This family group of people who lived in Canada after emigrating from Norfolk,England are Nevilles relations...they are a classic example of name changing with the original family name being Mark which was later changed to Clark by some of the younger people.
I found out about making straw bonnets today 'cos one of my relatives was a straw bonnet maker in the 1860's...the bonnets were made from finely plaited straw which was then dyed or bleached...sewn together...and placed onto a 'form' to shape it.
The plaiters, who were very poor families, plaited the straw into lengths of 20 yards long called a score...then someone would come to the house to collect your scores...take them away to be bleached or dyed and then deliver them to the bonnet maker. Believe it or not when we grumble about cheap Chinese imports we are not the first to do so...by the 1880's the scores of plaits were being imported from China at a much cheaper cost than those made at home so the plaiters...already impoverished...lost their source of income.
I spent some of the afternoon covering coathangers...I know...not exactly rocket science, but as I hang most of my clothes up and only have those freebie plastic hangers from the shop which poke shoulders out at a funny angle, I dismantled an old pillow and used the stuffing to pad them out...covered in fabric as well of course and with a bit of ribbon tied round the hook. They wouldn't bear close inspection mind you...but they serve the purpose.
And then I sent ipernity an e-mail 'cos I found a chap who'd come to my page has posted semi-pornographic pictures on his page...wouldn't be quite so bad if the girlfriend had shaved her arm-pits I suppose...
Himself went to the shop to get some potatoes and dog food and came back with a huge bag of tomatoes...they were only 2€ he said...as neither of us much like shop tomatoes it doesn't seem quite like the bargain he imagined it to be...I did once make tomato soup out of the surplus we had and it was actually inedible, though I followed the recipe precisely...I think I stirred it into the dogs tea in the end...they ate it.
While on the subject of food and animals I'd love to know why my cats turn their noses up when I give them a chicken carcase...they take one horrified look and begin to yowl for a proper tin of proper cat food...what do they know about the chicken that I don't I wonder. Next doors cat will eat it...but then he'll eat virtually anything.
Did I tell you we went to the car boot sale on Sunday...think I forgot to. It was really busy with many stalls selling the usual combinations of stuff people had found at the back of cupboards and books and so forth. I only bought one paperback and a couple of tops which looked virtually new...walked straight past the woman selling pretty bantam hens and a dear little cockerel who was shouting his head off...she was asking 10€ each for plain old ropey hens who were well past their sell by date so I didn't dare ask how much she wanted for the bantams...I do so like them, but the eggs are so tiny you need three of those to one ordinary sized hens egg.
At least no-one was selling puppies thank goodness though lots of people had their dogs with them including a pair of beautiful Saluki's...rather like small versions of Afghan hounds...they have long pointed noses and look rather aloof. There were also many very small dogs which Millie completely ignored...she's a terrible snob when she meets other dogs. They are bouncing about at the ends of their leads desperate to say Hello! and she's carefully looking the other way and pretending she can't see them...
There was a young chap selling all sorts of bits and bobs...including some clay pipes. So I stopped to have a look at them and a woman who was also looking said they used to be known as 'chalk' pipes in some areas...she then went on to tell us about the custom of breaking the stem of the pipe at funerals to allow the spirit to escape. She said that the coffin...usually laid on the table in the living room of the cottage...would be covered in clay pipes ready filled with tobacco for the mourners to help themselves. I was hoping she'd tell more but she moved away then to another stall.
I suppose I'd better think what to get for supper...by mid-week I tend to resort to the quick and easy like a cheese omelette...we'll need to have grilled tomatoes with it tonight...!