Friday, September 22, 2017

"There is nothing left of the Equinox ...

... because the Precession has proceeded according to precedent" accompanied by equinoctial gales.  Yesterday was a horrible day and I was almost blown off my feet when I went downstairs to check my mailbox.  Thank goodness my computer client had opted out of her lesson or I would have had to battle the gale to get to Victoria Park and back.  There is no shelter from the wind at the railway stations and the wind screams down the rails with nothing to block its path.  It would be nice to think that more sheltered stations could be built but Claremont Station is heritage listed and the Cottesloe station is simply a roof over a few seats and is wide open to both prevailing winds; the easterly in the morning and the sea breeze (Fremantle Doctor) in the afternoon.

Instead of doing battle with the weather I decided to try my hand at spindling.  I have eight spindles and have never learnt to use them.  With a wheel and an electronic spinner I have never been motivated to do so but would like to be able to expand my repertoire at my knitting group as an excuse to use the spindles. 

There is a great deal of useful information on U-Tube on how to spindle and I now have the general idea and can actually produce a yarn  -  very unevenly  -  but have not mastered winding on so it needs some work before I can be in any way proficient and I have a nasty feeling that my sore thumbs will stop me in my tracks.  I am using a support spindle but wondering if I might do better with a drop spindle.  I have a nice little Turkish spindle which is almost small enough to slip into a handbag.

Meanwhile I am getting very zoological with my knitting.  Currently I am knitting a lacy scarf from Corriedale wool and Samoyed dog hair and a sweater from yarn comprising Merino wool and possum hair.  The dog hair is not easy to knit as the yarn fluctuates wildly between very fine and thick clumps (one of my early attempts at carding done about 45 years ago) and the possum sweater is easy to knit but the colour looks dreadful under fluorescent lights so I am going to have to be careful where I wear it.

Yesterday someone posted a photo on Facebook of a crocheted toilet seat cover which has been received with much mirth.  I certainly do not intend to do anything so gross but one Japanese contributor said that in Japan, in winter people slip woolly socks over the seat.  I have a feeling that the problem has been overcome in Japan with warmed seats, water jets and warm air.

Now that we are officially into Spring, hopefully the weather will warm up a bit but at least I have reverse cycle A/C which I need because my apartment faces South and gets no sun and the sea breeze comes screaming in from the South Pole every afternoon  -  lovely in summer but not so nice in winter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Like Drawing Teeth

I was going to title this entry "Like trying to draw blood from a stone" but I know that is impossible and in this case I know that the information is there but not forthcoming so I have had to go to any sources I can find for the information.

What I am trying to find is family records from some of my closest relatives  -  first cousins.  I was told that J. is the Family Historian so I figured that she was the person to ask.  However, all I managed to squeeze from her was that she has three children and five grandchildren.  I have spent the last week searching Trove (archived newspapers) and a related family tree which I have and which in J.'s case is wrong as it shows four children.  I know that she has twin sons but one of the twins is called "saw" (Lower case so the person compiling the tree was obviously uncertain).  The other son has a different birth date and I am not sure which of her two sons has been given the correct birth date and which is a fabrication

I have also managed to find birth dates and places for J. and her two siblings by going through the Family Notices in the archived newspapers but that is time consuming.  I have just emailed her with all the data I now have and asked her for additions and corrections but I am not holding my breath.  She might be a historian but she is certainly not a genealogist and the two are really all part of the same equation so I am wondering what history she is researching.

I have the telephone number of a second cousin who is supposedly a genealogist but he is in his mid-eighties and is not computer literate and is very reclusive.  I met his two siblings at my mother's funeral but gather that they are now dead and I am reluctant to telephone him simply to ask when his brother and sister died so I have simply entered their deaths as "after" and entered the date of my mother's death.

I am back to doing yoga five times per week and feeling much better for it and I have resumed the "fast diet" because my weight has started to edge up.  I am finding this rather hard and will probably do so until my body gets used to it again.  I have never found it particularly hard before; it is mostly just keeping busy and drinking extra coffee if things start going tough.

The possum sweater is progressing slowly and I am knitting a lacy scarf from some very, very old spinning where I blended dog hair with the wool and dyed it pink.  The dog hair didn't blend in evenly or pick up the dye so it is definitely in the novelty yarn category and is ideal for a lacy scarf.  So far it looks very pretty and being mostly holes it is a quick knit and a nice change from the sweater which is serious knitting.  I intend to modify the pattern to give the sweater a cowl neckline so fingers crossed that it will work out.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Revisting old times

My original online name was Minerva and when I started playing the Douglas Adams computer game 'Starship Titanic' it got shortened to minnie and then, as a reflection of the song Lily the Pink it became minnie the pink.  When I wanted to make my nationality clear I became minnie the pink Ozcat which has morphed into pinkozcat.

I decided to see if there was anything left of SST so I googled
minnie the pink + Starship Titanic and found a heap of posts from the forum.  I also discovered that I can download the game for under $8 Australian and it works with Windows 10.  I am tempted!  I still have the book with all the hints which I collected after I became a Captain and stayed to help those who were still working through the game so I could probably play it again if the mood moved me.

I am re-knitting my pink possum sweater.  I realised that I was knitting a  size (or two) too big and luckily I had not progressed too far.  It will now be about 5cm bigger than the Chunderup sweater which fits well but going down another size will make it a fraction tight and I do not want to undo it again and start again with smaller needles .  I am in no hurry to finish it as the weather is finally warming up and the sweater may be too warm for this climate even in winter  -  but 'Have Yarn - Will Knit'.

I have had to turn on the 'happy juice' dispenser as the cats were scrapping BIGLY and Poppy was seriously fighting me when I needed to clip her claws.  I know that she has sore feet and arthritis in the right hand but she is always much happier when the claws are short so they both have their nails clipped every three weeks which seems to be the optimum period between comfortably short and ripping up the leather couch.

I am making progress working back through my father's side of the family and am back to 1726 but still no word from a first cousin who is supposedly the family genealogist.  I was hoping that she could give me information about my contemporary family but I might have to leave that to the next generation or hope that someone posts on  The problem there is that no details are published for people who are still alive and that is going to limit me  possibly only to information about births; but I am not holding my breath.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I have sorted the Sarahs

One of the things which you do while you are waiting to fall asleep  -  think:  I need to check the birth date of Matthew's oldest brother.

This morning I did this and found that the eldest sibling was born in 1795 and therefore Sarah Lockwood (married 8-7-1790) is the only possibility.  I had the right name but the wrong Sarah on my family tree.  Now that that is all sorted I looked at the births of the three siblings  -  1795, 1803 and 1808 so either Matthew's father was away a great deal or Sarah had difficulty carrying a baby to full term as in those days the family popped one out every year or so until the mother died of exhaustion, usually after number nine or ten.

D2, who is a doctor, told me that after number three birthing becomes more and more dangerous for the mother and in the late eighteenth century all that the women had was a midwife of varying competence and looking through my tree I have found a number of women who died with a newborn baby which tended to die at the same time.  It must have been very scary for women; men had it easier, they just married again.

So Many Sarahs

I have been playing around with the nether regions of my paternal family tree.  My mother's family were seriously bad but my father's roots were steeped in non-mainstream protestant offshoots of the official Church of England  -  in this case one lot were Congregational and one were Methodist and one great great grandfather was a fire and brimstone congregational minister and the other branch had a greatx3 grandfather who was a Methodist South Sea Island Missionary.

I have had a lot of help from a third cousin (once removed) discovering the South Sea island branch but realised yesterday that the missionary's father and mother appeared to have been married when said Gx3 Grandfather was 17 and since he was the youngest of the family I realised that there was an error generated either by me or my cousin.

My great greatx4 grandfather, John,  married a woman named Sarah and the couple were supposedly married in 1823 whereas their youngest son was born in 1808 so I realised that if John and Sarah were their correct given names then it must be a different Sarah.  Since John's family name is correct I started searching for a Sarah who had married a John within a reasonable time and place to have a child born in 1808 and I have made a non- exhaustive list of possible Sarahs; not that is really matters so far back in the late 1700s which is about as far as the records are available and readable.


Sarah Lockwood         8-7-1790
Sarah Parkin              25-9-1797
Sarah Blagborough     14-8-1789  
Sarah Berthwick         27-1-1800
Sarah Garfat              21-5-1801

I will check with my cousin in due course but do not want to rain on her parade just yet as she gave a talk to her local Genealogical Society this afternoon and is probably done with that branch of the family for a while.

The warm weather is finally happening with a green tinge starting to appear on the deciduous trees outside my windows  -  just when I have started knitting a possum fur and merino wool sweater, hopefully with a cowl neck; hopefully because I am having to combine two different patterns to end up with what I want.

My enthusiasm to extend my family tree is probably, in part, an avoidance mechanism.  It is going to be a very warm sweater and will be knitted over a probably very hot summer.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Cold, Wet Winter

We are now into our sixth day of spring and it has finally warmed up a bit.  The winter has been wet, windy and cold and I finally went out and bought myself an electric blanket, something which I haven't felt the need for since I invested in a down duvet many years ago.

I have been doing the usual spinning, reading and knitting as well as getting back into researching family history.  I am finding that the new FTM doesn't do its charts the way the old one did; it adds too much detail where it is not needed in the descendant chart but that is really a minor problem as  it generally works and syncs well.

I have reconnected with a third cousin once removed who gave me a huge amount of help in my early days of genealogy research and hopefully I will get to meet her sometime soon as she lives in an outer suburb  -  really a satellite city of Perth, Western Australia.  It is two hours each way by public transport to visit Mandurah but she comes up to Perth frequently.

I have knitted thirteen beanies for the homeless people sleeping rough and a couple of others in my knitting group are also knitting for the homeless so between us we have done well but the rush is now off and I have started on a cowl-necked sweater in "eco-fibre" from New Zealand where it is called "merino  possum".  While possums are protected here in Australia they are an out-of-control pest in New Zealand and the fibre is very light and extremely warm.

I knitted a possum cowl some months ago and it is great to wear when waiting at the railway station as the south wild screams down the line and there is no shelter from it.

The cats are well and sleep a lot during the day now but seeing the state of the apartment in the mornings I suspect that they riot when I am asleep.  They are both on a diet but have not lost any noticeable weight but we still have about six months before the Vet weighs them again.

Parsifal has finally achieved his greatest goal  -  getting behind the TV cabinet  -  and he did it when I was about to head out to COTA.  I knew that he had hidden himself away somewhere but couldn't find him and had to rush to catch the train so I left all the doors, cupboards and drawers open just in case he had, yet again, shut himself in somewhere.  When I got home he was very much in evidence and very, very dusty so the next time D2 came to do a car swap we pulled the cabinet out and I cleaned out behind it.  Now Poppy has been behind as well  -  amongst all the cords and cables and she actually managed to unplug the power to the DVD player.  *sigh*

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Rose by any other Name ...

One of my first cousins is writing a book about one of our mutual great grandfathers.  I am of the opinion that our Great great grandfather would be a good place to start but it is not my book.  Our Great Great Grandfather was a congregational minister who emigrated to Australia with his whole congregation and set up a settlement about 50 miles from Adelaide, but my cousin prefers the son and it is his book, after all.

I am a genealogist with an extensive Family Tree, am a member of and a regular visitor to, the National Archives where old newspapers are being scanned and posted on line.  Some (most) of the scanning is full of gaps, weird words and strange typos and people are permitted to go into the site and correct the entries which is fun to do and one gets one’s login name credited with the corrections.

Anyway, our mutual grandfather has, as a middle name, the maiden name of his paternal great grandmother.  Her family in England spelled the name with two ‘m’s but our grandfather’s middle name is spelt with one ‘m’.  England was a long way away at the turn of the last century and there was no-one to ask how the name was spelled.  My cousin was all for adding the extra ‘m’ to our grandfather’s name despite the fact that his birth records, death certificate of his wife and his own death certificate all show the single ‘m’ so it is legal and I think that I have persuaded him that he needs to stay within the law.

Not so easy is the name of our mutual great great grandfather.  In England it is spelled with an ‘e’ but here in Australia the ‘e’ is left out.  I blame our great grandfather who misnamed his son (our grandfather) and since he wrote his memoirs and spelled his father’s name without the ‘e’  and younger members of the family who also have that name have dropped the ‘e’ and it has been set, literally in stone, on the wall at the entrance to the church built in our great great grandfather’s memory. 

I know that England was a long way away with no internet and no but I am beginning to suspect that my great grandfather couldn’t spell to save himself and the only reason that the spelling in his books was correct was that he had a good editor who wouldn’t have known how his father’s name was spelt and therefore didn’t correct that particular error.

I have pretty well convinced my cousin that his name should have the ‘e’ since has a scanned copy of his father’s ( my 3 x great grandfather’s) application for a marriage license and it is quite clear how his name is spelled as it has his actual signature which quite clearly shows the ‘e’.

Probably all or most variations of names were due to spelling errors but I am a pedant and find it difficult to see it happening in front of my eyes.