Nearly March and no Mad Hatters Spotted

As I write this, rain is pelting on the tin roof of our study. The sounds transport me back to our home in Magaliesburg where the old farm house sheltered us safely even in the strongest of storms. Having lived my whole life in the Highveld storms hold no terror for me. I was filled with delight while at boarding school as we were exempt from playing tennis and those of us who loved music were able to practice for hours on the grand pianos in the big hall.

With the very real threat of 'the' virus, it's time to stock up on beautiful yarns, coloured pencils, calligraphy projects and books. I've enjoyed the fact that February was International Letter writing month and have written many notes to friends and family using my Perky Lady postcards. As I hand the notes out I really love the response of the recipients and find that perhaps I shall continue the note writing through the year. My mother wrote to me nearly every day while I was in boarding school and these notes were hand delivered by my sister at break time. My husband (my then 'boyfriend') wrote to me from university nearly 5 times a week. So letter writing was very much part of our ethos then. (Well we either used carrier pigeons or the postal service - no mobiles at that time).

I was trying to follow the Two of Wands travelling afghan journey and became rather disheartened. I am often inspired by the Be Inspired posts as they are colourful and (dare I say it?) inspiring. Chantal Whiteford posted a simple scarf pattern, the Sideways Scarf by Cowgirl Blues, which was enriched by the beautiful yarns chosen. So I popped over to my favourite Johannesburg yarn store, The Yarn Tree, and bought one (1) cake of yellow to 'pop' the (unusual for me) red spectrum colours I already had all the other bright colours (still stash-busting of course) and have started this fun and simple scarf.

In case you are wondering, my two other projects are nearly, nearly completed...What are you working on at the moment?

As always I am astounded and delighted by the Penfriend Calligraphy Studio students. We have some new members of the group and each one has slotted in so well to the creative challenges and set projects. The morning groups alway seem to manage to do set projects through the week (even though they too have other things to do apart from calligraphy). But it is the evening students who always seem to work through their exhaustion to develop and create colourful images in class. This promises to be the 'best' year ever. (Although I do say this every year).

To top up my book shelves and kindle, I did a bit of asking around and in the research I've discovered a new (to me) series with Mathew Shardlake as the hero. Set in the Tudor era which I love to delve into, CJ Sansom has written some authentic and intriguing tales. Dissolution, set in the time of the break up of the monasteries (yes, Henry V111 wanted to marry Anne Boleyn and needed money) he writes a great thriller. I'm also reading The Memory of Water by Karen White, a story about the death of innocence and the resolution and understanding of family memories. The Kate Moss books on the Huguenots and and a new writer for me, Karen White whose series starting with the House on Tradd Street featuring houses and ghosts seem a good choice. Yet another form of discovery. I've somehow found a number of books on my Kindle which appeared as I was clearing space for new books so I have even more great books to delve into.

We are still planning and researching for our two family reunions this April and May. Family trees are being researched and re-researched which is time consuming and mind frazzling as so many ancestors have similar names and which one married who has become another mystery to solve. Fortunately my father and cousin David kept Hartley records up to date and all I need to do is add our newest grandchildren which is a huge relief. My husband has undertaken to re-look at the Moore family tree and it seems an enormous task but I am sure by the end of March he will have pieced the puzzles together and everyone in his family will be connected in the right order and to the correct people.

Below are a few photos of the Hartley settlers. The man on the left Thomas is the son of Thomas our original 1820 settler who brought his family over on the Albury Ship a few centuries ago. This was taken in his latter years and the more I gaze at him the more I see my father in his eyes. He was the son of Thomas and together with other family members is buried in Bathurst. The man next to him is our ancestor Henry Hartley who was a big game hunter (I hold no responsibility for that) who was friends with Lobegula and Mzilikazi those many years ago. The next photograph is of my mother and father on their wedding day in 1942. I still have her wedding dress which is made of silk organza and handmade lace and holds many dreams and memories in its folds.

I invite you to delve into your family background. We are bound to our ancestors through our heritage and we are the continuation of them.

I hope you have enough rain to wet your lands and enough love to keep you smiling.

Until next time, take care.