Spent the day watching the churning of family boxes. Six large cardboard boxes, stored since the great Corbridge clear out, 2006.
The travelling Aunty is here, helping sort papers into new, smaller boxes, from which point I can turn them into the family record books (well, one family side only).
Worm-holing through time brings about its own curiosities. We have, amongst hundreds of photographs of people we don't know, a previous genealogist's attempt to touch the Battle of the Nile in 1785; a receipt for carpet cleaning 1959; a bundle of bank statements 1953; and the local constable writing in elegant prose, 1964, to advise how it has been noted the family car was parked in an obstructing manner on the High Street. On this occasion, no further action will be taken. (But I expect sherry will be served at 6pm.)
We haven't yet come across a grand opera of a passion. We have one torn letter which dramatically begins 'This is the last letter you will receive from me', and we have some clues as to the missing grandparents, but no evidence of any 1890 bedroom murder with a chamber pot, no 1920s domestic violence, no 1950s bastard offspring, no 1990s dangerous liaison, and no long spells at Her Majesty's Pleasure at any time.
Dig's family is So Middle Class. My children will doubtless be delighted when I unveil my touch of the gutters. Our Sheffield family (mother's side) had members who, the saying goes, 'ran with Charlie Peace'. When it comes to compiling my family record, I shall glue our gritty secrets, 1923, 1952, 1992, into envelopes, and then stitch them into sealed pages.
But today, 2016, we turn up a bundle of recipes, one of which Squirrel cooks. We reverently eat the following, written in Granny G's 1920s-schoolbook handwriting on the back of an envelope circa 1982:
4 eggs, separated
4 oz sugar
Soak prunes in brandy. Melt butter and chocolate. Whip egg whites into peaks. Mix egg yolks and sugar. Combine all ingredients. Layer into baking tray and cook gas mark 3 for 30 mins. Serve with creme fraiche.
Happy New Year.