Friday 29th June

Where has the week gone.  I seem to be getting in the way of myself a bit.  Turns out that all my ideas are actually keeping me away from the writing side of things which is ironic given my ultimate aim.

I really feel like my Elva Ball is rolling rolling rolling and am delighted with the progress made this week.


Slowly gathering followers on instagram and making connections.

Am now on Pinterest and Twitter too.

My FAVORITE NEWS SO FAR is that I have tracked down the location of Bali, and owing to a super friendly and helpful lady called Sharon at Peter Wilson Auctioneers I am now able to arrange the first of (hopefully many) Elva prints.

Sunday 24th June

A busy family day and even without doing anything Elva related it has been a super results one.

Received an email first thing and “The Twins” are fast becoming two of my favorite people.  I wish I had the maturity and focus they clearly poses when I was their age.

They are half way through the Sutton Siroptomist archives and have fed back some fabulous nuggets of information.  I’m very proud to learn that Elva was Vice President.  Go Elva!  Here they are at work.


Saturday 23rd June

Great to be back in the diary section.  Its definitely the most indulgent part of my project and I can just let the reflections flow and not worry too much about the editing stuff.  Its basically a fab tool for “mental filing”.

My Elva Project (EP) is really taking shape in my head and I have been putting out feelers for some merchandise.

Sarah Carson at Art Net and Clare at Christie’s were beyond helpful and I hope to be able to work with them again in the future.

Progress made:

I have braved the Instagram world am now posting daily as chasingelva.

Instagram is incredible.  Thanks to a random stranger who has a big beard and likes bikes, I now know that the bike is probably a Francis Barnett Seagull or an Excelsior 3 or 4.  I’m DELIGHTED.  Now I just have to get my licence so I can look at having a go on one.

Thanks to my school mum friend Yuko, I now know the exact location of my all time favorite Elva painting (its in the gallery as Japanese Pagoda)

Japan is clearly my next port of exploration.

Tuesday 15th May

Motivation a bit lacking today but a great book all about the history of driving arrived.  Again, I’m feeling envious of Elva.  Her era enabled what I consider to be ‘proper driving’.  Gear sticks, clutches, chokes – that’s what driving should be about.  I need a new car and hubby is taking the lead on it which is great but I know he will steer me down the route of some sort of dial twiddling automatic with no hand-break let alone a gear stick and I’ll be too scared to drive it.  I probably ought to be more grateful.

Monday 14th May

I saw a girl ‘floating’ down the road past my kitchen window today.  Its strange what can inspire one to write something.  She looked so free and wafty as she cycled by and it made me feel quite envious of the era Elva lived in.  If it wasn’t for the ugly but necessary crash helmet it would have made a lovely scene.

Sunday 13th May

A reading day today.  The Biggin Hill books took me straight back to my boxes where I found identical photographs to those in the books.  I’m not convinced Elva took them herself though and I expect she purchased her copies from a proper War photographer.

Feeling a little sad and unsettled by the poignancy of said photographs.

Finding out how to spell poignancy has been an investigation in itself.

Saturday 12th May

Strictly speaking its a family day but I obsessively managed a few cheeky minutes here and there, #motherguilt.

More clues found in the press cuttings and I have now managed to date all but one of them.  Clearly I’m now some sort of fearless investigator and I’m feeling very proud of Elva.

Made an accommodation breakthrough and can place Elva at the YWCA in Penang, during one of her overseas tours.  No, its not a typo, its definitely a W.  The Far East is now firmly on my Bucket List.

A photograph from my collection places Elva on the M.S Sangola in June 1958.  Can’t wait to find about more about this liner – so far all I know is that it weighed 8,646 tons and was scrapped in Japan in 1963.

The books about Biggin Hill arrived.

Friday 11th May

Replied to the twins re some paid research work.

Turns out it was Elva’s will that I ordered.  Wow, what an eye opener.  Very generous donations to charitable causes.  Interesting leads and looking forward to getting fully involved with it.

Bought a proper metal carry file box thing and am delighted.  Felt like a child doing ‘back to school stationary shopping’.  Proper grown up filing here we come.

Wednesday 9th May – A Good Day

Email received first thing from “the twins” which was a boost.

Created a spreadsheet for all residents at 107 Brighton Road which made me feel terribly grown up and efficient – Go Me!

Email from Ancestry to say they are processing my order which will be here soon.  Excellent.  It will be interesting to see what arrives as I can’t now think what I’ve requested!

MEGA result:  Hubby is out for the evening so it’s a spag bol night.  Yay, boys will be delighted and it allows for a guilt free photo browsing session once they are asleep.

Tuesday 8th May – Mixed Results

So, my research yesterday led to mixed results.

Grandmas death certificate arrived.  I’d forgotten I’d ordered it so a nice little side nugget of information relating to the larger family history.

Simon has a vintage bike enthusiast friend who’s going to look into the bike.  YES!

Ian is putting me in touch with a university photography boffin who specializes in historical photographers.  YES!

Contact made with old friend Flip.  She’s still involved in the world of scanning and is going to give me mates rates. YES!

I ruined supper. I don’t know how as I took great care with the recipe for vegetarian quiche (with added bacon) but it was utterly awful.  I must learn to find a better balance between absorbing myself with the diets of dead people and focus more on the nutrition of my very much alive children and husband. (the poor neglected souls).

I’m now convinced I shall die early of a heart attack and must try to find out if Grandma smoked. If she did, then I can quit and prevent death in my sixties.  If she didn’t, I’m in trouble.  Best not to dwell.

Monday 7th May 2018

Oh my goodness what a find.  I cannot believe these boxes have been in mum’s attic all this time.  I was sure everything Elva related had been cleared out after Dad died and mum downsized.  Either way, I’m delighted.  Hubby of course is less so.  Two enormous boxes of “old tat” isn’t really what he was looking the have sprawled over the lounge floor like it currently is.  Even my two boys have commented on the mess; cheeky little toads.  My mess is nothing compared to theirs and I shall be clearing it up soon enough.

There’s no apparent order to this treasure, but it is treasure to be sure and I shall get it organised.  There are letters, press cuttings, pamphlets, postcards, family albums and professional books; all sorts of things full of clues clues clues.  Damn, I’m excited.  What a fantastic legacy.

I can’t believe how beautiful Elva was and its hilarious to see pictures of Grampa when he was small.  Bless him, he’s even wearing a dress.  I knew that boys used to wear dresses before being breached but I thought that was like, during the Arc days or something.  Clearly not.  Edwardian boys still wore dresses; cute.

It turns out Grampa was actually pretty handsome as a young man and a far cry from the prim and correct elderly gentleman of my childhood.  The other child must be Uncle Maurice.  I wonder why I never met him! informs me that he was still alive when I was ten so I must pick mum’s brain a bit more; I seem to remember her saying he was a very likable and fair man.

I have a notion that Elva was closer to one of her brothers than the other but I can’t remember which way around it was.  Or was it the brothers that didn’t get along? Again, I must refer to mum.



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