Saturday, 31 December 2011

Old Years Night

Firstly - Happy New Year Folks!!

Reading many articles about this tune, would lead you to believe that it is purely an Irish Traditional tune - well like many a good tune it is well travelled and sung and played by many, many famous and not so famous musicians.

I tend to like the story that it IS a traditional Scottish tune and once more popular than Auld Lang syne!

In my opinion - if you play or sing a tune or song give it its true meaning and recognition, it is only professional courtesy!!

So at midnight tonight what ever your tipple - may joy be with you all !!

Of all the money e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm I've ever done,
Alas! it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all.

Oh, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.

If I had money enough to spend,
And leisure time to sit awhile,
There is a fair maid in this town,
That sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,
I own she has my heart in thrall,
Then fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

From the Archives 6

Last piece from my recent visit to the Newspaper Library in Belfast.

With luck and good will, a short play about the harvest fair will be performed by a school in Newtownards - incorporated in an Ulster Scots Concert night around March time.

This newspaper piece in the Newtownards Chronicle from 1925 looks back 50 years to 1875 at the Harfest Fair in Newtown!!


Friday, 23 December 2011

From the Archives 5

Snippet out of the Newtownards Chronicle from the winter of 1925 - instructions of scatting safely during cold weather and frozen lakes!

I am sure there is a 5,000 page government document somewhere explaining the health and safely implications of scatting on ice nowadays!!


A Chronicle of Comber

Friday 16th December I attended a book launch at the Thomas Andrews Memorial Hall Comber, where over 180 people attended the launch, on what turned out to be a very enjoyable and interesting evening.

I was invited by one of the books co-authors Laura Spence.

I would highly recommend the publication to all my friends and filmily.

I don't have much of a connection with Comber, nevertheless all those interested in local history and particularly Comber, will thoroughly enjoy the book.

Congratulations to Laura and her friend Desmond Rainey for an excellent evening and thanks for signing a couple of copies- one for me and the other one for the Low Country Exile in Londonderry!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Bloggin - 2 years on!

Since I took the plunge 'bloggin' on 16th December 2009, I have placed 543 items on my blog - some may be of interest, some may not be, however it has been a great experience.

I have accumulated 20,550 individual hits - an amazing total for me, I did not think anything that I posted would be of interest to the wider public. It pleases me that throughout the past 2 years I have received communications from all around the world, made 'friends' with the unlikeliest people, annoyed a few (intentionally) and entertained others!

So here is to another 2 years of Bloggin!


Family History Trail - William Anderson.

For a number of years I have been researching my Family Tree, I have collated quite a bit of information from living relatives, and bit n pieces from local newspapers etc. I have to say that not all information I have been given has been true - I have found out some very, very sad stories and of course they have not been told to me 'as it was' more conjecture, folklore and misleading stories.

Anyone who knows me well, will testify that I am determined to get to where I want to go, using all avenues that will lead me to 'the truth' - here is one example!

In November I blogged about gate crashing / going to a book launch at the Somme Centre at Conlig, near Newtownards on Remembrance Day 2011. The books Remembering Their Sacrifice of the Great War - The Ards & North Down by Barry Niblock - I bought 2 x copies of each, 1 set for me and 1 set for my good friend Jack Greenald.

I have read through extensively but found no reference to William Anderson, my Great Uncle, so I decided to contact the Mr. Niblock to see if he had any information on William Anderson.Within 24 hours Barry e-mailed me back with a holding e-mail then a week or so later he forwarded me some exciting and emotional news!

Here is part of the e-mail regarding Uncle William :-

Born in Ballymacarrett, Belfast, William Anderson enlisted on 17 September 1914 in Newtownards.

He was a mechanic, 5 feet 8 inches tall and he was aged 19 years 10 months.

He was posted to 'B' Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (No. 17148). On 22nd December 1914 he was transferred to the Motor Machine Gun Section of the Royal Artillery (No. 32504).

He went to France on 8 February 1915.

On 1 December 1915 he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.

He was hospitalised in July 1917 due to the effects of gas poisoning.

He was later discharged from the army on 10 February 1919 on a pension of 11 shillings per week.

At that time his next-of-kin was his aunt, Jane Anderson, who lived at 157 Greenwell Street, Newtownards.

He was single when he was discharged and some time later he got married.

In January 1926 his widow applied to the military authorities for financial assistance.

So it may be assumed that William died around December 1925/early January 1926.

Well I was totally surprised and a little shocked - I am very grateful to Barry Niblock for his prompt response and wonderful information! However I don't like where this is taking me - I have the feeling there is going to be a very sad story at the end of this trail!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Visit to Belfast Newspaper Library - 2

I will share with you another snippet from the archives from the Newtownards Chronicle form 1917 during my visit to the Newspaper Library during the week.

A few weeks ago I blogged about planting an Echlinville Apple Tree in my back garden, here is a connection.

My good friend Mark Thompson blogged this on 'Bloggin fae the Burn' article entitled Scottish Bishops and Ulster-Scots apples. The article explores Robert Echlin from Fife, Scotland who settled in these shores from Pittadro in Fife and became Bishop of Down & Connor - later a brand of cooking apples were named Echlinville.

I came across this newspaper entry

Local History is so fascinating at times!


Iconic movie clip - Dr. No

Billy Connolly was asked during a BBC interview who was the greatest living Scots man? Billy replied Sean Connery - Billy explained, Sean had the ability to walk into a room full of people - women went weak at the knees, and of course men went weak at the knees also!

Well my favourite Bond movie is Dr. No and every time I watch this scene I go weak at the knees - for me an iconic moment in movie history!


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Visit to Belfast Newspaper Library.

Back on my family history trail again!

I visited the Newspaper Library in Belfast and viewed the Newtownards Chronicle Jan 1917 to December 1917. Looking through the year the news was dominated with news from the Western Front and associated stories - church, community groups, Orange Lodges, Council - all collecting, sweets, chocolate, knitted gloves, socks, underwear etc.

The other big news item running throughout the year was the Home Rule Crisis - Lord Carson taking the fight to the Westminster Parliament, and arguing the Ulster cause against increasing English hostility!

I was looking for information on my Great Uncle William Anderson, who I believed died during the great war - wrong! Having looked through the paper I did come across a letter that he had sent to the Chronicle thanking the good folk of Newtownards for sending him a 'parcel of comforts'

It is truly amazing what can be found - if you have the patients of course.

So guess what, William Anderson to my surprise survived the war - see next blog post regarding the information!


Handel - Hallelujah

Well, excuse me for not bloggin for a while - I was very, very busy!

To get us in the Christmas mood - no better way prepare for the coming Christmas Period than The Hallelujah Chorus - fantastic!!