Sunday, 29 November 2015

WOW Toys Farm Yard Advent Calendar - Review

I've been looking for farm animals suitable for Bear to play with as he is now very good at doing grunting noises like pigs make and loves hearing the noises of the other animals. They all seem to be for 3+ years so when I first saw the WOW toys advent Farm Yard calendar I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.


picture of front of the advent calendar box


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Friday, 27 November 2015

10 Fun Christmas Party Food Ideas

I'm not a cook, I'm definitely not a baker so these are just some fun ideas from around the web. A lot of these fun Christmas party food ideas do not need any cooking skills so Merry Christmas and Happy Eating!

10 Fun Christmas Party Food Ideas

1. Christmas Hats from Sweet Simple Stuff 



10-Fun-Christmas-Party-Food-Ideas-3-marshmallows-covered-in-chocolate-look-like-Christmas -op-hats


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Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Cardiff Garden in November

November in Cardiff brings the threat of frost. It doesn't always arrive but a chill is in the air. The garden is starting to look unloved as we spend more time indoors and the days get shorter.

There are a few flowers refusing to give in to winter and a few that start their flowering now.

The seed heads, berries and hips give most of the colour and interest. A few of the plants are promising us a show later, like the camellias and pine tree.




Picture of purple aubretia through railings
Aubretia flowering through railings


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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

How to Keep Your Toddler Safe at Home

Accidents are the main cause of death in children under 5. Every year about 500,000 children under
the age of 5 go to hospital because of an accident in the home according to the NHS website.

There are some people who decide right at the beginning that they are not going to move things and are going to teach their baby not to touch certain things. Well good luck to you. After 3 weeks of Bear hitting the gas fire with anything he could find, because he liked the noise, I gave in and bought a fire guard even though we never have the fire on.

I only have Bear 3 days a week so some of my solutions are temporary, like the cover on the glass unit. If he lived with us I couldn't be bothered to put the board on and off all the time so I would move the unit or change the doors.


toddler in room with gate across doorway and board at glass furniture

The main causes of accidents of this age group are;


  • Lack of supervision
  • Falls
  • Fire
  • Choking
  • Burns and scalds
  • Poisoning
  • Drowning


So how do you keep your toddler safe at home?

1. Supervision


I know in a perfect world you would never take your eye off your toddler for a second but we all get distracted and we have to get on with caring for other children or cooking or other essential chores. We know we can't watch them 24 hours a day so make your home safe. Follow the advice below. Don't forget when in other peoples homes you will have to supervise. Assume their house will not be safe. Be especially careful with visitors handbags, many people keep all sorts of drugs and other dangerous things in them.


picture of gate in doorway


Have you thought about a playpen? Or use a gate on one room.



2. Falls


Toddlers are explorers, they will climb and at some point they will fall. We have to keep them safe and make sure that if they fall it is not from a height.

The greatest risks are;

Stairs. Use stairgates. One at the bottom and before they can escape their cot, one at the top.

Windows. Make sure all upstairs windows cannot be opened by toddlers.

Balcony's. If you have  a balcony keep the doors to it locked. Ensure any railings are intact and that a toddler cannot squeeze between them. Remember toddlers are like cats, they can squeeze between things that look too small!

TV's and Furniture. Toddlers have been killed by pulling heavy furniture including TV's onto them, Secure these to the walls.

Highchairs. Always use the harness to secure them, don't rely just on the tray.


3. Fire


If you have a fire buy a fireguard. Whatever one you like, I bought an old fashioned one from Mothercare. There are some really pretty ones too.

Smoke Alarm. Make sure you have them fitted and that they work. If you live in the UK you may be eligible for free smoke alarms from the fire service.

Matches etc Keep these out of reach, always!

picture of fire with guard

4. Choking/Suffocation


Blind cords. Shorten them with a cleet or tie them up high. Babies and toddlers die by being caught in the cords. It is possible to buy wands instead of cords and we have that in his bedroom.

Don't use cot bumpers or attach anything to the cot that a baby could get trapped in

Toys and small things. Keep small object including peanuts away from small children

Food. There have been reports recently of children choking on grapes and other small fruit. Be aware and cut them into quarters.

Nappy bags. Everyone knows that plastic bags are dangerous for children but so are nappy bags, keep these away and out of reach.


5. Burns and Scalds


If using an oven that the toddler can reach then keep them out of the kitchen. If that is not possible then confine them eg a playpen if the kitchen is big enough or their high chair.

We have a built in double oven that is quite high. We try to use only the top oven when Bear is with us as he cannot reach it...yet.

Always use saucepans on the hob with the handles facing away from the front.

Tea and coffee is always left at the back of the kitchen work surface or put onto the mantel piece until it is cooled, nothing with hot (or cold!) liquid in it is put within Bears reach. Our kettle is pushed to the back of the work surface too.


cup of fruit tea on mantelpiece

Bath. Fill with  cold water first, then add the hot. Children have been scalded by jumping into the bath before its ready. Always use a bath thermometer too.

Radiators can get very hot. Ensure those in play rooms have covers or are turned down.

6. Poisoning


We have cupboards in our bathroom and downstairs toilet where we keep all our nasty's eg bleach, limescale remover. At the moment Bear has no access to these cupboards. The door on the down stairs toilet when opened blocks the under sink cupboard but I know when he is older I will have to put locks on the doors or move the cleaners. There are purpose made locks and although I haven't tried it the Lindam xtra guard gets great reviews.

All our medicines are kept in a wall cupboard that he cannot reach.

It is so easy for children to poison themselves, especially toddlers who will not eat your lovingly prepared food but will drink bleach and eat toilet blocks. Make sure they are locked away or out of reach. Ensure that all spray cleaners are turned off and lids are securely replaced.

7. Drowning


A child can drown in just a couple of centimetres of water. Ensure ponds, pools etc are not accessible by children. Fence them off and if you can't them empty them.

8. Other dangers


Sockets


We do not use socket covers. They have been reported and tested as dangerous. We either have appliances plugged in or they are left just as they are. Bear has shown no interest in them at all. He does like light switches though.

Sleeping


Get a new mattress for every baby. A cot that conforms to safety standards. Do not use bumpers or give pillows and soft toys to babies in their cot. They do not need them.

Baby sleeping bags are great. Ensure they fit and are not too big. They keep babies warm without them overheating and they can't suffocate by pulling them over their head.


Obstructions


Toddlers heads are at table height. They seem to bang their head on anything and everything. We have moved things around a bit but  one thing we haven't moved is the table in the kitchen, it is in the correct place for meals but just where Bear can bang his head. We didn't want to stick anything to the furniture and ruin it so have just pushed pipe lagging on. I know as soon as he realises it can be easily removed it will be used as a weapon of mass destruction but until then!

table with pipe lagging on edge

Glass in furniture


We have Billy units from Ikea, they have safety glass that if broken will shatter into tiny squares (like a cars windscreen) but I still do not want Bear hitting it and breaking it or diving head first into it. We have put up hardboard. It suits us as it can be quickly removed and stored behind the door. You could use safety film but when I searched it had mixed reviews.


glass furniture with hardboard covering it

First Aid


Everyone caring for babies and small children should have a basic idea of what to do in the case of an accident. Do you know what to do if a child is choking, cut or burnt?

Please read up on this so you know what to do and don't have to look it up after the event.

Lots more advice at ROSPA.


What safety tips have I missed?


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Friday, 20 November 2015

Baby Clinic, Tots Club and MMR Side Effects

It's been a strange week. We had a few things planned, Berry Hill Farm on Monday to order our Christmas chicken. Baby clinic on Tuesday to get Bear weighed and measured. Tots club on Wednesday.

We started on Monday with the happiest, hungriest toddler ever and over the weekend he had given mummy and daddy their first kiss, on the nose (so cute!).

toddler sat on chair holding a sock
Bear sat patiently for me to take his photo and then put his sock on.

He was eating everything put in front of him not typical for Bear who is a fussy eater to say the least. He also handed back his fork and didn't throw it or food on the floor.

toddler in highchair happily stirring cup with spoon

He was so happy too. A little ray of sunshine. I really didn't want him to go home!

Then on Tuesday we were taking Bear to baby clinic to see the Health Visitor because we had failed to get to see her last week but the toddler that was brought to us was not the same one as yesterday. He wouldn't nap in the morning, he wouldn't eat or drink anything. Everything upset him and made him have a tantrum. Even his favourite cup and spoon only kept him happy for a minute.

toddler sat on floor with cup, spoon and pearl barley
Bears first encounter with pearl barley.


Bear wanted to go out but the weather was appalling. Rain and really windy, the tail end of storm Barney so going to the park was out. I put him in his all-in-one and wellies and went into the garden. He loved it! He loved the wind and rain but mostly stirring dirty water with a brush. It was the first time he had been happy all day.

toddler in snow suit smiling holding brush

After lunch we went to see the Health Visitor. 8 babies in front of us, oh no! I could have done without this as he was so grumpy.

toddler looking through glass balustrade

toddler holding one wellie and wearing the other
Bear likes to wear his wellies on his hands and feet

Grandad and I took it in turns to follow him around the waiting room. He walked over to one mummy and baby and picked up a blanket that they had dropped on the floor and gave it to the mummy! Then gave himself a round of applause. How cute is that?

Eventually it was our turn and I tried to put Bear down so he could be measured. Bear was not going to cooperate at all. He refused to wave, or clap or talk. He just screamed everytime I put him down, Nanny's boy. We thought he may be teething but we knew it was more than that. When he is well he only wants Grandad, when he's poorly he wants Nanny.

We managed to measure his length and weigh him. The Health Visitor was happy with everything so off we went. We decided that if he fell asleep in the car on the way home we'd carry on so he could nap. His eyes looked heavy and tired but he was fighting sleep so we drove around, after 25 minutes he was still wide awake so we headed for home. Just as we were almost home he fell asleep. So another 30 minute drive around the lanes of North Cardiff.

They are lovely lanes, through a couple of small villages and quiet although this day they were full of flood water and debris from the trees blown down in the bad winds. So over a few pot holes and some Daktari* driving we got home.

On Wednesday Bear was so poorly! He was so hot although Mummy had taken his temperature and it was normal. We thought we'd wait and see what he was like after his breakfast but it was soon obvious he was ill and Mummy text me to ask me to give him Calpol. We only give Calpol when he really needs it and after about 40 minutes his temperature started to come down. He didn't eat breakfast but went to sleep for his morning nap quite easily.

I talk to Mummy via email and while he was napping she suggested it may have something to do with his jabs. I checked the piece of paper the nurse gave us last week, rash, lumps in throat and groins...mm so I googled it.

The NHS website stated;

About a week to 11 days after the MMR injection, some children get a very mild form of measles. This includes a rash, high temperature, loss of appetite and a general feeling of being unwell for about two or three days.

Definitely MMR side effects.

We decided to go to tots club anyway because he wasn't infectious. He hasn't been for ages because we would rather be outside but now the winter is here we are going each week.


Toddler playing with toy saucepan and fries

We turned up an hour late, I'd got the times wrong. Silly me. So we only had 20 minutes but Bear loved it!

Toddler playing with toy saucepan and concentrating hard

Toddler holding toy saucepan and fries and crouching
Bear loved the saucepan and fries!

So a mixed week, from perfect toddler to unhappy sad toddler. I know his jabs are important but I wish they didn't make him feel so bad. Lets hope next week he's full of beans again!

Did your little one have any side effects from their jabs?


*Daktari. Very, very old TV series set in Africa and at the beginning of every episode the Jeep drives through flood water very fast so it sprays up really high on both sides.


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Monday, 16 November 2015

5 Lies We Should Tell Our Children

5 Lies We Should Tell Our Children 

Surely telling lies is bad? I'm not talking about white lies or malicious lies, I'm talking about lies that are good for our children. Fantasy. Magic. Stories. 

Some of the most precious moments in childhood are those filled with wonder and belief. I think it's harder in this day and age of the internet and 24 hour TV but I think it's a duty of all parents and grandparents to lie to their children.

Bear is only 11 months old but I have already started to lie to him. Here is my list of lies I will tell Bear before he is too old.

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Best Christmas Jumpers Ever

Everyone loves a Christmas jumper don't they? Here'a a selection I love. Available now.


BABY



red with fairisle sleeves, reindeer with red nose
George at Asda  0-12 months £7*
pink with reindeer and pink nose
Peacocks 0-24 Months £8*





TODDLER



white with reindeer and big red nose
Mothercare light up! 6 months -7 years £13 -£15* reduced size 2-3 years £10
white fluffy with reindeer and fluffy red nose
Matalan 12 months - 5 years £12*
blue with just legs of Santa down chimney and writing Ho Ho Ho
Tesco Boys 3 months - 6 years £10-£12



BOY'S AND GIRL'S



blue with Santa wearing red fairisle sun glasses
Next Boys 3-16 years £14-£19
Blue and white with penguin skiing down hill
Peacocks Boys 7-14 years £10-£14*
red with snowman wearing sun glasses and written just chillin
Tesco Boys 5-14 years £10-£13*



I know it's a sweatshirt but it's got Elsa on it!

Elsa print on sweatshirt
George at Asda Sweatshirt 9-10 years (other sizes sold out) £9*
Fairisle cardigan with puddings
Next Girls 3-16 years £18-23
White with snowman and pom poms
John Lewis Girls 2-12 years £20-£22*


HIS



Blue fairisle jumper
ASOS men £38 Now £26.50


Grey with red Micky Mouse made out of stars
Disney Store Mens £29.95 Now reduced £14.97
Black jumper with grinning Christma baubles
Peacocks Mens £24*



HERS



Black jumper with white dots and Christmas trees
George at Asda £14*
Cream Jumper with This Girl Loves Christmas written on it
New Look Ladies £14.99
green jumper with Micky Mouse on it
Peacocks Ladies reduced! £10

*OH NO! As at 12th December 10 of the best Christmas jumpers are out of stock!! Next year remember to buy early. Merry Christmas

What is your favourite Christmas jumper?



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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Parents Guide on How to Survive Housework

Unless you can afford paid help, all parents have the same problem. How to keep the house looking presentable when there just is not enough time in the day. It leads to guilt. If you go out and have fun with the children you feel guilty that the house is a mess, if you stay in to clean you feel guilty that you should be out!

Unfortunately unless you have paid help you will have to do housework.
Remember you have to accept that at some point your house will be messy, people live there. Allow the children to help and accept that it won't be perfect. Perfect is for magazines.

Do housework in 10 minute bursts. Having children is exhausting so don't try to do it all in one go. 

Here are a few tips to make it all less daunting and to help you survive housework.


Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.                William Morris


1. Declutter


Before you try to organise anything declutter. It is so much easier to keep things tidy if there is not so much of it. Be ruthless, it really makes such a huge difference. 
Start with one room, the living room. Declutter and remove everything that does not belong here. At this point it is OK to collect it up in a box and put it in another room to be sorted later. Coffee table full of junk? Get rid of it, it will always be full of junk. Get this room sorted first even whilst chaos is elsewhere. You will have somewhere to invite friends and somewhere for you to relax.
The children can still play and make a mess but must tidy up at the end of the day.

Second room, your bedroom. Declutter and remove everything that doesn't belong in this room. Now you have somewhere to sit and somewhere to sleep in peace.

Once these are done declutter the rest of the house. Keep this up, when you have finished then start again with the living room.

2. Plan


Have a plan. Assign a task for each day of the week (dusting, vacuuming) and take no longer than 20 minutes on it. Can't do all the task in 20 minutes? Then next week start in a room you didn't get to last week. Dusting once a fortnight is so much better than not dusting at all. 

Get the children to help, little ones love to help dust and tidy, older ones will need a bribe. A bribe could be doing something together once the task is complete.


3. A Place For Everything


Once you have decluttered then make sure everything has a place.

A playroom is a luxury that not everyone has but anyone can have toy boxes. Too many toys for toy boxes? Then put some away. Children get bored with their toys and if they are all always out there's nothing new. Put half away and every now and again swap them.

A place for everything but not for unopened mail. It will just build up. As soon as it is delivered throw out/recycle the junk mail. Open letters and read them, recycle the envelopes. Have a filing system for read and completed mail.

Have storage boxes everywhere. Under the sink, in the bathroom, under the bed, in the bottom of cupboards and wardrobes. It is so much easier to put things into a box than having it loose on a shelf.

4. Equipment


Have the cleaning equipment easily available. Keep basic stuff in the bathroom too. Keep a supply of disposable multi-surface wipes. If you have to come down stairs for a cloth to wipe that mark it won't happen.

Have lots of micro cloths, they are cheap, they can be washed in the machine and dry quickly. Have them in the kitchen and bathroom.


5. Dishes


Get a dishwasher. I would give up any luxury for a dishwasher. It is the number one thing that really does reduce the amount of work. If you can't have a dishwasher then put dirty pans into hot soapy water to soak while you are eating and then wash dishes straight away, don't let it build up. Little and often.

Got a dishwasher but there's always dishes everywhere?

a)  Empty the dishwasher EVERY morning. First thing. Then fill it as the day goes on and put it on after the last meal of the day.

b) Only buy dishwasher proof stuff, anything you already own that has to washed by hand should be put away.

c) Do not wash stuff before you put it in the dishwasher (what's the point of that?) just scrape bits off first.

6. Washing


Have a dirty wash basket where clothes are removed. It won't get used if it's in the wrong place. 

Tell teenagers that you will only wash clothes that are in the basket. If you find them elsewhere just pick them up and put them in their bed. Yes IN their bed. This keeps their room looking tidy and it doesn't take long for them to comply.

Do a load every day. Then you only have a small amount of washing to deal with.

Take clothes straight out of the machine as soon as its finished so it doesn't get more creased. If you have one, put it straight into the tumble dryer and as soon as its dry take it out and fold it. It has to be done anyway and by doing it straight away it saves on ironing.

7. Batch Cook


When cooking make double the quantity of freezable food, Bolognese sauce, chilli, casseroles etc and freeze half. Then you always have a healthy delicious meal available and only one lot of pans to wash.

Use a slow cooker, so much can be cooked in it without too much effort. Put it on low in the morning and a meal will be ready for supper.

8. Eating


Only allow meals where you have a table. Everyone sits at the table to eat. Children are not allowed to eat in the living room. No meals on trays or crisps or biscuits. Snacks get spilt and crushed into the carpet which then needs to be vacuumed. Greasy hands touch walls and the TV which then need cleaning and so on.

Think that's harsh? Try it for a week and see how much better it is.

9. Multitask


Yes everyone can multitask! 

While you are supervising the children in the bath clean the toilet or sink or declutter the bathroom cabinet. After they get out give the bath a spray and then rinse. Bathroom done.

After having a shower rinse the tiles and spray with shower sparkle spray.

While waiting for the kettle to boil wipe the microwave/worksurface.

When checking the fridge for the shopping list throw out old vegetables and food.

Put pans, chopping boards etc into hot soapy water to soak while you eat.

Collect rubbish as you tidy up or clean. Take an empty plastic bag with you, put the rubbish you find in the bag then throw the whole thing away.

Drink wine while watching TV. (Just checking that you're paying attention!)


These are my tips, I'd love to know what you do to survive housework.




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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Wonderful Wellies and Horrible Jabs

Bear has grown out of his first pair of shoes and mummy and daddy can't get to the shops until the weekend so Bear was stuck indoors with slippers. Bear likes to go out. He loves the park so on Monday we went to our nearest supermarket (Asda) to buy wellies. Bear was really lucky, only one pair left in size 4, lots and lots in size 5 and bigger. Bear was happy though, he loved them.


toddler in shopping trolley wearing his wonderful wellies

Wellies were meant to be a stop gap, just something to keep his feet dry and let him walk in the park while he waited for new shoes. Bear wasn't told this. He thinks they are the best thing ever.

He wants them on all the time. He picks them up and points to the door. He chews them (uggh!).

He shouts into them. He puts toys in them. He loves them. Wonderful Wellies.

toddler in park wearing his wonderful wellies

toddler cahsing ducks wearing his wonderful wellies

toddler splashing in puddle wearing his wonderful wellies
Bears first puddle to splash in


toddler wearing his wonderful wellies in the dining room


Then on Tuesday we had to go to the doctors for his horrible jabs. This meant bringing all his meals and naps forward a little and his mummy taking time off from work.

He must have known we were going somewhere because in the afternoon he took his nap early and slept.....and slept.....and slept! Oh No! Why today now we have to wake him up! So we were just a little later getting to the surgery than we would have liked.

Mummy wanted to see the health visitor too but after waiting ages the queue didn't go down so we gave up and went to see the nurse for our appointment for his jabs. She was running late and we waited another half an hour! We should have waited for the HV, if only we had known.

Eventually we were called, oh my heart sank. I know it's important but we spend our whole lives protecting him from nasty things and pain and here we were taking him to be hurt by not just one but 3 sharp needles.

There was only one chair next to the nurse so I moved one closer for me. Nurse Ratched then told us in 10 seconds flat what he was having and how it would affect him. Seriously, I'm a nurse and couldn't keep up with what she said

"You know why you're here today he's having 3 injections nmmcocl mmr mmmhib booster. He may get mghm, spots, mxptm, grumpy, mghjm. 7- 10 days, tonight" 

It sounded something like that.

"Do you have any questions?" she asked

"Could you write that down please. I didn't catch any of it" I replied

"mmfght hmpht" she replied as she huffed and puffed trying to get a piece of paper out of the printer to write on.

Don't they have this in a leaflet nowadays?* Why not I wonder? She then asked us to move to another part of the room and for mummy to sit on the chair with Bear.

"There was a chair there" she said looking straight at me "but you moved it!"

"Yes I did" I smiled as I put my chair back.

Nurse held Bears legs, mummy held his arms. I stood impotent and useless. One injection, fast but painless. Second....screams. Next leg one injection more screams, cuddles from mummy.

"You must wait 10 minutes before you leave" nurse said as we went out the door feeling shell shocked. She didn't explain why.

Grandad was waiting for us, he took Bear and distracted him by looking out the window at cars. Well done Grandad. Mummy then took Bear to put his trousers and wellies on, Bear wasn't happy with that and screamed again. Only Grandad was allowed to do it.

So a small piece of advice (wish we'd thought of it before) If you are taking someone to support you when your little one has their jabs, let them be the one to hold them. As soon as the jabs are done, hand over to the mummy/daddy. That way you are Mr Nasty.

No more horrible jabs until Bear is 3 years and 4 months!

Toddler laughing whilst stood on park bench

Oh and he still loves his wonderful wellies.


* Information about all the vaccinations is available on the NHS website. It lists all side effects too.









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My Cousin - First President of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club

I have always known I was related to the founder of Tottenham Hotspur's. 

My father told me. 

He is 85 and has supported Tottenham all his life. He didn't know who in his family it was, just that it was a "Ripsher". 

He also told me that Tottenham started out as a cricket team. When I began researching my family tree this was someone I had to learn more about.

After a lot of research I found John Ripsher. He was born in London in 1840 and was the third son of Henry Ripsher, a railway clerk. 

He was my 1st cousin 5 times removed (that is the number of generations between us) my dad is therefore 4 times removed.


John was the bible class teacher at All Hallows Church, Tottenham’s parish church. The local boys had formed a cricket team that kept them out of trouble in the summer but had nothing to do in the winter so in 1882 they decided to form a football team and played on Tottenham marshes. 

They were frequently bullied and had no money for kit or footballs so they asked John to help them.

They called the team Tottenham Hotspur after Sir Henry Percy, known as Hotspur for his valour and courage in battle. The Percy family owned land in Tottenham.

From what I've read John was very strict and expected good behaviour and fairness from the boys. In return he stood by them when they got drunk or played cards in church. He nurtured and coached them. He found them changing rooms and a hut for their HQ. He provided them with footballs.

They soon returned his kindness with respect.

Tottenham Hotspur won their first game 9 goals to nil. They were so successful that by the end of their first season they had a reserve team as well as their first team.

John Ripsher was their elected president for 11 years. The club was known for it's fairplay and sportmanship, it was said to be down to John's leadership.

John left Tottenham in 1894 to live with his sister in Dover. His fortunes declined along with his health. He had heart problems and ended up blind and penniless. He died in the workhouse on 24th September 1907, he was 67. He was buried in an unmarked paupers grave.

Peter Lupson found his grave and with Tottenham Hotspurs and their fans support a headstone was purchased and erected in Dover for John.



I too have always been a supporter of the best football club ever...Tottenham! 

Thankyou cousin.




Photo's with kind permission of JS contributor to www.findagrave.com




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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Battle of Crete

Last week I wrote about Mick the Amazing WWI Dog, this week I have a story about his master's son. I thought this would be appropriate in Battle of Britain week.


Black and white photo of a young man
Charles David Ripsher

Charles David Ripsher was born on 30th June 1914, the second of three children. This was just 2 days after the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife which sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War. Probably not the best time to be born the son of a military man. 
Charles, his parents and 2 sisters survived the war and moved to Glasgow.

Charles David Ripsher was a fighter pilot in WWII.  He joined 33 squadron at Maleme, Crete on 13th May 1941 with another pilot Sergeant Glawil Reynish. The squadron had taken heavy loses and when Germany attacked the airfield on the morning of 15th May they had only 3 working Hurricane aircraft. The two new pilots were scrambled, quickly followed by the third, Squadron Leader Howells. 

A fierce air battle ensued and aircraft were seen falling in flames into the sea. They were attacked by Messerschmitts and the first to be shot down was Sergeant Reynish. He managed to bale out over the sea and was eventually rescued by Cretan fisherman and returned to the airfield at Maleme to the delight of all who thought he had died.

Sergeant Ripsher had run out of ammunition and so returned to the airfield to land with two enemy aircraft on his tail. He sadly was shot down and killed by allied Bofor guns. He was 26 years old.

Squadron Leader Howells managed to land at another airfield. He too had run out of ammunition and was at first presumed dead but refuelled and managed to get back to Maleme.

The fighting continued but the battle was lost and on the 19th May the survivors took off for Egypt. On 20th May Germany launched an airborne invasion and the Battle of Crete began. Germany suffered many losses but eventually occupied Crete.

When retelling the story Squadron Leader Howells said that they had buried Charles Ripsher the next day (16th May 1941) in a little cemetery by Galatas a few miles down the road from Maleme airfield. 

This led me to a holiday in Crete and a journey to find his grave.

We went to Galatas in Crete to see if there was any evidence of his grave.

George Bikoyiannakis, a friendly Cretan, runs the museum and taverna Plateia in Galatas. When we told him the purpose of our visit he drove us to the little cemetery just down the road.


Photo of  a doorway with Museum written above it
Museum at Galatas


picture of taverna Plateia in Galatas, Crete
George's taverna "Plateia" in Galatas, Crete

picture of cemetery with man and woman walking
George and me in the cemetery

 We spent about an hour at the cemetery with George. He read every grave and translated them all for us. Sadly there was no evidence of any military graves and we did not find Charles.


George explained that the priest at the time, despite the danger of retribution by the Nazi's, had buried all the allied dead together in graves according to their nationality.

At the end of the war their remains were removed to the official cemeteries at Souda Bay, except the few that were buried at the monument for the unknown soldier.



Blue sign on white wall in greek Plateia 21st May 1940
Plateia, "Town Square" 21st May 1941




There is a monument to the unknown soldier at Galatas. They buried one of each force, of each allied country. British, Australian, New Zealand and Greek.



picture of monument in Plateia, Galatas, Crete with 4 flag poles, one for each nationality.
Monument to the unknown soldier. Galatas, Crete.




plaque on monument dedicated to those who gave their lives.
Plaque on the monument to those who gave their lives



Therefore, my cousin, Charles David Ripsher may be buried in Souda Bay or under the memorial in Galatas.

Either way he is in an unknown soldier grave in Crete, or possibly still in the little cemetery above Galatas.



view from the cemetery with graves in foreground and Galatas beyond
View from the cemetery towards Galatas


Unmarked and peaceful.





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