Family Records, Reminiscences


Back to family memories and roots…

 I have a serious hope too that the blog might also become a useful family resource where we can share memorabilia – history, links to current websites and blogs, recent reminiscences and historic journals, even perhaps when I have time significant diary entries and recipes dating back to the 19th century.  

I recently took the big step – for me anyway – of sending away for my DNA. Both sides of my parents’ immediate family trees are already available but i will be intrigued if new third and fourth cousins emerge. 

I always found it strange that John wasn’t particularly interested in researching his side of the family, but i will see what i can do on his behalf.

56 Years Ago Today… July 10th, 2021 - On July 10th 1965 John and I were married. Such a happy day. Many of our guests stayed with local friends in the village and nearby. The tiny local church of All Hallows, in Ringmore, South Devon, was packed to bursting. It was a joyous family/village occasion. The only thing that didn’t go quite to … Continue reading 56 Years Ago Today…
Remembering John Today November 27th, 2020 - November 27th… For many years this has been a special day in the F-S/Hall/Cragg world. Today would have been John’s 81st birthday. John loved birthdays, as many of you will remember: presents and happy gatherings meant such a lot to him and he was quite charmingly shameless enjoying his own quite as much as anyone … Continue reading Remembering John Today
John F-S Update and Thanks November 2nd, 2020 - There’s not much to be cheerful about these days. Covid-19 strengthens its grip – Tier 2 for Derbyshire Dales as from last Saturday night, lockdown from today Thursday 5th November, winter approaches and the days ae getting shorter… and as far as John’s immediate family and friends are concerned, the gap he leaves seems to … Continue reading John F-S Update and Thanks
John September 25th, 2020 - I’m afraid I have some very sad news. After several months of acute pain and ill-health met with great fortitude and dignity, John slipped away very peacefully on Saturday 19th September 2020. He had been suffering from Discitis, an infection of a disc in his spine. He received wonderful care from everyone on Elmton Ward, … Continue reading John
Our Family Gathering 2019 September 15th, 2019 - With an explanatory introduction for those family members under five or six… Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there were two young people who went out to Africa to live. They were called Douglas and Rachel Hall, and they lived in a country that then was called Northern Rhodesia. (Now it is … Continue reading Our Family Gathering 2019
Family Links and Memories May 19th, 2019 - Last week we were in Northumberland. Everything was lovely, apart from the weather but even that didn’t stop us. We did so much, and had such a good time I may risk sounding as if I were in the pay of Visit Northumberland. I assure you I am not! So I will try to skip … Continue reading Family Links and Memories
Bombay Friends & Memories May 5th, 2019 - The Class of ’67 In July 1965 John and I were married, in the tiny church in the little village of Ringmore, S. Devon. It was all very charming, very English. Two weeks later, we set sail for India, where John had been offered his first teaching job as a recently qualified teacher, at the … Continue reading Bombay Friends & Memories
Barnford: our family home for forty years. November 17th, 2018 - My father retired in his early fifties after a career in Africa. My parents, Douglas and Rachel Hall, although sad to have left their life in Africa, were excited to be coming home, as far as my brother John and sister Ruth were concerned, we had left home and all our friends… Be that as … Continue reading Barnford: our family home for forty years.
Anyone for Cricket in Croatia? October 25th, 2018 - Yes, we are back and we can now personally vouch that cricket is indeed played in Croatia, and also, and more to the point, on the island of Vis…
Cricket in Croatia September 19th, 2018 - Our impending holiday in Croatia… John and I went to what was then Yugoslavia for our honeymoon, staying on the island of Krk in the Adriatic. In those days we were blissfully ignorant of any family or sporting connections with the area…
Downsizers’ Diary, Two Years On… April 15th, 2018 - We are two years into our new 
Vital Links Restored February 28th, 2018 - I have had a very frustrating time, trying to get this post published successfully, following a long and uncomfortable silence while I could not even log in to my own blog which – apparently, so I was informed –  had been deleted… …Not deleted by me, nor
Memorial Service Arrangements for Alice Mason January 10th, 2018 - This update to my last update to my original post about Alice…Alice.
Sad News About Alice January 3rd, 2018 - It is with a heavy heart that I have to pass on the sad news that Alice Mason, good friend and loving support for over 40 years to my parents while they lived at Barnford, and to all their wider family and friends then and since, has died.
Remembering My Mother, Rachel Hall November 19th, 2017 - Today would have been the 108th birthday of my mother, Rachel Marion Hall nee Gartside-Tippinge. She was born on 19th November 1909 and died on December 3rd 1990 at just 81. I remember her with great love and affection, as do my brother John and sister Ruth, and as do all her nine grandchildren and … Continue reading Remembering My Mother, Rachel Hall
London Opens Its Doors September 27th, 2017 - Don’t you ever wonder, as you walk or more likely hurtle past elegant apartments, august institutions, or even rows of terraced houses lining the railway track, at the lives that go on behind those doors, what it is like to live or work there?
Family Celebrations: Welcome to Nell! September 2nd, 2017 - After a long but busy silence this end we are delighted to announce the birth of Nell Olive to our son, Nick and his lovely wife Sam.
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter April 14th, 2017 - Happy Easter, everybody! Although, as predicted, at the moment the weather is cold and mostly grey. And Happy First Birthday to our ‘new’ house: exactly a year ago tomorrow, on April 15th 2016, we formally became the very happy owners of Crown Cottage, in Winster. Since then we have had an eventful year. In particular … Continue reading Wishing you all a very Happy Easter
Remembering Douglas February 1st, 2017 - 108 years ago today, on February 1st 1909, at exactly 2pm, a baby boy was born in a small village near Leicester. His father, Lionel, records the event very briefly in his diary:
The Wedding of Nick and Sam December 7th, 2016 - I have so much to tell you, it is really hard to know where to begin, and hard not to be too gushy and over emotional. We have had the most wonderful long weekend celebrating Sam and Nick’s wedding.
Crowns, Weddings and Walls! What a year… December 3rd, 2016 - What a year indeed… In January Nick and Sam announced their engagement, in April we finally bought and moved into Crown Cottage. In May the Problem of the Wall – about which more another day – reared its unwelcome head, so one way and another, we have spent many months unravelling, decluttering, downsizing…
Confessions… November 23rd, 2016 - Still thinking about our schooldays… ‘After all, we’re raising you as future leaders of our country’ our nuns used to tell us, more than somewhat threateningly, when they felt the need to justify some harsh but apparently entirely necessary ruling. So much for training up the country’s leaders, more frequently
Excellent Women? November 12th, 2016 - So dreadful has been the news recently that, since lying awake nearly all night on November 8th listening to the news as the horror unfolded, I have hidden happily away from current affairs as best I can, absorbed in another, safer, world of books. I have been reading – with great enjoyment – two very … Continue reading Excellent Women?
Letters from the Front October 13th, 2016 - Nearly 100 years ago, aged just 19, my father’s eldest brother, Lionel Reid Hall – Bobby to his family and friends, Uncle Bobby to my sister, brother and me, Grandpa/Grandpop to the Jacksons, Whitlocks and Constantines – was posted to France on 25th February 1917. Cold, wet, and at first often bored, and missing his … Continue reading Letters from the Front
The marionfsblog has temporary health ‘issues’ September 19th, 2016 - At least, we trust they’re temporary. (But that has nothing to do with this beautiful dove, in St. Dunstan’s Church Mayfield, where my lovely goddaughter, Nicola, was married last week…)
Golden Junketings in Scarborough July 30th, 2016 - When I was young, the occasional elderly couple that reached their Golden Wedding anniversary seemed frighteningly old and frail. Now that John and I and many of our friends have reached that stage, I am glad to report that we all feel – and who would argue – look extremely youthful and vigorous. 
School and other life-changing events June 1st, 2016 - There has been a flurry of email and Facebook reminiscences about school which remind us all a) what good friends we made all those years ago, and b) how very long ago all those years were. Yet
House buying = Negative Joy March 13th, 2016 - You may wonder if I’ve overdone the decluttering, tidying myself away altogether. Sorry for the silence, but I am still here, just. At least I hope you can’t say themarionfsblog bombards you with posts…
Engagements – We’re Dancing with Joy! February 2nd, 2016 - 2016 started wonderfully well for us, with the delightful news that son Nick and his girlfriend, Sam Raine, had become engaged. We are so happy and welcome Sam into the family with open arms. Don’t ask when the wedding will be, because they themselves don’t know. A few days after Nick asked Sam to marry … Continue reading Engagements – We’re Dancing with Joy!
A Family Black Sheep? January 28th, 2016 - “The Beloved of Black Jack Needham” As light relief from all the decluttering I am going to let you into a family scandal. We have a discovered a relation on our mother, Rachel Hall’s, maternal side that – until recently – none of us knew anything about.
Bring Back Black Forest Gateaux! January 18th, 2016 - Exposed by a Lifetime’s Recipe Collection… Applying the ‘sparks joy’ criteria has continued overtime throughout the weekend. I am still decluttering, obsessively, focussing for the minute on a lifetime’s worth of ‘favourite’ recipes – see bird’s eye view below of a tiny selection. I am sure even Marie Kondo would be slightly impressed.
The Year in Pictures- a 2015 Picture Book January 2nd, 2016 - Happy New Year to you all! Where has 2015 gone? Although it seems to have rushed by, for us 2015 has been a pretty significant year one way and another. A great deal has happened, so for once I am not going to waste your time with too many words. I will choose a few … Continue reading The Year in Pictures- a 2015 Picture Book
Leapfrogging Towards Christmas December 20th, 2015 - Sorry about the very long silence. This very long silence is not because there was nothing to tell you about, but actually because too much was happening. So Christmas greetings will have to wait, because in this post I shall be looking backward at what has happened and not forward to what is yet to … Continue reading Leapfrogging Towards Christmas
Alice is 100 years old… November 11th, 2015 - Alice, dear Alice, will be 100 on Thursday, 12th November. The queen has been reminded. Alice is a very special person, who has touched many lives since she was born a century ago during the 1st World War, and there will be many many other people near and far – as well as the queen … Continue reading Alice is 100 years old…
SPUDS Reunited – Back to School (Again!) September 20th, 2015 - Nearly a month has past since a group of old St Peter’s girls – and a few boys – met up near Oxford for a most enjoyable reunion. Several people have circulated photos of the event which I have included here in the St Peter’s gallery, and Rhona Walker (nee Coulson) has sent a wonderful … Continue reading SPUDS Reunited – Back to School (Again!)
Living It Up in London September 16th, 2015 - You’ll be getting a very false idea of our life style, as you watch us lurching from one jollity to another. We have had an amazing and somewhat exhausting few months – in fact the whole year has been pretty upheaved but quite soon it will all calm down, and then we’ll have to get … Continue reading Living It Up in London
A Family Gathering September 7th, 2015 - Last year, or maybe even the year before, our niece Ann Latham and her husband Chris, suggested that all ‘the cousins’ and their families should meet up at their home in Wales over this August Bank Holiday weekend.
Keeping in Touch – Families and Old Girls September 2nd, 2015 - Old Girls first… My silence is not because I have had nothing to say, on the contrary so much has been happening since the reunion I have not had a moment to tell you about any of it. And when I have had a sneaky moment the Internet connection here in Wales has let me … Continue reading Keeping in Touch – Families and Old Girls
A Second Childhood – St Peter’s Revisited August 25th, 2015 - You may well wonder I suddenly seem obsessed with my schooldays, and for the moment, I really am! Having left school, and Africa in one fell swoop at the age of 18 when my parents retired and went to settle in England taking their family with them it had never occurred to me to stay … Continue reading A Second Childhood – St Peter’s Revisited
A Chequered Education August 23rd, 2015 - I went to six school during 14 years of schooling and no, I wasn’t expelled from any of them but until my sister and I went – as boarders – to our senior school run by Anglican nuns in Bulawayo, St Peter’s Diocesan School for Girls, we had to change schools whenever our father was … Continue reading A Chequered Education
Africa House Revisited: a second Shiwa Ngandu Snippet August 17th, 2015 - Another big hole in my Africa posts, about to be part filled at last. As you may remember, we had such difficulty with internet access while actually staying there, posts were skimpy and infrequent. No such problems now, although come to think of broadband is not brilliant in Parwich either…
A Spot of Devon Nostalgia August 13th, 2015 - Aylmer Cove, a welcome sight for those of us who have been away too long! John and I have just returned from a really lovely weekend staying with my brother, John, in South Devon. John lives in a beautiful old mill house with biggish garden and with a tributary of the Dart, called the Mardle, … Continue reading A Spot of Devon Nostalgia
Back to Normal? July 13th, 2015 - Back to normal?  It’s hardly been back to normal, yet… On Saturday July 10th, 1965 John and I were married in Ringmore Church – the lovely little parish church in the charming village on the South Devon coast where my parents had retired (and where, several decades later, Sara and Derek were also married). 
Farewell to Zambia July 3rd, 2015 - Another post which slipped through the internet less net, but which I actually wrote on Monday 29th June. 5.15 and as I sit by the Lion Camp infinity pool overlooking the vast almost dry river bed I already have been offered, and happily accepted, a ‘sundowner’. John is away on a game drive with Paul … Continue reading Farewell to Zambia
South Luangwa Valley: Kapani Lodge July 1st, 2015 - Kapani Lodge This post is the first of about six that have been queuing up for an Internet connection. Forgive me if they have all been overtaken by events but I am hoping that most of you will feel better an out of date post than nothing at all…! Also forgive me if I add … Continue reading South Luangwa Valley: Kapani Lodge
Shiwa Ng’andu – a Snippet June 26th, 2015 - A snippet, and out of order too, but things have got rather disorganised. Sorry. We arrived at Shiwa after QUITE  the bumpiest 3+ hour ride one could hope to survive! However, Tink and Jen, who had picked as up from Kasama were such pleasant company that we survived the adventure happily, full of wonder at … Continue reading Shiwa Ng’andu – a Snippet
The Past Recovered, Internet willing! June 26th, 2015 - Sorry for yet another break in intermission. I wrote this on Wednesday, and we are now at Kapani Lodge just outside the Luangwa National Park, and there is internet connection. Apparently. It might be very slow, and it may not work at al, but here is hoping. There may be two or three posts in … Continue reading The Past Recovered, Internet willing!
Are We Cousins…? May 26th, 2015 - Our immediate family is smallish and very close emotionally although quite far-spaced physically, with my sister and her husband and one nephew and his family in Cape Town, and our second daughter, Sara, and her husband Derek and son Tom in New South Wales and the rest of us spread out mostly in England but … Continue reading Are We Cousins…?