Monthly Archives: November 2014

Dull days, bright moments

For the last few weeks the days have been passing, dull, grey and getting shorter – but with sunny moments.
Last week was my birthday. Sometimes I approach my birthday with trepidation and even dismissively. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I am afraid to acknowledge the passing of time, and the ageing process? Or perhaps there is a fear that the supposedly “special” day just serves to accentuate its ordinariness. This year the sun broke through clouds and colours were glorious. Many people sent birthday wishes, electronically or by older fashioned methods, which was lovely.1-IMG_2106

One of my dear friends sent a card with these words
“We do not remember days, we remember moments”
Cesare Pavese

At the back of my mind I can hear my Father quoting Eeyore, “After all, what are birthdays? Here today and gone tomorrow.” (We weren’t a naturally celebratory family!) And Eeyore is right in that birthdays are days just like any other, which pass and are gone. But, as Pavese says, moments are different. The moments when we are present to the joy of the moment, that is the stuff of memories.

Some moments I will remember from recent days include the honest kind sharing in two writing groups I lead, and the fun and exhilaration of singing with the “Just Sing” choir. Other continuing moments of making, creating, catching the light…

My st1-IMG_2112ars stitched with “difficult threads” are forming into a quilt. Work in progress.

And I am having fun creating pages for a textile book, inspired by the spindleberry  tree in our garden with its magical rosy autumn berries and glowing leaves.1-IMG_2107


On the Cornish history trail

On the first day of November, at the historic Fowey Hotel, we ate lunch in sunshine watching the river and looking across to Polruan, Cornwall. We were visiting for a couple of days holiday, but also on the trail of ancestors of my Grandfather, Sydney Bartlett, who lived here for many generations.

1-IMG_1982After lunch we took the little vehicle ferry across the river to Bodinnick,  by Daphne du Maurier’s house, and negotiating steep, narrow wooded lanes, we came to the ancient church of St Wyllow at Lanteglos -by -Fowey, Polruan.


Generations of Pearns dating from 1645 appear in the records for this Parish, all family of Sydney’s great great grandfather William Pearn.  In 1792, Willam Pearn, mariner, married Hannah Leavis. Sadly William died only 8 years later, and Hannah was left a widow, although she later married again to a Richard Cossentine. This is me standing by Hannah’s grave – my 4 x great grandmother (I look worried, but I was quite chuffed to have found it!)1-IMG_1989

” Beneath this turf lies the mortal remains of Hannah the beloved wife of R. Cossentine and widow of Wm. Pearn who died the 6 of July 1828 aged 55 years. In justice to her memory it can be truly said that SHE Livd belovd and died regretted. A tribute of respect to a dearly beloved wife and a tender MOTHER”

Two generations later William and Hannah Pearn’s grand daughter, Catherine, married William Bartlett, a young carpenter. The Bartlett family had also lived in this area for many generations, and the next stage of our exploration was to search for clues for this part of the family.