Getting a more rounded picture

Yesterday I mentioned I had come across something about my great-grandfather Louis who died in 1895, just before his fiftieth birthday. Because his children were so young when he died, and because they were not exactly close to his family, we don’t really know much about him.

yesterday I discovered that he had been interested in the arts, and had been involved in the setting up of a Mutual Improvement Society, in Denman, New South Wales in the 1870’s. this showed he was not only interested in ‘the arts’ but that he was keen to be involved, and was elected as secretary.

A little more investigation and I come across another aspect to him, he was interested in cricket too! When he came to England in about 1880, did he support the Aussie cricket teams who toured over here? I hope he did! His interest led to him joining the Bombala Cricket Club – I’m not sure as a player or supporter – he would have been twenty-eight years old:

Manaro Mercury, and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser
Wednesday 5 November 1873

The annual general meeting of the Phoenix Cricket Club was held on Saturday evening at the Commercial Hotel, Mr. Jones in the chair.
The following gentlemen were proposed as members of the Club and duly elected: Messrs. I. Levy, .J. Lanhorn, E. C. Sutton, J. Coronel, M. Solomon, L. F. Walford, A. Joseph, and T. Ryan.
According to the rules of the club, the election of office bearers for the ensuing season took: place at this meeting. The following gentlemen were unanimously elected: Mr. H. M. Joseph, J.P. President; Mr. W. V. M. Cooks, J.P., Vice-President; Mr. C. L. Tweedie, Secretary; Mr. K. Johns, Treasurer. Committeemen: Messrs. Coronel, Grace, Gleeson, Wallace, Levy, Asher, Button, J. Whyte, Strickland, and Mears. Messrs. Levy and Wallace were appointed captains of the practice ground.
The days appointed for practice are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in each week. It was proposed by Mr. Wallace and seconded by Mr. Thomas – ‘ That Rule IX (prohibiting all who are not members of the club from practising or in any way making use of the property of the club) be strictly adhered to.’ This was carried without a dissenting voice.
It was decided that the season be opened by eleven members of the club playing fifteen all comers on Monday, the 10th instant, the challenge to appear in the local papers. A vote of thanks to the officers of the past season having been carried, the meeting adjourned

So there he is, a member of the club, proposed and elected, L. F. Walford – Louis Frederick. It’s interesting to note that maybe he wasn’t the only Jew, there are other Jewish names, Levy, Solomon, Joseph and  Asher.

Who were Laurence and Veronique?

Perhaps we will never know, who Laurence and Veronique were who inspired this recipe, which was created by the Belgian chef, Pierre Wynants.

Le gateau aux chocolats ‘Laurence et Veronique’
(for 8 – make at least 24 hours before eating)

White chocolate cream:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 vanilla pod cut lengthways, seeds scraped out (or you could just use vanilla paste)
  • 3 oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 oz castor sugar
  • ½ sachet powdered gelatine dissolved in 6 tbsp water – you will need some of this for the chocolate sauce
  • 10 fl oz crème fraiche (or 5 fl oz each of double cream and soured cream)

Almond and hazelnut meringue

  • 2½ oz blanched almonds/1½ oz blanched hazelnuts ground together and mixed with 2 oz castor sugart and 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 large egg whites

Dark chocolate cream

  • 6 oz dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 1 fl oz strong coffee
  • 1 oz
  • 3 oz butter


  • 2 oz  dark chocolate grated into large curls
  1. begin with the white chocolate cream – put milk, white chocolate, vanilla  in pan and heat gently, stirring from time to time
  2. meanwhile mix yolk and 1 oz sugar thoroughly until very smooth
  3. add milk/chocolate mixture to yolk/sugar mixture, mix very well and cook very slowly over low heat, until very thick DO NOT BOIL!!!
  4. take from the heat and add 2 tbsp gelatine, stirring very well so it is completely mixed in, leave to cool but stir from time to time
  5. beat the crème fraiche (cream/sour cream) until it is firm and add half to the cooled white chocolate mixture, mix well and pop in the fridge
  6. now the meringue – beat the egg whites until stiff and fold in nuts/sugar/flour
  7. spread over a 6½ inch x 3½ inch baking tray lined with baking parchment
  8. cook in preheated oven 400°C/200°F/gas mark 6 for 12 mins, then leave to cool
  9. and now the dark chocolate cream – add the coffee, sugar and chocolate very carefully until the chocolate has completely melted and mixed in with the other ingredients DO NOT BOIL!!!
  10. stir in the butter very well, then add the rest of the gelatine, stirring really well so it is completely mixed in, leave to cool
  11. when the dark chocolate is cool, add in the rest of the crème fraiche(cream/sour cream)
  12. line a 10x3x2½ inch baking tray with parchment (you might want to run strips of parchment underneath, for and aft to act as handle to lift)
  13. pour in half of the dark chocolate cream and spread it evenly  across the tray, cut the meringue in half and place one half on top of the chocolate in the tray
  14. spread all of the white chocolate cream onto the meringue and spread it evenly and lightly, then put the other half meringue on top
  15. cover the top with the remaining dark chocolate cream then refrigerate for 24-48 hours
  16. to serve, cut into slices and decorate with the chocolate curls

It sounds complicated but actually it isn’t – each of the processes are quite simple, and as long as you take care structuring the gateau it should be fine – and even if it doesn’t quite look as you might hope, I’m sure it will taste delicious!

Lagom, apparently, it’s the latest thing

Just as there are trends in fashion, and food, and sporting and keeping fit activities, so there seems trends in life-style; it seemed to be mindfulness, and hygge, and now it’s lagom… which means just the right amount. It seems appealing, especially as I look round and see the amount of clutter and stuff there is… last year I attempted to throw away/recycle/give one item per day – sometimes there was more than one, particularly when I went through bookshelves, CD collections, clothes cupboards. At first I kept a record, but by about summer time forgetfulness interfered, and although I did get rid of I am sure, more than 366 items, I didn’t in fact write down all.

Lagom sounds appealing, and practical, and I’m sure relaxing – less stuff, less stress! So the outline:

  • balance
  • appropriate not perfect
  • simple, fair, less complicated/more contented

Sounds good… but how practical is it? I was writing about spring cleaning the other day, well maybe if I looked at it from a ‘lagom’ point of view I might feel more inspired! If it was spring cleaning not just to clean everything, but to sort and balance things too – which is what I was trying to do last year with my throwing/giving/recycling!

The idea is:

  • sustainability – yes! 100% for that!
  • waste reduction! 100% for that too – and waist reduction ditto!
  • economy – yes! Everyone wants to save money!
  • less stress – of course (not that I am very stressed, actually)
  • more freedom – I guess I am pretty free now, except for the oppressive stuff I still have, so freedom from stuff – yes!
  • balance of food/sleep/exercise – maybe this does need some adjustment, too much of some and not enough of others!
  • “improved wellbeing” well-being is a fashionable thing which seems to mean various things, but to have an overall feeling of calm satisfaction and happiness, yes!

Have a look at this infographic, which “explains what exactly a Lagom lifestyle means and what you have to do in order to be able to live it… the ultimate guide on how to live the Lagom life”:


Getting to know him

My great-grandfather died just before his fiftieth birthday in 1895; his children were very young, so their memories of him were not that clear, especially as he may not have lived with them all the time… Although he, Louis, never married anyone else, he didn’t marry my great grand-mother, Lois, either. The reason? He was Jewish and she was not. My mum and her sisters knew her grandmother Lois, and there are plenty of stories about her as an old woman, and what sort of character she was in her old age. But Louis? We knew nothing apart from his name and that his family were very well-connected and very rich.

I have always been interested in family history, and the mysterious relationship between Louis and Lois, and I have done a lot of research, and even more speculation! He was born in Tasmania in 1845 to a very rich merchant family. When they returned to London, he remained in Hobart, and then moved to the Australian mainland – or maybe he just travelled between the two. I have a lot of records of him in his role in import/export , and of him as I guess a sort of land agent, arranging the sale of land and property.

I have quite a lot of facts, dates mostly, but no sense of him as a person… until I came across this gem. In 1872, he was living in Denman, New South Wales, and it seemed he was actively interested in the arts – well, how marvellous! My husband and I are passionate about the arts in all their form – literature, poetry and writing, painting, drawing, etching and sketching, music – listening and playing… every aspect…

In this newspaper report, Louis F. Walford is elected as honourable secretary of a proposed School of Art (not a just painting school as it suggests now, but a forum for talks and discussions as well) and Mutual Improvement Society.

Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser

Tuesday 19 March 1872, page 4


A preliminary meeting was held on the 20th Feb., at the Royal Hotel Denman, to take into consideration the desirability of establishing a School of Arts or Mutual Improvement  Society, and the formation of a library.
It was resolved to call a public meeting for the furtherance of the above object, and Mr Nicholson was requested to act as secretary pro tem. A public meeting was held on the 5th instant, when Mr. Brecht being called to the chair, Mr L. F. Walford proposed, and Mr. Murphy seconded “that a society be formed in Denman, to be called the Denman Mutual Improvement Society.”
This motion being unanimously carried, twenty gentlemen immediately gave m their names to be enrolled as members, 2s. 6d. entrance fee, and 10s annual subscription being settled upon. It was proposed by Mr. Ross, and seconded by Mr. Graham, “That the Secretary write to the Rev. William White, for permission to hold the meetings in the school room. ” – This Mr White kindly granted.
A meeting was held there last evening when Mr Edward White was elected president, Mr G. A. P. Kibble vice-president, Mr G Nicholson treasurer, Mr. L F Walford hon. secretary, Mr Jno. Wood librarian, and a committee of ten gentlemen for the management of the society.
Its commencement will have a very good opening on March the 20th, when a very popular debate and a selection of choice readings will take place.
We cannot do better than recommend this laudable endeavor to the notice of the philanthropic, and diffidently suggest the advantage it would be to these beginners to receive a few donations of books and periodicals, and we trust their number of member before long may be largely increased. They are loud in the praise of the hon. sec.. of the Muswellbrook School of Arts, who has tendered them assistance and much kind information.

Now I know an aspect to his character I can relate to, he was interested in things, he was social and no doubt sociable, he had the ability to speak in public and be in a position in a society, he had an appreciation of education and the arts…

it is only one aspect of the man, but suddenly I feel such a bond with him!