Sunday, 26 June 2011

Close Season

Fixture Frenzy

At 9am on Friday 17th June the 2011/2012 season fixtures were released to much excitement from me at least. With the amount of northern teams now in League 1, I could see an opportunity to see Charlton play more often this coming season. So making sure I was in work before 9, logged onto my computer, internet loaded and the CAFC page ready and waiting all I had to do was wait to see if the fixtures would be kind to me. By and large they have been. Most of the away games "up north" are on a Saturday and I only have problems with two games really. Notts County away falls the day after my stepson's 18th birthday and, try as I might, I really don't think I can persuade him to have birthday celebrations in Nottingham. Bury away is Bank Holiday weekend and whilst the Charlton fans are heading north, I shall most probably be heading south to visit my parents. The remaining games, except Sheffield Wednesday are do-able and will come down to funds rather than willingness to go.
Sheffield Wednesday is the odd one out as far as away games go. My long suffering, Liverpool FC supporting husband gets taken to all Charlton games I go to. And he has not been to Hillsborough since April 15 1989. If he decides to go, I can imagine it will be emotional for him and yet I hope it lays some ghosts to rest.
New Signings


Amazingly for Charlton we've already signed some players! I am pleased to see John Sullivan sign for us after his successful loan spell last season. Although I thought Ross Worner was a good 'keeper, I think John will give Robbie Elliott the completion both he and the club need in the push for promotion. Conor Gough and Nick Pope will hopefully continue to improve thus giving Charlton more options in goal. I have to say I don't really know much about Bradley Pritchard but Danny Hollands looks like a good signing. The signing of Cedric Evina should be a good one. Maybe I'm alone, but if he was good enough originally for Arsenal then I'm sure he'll do well for us, and to be honest we could do with a consistent left back. I certainly remember the shot he had for Oldham in the match at Boundary Park in April! Paul Hayes has been brought in to bolster our front line and hopefully will work well with both Paul Benson and Bradley Wright-Phillips. And the most recent signing is Mikel Alonso the elder brother of Xabi. If he's half the player his brother is then it should be fun watching him play.
Fond Farewells?

As well as bringing in new faces, some older faces have now departed. I feel sorry most for Jon Fortune who has never had much luck with injuries but, on form, was a great centre back. To see him stretchered off the pitch in the last home game against Hartlepool was a very sad sight and I hope he recovers from his achilles injury and wish him all the best for the future. Christian Dailly has been released according to the PFA website. Although it is sad to see him go, I feel Charlton need some younger central defenders and it's time for Miguel Llera (if he stays) to be the elder statesman at the back. It's a shame that Joe Anyinsah could not keep his fitness as he would have given us another option up front. And finally Therry Racon and what can be said about his move. I understand he wants to move to another club, but Millwall? Easy way to make yourself hated by all Charlton fans. On the few occasions I've seen him play he hasn't impressed me that much.

All In all it's been an interesting close season so far and I don't think we've seen the end of it yet.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Some years ago I decided to research my family tree as I really didn't know much about them except the information given to me over the years by my parents. And that wasn't a lot. Also I didn't know what was true and what was family folklore.

I started with Dad as his family were more of a mystery and the 1901 census had just been released. On the census I found my grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth Young living in Beddington, Surrey. Great I thought, I've got approximate ages I'll go back a little further. Found grandad's birth and entry on the 1891 census. Found grandmother's birth and entry on the 1891 census, plus her parents and siblings. So I build my tree backwards eventually reaching the 1600's.

It's all going well so I decide to start collecting certificates starting with my grandparents wedding certificate. Grandad: Thomas Young, aged 19, lives in Wallington, no father given - brilliant it's the right certificate.

At this point I realise I've committed the cardinal sin of family history research - the Elizabeth on the certificate was not the same one as on my dad's birth certificate. I had an Elizabeth Amy Manning married to Thomas, not Elizabeth Amy Vallance. And this meant that all the research I had done on my "grandmother" was wrong. So I started again but I cannot find any records to match this lady. All I know is her father was James Manning.

I should explain that there were 15 children who reached the age of 18 or more and my dad is the youngest. That's a lot of certificates to buy! First three children were all born to Elizabeth Manning. Then sometime between 1908 and 1911 she disappears. I can't find a death record so far, but she's certainly with Thomas. Then it get's interesting as the next 12 children are born to Elizabeth Amy Vallence or Caroline Elizabeth Vallence. And they are one and the same person! The reason I know this is my uncle Charles (born 1916) has Caroline as his mother but my dad (born 1932) has Elizabeth as his. And they agree that all photos are of the same woman. I know who Caroline was, she was Thomas' second cousin who lived in Dorking and I assume that after the death of Thomas' first wife, she "married" him and became mother to his three children. Then, for a reason unknown to us all, she swapped names between the children having 4 under Caroline and the rest under Elizabeth.

I did think at first that Elizabeth Manning was a pseudonym for Caroline, but Caroline can be found on the 1901 census still in Dorking. And on the 1911 census she's down as married to Thomas for 3 years. So having put some thought to this I've reached a couple of conclusions, which may or may not be correct.

First is that Elizabeth did die, possibly in childbirth as I have an aunt born in 1908; or second that she suffered from post-natal depression and was sent to a mental institution. Either way, Caroline moved in and took the place of Elizabeth and successfully brought up 15 children!

The last confusing piece is that when Caroline died her death certificate said she was born in 1880 - the year Elizabeth Amy Manning was born. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011


I started blogging and then stopped. So I decided to think about why I started and why I stopped.

Writing is something you learn to do at school but generally, unless you have to do it as a job, it's something that's restricted to letters or reports. All of which can be pretty dry stuff. So why do we stop writing creatively when we leave school? Go back 100-150 years and we would have written letters to friends & relations that were more like a diary, telling them what we had been doing, where we had been and any interesting bits of "gossip". There was no other way of communication - as long as you could read and write! We would have kept diaries that were a place to write your feelings, dreams and desires. How many people have a paper diary these days, let alone one that's used for more than appointments? Even 20 years ago, pen pals were a popular pastime and it was easy to write 4 or 5 pages to a friend you possibly would never meet. I'm still in touch with pen pals I made all those years ago, albeit via Facebook mostly.
So why did I decide to blog? Well I kept reading some very interesting blogs, mostly about Charlton Athletic, written by a variety of people around the world. My thought was not that I could do better, but I could attempt to put my view over. After all isn't this what a blog is all about? What I forgot was I haven't done any writing for years and it's harder than you think. And because I struggled I kept starting and stopping and have a list of half finished blogs. So I stopped!
Another reason why I stopped was I thought who would want to read my blog? I'm not attempting to write a best selling novel, I'm just writing about things that interest me. If other people don't find it interesting, then does it really matter? The answer to that is no.
So I may just decide to blog on Charlton's upcoming fixtures for next season, why I love cricket, my taste in music and all sorts of other things and you, dear reader, can decide if you like it or I'm just waffling a load of old nonsense.