I managed to get right back as far as 1545 and then nothing more...it's infuriating when that happens...I mean, people didn't just appear out of thin air, Thomas must have had parents. Perhaps the Parish records were destroyed or are indeciperable due to age...and I found one woman who was born in England but died on St Kilda...it's an island off the coast of Scotland and awfully remote. The sheep are bred by some organic farmers here for their wool and because they are little and skinny...the sheep, not the people...and can live on fresh air and not much else. Actually they eat seaweed...on St Kilda anyway.

Have you ever eaten Dillisk? It's absolutely foul...really chewy and salty... it's an edible seaweed which is very popular here when it's in season. There's an elderly man who brings a small trailer load to the market place in town and you buy it in a sort of lump that he wraps up in a newspaper parcel. I think you can buy it dried as well in little packets in the health food shops.

And why are health food shops called that....does it mean that an ordinary grocery store is an unhealthy food shop? It might sell some stuff which isn't awfully good for you but most sell food that is thought healthy as well.

Something else which is popular here is another kind of seaweed which is dried and plumps itself up when it's in the bath...it's said to be very good for the skin but I tried a packet once and there were little tiny cockle shells mixed up in the weed and that put me off a bit...thought I might see a crab at any minute. The seaweed baths are thought a proper luxury...a friend asked me if I'd like to go with her one day 'cos she'd been given a gift voucher and I didn't want to say yes 'cos I thought you all had to get into a communal bath in your skin.

It wasn't until ages afterwards that I found out that you have your own bathroom and thick soft towels and it's very private. I've never been overly fond of exposing my wobbly bits but if I'd known you didn't have to leap into a huge lukewarm tub of smelly water with loads of other people then I'd have gone...

When my children were small they used to bring back that horrible Bladderwrack seaweed because they'd read somewhere that it could tell what the weather was going to be like on the following day...it has those blobby lumps on it that look like green boils...they'd hang it up outside the backdoor until the smell of it quietly rotting drove me to put it on the compost heap. They just found some more the next time we went to the ocean.

Ages ago we used to keep a couple of tanks of tropical fish...the Guppies bred like mad and the big catfish sat at the bottom of the tank swallowing the new babies until he was stuffed to bursting...so that wasn't very satisfactory...but we always had our eye on a marine tank. Now, those marine fish are absolutely stunning....such incredible colours, but you have to set the tank up with proper sand and such like and you can really only keep one fish 'cos they need loads of space so we never did have one...

But we did have a Pink-Knee Tarantula...she was quite nice actually though we fed her on live Crickets and they used to escape from their plastic carton and get into the hot press where it was warm and then set up such a chirruping at night it was impossible to sleep...Luke took her shed skin to school and it ended up on the floor and he came home without it. I had to 'phone the head teacher...who was as mad as a bag of cats at the best of times....to warn him the school cleaner might have the vapours were he to come across this huge spider skin...

Tarantulas are terribly fragile...if you drop them their tummies burst open.

The oddest and the creepiest pets we've ever had were the Oscars. They are disc shaped tropical fish who start off as big as your little fingernail and then they begin to grow...and they grow and grow and grow until they are totally huge. We had two who used to throw themselves head first at the top of their tank...and lid would rattle and shake and they wait a minute and then do it again. In the end it was me or the Oscars and we advertised them for sale and a man came to look at them and his jaw dropped...he did buy them though and put them into one of those CoolBoxes to take them home...which we loaned him and never saw again...

Luke had the school Stick Insects at home for the summer holidays and we seemed to spend ages walking around surburban streets pinching bits of privet from peoples hedges to feed the silly insects...they did all manage to stay alive though until school began again and he took them back in their little wire box thing...Luke used to tip them out of their house every day and count them to make sure they were all still alive and that none had escaped...I was glad to see them go.

It's rained on and off today...and there was some rumbles of thunder but it didn't come to much. Apparently it's 100% humidity which is probably why I've been leaking like a sieve since first thing this morning...