Tuesday, December 11, 2012

(273) Further familial interests in Bedford

Further to Entry 272, on December 3rd 2012 I uploaded some of the details of Entry 272 to my Facebook page and added the link to the interview with Hitchens.

It prompted these comments -, wherein a lady whom I had never met, Angela Radice, discovers that a hotel in a street we mentioned was once her husband´s family home.

Jackie Barclay Bates Bonham I know you like this synchronicity thing James so if it's of any consequence, my dad was in the Navy when he met my mum, a Wren. 

Angela Radice My father-in-law was in the army and went to see one of his men in a military hospital. He admired a nurse who was looking after him and discovered that she lived nearby him at home in Bedford. He married her.

H. James Plaskett ... and my mum lives in Bedford. My dad died there. Okay: your turn now.
Angela Radice My first husband was born in Bedford. When he had a stroke, it was the first word he managed to say. He never quite managed to say Angela again but he called me Gretel which was quite nice really. I even received junk mail addressed to Gretel Radice which had it 's own charm.
H. James Plaskett ...er? I´ll come up with some coincidental rejoinder.
Angela Radice Not Shakespeare Road, by any chance?
H. James Plaskett YES!!!
Angela Radice My
H. James Plaskett YOU supplied the coincidental rejoinder as I was typing the above!!
Angela Radice Shakespeare Road?
H. James Plaskett I lived there, in a flat, in 1989. Yes. 

(see Entry 48 -)
Angela Radice Blimey. I also went to a wedding reception in Shakespeare Road in the '80s. My eldest brother married a girl whose parents were living in Bedford at the time. My father-in-law's Father-inlaw was a vicar at St Paul's Bedford.
H. James Plaskett The reception, I take it, would have been held at a hotel? I am trying to recall the name of that hotel...
Angela Radice The Shakespeare Hotel

I then continued the chat with Angela Radice via private messaging -

H. James Plaskett You said something about looking up somebody´s address in Shakespeare Road, number 27, and discovering that to have been the address of the hotel.Angela Radice

H. James Plaskett Did you live in Shakespeare Road, then?
Angela Radice
No, my husband did at one time. He was born in Goldington Avenue or something like that. The first time I went to Bedford was for my brother 's wedding. I was not aware of my husband's connection with Shakespeare Avenue until then.
Shakespeare Road

H. James Plaskettdid he live in a flat or house there ?
Angela Radice
I think it was a house. His parents, three sons and a live- in help . I will have a look in the archive for the address.

H. James Plaskett Gracias. I think the address of my flat was fifty-something...

Angela Radice
Right. Are you ready for this? I fished out a book written by my father -in-law which says that the house in Shakespeare Road was number 27. So I googled 27 Shakespeare Road and it is the hotel where my brother's wedding reception was held.
Angela Radice

Yes. My father-in-law wrote that the first house the Radices lived in in Bedford was 27 Shakespeare Road. I googled that house and it is the Shakespeare Hotel where my brother's wedding reception was held. I believe that one of my father-in-law's brothers kept the house on. They were a large family and would have clubbed together quite a bit and shared accommodation. I have the address 57 Goldington Avenue on Henry's birth certificate which could be his mother's parents' house. In which case it may have been a vicarage. I will do some more ferreting about. At some point they left Bedford and went to live in Switzerland.

What was the book?

Angela Radice
It is a privately published tome called The Radice Family.

H. James Plaskett

and the family home was converted into the Shakespeare Hotel?

Angela Radice

H. James Plaskett

But you´re neither from Bedford nor have ever lived there?

Angela Radice

No, I have only ever spent one night there which was after my brother's wedding when I slept at the Shakespeare Hotel. My father in law moved to Bedford from Naples and went to Bedford School. He met 

his wife abroad and realised that he sort of knew her already as she lived in Bedford. After they married they settled in Bedford where they stayed until a job took them to Berne. My husband was living in Cheltenham when I met him.
H. James Plaskett


u asked about my mum

no, she does not live in Shakespeare Road but a couple of miles away

Are you saying then

that your brother arranged his wedding reception for a hotel in Bedford

not realising it was his old family home?

No. My brother is not a Radice. He married a girl from Canada whose parents were living in Bedford. They arranged the wedding. Church service, marquee in their garden then an evening disco thing at the Shakespeare Hotel. I only found out yesterday that the Shakespeare Hotel was formerly the Radice family home.

This, then, is ramifying into a remakable melange of coincidence

Need to intrude further. He is your half-brother then, perhaps?
Or what, may I ask, was your maiden name?

No. I have four brothers. No half brothers. I have been married twice. The first time to Henry Radice whose family lived at one time at 27 Shakespeare Road. I can't remeber how we got onto Bedford now.

it´s an example of Synchroncity´s self-referring tendency



the tendency of coincidences to spawn coincidences since all of this stemmed from

my posting the Christopher Hitchens Scapa Flow example here

Sunday, December 02, 2012

(272) Naval family interests at Scapa Flow

At 23:32 December 2nd 2012, I was at about 6:50 into this enormously long In Depth interview with Christopher Hitchens
I had never listened to it before although I had listened to many other Youtube clips with him.
I had just turned to Wikipedia to look up Scapa Flow. 
I was moved to do this - I had never consulted that Wikipedia page before - because he had just referred to his father being a career Naval Officer who had grown up in Portsmouth and gone straight from school into the Navy.
My maternal grandfather had also grown up in Portsmouth, where he was born, and gone straight from school into the Navy. He had served in both World Wars. I had heard from some family member that he was a signalman in the First and had re-enlisted after his desertion when the King issued a King´s Pardon for all deserted signalmen after the war had started, such was the demand for them.
Desertion was a capital offence and for some years grandad had been on the run going under an assumed name of ´Arthur Ingram´, which was actually that of one of his brothers.
I was moved to consider my mother´s father´s career in the Navy where, I understood, he had in fact mutinied just before the 1st World War at Scapa Flow.
I knew not enough about it and my mother had mentioned to me that he was not such a bad stick as the entire Navy had mutinied.
I think, some years earlier, I had half-heartedly looked up something somewhere about this mutiny.
So I typed Scapa Flow into Google and the Wikipedia page came up.
It was a page giving several entries under the umbrella heading of Scapa Flow, yet none was about the mutiny per se.
So I turned to the first one, this page - 
- even though it is not about the mutiny.
The Youtube clip then reached a point where Hitchens, who had just mentioned that his father had gone around the world was and that his mother was a Jewish immigrant was asked by interviewer Peter Slen where his parents had met.
He replied "In the Navy. She was a WREN. And they met, I think, in fact I´m sure, at Scapa Flow..."
...   ...   ...
To set matters straight, said mutiny was almost certainly the one in 1931 at Invergordon when 1,000 or so sailors mutined for a couple of days.
And all the stuff about desertion and King´s pardons sounds highly implausible...