There's Max with her dinosaurs and Jenny with her flowers and Gracie with her bike rides...and I collect bits of totally useless information.

Red Legs...I read about someone described as a Red Leg in a thriller...very scathing the lead detective was as well...and Himself said he was sure the Union side in the American Civil War were known as Red Legs so I looked it up 'cos I can't bear not knowing stuff. The original Red Legs were, and still are, the descendants of the indentured servants and White slaves and criminals who were sent to the West Indies during the days of mass transportation. They became known as Red Legs from the terrible sunburn they suffered working out in the fields all day...still classed as something of the underdog because of their usual description of Poor White Trash...Cromwell sent huge numbers of innocent Irish peasants out there while he was pillaging Ireland to join those transported from England for minor crimes.

And there was a small band of renegade soldiers during the Civil War who fought for the Union side who did wear distinctive red leather gaiters...hence Red Legs.

Then I was trawling hopelessly through about a trillion parish records looking for one person in particular when I found the term 'son of Mary...user of her body said to be one John of this parish'...I haven't put the proper names in case someone reads this and recognises their tenth Granny from the description because it was in the baptism section of the parish records from a small village in Norfolk dated 1599...and bit later a baby born out of wedlock was referred to as 'base born'...it wasn't until the 1800's that the term illegitimite came into common usuage...and now no-one bothers to make a distinction at all.

I especially liked one tree I came across which had a man buried forty years after his death...bet he was slightly smelly by the time he was in the ground. Though I suspect it was simply a mistake and not fact...hope it wasn't fact.

There was a time when if you were poor you could hire the outer garments for your loved ones funeral...there'd be a stall set up outside the graveyard gates with black cloaks and hats that for a payment of a penny you could wear while the funeral was in progress...then you gave it back to your man. He made a few bob and you were suitably attired for the occasion.

That was especially popular in Ireland when most country people only had the clothes they stood up in and owned nothing for a special occasion.

I don't know whether the Victorian fashion for Mourning rings and brooches ever caught on here but they were very popular among the middle classes of Victorian England. A lock of hair enclosed in a ring or a brooch was perfectly acceptable and as Max found out when watching the Antiques Roadshow, are now expensive to buy. I remember Mum had a brooch with a lock of curled hair inside but it disappeared after she died and was something I'd never asked her about. I saw very many when we lived in England...some would open up and there'd be a tiny folded scrap of paper inside along with the lock of hair telling who it was the hair belonged to...

The Victorians had mourning off to a fine art...widows draped in long black veils were not expected to go out or socialise for at least a year after their husbands died...so that rather beggars the question as to how they managed to meet their next husband and re-marry again quite so quickly...sometimes I read what was expected...and then trawl through the family tree and see quite the opposite. And I've also been surprised at the sheer numbers of 'base born' children who were happily...one presumes...absorbed into the immediate family and then accepted by the husband.

We are led to believe that a baby born out of wedlock was just about even with committing mass murder and yet the census and other records show this not to be true in the majority of cases. I'm wondering whether it was different if you lived in a largely rural community...maybe the lure of making out behind the haystacks was so acceptable that the babies born as a result were welcomed rather than rejected.

It was different in rural Ireland...an unmarried mother was thought to be a social pariah and was sent away to the awful Magdelan Laundries or the Workhouse before she knew what was happening...

So, apart from looking up Red Legs and so on, we've had a quiet day. Some of the family remembered Himselfs birthday and sent messages on Facebook...not quite the same as getting an actual card though is it...we've been sitting out in the shade. I've been cross-stitching and Himself was dozing the afternoon away with a break every now and then to throw Millies ball for her...

If they don't bother when it's his 80th birthday then I'm going to let rip and they'll wonder whatever has hit them...I'd quite like to now...I'd like to send them letters explaining he is their Father and deserves recognition and they are mostly selfish pigs who are too self absorbed to care...but I don't suppose I will.