My fairwell talk

Well that’s it. It’s all over.
After a lot of thought last year I decided that, after travelling the highways and byways of Eastern England from Lincoln in the north to Suffolk in the south; the North Sea in the East and the western extremities of Northamptonshire, it was time to call it a day. Last night saw my final talk. After 15 years and, I calculate, nearly 2,500 individual talks, I presented the final one yesterday 24th April 2014 at St Peter’s Church Hall in Wisbech.
Back in 2001 Bridget and Peter Hunter set about creating a new Family History Society group for the Wisbech area and I went along. Ostensibly I was there as a ‘watcher’ from the Cambridgeshire County Family History Society. I was so impressed by Bridget’s and Peter’s enthusiasm that I signed up to join their new Fenland Family History Society. I was the seventh person to join so my membership number was 007.
The audience last night were members – and some non-members – of that Fenland Family History Society. Full circle was achieved – and to crown it all, when I had finished wittering on the trolley came out, the covering cloth was whipped off and there, for all to see was a delicious looking cake in three sections – 0 0 7. Because of my Gluten Free diet I couldn’t taste it – but it all vanished VERY quickly.
The subject of this last talk was ‘My Me Tree’ – a look at my personal family history from my grand-children back to my great-great grandparents. From the responses – serious and laughter – I think it went down OK!
What followed nearly brought me to tears. Bridget, in her own inimitable way, told the assembled bodies of the difficulty she and Peter had had in trying to find something to give me as a ‘going-away’ present. First out was a lovely Owl – she said it was recognising something about me being wise, or remembering things – or was it that I mainly came out at nights? I can’t remember but it was a lovely thought. But she didn’t stop there – she carried on about how I had said that I would now have time to do some gardening. Out of a second bag she produced a little bush that, I think she said, would grow into a tree. She said they thought it would look nice outside my front door. Then they realised that it would be a hazard there and I would probably fall over it. It would have to go in the garden. I said ‘thank you’ and placed it alongside my new ‘wise old owl’. Still she went on. Peter now got into the act and wheeled out a trolley covered in a blue sheet. For a moment I thought they were going to operate – but no …. I’m safe …… he did unveil a body though!
He/it weighs ‘a ton’ but it depicts just what I fancy doing at times this coming summer – laying on the grass minding my own business reading a book! All I have to do now is find an appropriate place for him to lay – with room for me to lay alongside.
Anyway: –
To all members of the Fenland FHS thank you very much for last night; and for your support and interest over the past years and to all others reading this that have been ‘exposed’ to me and what has been described as my ‘quirky’ style of presenting social and local history may I say –IT’S BEEN FUN AND I WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT FOR THE WORLD – and I hope you felt the same way too.
Over the coming months and years I hope to bring into my blogs some of the things I have wittered on about in the talks and courses I have had fun compiling and presenting. Keep an eye out for stories of Witchcraft; Opium; Ragtime to Rock ‘n’ Roll music; Fenland Monasteries; Traditions & Superstitions; Family history in its’ many forms and History flowing along the Welland – plus umpteen other subjects that have fascinated me.
To anyone and everyone who has been so kind and supportive to me over these past 15 years I say a heartfelt ‘thank you’. It has been you that has made the talks and courses so much fun to create and present. You’ll always be in my mind and hope you’ll sometimes think of me.

BUT If you were not there – or you have only a vague idea of what this is all about – hang on in because I plan to do a lot more talkinghistory on this blog over the weeks and months ahead. If you log into the system by becoming a follower of my blogs you won’t miss a thing.


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