processing ancestry

She visited family she’d felt divorced from (- a no fault divorce – ) at 25 – when her father had died – 40 years before –

and it was deeply unsettling – to be staying with relatives – after a 40 year absence and feeling as if they were intent on reclaiming her and asking that she revisit choices she should not have made before, aged 25 or 18 even, to show her (because there is a surety about them she lacks) who she should have been; she unravelled

feeling as if playing the part of someone else – the celebrity of the day – in ‘who do you think you are’ – a reality tv show which uncovers celebrities’ ancestral origins – meeting masses of people who she was connected to now and had family trees in files – showing her that she – a fictional character – she is written there and connected with them too – it seems so ‘real’ although it still feels like the part she’d agreed to play on a tv show / she identifies –

– after a while she jokes about being her father’s illegitimate secret – since being the female child of his second marriage – much younger than her half siblings – and somehow divorced 40 years ago from the family by mistake – on her father’s death – she might as well be-

– and yet they were reclaiming her – but claiming a complex poverty – making clear she would inherit the privilege of having a history achieved without or, she felt they implied, despite her –

– they were showing her records, graves of 6 young males with her father’s name engraved in stone – who had died tragically as so many of the revisited relatives had reaching right back in records to 1066; fires, pestilence, electrical experimentation, flook, ship-wreck, dreadful misjudged acts of revenge and acrimonious tom foolery – by today’s standards most ancestral males cited would have won the Darwin Awards for ridiculous untimely deaths.

– stories were related while walking her round the ground ancestors hunted – losing track of a sense of dates – as the eldest youngest, theirs, on some form of line she’s on, is still doing today – hunting – mastering hunts – hounds – hedges

– telling her about the land – how it works – what might be done but can’t because of inheritance tax or cost per acre and profit – numbers of employees not needed because of machines – the price of the same and life expectancies of people, stuff, yield, ones own fabric- regulations and how some are good some not – how joints in bodies wear thin and the cost of hospitalisation – or not / and others who sadly had lost – are gone – forever or out of their minds, got cancer and struggle on or don’t – as it is – so it is – just as the badgers are evidence

– imbalance has caused TB – there’s relief in being certified ‘free’ – tea at balmoral – a chat on the train, banter round the sink – as the girls stuff garlic into the lamb – served pink – grown alongside the mint, potatoes scrubbed in the kitchen sink still warm from the earth, the jelly and wonderful veg ripped from the ground just seconds ago – and seventeen thousand home grown puds – rare beef in passing for picnics tomorrow, also home grown – lamb too although we’re all ravenous, what does one do with

the first of the season, this year too, raspberries don’t taste very nice and the dear female vicar who’s gay as well which doesn’t go down terribly well didn’t mention those people – imagine – forgot – to say that they and we must pray – for all those stranded in one bedroomed flats in London, people without so much as a balcony, in her first sermon – so inevitably – she’d be sent packing – back to Coventry –

– and then a man came to one of the meals – he cuts his lawn every day but the edges only twice a week because it’s 2 acres you see – the edge is a long long way – he mows one acre one day – the other the next – half of each – each day alternately – on a sit on mower, the other walking behind his push Atco / and he’s joined the old lawnmower club / but still as he says, he’s still fat – so walking isn’t as good as they say.

He said that , ‘we’re living a well kept secret – we keep – living in 1956. Stories are good, aren’t they?’

processing an ancestry born of a family tree.

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