Monday, 30 April 2012

It's Stopped Raining!

..... for the moment at any rate! In the UK, this must be the wettest draught on record!

The gloriously blue sky and sunshine were a welcome change this morning. Having seen that the weather forecast is for more rain and blustery winds, we thought we'd make the most of it and go out for a walk. We didn't go far ...... only through the Lea Valley Park down to Waltham Abbey ..... a round trip of 5.37 miles. We chose this route because we knew everywhere would be very wet and the Lea Valley Park has lots of good paths.

One thing that has changed in this part of the Park is the appearance of some slightly odd looking wooden 'sculptures'. Someone told us they are there as 'interest' for anyone walking through here when the Olympics is on; the White Water centre is just down the road from us in the Park, near to Waltham Abbey.

 Whether this is true or not, I have no idea!!

Still .... the walk in the sun was a nice change and it included a brief visit to Waltham Abbey Church itself. I didn't take any photos inside the Church ..... my little camera can't quite cope with that sort of interior .... but it is a very peaceful Church with lots of interesting features.

It was great to get outside before the rain comes back again!!

Friday, 27 April 2012

RootsMagic 5 Essentials Review

I guess I'd best not publish screen shots of the software in case this breaks any copyright rules!!

However, a quick glance down the comparison website I mentioned in my earlier post does show RootsMagic 5 in a favourable light! Since I have easy access to the 'Essentials' version of this via the free CD that comes with my monthly Family Tree magazine, I thought this would be the most logical one to start with!

Having installed the software, my first impressions are favourable! Each tab in the window has a 'hover' information pop-up and from this, without even typing in anything, I can see that there is provision for creating notes linked to a person or to the family and you can also create a source for just a person or for a family ..... this should be useful when linking Census information to a family.

Creating a person is very easy and only the gender, date of birth and death is entered at this point. It is quite easy to then add subsequent facts such as a marriage and enter source details for a marriage.

It is very tolerant about entering dates in different formats; for a number of people, at the moment I only have some dates as 'circa Dec 1904' for instance and it is quite happy with these.

It is easy to add more than one marriage for a person. John's grandfather had a marriage before he married John's grandmother. This spouse died in childbirth, and unfortunately the daughter she gave birth to died at birth and infact, both deaths are recorded on the same Death Register page.

You do have to keep your wits about you though to notice where it shows you that another marriage partner exists by looking at on one of the tabs near the top of the screen.

It copes well when entering the details for John's great-grandmother whose surname was 'Benjamin' on her son's birth certificate but was 'Bingmann' at her earlier marriage. It also appears to allow you to set up a fact, like a Census entry, and share it between lots of people. However, this feature can't be tried in the Essentials version; it is only available in the full version.

The reporting features are quite good, although some are only available in the full version, as is the feature to generate webpages from the data. Nevertheless, all sources that you enter are cited in the indexes of the reports so everything is self-documenting.

As the first piece of software I have attempted to look at, I am quite impressed with it.

Family Tree Software

My Maternal Grandmother - Emily Smith
One thing that has been on my do-to list for ages is to investigate different Family Tree software packages. For ages and ages, I have used Brother's Keeper. This was a free download, although you can get additional features if you pay for the registration key. I have only been able to find one supplier in the UK who sells this key but I have repeatedly hesitated to buy it as I'm not entirely happy with Brother's Keeper.

It is OK .... up to a point ...... but it has a very old-fashioned feel to it and it's a bit 'clunky' to navigate round. Also, the reports it produces aren't particularly nice in their layout. I also don't think it enables you to easily make use of Census information. It would also be nice to easily produce PDFs from the data to share with other people and having a way to automatically produce web pages might be a nice feature.

My Maternal Grandfather - Frederick Brett
Although I subscribe to The Family Tree magazine, I can't recall seeing any comparison reviews of different software in there and, in any  case, on the free CD that comes with the magazine, they always give a copy of RootsMagic 5 Essentials, so seem to be biased towards them I guess.

Nevertheless, some considerable time ago, I found a website that has a high-level comparison of different software and I thought this would be a good start.

For many of these, you can download a free version that enables you to try it out, so this is what I think I will do!! Luckily, a have some pretty good 'live test data' in my own Family Tree in that both my Maternal Grandmother and John's Paternal Grandfather married more than once as an example of 'slightly challenging' data to take account off.

Well .... better get started! Let's see how I get on!!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Our First Radishes

This year, John has been planting all sorts of seeds as he wants to grow more in our garden this year.

He's planted all sorts of things ..... tomatoes, onions, beetroot, carrots, sweetcorn, peppers .... as well as different flowers.

But here are our first crops! Some radishes! John has grown them in one of two raised beds he put together this year. Although the raised beds had some copper foil around the outside to deter the slugs, some did get through (probably up through the soil) as you can see a little bit of slug damage on the leaves.

Nevertheless, these radishes were lovely! Very crisp and slightly peppery! Delicious!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Hang Dog Cat!!

As cats go, Flossie seems quite a cheerful kind of girl :)

Normally, she spends all her time rushing around looking for things to play with or 'talking' to anyone who will listen!

But this morning, her get-up-and-go had got-up-and-gone!!

It's OK .... she's not ill! Just in case you were wondering! I think she was just having a 'resting day'.

Shush! I think she needs her beauty sleep! Well .... all that playing takes it out of a girl :P

Monday, 23 April 2012

St George's Day and Our 29th Anniversary

St Mary & All Saints Church, Chesterfield
Today is not only St George's Day but our 29th Wedding Anniversary. We went away over the weekend to the Peak District, staying at a Best Western hotel in Mosborough, courtesy of using Tesco Clubcard vouchers ...... so it didn't actually cost us anything! And Free is Good :)

We went up on Friday and visited the nearby town of Chesterfield, famous for its Church's twisted spire. It really is amazingly twisted!

We had to wait quite a while before we could go into the Church as a funeral was taking place. A very formal affair with a horse-drawn glass hearse ..... such lovely horses. I was sorely tempted to take a photo .... but didn't seem quite right somehow!!

We took my Mum away with us as well, as a very old friend of hers lives near Matlock that she hasn't seen for 18 years! On the Saturday, we dropped her off to visit her friend and we went off to Matlock to do a bit of walking.

We got a surprise when we parked the car in the railway car park at Matlock ...... a steam train came through!

John had worked out a route that took us up into the hills around Matlock so we could view Matlock and the Heights of Abraham.
Looking down on Matlock

The scenery in the Peak District is stunning! We were also very lucky in that, although the forecast was for a lot of rain, we pretty much missed it! However, where I have had a horrible sinus problem and haven't been feeling all that well for some time, our lack of recent walking was definitely apparent! We both felt a bit unfit and weren't able to do as much walking as we'd like! We only managed about 3 miles but this did include some very steep ascents; we climbed about 650 feet!! Nevertheless, thankfully, at long last I think I'm getting the better of this sinus infection (that has hung on since Christmas!!) so hopefully we'll be able to sort that out soon and get out and do more walking.
View from the Heights of Abraham Cable car
We then drove round to the cable car that goes up to the Heights of Abraham. The views from the cable car are fantastic!

And here is my Mum and her friend, Rene. Amazingly, Rene is actually shorter than my Mum :)

My Mum (on the right) with her friend Rene
On the Sunday, we visited a lovely garden called Renishaw Hall and garden.

Most of the garden is a formal layout with lots of box and yew hedges and formal planting.

There is also a more informal woodland area with a sculpture trail.

A really peaceful place with lots to see. Any garden lover would love it!

A perfect weekend to celebrate our Anniversary :)

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Chicks Party?

Had to share this photo! It perfectly sums up my John's sense of humour!

On getting up this morning, the Easter chicks have been arranged around a little glass chicken ornament I bought when we were on holiday in Jersey.

Are they set to party? I think if I was that chicken, I'd feel a tiny, weeny bit intimidated :)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter

Just a quick post to send Happy Easter greetings to all :)

Here are two little crochet chicks to get in the Easter mood :)

They are a mix of two different patterns I found on the web. The body comes from a lovely website called Pepika who has got some lovely tutorials explaining the mysteries of the crochet magic circle with some fantastic photos to explain how to do things.

The feet, beak and the coxcomb on the left hand chick comes from Ami Amour. In actual fact, the first chicks I made came from Ami Amour. You can see them in the following photo ..... the two on the left. Sorry for the 'busy' photo. The tissue box in the background is my constant companion due to a horrific sinus infection that has gone on and on and on ....... and on! Currently on a course of penicillin and instructions to steam my face at regular intervals. Sigh! But I digress ........

For reasons that I'm not sure about, the wings came out bigger than the photos at Ami Amour suggested they aught to be! Also ...... looking at them again, I think I sewed the wings on slightly incorrectly! They look like big ears rather than wings :)

I think I will treat them a proto-types!!!

It was my Mum's suggestion to sew the coxcomb on the white chick at a different angle. She has a point ..... on a chicken they do go front to back rather than side to side. But then I thought ...... baby chicks don't really have coxcombs, do they? So the final one I made ..... the yellow one on the right, doesn't have one!

I think he's the one I like best :)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Monthly Make for April No 1

Really this is cheating! It should have been in the Monthly makes for March since, as you can see, it is a Mother's Day card I made for my Mum for 18th March.

However, I do have an excuse! The fact that I have continued to not feel very well means that I have just not been interested in taking photos and manipulating the images or putting together blog posts! In fact, a trip back to the doctor's last Friday has confirmed a bad sinus infection. I am SO hoping that the penicillin he has now given me will do the trick!

Anyhow ..... this little card! It has a history! My late Mother-in-law, Rose, used to buy a variety of  cross stitch and needlework magazines, quite a few of which are no longer produced. A number of them always had a 'cover kit' that was usually a small project of some sort. Rose never ever wanted to do these and she'd give them to me. I rarely did any of them straight away (if at all!) but could never bear to throw them away. During my craft clear out just recently, I sorted through them all and found this one and thought it would make a nice Mother's day card for my Mum.

The cover kit came from a magazine called 'Needlework' and was from the March 1995 edition!! It's actually quite small, being sewn on 18 count Aida, measuring only 4" x 3 1/4" (10 x 8 cm) and a very simple design that I finished over a couple of evenings. Still, I think it looks quite cute and my Mum always appreciates if something is made for her :)

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