It's mayhem in our street today...everyone rushing to get their hay baled as fast as possible 'cos I don't think we can quite believe the heatwave is due to continue for another week...according to the forecast, which has been wrong before...!

The tractors which pull the baling machines are driven by lads who look about fourteen and drive like the hammers of hell...they go rocketing down the little narrow road with nary a thought for anyone daft enough to be taking a stroll...though no-one has been out on foot except for Marie and she goes for her walk really early before it gets too hot.

Hopefully there will be plenty of hay available for the winter months...we always get slightly anxious around September time when we begin to stock up for the donkeys winter feed...the price can leap up if it's bought in from the Midlands.

I've spent the afternoon indoors again simply because if I was to be outside there'd be nothing left of me but for a pool of grease. So I've been getting my moneys worth from Ancestry...and it was excellent today because I came across a distant branch whose people originated in the Lincolnshire Fens...funny place the Fens...and several of the people have interesting stories attached which have been carefully researched by the same woman.

Gilbert, The Tanner...who did get married despite the odour which clung to his clothes and person. He was born towards the end of the 1600's when Tanners still used dog faeces as 'bate' in curing the hides. Apparently the bate causes an enzyme reaction...it was long after Gilbert was dead that an alternative to dog poo was found. He named one of his sons...Hamlet.

One of Gilberts relatives left his wife a cow in his Will...bet she was really pleased with that...and he left a son five sheep and their lambs...

And yet another of Gilberts people lived very close to the site of one of the bloodier battles of the English Civil War...an area there is still known as Slash Alley and Slash Field because of the number of men killed in the fighting. It must have been terribly frightening to hear the sound of horses and men screaming and the clash of blades...wondering if the battle was going to come any closer to your farmyard and praying that it wouldn't.

Then there was a girl who married into the family whose surname was Giggle...and much later on, in the early days of the 1800's, one chap died from typhus while his wife was expecting their first baby. He had his photograph taken though...one of those glass sorts which looks to me as though the person who owns the original has had it professionally restored. Either that or it's been kept very carefully.

The attending Doctor said he was surprised not more people succumbed to the typhus because the dykes and ditches of the Fens stank and were full of vermin and mosquitoes...I did go outside and related this gem to Himself who has begun clearing out the other side of our ditch again...he came indoors soon afterwards.

But the most interesting person was a girl named Mary...she was one of Gilberts daughters and she was born on the nineth of October 1668....and she died in Tibet. There is a proper address in Chinese for the town or district...and no other information whatsoever. So I've sent a message to the woman who has 'done' the tree and asked please would she tell me how Mary came to be in Tibet/China...always supposing she knows, and always presuming it isn't a tall story passed down through the family.

I expect most of us have those embellished tales in our families...one of my Uncles was said to have died a hero in what was then Palestine during the 2nd War...the truth was that his horse reared and threw him off...

So, what else did I find...a girl named Martha who died from Smallpox and is buried in a church in the Fens...her Father had one of those marble effigies carved. A photograph shows her lying there with her hands neatly folded in prayer...she's a remote relation to me though. A Third Cousin of a Grand-Aunts Husband six times removed...something like that anyway.

Salad for supper tonight...I'm away to boil some eggs and to think about bloody battles and men armed with nothing more than a pitchfork...and young girls immortilised for ever in cold marble.