The Hard won right to vote

Vote ballotOn 2 Jul 1928, women over 30 were finally given the right to vote. This victory was hard won. One way or another, women had been campaigning for the right to vote since the early 1830’s with the first suffrage societies formed in the 1860’s.

Throughout that time, action was taken through peaceful lobbying. It was not until the turn of the century when the first women’s suffrage bill was defeated that the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was formed. Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters were active members of the WSPU and their frustration with the system lead them to violent protest. Their supporters were labelled with the derogatory term ‘suffragette’ by an unsympathetic media; a name they chose to embrace. Whether by the conviction of the suffragettes or the tenacity of the suffragists, women achieved the right to vote in the UK, partially in 1918 and fully in 1928.

Next week, we face the third of only 3 UK wide referendums. The referendum gives an opportunity for the entire electorate to vote on a specific issue, in this case whether we leave or remain in the EU. Referendums are rare and we may not see another for many years. However you vote, be mindful that the ability to exercise a choice was denied to many of our ancestors.  So take the opportunity to do what they could not. Come rain or shine, go out on Thursday and make your vote count.

When women got the vote

  • 1893 New Zealand
  • 1902 Australia
  • 1906 Finland
  • 1913 Norway
  • 1915 Denmark
  • 1917 Canada
  • 1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia
  • 1919 Netherlands
  • 1920 United States
  • 1921 Sweden
  • 1928 Britain, Ireland
  • 1931 Spain
  • 1934 Turkey
  • 1944 France
  • 1945 Italy
  • 1947 Argentina, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan
  • 1949 China
  • 1950 India
  • 1954 Colombia
  • 1957 Malaysia, Zimbabwe
  • 1962 Algeria
  • 1963 Iran, Morocco
  • 1964 Libya
  • 1967 Ecuador
  • 1971 Switzerland
  • 1972 Bangladesh
  • 1974 Jordan
  • 1976 Portugal
  • 1989 Namibia
  • 1990 Western Samoa
  • 1993 Kazakhstan, Moldova
  • 1994 South Africa
  • 2005 Kuwait
  • 2006 United Arab Emirates

Diary of a Beagle Princess – day 2

IMG_0144It’s Thursday morning and I’m busy doing what beagles do best – chewing. There are three dogs in the house today – we have been joined by Benson, a miniature schnauzer. Nana gave us all chews when we returned from our walks.  I was a clever girl and scoffed mine in double quick time.  Then I waited for one of the older dogs to tire and snatched his treat away while he was distracted. Very nice it is too.

I’m not sure what I think of the sleeping arrangements here. I was preparing to bed down with the humans last night, when Nana sent me to my basket. I left immediately but she put me back in and sat with me until I settled. I waited for an hour, then sneaked back over to the bed. Nana picked me up and put me back again so I stamped my paw and glared at her. She stroked my ears which made me feel sleepy so I let her think I was going to be a good beagle princess and went to sleep for a few hours.

I woke up after a lovely dream in the small hours. It was dark but I was wide awake so I bounded over to the bed and jumped right in the middle of Nana and Grandad. Grandad made growly noises so I squeezed into Nana. She sighed sleepily and gave me a little cuddle. Grandad barked again and stomped off to the toilet. He was very cross. Nana scooped me up and we spent the rest of the night snuggled up in the spare room. Silly Nana. She should have done that in the first place. I always get my own way. I am a princess.IMG_0156

I woke Nana up at six thirty this morning with a little lick to her nose. She was very obedient and let me straight out for an early morning wee. I chased a few birds around the garden then came in for a quick snack. Nana wanted to go back to bed so I let her sleep for a little while but insisted she got up at 8am. She gave me breakfast, then took me for another lovely walk.

My training regime is going very well indeed. Nana is generally responsive to my whims. She needs a little more work on her silly ideas about me sleeping in my basket at night, but all in all, I’m happy with her progress.

 

Diary of a Beagle Princess

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Wednesday morning and I’m all packed up for a three day stay with my Nana. She collects me from home and I listen in the back of the car while she chatters away about her plans for the next few days. The countryside walks sound great, but if she thinks I am going to sit quietly while she spends two days writing, she is in for a rude awakening. I am a princess and I expect all of her time to be spent with me.

She parks the car and invites me onto the front seat so it’s easier to put my harness on. I decline. I have been taught not to move around inside a vehicle so I remain in my basket, paws crossed in defiance. Nana calls again, muttering about her weak wrist and my lack of cooperation, but I am Bella the belligerent today and no means no. Nana sighs, leaves the car and opens the rear door. I smile benevolently. It shouldn’t take long to train her. She puts on my collar, then my harness. I jump from the car in a frenzy of excitement. It looks like an off-lead walk across the fields is on the cards and I am trembling with anticipation.

Nana pulls the lead and I come to a halt, baffled. What is going on? My lead is between my legs. How am I supposed to walk like this? I sit down. She pulls. I lay down. She pulls. I shake my head in disgust and only then does she realise she has put the harness on upside down. Nana scans the area furtively, hoping nobody else has witnessed her error. I hang my head in shame. There are a couple of Labradors coming towards us and I don’t want them to judge me on my badly trained human.

She corrects the harness before it gets too embarrassing & I tear off, lead fully extended. This is more like it. We reach a meadow near Oldacre playing field when there is a loud, whirring noise overhead. I don’t pay much attention at first; there are so many exciting smells. But the noise gets louder and the air churns. Before I can collect my thoughts, a bright green helicopter descends from the sky and settles on our playing field. Nana is agog with curiosity. She walks the entire length of the field watching men in orange boiler suits as they leave the helicopter and walk into the nearby estate. She hasn’t looked at me. Not once. I scamper across the field looking beautiful, with my beagle ears streaming behind me and my elegant tail tall and proud, but it is all a waste of time. Her head is turned in the other direction. We carry on our walk across fields and down tracks. From time to time Nana meets other humans and they gossip about the helicopter.

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Presently, we come to a road. I slow down and look anxiously at my Nana. She knows I don’t approve of traffic noise so why she has bought me here? But then she turns into a close and I find myself in doggy heaven. Oh yes, the pet supplies store. I love my Nana. She talks to the human behind the counter while I take advantage of the low level treat displays with a lick of the merchandise here and there. Then Nana spots me and removes a snack protruding from my mouth that I sneaked from the stand earlier. She buys half a dozen sturdy chews and I begin to look forward to my visit.

We arrive home and Nana’s aged Border terrier greets her with an enthusiastic bark. He019fd04c17948ae28accfc877c8cc7ab37c06d2077 sees me and his shoulders slump before he turns away in disgust. I am a princess and don’t allow grumpiness so I jump at him and try to engage him in play. He raises a warning lip and snarls. Nana sighs. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a tasty treat. Only 9.30 am and I’ve already had a lovely long walk and a delicious chew. It’s going to be a good few days.

 

 

A writer’s life – The pros and cons of a broken wrist

I painted the kitchen this weekend – well seven eighths of it to be exact.  My task was rudely interrupted by the failure of my footstool to stay intact.  After twenty year’s loyal service, it split in two while I was cutting in around the carefully masked cooker hood.  I shattered my wrist while the ceiling received a liberal stroke of ‘white with a hint of bamboo’ as I fell.  On reflection, I came off worst.

Determined to make the best of it, I compiled a list of pro’s and con’s.  For every downside, there must be a balancing upside.

I can’t type.  What’s the point of a one handed touch typist? Woman up.  You can type one handed.  Lucky you not to have broken your right hand.
Much worse, I can’t go to the gym Walk the dog then.  And while you’re about it, consider the deficiencies in your latest plot line.
I’ll get fat! Good point.  No chocolate or biscuits for you until the cast’s off.  Make that dog walk a mile longer.
But my wrist’s smashed up.  I might need an operation. Then you can use that experience in your writing.  No event is ever wasted!
Fine – but I’ll have to go into hospital (inconvenient) and the cast will be on even longer (not known for my patience). Refer back to the previous answer.
Whatever.  But I can’t drive for six to eight weeks?  That’s a threat to my monthly book club and the new ALLI writer’s meet I hoped to join. Big deal.  Suddenly too good to ride the bus, are we?
It hurts. I’ll give you that one.  No pain without gain, they say.
On the plus side, I’ll have more time for reading, writing and research if I’ve got nothing better to do. Now you’re talking.  You’ve got a ‘Writing’ magazine upstairs with the plastic wrapper on.  Time must be at a premium.

And so the internal dialogue rumbles on.  Yes, it’s a nuisance, but sometimes when you are trying to squeeze too much in, life takes control and bites back. I’ll have less time for the physical things.  DIY must take a backseat and I don’t suppose I’ll swing a kettlebell for a while – but it’s given me an unexpected six weeks to catch up with a spot of reading and time to research my new murder mystery. A wrist with a twist, you might say.

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Location #1 – Christchurch Park

View of Ipswich from Christchurch Park GainsboroughVote for Murder is set in two main locations; Stonham Aspal during 1851 and Christchurch Park, Ipswich in Edwardian times.  Suffragette Louisa Russell, cousin of Millicent Fawcett, lives in Ivry Road on the outskirts of Christchurch Park.  These two areas, together with Henley Road and Fonnereau Road, account for many settings within the book.

Christchurch Park was the former site of an Augustinian Priory disbanded by Henry Viii during the dissolution of the monasteries.  It was acquired in 1545 by Edmund Withipoll and later in the 18th century, by Claude Fonnereau.  In 1892 Felix Cobbold gave it to the City of Ipswich.

There are various monuments set within Christchurch Park, both the Brett Fountain donated in 1863 and the Burton Drinking fountain, gifted in 1895.  The same year The Cabman’s shelter was moved from Cornhill to Christchurch Park.

Vote for Murder was set in 1911.  One scene in the book describes Louisa walking past the Martyr’s Memorial:

“…The cross-topped monument stretched skywards casting a lanky shadow over the path ahead. Recently completed, the carved round pillars caught the light of the morning sun and the carved inscription stood fresh and clear.”

The Martyr’s memorial was erected in 1903 following a campaign through The East Anglian Daily Times to provide a symbol to remember the protestant martyrs.  The Ipswich martyrs were a group of men and women put to death during Queen Mary’s reign for their refusal to recognise the Roman Catholic doctrines.  Many were burned at the stake.  There are nine martyrs named on the memorial, all of whom are mentioned in Foxe’s book of martyrs.  They were reported to have met their deaths with bravery and spirit.

A cenotaph dedicated to the men and women who fell in World War I was placed in Christchurch Park in 1924 joining the Boer War memorial erected in 1906.  Further features of the park include a fountain, an ice house and an Arts and Crafts shelter known as ‘The Bandstand’.  Prince Albert visited Christchurch Park in 1851, the same year that Mary Cage was hanged in Ipswich Gaol.

Christchurch Mansion, a red brick Tudor House, still houses the museum in which furniture, paintings, and pottery can be found.  Exhibits have a strong Suffolk theme with displays by John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough and cases of Lowestoft porcelain.

Nowadays Christchurch Park is a busy, family orientated area, ideal for indulging in outdoor pursuits, sports and the Arts.  The Park enjoys strong support from The Friends of Christchurch Park.

“Oh may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia.”

(Inscription on the memorial to the Ipswich Martyrs)

When Arnold met the rat……

At the end of the conversation, the rat stood on his haunches and shook Skyle’s hand, grinning a toothy grin.

 “Good to have met you” he squeaked and, looking backwards with a wink, he ran off into the night.

 Arnold glared at Skyle. “What nonsense have you cooked up with that egotistical rodent?” he asked.

Mothman