Geddington – a life in words and memories – October
We are now half way through our year in the life of the Holding sisters, the elder of whom wrote a journal to record the life she and her sister led as adults.
This month the section chosen reveals how close knit families and communities were and how skills were passed on from one generation to another.
In the 1891 census the Holding family in Geddington shows the two brothers, George and John, running their wood yard and hurdle and rake making business. Their father, George Snr, had also been a rake and hurdle maker. George Jnr by now is married to Esther and has the two daughters of our story, Margaret Alice (Daisy) aged 4 and Caroline Mary known as Carrie, just 1 year old.
However George had been previously married and his first daughter, known as May, is shown living with his brother John and his wife Ann in Geddington. George’s first wife Emma died not long after the birth of Emma May.
A visitor is present in 1891 in George Holding’s household, Esther Croft, who is shown as a retired dressmaker. This was the profession May later trained for and the profession Carrie also took up after her fiance was killed in WW1. Her earnings helped to provide the income to keep going the home she and Daisy shared. Daisy in her turn looked after the children who stayed with them as boarders.
October is a mixed month for the sisters. Here is her recollection of October 1928
“October seems to me to be a golden month. Gold chrysanthemums, Golden Rod, Golden Marigolds, golden leaves and glorious golden sunsets. There are people too, golden hearted. They ring true and possess good ‘wearing’ qualities.
Especially one notices this when one is in trouble, and the dark angel has hovered over us of late. It is difficult always to see the golden lining to the cloud… He has called Home one of His dear children, our big sister May, and the shock seems to have stunned us. Our village has been sad of late. Death has been busy and accidents numerous. We of the country places share each others joy and grief. Each one is spoken of by his Christian name and the loss becomes a personal one. The tolling bell conveys the sad news and we weep together.
I have tried to think of the life given, not the life taken away…
The weather has been gorgeous and although the days are shortening we get beautiful sunny spells. It is very wet now to do any gardening, although a lot remains to be done. The potatoes are dug, the marrow and tomatoes are harvested. The beet are a great success and so were the peas and beans. Rows of pots of jam and jelly testify to the yield of strawberries and the gifts of friends. My herbs are all green and fragrant. I gathered them when the oil was ‘full’ and dried them in the sun. Roses still yield their petals and perfume for my pot pourri. The lavender has been added.
As I placed the ‘Mary mug’ full of simple sweet scented flowers on my dressing table today, I thought of the ‘Borax and Camphor’ that were mixed in it and how Mother Dear washed our hair on Saturday afternoons when we were longing to play! What Grannie Holding ( the ‘Mary’ to whom it belonged) used it for I don’t know. I expect it was a ‘fairing’ from some adoring swain.
This week the ‘Over the ways’ have returned from Devon. We like everybody at home. It isn’t nice to see drawn blinds. The gentlemen at The Priory have come home from Scotland and once more the ‘General’ goes striding past and far across the meadows each morn a little cavalcade is seen wending its way along the winding path to Boughton House.
Mr Scott and his invalid brother, accompanied by three dogs, go out daily.
What can I hear? …swish! Back go the curtains and the golden sunlight streams in. Over the fields the morning haze still hangs. The hedges and trees, burnished with the touch of autumn and wet with rain and dew, gleam in the sunlight.
We set out for Weekly Church. The air is clean, clear and fresh and the sound of chiming bells floats to us on every hand…there is nothing as inspiring to me as a morning service in a Village church, the chiming bells, the pealing organ; the sunlight streaming through the richly coloured windows…
Is it that my ancestors have so assembled themselves in bygone days and their habits have been handed on to me?
This has been a month of strange, sad happenings and we cannot help but feel the strain
This evening we had the most wonderful sunset…”