A Sad Family Story

I have always known about Kate’s brother, Edward. The family story was that he went to Hungary to tutor a young girl and fell in love with her. When her father found out, he said “no” and Edward was told to leave. He then fell out of a train (either accident or suicide attempt from love) and was never the same again. Kate used to visit him once a year (possibly in Northampton, my mother remembers) and Alys (his little sister, my great grandmother) never saw him again. And that was all we ever knew.

Until I started to transcribe Kate’s diaries…..

They do not make for happy reading – you have been warned.

Edward Boyd was the eldest child and only brother of Katherine (Kate) and Alys. His father, Phillip Boyd, died of tuberculosis when Edward was only 11 leaving him to be the head of the house, the “man of the family”.

The Boyd family – all wearing mourning clothes in 1846. L-R Kate, Edward, Alys, Lucy (mother)

Edward was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and then Sidney College, Cambridge University (1895 – 1898) where he attained Exhibitioner Natural Science Tripos 1st Class.

The family were thrilled with his achievements and, from the diaries, it was clear to see that Edward was a much-loved and admired member of the family.

Entries from Kate’s diaries

“Friday, 17th June 1898
De B’s encore in bed to breakfast. Aunt Ada and I to Westbourne. Had croquet out. Edward got 4 telegrams to congratulate him on his getting a “first class” in his Tripos!!!  Oh Joy!!! A drive at 2.30. We played tennis a lot. Speeches at dinner.”

Having taken his Degree, Edward left a few days later to work for the family of Countess Pejacsevich-Mikó,

Kate’s Diary entry…

Thursday, June 23rd 1898
Mother, Alys, Ed and I drove to town; had photographs taken and shopped. Cut sandwiches in afternoon; and had tea-party, as see mem. Wade came and helped to serve. Played tennis and croquet. Uncle P “migraine”.

The official Family Photograph taken before Edward leaves for Hungary L-R Alys, Kate, Edward, Lucy (Mother)

Friday, June 24th June 1898
Rained all day hard. We packed and saw to Edward’s things. He and Uncle Pierre to town. Wadie came and did sewing. Had songs in evening. Dear old Edward sang “Sleep”. Uncle P sang.

Saturday, June 25th June 1898
Packed and did heaps of things. All morning. Rainy, showery. At 1.30 we all to station to see Edward off to Hungary via see “mem”. Mother and Alys home. The De B’s, Aunt Ada and I to Winter Gardens. Walked home, songs, etc, in evening.

Mem: Edward to Harwich, Rotterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Danube, etc.

Letters went backwards and forwards, even a lovely birthday present (scarf and ring) for Kate, when suddenly 3 months later a telegram arrived.

“Monday, 19th September 1898
Wrote to Aunt Alice, Tades, Mrs Geddes, Sarah, Minnie. Ella and Alys to tea at Menies. I rested and read Lamb’s Essays 45. Telegram from Uncle H. Ed sunstroke. Mrs Carnie and Hannah and Norah in.”

Lucy (Edward, Kate and Alys’ mother) and Uncle Harold (Lucy’s brother) went straight to Troppau where Edward was in hospital and with that their whole world collapsed.

The diagnosis of sunstroke changed to “malarial fever” and Edward was subsequently declared insane.

Suffering from delusions and auditory hallucinations, Edward had thrown himself out of a train to kill himself.  There was no unrequited love story.

With the help of Edward’s Austrian psychiatrist and possibly a man-servant/hospital orderly, Mother and Kate (aged 19) took him home to England where he was swiftly transferred to Holloway Sanatorium Virginia Water in Surrey – a private mental institution known for the care and treatment of the insane. Edward was only 22.

Only photograph of Edward in his medical notes

Just over one year later, Edward was discharged from Holloway Sanatorium and moved to Bethlem (Bedlam) Hospital – a psychiatric hospital in London.

He stayed there for 4 years and was then transferred, I think, to Bryn-y-neuadd Mental Hospital, Llanfairfechan, Caernarvonshire (though there may be more hospitals in between – I can find no record.)

Edward died in 1946 aged 69 at St Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton.

If you are interested his mental health records from his stay in Holloway and Bethlem are here. (WARNING: It is fairly brutal reading.)

It must’ve been a very sad state of affairs for the whole family. I may find out more as I transcribe more diaries. The 1899 one is missing, and I don’t know why. Maybe it was all too much in that year and Kate destroyed it. We will probably never know.







This Afternoon

Lambie (to himself):  Shall I, shan’t I come in?
Me:  In or out, please….

Lambie:  I’m still thinking, Muzzah!
Me: I am not a doorman.  In or out. You choose. Be quick!

Lambie: I quite like the idea of going in.
Me: FFS, Come in! Lambie 1….2……3…. I promise I will shut this door!

Lambie (to my friend, Monika): You’re new! Do I know you?  I think not.  (Nice jersey, by the way. Pure wool? I hope so!)

Lambie:  I need to think about this. I hate change of any sort and you (Monika) are in my spot, so you know!

BeAnne: Lambie just leave me alone. That’s all I ask.

Monika: Hello, Lambie!  Nice to meet you.
Lambie:  So, you want to talk to me, do you?

Lambie (after some thought): I agree, it is very nice to meet me!  You are honoured.

Lambie: And I shall now try you out on my Winning Smile. I shall gaze into your eyes and you will be under my spell.

Lambie: Are you under my spell, yet?

Monika: You are a very Handsome Sheep with a Winning Smile!
Lambie: You want to open the Biscuit Tin! You are in my power!

And that is exactly how it was this afternoon.

Shop Windows

We had an afternoon spent in town and you can see what everyone is gearing up for….

The Lerwick 2020 Up Helly Aa.

Just about every shop window was decorated accordingly.

The street was, as usual, deserted – Commercial Street on a Saturday afternoon, seriously?

No, my bad, a few more folk appeared.

And there were a few different approaches on the Up Helly Aa theme.

“Vikings” in every guise.

This shop won my vote – for a female viking warrior (at last), of which archaeological studies show existed, though it is a pity she is shown knitting (makkin’ belt, knitting needles and knitting) as it was more likely she was fighting alongside the men.

Anywho, a nice afternoon in town – and Floss and enjoyed our afternoon off. A change is as good as a rest.

Feral Brat Stage

Sóley-the-Foalie is going through her Feral Brat Stage. What with having to put drops in her eye when it got hurt (after a storm), she appears to have completely forgotten what hoomans are for and how nice we can be preferring to dance about on the other side of her Mum or run away.  It was boring.

So I put Flossie on the job of getting little Miss S to talk to her.  They used to be such good friends.

Floss fills her pockets up with little carrot batons (lovingly chopped) and off she goes chanting the mantra “if you talk to me, I will feed you carrots”.

A few days later and Floss now has Sóley’s attention.

She is working her magic.  Well done Floss!

And then next week I think we will be back with “say hello to Mr Headcollar” because I really can’t be doing with this.  Sóley was doing so well before the eye thing.

Luckily both her mother and her sister are huge fans of carrots, headcollars and all things hooman.

She is a big girl too.  Nearly as big as her sister.

And like sisters, they argue quite a lot.  They are both very determined.


An Afternoon Out

It was a stay-at-home day (tis the weather and the time of year).

Today, however, I was fed-up of being Meals-on-Wheels.

(a quick recap so you can feel my pain)

That would be:-
Haakon (maintain weight plus anti-stiffness potion)
Iacs (token gesture of food)
Klaengur (same as Iacs – doesn’t need anything but would complain)
Taktur (maintaining stallion weight – never looked so good)
Efstur (maintain precious weight – looking very nice)
Dreki (a little for development)
Kappi (deserves nothing but gets a smidgen even though he looks like a Suffolk Punch)
Hetja (now on extra as losing weight quickly due to winter vileness while nursing her foal)
Lilja (same as Dreki)
Sóley-the-foalie (foalie minerals/vitamins and development)
Brá (hair-loss and bites)

All have different dietary needs, all carefully considered and thought out. It is never-ending.

And ….. The Minions get a piece of carrot and a hug! I love them most because they are nice and easy.

So, I went for a walk.

I have missed my usual amble along the road with my woolly and furry friends.

It was very nice, if blowy and almost dry.

But we didn’t care.  Sheeple and doglet (+ I) went along very happily.

BeAnne, who is now eating TurmerEase, did not once take a bad step, which she has recently been inclined to do.

She was positively enthusiastic at the thought of going too.

I had some work to do in my shed and Lambie offered to come in too.

He sat at my feet while I worked.  BeAnne was (on far right) in her bed.

It was a lovely walk. Afterwards Lambie and I had Quiet Time together.  A special Muzzah Lambie moment.