I have a water colour on the lounge wall of a fishing boat on a beach somewhere in Scotland and it is signed Albert Strange, who happens to be my great grandfather on my father's side of the family. I have often wondered if my children and I have inherited our love of Scotland from him, but other than the fact that I knew he had been an art master at Scarborough Art College and had designed some yachts, I knew little about him. He died before my father was born and really was not mentioned much at all.
Recently however; maybe due to the fact that my Dad is gone and my Mum's memory is fading fast, I have been wondering about my ancestors and so I googled Albert Strange.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an Albert Strange Association with members all over the world and a Friends of Albert Strange Society based in Scarborough. Seemingly 9 of the yachts built using his designs are still sailing from harbours around the world, the oldest being 113 years old!
I contacted the Friends of Albert Strange and to cut a long story short, found myself speaking to approximately 50 people yesterday evening at Scarborough Art Gallery and with my sister, officially opening a month long exhibition to celebrate his work and his life.
Strangely, (pun intended), at the exhibition I saw for the first time a photograph of Albert and his family dated around 1900. His daughter Dolly (real name Dorothy) would have been about 16 then and I honestly I thought I was looking at myself aged 16 wearing Victorian clothes. The resemblance is uncanny. Sadly, she died aged 21 of TB but the necklace she received for her 21st birthday was given to me some years ago by my Mum, (that's one story that was passed down through the generations).
It turns out, our Albert was very highly regarded in Scarborough, at the age of 27 he had already exhibited several times at the Royal College of Art in London and he was headhunted by the governors of the new art college for the position of Head, which he held for over thirty years. He was a founding member of Scarborough Yacht club and Chair of the Hull and Humber Yawl Club for many years. He sailed all over Europe, painting and writing for sailing magazines as he went. He was also a keen musician, writer and speaker, all traits I can see in own children. In fact, my eldest daughter is Head of Art at an Academy in Grantham and a fine artist in her own right.
I have found out many wonderful things about Albert and his wife Julia and their lives during the last 24 hours and am amazed that so many people around the world are sailing his boats, collecting his art and keeping his story alive.
I feel like I have been in an episode of "Who do you think you are"!
Sometimes, we are so wrapped up in our own busy lives, we forget to think about past generations and the fact that we owe our features, our characteristics and often our talents to them. Standing in front of a large photograph of Albert yesterday evening, I hoped we were all doing him proud.
So today I decided to walk to my Mum's nursing home. Nothing too remarkable there, it's an easy 5 mile walk and it's been a nice day. But, I decided to change my route and ended up meandering all over the tops of Colne and Nelson including Marsden Golf course where I was inspired to write the following which you must sing to the tune of "And did those feet in ancient times" correct title Jerusalem.
And did these feet in modern times
Walk upon Marsden's Golf Course green?
And was the mud from woodland paths
Caked upon boots that once were clean?
And was a bench just sitting there
With such a view I had to stare
And did the sun break through the clouds
On Pendle's hills and forests green.
And with some fruit cake and some cheese
Did I sit there with pleasant ease
Sipping my cup of hot vimto
Before I rose once more to go.
And though I still had miles to go
My faith was strong, I was 'in my flow!"
And so with walking poles in hand
I walked this green and pleasant land.
All together now!
Oh and when I got there - Mum was fast asleep so she never knew I'd been!
Well that flew by didn't it? Where did the month go?
I can't quite believe how quickly 2018 has taken off. No gradual lead in to appointments and consultancy, instead a vertical take off like a rocket going into orbit. I'm not complaining, it's wonderful to be working with amazing people who are building their businesses in Lancashire, but managing the balance of work and 'me time' and sticking to goals takes some doing, I'm sure you'll agree.
Yesterday afternoon, I stuck to my guns and got out into the fresh air. Pushing myself under a clear blue sky, I climbed up Boulsworth hill as the dog ran for miles and rolled in the winter grass. Yes, I could have stayed at my desk, looking wistfully out of the window, but I know what I need to stay focussed and healthy and for me that's the hills and moorland. As I zig-zagged across the boggy ground, grouse launched themselves from hidden nests, making me jump and the dog was black to his ears with peaty mud, making me laugh. I had my afternoon tea sitting by the trig looking at a world I love.
To be the best version of ourselves and give our best to our clients and workmates, we need to be healthy and happy, so that when we are with them, we can share with them our energy and total attention. If we are tired and stressed and frustrated because we can't find regular time to do the things we enjoy, then we are giving ourselves and our clients or workmates a poor deal.
If you'd like to work with me to find out how to create more balance in your life and become less stressed and tired, you know where I am. If you're already feeling like you're on a hamster wheel and January isn't even over yet, then please consider joining our April retreat on the Isle of Mull. 5 days to stop your world and rediscover what you need to do to stay healthy and happy in 2018. To find out more please see STOP
thanks for reading and have a great weekend.
If you enjoy my blogs, you can read more of my work in my book available here www.amazon.co.uk/Words-Walks-Wisdom-Wendy-Bowers/dp/1671172353