We'd intended to go into Roscommon town this morning to tax the car and buy bird seed but it was so horribly cold I simply couldn't face the thought...it's warm in the car of course, but feckin' freezing out of it.

It was an air frost more than a ground frost...no pretty sparkles on the grass or trees...just rock hard ground and that awful bite to the air. We had a sprinkle of snow yesterday but have escaped the promised heavy falls thus far.

Weather or no weather we'll have to make the effort to go tomorrow, apart from the bird seed there are various bits and bobs we need that can't be got in our little town. New pillows for one...after reading about the number of mites and the amount of dead skin which accumulates in a pillow some years back I change them often now...makes my head itch with the thought otherwise...the old ones go into the dogs beds until they're really grotty, then get thrown out.

So faced with an icy morning and the sun shining showing every cobweb and grubby mark, I set to with a cloth and hot water and cleaned the worst off in the sitting room anyway...the other rooms aren't too bad but the sitting room is used constantly so quickly shows wear and tear.

Found a few more people on Ancestry this afternoon but became sidetracked yet again by some records of the prisoners on prison ships...or hulks as they were known. They were ships which could no longer go to sea because of needing costly repairs so they were moored either on disused docks or just a short way from shore.

They were originally intended to be used as over-spill from the crowded Victorian prisons but then some specialised in young offenders and others were used for political prisoners.

If Wikipedia can be believed, it is said more Colonist men and women died on the hulks moored on East river during the American War of Independence than in all the battles fought during that War. And mostly from sheer neglect. Over-crowding, deliberate lack of food and water and disease saw 11,500 people die. Whichever way you look at the numbers it is a staggering total.

The records I was reading were long lists of prisoners and their sentences...unfortunately they didn't include the crime which brought them to such a sorry state...many were pardoned though, so maybe that particular ship was used like a remand facility.

They probably fared better than the American Colonists...at least they'd have been fed.

I've been doing Himselfs tree for the past couple of days and getting nowhere fast...then this afternoon I found a family with seriously old names...Hepizbah and Thirza...Isaac and Moses...there were thirteen children and each had an old Testament name. Those which survived to adulthood and had children of their own named them John and Sarah and so on...which is probably just as well...

Better think about supper I suppose...