It is Shakespeare’s birthday as well as St George’s Day so here’s a little quiz about England’s patron saint courtesy of the BBC The guy was actually from Turkey and was adopted by England about the time of The Crusades which is also when the myths, stories and legends started about the Holy Grail not to mention the Turin Shroud, which has also been carbon-dated around that time. We all love our myths. Even Shakespeare’s birth date is the day it was recorded in the register of his parish church, so like many ordinary mortals born at that time, his exact birthday is lost in the mists of time. In days when infant mortality was higher than now, it was common to wait a bit before registering a child’s birth.
Anyone with an interest in family history and with forebears over here will end up going through microfiche records of handwritten parish and other records at County Record Offices. Allied to these are Bishops’ Transcripts which the Church Warden had to copy to his local bishop annually.
While the parish record might be scrawled untidily, with the same family name sometimes spelled different ways (this was way before universal education) and the occasional sarcastic comment in the margin, the Bishops’ Transcripts were usually much more neatly written in a fine copper plate hand. At this stage, errors sometimes creep in which all adds to the fun of tracing your ancestors. And there is the occasional gap – for example, when a Church Warden took the Parish Register of Births, Marriages & Deaths home to do the above-mentioned trans-scripts and his house burnt down….The one problem that does not arise usually is shortage of information. If anything, there is too much of it, it is very easy to get side-tracked and if you are not organised, very frustrating. For retired people with the luxury of lots of time, it can be great fun. Good Luck.
Still on a traditional theme, I discover the world’s oldest sea-going paddle steamer the Waverley
which does tours round the UK as well as cruises around the Western Isles of Scotland, Isle of Man and other places you might have seen in an atlas, but never got around to visiting www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk
Back in the world of finance, some good news about transferring pensions overseas http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/04/22/cmabroad22.xml but as always there are winners and losers and specialist advice is recommended.
Also in the world of work, our mortgage department is busy as many cheap Fixed and Discounted deals run off and people want to see if there is a better deal around than the Standard Variable Rate of their current lender. We contact the clients concerned who often wish to discuss it with their partners or whatever. Two days later, more often than not the deal they might have wanted has been withdrawn – buy now while stocks last. My colleague was preparing to work till 10 pm last night as Abbey were withdrawing a lot of their deals. Most applications now are done on-line and if ALL the information including your bank details, solicitor/conveyancer details are not entered, the application will not be submitted and you may lose the juicy deal you were after.
Readers will be aware of one of my regular rants There is no point in having a small pension as it will not be enough to live on and yet might disqualify you from State Benefits. Well, Paul Myners http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Accounts who is charged with delivering Personal Pension Accounts in 2012, the Government’s form of compulsory pension, has said the same thing earlier this week in the Daily Telegraph.
Still enjoying minor celebrity life as master of my lodge, at a recent meeting a fellow mason points out that last year Freemason charities gave £2.7 million to Masonic charities and £3 million to non-Masonic ones.
I will finish on a Shakespearean note as my favourite theatre http://www.shakespeares-globe.org/ opens St. George’s Day with productions of King Lear (Out vile jelly! – not my cup of tea really) but in a lighter theme there is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Winsdor (Desperate Housewives in an Elizabethan setting?) and others. For a previous view of this delightful place see http://www.georgeemsden.co.uk/?p=94 and don’t worry if you never studied Shakespeare at school – this place is one of the most under-rated tourist attractions in London and knowledge of Shakespeare is not required for a very enjoyable afternoon or evening. It owes its existence to the vision of an American film-maker, the sadly late-Sam Wanamaker.