Those of you following this blog must have started to get impatient with my continual apologies for not posting more often. One of the problems is that, as I get older, everything takes longer while I have less and less time.
My time and energy are being take up with the exercises my physio has given me. They will, eventually, be a great help to me but, at the moment, they are taking up time. Yesterday, the first time I had done the new exercises given to me on Wednesday, I ached everywhere, including my hands.
However, that is not all, I have to accept a great deal of the blame for how long everything is taking. I have now been working on the life of Thomas Bowrey for well over four years. During that time I have looked at thousands of documents and collected well over 10,000 images of them. Consequentially, I remember something I have read at some point but cannot easily find it again. Recent examples include a letter Bowrey’s mother wrote as she boarded a ship for Bombay (I had send at Essex record office when it was mis-catalogued and I had not photographed) and details of the fate of a ship in which Bowrey had an interest (the note was at the bottom of an extremely early Lloyds List held within Bowrey’s papers and available no where else – I had assumed that note was included in one of the many published catalogues of East Indies ships).
I am not sure if I should be pleased that my memory is good enough to remember what I have read or be annoyed that I have not kept better records. It certainly demonstrates the value of the catalogue I am working on – if I could just find the time.
This problem has overflowed into my real life. We wasted a morning the other day trying to find an invoice from sometime during the past year because one of the ovens on our cooker had stopped working. I also spend another morning trying to find where I had misfiled my British Library Reader and Member’s cards – they were in my insulated sandwich bag!
Of course, it does not help that, now Bowrey’s biography is finished, I want to work on some many other projects. I want to share elements of his fascinating story, especially those that space forced me to exclude for the book, as talks and magazine/journal articles. I want to research European women in pre-colonial India and perhaps write another book. And, as I keep saying, I must complete the catalogue. There is so much material in Bowrey’s papers that is simply inaccessible to other researchers at the moment because there is no way of knowing what is there and where it is.