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I do not know what the July weather has been like in your 'neck of the woods' but in this part of Cornwall, apart from a couple of warm, dry days at the end of the month, it has been mostly cold, wet and windy - more like autumn than summer.

When I was chatting to some chaps at the market, they said that April, when we enjoyed absolutely glorious weather, was probably our summer. I reckon they could be right, too!

The unsettled weather has played havoc with our garden. The flowers, when they dared to bloom, have been buffeted by the winds and most of the vegetables have been non-starters. All very disappointing.

July didn't start too well for me as, just after sending out the previous newsletter, I developed shingles. Ye gods, it is painful! At first, I thought it was just a backache as I often get this after heaving feed sacks around, but about three days after the backache started, the blister spots appeared.

Now coming up to the end of the fifth week, I can tell you that shingles is darned uncomfortable - the pain can almost bring you to your knees, but the tablets prescribed by my GP helped and the calamine lotion is a life saver! I have been told that shingles usually lasts around six weeks, so it shouldn't be too long now before I am free of it.

Having shingles means that it is impossible for me to sleep for more than two to three hours a night, so in the early hours, after swallowing the painkillers, I can be found in the kitchen trying out new bread recipes (when I have pain, I have to keep moving). Although Frank hates me being ill, he does love all the fresh bread and croissants he is offered at breakfast. Oh, Frank has gained a few pounds, too.

As you know, due to my barn not being ready, I was unable to take any orphan lambs this year, so I was really delighted to be offered five weaned Hebridean ram lambs to bring on. The lambs are now doing a great job of keeping my grass under control.

Just after the lambs were delivered, and despite the electric fencing, Frank saw a dog in the big field, chasing my lambs. Fortunately, the dog ran off when he saw Frank and cousin John coming and although the lambs were very frightened, no damage was done. I have to admit that I get really angry with irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to roam with no thought of what they may be up to or the harm they could do.

All of my 'off heat' turkey poults are now living outside in their respective houses and they are doing very well. I recently watched a television programme about the guy in Florida who raised some wild turkey poults. Did you see it? It really was fascinating, and although not quite as involved as him, I can understand how he became so close to them - turkeys are such friendly and engaging creatures.

I have another batch of turkey eggs, nineteen in total, in the incubator, and these are due to hatch on the 8th. August. These will probably be the last for this year as the turkeys are now going off lay. Last week, my Maran broody hen hatched three of the four eggs I had given her to sit on. Alas, one of these poults died, but the other two are thriving.

Edward Buckland, Click Here has another poultry auction on 20th. August. I do not need any more chickens, so I probably will not bother to go. Okay, if I am feeling better, I may go just to have a look around, but I will not buy anything. No, truly, I am quite determined as I really do have enough chickens.

Frank and John have made great progress with the terrace and it looks super. It will not be too long now before the contractors arrive to level and then lay the new drive. Boy, I am really looking forward to that. Just imagine coming up a driveway that does not look like a building site!

I was really surprised to learn that Hatherleigh Market is closing to make way for a new housing estate. Yet another old market town which is about to change beyond all recognition! Yes, I know we need houses, but do we have to destroy our heritage in the process?

I was thrilled to hear that the ladies who took up my diet have each lost lots of weight. See all you sceptics, despite it being really boring, I told you the diet worked, didn't I?

Well done Caroline, for winning the free gift last month. This time, the gift for the first person to spend over £50 at Parish Chest, will be very useful if you have Scottish ancestry.

We have a fair few new items to look at today, so grab yourself a cuppa, (alas, no cake or biscuits for me) get nice and comfortable and we can get started.


New Products & Suppliers

Stan, from the Wharfedale Family History Group, sent though heaps of new parish register CDs. I bet all your volunteers are totally exhausted after producing this lot, Stan!

Cambridgeshire Family History Society has released a new interactive CD of Ely.

I received an email from Jen Newby, at Family History Monthly, and she gave me this news:- Regular genealogy magazine readers may have already noticed that we’ve recently reduced our cover price at Family History Monthly magazine down to £2.99, making us over £1.25 cheaper than any of our competitors! Our next issue (out on the 25th August) is our 200th and to celebrate, we’re offering extra prizes, advice and special offers. The theme is ‘Celtic research’ and the issue focuses on how to find out more about your Scottish or Irish ancestors; there are articles on resources, like the Statistical Accounts of Scotland and Irish land records, as well as a feature on Scottish and Irish regiments in the British Army. But if you don’t have Celtic ancestors, we also have articles on highwaymen, researching conscientious objectors, Norfolk family history resources, and Sheffield cutlers. Oh yes, and I must tell you that Jen has written a book about researching women’s lives – a mix of social history and genealogy which is coming out in October. Well done, Jen, and I shall look forward to reading your book.

Jen, of Leicester Parish Registers, has finished transcribing the parish of Newbold Verdon. Your list of transcribed Leicestershire parishes is very impressive, Jen.

David, from the Worcestershire Parish Record Society, sent me details of their latest parish register transcription, Clifton upon Teme. You are not able to spend much time in the garden with this awful weather, are you David?

Carolyn, of Your Family History magazine, sent me some information about this month's offer and what a cracker it is too. Your Family History Free book for Issue 18 is Tracing Your Pauper Ancestors by Robert Burlison (RRP: £12.99) and the subscription offer for Issue 18 will include a Free 'Family History on the Internet' Bookazine (RRP: £6.99) for the first 50 subscribers. One article being covered is Scottish land records and inheritance; Chris Paton continues his Beginner’s Guide with a look at these essential Scottish records that just a few years ago were linked by feudalism, a system that had largely been abandoned in England by the Middle Ages. Another article is, Operation Pied Piper. Your Family History readers share their memories of evacuation during the war. Dr Martin Parsons, Director of Research Centre for Evacuee and War Child Studies, tell us what life was like for the estimated 1.47 million evacuees and how to research their stories.

The Glamorgan Family History Society has now released its long awaited DVD of Bridgend Cemetery.

Dee, of English Parish Registers, has three more great transcriptions for you - one for Middlesex and two for Cornwall. You have been working overtime, Dee!

Alan, from the Dorset Family History Society, sent me details of some DVDs and books which are now available. Do take a peek.

Yvonne, from Docklands Ancestors, has two more great CDs for you. You are working well, lass!

Gillian, from the Lincolnshire Family History Society, has four new items, two CDs and two books, for you to look at.

I would like to welcome Diane and Caudle Publishing to Parish Chest. Caudle Publishing specialises in local history books and booklets which are based on research, to bring little known factual information into an easily accessed public domain whilst still retaining the dissemination of the results of scholarly research.

Angela and Guy, of Anguline Research Archives, have been burning the midnight oil yet again and produced another magnificent selection of CDs. Just take a look at this lot!

Steve, from the Huddersfield & District Family History Society, has four more parish registers booklets ready for you. Please take a look.

A chap called Greg, has taken over sending out the publications at the Wakefield & District Family History Society. When Greg was looking at the society stand on Parish Chest, he decided that all publications should have a picture attached. Bless him, Greg spent ages photographing and scanning the booklets, etc., and yes lad, the publications do look much better now. It was certainly worth all your time and effort.

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