Paying my respects to the Conlans.


Following a family wedding in Norfolk we extended our visit by returning to Suffolk.
We stayed at the Premier Inn in Bury again, conveniently located opposite the Record Office.
On the Sunday morning I attended the morning service at St Mary’s, a five minute walk from the hotel, a church where some of my Brett and Wade ancestors were married  and probably attended.

I had a very warm welcome. The vicar’s wife sat with me and chatted away, and the couple in the pew in front turned and spoke to me several times.
I enjoyed the service though I didn’t know any of the hymns.
Sunday afternoon I walked to the cemetery in order to find the graves of Arthur, Annie and Walter Conlan.
I had been unsure about how to find the grave locations, but an online enquiry to the Bury St Edmunds council started a friendly correspondence with Sue who gave me the information I needed.
Helpfully, she listed the names on the adjacent plots in addition to the grave and compartment numbers.

The map at the Kings Road entrance to the cemetery is ‘upside down’ as you look at it, i.e. You are standing at the top of the map. It took a passing visitor and a helpful ex cemetery employee who looked over his fence to orientate me . With this help I stated my search for the graves.
Arthur, listed as Henry (his middle name) and Annie share a common , or unpurchased plot, along the boundary wall of West Road.

As no family live in Bury now, it’s unsurprising that the plot is in poor repair. It’s surrounded by stone, which is inscribed with their names and dates they ‘fell asleep’, Arthur in 1910 and Annie in 1924. Arthur’s name here is Harry, the name the family called him. ( A man of many names; a different story!)
Walter, their son, lies very close to them, just the other side of a path. He died in 1936 and is in a double plot by himself, as his son Harold bought the plot for both parents but his mother Elizabeth moved away, to where I haven’t discovered.
Sue at the council suggested the council could purchase the vacant plot from us, but as Harold didn’t marry or have children as far as we know, and as I’m not directly descended from him, it’s an offer we can’t take up.
Walter’s plot is also surrounded by stone, and there is a vase within it.
I had taken a table decoration from the wedding reception which I divided into three and placed them on the graves.


It felt good to visit.
Having done this I walked up West Road and found number 40 where Walter and Elizabeth had lived with Harold and their two daughters. Annie and Harry/ Arthur also lived there towards the end of their lives.
They called their house Roscommon. I take this as a clue to our Conlan ancestry, though as yet I have no proof!

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Why I Love Milton Keynes

I love this blog post from my daughter Erin on the event of Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday. You hope that your children will be happy in the place you’ve chosen to bring up your family and I’m so glad she’s liked it enough to stay.

Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug

Milton Keynes is celebrating its 50th birthday today so I thought I’d share some of the reasons why this New City is a place I love!

I have lived here for most of my life (bar 2/3 years somewhere in the middle where I lived just outside) and even though it’s been the butt of people’s jokes, I still firmly believe it’s an awesome place to live. Here’s why:

  • Milton Keynes was built a New City, with the environment, industry and lifestyle in mind. It has excellent links to London (be there on the train in less than an hour), redways (paths that run alongside or under the main roads, tarmacked in red) that allow you to travel through the town on bike or by foot almost completely without having to brave dangerous dual carriageways.


  • The buses have always and probably still are unashamedly always late. You might as well burn the timetables…

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Number project.

Well, mission accomplished!
When I started this number project over two years ago I had no idea how long it would take me to find numbers from 1 to 100. I suspected I might never finish it!
To start with I wanted to photograph the numbers exactly in order and if I’d continued that way I dread to think how long it would have taken.
I began to see ‘juicy’ numbers that I hadn’t yet reached and so bent my rules a bit so I could grab any within the next group of ten.
This was soon abandoned and I begun to collect any good photos and kept them by.
The prize for the most frustrating number goes to 61. As I related,  here , I  caught a 61 bus in Birmingham which crawled through the twilight and the traffic so it was dark and I was late when I alighted. So I missed my opportunity!
I have been overly excited to spot a number that I’ve been searching for, and at times it was hard to explain to the friends I was with exactly why! It has been frustrating too, when that longed for number just didn’t appear. I’ve also missed a number or two due to embarrassment , such as the clutch of table numbers behind the counter of the Waitrose café. Didn’t have the nerve to get my camera out!
It’s been an interesting project though and I know I’m going to continue to spot numbers; I just won’t photograph them!

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100; birthday!

Wow! My number project’s made it to 100, and what a celebratory 100 it is.

Alan’s Granny, Lizzie Spinks, reached her 100th birthday in 1988 and received her telegram from the Queen. The photos show Lizzie surrounded by her cards and gifts, the telegram, and the family gravestone, all marking this wonderful achievement.


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99; military vehicle.

Earlier this year we visited the Imperial War Museum in London, a fascinating place to go, though the memorabilia and the stories told are dreadfully sad.

While there I spotted my 99 on the registration plate of this military vehicle called a Humber ‘Pig’.

Alan remembered seeing them on the streets of Belfast while he was at Queens University in the early ’70s.

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Before and after.

This will be my last blog on the subject of my kitchen transformation as it’s now all done.

The last item to be installed was the roman blind in the dining section of the room. We chose a soft green fabric and it looks really good. Now the evenings are dark it makes the room cosy.

So there we are, including a couple of random lolcats.

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98; Michael Palin’s diaries.


This photo is rather blurry I’m afraid. I took this from my seat in the Milton Keynes theatre of this onstage prop of Michael Palin’s diaries. They were actually huge, rather bigger than Michael himself if I remember rightly.

The evening consisted of Michael talking about the many and various projects he’s done, illustrated by him reading from his diaries and film clips from Python and his travel programmes. It was a relaxed and entertaining evening though I was getting over a cold and was trying not to cough, which of course makes it worse!

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97; hair salon.


Spotted this 97 in Hinckley.

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96 tears.

It’s taken me a little while to find my 96, but at last I’ve found it.

Last weekend we visited the V&A museum to see the

You Say You Want a Revolution  Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970 exhibition.

Headphones don’t guide you through verbally, but play relevant music for the section you are in. I was delighted to see a young boy really grooving to the Beatles’ track Revolution while immersed in the display. There were handwritten Beatles lyrics, stage costumes worn by Sandie Shaw, Mick Jagger, several of Mitch Mitchell’s costumes and many more. The brocade jacket worn by John Lennon while recording the All You Need is Love telecast is remarkably beautiful.

There were sections on politics, space travel, mind expanding drugs, literature and space travel including a piece of moon rock. Also a section on the Whole Earth catalogue , which Alan tells me he once owned a copy of.

The Woodstock festival room was a highlight, interrupted during our visit for the two minute silence of remembrance. Poignant.

We exited to the inevitable shop where we bought the book of the exhibition and a CD set called Records and Rebels which includes the track 96 Tears by ? and the Mysterians, a noodly repetitive track that I love.

96 Tears

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95; birthday cake.


A couple of years ago my number 5 was my grandson Jos’ birthday cards and balloon. This year for his 7th birthday we had a family meal on his return from holiday in Disneyland California where he had enjoyed the Cars bit. (I know nothing about all this as you might guess). But I was pleased to see the cake and one of his cards had 95 on, at least twice.

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