Monday, November 16, 2009


And look at this! What a fantastic photo! This is my great-great-grandfather's funeral procession.

A big thank you to my new 2nd cousin once removed, Geraldine, who sent me this and other fantastic photos.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Just thought I'd share some nonsense with you.

Silly story. I was trying to be sophisticated like my bridesmaid and use the term "Moi" in a subject heading for a mobile phone message the other day when I was sending a photo of myself with the Masterchef to my children. Only predictive text got in the way as I pressed send and changed it to "Moistened" - quelle embarrassement!

Second silly story...I'm studying Wills and Administrations...I know...I know....BORING! But it means I get to study old English and have some fun...well my idea of fun anyway....I bought a glossary at QFHS on Tuesday and have been reading it in bed imagining new conversations with my's the creation I came up with as I worked my way selectively through the alphabet....

1. AMBRY - large cupboard with doors, usually for food, but later used for books, linen, clothes etc. as in

"Hey Robert! Can you get my cardy out of the ambry for me please. I'm feeling a bit chilly."

2. CODD - (1) pillow or cushion (2) a bag. As in

"Yeah right - as if. Stop lazing around on your codd and get it yourself, you old codd."

3. ELL - measurement of 42 inches. As in

"Go to ell Robert. After all I've done for you. Don't know why I waste my breath ..."

4. GOSSIP - cousin, good friend or godfather. As in

"Right - that does it. I don't need to sit here and be insulted. I think I'll go down the pub with my gossip rather than sit here and listen to this tripe..."

5. ISSINGLASS - pure form of gelatine obtained from the air bladders of some fresh water fish, particularly the sturgeon. Used for making jellies or clarifying liquors etc as in

"Well if you're going to the pub Robert, could you pick up some issinglass on the way home for me? I fancy some jelly for tea tonight." (I do realise I am clutching at straws here.)

6. KILDERKINS - casks for liquids, fish etc. holding from 16 to 18 gallons. As in

"Anything for you my sweet. I might even bring home a Kilderkin for ye. Moselle or Perth Pink pet?"

7. MULLOCK - rubbish. As in

"Perth Pink thanks love. And don't forget it's mullock night tonight. Can you put the bin out for us?"

8. ODER - other. As in

"Is it recycling or the oder one?"

9. QUICK GOODS - livestock. As in

"Recycling. And don't be tallying too long with Farmer Joe - that man could bang on about his quick goods til the cows come home. I want you home by six."

10. SCONCE - lantern or candlestick with a screen to protect it from the wind. As in

"That reminds me, best take me sconce just in case eh?"

11. URCHIN - a hedgehog. As in

"Yes, you don't want to be tripping over an urchin like the last time! It took me forever to get those spines out of your....well let's not go there."

12. YATE - gate. As in

"Don't I know it. Blasted thing was right in front of the Yate. I reckon it were an ell long. Had to sit on codds for weeks."

See - you could be me and have a real problem. Back to cleaning the bathrooms...

Oh and MOST IMPORTANTLY this lovely hedgehog picture comes from another blog called Thought Objects and you really should look at the animation that it's a Russian filmmaker called Yuriy Norshteyn. Go on - have a look at it. I love it....Hedghog in the Fog I love animators - they have such a special outlook on the world.

Oh and thanks to Rosemary Milward who published the excellent Glossary of Household, Farming and Trade Terms from Probate Inventories which helped me come up with this fantasy....I know you'll want to rush out and buy it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have had a wonderful few days. On Friday some friends from Bookclub and I shared a very indulgent day. Eva's wonderful daughter Lucy drove us to Southbank where we bought tickets to see The Time Traveller's Wife which I think we read for bookclub last year. The author is Audrey Niffenegger. The director was Robert Schwentke (Flightplan) and stars Eric Bana which was probably the main reason I wanted to see it. I find him exceedingly spunky and in the story he has the unfortunate habit of time travelling and arriving in the new time zone completely starkers. How very inconvenient! Tee hee. I think the movie was a very faithful adaptation of the sensibility of the book. Do take tissues - even this most hard-hearted creature was sniffing at the end.

After the movie we moved on to the Food and Wine Fair at the Convention Centre. So much fun. It's amazing how all is well with the world and how nice people seem once you've had a few wines :) I sampled lots of lovely stuff including a Chardonnay from Protero vineyards. I've gone over to Sauvignon Blanc of late but this Chardonnay was very yummy. I was also impressed with the Limoncello from Lemon-Z. Made in New Zealand it has won lots of international awards apparently. Try it but go easy - at 38% alcohol it packs a punch.

There were all sorts of Masterclasses going on but I was far too relaxed and left buying tickets til we walked in the door. Next year I'll be much better prepared and book early. I did manage to catch the very tolerant and obliging Gary Mehigan from Masterchef for a mobile phone photo as he exited from a packed Masterclass. Thank you Gary! Masterchef is a fantastic show !

We finished off the evening checking out the talent at Cloudland and The Bowery while we waited for Lucy to finish work and drive us home. Bless Lucy for putting up with us.

On Sunday I drove up to the Scenic Rim to visit the wonderful Gardners in Warwick. After a great lunch Steve took us for a drive around the attractions including the amazing Morgan Park which features not only equestrian facilities for Polocrosse, Horse Trials and Carriage Driving but also space for Drag Racing, Car Racing and Motocross. Incredible!

Last but by no means least, lots of sucess on the family history front including finding new 2nd cousins once of whom sent me this fantastic photo of a wedding featuring my 2nd-great-grandfather, James Cook - yes the very one on the HMS Monarch. He is the one in the very flashy plumed hat in the middle row second from the right - just to the top right of the bride. We think the bride is Beatrice, Eleanor Eliza's younger sister. Eleanor was my great-grandmother and the eldest of twelve. Mabel, another sister, is on the bride's left (but right as you look at the photo. Mabel is my new cousin June's grandmother and next to Mabel is John, grandfather of another new cousin Geraldine, who I also met on Ancestry. Thank you June and Geraldine. It's great to meet you and share such a fine-looking bunch of ancestors !

Thursday, November 5, 2009

HMS Monarch painting by William Frederick Mitchell

Much excitement in the Daw household yesterday - well I was excited - the rest of the family probably have no idea.

At the beginning of my Long Service Leave I ordered a birth certificate from the GRO.

That was my first mistake. According to fellow family historians they are cheaper and easier to get from the local record offices.

I found this out half way through my LSL. GRO claimed to have no knowledge of the order I placed in July.

I then entered into some amusing correspondence with the Portsmouth City Council - auto generated emails of course...e.g.

4.02pm 20th October "Thank you for contacting Portsmouth City Council. The City Helpdesk's opening hours are 8am - 6pm Monday - Friday. We are closed all day on bank holidays. Please be aware that e-mails will not be monitored when the office is closed. All emails received at this time will be reviewed and acknowledged when we are next open."

Then at 5.12pm on the same day

"Thank you for contacting the City Helpdesk. Portsmouth City Council has a corporate timescale of 10 working days. However, in City Helpdesk we aim to respond to your email within one working day. Due to a high volume of emails at present, we have had to extend our own timescale for responding to you to three working days. We will be reviewing this timescale on a regular basis.Regards."

Then two days later:

"Dear Alexandra Subject: Birth Certificates.

Thank you for contacting the City Helpdesk at Portsmouth City Council.

Information on family history and birth certificates can be found by contacting our Portsmouth Registry Office:
Email: or by Telephone: 02392 829041. Or by contacting our Geneology department within our Central Library: or by Telephone 02392 819311.
Should you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tell us what you think. Let us know about our service to you.
Click on the link to complete our online survey and tell us what you think about the service you received from City Helpdesk

Customer Service Advisor CCS008
City Helpdesk

Did you notice that the registrar has the same email suffix as the city help desk? aka Could they not just forward the email to their colleague??
Ah Bureaucracy - what would we do without it?

But I didn't care - I was in communication with them and that was fantastic! I emailed the registrar and then she emailed me back and suggested I use old fashioned technology i.e. the telephone. And I did!! And five days later I received the certificate.

So, the picture of the ship above is not of a slow boat to China. NO! It is of the HMS Monarch. The birth certificate was for my great-grandmother on my father's side - Eleanor Eliza Cook. She was the eldest, I think, of no less than 12 children born to James Vernon Cook and Caroline (nee Jeffries). She was born 21 September 1874 at Orange Street in Portsea.

Eleanor's father, James, was a Gunner on the HMS Monarch at the time.

The distinguishing feature about the HMS Monarch was that it was the first sea-going warship to carry her guns in turrets. But because she was designed at a time of change from sail to steam, the poor old Admiralty Board were a bit nervous about unreliable steam engines, so insisted that she carry a full ship-rig and have a forecastle mounted. Sir Edward Reed, the ships's designer apparently wasn't too impressed, as this limited the way guns could be fired i.e. only port and starboard. Oh dear.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Pussy cats .... we've had a few.

When I was little, we tried getting a dog. I was so excited. I had gone around a wishing tea in the botanical gardens in Sydney quite a few times wishing desperately for a dog. And one day - after we'd moved to Canberra - after Sunday School - I think - Dino the black cocker spaniel was waiting for me at home.

Well - Dino didn't like me. And I didn't like Dino because he frightened me. So Dino went away.

Not long after my father found a kitten in the bush. He was black so we called him Sooty. It's awful, I know, but I can't remember what happened to Sooty.

Then somehow we ended up with three cats - Tilly, a grey Persian; Yum Yum, another black cat and Kit.

This photo is of Kit. We "inherited" him from my Gran. He lived with her for a long time and had all the neighbours fooled. He used to sit on her very grand letter box (a big brick and concrete job from memory) out the front and beg for food. He got fatter and fatter and then he came to live with us.

Not one of our cats liked each other. Every time they met each other in the hallway you would swear it was the first time they had ever seen each other - slinking and spitting furiously, they would never give an inch.

We loved them all and I miss them very much.