Genealogy Widower

On Tuesday Carol cleared off with her sister to rummage around looking for some dusty documents at The National Archive so yours truly was left to amuse himself. It turned out to be a better day than advertized; no thundery showers ever appeared and, although quite windy, the sun shone more than not. So, out came the Mazda, down went his roof and into his boot went my camera, Even though we’re approaching Easter and rugrats could have been a problem, it seemed like a perfectly pleasant day for a bracing walk around Whipsnade to see if anyone would pose for some portraits.

An attentive group of oriental small-clawed otters Otter doing tommy Cooper impressions Doggy paddle - well, otter paddle, I suppose First port of call was the oriental short-clawed otters. I’ve now noticed that they are actually labelled “small-clawed otters” but my old/bad habits die hard. whoever they are, they are usually good value. This day was no exception and, true to form, every time they heard an internal combustion engine they stood up on their hind legs expecting food to be delivered. Having failed last time, this time I managed to capture one doing an excellent Tommy Cooper impression, though “squeak” didn’t have quite the effect of “just like that”.

Up close and personal with an Asian Ele There was a kind of show and tell (clearly I’ve been watching too much American television) taking place at the elephant arena, actually billed as “ask the keeper”, I think. The Asian elephants seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that much of the conversation revolved around elephant urine. Curious! Serves me right for joining a conversation half way through, I suppose.

The heavy-weight greater one-horned rhino infant Staying with the macro inmates, the greater one-horned rhino keeper was having a wonderful time spring-cleaning junior’s bedroom and junior had been locked out. These guys are the armour-plated heavyweights of the rhino world. Let’s face it, all rhinos are damned heavy but these are huge. Anyway, junior didn’t seem to like being locked out and kept wandering up and down the substantial iron bars, occasionally pawing them trying to get back in.  Once, however, he or she (I’m utterly hopeless at sexing greater one-horned rhinos – and far too scared to attempt it) condescended to wander away from the bars so I could get a half-decent portrait. I simply cannot stand shots with bars and fences. Picky, picky!

Pere David's buck/stag (hmmm?) Very unusually, the Pere David’s deer were being cooperative and showing themselves to their adoring pedestrian public. Quite often, they are really only easily seen from a car on the so-called “drive through Asia” route. The males  (are they bucks or stags?) have significant wonderful velvety antlers that really must help develop their neck muscles. I imagine that the male with the finest set of antlers gets to give many more muscles some good exercise, too.

Patagonian mara playing it cool Finally, I couldn’t resist another portrait of one of the many Patagonian maras that roam free around the Whipsnade grounds. I remain amazed that none seem to have escaped into the Bedfordshire countryside.

If only I had not parked poor Mazzie under a tree, I wouldn’t have had to wash him when I returned home. Lesson for the future. 😉

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5 comments on “Genealogy Widower
  1. Carol says:

    I’m glad to say that my trip to The National Archives was successful. This was my first trip and as much a learning exercise as anything else, my sister being even more of a novice at this than me! I’d been told to prepare well and went along armed with a list of information to track down. I’d even pre-ordered 3 original documents to save time while we were there.

    It took a while for both of us to get our Reader’s Tickets (yes, my sister needed one too!) and off we went to the Document Reading Room to find the original documents I’d pre-ordered, 3 box-file type boxes tied up with string. Yikes, which one do we choose first?

    I managed to recognise the codes on the side of the boxes and chose the one that, in theory, contained the service records of our great-grandfather who I’d guessed had served with the 75th Regiment, aka 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, during the 1860s and 1870s. We opened the box and were presented with a stack of very fragile looking documents 3 inches high which we very carefully had to go through to find our great-grandfather’s record. Success, about halfway through the box we found him. It was amazing holding documents that he had signed all those years ago, and reading where he was posted and how many times he had been court martialled (!) although sadly it didn’t have any information about his family.

    We weren’t as successful with the other 2 boxes and didn’t find what we wanted.

    We weren’t very successful with the other searches either but did manage to find the list of ships mastered by my cousin’s husband’s great-grandfather during the 1850s and 1860s so overall we had about a 30% success rate. Not too bad for novices I suppose.

    I don’t know why we didn’t find what we were looking for. Maybe I’d got the wrong document number? Maybe we just gave up too soon? Who knows but I’ll try again next time I go and have already started my new list.

  2. Kris Stewart says:

    your blog came up when I searched Google for my husbands song and stage name. Its a pretty unique name, but I guess not unique enough lol. Give him a listen if you get a chance, Im off to read your other blog posts on DNA….

    • JC says:

      Good grief, he’s written a song called “Genealogy Widower”. What a wonderful coincidence. Thanks for getting in touch.

  3. Kris Stewart says: is the website, seems it doesnt show altho it asks for it?

    • JC says:

      The link doesn’t show but it is the link behind your name at the head of the comment. Those links are intended to be for personal sites associated with you but, hey, it works anyway.

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