It had been quite a while since I'd done any digging into our own family past, mainly because of the work I'm doing for other people. So last week I got stuck into it and hit a rich vein of information which enabled me to not only confirm some work I had done earlier, but trace our name back to the latter years of the Tudor Dynasty. I have a new marker in the ground placing us in 1595, just several miles from where we are now.

Up next for the WDYTYA treatment is none other than Gandalf himself - Sir Ian McKellen. The venerable thespian, darling of the stage and screen is sure to be one of the best episodes yet. The current series of the popular ancestry show has provided us with some great viewing, who can forget Danny Dyers Regal connections or Amanda Holden and the tragedy of the almost forgotten RMS Lancastria.

Ricky Tomlinson is a scouser! Yes you read that right, the Liverpool Legend is in fact ... scouse! As they say in this part of the world - 'Who'd of thowt!'

So there I was, out in the mad world of Christmas shopping, elbows sharpened, stout boots on feet and a steely look in my eyes, when I found myself in front of the splendour and colour of rows and rows of Christmas Crackers.  Laden with bags and not a hand free, I could only look with the objective of selecting and remembering my choice for later collection when I had put this particular batch of goodies in the car boot.  Then it happened!  Loss of focus!  Mission Christmas shopping was in jeopardy!  My mind had done its usual meander off down History Lane!  I tried in vane to resist but to no avail, the surrounding throng of determined shoppers became nothing more than a blur.  I was detached from the moment and only half noticed their irritation at my apparent lack of urgency to get out of the way.

The TV programme 'Who Do You Think You Are' was back with a huge hit last Thursday night. EastEnders actor Danny Dyer was the subject of the popular ancestry show and what a show to start the new series with. The programme unfolded in usual fashion, giving us the subject's background and where he comes from; chats with family elders threw in the family myths for later scrutiny and then ... bam!! we were off on a roller coaster ride through English history.

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