Circle of Life x


Do you believe in serendipity? The digging out of our basement has been put on hold as we’ve taken the expensive decision to expand the works slightly.  It was going to be L-shaped with this bit of the ‘L’ being the boiler room, but now the front wall’s been taken down to make way for the steels, it’s easy to see it would be possible to square the room off and gain an extra 2 metres in depth.  Except this means more money..and going through Party Wall again as we’ve moved the goal posts.  No pain, no gain. But..


Guess what the builders found?


A bag of Smallholder And Home Gardener newspapers, dated from WW2..which although interesting, wouldn’t be gold to the average person on the Clapham omnibus..


Except Mrs Smallholder, who wrote for the paper was a relative! Well, I say relative..Auntie Ethel (Mrs Samllholder)  was the wife of Uncle George, who was the brother of one of the two midwives that adopted my Grandmother, Beryl Archer when she was born, and became her father-figure.  The story of my Grandmother’s adoption has always been a family mystery.  After her death, I found an article she’d written for a magazine about Norfolk, it read: ‘Beryl Maccafrey Archer was the fourth child of a hospital matron and an administrator.  As a baby she was ‘adopted’ by two middle-aged nurses during the First World War, though to this day she has no idea why ‘I can only assume it was for safe-keeping during the east coast bombardment,’ she says now.  Later she came to know her two older sisters and a brother, who all continued to live at home with their parents in Devon whilst she continued living with her ‘Aunts’ in Great Yarmouth.  Effectively Mopsie (her family nickname) was brought up independently by 4 loving, caring adults who never had children of their own and adored her – she always said she had a far better life with them then her siblings ever did at ‘home’.   I still have all the evocative, timeless stories Mopsie wrote about her childhood, written with love, clarity and humour about a time now long gone…before my children came along I started putting them together to turn them into a book..maybe it’s a project I’ll have to return to..serendipity…

Laters, Kate x


  1. fabrickated

    Gosh what a very fascinating story. We dug out some of our basement here in central London and found meat hooks, and a small ice house, and a few bits and bobs, but nothing like this.