You are reading Page 38 of Bob's Blog/diary/dream/story/journey/novelistic memoir.
He is 84 years old and counting!
This is a friendly Red Admiral butterfly perched on a friendly finger.
Not a Clothes Moth.
The 'barbers pole' antennae are amazing.
Wednesday 9th August 2023.
I'd like to have a chat about solving our global energy problem, I haven't mentioned it for quite a while now. Over the years millions, probably billions have been spent on developing the most unbelievably ridiculous monstrosities that are supposed to generate power from wave, tide and gravity. In order to attract funding for all these monstrosities the academic community have to apply theories and numbers to prove that they work. The results of all this time, effort and money are now out there for all to see, mesmerise and wonder at, but do they have a hope in hell of solving the problem? I suggest that all that money, time and effort would have been better spent elsewhere.
Todays headlines include the result of a multi million pound global study that recommends walking to work!
And the next time your wooden knob falls off your cupboard door don't panic all you have to do is pop a half a matchstick in the hole and screw it back on again.
Thursday 10th August 2023.
Yesterday's blog sounds a bit like sour grapes, which means you want something but you can't have it. I guess that about sums it up Hartley. The senior cod and chips and mushy peas from Deep Blue, Cobham yesterday was something I could have and was great. While I was waiting for the chips to fry beautiful people with beautiful bodies were in and out of next door by the dozen, it's a keep fit establishment. Sour grapes? Today, in order to rediscover my beautiful body, I'm going to attempt 10,000 steps on the 715 to Surbiton.
Friday 11th August 2023.
10,000 steps yesterday didn’t happen because my new toy arrived from eBay. It’s a cassette player that converts your old tapes into mp3 but I don’t know what mp3 is so I was hoping that it would play the tapes through my music centre (which has a cassette player but it’s packed up). It didn’t. That is until I cannibalised a couple of old jack plugs from old earphones, stripped the wires, connected the plugs together and bingo, now I can listen to Karen Carpenter all day long. 10,000 quick steps and foxtrots around the back room dreaming is far more beneficial than risking being flattened by a truck or a Chelsea tractor don’t you think? An 85 year old partner would be good!
Saturday 12th August 2023.
TONITE in my diary is 'Open Mic Nite' at The Oxshott Club but for me it’s 10,000 steps there and back (sadly I don’t trust myself driving in the dark anymore and I haven’t got any lights on my bike) so, if my regular reader would like a free Babycham perhaps she might like to pick me up in her Morris Minor. No pressure. So far this week I’ve been informed of another three old acquaintances have sadly passed on, mind you they were all well into their 70’s!
PS I think my regular reader lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Sunday 13th August 2023.
My regular reader did pop over in her soft top Morris Minor and ran me over to The Oxshott Club. We danced the night away, she then ran me back home via Brighton with the top down. I then woke up.
By the way if you ever want to change the brake fluid reservoir on a 1955 Morris Minor, the bolts that need to be removed can't be removed because the front suspension torsion bar is in the way. So, you have to dismantle the front suspension before you can replace the brake fluid reservoir. A great design! Just thought I'd mention it.
Same spot on the kerb 1962
A 1933 MG J1 Salonette.
If you need to do an emergency stop - forget it.
Wish I still had it!
Same spot on the kerb 1966.
A 1959 Riley 1.5 - no complaints.
Monday 14th August 2023.
Too much nostalgia, apologies. Instead of trying to change the world and dreaming I've decided to try to keep fit. Also do a bit more family research. Mostly only of interest to my family but you never know where it might lead.
Fortunately I have conventional (married) parents and conventional (married) grandparents all of which I knew. Amongst my 8 great grandparents, none of which I knew (obviously) was Annie Josephine Byrne (or Burne) born in 1854 in Dublin who was married to Great Grandfather John Jones a brickmaker at Oxshott Brickworks. Sadly she died in Oxshott in 1891 leaving great grandfather to bring up 3 young children. They lived in 'The Brambles' (now 36) Little Heath Lane. Apparently Annie is buried in Cobham Cemetery. How did they meet? Who were her family? And what was her story are the questions. I might even get my DNA done! Thanks to my cousin Brian in Toronto for doing the above initial research.
Tuesday 15th August 2023.
If you wish to participate in this research please feel free. 'Find My Past' and 'Ancestry' are available free at all Surrey Libraries. Don't forget all facts have to be checked.
The 1891 census tells us that 'The Brambles' (now 36) Littleheath Lane was home to John Jones, age 40 (my great grandfather) Brickmaker, Annie (Anne?) Jones age 37 and their 3 children, John Percy (later known as Jack my grandfather) age 6, Agnes Anne age 2 and Daisy age 6 months. I have many vivid memories of 'The Brambles' as my grandparents were still living there during my childhood in the 40's and 50's. Amazingly our son Daniel is a gardener and looks after the garden as I write. A couple of years ago the new owners kindly invited us to look around. It had been greatly extended and a swimming pool added in the garden but inside the 'atmosphere' was still there.
On September 7th 1891, sadly, Annie Josephine at the age of only 37 died. What was the cause of her death? And were there any Newspaper reports at the time? The only Newspaper in the area at the time was probably The Surrey Comet based in Kingston so unlikely that there is any record but needs to be checked. (The Esher News was first published in 1935.)
In December 1892 Great Grandfather John married Eliza Pullen from Ockham but how did the children take it? Was there any remaining connection to Annie's family in Dublin? I'm off to check Plot No. 847 at Cobham Cemetery where, according to Brian's research, Annie is listed as buried. I might pick a few blackberries while I'm there and maybe even pop in for a pint at The Running Mare!
Wednesday 16th August 2023.
The 1891 census also tells us that all the children were born in Stoughton near Guildford so they must have moved to Little Heath Lane sometime during 1891. There is/was a barracks in Stoughton and the garrison town of Aldershot is not far away so was there a military connection? My trip to the cemetery only produced a bowl of juicy blackberries but hopeful my email to Elmbridge Borough Council Cemetery Department will produce some results. My visit to The Running Mare resulted in a pint of TEA and an omen. On the wall underneath the candelabra was an inscription, it said 'In memory of Bob'!
Thursday 17th August 2023.
My brief visit to the library to access 'Find my Past' produced the possibility that Annie was baptised in Rathmines which is an area on the south side of Dublin. It also produced the possibility that Annie and John weren't married which raises all sorts of questions but that needs to be checked. Apparently my grandfather did have a reputation of being a bit of a b,,,,,,
I have also discovered that the death certificate for Annie is available from The GRO Office for £11 but that's two pints of TEA at The Running Mare so I'll have to think about it!
You will appreciate that I have to keep my remaining brain cell busy otherwise it's death by senility. And with that in mind I can report that my invention to change the world is being considered.
Friday 18th August 2023.
My slightly longer visit to The Library produced more questions than answers. According to a Burial Register for Cobham in 1891 Annie Josephine Jones, age 37 when she died, was living at Knowle Hill which is a large house about half a mile away. I'm pretty sure that Knowle Hill was owned by John Early Cook, great grandfather's employer at The Brickyard.
The 1891 census, which was probably taken in the Spring, shows her living at ‘The Brambles’ so why was her 'Abode' at Knowle Hill when she died? After the first and second world wars Knowle Hill was used as a ’Home of Recovery’ but not in 1891 (I think). Had Annie left her husband and the children? The mind boggles. Despite an exhaustive search still no sign of a marriage certificate yet she uses the name Jones?
BURIAL REGISTER COBHAM 1891
Saturday 19th August 2023.
I think I ought to explain that a pint of TEA in this part of the world is Traditional English Ale brewed by The Hogs Back Brewery which is on The Hogs Back, a range of hills between Farnham and Guildford that looks like a hogs back (i.e. if you are at the controls of a Piper Cherokee at 2000ft). At this point in time it costs £5.50 a pint in The Running Mare which is outrageous but according to Jimmy the Fish from Lowestoft he paid £10 for a pint back 'hoom', that's Norfolk for home so be thankful.
I also ought to explain that The Running Mare lies half way between 'hoom' and the cemetery so my daily mid day jog to the cemetery to try to find Annie Josephine's grave sometimes might take a bit longer than usual. I can also report that I have ordered a copy of Annie Josephine's death certificate which hopefully will explain a thing or two.
My AI (amazing invention) continues to be ignored by the global academic community, not even an acknowledgement, which tells me that it can't fail to be developed - one day.
I know that you are all getting really interested in Annie Josephine's story so I'll show you the 1891 Census for Little Heath Lane, Cobham. It is likely that they are in a 'Brickfield Cottage' further up the lane at this point.
Assuming this census was taken in the spring it shows John Jones (my great grandfather, Brickmaker, Annie Jones (married?), John Percy (Jack) my grandfather aged 6 and his two sisters. Annie died on September 7th that year.
Sunday 20th August 2023.
Another trip to the cemetery yesterday produced another bag of blackberries but not much else. I've decided to get my DNA done via My Heritage as it's only £35, offer ending today. A bargain?
Monday 21st August 2023.
We are now lucky to have our celebrated local historian Mr Michael Crute on the case. Mike has produced many detailed histories of the Oxshott area (including a fascinating history of The Oxshott 'Mens' Club). Mike is a 'Terrier' for facts and figures and has already sent me newspaper articles confirming the history of our local philanthropist and benefactor John Early Cook. The articles confirm that amongst his many achievements he started The Oxshott Brick Company and built the original house at Knowle Hill where our Annie was when she died.
Mike has also discovered Annie residing/working as an 'Attendant' at a large establishment, probably a hospital in Lancashire in the 1881 census. So, for Annie the next 10 years is going to be a bit of a roller coaster, find a husband, move to Oxshott, have 3 children and death.
Tuesday 22nd August 2023.
Mike has found the Institution where Annie was working. It is The 'Lancashire County Lunatic Asylum' at Whittingham near Preston, there were 6 of them and apparently Whittingham was the largest. Poor young 26 year old Annie. How long was she there? When did she leave? And how did she meet my great grandfather John from Shere? They must have met somewhere along the line otherwise I, and a few others, wouldn't be here.
While I'm still here I decided to continue painting the back of the house yesterday. It was a bit knackering but I didn't die. Talking about lunatics I sent details of my amazing invention to a number of consulting engineers for appraisal but I've heard nothing, I expect they took one look at it and decided the designer was a lunatic. Moonstruck?
Wednesday 23rd August 2023.
Today I can confirm (I'm pretty sure) that my great grandparents John and Annie were married. I've found an Anney Byrne married at Epsom in the second quarter of 1882, confirmation that she married a John Jones can only be achieved by spending another two pints of TEA on the certificate. So, all you out there who thought my grandfather was a b........ are mistaken, I think. You will, of course, realise that this meticulous research takes a certain amount of persistence, dogged determination and analytical thinking that can only come with 84 years of training. It would seem that the meeting between John and Annie took place sometime towards the end of 1881. I have written to ‘The Lancashire Lunatic Asylum Archives’ for any information they may have about our Annie.
If it turns out that John and Annie were married at Epsom Registry Office in 1882 then, amazingly, a certain Bob and Marcia were also married there 84 years later in 1966, how **** extra ordinary is that? PS My grandfather, also John but known as Jack, was born in 1885 so no worries there!
I've just been informed that it's 'Curry-Oke' night at The Oxshott Club next Saturday. Curry juice available at the bar!
Thursday 24th August 2023.
Despite the excitement I'm afraid that John and Annie weren't married at Epsom Registry Office (even if it existed in those days which it probably didn't) in fact it's beginning to look like they weren't married at all. John calls himself a 'Widower' on his second marriage certificate but I think that maybe a bit of an untruth. Mike's view is that she came down from Liverpool to work for John Early Cook at his home in Knowle Hill House, John Jones 'swept her of her feet' but couldn’t, or wasn’t able to marry her because she was Catholic. So, the search for the truth continues.
If you were searching for a suspicious looking character hanging around Oxshott Woods yesterday you would have been successful.
Friday 25th August 2023.
After 60 years apart Charles and Hartley finally decided to get together. Charles had picked Hartley up in his 1955 split screen, soft top Morris Minor and driven her down to Eastbourne. A favourite for both of them. Strolling along the promenade looking for benches with their names on they both became aware of the beautiful sunset. There was 7 oktas of high cloud but just enough gaps to allow the evening glow to illuminate the tops of the cumulus and scatter a pink hue all around. They were both far away in their thoughts. Charles slowly began to realise that the beautiful sunset was was being played out in the east instead of the west where the sun usually sets. Had the Earth suddenly decided to spin the other way? What was going on? Charles immediately checked his compass on his iPhone, sure enough the sun was setting at 090 degrees and not 270 degrees. Slowly, very slowly it began to ‘dawn’ upon Charles that perhaps it could be the Moon Rise and not the Sun Set. Ten minutes later the Moon appeared from the wings settled centre stage and sent a message to Charles.
'Together, with your Oceans we are horizontal gravity' was the message.
Charles understood immediately and incorporated the message in his amazing invention. The plaintive cries of the seagulls echoing around their favourite hotel didn't disturb Charles or Hartley, they slept soundly in their twin beds, holding hands.
Saturday 26th August 2023.
Hartley felt sorry for Charles, she knew perfectly well that he had only invited her to Eastbourne because he wanted to see the Airshow (including The Red Arrows) but when he discovered from a bus driver that the airshow happened LAST weekend Charles was in disbelief. He had booked the wrong weekend. Charles had never made that mistake before, ever. He tried to look nonchalant but was obviously extremely annoyed with himself. Thunder, lightening and the sight of pigeons happily cooking themselves in the hotel air conditioning vent outside the window only added to Charles’ annoyance.
Following a healthy breakfast the next morning the idea of walking 3 miles to the top of Beachy Head and back was out of the question for a couple of eighty plus year olds, but, nevertheless it happened, in some style. The reward was a pint in The Pilot, sandwiches from Tesco and a Knickerbocker Glory. Well deserved! A couple of Spitfires did appear over Beachy Head on a number of occasions no doubt to placate Charles. Hartley was content chatting to those on the other side.
More importantly a message from Kai at ‘The Lancashire Lunatic Asylum Archives’ tells us that our Annie Byrne worked as an Attendant from 26th June 1877 until 13th January 1881. More detail maybe forthcoming but the search for the meeting and marriage to John continues.
Sunday 27th August 2023.
It's become obvious to me that nobody is paying attention otherwise you would have picked up the fact that if Annie had left the Whittingham Lunatic Asylum on 13th January 1881, why was she listed as still working there when the census was taken on 3rd April 1881? Are the Asylum records wrong? Or is the census wrong? My guess is that the Asylum records are wrong which just goes to show that family research is frustrating.
Also, the fact that in 1881 Godalming became the first town in England to have its streets illuminated by electric light (hydroelectrically generated) was also missed. Did this have anything to do with it? And more importantly were the lights in Godalming in 1881 powered by the River Wey or the tides? All these questions need answers.
Monday 28th August 2023.
Of course we could have the wrong Annie but I don't think so, her age listed on the Asylum records is correct also working in the Liverpool area on her way to Oxshott from Dublin would be entirely feasible don't you think?
It's been around 65 years since I did any torque calculations but I've just compared my amazing invention with a large wind turbine, the largest subsea tidal turbine and a Formula 1 car. Torque used to be measured in foot pounds but now it's newton metres but any which way my amazing invention outperforms all of them by a very large margin. I could do the calculations Hartley but I don't think you would understand, which I can totally understand. Between you and me I'm not sure I do either but love your 'The Oak the Elm and the Ash'.
Also between you and me I've found a company that are going to develop my amazing invention but they don't know it yet. Hope you enjoyed the trip to Eastbourne, we'll do it again sometime, next time in my Riley 1.5.
Tuesday 29th August 2023.
I made a deliberate spelling mistake a few days ago expecting someone to pick me up on it but nobody did, that tells me that nobody reads this riveting blog or those that do can't spell either. The word was 'hew' which should have been 'hue'. 'Hew' means chop a tree down and 'hue' means subtle shades of colour such as you get in Eastbourne Sunsets or Moonrises.
Advertising stuff you don't want these days opens you up to all sorts of idiots, lunatics and time wasters, especially on Gumtree don't you think? But what can you do? Don't answer that.
There might be more cheerful news tomorrow when I get back from another funeral.
Wednesday 30th August 2023.
It's sad that somebody has to die before setting the stage for reunions, reminiscences, reliving old times, your past life coming back to haunt you through the eyes of old friends, acquaintances and their young families but such was the case yesterday. It was good to know Pete, a true gentleman. RIP Pete. Condolences to all your family. And by the way Pete I understand that you will be scattering your ashes in the same place I will be scattering mine, see you there.
Thursday 31st August 2023.
I'm reading another book. Another one by Iris Murdoch. The first one was 'The Sea, The Sea', it's about a pompous old actor called Charles and his doomed relationship with Hartley. This one is called 'The Black Prince', it's about a pompous old writer called Bradley and his doomed attempts at changing the world so I better get on with writing it, sorry reading it!
Thanks for reading Page 38 of Bob's Blog/diary/dream/story/journey/novelistic memoir.
He is 84 years old and counting!
You can now, if you wish enjoy Page 39.