Monday, September 08, 2008

Northern lights and marriage.

Current work: nonfic; MH duo book 2
Listening to: One Republic, Dreaming Out Loud
Reading: The Bride Hunter, Amy Appleton (enjoyed it – especially the fabulous hero – a man who knows history and bakes fantastic bread would do me very nicely…were I not already married to the love of my life, of course)

Right now, I am on a screaming deadline. So it’s very unwise to put a foot into my office: you’ll be growled at, unless you’re bearing chocolate or a cup of tea. (Deadline weeks are the ones where I put on weight.)

DH was brave last night. ‘Turn the computer off NOW. There’s this programme on and it’s right up your street.’ (Cue general growling from the direction of my desk.) DH sighs. ‘Northern Lights. Tromso.’ Three words guaranteed to get me moving...

It was Joanna Lumley’s trip to the Arctic circle. Fascinating. Utterly fascinating. Stirred me up a bit, too, as I share her dream: to go and see the Northern Lights. (They do plane trips from Norwich, but that’s not enough for me. I need to be outside. See it horizon to horizon. This is about the only time I will ever say snow is wonderful.)

I also had a major lightbulb during said TV programme. I took lots of notes. And I think on January 1 I’m going to start the Big Save. I am going to see the Northern Lights on my 45th birthday (this will give me time to save and stay for a week somewhere decent with DH and kids – gulp, son will be a teenager then and daughter will have hit double figures).

Now, the marriage thing. I’m currently researching my family tree (is on hold until after deadline, when am going to have a day in the library) and have joined the Sole Society (it’s a one-name study society – involves my family, the Sewells – and no, I’m not related to Anna of Black Beauty fame).

My surname co-ordinator sent me the info he had about my great-grandparents, and there seemed to be a marriage for my grandmother. DH read it over my shoulder. ‘Nah, she would’ve been 15. Too young. Must be someone else with the same name.’ Being still mainly in book world, I agreed with him.

Then I happened to be looking up something else when I discovered something. Now, I knew under the Marriage Act 1753 (Hardwicke’s Act) that you had to have your parent’s consent if you got married under the age of 21. I also knew that males could be married at 14 and females at 12 with parental consent. What I didn’t realise is that this minimum age stood until the Marriage Act of 1949 changed it to 16 for both. So, actually, that marriage in 1922 COULD be my grandmother’s… in which case I’ve just uncovered a huge family secret.

(I do however know that there was another woman with exactly the same name born in Poplar 8 years before my grandmother, and it would make more sense for her to be married in West Ham rather than my grandmother to travel from deepest rural Essex to the outskirts of London.)

But how interesting.

And that’s another lightbulb to be stored away...

I’m gone. I have a deadline.

(PS Come back tomorrow for a chance to win a book. PHS birthday prize.)


Anonymous said...

As it happens, that was the ONE TV prog I watched all weekend - Joanna Lumley is so charming. And yes, quite brilliant. It must be a wonderful experience to see the lights in person, so good luck with the plan - apparently Feb is the best month.
I am SO with her about the ice hotel.. brrr..
Best of luck with the deadline :-)

Joanne Cleary said...

Your family history research sounds so interesting. My children's surname is Sewell so maybe you could be a long lost relative of theirs!! How cool.