Thursday, 21 February 2008

Thy will be done

I've found it somewhat difficult to blog this past week, not for lack of opportunity nor topics, but I really don't want to turn this blog into a moanfest. Which is a challenge during February in Ottawa. The sad thing, February isn't Ottawa's worst month; it's worsted [in no particular order] by July, August, April and March. And January. Actually, June and September aren't that much fun either...

Whoops! This is sliding into Moandom. Anyway, how do I battle the miseries here in the Nation's Capital? Well, for one thing, there was an interview of David Tennant by Catherine Tate on BBC Four today. It was much too short, but thanks to the "Listen Again" feature on the BBC website, I can listen to it for the next week, providing our computer doesn't pack up which it's showing signs of doing...

Erggh! Sliding, sliding... So, um, David Tennant. Imagining David Tennant would find me fascinating. Self-delusion. Very very good for February. Uh, in a related and slightly related vein, finding well-made and witty Doctor Who fanvids on YouTube (or just well-made and witty).

You think less of me now, don't you? What else? Well, I bury myself in family history research. It is fortunate, in the midst of a rather bleak week both meteorologically and spiritually, that among the many queries I get online about my family tree (seriously, I get one or two a day) came a message from a distant cousin of my husband's who is interested in seeing my collection of wills downloaded from the National Archives. Fortunate, because after two or three years of gathering dust, these wills are finally being transcribed. I take myself down to the coffee shop with my trusty (and rather beautiful) magnifying globe to decipher "secretary hand". Now, you might say that wills are boring, legalistic, and morbid, especially ones from the eighteenth century. Only the middle term applies and one can ignore a lot of that in favour of all sorts of family shenanigans. The latest one I've just completed is one of my favourites so far. The Resident Fan Boy's 5xgreat-grandfather was feeling rather under the weather in the late spring of 1773, so decided it was time to make out his will. It's a very meticulous will, dividing the tablespoons and teaspoons between his two surviving daughters, making sure his wigs and shoes would be delivered to his brother after the funeral. Two sons get the money, livestock and land. Trouble is, he had three surviving sons. Three days after the first will, he drew up a lengthy codicil giving a sum of money to the third son, to be handed over seven years after Papa's death. In the meantime, eldest son is given the pleasant task of paying out three shillings to naughty son every Saturday Night. No other way. Or else all is forfeited. Crikey, I wonder what naughty son did? He shows up in later wills, administering and providing for his relations.

You think I'm an absolute dork now, don't you? Ah well, I always was. I leave you with another of my greatest comforts: music. Here's my favourite Elvis Costello song, sung by Aimee Mann of 'Til Tuesday (with EC on backing vocals). And there's a Doctor Who theme with it. Lovely.

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