Saturday 10 November 2012

Whealleans in the Wilderness

I've been resting up a bit today as we are going off to my mum's in Everton again this weekend and I didn't get a great deal of sleep last night.  Mum has bought us tickets to a 'do' at the Village Hall on Saturday night as well, so it will be a double outing for me.  Too much excitement!

I woke up early with the usual pain - aggravated by being sat on by the cat.  She was doing the "What's that Skippy?  The kids are trapped in the gold mine", type of pestering.  In other words she wanted something and wasn't going to take no for an answer.  Every time I pushed her off the bit that hurts on a more resilient part of me she just bustled back.  Of course I gave in eventually - she knows I will, that's why she does it.  She wanted her litter tray cleaning out and more food please!  It was 4am.

When I got back into bed I started reading a novel based in Sunderland that I'd got cheap (1p + p&p) from Amazon last week.  I hit on it when Googling 'Hendon Ropeworks' for my story about Amelia Hutton (nee Mordey), my 3x great grandmother.  It was 4am, I think I am allowed not to have to read Understanding the Politics of Heritage or Consuming History at that time in the morning.  (Though to be honest Consuming History is rather good ... lots of references to films and books and tv historians that I understand, always a good start.)

Anyway, back to Sunderland ... once I'd woken up a bit more I thought I see what Amelia's daughter (Amelia the younger) got up to after her mother died when she was only 17 years old.  You never know, it might make a novel, I thought, just like the book ...

Amelia the elder died in December 1860, leaving Amelia the younger apparently living with and acting as housekeeper to the lodger who had been with them for at least 10 years, James McMaster, Teacher of English (which as he was a Scot does make me wonder what sort of English he taught?).  After the 1861 census I have a huge gap in my knowledge (I could put any kind of dramatic 'orphan left to fend for herself' story in there) until Amelia the younger marries Thomas Davison Whealleans in 1870.  I do need to get the record of this marriage at some point, but I'm not keen on paying £9.25 to order it from the GRO online, so I'll wait until next time I'm in Sunderland or Durham and try to find it in the marriage registers.  Oddly for a woman (she's 27 by this time) from Sunderland she marries a Gamekeeper from Alwinton in the very north of Northumberland, so far north in England that parts of Scotland are further south that this town (village?).  There must be a story about going to work as a housekeeper or other domestic in the big house and being courted for years by the dashing gamekeeper (a bit Downton Abbey if you like that sort of thing).  In the 1871 census they are living at Otterburn Hall.

Otterburn Hall, recently a luxury hotel, from a news article about its closure
Thomas is the Head Gardener, Amelia is the Housekeeper and one of Thomas's younger sisters is the House Maid.  The 'family' don't appear to be in residence.

.... (continued the following day)

We are now in Everton, just waiting for it to be time to go out to the 'Buffalo Gals' at the village hall.  It seems we get a meal in with the show, mum has ordered my OH a veggie alternative, but I'm taking some chicken in a bun as there will be no Crohn's flare up friendly food.  Yesterday afternoon the hospital in Sheffield phoned to arrange an appointment for another colonoscopy, I took 3rd December as the first date they offered was the OH's birthday and I didn't think that was appropriate.  I'm currently eating white bread, potato, chicken, fish, and oat cakes.  Anything with fat seems to disagree, although well cooked bacon in white bread went down fine earlier in the week, I had a bad reaction to chicken spread (the sort in a little jar), green salad is definitely out as are peas, beans and lentils.  That's quite a lot of our usual diet (what with the OH being veggie) ruled out.

I'm not really in the mood for Amelia, so I'll finish it off another day, sorry.

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