Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Southampton with Ange and Paul

My cousin Linda has met Ange at last!  They've been hearing about each other for the past four years, since John and I met them and their husbands Peter and Paul in 2008.  And in 2009 I stayed with both cousins.  Both offered to make them my base, which was lovely.

Linda and Peter drove me down to Ange and Paul's place yesterday morning on their way to Brixham in Devon where they have booked a week's holiday.  They like exploring new places.

The photo of Ange and me was taken three years ago during my last visit.  This is the resting place of my great great grandfather George Henry Rose who died in 1901.  His sister in law Hannah Moody was Ange's great great grandmother.  So we are 4th cousins, but also very best friends.  We have a great deal in common, even though Ange is 10 years younger.

Yesterday afternoon, after the obligatory visit to the tea shop for coffee and cake, Ange introduced me to the local library which is very small, but I stayed to look at their local history collection and found quite a few useful books.  Trouble is with the libraries and archives, they will be closed on Monday and Tuesday next week for the Queen's Jubilee long weekend.  Fortunately the local museums and historic houses are open on the public holidays, so we will save visiting them until next week.  Ange likes being a tourist so she will come too.

Later I wrote to the Southern Evening Echo since they have a section called Your Hampshire Heritage.  I don't know how many of you know that before I left home, I researched and wrote a 19 page story called John Rose 1805-1884: opposition town crier.  I found most of the information online on Ancestry (births deaths and marriages, baptisms) and even more important, a great deal of  information in the Hampshire Advertiser between the 1830s and 1880s.  This publication is now on line in The British Newspaper Archives .  I found information about two tragedies in the family (one a man-slaughter indictment, although resolved as a tragic accident; the other a drowning), as well as plenty of fines and at least two periods of imprisonment, one for libel.

John Rose
And would you believe?  I had a phone call this morning from the journalist who writes the Your Hampshire Heritage section, and he is most interested in my story.  I'd said to him that I was prepared to write a shorter version suitable for the paper, and he asked for a photo of John Rose, and he will send a photographer out to take a photo of me!  That may not happen until I come back down here about 15th June.

I hope the graphic designers at the Echo can improve this photo better than I could.  A very distant cousin told me the portrait was hanging on the wall at her parent's place, and kindly took a photo of it for me, the next time she went to visit the "olds".

So I'll be busy tonight crafting a shorter story, with a suitable angle.

This morning (it's still Tuesday here), Ange drove me into the Civic Centre, and we had another obligatory coffee at the SeaCity Museum, a new museum about Southampton's maritime history and in particular this year, the centenary of the Titanic disaster.  We didn't visit the museum since it is open on the weekend and the public holidays next week.

After visiting Tourist Information within the Library to find maps and a bus timetable, we found our way to the Southampton Archives.  This contains parish records and much besides.  I was disappointed to find that the reports of the Southampton Quarter Sessions - where John Rose appeared often to answer charges of assault and selling "unstamped" newspapers - were not available.  I shall have to check the newspapers in the library around the dates I want.  I could well have missed some of the reports.  I especially want to find a report of his libel case in 1839.

I did have some unexpected success though.  Whilst checking the card index of births and burials, I found that my ancestor did not have 15 natural children by his two wives.  He had 17!!!!  I and others thought that Isabella (c1807-1850) had 12 children by him.  But I found two extras - Robert and Caroline.  Both had been born and died between the 1841 and 1851 census, so there was no record of them without trawling through every Rose birth to in Southampton to check their parentage.  

John Rose had three more children by his second wife Hannah Rawlence Rose, whom he married in 1855. And she had brought a five year old son to the marriage.  Hannah died in 1871 aged just 40, even younger than her predecessor.  Both are buried with John Rose at the Southampton Old Cemetery.

I stayed at the Archives until it closed at 4.00pm and found my way home by bus, quite easy really.  

Ange is a great cook.  We had lamb shanks for dinner tonight.  My favourite!

Paul has been sunbaking for the past few days and is quite brown - he doesn't care about cancer it seems - obviously it's not as prevalent in Britain as it is in Oz.  He has a wheelchair that tilts right back like a bed (John would be jealous) and goes to sleep in the sun.

I thought you'd like to see a poem that was on an original flyer that is also on my Facebook friend and distant cousin's parents wall.  It is a flyer about a "benefit" night for John Rose at Southampton's Theatre Royal in 1860, and includes a ditty written by him.  I am still attempting to find out why he would have been given a benefit night.  Here it is:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chichester and Arundel in Sussex

The photo at the left was in one of my grandmother's photo albums, and I wondered who it was.  My dad said it was his first cousin Leslie Tucker who lived in London.  The photo was taken at Chichester in 1935 when he was about 23.  Their parents corresponded occasionally.  The next record I found was a newsclipping of his wedding in 1943, when he was a fireman in London.

It was through the newsclipping and the details of his wife that I finally discovered the existance of his daughter Linda.  After many months of searching, I found her living in Sussex with her husband Peter. Her father had died in 1966 in a firestation accident.

John and I met Linda and Peter in 2008, just before we set off on our motor home adventure, and we've been friends ever since.  I stayed with her in 2009, and once again I am doing so.  They were in Horsham but have now retired to Angmering near Worthing, a seaside town.

It's always a pleasure meeting up with Linda and Peter.  With the weather so beautiful this weekend, many Londoners have decided to spend time at the seaside, filling up the trains and blocking the roads.  I had given them a copy of this photo before meeting them, and they thought it would be nice to have a photo of Linda and myself standing on the same spot.  So here it is.

This is what the market house looks like:

Chichester is a lovely place, with a wonderful cathedral, built before the Norman invasion.  Here are a few photos:

The photo at right shows the Palace gardens which are adjacent to the cathedral.

After a late pasta lunch at Ask, an Italian restaurant at Chichester, we moved on to Arundel, a small town with a magnificent castle between Chichester and Worthing.

This photo was taken in a small hamlet with a popular pub, the Black Rabbit, just down the road from Arundel.

Here we are enjoying a beer.
A pleasant ending to a very enjoyable day out.

Tomorrow I'm off to Southampton.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tower of London ... and Dickens

Shirley's daughters
Today I joined Shirley and the girls on a tour of the Tower of London.  Another beautiful day.  Apparently the good weather arrived the same day that I did.  I've been very lucky!

Beefeater with tour and Tower Bridge in  the background
It's 35 years since I've been to the Tower, and it is much easier to get around, and see the crown jewels.  Also, the tourist concourses are much better - there are many areas to take good photos.

After lunch, the girls went off to the London Eye, and I went to see the Dickens Exhibition  at the London Museum.  It was well worthwhile.
I find it's good to plan out my day and the itinerary on Google maps, to discover the best way to travel without too many changes.  I then write the best journey down in my notebook.  I'd never remember them all.

When I can, I prefer buses since there is less walking up and down stairs.  We couldn't believe the distance we had to travel - up and down stairs, about three sets of escalators and about 10 tunnels between the Central and
District lines, just to travel one station. We all agreed it would have been quicker to walk, but none of us had a London A-Z.

Fortunately, from London Tower to the Museum of London was a simple matter of jumping on the 100 red bus.

Very tired again tonight, and felt like I'd broken a toe, my big toe was giving me a lot of grief, but it's easing now, so that's a relief.  I planned and booked my train journeys for the next fortnight, since I will be travelling from Southampton to Coventry, Coventry to Barnsley, Barnsley to Banbury in the space of four days between 6th and 10th June.  After that, who knows?  I have a couple of ideas, but maybe I'll wait and see what happens with my research.

I was so lacking in energy that I haven't contacted any of my "new" cousins, it seemed better to spend the time with Shirley, Johnnie and the girls whilst I could.  After all, it's a long way to Florida, and none of them are keen to come to Australia.  Long flights give them the horrors.

Tomorrow at 2pm I will be catching the train from Victoria Station to Arundel, a castle town just 10 minutes drive from Linda and Peter's place.  They suggested that as a good route to take and they will pick me up.  Looking forward to my third visit - always a delight. Linda was a Tucker, and we are going to make contact with yet another one - Sarah, who is more distantly related but from the same gene pool of yeoman and "ag lab" Tuckers.  See my other blog at for information about that side of my family.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Shirley meets Ray in Banbury

In the pub garden at Banbury
Well, what a wonderful day.  I should think Ray and Trish would have been gob-smacked when they heard that six women were descending on Banbury, Oxfordshire to meet Shirley's and my mutual second cousin Ray.  I've always known about Ray because our respective fathers and their mothers used to correspond since my dad and his mother came to Australia in 1925.

I met the "girls" at their apartment off Oxford Street at Marble Arch (how central), and we set off, on Ray's advice to Marylebone Railway station where we caught a train to Banbury an hour and a quarter from London in Oxfordshire, north.

Arriving at Banbury by train
Ray met us at the station with his car, and the overflow followed in a taxi.  Ray and Trish had booked a table - in a private room - at a local pub, and their daughter Tracey, who has a bad bout of laryngitis (and sounds like me, except for the accent) joined us as well.  So there were nine of us altogether.

Shirley and Ray shared their memories, and it seemed that Ray's parents and aunts were very concerned about what had happened to Shirley after her mother had died of kidney failure in 1942.

Like many men, her father was not family minded and Shirley was brought up by his parents, and contact was lost with her mother's family.  So it was not until 2009 until the jigsaw was completed.

 I'm so pleased that Ray had shown me (in 2008) that photo of Shirley as a little girl.  When Shirley saw the photo she remembered her great aunt Kate, who brought up her mother Kathleen from a young age.  Kate was married to Sidney Bellenger, and all the Reed sisters called them "Steak and Kidney".

Shirley was four and a half in this photo.  She reminds me of Elizabeth's daughter Carolina who I met just last week in Orange County.

How serendipitous that Shirley and her daughters from Florida and Tennessee were in London at the same time I was!

Ray reading about John Rose 1805-1884
I gave both Shirley and Ray copies of the latest family story I've written up.  This one is about our 3 x great grand-father John Rose.  Lucky he didn't end up in Australia as a convict (he was constantly being fined and imprisoned for his political activities in the 1830s) or we would be somebody else or never would have existed.

Tomorrow I'm joining my girl cousins for a tour of the Tower of London.  After that I shall try and see the Dickens Exhibition at the London Museum.  They fly home on Saturday, and I'm off to Sussex to revisit my second cousin Linda on the other side of my dad's family.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

San Francisco Monday and Tuesday

Toured the city on the upper deck of this bus
I’m sitting at San Francisco International Airport, waiting to board.  Good thing I got here early – it took an hour to get through security, the line was so long.

(Well, I was - this is a delayed post - Thursday morning now and off to see Ray with the "girls" from Panama City in Florida.)

I’m sorry to be leaving San Francisco.  It seems a very easy place to live – as long as you have the money.  I’m told a city flat – that is, one bedroom and kitchenette – will set you back $3 million.

I’ve just spent two days sightseeing independently.  I started with an open-topped double decker downtown tour.  This took me through the financial district, to Union Square, City Hall, the Chinese section, little Italy and back to Fisherman’s Wharf.  It took an hour and a half and was a good way to orientate myself.

After going to the Boudin bakery for lunch, I decided to walk through the city – down Stockton Street – past Washington Square and the Chinese section.  The latter was teeming with fruit and grocery shops.  I arrived at Union Square and into Macy’s department store.
I’ve never been to Macy’s before, and the tourist guide said that if an overseas tourist presented ID to the concierge, a 10% discount would be given.  This was too good to pass up, so I bought a couple of really nice bags.

I then continued walking, and eventually arrived at the Caltrain.  By this time it was 6:15pm, so I only had 30 minutes to wait for the train I arranged to take back to Menlo Park where Caroline kindly picked me up.  I have done without a mobile phone this week, and without 3G, so all my arrangements had to be made in advance.  It didn’t do me any harm.

Waiting for the train at Menlo Park
Being more familiar with the streets, I made it a priority to plan my “must sees” for this morning, since I had limited time.  Caroline drove me to the station on her way to work at 7:15am, and I met a very nice “mature aged” woman who actually asked me for help – to change some money.  Anyway, she was very friendly and interested in my travels, and we chatted all the way into the city.  She helped me get on and off the train too, with my backpack and wheelie bag, which are OK to carry on the flat, but difficult climbing down four steep steps to the platform.  Our trains are much better than San Francisco’s in that regard.

My plan this morning was to drop off my bags ($5 per bag for safekeeping) at the California Welcome Centre at Pier 39.  This enabled me to undertake my plan with ease.  I wanted to see the “painted ladies” at Alamo Square and to take a ride in a cable car.  My ticket for the open top sight-seeing bus was for 24 hours, so I caught the bus around to the City Hall stop, and then a trolley bus to Alamo Square, where I took plenty of pictures of the unusual architecture.
Painted ladies at Alemo Square

I then caught another trolley bus to the corner of Powell and Market Streets, where I queued for the cable car.  The ride only cost $6, and was well-worthwhile.  The hills really are steep.
Cable car at Powell Street
I was very impressed with the public transport in San Francisco.  There is a train (Caltrain), MUNI – electric buses, trams (mostly brought in from other cities which have given them up), the Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART for short, and the cable car, which is more than a tourist activity.

Because I had spent so long sight-seeing, I decided to catch a yellow taxi - $50 plus tip – to the airport.  There were cheaper public transport alternatives, but I didn’t want the worry of not having enough time at the airport.

So now I’m on the plane to London, and I’m surrounded by French people – my schoolgirl French is useless.  The two girls opposite me are Liverpudlians though, and they are friendly.
So ends my week in the USA.  What a wonderful time I’ve had, thanks to Elizabeth and her girls in Los Angeles and Orange County, and Caroline and Kent in Menlo Park, San Francisco.  They were perfect hosts.  There are some photos of Elizabeth and Caroline throughout this blog, but not one of Kent I’m sorry to say.  He took the opportunity whilst Caroline and I were out to catch up on his assignments – he’s just finished the law component, but is still finishing his business studies at Graduate school at Stanford University, which is just down the road from their place.

Elizabeth and Caroline both went to the University of Alabama, where Elizabeth was three years ahead of Caroline and a great help to the latter in her first year of studies.  They and their cousin Erin are more like sisters than cousins, they are really close to each other.  All of them grew up for part of their childhoods at least in Panama City, Florida where their nana, my cousin Shirley had them stay in the school holidays.  They have wonderful memories of those days.

And now they are jealous of me seeing their mothers and grandmother and aunt in London, hopefully on Thursday.  We plan to go up to Banbury in Oxfordshire, where I will introduce them to cousin Raymond.  I’ve known about RaymoTrish visited us in Australia.  John and I were on a trip around Australia that year, so we had to detour back to Canberra to meet him.

Ray has just had a triple bypass, and isn’t yet well enough to travel, so that is why we are going up to Banbury to see him.

I shall edit this post later and put in the pictures.  I have only just found out how to enable my laptop for wifi at this hotel.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

John Steinbeck country

Since I have just read John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and am currently reading The Grapes of Wrath, I jumped at the chance of visiting Salinas and Monterey when Caroline suggested it (generous soul that she is).  Salinas is about an hour and a half's drive from Menlo Park.

We drove straight to Salinas, a semi-depressed town which is inland - reminded me of many NSW country towns.  The purpose-built museum is well-worth spending time in. We also visited the Steinbeck House where he lived with his parents.

Following this, we drove 17 miles to Monterey, a much bigger town which is on the coast.  This is the setting for Steinbeck's Cannery Row, which was based on the major industry - fish canning - and the lives of the many immigrants who came searching for work - Japanese (who were forced out), Filippinos and others.

Monterey is far more commercial than Salinas - it has a Fishermen's Wharf too, but not as large as San Francisco's.

Here is McAbee's beach at Monterey.

White tailed deer right beside the road with three others.

We then drove along the beach, past the famous golf course Pebble Beach where the US Open is played.

For more photos from Monterey and Salinas, check out this album on Facebook at Margaret Tucker Moxon's photo album.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

San Francisco with Caroline

What a day - almost too tired to write it up.

Caroline drove me everywhere today - to see the redwood forest (Muir Woods National Park); Golden Gate bridge; Fisherman's wharf and Stanford University, where Kent is at graduate school.

On the way home, we stopped at the Facebook headquarters.  The very day Mark Zuckerberg got married!  Not there I presume.

San Francisco is a foggy place, but fortunately we had beautiful weather - about 70 degrees F.

Stanford University from the Hoover Tower
We had fish and chips for lunch - disappointing, the fish was very strong - Caroline thought it was cod.  And they cook the batter so it was burnt.  Shouldn't complain when one is not at home!  But we also had delicious icecreams later.  And coffee.  They don't know what a flat white is.  Latte yes, but it came out looking like a cappuccino.  Better than Starbucks which I am actually starting to get used to.

I'll leave the photos to tell the story.  There are three albums on Facebook if you happen to be on it.  Don't forget you can comment.  I see lots of people must be looking at the blog, there were 232 (not counting me) views by this pm.

 Rodin statue at Stanford (above)
Stanford Memorial Church - love the murals
(above and left)

Caroline and Margaret at the Golden Gate bridge

The Facebook offices are at Menlo Park near Caroline's place

I'm too tired to write any more - we are off to John Steinbeck country tomorrow morning.  Caroline is excited too.  I have just finished reading Of Mice and Men and am currently reading The Grapes of Wrath.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Arrival in Silicon Valley

I didn't take any photos today - started the day in a taxi to Van Nuys, coach to Bakersfield, Amtrak train to Stockton, coach to San Hose and Caltrain (local train) to Menlo Park, arriving at 9.04pm to be picked up by Caroline.  The route was through the "food bowl of America" as the San Jacquin Valley is called.

Apparently it is very good soil and plenty of rain, but it looked sandy and dry to me.  Lots of orchards.  Very flat country but we crossed the ranges before Bakersfield and then back again at San Jose and it was very picturesque. There was a great deal of  haze which my American-Australian friend Julie who hails from LA explained was a mixture of fog and pollution.  It's worse in summer apparently.

None of the transport was wheelchair accessible that I could see.  Quite difficult for an oldie like me carrying the minimal luggage I have, but not easy with a rucksack, a small bag on wheels and my new Ellen carry bag, trying to climb stairs at the same time.  Very disappointing to see.

I was pleased though that I arrived precisely at the time I said I would.  Lots to talk about when I settled in at Caroline and Kent's place.  Caroline is also Shirley's grand-daughter.  She and Kent have recently married, and although I've heard lots and lots about Kent on FB I met him for the first time tonight.

I'm looking forward to exploring San Francisco with them tomorrow.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Irvine in Orange County with Elizabeth

At the shopping centre with Isabella and Carolina and their mum
Today I had my first experience of Amtrak - no different from our trains really, except that their engines are huge.  It was about 90 minutes from Burbank to Irvine, where Elizabeth picked me up.  Irvine is a very large suburban area.

We picked Isabella up from school at 11.30am - they only do half days in kindergarten - and then went back to their house for a few hours.  I went to sleep for at least two, along with Carolina who is not yet three.  Maybe I'm not quite over my jet lag yet.  I watched the Ellen show and saw us both on it.

Carolina showing her new koala to the fish
Later we went to the big outdoor mall, where I picked up a couple of new tops and earrings. Then we had tea at the Cheesecake Factory, where you can select much more than cheesecake.

It was late by then and Chris, Elizabeth's husband was home from his two hour commute and could look after the girls whilst Elizabeth drove me back to Burbank.  Another great day - a bit quieter than yesterday though.

I had to say goodbye to Elizabeth tonight.  Tomorrow I will be met at the train at Menlo Park by Caroline, who is Elizabeth's first cousin, and more like a sister since Elizabeth has no siblings.  They are both grand-daughters of my second cousin Shirley who lives in Panama City.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hollywood with Elizabeth

Margaret & Elizabeth at the studios
Great day with my cousin Elizabeth who lives in Orange County south of here.  She used to work at Warner Bros so managed to get us tickets for the Ellen Show.  I'd never seen the show right through, but used to catch bits of it at my dad's nursing home.  I've always liked her though.

Really enjoyed being in the studio audience - even got into the mood, cheering, clapping, dancing (of sorts).  And came away with a $100 gift voucher for JC Penny's, the department store.  Elizabeth advised me to save it for San Francisco, good for clothes etc.  Amazing they can give everyone in the audience such a gift...  We had a tour of the back rooms too, with one of Elizabeth's former colleagues.  Ellen's wardrobe is huge.

Of course we weren't allowed to take cameras in to the show, so no photos of that.

Prior to this, Elizabeth drove me to Hollywood Boulevarde, full of tourists like me - Elizabeth generally stays clear.  Saw many wondrous sights, including people high on drugs, costumed people looking for tips (pleased to oblige for a photo), waxed stars and billboards.  Plus some interesting architecture such as the Chinese Theatre below.

Elizabeth dropped me back to the hotel about 6 pm, but no time for TV - spending the evening updating this blog, and catching up with John via Skype, emails (even volunteer work doesn't stop) and friends on Facebook.

Tomorrow I'm going to Orange County - about an hour and a quarter south - to spend the day with Elizabeth and her two girls, Isabella 6 and Carolina nearly 3.

PS Over my jetlag, I think.  Had a great night's sleep yesterday pm (no I couldn't stay awake) and overnight till daylight here.