PC 12 At this moment in time!

Do you ever think when you go, say, to a huge airport like London’s  Heathrow, and check in for a flight somewhere, or even go to a busy railway station ..… and stand and watch the frenetic pace of life going on around you …… that this is how it normally is, every hour, every day, every week …… without it impacting your own world one little bit? We visit it briefly, fleetingly; people all over the world doing their own thing, living … just as you are living your life.

I’m lucky enough to have ancestors who travelled widely in the C18th and C19th; as a consequence I have a large family global diaspora, not to mention friends all over the world. It’s really fun to wonder, to imagine, what others are doing, when it’s lunchtime, in the sunshine in Hove ……..

Over in New Zealand there are relatives galore as Great Great Grandfather Henry moved his large family from India to Auckland in 1860, so I can take my pick. Here their day is over, it’s midnight and almost mid-winter and one could imagine everyone is safely tucked up in bed, in this “Land of The Long White Shroud” as it’s affectionately known. In Auckland Cousin Angela is probably dreaming about her latest Square Dancing exploits and her husband Michael of his next trip to England. In Tauranga cousin Peter and Gwenda are certainly tucked up in bed and near Napier Brian and Nicola should be in bed, but their dining room table is probably covered with maps and paperwork, as they put the finishing touches to their trip to North America. New Zealanders love to travel; they call it ‘Overseas Experience’ or OE, irrespective of age. They will be in Edmonton, Canada in August for the ITU World Triathlon Events for which their son William has qualified.

On South Island, Deb Nation, Nicola’s sister, is not one for an early bed; she lives in Lyttleton near Christchurch and worked for Radio New Zealand’s ‘Spectrum’ programme. I suspect she developed a habit of working late to meet deadlines and now, with no ‘work’ deadlines, she is simply reflecting on her day. Across the Tasman Sea, the evening is younger by a couple of hours. In the Merewether suburb of Newcastle cousin Libby Laery, who was born one day before me (!), has had a lovely day at her local sea-water swimming pool, and then probably chatted with her chums at the local café; now it’s time to get ready for bed.

In Cawnpore, India, it’s 6 o’clock in the evening, a hot and dusty evening, and the sounds of this busy town are clear over the Christian cemetery wall. Within, it’s a peaceful scene with its long dead inhabitants resting in the dry earth. Great great grandfather Henry’s father Stephen Nation lies here, where he succumbed to Cholera in August 1828 at the age of 48.The location of his grave is marked on the cemetery map, but time and weather have caused the tomb to crumble and the weeds are abundant; the exact location is impossible to find. He was born in Dulverton in Somerset, educated at Blundells, a minor Public School which is still open for business (!), joined the East India Company aged 16 and had had a very successful military career.

Here in England, it’s lunchtime and Celina and I, having been to our daily Bikram Yoga session, are just getting lunch organised. We ‘found’ another cousin of mine a couple of months ago, Sarah Kelen (née Corbett), and, as she lives in England, I imagine she’s lunching too! We hope our geographical closeness will enable us to uncover more of what the Corbetts were doing, are doing in Brazil.

Corbetts went to Brazil in 1830 and so here there are many relatives; you don’t get icebergs in the tropics but if you did, I’ve only found the tip! The generic Victorian era family had large numbers of children to offset the high incidence of infant mortality and Augustus Corbett and his descendants are no exception. We are in contact with Cecilia Corbett Moreira, who lives an hour from downtown Sao Paulo, but despite efforts on both sides to meet, we have yet to do so. There it’s 9 o’clock in the morning and probably cool, as they move into winter. In late May they had a huge hailstorm which left the city covered in white stuff!

The city that’s holding the 2014 International Triathlon in August is Edmonton, and that city has been the home for Caroline Carrol, a first cousin, for many many years. Here it’s 6 o’clock in the morning and I suspect she’s asleep, although I know her house is on the market ….. so she may not even be there! Oh! Well!!

In Victoria, British Columbia, it’s 5 o’clock in the morning and Michael Nation is up early. Well! I can only imagine he is huh!!? I look up the time of sunrise in Victoria at this time of year. It’s around 0515, rising almost in the North East (well, on a bearing of 52°), so Michael will see the sky lightening and maybe reddening. His great grandfather and mine were brothers and he’s been doing a huge amount of family research over the years. Recently he found some papers relating to Stephen Nation. Not expecting to die (!) Stephen hadn’t made a will and his widow Mary Ann simply auctioned all of his ‘stuff’ before returning to England with the five youngest children; the minutiae of the ‘stuff’ is amazing! Michael’s due in Europe later this summer, continuing to uncover more family connections. “Good morning Michael!”

So as you sit and live and love and work where you are, imagine people you know, family and friends, sitting, sleeping, working, living and loving where they are ………… across the world, at this time, at this moment. Just a thought!

Richard Yates – richardyates24@gmail.com




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