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We started the day off by going over to my Aunties house in Derbyshire to collect a box of family history. It was lovely to see her again as it had been nearly two years and it had been nearly six years since I had been to the house. In this time her lake had matured and looked less like a well meaning scar on the landscape and more like it had been there forever. Jean hadn’t changed very much as she was as welcoming as ever.

The box was extremely large and full of items spanning over a hundred years, just in a jumble together. Photographs, letters and certificates of people I had no real knowledge of. Smiling faces in their Sunday best, living lives I cannot imagine and yet all strangely familiar. I had heard stories about my Great Grandfather David who we have gleaned, spent time in a school for the poor and homeless, he had worked in the ship yards, following the work from Glasgow to Barrow in Furness, who in later life had been quite a character. To stare him in the face as he looked back from a wedding photograph as a man about my age was actually quite disconcerting, such was the familiarity. It was a kind, proud face, well that is how it looked to me.

On my Grandmother’s side I had been told that her Father was killed at the Somme. This wasn’t something I remember being told, even though my Father and I toured all around there on motorcycles. To tour without that knowledge of connection has left me feeling a little empty, the fact, as is apparent from letters we now hold, that his body was never buried and that he was still out there, makes me want to go right now and pay my respects. Linda read out a letter that was sent in January 1917 from a friend that so eloquently conveyed the great loss of a great man that I want to discover RSM Herbert Goulding for myself. The description of the conditions recorded in the regimental history was beyond horrendous and my Great Grandfather received a Military Cross posthumously. There is no indication from the box as to why it was awarded and I think that needs to be addressed. Linda has been delving and sorting throughout the day, there is certainly plenty to keep us going for the foreseeable future.

Tomorrow is another action packed day, I have to up at 0500 to go to work and then have an appointment with the consultant, where hopefully I will discover if I will ever get my tricep back and whether he is agreeable for me to restart archery. I don’t know whether to cross my fingers or not as I still haven’t processed the mixed thoughts from Saturday yet.

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