14 days ago
The portrait below was one my father owned. On his demise I picked it up as nobody else wanted it. The writing in the top left-hand corner says that it is James Bertie, the 1st Earl of Abingdon, a man who lived from 1653-99 and was a fairly important figure in 17th century politics. But was this a genuine portrait and how did it come into our possession?
883 days ago
It was in the small town of Zitsa that Lord Byron sheltered from a thunderstorm when riding with his friend Cam Hobhouse in 1809. Poems from that episode duly followed. My Aunt L, to whom I chatted today from Delphi on Cochrane matters, married a Hobhouse but it was not that 1809 sheltering or Byron that took myself and Joshua to Zitsa yesterday.
1005 days ago
Almost finally, in the small selection of photos uncovered by cousin John Stafford and found in the papers of Sir John Winnifrith is one of the woman at the heart of the mystery, Edith Maude Winnifrith. This shot is from 1899 when she would have been c24. Now look at the nose and chin.
1013 days ago
Among those things I collected from the house of my late father in Shipston yesterday were some ancient photo albums and several boxes of family papers and documents. I have started reading but these things almost make me tearful.
2204 days ago
My father's mother Lesbia Winnifrith (nee Cochrane) was noted for many things, not least foir me being - as are all Cochranes - a great Hellenophile. Playing rugby with the boys at the Dragon School, being pretty useful at cricket and also the undisputedly best player of mass family games of Racing Demon were some of those things I remember. There is a story from the war, involving travel from when my father, aged three, returned from evacuation in Westmoreland.
2247 days ago
170 years ago my Church of Ireland forebears were sitting happily at Edenmoor, a country house in Donegal with bellies full while in the fields outside the poor catholics starved. Actually Donegal got off relatively lightly with its population falling by less than 20%. In Clare or Mayo the events of the Irish famine were truly terrible. A million Irish folks died and the same number emigrated. There is little doubt that British Corn Laws and the exploitative nature of the Landlord tenant relationship added to the woes of the potato blight. We Brits & the Cochranes of Ballybofey and their ilk have a good deal to answer for.
3217 days ago
Long, long chats yesterday with a Liverpool lawyer and a helpful reader email allow me, I think, to explain why the underlying cashflow miss at Quindell in H2 2014 was in fact UP TO £85 million ( not the £45-60 million I had demonstrated). And I think the key to the miss is accruals and when Quenron started its Industrial Deafness push and how it accrues for it. This is a bit geeky but I believe explains the mystery in full. It has clear implications for the Rob Terry insider dealing case, demonstrates clear market abuse and also if one reads through to 2015 shows why Quindell is insolvent. I also try to explain why I have never had the surname Cochrane (sorry Quindell Quislings). And I cover the importance of the Tosca news.
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3330 days ago
The nature of my mother’s death has been raised by certain “admirers” of mine on Bulletin Boards, the circumstances of my Aunt’s death I have mentioned en passant here before. There are no secrets in the era of the interweb. Both deaths were mentioned in an article by their brother, my Uncle Chris (Booker) in the Daily Mail last week. Slowly I read it early on Saturday morning as it brought a number of thoughts to the surface. Matters not suppressed just forgotten or not reflected upon for a long while. My mother killed herself. My aunt was murdered. There you have it. A shocking couple of sentences.
My mother died when I was eight and my sisters seven and five. She had become terribly depressed in that amazing sun drenched year of 1976 and – as I discovered only later – first tried to end her life at the height of summer while the rest of us were out walking. My father found her, revived her but thereafter she was confined to various hospitals in Northamptonshire, Banbury and finally in Oxford, the City where she had studied, met my father and where I was born. I saw her once that autumn at the Trout at Godstow and she seemed happy. She clearly was not and within weeks she had hanged herself. I remember being taken out of class by a lovely teacher who was almost in tears as she told me that my mother was dead. I cannot remember how I felt or what happened next. I did not find out how she died until I was fourteen.
Not having a mother was a little unusual in those days