Journey into the future and the past

We were driving to Nottingham today to visit my aunt. It is a familiar journey in addition to family visits, for many other reasons. Our favoured route is the scenic one over the Staffordshire Moorlands, which gives me a fix of the uplands before dipping down into Derbyshire. Passing through Derby, there are still a lot of Georgian buildings on the west side of the city but very quickly we are on concrete dual carriageways and a short stretch of motorway to get to my aunt’s part of Nottingham. A brief respite from the rain in what promises to be the wettest June in living memory, made the driving easy. Passing through moorland villages, many hedges were adorned with ‘Vote Leave’ posters, a reminder of the great uncertainty facing the UK in the next week about the outcome of the referendum and if we do vote to leave the European Union, even more uncertainty about what will happen then. Brailsford, a village straddling the road between Ashbourne and Derby, also has an uncertain future like many in the UK, as it is proposed as a site for more housing. ‘Save our village’ notices were everywhere.

During our time with my aunt we inevitably ended up discussing family history as I have been researching this since I was at school and was given a lot of material by my grandmother, some of which remains a mystery. She is always available to fill in the gaps and dispel some myths but some still remain. These photographs remain a partial mystery. They were among my grandmother’s photographs and her handwriting on the back of the first says ‘American oil man, distant relation’, the second ‘Arbor Lodge’ and the last has ‘Humboldt Oil Field 1923’ on the front. I sent them to Arbor Lodge, Nebraska which is now a State Park and they confirmed that the second photograph is of the house and that the Humboldt Oil Field was several miles south of there. They forwarded my e-mail with the photographs to their historian but I am still waiting to hear if they have identified the man and then I can try and identify whether he is a distant relation or not. Some of my Irish ancestors did emigrate to the USA so he may be related to them. The mystery remains.

American Oil Man Distant relation_edited-1

Arbor Lodge Nebraska State Park_edited-1

Humboldt Oil Field Sept 16 1923_edited-1

Homeward bound with lights in the sky

We woke to a still foggy day and after breakfast wandered into town for a coffee and wifi fix and then a visit to the local museum. It had a good selection of Celtic and other early artefacts, a few medieval items and then a huge leap to the 1798 rebellion and subsequent history. A bit of a gap there. One good find in the associated shop was a book written about the old Kilraughts churchyard with all the memorial inscriptions and some history about the people. It will be a huge help for the family history research. We got soaked on the way back to the house and spent the rest of the day getting organised to return home.

UFO
This evening as we were driving down to the Belfast docks, we noticed a strange light low in the sky on our left. It was too high to be on a building and the wrong shape for a mast. We were well past the airport but as we were on the motorway, could not stop for a photograph. With a few hallucinogens or enough alcohol on board, I am sure it would resemble a UFO but a little further on, it became clear that it was a section of the moon, sandwiched between clouds which were reflecting the light. As I could not take a photo, I have grabbed one from a website which claims to have the best UFO shots. Now we are tucked up in our cabin for a short night.