Monday, 12 September 2011
Bird Cloud (cont)
Bird Cloud page 15: ..'we tried to visit our mother, Lois Gill Proulx, once a month. She had been ill for years with bronchiectasis, an uncommon degenerative lung disease which she fought with exercises diet, medication and willpower. Frequent bouts of pneumonia and colitis attacks lurked as accompanists'. Wow. Me too. Bronchiectasis, pneumonia etc. Perhaps a link will be discovered one day between women who write books, build houses in remote rural places and suffer from lung diseases. I have a feeling I am going to like this book. Proulx, who came from partly French-Canadian stock, is going into how she searched for her family history, with help from a professional genealogist. This is something my sister and I embarked on some years ago, and which she has pursued with more tenacity than me. Our father used to tease us when we asked him about his family by saying that we came from 'a long line of horse thieves'. We wondered if that meant travellers, or maybe being Irish. So far the ancestors on his father's side seem to have been cab drivers in London, a perfectly respectable calling and maybe that's where horses came in. It was our great grandmother who catches the eye, who had six or seven children with grandpa without going through any form of marriage, then bolted to live with another man who we believed was David (the African missionary)Livingstone's brother. Sadly, the rumoured connection does not seem to survive close scrutiny. Like many a 'bolter' before her, far from coming to a sticky end, she seems to have had a terrific life. It is exceptionally windy in Moffat today, as we catch the tail end of Hurricane Katia. A branch came off one of the old birch trees on the mill leat just across the road, and last night an extraordinary number of house martins flew round and round outside my window, as if bringing warning of the storm to come.