Time and Tide wait for no man, and with that in mind progress has been steaming ahead, keen to make the most of this process, I have been busying myself making Eliza.
Made largely of paper, wood, leather and cloth, with marbles for eyes, she somewhat resembles a china doll, covered in letters and writing (as we only know about her through letters and documents).
Meg and I went to the National Archives to see some of the original letters and documents found it the trunk. For me, touching letters written by my relative all those years ago was very moving. We did discover a wonderful letter for Mary’s Grandchild, Julius, who’s first letter was sent (very excitingly) in the international post. It was so exciting to see a young child’s fascination with the nature in South America ‘Do you have snakes and servants in your bed?”, I hope you come and visit you soon “I hope you bring some birds and snakes with you”. some really FAB stuff! Also some wonderful documents listing purchases made by General English for their 1st trip, stating very large sums of money spent of buttons, suits for Buglers. The extravagance!
We also went to the Maritime Museum in Greenwich to have a look at ships of the time and get some better ideas for what Mary may have experienced on her journeys to and from south America. WE discovered that sailors were often rationed only 7 pints of beer a day (as water did not keep fresh), and when beer ran out they often drank local drinks to their location, so wine near mainland Europe and Rum near the Caribbean. It does make a lot of sense of ‘the drunken sailor’ sea shanty.
All in all, lots of fun that will be over all too soon!!!