Wednesday, 13 July 2011

We learn what is important to us (2)

'Keys' and 'door' weren't our actual first words, however. The first was 'dog' (with major emphasis on the second syllable). This was accompanied by the sign for dog, which helped me understand the word, although, to my shame, it took me ages to work out that he was doing the sign (dog panting). I thought he was hyperventilating with excitement at the thought. This marked the beginning of the 'Woody and Gemma' stalking phase - when we spent as much time as politely possible staring through a neighbour's window at their dogs. ('Dog', minus the sign, was a major word this past weekend when we visited Nanny and her new puppy).

The boy's second most popular sign is 'done', as in, 'I'm done' or 'I've had enough' (to be used at mealtimes). The little monkey, however, uses it at the start of a meal when he doesn't want whatever is on offer/just wants to play. Not that stops him hammering the message home by flinging food to the four quarters. Hopefully this behaviour is going to improve....

Other signs we have seen: 'bath, bird, duck, horse' (quite popular), 'cat', 'mouse', 'flower', 'rain', 'eat'.

The weekend at Nanny's heralded a few new words: 'hello', 'yellow' and 'stuck' (as in, 'hmm, this stair gate keeping me away from the dog is stuck'; 'the door to the dog's cage is stuck', 'this cupboard Daddy is leaning against so I can't get in it is stuck'). I think you get the idea.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

History girl lesson no.1

(which actually occurred last Friday during an unbelievably frustrating day at The National Archives, Kew)

What I knew before I started poking around on census websites: that my grandfather, John Hartland, had been born in 1900 or 1901. And the names of a few of his siblings. And, of course, the area in which the family lived.

What did a couple of hours poking around and a few £ spent gain me: a .pdf of the census return filled in for my great-grandfather, surprise, surprise another John Hartland in 1911. This was not the most efficient piece of research ever, it has to be said, and to rectify this, history girl will be attending a talk on using one of these websitey-dooburry genealogy things at the local library in a couple of weeks. She has limited time, and she is a rank amateur.

The census return did nothing to dispel her sense of guilt at being lower-middle, rather than working, class (a feeling she has always had - although her father worked hard to make that the case, giving due credit to the 1944 Butler Education Act and subsequent legislation as well, of course).

The contrast between great-grandfather and great-granddaughter seems stark. Both live in rented accommodation, granted. But history girl has more than one bedroom for her family of three. Whereas the 1911 Hartland forbears had 8 or 9 in the one bedroom (the uncertainty stems from the death of one of the children and when it occurred). Great-grandfather was a labourer (presumably preferable to the 'Night soil man' he was recorded as in 1901), rather than a wannabe academic. History girl claims to be generally able to spell (the curse of spell check notwithstanding); whereas great-grandfather misspelt his name, and clearly was unaccustomed to writing.

History girl goes back to school

I have spent many, many hours (willingly) listening to my Dad talking about his childhood, but it wasn't until more recently that I realised that he knew very little about his (and therefore my) family history. We're not talking ancestors of way back when here. The question marks start with the year his father was born. So, history girl, aka yours truly, moi, me myself, has decided to try and do some research, a little journey I plan to share with you. Not that I have a clue where to start. Modern history, what's that?!

Monday, 4 July 2011

We learn what is important to us

The boy's most recent words are 'door' and 'keys' which rather neatly sum up what he generally wants: to go outside. Door is not said once, but in an unending chant, as this morning. Although the allure of the front door was much diminished once it was clear that stepping through that portal was but a step closer to nursery.