bridging the generations

During my teens I spent a good deal of time investigating my family tree. The earliest definite ancestor I found was one James Rutherford, who was recorded on his son Henry’s marriage certificate in around 1850 as being from Newcastle. His occupation was listed as “pilot” – which I took to mean a river pilot, the chap who went aboard incoming ships to guide them safely through the local waters. James was my great-great-great grandfather. This week Donna and baby James and I stood on the new Millennium Bridge over the Tyne. As we looked into the waters flowing beneath our feet we saluted our long-dead ancestor. Two James Rutherfords, standing in the same spot, separated only by six generations and one hundred and sixty years.
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home james

Today we took baby James to the ancient home of his forefathers. Rutherford is now only a scatter of farm cottages close to the big house, but once was home to the Rutherford clan.


The river Tweed at this point cuts through a very rich red soil, carving a small red cliff on the northern bank. Hence – I believe – the ruddy ford across the river.

I had never visited before, and yet it felt I was home. The place was peaceful and beautiful. I could live there happily.

it’s a boy!

Baby Rutherford was born at 9:45 this morning (Feb 28th) in Macclesfield hospital. He weighed 7lb 8oz and has a shock of bright red hair. He currently has no name. Mum and baby are both very well – daddy is a bit shell-shocked. First pictures on Donna’s website.


Update, 4 Mar 05
When we saw him, we knew instantly that he wasn’t an Andrew. So we’ve named him James Bramwell Rutherford. Or Spike.

schrodinger’s baby

We’re expecting a baby at the end of February. We’ve decided that we don’t want to find out it’s gender until it is born, and we’re currently in the throes of choosing names. Among our favourites are Andrew (if it’s a boy) and Ailsa (if it isn’t). This evening though, Donna torpedoed these suggestions with: “But that’ll cause problems because they’ll both have the same initials.”

I had kittens there and then.

Update, 4 Mar 05
He just doesn’t look like and Andrew, so we’ve named him Angus.