Wednesday, March 24, 2021

celebrating the Brits

Tomorrow will be 19 degrees. It's just bizarre. We're all walking around bewildered but happy but bewildered. Don't pack away those boots, folks; winter will return. Says the true Canuck. 

Fragile today and did little, my arm sore but otherwise doing well, no major side effects, though I've taken several Tylenol to make sure that's so. Just a bit achey and no energy, but then I've been like that for weeks. A little concerned - I felt clever taking a Tylenol before getting the shot, but now I read this is not a good idea, might blunt the effect of the vaccine, they don't know. Hey ho. Let's hope not. 

More correspondence with my fourth cousin Lesley in France - what a treasure! Her great-great grandfather William and my great-great grandmother Martha were siblings in the early 1800's in Northamptonshire. She has sent me all kinds of dates and information about my great-grandmother Mary Leadbeater née Campion. And then she sent this - a newspaper article from 1937 featuring my 13-year old mother Sylvia, in the photo on the left, winning the high jump competition for under 14's at Towcester Grammar School. She cleared 4 feet. I pity her rivals: she was six feet tall by the age of 12.   All legs as you can see.

I spent more than two decades researching the Ashkenazi side of the family, 51% of my genes: the Jewish Shakespeare, the fabulously rich, interesting world of Jewish Russia, the Lower East Side, the Yiddish theatre. My mother asked plaintively if I'd ever write about the Brits. Well, Mum, that time may be coming, backed by Lesley's wealth of knowledge. A world of blacksmiths, boot-makers, corset makers, and a great-grandfather on the Leadbeater side, a "rags, bones, and bottles" man who collected junk and second-hand clothes in a horse-drawn cart. A kindred spirit for me, the queen of second-hand. 

Extraordinary that last week I'd just started watching the BBC series "Escape to the Country" regularly, once I finally found it - it's on at 1 p.m. daily on CBC. So delicious, people wanting to move from towns to gorgeous country villages and 17th century houses. A new addiction, a new connection to my British/northern Germanic 49%. 

I'll plunge in to the Brit stories when I get my energy back, Mum, I promise. Any day now. 


  1. This is so interesting, Beth. Sometimes we arrive at new material just when we need it.

    1. True, Theresa, though I have to say, I have so much OLD material, it wasn't as if I was needing more. But yes, suddenly the whole world of British family opens up. I hope your greenhouse is finished soon and ready for plantings.