Shiny Bright New Object!!!

Do you suffer from Shiny Bright New Object Syndrome ??? I know I most certainly do. I sit down at the computer and I have some specific goals in mind in relation to my genealogical research and of course this blog. When I started researching my family history, I uncovered more than names and dates. I discovered real people with stories that needed to be told. I started this blog as a means to share those stories with members of my family.

Anyone that knows me, will tell you I’m not known as being organised or disciplined. I’m definitely not known as a “writer”. In school I was the kid madly scribbling her homework at the last minute while lining up outside the classroom. At university most of my augments were completed in the early hours of the day they were due. And of course there’s the blaring omission – as a PhD student I conducted research in the field of molecular genetics, I even had papers published – BUT I never sat down and wrote my thesis. So I think it’s well established that I’m not a “writer”.

So when I came across Amy Johnson’s 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge I thought it was the tailor made solution for me. Each week a prompt would be published. Each week I’d write a blog post inspired by that prompt. Even little old undisciplined me could manage to write one post a week – yes ???

Well… turns out…No!! The challenge is now up to week 17. I’m up to …. wait for it ….
Week 6 !!! At least I’m consistent.

I sit down at the computer and I get distracted by Shiny Bright New Objects. My latest SBNO took hold when my sister’s DNA results were processed. I entered into the world of Visual Phasing and DNA mapping and its been all consuming for the last month. So far, using my sister’s DNA results and those of a few cousins, I’ve mapped 57% of my DNA to my 4 grandparents (see below).

mapping
Definitely a work in progress, but it’s a good start. Now to catch up on those 52 ancestor in 52 week posts….

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52 Ancestors, Week 5 “In the Census” What happened to Jane Tyrell?

My maternal great grandmother Rose Minnie Harding was born in Lower Beeding, Sussex, England in June 1879 to parents Thomas Harding and Jane (nee Tyrell). In 1900 at the age of 21 Rose Minnie married Albert Restall. They went on to have a number of children including Constance Restall, my maternal grandmoher, before immigrating to Australia. According to the family oral history Rose Minnie told her children that as a child she was dropped off at a Catholic orphanage by her mother, Jane, and that Jane never returned to collect her. That was the last Rose Minnie ever saw of her mother. As an aside, young Rose Minnie must have been desperately unhappy during her time in the orphanage as she had a life long “dislike” of Catholic Nuns.

So what does what does this have to do with this weeks 52 ancestor prompt “In the Census”?

What I’ve told you above is background, part of my families oral history but it begs a couple of questions. Why was Rose Minnie placed in an orphanage? What happened to her parents Thomas Harding and Jane Harding nee Tyrell ?

I found some of the answers to these questions as I traced Rose Minnie and her immediate family through the English census records. I love the UK census records. They are a gold mine of information. Starting from 1841, every 10 years you can get a snapshot of your ancestors in their family groups, right up to 1911. First up, it was apparent that Thomas’s marriage to Jane was actually his second marriage.

1861

 

In the 1861 census we find him living in Bolney, Sussex with his first wife Mary Ann and two children, a daughter Ann aged 1 and an unnamed son listed as 1 day old.

1871

The next available census was taken in 1871. By this time Mary Ann had died. Thomas is left caring for their children, Ann now aged 11, Thomas now aged 9 (the unnamed 1 day old son from the last census) and Eliza aged 2. There’s also a housekeeper, Susanna Gamarra, named in the household. No doubt she was hired to take care of the children following Mary Ann’s death.

1881

In the 1881 census, Thomas has remarried. His new wife is Jane Tyrell. Ann and Thomas (Jr) from the previous marriage have left home. Eliza, the youngest child from the first marriage is still living with her father Thomas and his second wife Jane. Also listed are Thomas and Jane’s children, John, Sarah, James and Rose. Rose is my great grandmother.

1891

The next census, taken in 1891, show the family still living together, with four additional children, Emma, George, William and Charley. At this point everything seems normal. Eliza, the youngest child from the first marriage has left home. Thomas and Jane are living with the eight children they had together.

So my next step was to find the family in the 1901 census…. and this is where things went horribly pear-shaped. I couldn’t find my Thomas Harding in the 1901 census, and with a bit of additional research I realised this was because he died in September 1894, 3 years after the 1891 census that showed him living with wife Jane and their 8 children. I was able to find my great grandmother Rose Minnie in the 1901 census. She was now 21 years old and married to Albert Restall, my great grandfather.

1901

But where were the rest of the family ? I started looking for Jane in the 1901 census, expecting to find her living with the younger children. What I found was very different, and it explained why Rose Minnie spent part of her childhood in an orphanage. In the 1901 census Jane is a patient in the West Sussex County Lunatic Asylum. I did a little more digging and found that she was admitted to the Asylum in January 1895, four months after the death of her husband.

1901 jane

I haven’t yet accessed her admission records, but I suspect she was suffering from severe depression and anxiety following the death of her husband. This was the late 19th Century. She was not only coping with the loss of her husband, but she also left with eight children and no means of support. So with their father dead and the mother in an Asylum what happened to the children, particularly the younger children? I know from the oral history passed down from my great grandmother that she spent time in an orphanage. I suspect that this was the fate of the other children as well. The only record I have so far found for the younger children in the 1901 census is for William, the second youngest. In 1901 he is 15 years old and is living with his older half sister Eliza and her husband Henry Ede. I don’t know where Emma, George or Charley were in 1901. I suspect they were in an orphanage.

1901 william.JPG

I can find all the family members in the last publicly available census: the 1911 census. Most are married and have started families of their own. George is working at the same place as Rose Minnie’s husband which implies they were still in contact with each other despite the disruption in their family. William is not yet married, he’s now living with his paternal Aunt Harriet. Charlie is in Wales working in the coal mines.

Their mother, Jane, is still in the Asylum where she is listed as a “Lunatic”. I find this confronting to say the least. As I scanned down this list of patients some were listed as Lunatics, others were listed as Idiots. It’s easy to take offence at these terms in our day and age, but to try and put them into perspective in the early 1900s, a “lunatic” had a curable mental illness, an “idiot” was intellectually handicapped.

In 1913 Albert Restall, Rose Minnie’s husband, was suffering terribly from arthritis. His doctor told him to move to a warmer climate or he would end up crippled. The choices were South Africa or Australia. Luckily he chose Australia, but this was probably influenced the fact his brother, Robert, had immigrated to Australia a few years earlier. Albert and son Robert left first, presumably to find work, accommodation etc for the rest of the family. Rose Minnie followed with the rest of their children. The picture below is one of the last taken in Sussex, England: Rose with Ethel Alice, Albert, Ivy and Constance. When this was taken Albert and son Robert gad left for Australia.

rose and kids

So, by 1913, Rose Minnie, her husband and children had settled in Australia and started a new chapter in their lives. The family story that Rose Minnie told her children was that her mother had dropped her off to an orphanage and that she never saw her mother again.

The records show that in 1894, when Rose Minnie was 14 years old her father died and her mother was committed to an Asylum. In 1913, when Rose Minnie left England with her husband and children, her mother Jane was still alive, and still in the Asylum. In fact the records show Jane remained in the Asylum until her death in 1923.

So, the census records answer the question about why was Rose Minnie placed in an orphanage. The question that those records can’t answer is did Rose Minnie know where her mother was ? Or did she believe her mother abandoned her ?

52 Ancestors, Week 4 “Invite to Dinner”

The week 4 prompt in the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is the ancestor we would most like to invite for dinner. Obviously if it were possible to invite just one of my deceased direct ancestors to dinner I’d choose my Dad. What I wouldn’t give to sit down to one last family dinner with him present, and to be honest I think my family members would also surrender all to sit down one last time at a table with Dad. It would be even better if Dad were the one cooking the meal because he was a damn good cook.

Dad was a cook in the army, and yes, I know all the jokes about army cooks. But Dad really was good. He taught my Mum how to cook, he taught me how to cook. I can whip up a mean omelette and every time I do I think of Dad as he taught me the tricks to a successful omelette.

Poor Dad – he was a very clean cook. I’m a very messy cook. I always remember him saying “clean as you go”. It was one of his rules for successful cooking. As a teenager I liked planning an elaborate 3 course menu and I’d invite the cousins to dinner. I’d pick a cuisine – Greek, Chinese, French. I’d spend the day cooking and the meals were always successful – but boy – the kitchen was a disaster zone afterwards!! Dad used to say I was the only person he knew that could burn 3 saucepans and 2 frying pans just to make a tomato sandwich. And he was probably right.

Family dinners and get-to-gether’s have have always featured heavily in my extended family. There were the Fletcher’s, Mum and Dad, and my sister Roselyn and I. Then there were the Kilpatricks – Peter and Jessie (Jessie was Mum’s cousin) and their 2 daughters Lynda and Cheryl. Back in the 70s an invite to Jessie’s place for dinner meant a meal of corned beef, white sauce and vegetables. I have to admit Corned beef has never been a love of mine, but the company was always great.

Festive meals such as Christmas would consist of a selection of roast meats (Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Ham). Typically the meat was cooked the day before and served cold on the day. We live in Australia, and Christmas Day is damned hot. No-one in their right mind would spend the day in the kitchen melting and sweating to produce a traditional roast Christmas. The accompaniments were some basic salads such as coleslaw, a rice salad, and a pasta salad that consisted of finely chopped bacon, onion, celery and carrot that was lightly fried and added to cooked macaroni with a dressing of made of mayonnaise and tomato paste. We never really varied from this year after year. What can I say ? It was the seventies. We all lived through the seventies…

The one concession to the traditional “English” style Christmas feast in my family was the Christmas pudding. It wasn’t necessarily served hot, but it was always the highlight of the meal. By October every year Nan would have made a pudding, and it would be left hanging, wrapped in calico, in the laundry waiting for Christmas.

In those days, Christmas Eve in my family was always spent at Jessie and Peter’s house. And the Christmas pudding was a highlight. The pudding would arrive at the table with sparklers lit, and there were buried treasures within in the form of sixpences for luck.
Scan

Christmas 1978 at Jess and Pete’s: Standing at the back Peter, Sitting around the table, Jessie, Roma (Mum), Les aka Slim (Dad), Ron and Fay Phillis (Mum’s Sister and her husband), Albert Restall (Jessie’s father), slightly to his right you can see his wife Jessie Restall. The person behind Uncle Bert, you can just see a little of her blue-rinsed  is my Nan, Connie, Mum’s mother and Uncle Bert’s sister.

kids

Christmas 1978: The Kids table – My sister Rose-lyn, Me (look at the frosted eye-shadow! – gotta love the 70s), Cheryl, Aunty Kath (Jessie’s sister banished to the kids table) and Lynda.

pudding

Chritmas 1978: The star of the show – Christmas Pudding!!

Fast forward 40 years to our present day and the Fletcher’s and the Kilpatrick’s still regularly get together and enjoy a meal. Along the way we’ve lost family members, we lost Dad and we lost Cheryl. We’ve gained Tony and Karl, Lynda’s husband and son, and my children who also join us ocassion.

The food we serve at our family dinners today is massively different to what we served back in the 70s. 40 years on, Australia has become incredibly multicultural – we’ve learnt so many cooking techniques and recipes from incoming immigrants. The impact of modern day television shows such as Masterchef has also had an impact. When you shop a Coles or Woolies there are free magazines packed full of recipes. Australia, believe it or not, has become a nation of foodies.

These days when our family get together we never trot out the old traditional recipes. Instead we view a family get-to-gether as an opportunity to experiment with a new recipe. Every time we get together the food changes. Last time I had lunch at Jessie’s she served an unbelievable Salmon and grilled peach dish. What can I say – it was to die for. It deserves to be a classic – served again and again – but it probably won’t be. Because next time Jessie invites me to dinner, she’ll have a new recipe up her sleeve – and, guess what? – it will also be amazing.

If you’d like to try out the Salmon and peach recipe at your next family dinner – here it is:  http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/asian-salmon-peach-salad/50669092-42c1-4138-bc47-56a1692fb7c0

4  skinless salmon fillets
1 red  onion, very thinly sliced
1  long  red  chilli thinly sliced  diagonally
1  oak leaf lettuce, leaves separated, coarsely torn
1/2  cup mint leaves
1/2 cup  coriander leaves
4  white peaches,Stones removed , cut into wedges
2 tbs  pine nuts
Lemongrass Dressing
1/2 stem lemongrass, pale section only finely chopped.
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbs Tamara sauce
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
To make dressing place all  the ingredients in a screw top jar ,shake until we’ll combined.
2. Heat a barbecue or chargrill on medium cook salmon 2. mins each side or until cooked
To your liking, transfer to plate, cover with foil , rest 5 mins, coarsely flake
3 Combine  onion chilli  lettuce mint  coriander and peaches in a large bowl,
 Drizzle with dressing, gently toss to combine
4 Top with salmon and sprinkle  with nuts

Enjoy!!

52 Ancestors, Week 3 “Longevity” Ida Emma Fletcher

Well here we are in week 12 of the “52 Ancestors in 52 weeks”… and I’m uploading week 3. Procrastination is my middle name. At any rate the prompt for week 3 is Longevity.

For me this immediately conjures up memories of Grandma, my paternal grandmother Ida Emma Fletcher (nee Stace). Grandma may not have reached the magical 100 to get a telegraph from the Queen but she did live a very long life. Much more importantly she had a good quality of life both physically and mentally.

Grandma was born 8th of October 1905 on a cattle station, Tonk’s Camp, outside of Georgetown in Far North Queensland. Tonk’s Camp is a pretty isolated spot geographically even by today’s standards. In the early 20th century it was even more so. It would have been a hard life for her and in many ways I think it influenced her later in life.

Granma married Joseph Fletcher and they eventually settled in Cardwell, a small coastal town in North Queensland. This is where they raised their son, Leslie Fletcher, my father. Les married my mother, Roma, and he adopted my sister and me. At that point Granma and Pop (ie Joseph and Ida Fletcher) became my grandparents. And they were wonderful grandparents. I could not have asked for better.

Granma, Rose and I
This photo was taken around 1967 during one Granma and Pop’s visits to us in Keperra, Brisbane. Look how identically dressed Rose-Lyn and I are… right down to the shoes and socks. Thanks Mum. Rose is the taller one on the left, and I’m on the right.

Every year as I grew up we would travel to Cardwell for holidays. One thing that really stands out for me is how content Granma was with the simple things in life. She didn’t have a big expensive house or a lot of materials possessions. In fact her house was decorated with cereal box cut-outs. Remember back in those days you’d buy your box of Rice Bubbles or Cornflakes, and on the back of the box there’d be a cardboard cutout that you could cut and fold to make, eg a monkey mask of the CocoaPops monkey.  Granma would actually make these things and she’d display them on the walls of the kitchen and the hallway as decorations.

I also remember her cooking. Granma always had either a rice pudding or a spaghetti pudding in the fridge. These were made with left over rice/spaghetti with a baked egg custard and served with tinned peaches or apricots. There was never fresh milk in the house. Granma grew up in the outback without the benefits of refrigeration. She grew up with powered milk – Sunshine milk. This stuck with her for the rest of her life. No fresh milk at Granma’s house.

Then there was the dark side of her cooking – meat, usually fatty lamb chops, was fried in lard – it was heavily salted – after the meat was cooked it was removed from the pan, flour was added, and all that fat was turned into a gravy, just so you don’t miss out on any of the fat…. As you no doubt know, the diet experts tell us to avoid high salt and high fat diets. And we dutifully passed this information on to Granma. We tried to tell her just how unhealthy her high fat, high salt diet was. But, you know what ? When she hit the age of 90 our warnings and protests just looked a little silly.

Other memories I have from those annual childhood visits to Granma and Pop in Cardwell:

The hallway in her house was quite wide and it was jam-packed with photos and memorabilia from times past. You could literally spend hours exploring that room. She had emu eggs that had been blown. Antique toys that my father played with as a child. An old box brownie camera, so old that when she contacted Kodak to see if the camera could be fixed, they asked her if she would donate it to their museum.

The tropical fruit trees in her back yard – custard apples, 5 star fruit, mangoes, coconuts. I spent hours with an axe striping the fibres from coconuts and breaking into the flesh.

Fishing on the jetty, if we caught a fish with eggs – she’d coat the egg sac in flour, salt and pepper and fry it off – big delicacy for her.

Playing cards – Granma always had a deck of cards handy. We’d sit around the kitchen table and play cards for hours. Strip-Jack-naked, Solataire, Euchre, but her favourite was crib. Granma was a mean crib player.She could glance at a crib hand and rattle of the total score in the blink of an eye. Tuesday mornings were spent at the CWA playing cards for prizes such as a tin of beetroot or creamed corn.

The Penetrine – I don’t know what penetrine was – but it features heavily in my memories of Granma. It was green and alcohol based. She always had a bottle of it. And if you cut yourself or grazed yourself out would come the penetrine – it would be liberally poured over the open wound – and it stung likes blazes.

I must confess, when I was young, arrogant and stupid, I’d look at her simple house, I’d look at the cereal cardboard cutouts, and I’d look at her life in general. To my mind, she had no career, she had no achievements, she had no materials possessions of any worth. I used to think – please don’t let me wind up like her. But now I’m older, a little wiser, and a lot humbled by life.

At the end of the day, career, achievements, material possessions mean very little. What is important is the relationships you have with your family, and the impact your have on their lives. Granma was devoted to her family and we all have loving memories of her. That’s her legacy, and its a legacy to be proud of.

 

52 Ancestors, Week 2 “Favourite Photo” Alice Restall and Harold Bates Wedding

The week 2 prompt (yes I’m hopelessly behind) is “Favourite Photo”. This is a really tough one. I love all my family photos especially the ones that I’ve managed to gather from times past. We can research our ancestors through records, we can pass on family stories from older relatives, but nothing beats the value of a photo. This is where we put a face to the name. This is where the ancestor becomes real. This is our sole opportunity to look into their eyes and make emotional connections.

I fear that the good old “family photo” that was passed down to future generations is becoming a thing of the past. These days we use our phones to take photos. We email these photos, we share them on social media, but will they be available for future generations? These photos tend to remain in cyber space, they remain in our devices, they don’t usually get printed and find their way into photo albums.

Earlier this year my Aunt Fay passed away and I was one of the people who helped in sorting out her possessions. There were literally boxes of photo albums to sort through and I came across so many gems. Honourable mentions go to a photo of her grandfather, my Great-Grandfather, Albert Restall, which taken when he was just 19 years old, a young man in the Navy. I have other photos of Albert taken much later in life, but at the risk of sounding ageist there’s something special about this photo as it is the only one I have of him as a young man.

Albert restall

Next there was a photo taken at her wedding that included her father, Cornelius O’Brien, my Grandfather. Unfortunately, I never met Con and this photo is one of a few that I have of him. He abandoned my grandmother and my mother and Aunt for his mistress who had born him a son.

Scan0003

I had earlier found a Trove article relating the story of how Con entered a burning building not once but twice, in order to rescue an elderly man and his wife. The article included a photo of Con. To be honest, I much prefer the grainy newspaper photo of Con to the wedding photo. Possibly this is because in the wedding photo he is well-groomed and posing. The newspaper photo is more candid and shows more of a glimpse into the actual man. I must confess when I found this Trove article I stared at Con’s photo and I kept coming back to it to stare again. This man, for better or worse, is my grandfather. I never knew him, and since he has long passed away I will never meet him. But I do find myself returning to this photo over and over again.

mycon.PNG

 

But, to return to the challenge topic: my favourite family photo. This really wasn’t easy to pick and I dare say as I continue to research my family it may very well change. But for now its a photo of my Aunty Alice’s wedding. This photo is one of the gems I obtained while sorting through Aunty Fay’s extensive photo collection.

So why did I pick this photo?

It’s my Aunty Alice’s wedding. ..Aunty Alice… The very person who inspired the title of this Blog: The Restall Gene. Growing up, I heard so many stories about Alice, and most of these concluded with a reference to “The Restall Gene”. So this photo is Alice embarking on her adult journey through life. I have no actual first hand memories of Alice. I wish I could remember her. I wish I could remember her husband Harold “Mudge” Bates”. Unfortunately time dictates otherwise, and I must rely on the memories and stories of others – and photos such as this.

 

alice wedding

52Ancestors, Week 1, “Start” Cornelius O’Brien: Discoverer of Gold in Grenfell

This is my first post in genealogist Amy Johnston Crow’s 2018 52Ancestors challenge. The aim of this challenge is to encourage us to begin writing about, and sharing, the stories we uncover about our ancestors. Each week Amy emails a theme or a “prompt” to inspire us. This is a fantastic challenge that opens up so many doors and opportunities and I’d like to thank Amy for offering and co-ordinating it this year. The prompt for week 1 is “Start”.
There are a few ways I could interpret the theme “Start”. I’ve started this blog primarily as a place I can record and share stories both with my known family and with the new cousins I’m discovering
as I travel down this path of “family history”. As a New Years Resolution I’ve decided to re-start my research following the guidelines and suggestions of Thomas Ennis’s “Genealogy Do-Over”. My main resolution is to incorporate discipline into my research. That’s a subject for another post.

The way I’ve decided to interpret the theme “Start” is to relate the story of my great-great-grand-father Cornelius O’Brien who discovered gold in 1866 in what is now the town of Grenfell in New South Wales, Australia. His discovery lead to the “Start” of a gold rush in the area.

afc11ca4-dd05-42f6-a0c6-74c302e711e0

Cornelius (Con) O’Brien was born in Windsor, NSW 25th August, 1830 to parents Daniel O’Brien and Catherine Kelly. At present I don’t have any definite information about his parents aside from their names and the likelihood that both arrived in the colony as convicts (yet another future blog post). I do know that he spent his childhood in Parramatta NSW, and that as a young man he travelled west to an area that was at the time known as Emu Creek where he worked for John Wood , the first European settler in the area,as a shepherd. In 1866 he discovered a gold bearing quartz outcrop. Unfortunately Con didn’t have the necessary funds to secure a lease and instead marked out an ordinary 30 feet one man claim. A company was eventually formed to work the site known as O’Brien’s Reef with Cornelius O’Brien holding a one twelfth share. It proved the best line on the fields and produced sixty thousand pound of gold in the first 3 years. Within 6 months of Con’s gold find 10,000 people had flocked to the area., this area is the current town of Grenfell.

As a child, I knew the story of my ancestor that “found gold”. At the time I wondered what happened to the money ? I assumed a subsequent generation lost “the money”.Truth, it seems, is that while Cornelius O’Brien discovered the gold, he never had the capital in his own right exploit the discovery. This is certainly borne out by articles in Trove that suggest in his later years he was crippled with arthritis and seeking a reward from the government for his earlier gold find.

So ends the story of Cornelius O’Brien, his discovery of gold, the eventual establishment of the NSW town of Grenfell….

But in terms of my family history this is far from the end. In fact in many ways, in particular with respect to genetic genealogy this is yet another “Start”. Cornelius O’Brien married Mary Ann Memory and they went on to produce 8 children, one of whom was my great-grand-father John Daniel O’Brien. Mary Ann died, due to complications from a broken femur at the age of 31. Not long afterwards Cornelius remarried Maud Bryant and they went onto have another 8 children. So when my 2G-Grandfather Con died in 1901, he left behind a legacy of 16 children. Those 16 children went on to marry and reproduce as did their offspring and their offspring in turn. I would hate to estimate the total number of Cornelius O’Brien descendants in Australia today. What ever that total number is, I am one of many.

 

Welcome to The Restall Gene

My name is Julie Fletcher. I was born in 1963 in Sale, Victoria, Australia. I have been researching my family history for about a year now. During this time I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a blog – primarily to share my findings with family members but also with the aim of perhaps reaching out to distant cousins in the hope that we can exchange information.

So here I am, a year later. I still want to “start a blog”. I still have zero ideas on how to do so.  I’ve searched and searched articles on starting a genealogy blog. I’ve read and re-read the results. I’m still totally clueless.

Do you remember the old joke where Mum sends a note to her child’s school: “Please excuse Johnny from swimming lessons until he learns how to swim”? This was me. I wanted to dive into blogging but I wanted to learn to swim first. This just isn’t a reasonable approach. So here I am taking a big deep breath and jumping in. I’m sure I’ll flounder; I’ll makes mistakes. But I’ll learn from those mistakes and hopefully I’ll make friends along the way.

So to start off – why did I name this blog “The Restall Gene” ? Picking the name of your blog is a little daunting isn’t it? I can admit picking a name was a stumbling block for me. “Julie Fletcher’s Family Tree”, “Fletcher Branches”, “Fletcher Roots” ?? Wowsers we won’t even go to that last one…..

But eventually “The Restall Gene” popped into my mind. Restall is the surname of my maternal great grandparents Albert Restall and Rose Minnie Restall (nee Harding) who along with their children departed Sussex, England for the shores of Australia. One of those children was Alice Restall.

Unfortunately to my great regret I never actually met Alice but the stories about her became legend in my family. Poor old Alice did things, things we rational people would not do. Things that were greeted by “For Christ’s sake Alice!” by her long suffering husband Uncle Mudge. These things that Aunty Alice did were told and retold with great glee by subsequent family members. In time these “things” were attributed to “the Restall Gene”.

A couple of examples – the time she left a note on her front door – “I’ve gone to the shops but the key is in the washing machine”.

Or the time we lived in New Guinea in the 1970s are were sending taped messages via cassette back and forewards – we got a tape from Alice and Mudge – when we played it we heard heard Aunty Alice saying hello…. then a long pause…. then Uncle Mudge saying “well say something else” followed by dear old Alice – “I’m waiting for them to answer”.

So in honour of my Aunty Alice this blog will be called “The Restall Gene”.