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As Time Goes By: First Year Of 21st Century

...I found that I was able to trace farther back to the Coans in the fifteen hundreds in Suffolk including yeomen, thatchers, cordwainers and a travelling showman connected to Chipperfields Circus...

Eileen Perrin tells of researching her family history in this latest episode of her autobiography.

January 2001 measured twenty years since I had formed the Coan Family
and Associates Society – COFAMS, started soon after I began my research
into my father’s family of the Coans, seeking my ancestors. In that time I
had found my great grandfather John Tyrrell Coan, born 1792, who had
served in the Light Dragoons in Cawnpore in India for sixteen years, before
being discharged to Norwich as a Chelsea ‘out’ pensioner in 1826.

He had a large family and I began finding relatives I had known nothing of.
I started a quarterly newsletter entitled ‘LINES’ which were sent to them
all, as they joined Cofams. They were mainly in England, but also in
Scotland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

It had become my life-long interest, and I found that I was able to trace
farther back to the Coans in the fifteen hundreds in Suffolk including
yeomen, thatchers, cordwainers and a travelling showman connected to
Chipperfields Circus.

In June 2001 we had a two-centre holiday in Spain. The first week we were
in a small hotel in the Pyreneean town of Llivia in Catalonia, and enjoyed
several excursions over the border to Foix and Eus in the French Pyrenees,
to Four Solaire at 1800 metres, a centre for scientific research. Also we
went to Villefranche, and the ski resort at Nuria with a marvellous
mountain-top background. One day we into the tiny mountain town of
Andorra, which seemed to consist of one steep shop-lined street.

For the second week we were taken by coach through the Catalan Pyrenees
of northern Spain to Barcelona, calling at Ripoli monastery on the way.
Barcelona was a wonderful city and sea port. There was so much to see,
with the street market, the Picasso museum, the aquarium and a bus trip
up to the hills above the town, where Les discovered that his wallet has
been stolen from his shoulder bag, so we had to ring the Hotel St.Moritz to
cancel and replace the plastic keycard to our room.

It was a short walk from our hotel to the decorative buildings designed by
Gaudi, and then to go round his unfinished cathedral La Sagrada Familla
which was mind-blowing with its intricate detailed carving on and around
the entrance doors, and to look up at the flower-topped ceiling above the
pillars inside.

In July my second cousin Geoff Brooker and his wife Lynda came to see us
on their way from their home in Ontario, Canada to a holiday in Europe.

Geoff was the son of my lovely cousin Rosie Black, daughter of my Auntie
Flo – Mum’s sister. Rosie died quite young.

Geoff ran a small farm and they had a large family most of them now
grown up: the eldest girl was in the Canadian Mounted Police.

Before we went away again we had the front garden covered over with
crazy paving, leaving a narrow strip at one side for a few plants and
shrubs. We no longer had the bit of grass to keep mown, and had room for
another car to park.

By August we had decided on a holiday in Herefordshire and we stayed at
Holme Lacey, a stately home with grounds leading down to a lake with
water-lilies and a resident heron.

We called at Tewkesbury Abbey on the way down, visiting the town of
Leominster during our stay, and to Hereford cathedral with its ancient
Mappa Mundi on display. We looked round Cheltenham Spa on the way
back home; its lovely town centre, rich with large flower beds and flower
baskets on every lamp post.

On the 21st of November Les and I went to St. Albans Abbey to attend a
ceremony for the presentation of degrees, where our daughter Cathy was
awarded her degree in Human Resources Management with Industrial
Relations. Her partner Graham was also with us and took photos of us
proud parents with Cathy.

That Christmas we went to Val’s in Dry Drayton, outside Cambridge, and
our daughter-in-law Anne Marie’s brother Jean-Ives, wife Lilianne and
grown-up children Maude and Christophe were there from Arlon in
Belgium, to join in the festivities. Cathy and her four children also came on
the Boxing Day, the 26th December.


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