Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Friday, April 17, 2009



What’s the story here?

A) I’m pretending to be a reclining buddha.

B.) I’ve had too much to drink.

C) I’m going to a Roman banquet and I’m practising how to recline.

D) I’m trying to entice a mouse to come out.

E) Other possibilities.

Answer next week


This week’s quote:-

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. (Mark Twain)

This week’s haiku:-

from start to finish
Saturday’s match is replayed
in the old men’s hut


ANYONE WHO HAS READ all my 80plus blogs since I began will know that I was brought up in a strict family to whom respectability was most important. I had never heard of any scandals in the family, and until a few years ago I always joked that there were no skeletons in our cupboard.

It was only when I began creating our family tree that certain things came to light - things that had been hushed up. I discovered that, in the family of my great-grandparents George Jaap and Jean Armour, the eldest girl Elizabeth was not George’s. However we know that he was happy to bring her up as one of his own.

A cousin of mine once told me that my grandmother Jaap forbade any of her family to talk about her own mother’s background. Her mother was born Charlotte Champvraie though later she took her step-father’s name Wilson. During the Napoleonic Wars, a number of French prisoners-of-war were brought to Scotland and were detained in a camp at Penicuik. At the end of hostilities one or two of them chose to remain in Scotland and among them was one called Champvraie. Little is known about him. He travelled around the country as a knife grinder and eventually had a son. We know that the latter worked as a Gentleman’s Gentleman and that he married someone called Elizabeth Arnott. They were the parents of my great-grandmother Charlotte who was born in 1827. Obviously the French connection was not something to be proud of!

I wonder if my family knew about the Jaap who killed his wife? Perhaps that was something else that was hushed up. Now, I must emphasise that Fiona and I have been unable to find any connection between this man and our family. On the 8th of May 1891, the Glasgow Herald reported that James Jaap aged 70, who lived in the Anderston district of Glasgow, appeared in court charged with the murder of his wife Isabella. The jury found him guilty and the judge Lord Young said that, in view of the prisoner’s age and the fact that he was “a religious man who endeavoured to preach to others” he would restrict the punishment to 18 months imprisonment. Surely a very lenient sentence in those days!

When we began researching our family tree, quite a few of my friends said that they would be afraid of discovering unpleasant secrets. Well, I suppose there’s good and bad in most of us, and it’s probably best to bring things out in the open.


This painting "The Tease" is by another of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, John William Godward (1861-1922)


I found this poem in an old book “Scots Story Recitations.” I haven’t been able to find out anything about the poet John Taylor.


Some folk are unco proud an’ stiff, an’ dignified an’ gran’,
They look as if they thocht themsels the cheeny o’ the lan’;
Puir folk of course are only delf, or pig, or common clay,
But we’re maybe jist as happy in oor ain wee way.

They may ha’e a’ that wealth can gi’e, an’ treasures rich an’ rare,
An’ jist the very finest, aye, to eat an’ drink an’ wear;
But though they get the cream o’ life, while we get but the whey,
We’re maybe jist as happy in oor ain wee way.

To live within the castle wa’s is nice enough, nae doubt,
But the strongest wa’ that e’er was built ‘ll no’ keep sorrow out;
An’ e’en the king himsel’ may lack some joys that we have aye,
So we’re maybe jist as happy in oor ain wee way.

I daursay some that keep a coach, an’ never walk a bit,
Are often jist as weary as them that gang on fit;
So though our burden’s heavy, an’ the path o’ life is stey,
We’re maybe jist as happy in oor ain wee way.

[cheeny==china, fit=foot, stey = steep]


I’ve gathered a few unusual photos from the internet and I thought you might be interested. This is the first one:-


I REMEMBER that it was a rare occurrence to hear of any ordinary people getting divorced. I knew of only two cases, and it was really considered quite shocking.

I REMEMBER that, when we lived in the tenement, a mother and her family occupied one of the houses. We soon learned that her husband was in prison for embezzling what was in those days a very large sum. They had been forced to sell their house and I imagine that, until her family were old enough to go to work, things would be difficult.

I REMEMBER that one year we went on horse-driven canal barges for our Sunday School trip. We were taken to a field about 6 miles away where we had the usual games and picnic. Strangely enough I can’t recall any other trips, which makes me wonder if perhaps I didn’t go on them.

I REMEMBER having a disturbing déjà vu experience when I was 10 or 11. We were on holiday in Dunoon, and I was sure I had been there before. There was a large family of children in a house near where we were staying, and I was convinced I seen them before. It was rather like being a film being played for a second time. Strange!

I REMEMBER taking our little dog out one winter’s day. It had been snowing and as usual we took our walk along the canal bank. Considering what the weather was like, I was surprised on our way back to meet a woman coming towards us. She paid no attention to me and I forgot all about it. Sadly she was found later in the canal, and we learned that she had mental problems. In those days every so often there would be cases of suicide by drowning in the canal.

I REMEMBER my first girl friend was a singer. I met her at a concert when I had to play the piano for her. Every Saturday night we went to the local cinema. How long did our friendship last? I don’t know - 3 or 4 months perhaps. One song I always associate with her - “I’m going to see you today”. Some years ago I was shocked to meet her in one of the old folk’s homes where I entertained. She was a resident there and was suffering from Altzeimer’s.


Last week there was a letter in the Daily Mail from Bert Norburn who related how he had given two goldfish to his little granddaughter. They were discussing what names to give them and she wanted them called One and Two. When asked why, she explained that if they lost One there would still be Two, and, if they lost Two there would still be One. Great thinking!


For this week’s music, I’ve chosen a clip featuring a modern Slovak band which plays in the 1920s style. You’ll either love this or think it’s awful - the Bratislava Hot Serenaders and “Living in the sunlight”. It’s right up my street!


No comments: