Complicated Shadows

Just finished reading the excellent Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello by Graham Thompson – a fascinating read, although you probably need to be a self confessed Elvis nutter to get that much from it. Having missed out on the early years (being only six when My Aim Is True was released!) it was really interesting to put all those early records into context, and also get all the gory details behind the split with the Attractions, and why Bruce Thomas is the only Attraction that’s still firmly out in the cold (and likely to stay their indefinitely!). It’s also been a great excuse to revisit some of those albums i’ve not listened to for a while!

It’s also been Megan’s half term this week, so they’ve been up to all sorts – visiting nana at work on Monday, a couple of swimming trips and a new hairdo each (mum’s even gone a different colour!). To round off the week mum’s up to the Public Hall in the village with Auntie Elaine and the usual crowd for a psychic evening. I’m not quite sure what to expect when they get back…

Hockey tomorrow is away to Giffnock, which is a damn site nearer than last week which was away to Aberdeen (cup game). On top of the long trip we had no goal keeper so muggins volunteered to get padded up and stand between the sticks. Some inspired saves and the odd comedy moment saw us actually go in at half time leading 1-0, and when we bagged a second against the run of play at the start of the second half there were visions of a glorious cup run. Unfortunately they pulled one back when an aimless punt up field that I stepped over, didn’t got out of play as expected but hit the post and bounced back to their center forward (if only I’d kicked it away!). Two further goals in the last ten minutes (despite some more excellent goalkeeping!) was finally enough to knock us out 3-2.

Managed a game of snooker with Darren on Tuesday night, and it was much closer than last time but I was edged out on a couple of black ball finishes again to leave the overall score at 10-5 – I think I’ll need to take the cue to Center Parcs for a bit of practice!

Elizabeth Critchley’s birth certificate arrived this week too, which has given me her maiden name but also helped shed some light on how the ended up moving from South Shields to St Helens, but more on that another day methinks…

Who do I think I am?

Well the new series has set me off again, and I thought this time I’d focus on my Dad’s side a bit as I’d been neglecting it trying to hunt down the Crawford Biscuit millions. The Bambers are very much a St Helens family – my dad, his dad and his grandfather we’re all born and brought up in St Helens – and it’s not until you go back to my great-great-grandfather James Bamber that we find a break with that tradition. He was born on 19th Feburary 1849, but not in St Helens – at some point in his early life he made the journey down the East Lancs from Wigan (we’re not talking the Donner Party here!)

The 1851 census finds him living in Parr (St Helens) at 159 Upper Parr St, with his parents William (26) & Jane (25), elder brother John (3) and younger sister Elizabeth (3 months). Also living with them is Elizabeth Gordon (13) who is apparantly Jane’s sister – not sure why she should be living with them at this point but they all give Wigan as their place of birth (even Elizabeth) so they can only just have made the move.

William’s trade is given as a Brick Layer, so we can assume he moved to St Helens for work – possibly at one of the glass works? Not had much luck tracing William or Jane on the 1841 census yet, and since they were both born before Civil Registration we’ll need some idea of where they were living in order to trace them in the Parish Records.

Switching back to James, we know he married Elizabeth Critchley on 28 November 1869 and on the marriage certificate her age is given as 20. Now the only Elizabeth Critchley I could find born in the vicinity in 1849 was born in Liverpool in the September of that year, but died before she reached the age of two – so I think we can rule her out. I decided that Elizabeth probably did what most of the rest of my female ancesters have done and lied about her age on the certificate – the trend seems to be to pretend you’re older than you are.

Anyway widening the search threw up an Elizabeth Critchley in the 1861 census, born and still living in Leigh (just down the East Lancs so a definite possibility) around 1850. Her father was John Critchley which matched up with the wedding certificate – except this John Critchley was a silk weaver and on the certificate he was a glass blower. Something wasn’t quite right, and sure enough on the 1871 census she was still unmarried and living Leigh with her parents – another one crossed off the list.

Critchley seems to be one of these names that the census takers had a lot of trouble with – on one census it will be spelt Chritchley and the next Critchly. So undeterred we widened the search a bit further still and found an Elizabeth Critchley on the 1861 census living in Eccleston (St Helens) and daughter of John Critchley (glass blower). The wedding certificate also gave Eccleston as the place of residence at the time of the marriage so clearly this must be the right Elizabeth, but her age turned out to be just 9 years old. Which would make her only 17 at the time of her wedding rather than 20 – an easy mistake to make I’m sure. It also explained why I couldn’t find her on the 1851 census – she hadn’t been born yet!

So we found her in the end, but what more do we know about Elizabeth apart from the fact she was born in 1852. Well she was living with her parents John (30) and Ann (26) at her grandmother Mary Critchley’s house – 20 Glover St, Eccleston. She had two younger sisters Mary Ann (7) and Margaret (2) and there was another family of seven (the Urch’s?!) lodging with them – I don’t know if it was a big house or just very cramped.

The Critchley’s were all born in and around St Helens, but the mother Ann is from South Shields – at the mouth of the River Tyne near Newcastle. Now how did she end up in St Helens? For everyone question you answer another one just pops up from nowhere!

On the 1851 census Mary is living with her three sons Thomas (22), John (20) and Thomas (18) in Sutton (St Helens) but is still widowed so no sign of hubby. I’d like to bet he was called Thomas though – why else would you have two son’s with the same name?!

More Scrobbling

I found a plugin for the SlimServer software that powers the Squeezebox, so I can now scrobble songs that I play through the hi-fi not just on the computer – which means we’ll soon be hitting the 1000 tracks scrobbled mark.

The track count was helped along a bit by the birthday party for Angela’s mum on Saturday evening – we had a full house with Alec and Darren & Elaine down too. We had a some good food (and drink – Alec & Darren were celebrating Scotland beating France too) and the evening was topped off by a surprise phone call from the McLean’s in Canada.

Not so much fun been had today though, Angela was off to Glagow this morning to see Dr Skinner but managed to have a wee bump in the car en route. Nothing too serious, she was just a bit sharper off the mark than the car in front at a set of traffic lights in Glasgow – no real damage done to her car, and not much to the one in front. She gave her details to the guy who was driving but we’re still waiting for him to phone – maybe he’s decided it’s not worth the bother.

It was photo day at the nursery today too, but we didn’t know (or we’d forgotten) so Megan wasn’t done out in her Sunday best as her mum (but not Megan) would have preferred. I’m sure she’ll still look lovely on the photo though!

Roadworks and My Tunes

The day trip to Aberdeen turned into a bit of an epic yesterday, with roadworks on the M80 and A90 adding hours to the journey – came back the scenic route in the end, it probably didn’t take any longer and was more fun than sitting in traffic. Went via Braemar and the Spittal of Glenshee to avoid the A90 and then through the Campsie Fells from Stirling to avoid the M80 – about 5 hours of driving but very picturesque!

Looks like we might be on the verge of another takeover at Northgate – no names have been mentioned, and the talk of splitting up the company doesn’t sound like good news but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

You may also have spotted a small addition to the page (hint: look just below the photos!) – the latest version of banshee has a plugin that automatically ‘scrobbles’ what tunes you play to your account on last.fm for the whole world too see. Largely pointless, but at least now everyone can have a good chuckle at what I’m listening too – the three most recent tracks are displayed on the badge, but you can click through for all the gory details!

I dropped into the club on the way through Glasgow last night, but there’s no Hockey for me this week – there’s another migration on this weekend so I’ll be otherwise engaged. Darren’s coming round this evening though, so we’ll be off to Largs for a few frames of snooker.

It’s October…

…and time for another update. I was on another Red Hat course last week, this time the fast track RHCE (Certified Engineer) training course and exam – managed to pass without too much bother, but it did seem to take up a lot of time hence the lack of blog activity.

Anyway since the last update I’ve managed another game of snooker with Darren – finished all square 4-4 this time – and the Hockey seaon’s well underway. Played for the fourth eleven on Saturday but couldn’t stop us losing 5-2 to Ayr’s 3rd team – the week before we’d won comfortably but unfortunately that had just been a friendly.

The tickets for the Shawn Colvin gig have arrived, as has the copy of the new album (which is highly recommended) and a new iPod for hooking up to the connector in the Volvo. I’ve been quite impressed with the quality of the iPod support on Linux these days – both Amarok and Banshee will now sync your music files without much effort, of if you prefer more control then GtkPod let’s you tweak just about anything on the iPod that can be tweaked.

We’re still waiting on some quotes for the extension, but there is a possibility that our preferred builder may be able to start work on the foundations before Christmas – guess that’s going to be very dependant on the weather though…