Wednesday, March 29, 2017

People. People who need people ...

As Barbra Streisand sang many years ago: "People.   People who need people, are the luckiest people in the World."

I am therefore by definitions of this song, a very lucky girl.

My trip to England was all about connecting with family; and what a wonderful family it is !


I toured country roads near Bury St. Edmunds with Gordon and Theresa seeking out places where our ancestors lived and died.   

Theresa had packed a delicious picnic lunch which we ate while staring at pastoral fields and after tramping about we even managed to make it to a pub.  Ya gotta go to a pub; right ?

Theresa, my cousin Gordon and me

In London, Dave took me on a wander around a marvellous park created on re-claimed land.

A living shelter

Observation ports to look out at the bird life 

Later we joined nephew Andrew for dinner.

In Bath I visited the Bath Postal Museum which Aunt Audrey and Uncle Harold founded back in 1979.

                                  Audrey posing with a cutout of Uncle Harold
                               directing visitors down the stairs to the Museum
Yes.  It's a "Pigeongramme" !

Evenings were spent poring over a dizzying array of family photos.

From Bath, Mike and Sylvie drove us to visit a magnificent castle in Wales.  We crossed a bridge and probably drove a mere 5 km into Wales; but still I can say that I visited Wales.

Since we were in the area we dropped in on older brother Rob and his wife Pippa in Bristol and they treated us to a genuine English tea complete with delicious scones.   


And I mustn't forget to mention the marvellous day we had visiting Frank and the gardens and greenhouses he maintains.


Fascinating fence walls.  

Frank inspecting the seedlings in one of the greenhouses.

After exploring the grounds we headed to nearby The Connie's Tea Room for lunch.

I've only been back two weeks and miss all these marvellous people already.   

And you wanna know a secret ?

I'm already planning a trip back there next Spring !    Do you blame me ?

P.S.   Would you believe there are two people still missing from this post ?  Apologies to Josie and Kae.  Still looking for photos of us  ...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Distilled memories.

Just ten days since my return from England and I am already missing the place and at the same time am trying to sort out everything I did.

In my previous post I included everything I did in London in one lump as if I had done it all at the same time, rather than at the beginning and the end of my trip.  In other words, I took liberties.

Perhaps I should post everything in the order it happened...London, Bath, Bristol, Wales, Exmouth, London, Bury St. Edmunds then back to London, but I get tired just thinking about doing it that way.

OK let me try the thematic approach.  Why did I go to England in the first place ?  (You ask.)

This trip was all about family.  My mom and dad have both been gone almost ten years, though I must confess that mom is showing up in my mirror many mornings on a rather alarming basis.  I felt a deep need to reinforce connection with my English roots.

Though I went to visit the family that I already know and love --  the Swindells and Butchers -- I also went to learn about family roots and surprisingly, meet new  family.

Louise, me, and her marvellous daughter, Phoebe 
Louise and I belonged to a FaceBook genealogy group that was devoted to researching the Tupman side of my family tree.

I still recall the day when the moderator of the group pointed out that Louise and I were related as our grandfathers were brothers.  And so it began ... 

That's my grandfather, Bertie James standing in back and Louise's grandfather Stanley George on the right.

Somehow we went from very occasional FaceBook chats and comments to me saying:  "Hey, I'm coming to England.  Can I stay at your house?"  and that basically was that.

Except that these "total strangers" put me up in a wonderful hotel overlooking the mouth of the River Exe !

The tide on its way out.
Palm trees.
 Together we sought out houses where family once lived.

Primrose Cottage with the thatched roof -- and it's for sale.
Hartley Cottage where our Great Great Grandfather Edward George Tupman lived -- and it too was for sale !

and we visited church yards.  Dear Louise even brought flowers to place on graves. 

Louise and her son visited the graves of her parents.

Later she and Kieran and I set out to see if we could find more Tupman headstones.

And we did.

And we learned that Ruth and Kate lived at Primrose Cottage !

We found several headstones but it wasn't always easy to read them.  I wish I'd taken blank newsprint and charcoal for making rubbings so I could read things more easily.

We didn't just explore church yards; we walked the hills,

and ate meals in,

Louise prepared a wonderful dinner

 and ate meals out.

And pretty much bonded in three days.

Can you believe I'm already dreaming about what I'd do on my next visit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Just yesterday ...

Just yesterday morning I woke up in London.  

This morning I woke up in Nova Scotia.

It's the oddest feeling.   I'm accustomed to going to sleep and waking up in the same bed, room, town, province and country day after day.   Waking up in different beds, rooms, towns and a different country for 14 days is a mite over whelming.

The purpose of my two-week stay in England was to visit relatives I have there; the many, many wonderful relatives I have there.

Whilst there, I went to London ...

You ignore the "Look Right / Look Left" signs at your own peril.   

Big Ben and the London Eye; each an iconic symbol of the city.

Now that I'm mentally processing the trip I realize why I'm so gosh, darn tired.

Not only did I visit Steve and Dave and Kamala and Audrey and Frank and Mike and Sylvie and Rob and Pippa and Louise and Phoebe and Kieran,

but I also popped into the National Gallery for a jaw-dropping wander,

and took in  the view of the city from the 10th floor of the Tate Modern Museum, 

I strolled past Buckingham Palace, 

toured Churchill's wartime bunker which has remained unchanged since they locked the door and walked away leaving everything intact at the end of the war. 

I tramped around Hyde Park and Regent's Park, 

visited 221b Baker Street and the Beatles store,

and that's just the stuff I did in London.

Did I mention I visited Bath, Exmouth and Bury St. Edmunds too ? 

You'll have to stay tuned for that bit.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


I'm always on the lookout for amusing or surprising signs.


Potentially life saving information.  

Twelve times !
Well.   Does it or doesn't it 

For several years I was always on the lookout for these signs as they meant
that the TV show "Haven" was filming in the area
Provocative sign by the gate to the Old Burying Ground on Barrington Street
I love that a cat ran for mayor on the spay / neuter platform

Guess where this sign is.
On the side lines of our Pride Parade a few years back.  

Near Blue Rocks.

Few people know that the World's only government documented UFO
siting was here Nova Scotia.

Bilingual English / Gaelic sign in Cape Breton
I look forward to the day when these signs aren't needed

Jack Layton's parting words to us.  We need his counsel more than ever before.