Wordless Wednesday: finding answers at the National Archives

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My great grand uncle Stewart Cruden died in the sinking of the Shera in the Barents Sea in 1942. Today at Kew I found out a little more about his fate.

It’s too raw to write about now; but I was glad to spend time in this beautiful building.

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Gayhurst House: a small collision of personal life with “real” history

Gayhurst House, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England.

Gayhurst House, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England.

First of all, thank you to PacificParatrooper. Your comments on a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago made me realise that living at Gayhurst House when Tom was a baby represents one of those times when private and public histories collide. For that reason, I think it’s worth writing about – a twig on my family’s tree.

September 1997

I’m four months pregnant and the baby-daddy has a new job in Milton Keynes – about an hour away from where we’re living in the countryside near Bishop’s Stortford. Industrial strength commuting isn’t new for the big T, who knows the M25 way better than the back of his hand. But hey, we’re starting to think ahead and an hour is a long time if I go into labour while he’s at work, etc.

I work from home anyway, and we don’t love the cottage we’re living in (especially in winter), so it makes sense to move closer to T’s work. Note that I said closer to … anyone who knows Milton Keynes will understand that we’re not too keen to actually live there.

We check out a few places and are beginning to get pretty depressed about our prospects of finding somewhere cool to raise the first-born. Then T. comes home one day with a letting agent’s leaflet for a flat in some old manor house called Gayhurst. It sounds crazy, but we go and look anyway …

… and promptly fall in love.

The place rocks. Continue reading