Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Monday, 27 January 2014

My delightful daughter...10 years old today

Anyone who has actually given birth - and those who have witnessed it at close quarters - can't fail to be amazed to compare the little squalling bundle that emerged then, with the latest version of now. In just over a week, my niece, the eldest of my only sister's children, will be twenty two. I remember driving over the Pennines to Macclesfield hospital to see her when she was just hours old. I remember being terribly nervous and excited and a little strange. My sister is younger than me and I'd spent my young adult life and then into my thirties saying I never wanted any children. How would I feel to see my little sister with a child of her own?

I needn't have worried - I was thrilled on her behalf but it didn't change a thing as far as I was concerned! And my niece was absolutely gorgeous. And still is, and is very nearly a qualified vet! And just under two years later, her brother was born and he will be twenty a day after my Romy is ten. And she's ten today!

When I met FR, early on in our relationship...OK probably about a week into it...I remember him standing in front of the huge stone fireplace in the flat I was renting and saying he wanted a family like Lupe, his father's friend, had. Eleven girls! Well, I remember thinking eleven sounded rather a lot but that I'd be happy to have as many of his children as I could, bearing in mind I was already almost 37 when we met...

(Turns out Lupe only had nine daughters, not eleven, and I met three of them once - they were stunningly beautiful and strong individuals. I can imagine the young FR being very overwhelmed in their presence! So much so that there seemed to more than there actually were!)

I was delighted to have Mateo and Ruy - but have to admit being deeply shocked and worried when I discovered, at 44, that I wasn't menopausal, but pregnant again. We went for a special scan at at 12 weeks where despite the nurse saying she shouldn't make any comments at all as it was only a scan, she was prepared to say 'this was a good 'un without doubt.' And a girl.

I remember we were overwhelmed as we drove back home. It still took me another eight months to come to terms with us having a third child. But goodness me! If ever a baby had every intention of making herself at home with a personality as strong on day one as it is at age ten, it was Romy.

She has turned into such a wonderful companion. We like just being together either chatting, reading or doing things. She's funny and interested and asks some great questions about life, the universe and everything - some of which I can answer and some which I can't. She wakes up happy most days, enjoys school and her after-school activities and can be counted on to do the things she should do. She says, in the nicest possible way, that she wants an organised house when she's old enough to have her own place - (unlike the disorganised one we live in.)

I am so glad she appeared so unexpectedly in our lives. So incredibly glad.

And here she is wearing the 'traditional' collar of sweets made by FR.
Happy Birthday, my darling Romy.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A decorated circle

Yes, I'm still tangling like mad. So much so that I thought I'd post one on my 'life' blog, seeing as it seems to have taken over my life at the moment. I sat up quite late last night and then spent most of the miserable and snowy (yes, SNOWY) day in front of a log fire - well, behind the washing that's in front of the log fire - doodling away.

This is on grey card and so has a slightly more serious look to it...

Just so you know I'm not wasting my time doing anything frivolous....

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Just relax..

I keep wanting to say 'It's been a while since my last post...' but that sounds like I'm going to make some sort of confession and I don't think that's the case.

I've been settling back into teaching - and am in the process of taking on more young students. Word gets round and luckily for me, it's a good word, and now my only problem is lack of time! I'm currently investigating the possibility of a Saturday class as Saturday morning is the only time available. I've been busy thinking of new and exciting things to do with ages from 6 to 12....all suggestions very welcome!

I've been to see a couple of puppies but I know when I've looked at them, I'm not quite ready to move on just yet. I know I can't replace Darwin and don't want to but I fell in love with him over the internet and never had anything less than that first feeling for him all the time. I need to fall in love with another one - and I will. Soon. I had begun to stress about it but have now accepted that there is no huge rush and very possibly, if we let it, the right one will find us.

I'm doing lots of Zentangles and if I have any confession at all, then it's that I am posting on my other blog, Annie's Tangles - not in preference to this one but because I am enjoying taking part in the various challenges to complete a drawing or fill in a Zendala. There are about three a week that I feel 'drawn' to do and I really enjoy it. I have held another Zentangle workshop in Alcala too and these will continue as regular, probably monthly features - and I have another couple interested in joining in the next one! Great fun and really very relaxing to do.

It's Romy's 10th birthday in just over a week and she's having her party at the Sports Centre and getting very excited about it. And this will be so easy for me, that I almost feel guilty! The children will have an hour and a half of play with a monitor - and they are excellent at keeping them playing fun games and using up a lot of energy - and then they return to have a little feast and the birthday cake and presents in the lovely room set aside for the purpose. I'm looking forward to it too.

I was watching something on YouTube on our big TV screen the other day and by chance something reminded me of a lovely video I saw a couple of years ago. I found it and sat and watched it a couple of times - so gorgeous it is - then Romy and Ruy joined me and sat through it, spellbound. It's deeply relaxing and beautiful. Yesterday, Ruy sat FR down to watch it too, and before long, we were all staring at the screen in a sort of gentle does it affect you?

***TAP TAP**** Are you still awake?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Going Backwards...

I've been watching a BBC series via You Tube recently called 'Who do you think you are?' It had already started before we left the UK and I'd quite enjoyed seeing a 'celebrity' tracing their ancestry back - either a few generations or sometimes several. I was always quite surprised by how moved the people were to discover what had happened to their distant and quite unknown relatives. Many a tear falls in many shows and for many different reasons - and there have been a lot of episodes as it's been running for around 6 or even 7 series. I've lost count of the number of people who have all expressed a similar sense of having made a connection, of feeling more grounded, of being much more aware of a sense of family.

I know that Janice has done a lot of research into her family history and has uncovered a lot of amazing information, particularly about her bigamist (twice over, as I remember) grandfather. My sister has done some digging into our own family and a couple of years ago, we went through some old photographs that I hadn't seen before and tried to piece together a few odd bits of information that we had.

Our mother is an only child and her mother, my Granny, is also an only child. Sticking with this side of the family to start with, I have taken things a little further than Judy did. And discovered something quite interesting...

We had always been told that the family of my great-grandfather, William Gillbanks, who died in 1917 in the First World War (and who is buried in northern France) came from Kendal in Westmoreland. Kendal was the little town we would come to on our way to the Lake District when we were children. Now the motorway bypasses the town but I remember it with interest and have wondered why anyone would leave there to come to Bradford. In the first half of the 19th Century, a young William Gillbanks set up on his own in the family business of Rope and Twine making. He worked out of a shop on All Hallow's Lane, a street that is still central to Kendal. He married a girl whose surname was Bolton but whose first name I don't know. They had four daughters together, though one, Isabella, died after a long and painful illness at the age of six - and her mother not long after. In 1854, William then married his wife's sister - Mary Bolton. His two eldest daughters moved away from home and worked as milliners but Elizabeth, the youngest stayed on at home and showed up on the 1861 census. By this time, my great-great grandfather had been born - John Wilson - and when he was just eight years old, a dreadful thing took place in All Hallow's Lane.

I found reference to it on the FindmyPast website and although there's a free 14 day trial, I had to pay to access the newpaper cutting that held the vital information. It was worth it though!

Sir Henry was not impressed with
my great-great grandfather
for a number of reasons...

In all the local papers at this time, there was reference to the death of Mary, John Wilson's mother and William Gillbanks' second wife. (A wife, which although a marriage had taken place, was not reckoned to be a 'legal' one by Sir Henry Singer Keating, who merits a mention and a photo on Wikipedia no less and who presided over proceedings this day. Apparently one should not marry one's wife's sister....I suppose there's little difference between one's sister's husband and one's brother's wife when you stop to think about it.)

On the Saturday 20th February, 1863, Elizabeth, then 18 and step-daughter to Mary, stood accused of her manslaughter no less!

There's a very full account of the trial and what happened on the day in the Gillbanks household. Mary, according to her husband, had started drinking a couple of years after their marriage and for about 8 weeks prior to her death had rarely been sober. Obviously we don't hear Mary's side to this! Apparently, she often became violent, was known to the police and had attacked William a couple of times - permanently blinding him in one eye on one occasion! On the day in question, William and his son, John (who at 8 was also called to stand witness in the trial) had been out to buy some buns, (curiously called 'wigs' in Kendal at this time) and when they returned, both Mary and Elizabeth went to pick up the basket at the same time. A struggle ensued during which Mary threatened to hit Elizabeth with a watering can which she had in her hand. William took the can from his wife but then Mary picked up a heavy lead pipe and to Elizabeth, she threatened to 'split her skull' with it. She didn't but turned away and as she did so, Elizabeth picked up and threw a piece of earthenware pot at her - which cut her above and just behind her left ear - a cut not quite an inch in length. Still carrying the pipe, Mary went out of the house and to a neighbours where the wound was bathed. This all happened at about 12 o'clock. At 1.30, Mary returned to the neighbours, still bleeding, where further attempts were made to stop it. William came in and one of the neighbours told him he should fetch a doctor, which William refused to do. He also told the neighbour to mind her own business. Mary didn't ask for a doctor and appeared to make light of the wound. She returned home and went up to her bed.

By 6 o'clock, she had bled to death.

William's halting and unwilling attitude as a witness almost tipped things against Elizabeth and twice, the judge had to speak severely to him. He did not escape considerable criticism for not sending for a doctor and allowing his wife to reach her death without proper medical care. But in the end, Elizabeth was acquitted of the charge of manslaughter. She, her father and her two older sisters all continued to live together in the same house until William's death in 1872. After that I could find no further trace of the Gillbanks sisters, they disappear from all records. I know they never married because my Great Grandma always said that Granny inherited her 'prudish' nature from her husband's Great Aunts, who remained spinsters ....I guess my Great Grandma didn't know what they had been through.

And the effect of this knowledge on me? Well, it has been incredibly interesting and I have looked at All Hallow's Lane in Kendal on Google Maps where it appears perfectly respectable when the photos were taken. I have been very conscious of imagining the setting and the scene on the day of the crime and find myself very sympathetic towards Elizabeth - described as 'the prisoner' in the newspaper. I wonder if she had spent Christmas and New Year in prison as the incident happened on 22nd December, whilst the trial didn't happen for another two months. And I think I understand a little better now why John Wilson might have been moved to leave Kendal and make his way to Thornton in Bradford at the earliest possible opportunity.

All of that is another story though.

Having two hundred years of my family history set out in front of me hasn't made a huge difference to the way I think now but it is rather satisfying to know that I know it, if that makes sense. I suspect that if I were still living in England, I would be making a few visits to places I wouldn't otherwise visit, Kendal included, looking for a few more clues. What skeletons do you have in your cupboard, I wonder?