My Grandmother, my sister and my niece 

Found this lovely #blastfromthepast photo of my grandmother Hannah, my sister Kerrie and my niece Mia which I love. It was probably taken in the seventies up in Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear where they lived. Sadly Hannah and Kerrie have passed away now but MIA still lives in Rowlands Gill and we Remain very close X 

(2016 With MIA in Newcastle) 

A rare photo of my parents…

As my rummaging through old photos continues I found this very rare photo of my parents together in the same room; on the back it says it was taken at my sister Kerrie’s wedding although she isn’t in the picture and neither am I as I was abroad with the Royal Navy. As I learn more about my parents past photos like this one become so important for me.

Left to right: My Mother Elsie, Uncle Arthur (who married my Fathers sister Joan), my little sister Brenda, I think my Aunty Jenny (Mothers sister), my Father Charles Henry, my sister Christine and her husband Clem (with his back to the camera). I don’t know who the man standing is.

Another piece of the jigsaw

Regular readers will know I’ve been researching and clawing through my autobiography for years and occasionally come across a little gem which either clarifies something or sends me up an entirely different road.

Durham County Council have been helping me piece together my early years (which I’ve been writing about here on my website) and at some point found my registration card which I had stored away but turned up again as I was packing some papers.

When I read the card again I felt dreadfully sad although not so much for me; I already know what happened to me though I didn’t know the kids home I was in was somehow connected to the North East Workhouse. No, I felt really sad for my birth Mother who, although I rejected her later in life for putting me in care, had been accommodated in Crossley Sanitorium and only she could have known what that experience was like.

As I’m left with my thoughts I am at least thankful to Durham County Council for giving me another piece of my jigsaw.

Boy from Stonehaugh

One of my readers (Parker) who lives in the first house I ever lived in – in the tiny village of Stonehaugh – tells me that the 60th anniversary of the village is to be held on Saturday 31 May 2014. Will I be there? Of course; and with many members of my family from three generations. And hopefully I’ll meet some of the many Stonehaugh-ers who have called in here at my website. It would be great to put faces to virtual friends.

A sad and happy day

Finally after many years of searching I met my long lost cousin Jane who turned out to be a lovely person. Sadly our meeting was at the funeral service of her father, my Uncle Trevor, and Jane was clearly exhausted from spending the week making the arrangements and coping with her loss.

The service Jane had arranged for her father was beautifully delivered by a humanist friend of hers who personalised it especially for him, her raconteur, maverick, publican, chemist, genuinely funny dad with a zest for life. Anecdotes from all stages of his life were complimented by the music of Neil Diamond and guests continued sharing their memories at the wake held in his local club.

It is a sad day for both Jane and me losing her father and my uncle. But it’s also a happy day for me (and hopefully Jane too) that we now both have a long lost cousin back in our lives. X

Boy from Stonehaugh

Over the past week I’ve been having many conversations with the residents of a little village in Northumberland which I always refer to as my hometown called Stonehaugh. The chatter has been very heart warming for me and even though I have never met any of them it’s almost as though we speak a language all of our own. By that I mean we have that very special thing in common which almost defines the difference between a community and an extended family – affinity.

This painting is a self portrait depicting me during my time in children’s homes after having been taken into care from Stonehaugh in 1956 at age 18 months. As a Child Care Professional (now) and having studied childhood attachments I have a greater understanding these days why I make my regular pilgrimage back to Stonehaugh and even now when I look at this painting (57 years after the event took place) I know exactly what I was feeling – such was the pain that transition caused.

The painting is called ‘Boy from Stonehaugh’ and if you’d like to catch up on the conversations I’ve been having with the residents of this beautiful little village just click on the Stonehaugh page above.


A small thank you to my readers in Stonehaugh

In recent days I have had a lot of comments on my Stonehaugh page which are still coming in and which I’m slowly getting round to answering (every single one) – and I promise I will.

Stonehaugh is a little village in Northumberland where I first lived in 1955 and which I always refer to as my Hometown which I visit at least once every year. This little collection of photos was taken in 2013 on one of my pilgrimages and I’ve published it as a small thank you from me to the residents (and former residents of the village) for calling in here on my website and telling me all about life in Stonehaugh past and present.

Whether you are a regular reader of my website (or a new ‘Spailpinner’ just calling in) I hope you take the time to check out my Stonehaugh page and read the comments. When you’ve done that you might like to google Stonehaugh and have a look at some of the beautiful scenery around our little village or better still take a trip there to see the Country and Western Festival or the new Sky Viewer. Maybe….just maybe….I’ll see you there? X


Off to Geordieland to see my folks

After celebrating my distinction in my exam I’m now taking time out to head north for three or four days to see my family and friends. My new job is going well too so I’m feeling well chilled and relaxed. The photo is me with my beloved niece Mia taken earlier this year in Whitley Bay; hopefully I’ll have a new photo of her when I return. Have a great weekend everyone x