Archive for August, 2012

There was a hint of Autumn this morning.
I imagined grandfather standing in the doorway, sniffing the air and scanning the skies for his beloved swifts or snipe, then leaving Atora suet out in his city garden (which I believe was a small shared area at the front of the house) for his favourite robin.
Got a bit sidetracked today, by Tom Parrington, grandfather’s uncle by marriage. Quite a character, it seems – born and brought up on a farm which later became Middlesborough, was MFH of the renowned Sinnington Hunt, and celebrated a golden wedding anniversary with his first wife followed by a silver wedding anniversary with his second wife (Miss Hugill, my grandmother’s aunt)! Old Tom is much written about, and fondly remembered by my grandfather in his essay ‘A Halcyon Day’ (1911). The essay is a touching and amusing account of a visit to TP’s for lunch, and to see (and be roundly teased by!) Dorothy, my grandmother, but there is also a beautiful description of ‘The Old Gentleman’. And I’ve finally found out how to insert extracts from the essays, so here it is:


…and here is the Old Gentleman himself:

Tom Parrington

The Old Gentleman – Tom Parrington, and the crop he’s holding in the portrait



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It actually takes very little time to write a new post, but it’s been really hard to find the time to do any work on the essays, never mind update the blog. It’s made me think – judging by the drafts I have of some of the essays, grandfather must have devoted quite a lot of his time to writing them – in amongst all his other activities, including earning his living. Looking forward to work easing up a bit, so I can read some more…

I can only imagine how hard it must have been after he came back from WW1, got married and also had to build up a new solicitor’s practice from scratch at around 50 years old. The countryman trapped in the city (like the trout in his essay ‘The Captive’). I wonder if his writing gave him an escape. I hope so.

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High Tea at Low Hall?

Amazingly, my cheeky letter to the current owner of Low Hall has borne fruit – he phoned up and we had a lovely long chat about the house and it’s history, ending with an invitation to Low Hall for tea! Very excited!!

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Apparently exam results come out tomorrow – wondering how god-daugter’s feeling. Could probably find out on Facebook, but still avoiding it… I can’t help seeing it as mainly a tool for ‘Them’ to collect data about us all. Also – once you log on – there are so many distractions!

I guess data collection for marketing was just as vital for businesses 100 years ago – I think CCF suffered a lot from having to rebuild his solicitor’s practice from scratch after WW1. He was in his early fifities, had been injured in the War and a PoW for 2 years, newly married and had no clients, and from what I’ve gleaned of this man I never knew, I beleive he wasn’t really the ‘marketing’ type. I confess, thinking about it this morning made me sad to weeping.

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So the Olympic Games has now finished. It’s been fantastic – very joyous, and a brilliant acheivement by Team GB et al. I’m amazed to find myself saying that, as I’m not the least bit sporty, or even interested in sport! Unlike CCF. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned some sports he took part in, but I left a few out. According to an extract from something called the ‘Cuckoo Shop’ (which I believe is a scrapbook kept by either a sibling or a cousin of CCF’s) he was popular in Kirkbymoorside sports clubs as a footballer as well as a cricketer. The extract mentions great rejoicings in the town at his ‘coming of age festivities’. And, he sailed, of course, too – several of the essays are about boats, sea-fishing, and even one about the wind (not one of his best!).

A little post script about the fantastic medal tally for Britian in the 1908 Games. Apparently, it was the first time they’d featured such a wide range of different sports – and in many of them, only Brits took part!

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I know I only posted yesterday so there’s not much to say really, except… I’m a teensy bit excited as I’ve just written to the current owners of the Low Hall in Kirkbymoorside – where Grandfather was born and brought up – to see if we could visit the garden! Cheeky, but, hey. With luck – they’ll be interested in the history of the place, so I sent these photos of it.

I’d love to see it – in ‘My Garden’ CCF gives a lovely account (written in 1901 when he was in his mid-thirties) of his return home to Low Hall to surprise his family while they’re at tea in the garden. It also includes a conversation he had with his father about the giant tree beside the house – expressing concerns that it might fall, and hoping it would miss the conservatory. It did – as you can see from the photos! I think the gentleman standing by the tree roots in the second pic is my Great-Grandfather, George Frank.

Also – as PS to yesterday’s post – I heard on the radio this morning that most of the Team GB medals winners so far come from Yorkshire!

Low Hall – probably in the 1880s or 90s – tree intact

Near miss! 1903

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Funny to think that CCF would have been alive for the two previous Olympic Games hosted by England in 1908 & 1948. He would have been 37 for the first one – when Britain was top of the medals list (56 golds!) which I reckon would have chuffed him to bits! We didn’t do so well in 1948 – probably not surprising, really, given what preceded them.

Both those events would have been so different from the current ones. I cheered the Olympic Torch on its way through our high street. It was great – but rather fleeting, and it was preceded by three giant coloured buses blaring loud music and crowned by hyperactive cheerleaders.

Although CCF was an avid sportsman (huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’, of course – and golf and cricket, apparently!) there have been no mentions of the Olympics in any of his essays so far. Mind you, I haven’t managed to read any more since the last post…

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