about so many women getting together to run and to raise money for charities.

I've raised 145 quid so far but my target is £250 so if you haven't sponsored me yet please help Asthma UK by going to now. Thank you! I'm off for a shower.

Ready to run

Wish me luck! At least it's not too hot for once.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Now I am 2

Happy birthday Logan!