Monday, December 14, 2009

Emma, India, and Dawn Starts

You are going to have to excuse me but I am in a rambling mood tonight.

One of the things that is nice about the work I do is that there are early starts. And no before you all say “is he mad?” I do not enjoy getting up at 5:00am any more than the next person (except of course this has the big plus that my commute time is less than half what it would be if I was going in at more normal hours).

The nice thing is the early finish and time in the afternoon and evening, this gives me the opportunity for all sorts of pursuits.

Often they are mundane, like hanging out a load of washing or mowing the lawn.
But as often as not I am able to use the time more creatively. Last week for example I went exploring with my youngest.

Yesterday, I worked on formatting my book before the house got busy in the evening.
Tonight I am in a culinary frame of mind. I am putting the time to cooking a decent curry. Oddly (or perhaps not oddly in this day and age) although I am an Aussie I also have a large chunk of Indian Heritage . My father’s family took a rather long (over 150 years) detour via India on the way to Australia.

As a total by-the-by, if you ever walk through Russell Chowk in Jabalpur a city in Madhya Pradesh India, you are close to some of my family history. If you do a Google you might discover that the Chowk (square) is named after Bertrand Russell, but in fact it isn’t. It was named for one of my ancestors considerably before Bertrand was famous. But that is another story, one I might put into a book… someday.

In the spirit of rambling I am going to jump to an entirely different topic. On Saturday as is our wont we went for a drive. This time we struck out along a road we haven’t used before though Arthur’s Creek. Up on a hill before you reach the village is an old cemetery.
I love cemeteries, they are such a vivid store of the culture of their time. Such a prompt for imagination.

This grave for example speaks of a tragedy, a young woman burying a much loved husband. Clearly at the time Emma, no doubt in love and grief stricken at the loss of her Harry could not imagine resting anywhere else. She has bought a double plot so one day she could sleep alongside her dear one.
Yet a hundred years later there is no sign that she was laid here. No headstone for Emma here.
What happened, the writer in me wonders. As her grief passed did she come to love another? Does she now rest alongside a second husband?
Who knows, but my mind races away across the valley below, thinking of other stories that perhaps one day I could write.Too many books not enough years.

Bless you Emma, I hope the rest of your years were joy filled.


Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Great post-- the double-plot was weird. We laid my grandmother to rest recently, and she had purchased a double plot with my grandfather, who had passed 20 years ago. The headstone was already engraved for both of them. The only thing missing was the date of death for my grandma. Now it's complete.

Lisa said...

I love to wander around cemetarys when we go to lay flowers. So many interesting stories.

Jemima said...

I also love cemeteries. Last weekend we had some long overdue family pictures taken. We wanted them set outdoors and I suggested the local old cemetery. My husband thought that it was too morbid and that the relatives who had requested the pictures might not like it. He was probably right.

Walk Talk Tours said...

Graveyards are full of interest, as well as memories. Are you related to the former England wicketkeeper, Robert Charles 'Jack' Russell?

Al said...

Hi Christy,
The double plot was a bit strange until you look at Harry's age it looks like he was 27 (or maybe 25). Which means Emma was probably 20-25. I suspect it is quite likely that she re-married, so the first double plot was no longer needed.
Sorry for your loss.
My Grandma always wanted to be buried near my Grandpa (in England), but in the end she was buried here in Oz near where my Mum lives.

Hi Lisa,
Aren't there so many stories. Some so tragic, but others showing years of love and quite inspiring.

Hi Jemima,
Cemeteries are great. And the headstones and imagery they contain can say so much. Then add the inscritptions and they become endlessly fascinating.

Hi Phil,
Of course the European style graveyards here are quite young. This one in Arthur's creek was begun in the 1860s that is within 30 years of European settlement of Victoria.
I'm probably not related to Jack Russell. I do have ancestors from Gloucestershire but they are on my mum's side. The Russell side of my family left England for India over 150 years ago. Before then they hailed from Jersey, London and Yorkshire.

Harsh Nema said...

Hi AL,

I lived in Jabalpur for so many years. And been through russel chowk innumerable times. excting to see you can trace your links to that square :)

Will love to see you write something about it.

Al said...

Hi Harsh,
It is a pleasure to hear from someone who lived in Jabalpur.
My family lived in MP for more than 100 years.

Anonymous said...

Hi Al.

My family has been in Jabalpur since the early 20's and I am interested in everything to do with Jabalpur, especially the people. Valmay Young, a friend of mine in the UK, is a genealogist and active member of FIBIS. She has traced many relatives of hers and their connection with Jabalpur and the Russels of Jabalpur are among them. Google Valmay Young and visit her website. It's very interesting. I would like to keep in touch with you, if possible. My email address is, I'm 62 and live in Ontario, Canada.
Do you know the Russel family that is in Jabalpur at present?