Today, 24 May 2019, we called on one of my Cavenagh cousins. She and her husband live in a beautiful house near Heathfield in East Sussex with their two delightful Springer Spaniels. She very kindly treated us to lunch, which included delicious fresh juice pressed from their own apples and some lovely shortbread. It was a sunny day; we ate on the terrace, with marvellous views over the Sussex countryside.
My cousin and I are related through the Cavenagh family. Her grandfather, Wentworth Odiarne Cavenagh (1856 – 1935) was an accomplished family historian. His father was Orfeur Cavenagh (1820 – 1891), an army general and former Governor of the Straits Settlement,now known as Singapore. When we were there we walked down to look at the bridge across the Singapore River named in Orfeur Cavenagh’s honour. W.O. Cavenagh was a first cousin of my great grandmother Kathleen Cudmore née Cavenagh (1874 – 1951).
W.O. Cavenagh’s family history endeavours included beautiful heraldry, neat handwriting and he documented his sources. I really need to study the photographs I took and explore the Cavenagh branch of my family history further.
After lunch we visited Rudyard Kipling’s home ‘Bateman’s‘, about fifteen miles south of Royal Tunbridge Wells. It was a short visit. He was 5’4”, only half an inch taller than me. His wife was 4’8”, and they had to have their dining room chairs put on blocks. My daughter Charlotte confided to her diary that “It was a much cosier place than some of the grand houses we went to. I liked his library / writing room. I was surprised that many of the guides did not like Rudyard Kipling’s writing but were more fans of the house and the history.”
In the evening Greg and I went for a stroll around Lewes where we were staying in East Sussex. Looking back through the photos I took, I’ve just come across one of a book in a shop window with the title “Five on Brexit Island”, one of a satirical series making fun of present-day fads, especially corporate fads. It is striking how the coronavirus plague has pushed so much of what we took to be ‘present-day’ so quickly into the past. When did anyone last hear about Brexitor the Hong Kong democracy protests?
In a supermarket we bought some Abernethy biscuits. These reminded me of our trip to Scotland. My Taylor and Hutcheson forebears lived in Abernethy, near Perth.