Friday, 14 November 2014

Not a Moment to Myself These Days!

*space bar on my laptop is sticking, so apologies for any run together words!*

Since August I have been so busy with work for the Barnsley War Memorials Project, and happily so well (relatively), that I haven't had a moment to myself to write a blog post.  
This blog began two years ago as a way of talking to the larger world about my problems and my ambitions.  Well, one of my ambitions is over - I have now finished at the Open University as their fees are ridiculous.  I achieved another degree, not that I really wanted or needed it, I would rather have just had the option to continue dipping in and out of the OU modules as it suited me for the rest of my life.  I am still disabled ... well that wasn't going to change whatever the government think, but apart from my knees (and that's a story in itself) and a tendency to frequent visits to the toilet when I'm tired and worn out, I'm mostly coping with that OK now.  I have a hobby that keeps me busy, at home, on the computer and with once a week trips to Barnsley Archives to meet a friend for a change of scenery and the occasional glass of Pinot Grigio.
I still have no income, unless you count £35 a month from the talks I give, although I see that more as expenses for the travel, books, photocopies and sheer time it takes me to put a talk together.  Apparently, according to Barnsley Museum's new guidelines I am a business though, so they currently can't display my leaflets, leaving me with few outlets to advertise my willingness to give talks!  Circular or what?
S70 4HX on Right Move
We still haven't sold the other house, the OH spends so much time at work, or at the other house or just busy with CAMRA stuff that I am beginning to feel unmarried ... we are just about to change estate agents for the second time.  In three years only one couple has been to visit the house and they were friends of the OH.  It's a nice house, 3 bedrooms, sitting room with Adam style fireplace and sliding doors to balcony, proper shower and a bath, modern oak doored kitchen (built in oven, ceramic hob) adjoining dining room with built in floor to ceiling bookshelves, deceptively spacious (the photo really doesn't do it justice), and it's got a garage which is an unusual thing so close to a town centre.  Only 15 minutes walk from Barnsley Railway Station, shops, pubs and takeaways nearby, nice compact low maintenance mature garden, with strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries and tayberries!  

Ok, advert over!

So how come I've got time to write a blog post today?  Well, firstly I'm still in bed.  After the busy week I've just had my knees have decided to quit!  I dislocated my left knee twice in three weeks recently and it took much longer to go back into place the second time.  As I result I've been walking with a stick for a while.  Of course limping puts extra stain on the other leg and after three talks, a book launch and the usual trip to the Archives this week they have now told me they want a rest.  Secondly, due to the three talks mentioned above now having occurred I am having a little breather before I get back to work creating web pages for the Barnsley War Memorials Project (mostly war memorial gravestones) and researching the soldiers on my own chosen war memorials, St Lukes, Worsborough Common and St John's Barebones.  

My St John's Community on Lives of the First World War
I have been creating communities on Lives of the First World War - I do find this quite soothing, the satisfaction of finding the soldiers and flagging them up as "Remembered" and attaching them to a Community so other people can see who belongs with who.  LFFW got off to a rocky start as far as I could see, unless you were already an experienced family or military historian the original interface was very daunting.  However a recent change, adding the Timeline view, has fixes a lot of the problems with making the site easy to understand, I think.  There are a lot more prompts to help casual visitors add stories and images and the chronological layout as you add more and more information encourages you and makes the soldier's story easy to follow. 

Part of James A Warden's Timeline
*I have just had to swap to Internet Explorer to edit this post as Firefox was doing all kinds of odd things - it might have been my fault - I tried to paste a picture directly into the post - silly me!*

As a beta tester, and for allowing IWM to use my Communities in their publicity and as a 12 month subscriber to Find My Past I have collected over two year's free managerial access to LFWW.  This allows me to create and manage Communities, search and view premium content and that's about it really.  Given that anyone can add an external link to another pay per view site or add documentary evidence of any other kind to prove the facts about the soldiers to only real benefit to paying (if you already have a subscription to Ancestry or the Genealogist say) is the ability to make Communities.  So pay £6 for a month, do it quick and then don't pay again unless you find you need to add a lot more people to your community I suggest.

If I can set up Communities for the other volunteers of the Barnsley War Memorials Project, or in the case of the new Worsbrough Dale book, based on existing publications, then non-subscribers will be able to find their relatives more easily based on which area the man came from ... that's my plan. 

So I have a Community for Cudworth and one for Worsborough Common and one for Monk Bretton for example.  I just keep linking the men in, the fallen and the survivors, whenever one comes to my attention.

I really need to send a couple of emails today as well, but I'm prevaricating about that - shouldn't do really.  And a book might turn up in the Amazon Locker in our local Co-op later today, and I need to buy a Chronicle - which reminds me that I'm weeks behind on taking the cuttings from the Chron.  And I'm booked for a talk in December which I haven't really thought about yet.  Oh drat ... too much stuff. 

Better go and do something useful.