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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Revisting Beeston Castle from New Zealand - Summer 2013

Eons of flight-path inching set aside,
Back to earth that bush and nettles hide,
Bounding up the hill, we who came so far
Unfold the plain to glimpse towards the farm
And seek the tree where nanna’s ash was laid.
Below stand Beeston Castle’s broken walls,
With tat and ice creams in the shop beneath
As jest and jostling dust away the galls
And rollicking up, there’s young mischief.
Fifty summers now the scene divide
As sunlight basks away the evening star -
With balls to throw and kick, and picnic plied -
We set to side the bales that maul and mar.
Hawthorn, oaks and sward tops standing wide -
Seasons come, the scythes of harvest bide.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Clan Shorrocks Reunited after 100 years!



At some point around 1905, my grandfather Harry Shorrocks [who was then about 25 years old] decided to mooch away and start a new life. He left his family in Salford, Lancashire and did a runner to London, where he reinvented himself as Harry Johnson.
After he married my grandmother Connie, Harry remained mute on the subject of his origins.
But he reckoned without the 21st century potential for online research on UK Census records, male-line YDNA testing, and the contacts that can now be established through the Social Media.   
On Monday, a genealogical ‘brickwall’ was finally cleared away as my immediate family was treated to a fine pub lunch in Silverdale, Cumbria by the descendants of Harry’s brother Robert. Wonderful people and a warm and touching occasion – with immediate rapport between the two wings of the reunited family.
As for Harry’s decision, it seems that morality and propriety were at issue. When I mentioned that Harry had been known as a man who liked drink, women and gambling, his nephew 87 year-old Eric Shorrocks  - my father’s cousin, who remembers Harry being talked of in hushed tones - just sighed.
Case closed!