Monday, 17 November 2014

I'm sorry I've been absent so long..

There were some quite huge family issues going on which seem to be getting better slowly so I'm taking a step back for my own health. With fibromyalgia I have learnt that I must respect and listen to my body as it has limitations now that I didn't imagine I would have.
I've been on two amazing trips, to Malaysia and Singapore and later to Athens which I haven't put the photos up but I will do that once I get the energy together to sort them out. I'm returning to Athens again shortly I hope as the warmer weather does help my fibromyalgia a lot.
I've been stitching on the days that my medications and pain levels allowed and have accomplished far more this year than I thought possible and have only 5 works in progress. Hard to believe that at one point I had 53!
I've bought back lots of good stash from my trips abroad, always make an effort to find something hand made, a stitchy shop and something crafty made in the country I am visiting.
I've also been given the craft goodies that belonged to Alan's mum, Lorna, and have been slowly working my way through unpacking these and putting them into my own collection. Lots of looks like it was packed somewhat carelessly or hurriedly. I am about half way through but being careful so nothing gets ruined or wasted.
The house and the garden both need some attention and I'm looking at getting someone in to help with the cleaning and someone to clear the garden.
Be back soon with another update and more information on Ancestor #1 Cecil Bertram James Hook including some photos that I was sent by my Auntie Pat.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

12 Ancestors - #1 Cecil Bertram James Hook

Cecil Bertram James Hook was my paternal grandfather. He was known as John. He was born on 7th December 1919 at 45 Meyrick Road, North End, Portsmouth. The house is a typical two up two down terrace.

He was the child of Walter Samuel Hook, 31, and Lucy Matilda Latter, 30. His father's occupation is Corporation Motorman on his birth certificate. At the time of his birth he had 5 siblings:
Elsie born 1911
Gladys born 1913
Sybil born 1914
Walter born 1917
Freda born 1918
He was followed by 9 more children:
Betty born 1921
Kenneth born 1923
Eric born 1925
Geoffrey born 1926
Alec born 1927
William born 1928
Leonard born 1929
Pamela born 1932
Robert born 1933
Walter, Kenneth, and Eric did not survive to adulthood.
He married Norah Patricia Johnson (known as Pat) in 1941 at Portsmouth Register Office. He was 21 and she was 24. They had two children: John born 1942; and Patricia born 1944. At the time of their marriage they were living at 5 Second Avenue, Cosham, Portsmouth and he was a labourer (fireman) at the P.A.D. Ordnance Depot in Portsmouth. Norah was a machinist at the HM Dockyard

This marriage broke down shortly after the birth of Patricia but I have been unable to find a divorce record to confirm the date. It costs about £65 to search for the divorce in the English Family Court.
 In 1955, at the age of 35, he married for a second time to Monica Marfleet who was 31.
By 1957 he was the landlord of the White Swan public house in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. He remained there until his death in 1973 at the age of 53.
He died on 29th July 1973 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury. His death certificate lists his occupation as "licensed victualler" of The White Swan, Walton Street, Aylesbury. The cause of death is listed as:
1a Intracerebral haemorrhage (stroke)
1b Low Prothombin efficiency (a clotting disorder)
1c Hepatic failure (liver failure)  
No known photos of him exist as he was estranged from my grandmother and it is thought she destroyed all his photos.

Athens Day 11 - Changing of the Guard & Amalia Gardens

The blog post for my last day in Athens has been a long time coming.

 Another beautiful sunny morning and the glorious view from the hotel window.

 Found this quaint church tucked under the corner of a modern building. I think it was a museum rather than a church now but amazing that it has survived under the 1970s concrete monolith above.

 So tempted to ring the bell, but somehow think that might have gotten me in trouble!

 More artwork on shop shutters.

 On to the changing of the guard at the Parliament building near Syntagma Square

 The guards are called Evzones, they are often selected for the Presidential Guard during basic training as they need to be 1.86m (just over 6'1" tall)

 They are wearing the winter uniform of Navy Blue, the summer uniform is light khaki.

 They perform the standard steps but in a slower and more stylized fashion.

 After standing out in the sun on what felt like a warm English summer day we went to Amalia Gardens next to the Parliament building to find some shade.

 Caught a glimpse of the Evzones heading back to their barracks after the changing of the guard.

 Notice on the gates of Amalia Gardens, glad we visited this time as when we go back later in the year they will be closed to the public to keep out protestors during the Greek presidency of the EU.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Athens Day 10 - Kentimata Katerina & a return to the Stitchy Shop

Weather on our last day was amazing. We set out to Kato Patissio on the metro in search of a shop that sold embroideries.
At Monastiraki station, waiting for the train to Kifissia. Excellent signs that tell you everything you need to know in Greek and English.
Getting better at taking selfies!

Mind The Gap! (I imagine this in the same voice as on the London Underground)

Arrived at Kato Patissia.

Valentine's seemed a big thing, but only in florists and bakeries. I didn't see any card shops in all my wanderings.

And then we found Kentimata Katerina - a shop I  had seen advertised in one of the crafty magazines. It was full of completed embroideries, all household linens and soft furnishings as is common in Greece. When we got there an older gentleman was minding the shop. He did not speak any English but called his son Nico, who spoke a little English, to translate. When Nico arrived he advised the shop was his mother's and that she would be along shortly.

 Many gorgeous embroideries were laid out for our admiration by the owner Katerina. There were modern pieces and some old pieces - I could understand "antica"

On the way to other stitching shop we came across an abundance of taxi showrooms. Who could have imagined you would need so many places selling taxis in one city? And all on one street? But this is typical of Athens, shopping is a little like a game of snap, find one shop of a kind and you are sure to find a similar shop within a short walk.

Interesting statue found on the way to the other stitchy shop.


Small cars are very popular in Athens, particularly Smart Cars. And even if it isn't a Smart Car,  you do see some very "smart" parking.


And some vehicles that shouldn't even be on the road.


Some awesome graffiti, making use of a hole in some plasterwork...


and turning it into a beautiful bird.

A half completed apartment block co-opted by a scrap dealer. Each balcony level had a different collection of car parts.

Interesting architecture.

 Amazing doorway.
Finally we arrived back at the stitchy shop I had found on Day 8 and this time I took some pictures of the inside to share with you all. 
DMC threads of various kinds, and some ready made items like tablecloths and towels.

Stitch band of various kinds


Anchor and DMC cottons

Fabric to drool over, here is the owner cutting some red/natural gingham for me.

And an amazing collection of various bands of fabric, mostly linen or evenweave, and in the most glorious colours.

More smart parking.

And a Smart Car that's had smarter days.

An ancient Opel Kadett, in 70s orange.

Gorgeous skies and some quirky places on the way back.

View from the roof garden.

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