Friday, March 24, 2017

Distilled memories.

Just ten days since my return from England and I am already missing the place and at the same time am trying to sort out everything I did.

In my previous post I included everything I did in London in one lump as if I had done it all at the same time, rather than at the beginning and the end of my trip.  In other words, I took liberties.

Perhaps I should post everything in the order it happened...London, Bath, Bristol, Wales, Exmouth, London, Bury St. Edmunds then back to London, but I get tired just thinking about doing it that way.

OK let me try the thematic approach.  Why did I go to England in the first place ?  (You ask.)

This trip was all about family.  My mom and dad have both been gone almost ten years, though I must confess that mom is showing up in my mirror many mornings on a rather alarming basis.  I felt a deep need to reinforce connection with my English roots.

Though I went to visit the family that I already know and love --  the Swindells and Butchers -- I also went to learn about family roots and surprisingly, meet new  family.

Louise, me, and her marvellous daughter, Phoebe 
Louise and I belonged to a FaceBook genealogy group that was devoted to researching the Tupman side of my family tree.

I still recall the day when the moderator of the group pointed out that Louise and I were related as our grandfathers were brothers.  And so it began ... 

That's my grandfather, Bertie James standing in back and Louise's grandfather Stanley George on the right.

Somehow we went from very occasional FaceBook chats and comments to me saying:  "Hey, I'm coming to England.  Can I stay at your house?"  and that basically was that.

Except that these "total strangers" put me up in a wonderful hotel overlooking the mouth of the River Exe !

The tide on its way out.
Palm trees.
 Together we sought out houses where family once lived.

Primrose Cottage with the thatched roof -- and it's for sale.
Hartley Cottage where our Great Great Grandfather Edward George Tupman lived -- and it too was for sale !

and we visited church yards.  Dear Louise even brought flowers to place on graves. 

Louise and her son visited the graves of her parents.

Later she and Kieran and I set out to see if we could find more Tupman headstones.

And we did.

And we learned that Ruth and Kate lived at Primrose Cottage !

We found several headstones but it wasn't always easy to read them.  I wish I'd taken blank newsprint and charcoal for making rubbings so I could read things more easily.

We didn't just explore church yards; we walked the hills,

and ate meals in,

Louise prepared a wonderful dinner

 and ate meals out.

And pretty much bonded in three days.

Can you believe I'm already dreaming about what I'd do on my next visit.


  1. Genealogy is so fascinating, isn't it? And what delightful new relatives you've found because of your hobby!

    1. Debra, I'm loving genealogy but find it so hard to remember who is who in the zoo.

      I love my new relatives too and dreaming about my next trip to England.

  2. How fun! And how awesome to be have been able to explore your family history with your new-found family members :-)

    1. It was amazing ... I still can't believe how much I did.

  3. How exciting to meet your second cousin and her family! And to find some family homes. I'm so happy you had the chance to explore your roots (and branches!) in the land of your ancestors.

    1. HI Barbara, I'm back form this year's trip to England and looking at last year's trip and I discovered your note from last year. So sorry that I didn't respond at the time. I feel so very connected to England. Wish my parents had lived long enough to see this re-connection ...

  4. What a fantastic story - a true one though - you are telling us ! Isn't it wonderful be find new members of one's family, visit them and recall memories ? I am sincerely happy for you, Sybil. Lovely pictures too.


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