Amongst an upcoming event packed weekend itinerary, yours truly intends to perform an inaugural self-pedicure. A procedure I’ve concluded bears far greater priority than the cursory attention I’ve thus far paid my ten toenails. Keratinous plates which my son Jonny opines look like those of a leprechaun.

I’m guilty as charged that I neglect my toenails. Apart from cutting them monthly, washing and drying them during after a shower. Although admittedly there’s occasions when dehumidifying the toe end protectors is severely hampered by the presence of a lockdown induced beer gut. Corpulence hindering my spine flexibility, making the previously simple pre-lockdown task significantly more exacting.

My foot issues aren’t totally self-inflicted, part of this lack of attention to nail health is a familial genetic bane. The first Strachan child for generations afflicted by leprechaun-like keratinous plates’, the second child always going bald by the age of 30 (even the women). The third child always named Helen (unless it’s a boy).

It’s the same when it comes to occupations. The eldest Strachan offspring for centuries undertaking the same work role as a computer operator, the next child seeking world dominance as a member of SPECTRE, and the third progeny ordinarily embarking on a career as an arms salesman.

Footnote – Of course, the previous paragraph isn’t 100% factual. Quite clearly, as computers are a relatively new innovation, I was the inaugural first child to become a computer operator. The fact our Ian pursues an existence seeking world domination, and my sister Helen is an arms dealer

Seriously, though, when I undertook family tree research a few years back, I found my ancestors’d embarked on a variety of roles. Protagonists included with this occupational brew a butcher, baker (I couldn’t locate a candlestick maker), carter, salesman, part-time fireman, milkman, ambassador, domestic staff, seamstress, chef, toast master, soldiers and barrister.

The ambassadorial role was undertaken by a Arabic speaking relative from Goole who was murdered in Pakistan in the mid-1960’s. His obituary in the Times forwarded to me by a relative on my dad’s paternal line. A copy of the full story in Goole’s newspaper on the incident also provided.

One of many fascinating ancestral trinkets passed on by relatives I’d traced during my investigation. These also including a newspaper cutting from a 1850’s Leeds newspaper reporting on a criminal case involving a great grandad (x2) where he was sentenced to a spell behind bars.

I also received a photograph from a cousin of my dads, showing his grandad (who was toast master at the event) stood behind Winston Churchill while he made a speech at Leeds Town Hall in 1926. Churchill a young MP at the time. My great grandad is the fellow stood second from the right.

The same cousin of my old man providing me with in-depth family tree details on one branch including two adobe books on that stem.

It was intriguing to read the stories provided of my ancestors and my dad’s maternal line, ie have a bit of story as opposed to just dates of birth, death and marriage. Fascinating information giving an indication of the lifestyle of my forebears, predominantly played out in the Leeds and Bradford areas.

The vast majority of the information I procured through the tenacious research of people who share my bloodline, of who I’ll be eternally grateful.

churchill 1
My great grandad stood second right