Category Archives: Family History

Finding The Needle. 5th April

Bent House Lock 46

With Storm Kathleen on it’s way in the next few days our ropes needed tightening, we’d bumped about a bit in the night and that was before Kathleen arrived.

I had no intention on venturing far today, the same couldn’t be said for Mick, he was going to set forth to the bright lights of the Trafford Centre!


Last summer Mick had bought me a new laptop. A couple of days ago it lost it’s ability to fold closed, not much good for a portable device! The IT department had given it a good look over and nothing could be found in the hinge that shouldn’t be there and the surround to the screen was starting to come away. He sought IT support via John Lewis, chatted away to someone on the phone and was given a number to quote when he took it into a store. The nearest store to us currently is at the Trafford Centre, today a window of opportunity between rail strikes was to be taken.

Awkward to transport

He caught the train from Littleborough into Victoria, a tram to Deansgate and then another out to the Trafford Centre. Here he visited John Lewis, a chap looked at the laptop which had been carefully transported in it’s open state. It was still under manufacturers warranty so would be sent to Warrington to be mended, this may take 28 days! Mick said it would be really good if it was quicker and we’d still be in the area. If it returns quickly enough then we’ll even be able to cruise there on the boat to collect it, fingers crossed. There was an option for it to be sent to our home address, but this isn’t really an option for us. Mick will get a text when it is back at the store.

Meanwhile Tilly and I got to grips with Micks tablet, from which I’m writing this. Then we wound some more yarn for sock pair 14. Ends needed weaving in on the last the pair of socks. Last night I’d heard something fall on the floor, most probably one of my darning needles which normally live tucked into my sheep tape measures wool. Sure enough this morning there was only one needle there not two. Best find the other one.

With my faithful assistant hunting for the needle

I hunted round on the floor, no sign of the 2 inch needle. I got a magnet from the notice board, this was used to see if I could lure the needle out from under the sofa, which is where it must have ended up. Tilly helped, pulling out the odd thing that’s been tucked under there for safe keeping. Nothing magnetic! Oh well just as well I’d another needle to hand.

Work on pair 14 started in ernest up from the toe. I wanted to do something a little bit random with it, but that necessetated it being pulled out several times all whilst watching Great British Bake Off. I especially liked Jodie Whittaker’s biscuit of Paul and Prue!

He heee!!!

By the time Mick returned with a few items of shopping I’d let my ordered side take over on the knitting, far less random than originally planned, the pattern was starting to come together. I asked him if he’d seen the needle. Yes he’d picked it up this morning and popped it on a shelf to be safe!

Late afternoon we had another visitor. Anne, Mick’s big sister who had driven down from Scotland today. We tried to work out when we’d last seen each other. Originally we thought it was Christmas 2019, then more likely Christmas 2018! But after Anne had left Mick remembered that we’d met up in Wiltshire in September 2019, not quite as long ago as first thought, but still too long ago. Of course we get to see each other on the Geraghty zoom quite often, but it really isn’t the same as being able to give her a hug.

Long chats over a cuppa and then there was the opportunity for a family airloom to head to it’s new home. The ‘Joan’ chair.

When Aunty Joan, Micks Aunty on his Dad’s side, was little she was given this little chair. None of Mick’s siblings actually remember this chair. About a year ago on a Hessle History facebook group there was a post about school teachers. There was a comment saying that they remembered Miss Geraghty from Penshurst Junior School, did anyone else? Several people had made comments saying what a great teacher she’d been, Mick chipped in saying what a great Aunty she was too!

Joan’s chair

A chap called Brian then replied that his Mum used to clean Miss Geraghty’s home and that he used to go with her. He would sit in this little chair and wait patiently for his mum. Joan, Miss Geraghty, one day said would he like to have the chair. So he ended up with it for several decades. On facebook Brian then offered it to Mick, so that it could return to the family, a rendez vous was arranged in the pub car park next door to where Joan used to live and the chair was handed over.

Our friend Frank did a little bit of mending and we did consider contacting The Repair Shop about it, but that would involve having to appear on TV which isn’t something Mick was too keen on doing. What to do with it then, well it should stay in the family and as we knew we’d be seeing Ruth this year we brought it onto the boat to hand down so that Daphne and Penelope can sit in it.

Leftover Lamb Biryani with added spinach and mushrooms

Another go at Lamb biryani this evening with the correct rice this time. It was very tatsy and theres still some lamb left in the freezer for another go.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trains, 4 trams, -1 laptop, (blog posts may be a touch shorter for a while), 1 moving boat, 1 needle, 1 hour out of 8, 1 sausage day not made the most of, 1 sister, 1 diddy chair, 1 sock nearly completed, more space under the dinette.

Ruth Geraghty née Chignell.

4th February 1924 – 14th December 2008

Mick here writing this post.

My mother Ruth Geraghty (née Chignell) would have been 100 years old on 4th February 2024.

Ruth Geraghty

Ruth was born in Hessle near Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Her mother was Katie Chignell (née Netherwood) and her father Philip Chignell.

Philip was the organist and choirmaster at All Saints Parish Church in Hessle and had spent all his life in working as a musician. He started aged nine as a choirboy at St Georges Chapel school in Windsor during Queen Victoria’s reign and took part in many Royal occasions including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. He became an organist at various churches around the country before settling in Hessle in 1901. Philip and Katie met in 1911 while they were both taking part as singers in a six month long World Tour as members of the Sheffield Choir. This tour took them round the world by ship and train, starting in Liverpool in March, across the Atlantic to Canada and the USA. Then across the Pacific to Hawaii and onto New Zealand. Australia and Tasmania followed and then South Africa before returning to Plymouth in October.  They married in 1912. They were a very musical couple and produced a very musical family. They settled at Philip’s home at number 19 The Weir in Hessle.

Stephen Katie Philip Ruth

John Chignell was born first in 1916 followed by Henry (1918) and Stephen(1922). Ruth was the youngest and the only girl in the family. She went to the local primary school in Hessle then onto the Boulevard School in Hull. At this time Ruth and her friend Marian took an interest in bell ringing and with one or more of their brothers would tour the local area on bicycles visiting various bell towers and taking part. Days out with friends were common. She had by now picked up the nickname Trigo.

She even had a narrowboat named after her!
Ruth and Stephen Cycling

Ruth was at the Boulevard in 1939 aged 15. When war broke out the school was to be evacuated to Scarborough. The day for evacuation came and she said her goodbyes to her parents and brothers in the morning and headed off to school and the unknown. By mid afternoon she was back at 19 The Weir. She refused to be evacuated, finished with school that day and came home to be with her family.

In the back garden of 19 The Weir

One by one her brothers all went off to war. John and Henry within the first few weeks and Stephen a couple of years later when he became old enough. But Ruth stayed in Hessle for the duration. She was a big comfort to her parents who had the great worry of Henry being posted as missing and then becoming a POW in Germany. John and Stephen were both posted overseas at times and were also a concern to the family back in Hessle. Ruth was often to be found helping in various local canteens which had been set up to try to boost the morale of visiting military personnel in the area. She was also a keen violinist and many evenings would be spent playing violin sonatas, her on the violin and her father on the piano. She would also be found singing in her father’s choir at All Saints Church.

Ruth and Henry

Hessle is only about 4 miles from Hull and its docks. Hull took a pounding during the blitz and Hessle took a number of direct hits. But 19 The Weir and its occupants survived.  

During the war Ruth had started “seeing” local lad Peter Geraghty. ( Peter was from Hessle and was a bomber pilot at RAF Pocklington. Ruth must have heard planes flying over Hessle and wondered about “Her Peter” in one of the bombers heading to Germany and war.

Peter Geraghty

In 1945 Henry had returned home from POW camp after a five year absence. Ruth had gone to meet him off the last train into Hessle that day having not seen her big brother for all those years.  Her other two brothers also returned home and the family was once again complete.

Ruth had taken up a secretarial post at an insurance company in Hull, but I suspect her heart wasn’t in it. Married life beckoned, Ruth and Peter got married in May 1947.

17th May 1947

By then Peter had become a commercial airline pilot with British European Airways (BEA) based at Northolt Airport just outside London so they set up home there. Daughter Christine was born in May 1948, followed by Marion in 1950 and Anne in 1952. So a busy time for Ruth looking after a young family. But she still found time for music and was selected to join the Royal Choral Society as a soprano. She performed in many concerts at the Albert Hall under the conductor Sir Malcom Sargent.

Sir Malcolm Sargent conducting. Ruth behind to his right

Ruth and Peter moved to Ealing in West London in 1953, at the same time as BEA moved from Northolt to Heathrow. A bigger house was required and there was a good new primary school, St Gregory’s, in Ealing for the children.

I came along in 1958 followed by my little sister Kathryn in 1966. Ruth had become a Brown Owl in one of the local Brownie packs. My sisters had all been Brownies and it was common for me, a four year old boy, to don a brown jumper and go to a Brownie meeting and take part. I suspect there were child care issues!

Ruth and Kathryn

Ruth continued with her musical life. She joined the Ealing Symphony Orchestra playing in the first violins and took part in many of their concerts. There were many evenings at our house when three other musicians would arrive and a string quartet would take place in our front room. All of us children were encouraged to take part in musical activities and we had outings to various concerts and musical events in London. At school I had taken up the bassoon and the piano. I played bassoon in the Ealing Junior Music School and I also obtained music O Level when the time came.

Ruth Marion Kathryn Peter

Ruth continued to take a big part in the local Girl Guiding movement taking Brownie packs on holiday and Guides on camps. She became a District Commissioner for the Ealing and Hanwell District.

District Commissioner
Anne Mick and Marion in the Chester Gardens back garden

Family life continued. Ruth organised many family summer holidays, often with her brother Henry’s family sometimes on the South coast. Henry and his wife Gill had a caravan and they would set up in a caravan park, whilst we had a holiday home somewhere nearby. Henry and Gill had four children and with all of us we made a good holiday party.

Henry Ruth Gill Peter
Mick Kath and Christine in the front garden

In 1977 Peter retired from British Airways. Three of their five children had moved out from the family home and on to further education and careers. Life quietened down a little. Peter was a keen golf player and Ruth occasionally would play a round with him. They would also go on holidays to watch amateur golf tournaments around the country. Peter had a lifetime concessionary travel benefit with British Airways so there were overseas holidays to Africa, Canada and Europe. But Peter wasn’t a great one for flying as a passenger so UK holidays were more common.

Peter and Ruth on the Equator

Ruth enjoyed train travel very much. Once a year she would arrange with her brothers to meet up in Llandudno where they had spent childhood holidays with their Grandma.

Outside her maternal Grandmother’s house near Llandudno

In about 1985 Ruth and I each purchased a British Rail All Line Rail Rover. Over the course of a week we travelled from London to Thurso in the very north of Scotland, over to the Kyle of Lochalsh, onto the ferry over to Skye, another ferry to Malaig and down to Glasgow. Over to Hull via the Settle to Carlisle line. Ruth always enjoyed visiting Hull and Hessle and there were still many family members. Then we travelled to Llandudno, Shrewsbury, Llanelli, Bristol, Exmouth and Plymouth before heading back to London.

Ruth on the Settle to Carlisle line

In 1967, when I was aged 9, Ruth and I had a day out on the Underground on the very first day of operation of the brand new Victoria Line. Very exciting!

Ruth continued her violin playing with the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and her Girl Guiding District Commissioner duties. She became a Governor of St Gregory’s School where all her children had attended, here she also helped with teaching the violin and music in general.

Playing the Violin

She also helped out at other schools. Youngest daughter Kathryn was at secondary school and relates the following story: Cardinal Wiseman’s production of Oliver! There was no school orchestra, so they hired in some kind of military band. God knows where from. Anyway, Mum wanted to play, so she was a guest 1st violin with them for the show, and I imagine enjoyed herself enormously.

Henry Ruth John Stephen in the 1980s

I moved out from home to pastures new in 1981 followed by Kath later in the 1980s so the nest was empty after 40 years. They stayed on in the big house at 8 Chester Gardens for another ten years or so, then moved to a very nice two bedroom flat nearby.

8 Chester Gardens
Retiring from the Ealing Symphony Orchestra 27/11/2000.

By now Peter was suffering from Parkinsons disease and life slowed down a lot. But Ruth still managed to get out a bit. She took part in meetings of the local Trefoil Guild, consisting mainly of retired Guide leaders and Commissioners. There was a school nearby and every afternoon in the summer Ruth and Peter would head out to get ice creams from the van parked at the school gate. Ruth had a sweet tooth!

Parkinsons took its hold on Peter and he passed away in 2002 aged 80. Ruth had also by then contracted the same disease but carried on in the flat on her own for a few years.

Surrounded by her Stuff
On the balcony

But eventually she succumbed to Parkinsons and moved into, a care home nearby. Peter’s BA pension contributed handsomely to the costs.

She had many visitors while at Downhirst, both family and friends and much reminiscing was carried out. The staff looked after her well, but I’m sure she missed Peter and her active life. She never complained about her lot and stoically carried on being cheerful right to the end.

She passed away on 14th December 2008 aged 84 and is still much missed. We took her ashes back to Hessle and scattered them on the Foreshore in the shaddow of the Humber Bridge. A suitable resting place for her.

Thanks to Anne, Kath, Marion and John for help with the photos.

Clean Siblings. 24th September

Basin Bridge, West Stockwith

We knew today would be windy, it lived up to expectations and a touch more. However it hardly rained, so that was a bonus. We’d still not be going anywhere today.

Topics this morning on the Geraghty zoom included 20mph woke plots, brake drum percussion, Maudlin and Utah.

New elastic, but broken fishing rod!

Once the blog was written for yesterday I settled down to concentrate on Photoshop. There is a very big black panel that constantly gets in the way as you are given instructions, quite annoying as you have to keep moving it about. Names for things mean just about nothing to me, so that takes a bit of googling. I found suitable tools, loaded an old photo of me and my brother, which is a favourite of mine.

This was taken 54 years ago in Sanna, Scotland. When we cleared the family house I took charge of Dad’s old slides and spent days/weeks scanning them. This photo and others had been affected by dust and damp. I remember taking it to a photography shop to see if they could clear the slide and give me a nice new print, but they just printed it how it was quite a disappointment really. I spent an age cloning and touching the image up in Photoshop and then printed out copies for Andrew and myself. So today for a practice I used the same image and the Spot Healing Tool to see how I got on.

Not bad really, just the top of the sky that wouldn’t play ball, so I trimmed it a touch. Still a few blemishes, but I was happy with the process.

I then loaded one of my scans to see if I could create a songsheet for Panto, a job still to be done. I decided to use and adapt some of my rainforest artwork. I trimmed it, cut bits out, couldn’t change the background colour, it got a touch frustrating and then my laptop decided to loose it all and close Photoshop down! Argh!! Good job it was just a try out.


Tilly came and went for much of the day. Mick got a touch nervous with the strength of the wind, would Tilly get lost, losing her scent. It tends to be windy days when we don’t see her for ages, so to a certain extent he was right to close the door and keep her in for a while. But the protestations started after an afternoon kip and we relented.

A paddleboarder came past with a Jack Russell having a very noisy ride! An hour or so later the paddleboarder returned , the dog now on the towpath along with someone in a mobility scooter. Our back doors were open and Tilly was out and about somewhere. The dog came on board, most probably trying to get to its owner on the paddleboard. For obvious reasons we don’t like dogs on Oleanna, encroaching Tilly’s safe space!


Mick was quick to get outside and asked the person to keep their dog off our boat, and where was our cat?! ‘It’s over there’ came the response as they pointed to a tortoiseshell on the opposite bank. ‘That’s not our cat’ ‘It’s over there!’ ‘Our cat is NOT over there! That is not our cat!’. Soon they were gone. Tilly returned a while later wondering what all the fuss was.

I loaded up the file I’d been sent from Prompt Side, suggested it should be the size it would be printed at 7m by 4.2m. I zoomed in and started to work my way methodically removing hairs. Blimey there were masses of them! I could also remove a few things that I wasn’t happy with, fingerprint left in some glue, where the point of a compass had left holes etc. This would take time, but I was impressed with how it worked. Saving it however was a different matter. This took ages, not knowing what settings would be required didn’t help matters either! In the end it stated that the file was over 4GB and would not save, the tool now became ever so slow to use.

Some of it I understand

I started again, the original kept to the size of the model. Zooming in I got a lot less detail than before, but could see most of the imperfections. I could save it, but would it be good enough? I need to check with Prompt Side as to settings for setting it up and saving. By the end of the day I felt a touch more confident that I’d be able to touch up the images. I however need to give my laptop screen a good clean first!

Yesterday Mick had popped into the butchers in Misterton. I’d requested he bought a couple of lamb steaks. When we were here before I came up with a recipe for Misterton Lamb, so we had to have it. I did however make a mistake, I did too many vegetables and therefore they didn’t crisp up as they should. It was still very tasty and the lamb was very good!

Mended in time for bedtime playtime

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 VERY blowy day, 2 clean siblings, 1 improved fishing rod, 1 broken fishing rod, 1 mended fishing rod, 1 trespassing woofer, 1 mistaken identity! 2 goes, 2 steaks, 1 boaters meeting, 1 moving boat after dark.

Romeo India Alpha Tango. 15th July

Cow Field, Lechlade

An early start today had us walking across the muddy cow field and broken bridge to reach the New Inn at 7:15. Here sat a car, lights on, the occupant waved frantically at us as she pulled out from the parking space. The door opened ‘Long time no see!’ The smile was recognisable from 38 years ago, we’d both changed a lot since 1985. Jenny is now a vet, in 1985 she was possibly six, I was eighteen and had just finished doing my A levels. Using an inheritance from my Grandad I’d bought myself a flight to Hong Kong where my cousins Ian and Tim lived at the time. Jenny is my first cousin once removed.

The farm

Back in February, or was it March, our itinerary for this year changed the day we got back from moving Oleanna to Goole. An invite had arrived inviting us to my cousins for this weekend. A social gathering not involving a funeral was very attractive, it also came along with the added attraction of it being the Royal International Air Tattoo, at the bottom of Ian and Sally’s garden.

A Leckenby Maine Coon

They had moved to the area ten years ago and had said if ever we were on the Gloucester Sharpness Canal to get in touch. We’d never managed to contact them. A look at a map actually suggested that Lechlade was a lot closer to them, thus our destination for the summer was set.

The drive to their house in Fairford took longer than expected. Road closures and one-way systems were in operation for the airshow. The traffic wasn’t too bad, mostly down to the early hour. On arrival we were first greeted by dogs, then the household gradually woke up around us.

Sally, Jenny, Sam, Mick, Pip and Ian

Ian my cousin last seen at my Dad’s funeral nearly eleven years ago, Sally his wife last seen at Andrew and Jac’s wedding and Sam last seen in Hong Kong at the age of nine. A bit of a shame Andrew, Jac and Josh hadn’t been able to make it too, but that did mean we got everyone to ourselves, well along with all the other guests.

Having the runway for Fairford Airfield running within half a mile of the garden has meant a gathering of Ian’s old RAF and Cathay Pacific pals through the years, this year was to be the first since the pandemic. Today they were expecting 28 people, tomorrow a slightly different crowd numbering about 20.

A top up breakfast was offered and cuppas, would the weather oblige and allow the airshow to take off? The strong wind meant certain planes had not arrived and others wouldn’t get airborne, this included the Battle of Britain planes. The flying schedule pinned to the fridge door was now half obsolete. However airshow commentary was available on FM radios which were positioned around the house and garden.

Tumbling round each other at the bottom of the garden

Gradually more people arrived, the wind kept constantly strong and the planes started to rumble along the runway which was just out of view behind trees. Up came a display team, possibly the Spanish Patrulla Aguilas. Safety rules are such that the planes cannot do their acrobatics over the crowd, but there was nothing to stop them from doing so over the house. Unfortunately I missed taking what would have been the photo of the day as several planes crossed directly above the house. Oh well, at least I got to see it.

Something fast and noisy

Jets were extreamly noisy the view mostly very good.

The kitchen crew

Late morning Sally came round for a sandwich order, Jenny and Sam ready in the kitchen to make up what everyone required, each wearing their own branded pinnies for the occasion. Ian busied himself with distributing drinks from a plastic bag, large buckets sat in the garage filled with cans of beer and soft drinks all on ice for the day.


The organisation of the event certainly showed that they’d done this a few times before. The only thing that was out of their control was the weather. The heavens opened with torrential rain, we all took cover in either a small marquee or inside the house, perfect for a lunch break.

The Red Arrows, down to a seven man team due to one of them waking up with a bad neck this morning (footage taken from Sunday’s show). Sadly this made their formations look lopsided.

Us boaters agreed that the display from the Saudi Falcons was better by far, the ex-RAF contingency politely made comments, not able to totally agree, airforce blue still running through their retired veins.


Refueling was a theme of the show and possibly the best photo I got all day was the one above. Chinooks, Tornados and many more planes gave displays. Conversations started and paused as the jets screeched overhead.

The planes were great and so was the company. Plenty of knowledgeable folk to give you technical information should you want it. Many of the chaps I’d met before at Ian and Sally’s wedding when I was their youngest bridesmaid. They had provided the arch of raised swords to walk through, all I had to do was wear a wine velvet cloak and my black patent shoes that Aunt Nancy had bought for me.


Then there was lots of catching up to do with Sally, Jenny and Sam. News from the USA about Jo their brother about to become a father. News from Ukraine about Tim my cousin. History of houses, both French and Scottish.

A lull after the planes had landed saw preparations for the evening meal. The weather had forced a change of eating location into the garage which was bedecked in red white and blue. Ian was incharge of the bbq, Mick kept an eye on it too especially when he spotted flames that needed to be taken under control. Saucisson and pickles was followed by pork, jacket potatoes and salad, then chocolate pots, meringues and cheeses. We certainly were full to the brim with lots of lovely food.

Scary Scarborian

A quick dash around the house being shown family memorabilia, certain plates very much of their time and the painting that used to hang in Grandads house that was known to my side of the family as Scary Man. On the back of the portrait is a long account about Mr and Mrs W Appleby (Mr being in the portrait), they lived at 43 Sandside Scarborough and he is a far flung relative of ours. He happened to live next door to a Cappleman another ancestor.

Jenny very kindly gave us a lift back to Lechlade, even having to turn back when we realised we’d left our coats at the house. There are now plans for a meet up one weekend when I’m in Chippy working on panto.

I was left with my magic food bowl, but was still very pleased to have them back

Was it worth changing our plans for the summer for just one day? Yes it most certainly was. The planes and hospitality were one thing, but also reconnecting with family was way more important. Thank you for the invite, we had a brilliant day.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 Tilly incharge, 7:15 rendez vous, 2 cousins, 2 cousins once removed, 3 woofers, 1 old Maine Coon, 28, 7 not 8, or even 9, 1 day of noisy planes, 13 hours of family, 2 many memories to share.

How Much Further?! 9th July

Pinkhill Lock 24hr moorings to Rushey Lock Meadows

The covers were rolled up after breakfast then we sat down to chat with the Geraghtys, we’ve missed a few zooms recently so it was good to see those who were there and hear of a recent visit to near York.


Time to make a move, we had a destination in mind for the day a few hours cruise away. The sun was out, blue skies that every now and then were covered with cloud.

The Thames now wiggles and winds it’s way. A look at our map for moorings, did we remember them from four years ago. One came past, yes we’d stopped there maybe for a night.


No other boats seemed to be heading the same direction as us, in fact there were few boats on the move at all. At Northmoor Lock I hopped off with the boat hook so as to be able to grab the bow line once in the lock, the rope having been left on top of the cratch for ease. More wonderful Hollyhocks and roses at the lock cottage.

Could this have been where I was a bridesmaid?

Onwards upstream. New Bridge, was this the pub where my cousin had his wedding reception back in the 70’s. A check of photos later suggests not as there isn’t a stone bridge featured in the photos.

At Shifford Lock the sign said Self Service, but as I walked up to open gates a volunteer came out from the hut, we’d disturbed his lunch break. Yesterday had been a really busy day for them, 26 boats, today we were one of just a few. This was where we’d hoped we might be able to moor for the night. The volunteer pulled a face, he didn’t say we couldn’t but he also didn’t welcome us. The mooring on the back of the lock island is reserved for electric boats until 4pm, so he was right to discourage us.

Volunteer opening the gates for us

I then asked if we could pull up right at the far end of the lock landing so we could have lunch. Another face pulled, the Lock Keeper would be back at 2pm and he’s quite strict! I spied a water point, we’d fill up and have lunch, sorted. This we did and were soon on our way again.

New hide

I checked the blog for where we’d moored four years ago. One place was not far away, we kept our fingers crossed that it would be free, even if Tilly had stayed out to really late there! As we rounded the bend it was obvious the mooring isn’t used so much anymore due to the overgrown friendly cover on the bank. Peeking from inside was also a sign saying no mooring, Nature Reserve. Fair enough, they wouldn’t want Tilly out looking for friends! What a shame it was a lovely mooring. A new hide stands opposite.

Safely passed

Where should we try next? Next possible was at Tadpole Bridge. More wiggles to navigate, this time with canoes and paddleboarders thrown into the mix, several not knowing they should pass on the right.

Would there be space at the pub? Would we have to go in for a pint? Would the sausages I’d defrosted have to wait for tomorrow?

Pippin facing down stream

NB Pippin sat tied to two posts. Behind there would have been space for us except there was a canoe. Mick called out to the owners of Pippin, despite the front door being open no-one was home. No-one came to the canoe. We decided to pull alongside Pippin . This was all happening as the latest test match in Leeds was getting very close to a conclusion. As the English team scored runs Mick stood out the back of Oleanna incase someone returned to Pippin.

Across the way a young lad went overboard from his canoe. Dad took photos of the poor lad clinging on for dear life. Plenty of drinkers enjoyed sitting by the river, just not the people we wanted to see. Oleanna was far longer than Pippin and getting off would be tricksy, Tilly certainly wouldn’t be allowed out here. We conferred. We could stay, not an ideal mooring or carry on, the next mooring on our map at least 90 minutes away. Onwards!

A Lock Keeper was on duty at Rushey Lock, they’d just penned down a boat so the gates were open for us. As we ascended I asked if being a good gardener was one of the qualifications required to be a Thames Lock Keeper, the lady nodded. Mick asked if there was anywhere to moor nearby, we had recollections of Sue from WB No Problem XL having a favourite mooring here. The Lock Keeper described it’s position not five minutes up stream. Right then left and there it would be.

The right needed negotiating as a boat was just coming round it. Then to the left. Yes we remembered it now, have to check to see if we stayed here last time or not. No-one else was moored so we had the pick of the bank. Where I hopped off there was a sign warning of a wasps nest, we pulled along a touch further and banged our spikes in. This would do us, far Far better than the pub mooring.

What a lovely mooring

Tilly was given three hours, the long grass something to be negotiated. I did a couple of hours painting in banana palms before we set up outside to cook the sausages that had been destined for a toad in a hole. Just enough veg for kebabs too, I just need to get reacquainted with cooking on lumpwood charcoal again to reduce our carbon intake! Everything was cooked through and edible just a bit dark on the outside.

What a lovely mooring to watch the sun go down. Thank you Sue for having mentioned it years ago and to the Lockie confirming it still existed and giving us directions.

Setting sun

3 locks, 13.2 miles, 1 full water tank, 1 sneaky lunch break, 0 room for us, 1 git gapped pub mooring, 3 lovely gardens, 2 close calls, 1 perfect mooring all to ourselves, 37 half leafs painted, 6 sausages, 2 and a bit kebabs, 0.5kg potatoes, 1 sunset.

Harry And Betty. 13th May

Clarence Dock or New Dock, Leeds

How many names for a dock can there be?!

A morning doing some research for panto, general Columbian scenes, rainforest. There’s a lot of colour about which is a good thing. I now need to concentrate on interiors and where some of the scenes could be set, John (writer and director) has left some locations blank so I have free reign!

It’s been a while since we last did one of these!

Mick did a touch of shopping, Saturday newspaper mainly, then we had some lunch before leaving Tilly grumpily in charge for the rest of the day.

A walk across the River Aire then round to the bus station. Today with the trains on strike we had no choice but to catch the bus, but what a pleasant ride it was.

River Aire

The 36 goes between Leeds bus station and Harrogate, occasionally on to Ripon. It worked it’s way through areas of Leeds like Chapeltown and then out into the countryside. The bluebells within the perimeter wall of Harwood House were stunning, we sped past too quickly to get a photo.

A bus with skylights

All the time the recorded announcements told us which stop was next and where we could visit should we alight at certain stops. I suddenly realised who the voice was, now a voice from his grave, Harry Gratian, he used to present BBC Look North and became quite a celebrity in North Yorkshire through the decades, even appearing in York Theatre Royals Panto! At times we almost felt as though we should take him up on his suggestions of alighting at certain stops.

The Royal Hall

The road surface turned for the worse as we came into Harrogate a very bumpy ride, we’d reached our destination. A walk through the centre of the town, past the theatre heading downhill all the time. Then past the Crown Hotel where Alan Bennet sat in 1988 making observations about the people around him and reflecting on his own upbringing (Dinner at Noon).

A modern staircase attached to the back of a typical Harrogate building, we pressed the button of the flat required and a chirpy voice invited us inside. Here lives my Godmother Betty. She has never looked after my religious needs as I don’t really have any, but she has always been there in the back ground, sending me cards and more recently emails whilst we’ve been on the boat.

The wonderful Betty

Betty was one of my Mum’s best friend at Leeds School of Architecture. Mum six foot, Betty around five foot. Her 92 years of age have naturally decreased her height, but most certainly not her personality. Today we’d timed a visit with what was to be one of her Grandsons 21st birthdays, but sadly Alfred had tested positive for Covid two days ago, so the London contingency had postponed their visit for a few weeks. However there was still quite a crowd. Matthew, Jules and Rose, along with Louise their cousin.

Betty and Pip 1968

Way back when I was the youngest of the kids on holidays to France where all three families shared gites. They were fantastic times sat on beaches building sandcastles and paddling canoes.

Cups of tea and slices of cake to mark Alfred’s birthday were consumed as we caught up on everyone’s lives. People looking that bit older from the last time we’d all been together about ten years ago. Back then I was concerned about Houdini moving to live on a boat, taking advice from Rose a veterinarian nurse. Back then Betty’s comment on our boating plans were ‘Now my dear, why on earth do you want to do that ?!’ Now she is quite happy with our chosen life and looks forward to the occasional postcards I send of places we’ve visited and food we’ve eaten.

A glass of wine was enjoyed before we headed off to catch the next bus back to Oleanna. What a lovely afternoon, so glad we’d arranged it, just a shame not to have seen Anna and her tribe, maybe next time.

The bus back was busy, the bus station busier.

Time to order ourselves pizzas. We both opted for the same topping, one gluten free. When Mick went to pick them up (cheaper to drink our own wine on board) our pizzas had been rejected as being over cooked, so he had to wait for them to be done again.

I think mine didn’t have quite as much topping as Mick’s, he certainly had more cheese and chicken! But they were very tasty. We sat up to watch the final score come in at Eurovision in Liverpool, having not seen or heard any of the songs.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 hours research, 1 newspaper, 2 buses, 92 years soon to be 93, 1 Godmother as bright as a button, 1 son, 1 daughter, 1 niece, 1 daughter in law, 2 bus passes, 1 lovely afternoon, 2 pizzas, 2 boaters snoozing through Eurovision.

The Big Day. 25th December

Bridge 47, Alrewas

Smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast

After stockings came a glass of Bucks Fizz and breakfast, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, using a bit more of the parsley mountain now in our freezer. A festive chat with the London Leckenbys who were about to sit down to ham sandwiches and presents.

VHF for tidal waters and Trent Locks

Next Christmas presents. Thankfully delayed deliveries hadn’t managed to spoil our main presents. Tilly and I had clubbed together to buy Mick a new VHF radio as ours had gone faulty on the reflections flotilla, we’d ended up having to borrow one. Now that we seem to go on slightly more adventurous cruises we went for a better handheld radio than before. This should cover a larger distance. Mick put it on charge straight away and then had a go at turning down the squelch.


I got a cordless sander. I should also be able to get other tools that will use the same battery. When working on panto, Jo the props maker had a very small hand friendly cordless electric drill, so I’m hoping that might be the next tool to be added to the collection. We got plenty of other goodies too.

Time for a Christmas walk before any more booze was consumed. The last two years we’ve headed down to Scarborough sea front to have the wind clear away any cobwebs. This year we’re back on the canals, not quite the same as the north east wind making your cheeks ruddy, but just as good.

We chose to walk into the village, turning up Post Office Road. The Crown pub seemed to be popular as families turned up for a pint and lemonade.

The model cottages sitting facing each other both had wreaths on their front doors. At first I thought it a shame that they hadn’t consulted each other and gone for the same. But when I spotted the wreath on the red door, it made me laugh.

Mums and Dads

Baubles hung from a tree, this needed investigating. It is a memory tree for Mums and Dads, some of the baubles have messages written on them. Below there was a tin with a couple more baubles, were these for anyone to use or sat waiting for particular offspring to come and hang them on Christmas morning.

There was a nice looking house for sale, £620,000 for a five bedroom house, not bad. Although it feels lovely and light inside I think it’s lost some of it’s period character with the modern cupboards everywhere.

Back to the canal and a walk to look at the river levels. In the amber, Mick said it had gone down since yesterday, if it carries on in that direction that would be good. We walked down to the weir a short distance further on. The river swirled confused under the walkways and sped it’s way to the weir. Mick thought with enough umph we’d be fine going past.

A look inside the church, still warm from the mornings services. A big tree stood to one side, this with the smell reminded me of Christmas Days in the 70’s when we’d head to The Homestead for drinks with the Rowntree family in York. There in a hallway stood a tree as tall as the room, it’s base swathed in cotton wool. Trains, sledgers, animals decorated the snow below the poor tree that strained under the weight of SO many decorations. The sight kept my brother and myself transfixed, the coloured lights twinkling in the oak panelled hallway as the hubbub of adults came from the library where sherry and mince pies were handed out. At ten to one Peter Rowntree would call everyone silent, there would be a toast to Christmas and then a round of Happy Birthday for me. Today stood in All Saints I glanced up at the clock, ten to one, the time I was born.

In the churchyard many of the gravestones have been moved to the sides, this was done in the 70’s when the grounds had a change of layout. In the nearest corner to Oleanna stand the three wise men and their camels, followed by a donkey. His tail had been pinned on several times before.


Back to Oleanna, a few more Catnip Dreamies for Tilly had her gazing into nowhere for quite some time. I think she was just that little bit off her face!

The duck was pricked, stuffed and popped into the oven. Timings worked out for everything else. Bread sauce and cabbage put on top of the stove to reheat. Veg peeled ready to roast or steam. Sausages wrapped in blankets to keep them warm. It was as if we’d done Christmas dinner on the boat before! Well it’s actually easier here than in the house believe it or not.

Not normally one to watch the Christmas Day speech, lunch is normally timed to clash, but this year we thought we’d give Charles a chance as the pigs in blankets went in the oven. I think normal timings will resume next year.

Two plates brimming full were dished out, some roast potatoes had to be put back to make space for all the extras. All very nice, although my experiment of using oat milk for bread sauce won’t be repeated, it was okay but a little porridgy.

Full to the brim, Snowman was watched before the day moved to Birthday. Cake, candles a cup of much needed tea and then presents.

I got a gluten free recipe book, some waterproof thermal work gloves, some magnifying work glasses to help with model making and illustrations and a box of Pantomime yarn from Riverknits. I’m not sure I’ll knit the pattern the yarn came with or something else, not decided yet.

Another glass of wine accompanied Morecomb and Wise. A very good birthday and Christmas.

0 locks. 0 miles, 3 stockings crammed full, 5 bedoingee balls, 5 chocolate oranges, 2 styles of quality street wrappers, 1 vhf radio, 1 sander, 1 bottle of English fizz, 2 bottles wine, 1 packet of serious crack for cats, 1 spaced out Tilly, 15 pairs socks, 3 cans of beer, 4 spices, 7 silicone lids, 2 boxes matches, 1 pair of glasses, 1 book, 1 wifi camera, 2 plates only just big enough, 2 slices cake, 2 rather full boaters, 1 lovely day.

1000. 30th September

Shepperton Public Mooring to Windsor Road Bridge

That’s a big un

Coming round Desborough Island we came across a huge boat, Magna Carte a luxury hotel boat, prices are stated in US dollars a more stable currency at the moment. They must have just come through Shepperton Lock, the bottom gates wide open. Next year we hope to be turning left here to head to the Basingstoke Canal, water levels permitting.

Kath and Sean to the left, Chippy straight on

I was just getting ready to step off and work the lock when a chap appeared from the Lock cottage, more like house on the Thames. He waved us in and worked the lock for us.

More houses for sale today, small properties which no doubt will be bought and knocked down to build something more modern. The house on the end of Pharoah’s Island that was for sale a few years ago is having extensive work done to it, several boats moored alongside used to bring building materials over to the island.

Chertsey and Penton Hook Locks were both manned, a helpful reminder from a Lock Keeper about the side filling locks coming up today. We passed two chaps in a canoe who are working their way from Bristol to London, we wondered which way into London they’d go. A friend of mine once canoed downstream of Tower Bridge on an organised event!

The trees are still very well clipped in Staines-on-Thames. Was that a platform for a duck disco? We pulled in at the first lower mooring and Mick bobbed off to pick up a prescription and some fruit. As soon as he was back we were on our way again, hoping to reach a good mooring before the storm arrived mid afternoon.

Mick spotted a familiar flag on the bow of a cruiser, a fellow Reflection Flotilla boat. I spotted a polar bear.

Then we were going under the M25, we were now without! Bell Weir Lock is the first of the side fillers, an extra turn around a bollard helps a great deal at these locks. But our position made it impossible to get the bow rope round twice without intervention from the Lock Keeper, who just walked on by to open the sluices. I clung on as best I could, dodgy grip in one hand and cranky shoulder complaining. Must try harder at the next side filler!

The little backwater

Harry Roberts had a little holiday caravan and a rowing boat that Mick and friends used to row down a little back water, far too small for Oleanna to fit down. Runnymede and all it’s history remains on the ‘next time’ list. Maybe we should get a gold Licence again next year!

All the trip boats were tucked up as were the Bugsy Malone cars under the posh house on stilts!

Old Windsor Lock was on self service. The first time we’d done this one without a Lockie, blimey there’s a load of steps here! I forgot about holding the button for ten seconds on the control panel, so it took a while to fill, giving me time to adjust the bow line and chat to a couple who’d just moved to the area from Lincoln. The lock had a big sign beside it requiring you to close the top gates and leave it emptying.

Albert Bridge, the start of the Royal park land. Today a black car with two chaps followed us on the bank, perimeter security maybe?

Shallow was an understatement!

By now the wind was starting to strengthen, it was time to pull in somewhere and batten down the hatches before the storm really got going. The public mooring just after Kris hire boats had one boat moored on it, would we fit in there too? Two chaps sat on a bench said it was shallow, as did signs on the low wall. We soon discovered how shallow it was as we ran aground several meters out. It took a bit of umph to get us back afloat, next possible stop Eton above Romney Lock.

He’ll get soggy later

A dad and young lad stood at the control panel as I approached with our boat hook in hand. He was closing the bottom gate sluices with the intention of filling the lock. They were from one of the big Le Boat hire boats and it was most probably their first self service lock. It took a while for me to get through to him that it would be really good if we could use the water he’d be filling the lock with as it was in our favour.

Filling up

In we came, I hooked up the bow line that had been left resting on the cratch board and tied the bow to a bollard securely. Mick passed his rope round a bollard at the stern a couple of times, this was a side filler. Only one push of the button was required for it to start the process of filling and the sluices continued to rise at intervals. We were soon up and on our way to find a mooring.

The first time we came through Windsor people moored in the lock cut, but that is not allowed anymore. We pootled along thinking we’d end up mooring on the Brocas infront of my Aunt and Uncles old flat. But we quickly spied that the free mooring just before Windsor Road Bridge was empty, we headed straight for it.


Here there are several signs, EA signs saying not to run your engine/generator/ play loud music, 24 hour mooring. Others from Eton Riverside Management Ltd saying to only tie to the rings not the railings as it’s a public right of way. Then two new looking signs saying Private Land, they didn’t say ‘No Mooring’. Hmmmm! The official signs out numbered the other signs and a storm was just starting to take hold and we’d be quiet anyway. We stayed put suspecting the new signs were from a boat hating flat owner, hoping to put boats off mooring.

Tilly was disgruntled not to be let out as we battened down the hatches and bang on 3pm it started to rain. It rained, then rained some more, the sound on the front panel of the pram cover suggesting it was very heavy. If anyone did have a problem with us mooring here, they certainly weren’t going to come out to tell us so!

Our view of Windsor Castle

On checking our trip computer at the end of todays cruise I noticed that the total mileage for this year so far had just passed 1000 miles. We’re actually likely to have exceeded 1000 miles as the trip computer tends to cut corners. Add to this the miles yet to come returning to Yorkshire, so around another 300 miles, I don’t think we’ll have C&RT on our backs for not moving enough!

Our trip computer works using Water Explorer, which come the end of the year will no longer exist. It’s been handy knowing how many locks and miles we’ve done each day. Sometimes it gets things wrong, you very often go through Beeston Lock twice and omits others. But as a general tally of where we’ve been and what what miles we’ve covered it’s been good, I will miss it. We just need to sort out what we’ll use instead, not many GPS programs will count the number of locks you go through.

6 locks, 2 self service, 13.68 miles, 6 nights 8 people $40,500! 1 pause for pills, 1 duck disco, 2 shallow, 3pm rain, 0 shore leave, 1 wet night, 1000.55 miles this year.

An Average Of Fifty. 18th September

Cassiobury Park

Whilst Tilly continued her explorations we tucked into a bacon butty and joined the Geraghty zoom. Queues, sound rigging in suits and ties and flotillas were the subjects today along with telephonic sleeping sickness.

Time to tidy up, sweep through the boat. The galley got a good clean. It’s been a long time since we’ve had visitors so there was quite a bit to do!

Here we all are

Then the white sauce was made up and rolling out of pasta for the lasagne. I knew I’d made more than enough, maybe I shouldn’t have rolled it so thinly but there is more than enough now in the freezer for another lasagne for two or some tagliatelle.

The London Leckenbys arrived and there were tales of Josh’s trip to France with a school friend, lots about food and his first week of sixth form.


This year we’d not managed to be together for four out of our five birthdays, so presents needed exchanging, everyone apart from me had something to unwrap. Mick got a new pair of boating gloves and some overalls. The pair he’s had since we bought Lillian are now very diesely so hopefully will go into the bin somewhere. Everyone else got goodies from Cambridge.

Lasagne and green salad

They had brought with them my box of pasta and a parcel full of magnets that we’d bought cheaply due to imperfect paint which will be used to help tether fairy lights to Oleanna for the flotilla. All we need to do now is find time to have a try out.

Back to front 200

The lasagne was very tasty, its the first time I’ve made one quite so big and it ended up being rather gooey, a touch like soup! My meat sauce a touch wetter than needed for fresh pasta and the gluten free flours didn’t absorb as much as normal, so in the future I’ll try to keep the sauce drier. A nice green salad accompanied it.

An average of 50, sorry Josh

As today was a sort of birthday party, I’d totted up everyones ages. Excluding myself it had added up to a nice round 200 so the Queen of Sheba cake even had candles to mark the occasion.

A lovely day with family, although Tilly preferred to out and about.

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 lie in, 2 cuppas in bed, 7 presents, 0 for me, 12 magnets, 1 big box of pasta, 1 soupy lasagne, 1 big chocolate cake, 1 punnet of raspberries forgotten about, 2 many woofers! 10 years without Dad.

Dancing with my Dad 36 years ago

Peter Geraghty. 3rd June 1922 – 13th September 2002

Hello all. Mick here today writing this one.

My father Peter Geraghty was born 100 years ago. Today would have been his 100th birthday, I think we would have had a party!

Born in Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. His mother was Olive Geraghty (nee Wright) and his father Tom Geraghty. His father, after serving as an officer in the East Riding Regiment during WWI, was a journalist for the Hull Daily Mail and he ended up as Editor. Olive, as was the norm for the time, looked after the family and home. Peter had an older sister Joan and a younger brother Mark.

Joan, Peter, Mark

Peter went to school in Hull at the St Charles Borromeo School and often told us stories from his childhood of him turning up to school without any shoes or socks! I’m not sure of the accuracy of this and think it was probably his sense of humour coming through.


Before WWII the family moved from Hull to the village of Hessle just to the west of the city. They lived on Boothferry Road next door to the Darley’s Arms. At 17, Peter started work in the office of the Hull firm Spillers, known to all as Spillers the Millers (now part of the Rank Hovis group whose logo is “Rank Hovis the Millers” which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!). He was working here when war broke out in 1939. The office was moved out to Ferriby where it was considered a safer place to be than in the city centre.

Joan, Tom, Peter, Olive and Mark at the back door of 314 Boothferry Road

At age 18 in 1940, he volunteered for service in the RAF. He had to go to Lords cricket ground in London to sign up and so his flying career started. He did some of his training in North America and on completion was assigned to Bomber Command. After various roles he became a Flight Lieutenant at RAF Pocklington in East Yorkshire flying Halifax bombers. After a tour of 40 operations from Pocklington, he carried out further flying duties training pilots on Lancasters.

The aeroplane Peter first flew solo on
On the back. The sensor must have let it through.
Captain and crew at RAF Pocklington. PG in the centre

When the war ended he was demobbed and went back to Hessle. A company was obliged to employ people that had worked for them before the war but Peter was very sure that an office life with Spillers in Hull was not for him and he declined the guaranteed offer of employment.  Instead he applied for a job as a pilot with the fledgling British European Airways (BEA). This would mean being based at Northolt airport on the outskirts of London.

For a long time he had been “seeing” Ruth Chignell, also from Hessle and when the war finished he proposed, the proposal was accepted. They were married in May 1947 and with his new job they moved to a house near Northolt Airport.

Peter and Ruth
Ruth and Peter

His flying job meant irregular hours and sometimes being away from home overnight. However BEA only flew to Europe so he was never away long. I suspect this is why he chose BEA rather than the long-haul BOAC. Their first child Christine was born in 1948 followed by Marion in 1950 and Anne in 1952.

Proud Dad

They needed a bigger house so moved to Ealing in 1952. Ealing was chosen as a new primary school St Gregory’s was being built there which was thought to be a “very good school”. It also coincided with BEA moving their operation to London Airport, now known as Heathrow.

I came along in 1958 and my younger sister Kathryn in 1966. All us children went to St Gregory’s and my mother ended up being a Governor. Peter was always a family man, every Saturday morning, if he wasn’t working, he would take all of us children to the local library in Ealing to swap books, followed by hot chocolate and a biscuit in a café on the High Street. And if his flying roster allowed every Sunday morning after church we would go to Kew Gardens (I remember it costing 1d) and back home in time for Sunday Lunch. There were often visits to the museums in South Kensington, my favourite being the Science Museum but sometimes my sisters made us go to one of the others!

Another favourite outing of mine was a visit to the cricket. Often he would take me up to Lords to watch the final session of a Middlesex game, as an MCC member there was free entry. We would sometimes go to a Saturday of the Lords Test Match which was a great day out. He also used to play cricket for Northolt Cricket Club.

Tea Interval

We lived a couple of miles from the Hanwell flight on the Grand Union. A regular walk was to visit what we called “The Six Locks”. Working narrowboats were still in operation (mid 1960s) some of them towed by little towpath tractors. I vividly remember one occasion when we had gongoozled a pair of boats down the flight. At the bottom one of the boaters asked if we wanted a ride to Brentford? Well you can imagine a 7 year old’s excitement at this prospect. But my dad came over all practical and said we had to get home in time for tea! But the seed of interest in canals and boating had been planted. It was about 50 years later that we first took our own boat down the flight and carried on to Brentford.

As I grew older Dad would sometimes, during school holidays, take me to work. We would drive into Heathrow and go into the BEA crew room office. I’d be shown the preparations for flying off somewhere, weather charts, route maps, loading weights, how much fuel to have on board etc.

At the controls

I would then head off on my own to the spectator viewing area (a thing of the past now) and with my VHF air band radio tuned to the ground or tower frequencies I’d watch him take off. If he wasn’t going far (maybe a return trip to Paris) I would wait 2 or 3 hours for him to return then meet him at the car park and get a lift home. If he was going further afield (perhaps a “night stop” Nicosia) I would stay watching aeroplanes all day and then get the bus home.

A view I saw many times.

As a family we would sometimes, but not very often, fly off on foreign holidays. I remember one time we all flew to Germany for a family holiday. When the plane was sitting on the runway preparing for take off our Dad (a Captain with the airline who had indeed captained this very aircraft many times) leant across the aisle and shook all his children by the hand and said “Well, it’s been nice knowing you all”. His sense of humour.

Me and my Dad circa 1968

His career with BEA lasted from 1946 until his retirement in 1977, by which time BEA and BOAC had merged to form British Airways. It was policy then that pilots had to retire at 55, it may still be the case. He started off flying DC3s and Vickers Vikings for BEA, then the Airspeed Ambassador (known in BEA as the Elizabethan because the Queen had just come to the throne!), followed by Vickers Viscounts and Vanguards and ending up as a senior training Captain on the Hawker Siddeley Trident.

His family back in Hull had always been staunch Catholics and Peter was the same. He played a big part in the local parish community at Ealing Abbey, always organising things, on various parish committees and for a while was chairman of the Parish Centre. He also played a big part in the running of the parish Youth Club. His religion didn’t get passed on to me though. I think I rebelled at all the religion in my childhood.

In retirement he had more time for his beloved golf, at one time getting his handicap down to single figures. He played at West Middlesex Golf Club then Ealing Golf Club.  He left Ealing GC when they introduced a rule that you had to spend a certain amount of money in the bar per year and if you didn’t they would take the money anyway! He wanted to play golf not drink in the bar.

Teeing off on a golfing holiday
Outside the family home in Ealing 1996

My mother finally persuaded him that they could make use of the concessionary travel that British Airways allowed him. But he never travelled extensively for leisure. He was a big worrier and there would have been too much worry that as staff passengers they would be the first to be off loaded should the flight become full.

One trip away

There was also football to be watched and supported. Hull City as a youngster but on moving to West London it was Queens Park Rangers, holding a season ticket there once he retired.

Peter and Christine on their way to Wembley to watch QPR

In his later life he fell ill with Parkinson’s disease, a disease which was also to affect my mother. He accepted his illness stoically for a number of years but eventually in September 2002 he suffered a stroke and passed away. A big funeral was held at Ealing Abbey with many old family friends there. British Airways sent a representative to his funeral which I thought was a lovely thing for them to do.

Peter on his 80th birthday

Happy 100th birthday Dad. Shame we are not celebrating it with you but you can be sure that we are definitely celebrating!

Thank you to John and Kath for helping collect together all the photographs.