Take my Merry Christmas without offence and Dinner Alone

A delightful time this morning catching up on blogs that spawned a couple of thoughts.

First from CAT who talked about Dinner Alone in a very poetic fashion.

At 75 my some of my friends and I are quite happy having Christmas Dinner alone. We have loving families but visiting and socializing and often staying overnight is quite exhausting,

Alone does not necessarily mean lonely.

I plan a special meal, as is another friend at 89. In fact, she suggested the meal this time. Rock Cornish Hen. And I suggested a recipe for orange sauce. A wild rice side. Some lovely vegetables. Some bubbles, probably a Prosecco or Henkel Trocken. And I think a nice mincemeat tart or pie!

Designed for one person and oh so lovely!

Now on the other note. PC (politically correct) has gone to extremes.

Do not take offence when I wish you a Merry Christmas. You don’t have to believe and you don’t have to accept. Just accept the good wishes those words intend.

If you wish me a Happy Hanukah I will feel blessed.

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Lighten up world. Please.

So from North of 43, I wish each and everyone a Blessed Season and A Merry Christmas!

Chris G Tuesday December 20th ’22


Instagrams animal videos got me thinking

I mentioned a bit ago that I have found myself watching little videos of baby animals.

I surprised myself since I have always said that cutesy is not something I do but…

I must have been very bored one day to have taken a peek.

I watch these videos on my Instagram and what ended up interesting me was not the happy cutesy ones.

There are mothers that are nurturing. But what caught my eye were the ones that appeared not to be. Some drag their young brutally. Some beat them and push them away.

Of course some babies go to the wrong mother and are pushed or smacked away.

I have seen large males grab a baby and try to run away with it but usually the mother will grab the baby back.

I have seen mothers carry a baby’s corpse, some of which are very decomposed.

So I did what I always do. Research.

Mothers will kill their own baby if something is wrong with it or if they don’t want it.

Males will (rarely) kidnap a baby and kill it, because and get this – as long as a female is nursing it cannot get pregnant (and those males are out to copulate and reproduce). Females can nurse their young up to four years (I think).

I read that monkeys recognize death but will continue carrying their deceased babies for a long time.

I learned that like the life we know there is cute, and joy, and nourishing, and teaching. But there is also isolation, rejection, pain, and grief.

Actually watching them makes me realize how very like the monkeys we are. So from North of 43 I contemplate just how connected life on this planet is.

Chris G Friday November 18th ‘22

Old Dog, Old Woman, Old Friends

Once again, I am visiting my favourite dog. My son and his wife have left for 10 days to visit their youngest son who now lives in Brisbane in Queensland, Aus.

So now Daisydog and I have 10 days to relax close to the beach and beside the river. Neither of us walks very far or very fast these days and I think she quite likes it when I’m here because there’s no rough and tumble which always starts when my son and his son are here, independently, or together.

And now I have 10 days to myself. I visited each of my not-well friends last week, so nobody is expecting me this week. I do have one friend who’s coming to stay for a couple of days but she’s very easy to be around and she’s happy to do nothing as well

My plans for these 10 days are to read, rest and occasionally take a short walk with Daisydog. And of course, I might find a new series to binge-watch on TV. 

Now sitting in the sunshine with my book, the sounds of the birds as the backdrop, and Daisydog snoring peacefully, I am putting my plans into effect.

JB, Sunday, November 13,2022
Raumati, Kapiti Coast, NZ

Time Flies and Times Change

The bad news is time flies.
The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Michael Altshuler, American Author and Speaker 

October 31st and it seems like no time at all since we were celebrating the birth of 2022. Soon it will be 2023 and then later in that year, we will be making the same comments.

Today has been another day with no thought on what to write. Those days seems to be getting more and more often these days.

So I looked back on some of the posts I wrote in my early blogging career. And I found one that I particularly like.

As an introduction, I must say that we thought we had no relatives in New Zealand apart from the four of us, the children’s spouses and their children.

That changed in about 1985/86. Christmas morning. My DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) was preparing Christmas lunch/dinner for the family and friends who were on their own at this time of the year. Yes, he was the chef in our family and I was the backup person. He made and served the food, and I served the wine. It worked so well for us over all the years in which we were married.

Anyway, on this particular Christmas morning, I was in the shower, having dressed the tables, put the wine in to be chilled etc. There was a phone call. “Larry is on the phone for you” called my husband. “I don’t know any Larry” was my response. “He seems to think you do” I was told and so began a reignited friendship that began when we were both very young during our growing up times and until we each married and moved to other parts of the world.

We spoke on the phone regularly from then on, at least once a week. We put the world to right; we seemed to agree on most things. Later, Larry came to stay on a couple of occasions and my grandsons all thought he was fabulous. Unfortunately, this came to a sudden end. I got a phone call from one of his wife’s granddaughters. “Pop” had his dinner and then as was usual, went into the living room with his coffee to watch TV. When his wife came in after tidying away the dinner things, he had quietly drifted off.

So I would like to share some memories of my cousin with you. If you are interested here is the link to a post I wrote 9 years ago. When he died he was 88 years old, so go in peace dear cousin, fly high, breathe easy.

JB Wellington NZ
October 31, 2022

Walking Backwards: Looking Forward

“Nobody gets to live life backwards.
Look ahead that’s where your future lies.”
Ann Landers (pen name of Columnist Ruth Crowley)  1907-1955

I haven’t really thought about my Grandmother (I had only one) for several years. Very occasionally, she will come up in conversation when I remember something she said or did.  But today when climbing up the stairs, I thought of her. Currently, after being back-ended by the following vehicle, I am having a little difficulty in climbing the stairs and I remembered Grandma. I always thought of her as Alice Maude but no way all those years ago, would I have called her that.

I remember she always walked down the stairs backwards.  This seemed in no way unusual to us. We had only ever seen her descending in this way.  And even now, I have no idea why she did so.  Was she scared to look ahead and maybe lose her footing?

Over the past few weeks I have found myself looking back, sometimes more than looking forward.  There are many things in my life to look back on with pleasure, with gratitude and yes, also with longing.  So am I scared to look ahead in case I lose my footing?

Looking back doesn’t really solve any problems for any of us.  We only have today.  And we have all heard the quote – “Yesterday is the past; tomorrow is the future; today is the present.  So use it as a gift.”  I don’t know when or where I first heard that but it is so very true.  And I wonder who penned it originally.

And we know that today really is the first day of the rest of our life.  And we do not know how many more days we have left to live. So I am making the most of the time I have left in this wonderful world. And, oh yes, Pollyanna is alive and well and living in Wellington, New Zealand.

“Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them and they flew. “

Guillaume Apollinaire, French poet, playwright,
short story writer, novelist, and art critic 
1880 – 1918

JB October 10, 2022
Wellington, New Zealand

Five Word Friday, on Saturday

The first Friday in the month and time for Five Word Friday. You know what this is about. Describe your life today in five words only and then go on to tell us about it. But as Chris reminded me in our chat this morning, I had missed the first Friday.

So my five words are –A Grandson to the Rescue

I had been thinking for several months about getting a raised herb bed. Anno Domini and all that makes bending down to get herbs a trial. I saw just what I wanted in a local hardware store but they couldn’t;t deliver it. The kindly assistant suggested that I order it online and therefore it could be delivered. Not so!

My daughter was away for about ten days in Sydney and Grandson No 4 was tasked with checking up on Granma while his mother was away. We arranged to have lunch last weekend and after lunch, we went to the store and picked up the raised bed, the herbs and the herb planting mix. Great to have a 22-year-old at my beck and call (well at least for those few days).

In no time, the legs were on the bed and the herb mix in as it should be, but we had miscounted the amount of the mix required for the bed. However, not a problem. Grandson No 4 would pick up another two large bags later in the week.

So now herbs planted. and within easy reach when I am sitting in the sunshine, thinking about dinner while reading.

And apologies for missing yesterday.

JB October 8, 2022
From Springtime in
Wellington, NZ

My Father’s Hands

Firstly a big thank you to all those who read, liked or commented on my Fathers’ Day post. Yes, a special man to be celebrated every day even though he is no longer here in body he is always in my mind.

So another tale of this man. Way back in 2013 I wrote about his hands. I would like to share that post here today.

 “I have said before that I read and use Judy Reeves’s “A Creative Writer’s Kit”  As part of this kit there is a book called ‘Prompts and Practices”.  Each day of the year has a suggestion for what to write.  And today’s was “Write about your father’s hands”.

Well if you have been reading or following me for a while now you will know that I consider myself the luckiest person alive in that my father was a fabulous person.    I wrote about him in September last year – Memories of My Father. He was a special man.

But now his hands.  These were the strong hands of a working man.  He had been a cabinetmaker all his life and so his hands were rough to the touch and scarred from using and being nicked by his tools.  The hands were strong and capable.  Apart from being a master craftsman, he was a virtual jack of all trades.  He it was who reupholstered the couch when it needed to be done; he decorated the apartment and then our house, he fixed leaking pipes and he fixed his daughters’ lives when any of his girls were unhappy.

On my wedding day, those were the hands that held mine in the car on the way to the church and those were the hands that passed me over into the care of my DYS (dashing young Scotsman).

Those were the hands that lovingly cradled his first grandchild the day she was born.  Those hands went on to cradle each of the other grandchildren in turn.

Those were the hands that helped a small boy build with Meccano pieces and on a later visit showed that small boy how to use some of his tools.

Those were the hands that picked up small people when they had mishaps with their tricycles.

The nails were short and bluntly cut.  I remember when I was visiting him in London late in his life that I offered to do his nails for him.  He agreed and so the next day when I went to see him I took my manicure things with me.  Of course, I had no intention of giving him a manicure, it was just to get a laugh out of him.  He took one look at all the implements and said: “Just cut the nail straight across”.  However, he did enjoy my applying hand cream.

So my memories of my father’s hands are many.  He was a good man and his hands feature in many of my memories of him.

Sadly he is no longer with us and is sorely missed by his three daughters and their families.  At his funeral, they played “Unforgettable” and that certainly sums up my father.” April 08, 2013

And Daddy – “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” Edna St Vincent Millay.  American lyrical poet and playwright. 1892 – 1950.

JB September 6, 2022
Wellington, New Zealand

Father’s Day 2022

Alfred Robert Rita

The first Sunday in September is Father’s Day here in New Zealand. I don’t need a particular day to remember my Father.

What does Fathers’ Day mean to you and your family?  Do you celebrate with gift- giving and special dinners or is it just another day to you?  Growing up in England we didn’t celebrate Fathers’ Day – I don’t remember when people started celebrating Fathers on a particular day.  We were very lucky in that our Father was worth celebrating each day.

My memories of this man are many and special.  It was he who taught his three girls the appreciation of the English language and shared with us his love of words.  He taught us to be tolerant and to accept people as they are and he showered us with love.  He it was who told us that more could be accomplished with a smile than with harsh words. He taught us the power of positive thinking and told his daughters they could have and be anything they wanted.  He made us feel special.

Early memories of my Father are sketchy as he went to war shortly after I was born, but there are some lovely photos of him with each of his daughters.

A very distinct memory was one Saturday way back in 1945 – I think. Anyway, Mother and her three girls had been to the market for the weekly shopping and when we returned home there was this man sitting in a chair in the living room.  Daddy had come home from the war! My parents were not terribly demonstrative and I remember the greeting just as if they had seen each other that morning.  Oh, how glad I was to have my Daddy back safe and sound.

Another memory is the day I was getting married.  Everyone had left for the church and he had to make sure that I was very sure that I wanted to marry and spend my life with my  Dashing Young Scotsman.  He assured me that it wasn’t too late to change my mind and then sat in the bridal car holding my hand all the way to the church.

When my daughter was born (his first grandchild) he was as excited as a first time father.  And when we gave her Mother’s name as her second name he was ready to burst with love and pride.

When his first grandchild was born he was over the moon; when his great-grandson was born his response to being asked ‘How do you feel about being a great grandfather?’ was “I’ve always been a Great Grandfather”.

And years later when he was going blind he taught himself to do the crossword with my younger sister reading the clues to him while he supplied the answers.

Memories, memories so many happy memories.  Lazy winter nights at home while he read to us or we all listened to something special on the radio.  And later all watching television together and debating the merits of a particular play or actor.

When we were growing up he was strict but he was fair.  If he decreed something was so and we could counter with an acceptable argument he was likely to change the decree.  But he was a stickler for being on time, coming home when one was told to and he insisted that we behave as ladies at all times.  I must say that the final requirement in that sentence was not always adhered to.

Unfortunately, my children didn’t really know this very special man as we lived on the other side of the world, only getting back to see him and Mother every two years.  But they do know how special he was from the tales I have told them over the years.

That was my Dad.  A very special Father who sadly is no longer with us. He was not religious and at his funeral, they played Frank Sinatra singing “Unforgettable”.  That sums up my Dad.  I miss him as I know my remaining sister does, and I am grateful that we were blessed with such a great father.

“To live in lives we leave behind
is not to die.”
Judith Baxter, daughter, sister & friend.

JB September 4, 2022
Wellington, New Zealand

A Birthday Celebration

“Children, sons and daughters,
are the anchors of a mother’s life
Judith Baxter, 1938 –

Wednesday, 29 August 1962. To Bob and Judith a beautiful little boy!

And now that ‘little boy” is 60 and on Monday the family celebrated his birthday.

Now I ask myself, how can I possibly be that old? And now my little boy is the age I was when his father (My DYS) died all those years ago. How the years have flown.

To mark this occasion I gave him an authentic newspaper published on the day of his birth. As he was born in Glasgow, the chosen paper was The Scotsman. Interesting to read what was occupying the public mind at that time.

As Chairman of British Railways, Dr Beeching was in the news daily,  and his report on reshaping the railways “The Beeching Report” led to far-reaching changes in the network and to major job losses. The other front-page item on that day has been lost to the ravages of time. I don’t think walk-on flights materialised for BEA.

So now this aged mind/body has to rest – feet up, cuppa at hand and a new book to read. I love being retired.

JB August 31, 2022
Wellington, NZ

Orphan Annie follow-up

Yesterday JB’s post was about friendship and serendipity and all about how closely we are intertwined and don’t even realize it. JB referred to my Orphan Annie story and so from 5 years ago here is the story and circumstance as referenced. Thanks to JB for taking me back in time.

Research is a wonderful thing and there is always a story within a story, within a story. The very word ‘research’ tickles something deep in my cerebral cortex.  I have discovered that nothing comes to fruition on one’s own.  Links are found and must be followed and where they lead may not be anywhere close to where you thought you wanted to go. And sometimes in a very round about fashion they take you right back to exactly where you wanted to go in the first place,

Do you believe in serendipity; chance occurrences that result in a happy outcome?  There are many who claim there is no such thing as coincidence.  Either way wonderful things can and do happen.

I have a very dear friend who lives half a world away from me in New Zealand named Judith.  We started blogging on WordPress about the same time and an immediate link was established.  So we began emailing, then messaging and now we Skype each week, she with a morning tea, and me often with an evening glass of red.  This had been going on for some time, not the drinking but the Skyping and one day she asked, ‘What are you working on?’

I told her about my great-grandmother, about British Home Children, and about my research which had been going on for year at this point.  At first I just gave general information, and Judith told me about a movie called Oranges and Sunshine, a movie based on a book, Empty Cradles, by Margaret Humphreys and I told her about, Orphan at My Door, written by Jean Little.

On this particular Skype session I expressed my frustration at not knowing how to proceed with the information I had.  “I even have her address her family lived at from her birth certificate we got from Somerset House in 1963.  She was born February 14th, 1884 and her family lived at 4 Poole Rd. South Hackney.”

There was a long pause and I thought perhaps the computer screen had frozen as it does from time to time.  “Where was she born?” Judith asked.

I repeated the information.  Judith calmly said, “That’s about a mile from where I grew up.”  *Please note this was in a different century.

We marveled at the coincidence of it all.  Judith then said that her sister Marianne still lived in England and at times would go into London. Well next thing I knew this arrived,

4 Poole Rd area today (2)

Obviously the original structures are no longer there but I felt overwhelmed by the very thought of the location, the historical link between two friends and the loving action of a sister thousands of miles from each of us.  It sort of completes a circle, or in this case a triangle on the globe.


We knew the when and the where but not the why or the who until now.

In 1859 there was a former Cholera Hospital at 60 Commercial St. and Flowers and Dean St. which Annie MacPherson first used as The Home. In the late 1880’s it moved to the corner of Club Row and Bethnal Green Rd. which was on the edge of old Nicholas Slum.  This is where Annie was taken.  Thanks to Google Maps this is what that area looks like now:

club row etc

London, especially East End London was full of designated slum neighbourhoods.

Annie was shipped to Canada as part of the BHC program in 1888.  She left Liverpool with 86 other children on July 12, 1888 on board the ship The Parisian.  She arrived in Quebec on July 21, 1888 and then proceeded to Stratford, Ontario.

Not much is known about her life her until 1899 when at the age of 15 she married James Henry White.

But what of her family in England?  What happened to her folks?  Did she have brothers and sisters?  What happened in a four year period from birth on Poole Rd. to entry as an orphan at Bethnal Green?  Lots of questions and now some answers.

Francis Frampton, Annie’s father, was born about 1843, and lived at Mile End, Islington, London.

He was a widower when he married Edith Davies, having been previously married to Sarah Louisa Langlois who lived from 1847 to 1871 and with whom he had a son, William F. Frampton who was born in 1871.  Presumably she died in childbirth but that is not a confirmed fact.  I currently have no knowledge of what happened to William.

Francis married Edith Davies on April 22, 1873 and they lived at 74 Hill St.

Following family lines gets a little confusing for me, so I will start with Annie’s grandparents.

Francis father was also named Francis Frampton (there were 3 generations I know of named Francis Frampton so I shall refer to them as 1, 2, and 3. Annie’s father was the 2nd).

Francis Frampton 1 was born in 1812 (no date of death known yet), and he married Elizabeth Yorkton Slo (1813-1837). He was a banker’s clerk.

Now Annie’s mother and father were: Joshua Davies, born 1817 and married to Eliza Stevens, also born 1817.  I do not know at this point of Edith Davies had siblings.

Francis Frampton 2nd (Annie’s father) did have known siblings, Ann Frampton born 1847, William Frampton, born 1849, George Frampton 1845, and Elizabeth Frampton 1840.  So he was one of five known children.

Francis 2nd and Edith Davies Frampton had 3 known children in addition to their half brother William.  They were:

*Alice Maude Frampton (1876-1958).  This very interesting first known child of Francis and Edith was Baptized November 19, 1876, in the Parish, All Hallows, Tottenham, in the Borough  Harringly.  She died June 27th, 1958. Maude never married.

*Francis Frampton 3rd (1878) who wed Grace Violet Thomas (born 1889). Francis George Frampton was baptized July 28th, 1878 and the baptism record shows their address at 54 Arlington Rd. and his father’s (Francis 2nd) occupation as Grocer’s Assistant.

And then of course *Annie Frampton 1884 – who was Baptized April 24, 1884.

Our family, and Annie Frampton White, wondered for many years what happened that this wee girl ended up homeless and thousands of miles away.  Speculation had been that her father had died and her mother simply could not look after this child.

The truth is much sadder.  Annie’s mother was born in 1853 and died in 1887.  There is another death listed that same day in the same place as Albert Frampton age 0, so I can only assume Edith Davies Frampton died in childbirth, as did Francis 2nd, first wife Sarah.

It would seem that he just could not look after this youngest child.  Her brother and older sister could contribute to the household, even at their young ages but not a child of 3.  There was a record of Francis Frampton, spouse Edith Davies Frampton who died in Pennsylvania.  As soon as I have that specific info I will add it here in an edit.

So folks that is the story as promised.  Many  many questions answered.  Many more to ask.  But for Annie Frampton White this is THE story.happy annie

So from this lovely visit down memory lane, from North of 43, I wish you peace.

Chris G May 3rd’22