Monday 27 February 2017

On our Doorstep - Alrewas, Staffordshire

It feels like we've been hibernating since October and
seems a long old time since we've been out for
a decent walk. It seems even longer since we did a walk of the Geocaching kind.

Last week we managed to get out, in between the rain showers, for a wander around Alrewas, a village not too far away, where Spring was certainly in the air.

There was a series of caches that offered a nice easy walk around the village and we thought it might be a good way to get us back into the swing, so we picked up mum and dad and headed out.

Alrewas is a village that sits alongside the main A38 road between Lichfield and Burton-on-Trent and is somewhere that we often drive past, but have never really got round to exploring.

We parked up and, hoping for not too much mud, headed out.

Our walk started on the road but soon took us down a public footpath, past the waterworks building and many very nice properties tucked away from the main drag.
At the end of the footpath we decided to head off piste a bit for a wander along the canal.
We drew the line though when it came to ankle deep mud ....
... and made our way back hence we had come, passing our dream house on the way.
We had a bit of a pitstop at the Mill Stream picnic spot, where the ducks were obviously not used to visitors arriving empty handed, though they were disappointed today.
From the Mill Stream it was then on to the local church, where we wandered through the churchyard with spring in full bloom. We admired the carpet of spring flowers, drifts of snowdrops, dotted with crocuses and topped off with very early flowering daffodils. It was a sight to behold and really lifted the spirits on a grey and dull day.
Through the churchyard and a bit of deliberation on where to next soon had us on our way, past more very enviable properties in the loveliest of spots.

We started to feel a few spots of rain and were in the ideal spot for a bit of respite for our aching legs so headed into The Crown for a nice cosy lunch, though I think we must have hit them on a bad day as it was over an hour later that we were back on our way.

We were well on the homeward stretch and it wasn't long before we'd picked up our final finds and found ourselves back where we started, for one last real sign of Spring.

We'd walked about 2.5 miles and, though its not really that far, we felt quite accomplished and were glad to have got back into the swing .... of both having a decent walk and doing a spot of Geocaching.

It turns out we've not fallen out of love with it at all.

Monday 20 February 2017

Will Sidney's War - September 1918 - Treading the Boards!

It is now September 1918 and, unsurprisingly Will Sidney is still 'in the Dock', thinking of his dearest Ethel, desperate to get better so he can get home to get married.
"1 Sunday - Still in Dock. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her. Church @ 11.30. New Chaplain. No letters from anybody"
"2 Monday - Still in Dock. My neck still a little sore. Writ to Ethel. No letters from anyone."
"3 Tuesday - My neck feeling better, but sore & tender. A letter from Dora. Answered it."
"4 Wednesday - My neck turning septic. Had to have hot forments on every 4 hours. Very painful & sore."
"5 Thursday - Still painful. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her. I wish I was with her. Writ to her & Chuck Vogel, American soldier with Italian army."
"6 Friday - My neck very sore, one continuous ache. I can't understand it @ all. Thinking of Darling Ethel."
"7 Saturday - God bless her. I wish my neck was better so as I could have my leave to marry her. I simply worship her with all my heart & soul." 
The following week sees Will moved from the 38th to the 29th Stationary Hospital, where things don't sound too cheerful ...
 "8 Sunday - Moved from Genoa to Turino to the 29th Stationary Hospital. Writ to Ethel & Ma."
"9 Monday - The sister is worse than awful. The OC is a Bully (a Prison MO in pre-war times). MO no visit." 
"10 - Tuesday - No letters from anybody. Thinking of Darling Ethel. Wondering if she has heard from York."
"11 Wednesday - A letter from Darling Ethel. Answered it. Pleased to hear she has received it from York."
"12 Thursday - Still in the 29 Sta Hos. My shoulder still painful. Received the Registered from my Darling Ethel, with the money & heather in."
"13 Friday - Answered her loving letter."
"14 Saturday - Still in Hospital."
During this week's diary entries Will refers to Ethel having sent him some heather. In his 1919 diary, we found this and wonder, could it possible be the heather that Ethel sent to him in 1918 ...
We also found this postcard in Will's things and it is marked on the back, by Will, as being the way to the 29 Sta Hospital, which is where he was transferred to on 8 September 1918 ...

From Will's diary for the following week we get the impression that he is seriously fed up ...
All Will has to say for the whole week is ...
"My neck still stiff & sore. No improvement whatever. Thinking of Darling Ethel. Worrying is she is worse."
Interestingly Will makes no mention of his activities on the Saturday, where it seems he took the role of Major Brown in the 29 Stationary Hospital B Sections production. It seems that Will sang in the production at items 9 & 19 - 'Michigan' and 'Good-bye-ee."

We were totally fascinated with this original typed programme that we found, be it very flimsy ...
The following week, Will still appears to be pretty hacked off ...
Again, Will doesn't have much to say ...
"Rotten old Major & Matron. Hoping Ethel is getting well again."
 He did manage to send a postcard to Ethel, which we have found, date stamped 25 September 1918 ...
Will writes on the reverse of the card ...
"E ... I am sending you a picture that I happened to see the other day. I will try & send you some more. I am just about the same. Hoping you are a lot better by now. Remember me to all ... I am yours ... W"
... and on the Friday night there was another production by B Section of the 29 Stationary Hospital. This time Will played the role of Private Jolliboy, but it seems there was no solo singing performance this time ...
I'm not quite sure how to interpret Will's last entries in his diary for September, but it looks like Will's feelings about the 29th Stationary Hospital were more in kin with a prison than a holiday camp, in spite of his regular Friday nights treading the boards.
So, how much longer does Will have to stay in the 29th? You will find out more in my next post, so please ... do keep reading.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Will Sidney's War - August 1918 - Formentations, Electrical Rays & an Operation

I can't quite believe its now been over six months since I've done a Will Sidney post and I have to say that I do feel a little remiss.

In my last post it was the end of July 1918 and Will had been 'in the dock' since 26 May with a problem with an abscess on his neck.

I am picking up Will's story, as written in his own hand in his personal war diary, on 1 August 1918. Will was still in the 38th Stationary Hospital with his neck slightly swollen and getting a little stiffer every day.

During this week, as well as Will's neck seeming to be getting worse, Will states his intentions of getting married to Ethel as soon as he gets home, assuming of course that Ethel is agreeable ...

"1 Thursday - Marked for Con Camp. Writ to Ethel in answer to paper. My neck getting stiffer & sore again. Letter from Darling Ethel."
"2 Friday - Answered Ethel's letter. God bless her. Writ to Lily & ??? Sent to Con Depot F Coy."
 "3 Saturday - Classified 'B' for a fortnight. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her. No letters from anyone. Made up my mind to get married as soon as I get home if Ethel is agreeable."

The following week is the anniversary of the start of 'The Great War' and four years since the date of Will's mobilisation. The formentations Will refers to would likely be the application of some form of hot poultice, presumably in an attempt to reduce the swelling on his neck ...

"4 Sunday - Anniversary of the Great War. Church Service @ 10.30. Pay Parade @ 1114am. Writ to Ethel about money."
"5 Monday - Got to have a bandage around my neck. Had a parcel from home. Cakes all mouldy & wet through."
"6 Tuesday - My neck getting stiff again. No letters from anyone. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her."
"7 Wednesday - My neck broken out again. Letter from Ethel & writ to her about going into hospital again. Same ward & hospital."
"8 Thursday - No letters from anyone. My neck very painful & sore."
"9 Friday - Still in the 38. Having formentations twice in a day time & twice @ night." 
"10 Saturday - No news of Ethel. Thinking of her & wondering how she is going on. Also if she is worrying or not. God bless her & protect her from all danger." 

"11 & 12 Sunday & Monday - Still in the 38th. Went to church at 11. 2 letters & a paper from Ethel & 1 letter from Ma. Answered Ethel's letter. Will send her a long one when I get a pad."
"13 Tuesday - My neck feeling stiff again. Still in hospital."
"14 Wednesday - Thinking of dearest Ethel. How I wish she was here."
"15 Thursday - Still in hospital. Still to carry on. My neck getting worse. Thinking of darling Ethel."
"16 Friday - Went into Genoa for a short walk."
"17 Saturday - Answered Ethel's parcel & letter. She must be in a temper (letter). 1 letter from home this week." 

"18 Sunday - Recommended for a new treatment. Elect rays. Very painful. Wish I was better."
"19 Monday - Still in the same hospital. No letters from Ethel. Thinking if anything is the matter."
"20 Tuesday - I hope she is not worry @ all for it hurts me to think that she is worrying."
"21 Wednesday - Still under the new treatment. Written to Ethel. God bless her & protect her from harm."
"22 Thursday - Still in the dock. Finished with the elect treatment. Made enquiries about sending some money to darling Ethel. Sent £10 to darling Ethel."
"23 Friday - A letter from her & answered it straight away."
"24 Saturday - Another letter from her & also answered that one. Hoping she gets the money alright & I hope she puts it to some good cause. She is worth more than all the world to me." 

 "25 Sunday - Awaiting news from the doctor whether I have to go under another operation or not. Letter from Ethel, answered it straight away."
"26 Monday - Major Whittaker inspected my neck & told me I should have to have an operation on Wednesday. Writ home to Ma. No letters."
"27 Tuesday - Getting prepared for the operation. Iodine & shaving. Writ to Ethel telling her of it. I do wish she was here so as I could have her near me."
"28 Wednesday - Went under the operation @ 10. Came out of chloroform @ 11.15. A letter from Ethel."
"29 Thursday - Writ to Ethel. Answered her letter. Feeling pretty bad all day. My neck very sore & is affecting my arm & hand. I wish she was here to look after me. God bless her & protect her from all harm."
"30 Friday - My neck still a little sore. My arm very stiff. Letter from Ethel."
"31 Saturday - A letter from Ethel. Answered both of her loving letters. I wish she was here. My credit came through from York £34.6.101/2." 
In Will's bits and pieces we found a few mementos that Will either sent to Ethel from Italy or brought back with him, including this 10 cents note ...

Google translate ...
Cash voucher in legal tender for ten cents Venetian cash loans. January 2, 1918

Google translate ...
They will be punished by fake cash makers of good people who use them and who puts them back in circulation

And this card of an Italian sharpshooter with a coin depicting a fat tummy ...
As ever, Will has written a message to his dearest Ethel on the reverse ...

 "I do hope you have got the other one like this & I hope you will like them.
With my very best love to you



The coin itself is a 1909 5 cents piece, engraved with "From Will to Ethel" with flowers on the reverse side. I have scanned them in, the images aren't great but I thought you might like to see them ...
In my next post you will be able to see some of the other activities that Will got up to whilst in 'The Dock'. Hopefully you shouldn't have to wait too long.

Sunday 5 February 2017

HM@No27 - My January Makes

Hi there everyone

Well I think it's safe to say that it has been a slow start to the year on the Hand Made at Number 27 front, which actually has been quite welcome after the madness that is December.

I have managed to have a go at a few bits though, including some totally new stuff, so here is what I've been up to ...

Foxy Lovey
I'm not quite sure that is the technical name for this but it's what I'm calling it. Bobby is my gorgeous new nephew, just in case you didn't know, and his nursery is all decked out in a woodland theme.

I'd bought this lovely foxy coloured wool ages ago, with the intent of having a go at making something for him in a foxy vein and this is what I've ended up with. I found a couple of different free patterns over the internet and he is a bit of a mash up, but I'm really pleased with how he's turned out. Hopefully Bobby will love him and get years of friendship from him.

Scrabble Frame
I have seen lots of these on my Pinterest browsing and on the craft groups that I follow on Facebook. It's not something I've ever really thought about having a go at.

That soon changed when a good friend sent me a picture and said ... 'Could you make something like this?' In my new 'can do', when it comes to craft mode I said ... 'Don't see why not.'

I'd already got pretty much everything I needed so, after a quick Ebay shop for Scrabble tiles, I was on my way.

I've kept it pretty simple, but added a few of my trademark paper butterflies just to finish it off.

I'm really pleased with it and it's another thing I can add to the Hand Made at Number 27 collection of items available. I've already had an order for another one, so hopefully these will keep me busy this year.

And last, but by no means least, for this month is an old favourite ...

Heart Papercut Frame
This one really has been a favourite and I was delighted to be able to make another of my heart papercut frames with the very lovely Sweet Paris papers ...

So that's all for January, just enough to get me back into the swing of things. I have another Scrabble frame to have a go at in February, along with a big button art challenge that I need to get cracking with. No question there, I am most definitely doing some serious procrastinating.

Perhaps the fact that I have now written it down here will spur me to just dive in and get on with it.

You will be able to see how I get on next month. See you then  😊