West meets West


Our visit to Oxfordshire went by like a whirlwind and all went as planned plus some added goodies.  It was much like a three day convention with the Saturday family "Ancestor's Day" reunion being the final "dinner".  As you can imagine, the high energy we felt each morning as the 10 cousins convened was amazingly like it felt when we got together with Grampa to go to the PNE.

Needless to say the participants presented the best possible face of the Vancouver Wests to the England relatives, and whereas there was the odd timing or "geographical confusion" issue, they were much easier to "herd around" than a bunch of university students.

I'm am so happy to have finally realized my life's dream of sharing this wonderful area of our ancestors with a group of my cousins.  As Richard observed, the only thing that would have made it better would be having more of the cousins along.  You were really missed!

In addition to the visits to mills, houses, graveyards & other landmarks, we thoroughly enjoyed the five occasions at which we got to meet our England relatives:   Thursday lunch at The Fox in Denchworth and Friday at the Royal Oak in Didcot;  Thursday night at a beautifully buffet prepared by Mike & Ella Ireson;  Friday night at Roger and Pam Smith’s for yummy desserts (where we met more Wests, Smiths & Peplers);  and Saturday, of course,  at the “main event”  -

Photographs from our trip

Ancestor’s Day buffet at Bridge Farm, hosted by Roger & Helen Barker.    Colin and Barbara Smith provided accommodation for Lorne and Cally, and Richard and Sheila Smith hosted for Chantelle. 

The personal get-togethers were really the “icing on the cake” for all of us.  Seeing all the intriguing sights was one thing, but getting to know our England cousins at the same time made it particularly special.  In conversations, we learned new things about Grandpa and his family, (see stories below) and had many subsequent discussions among ourselves about the circumstances surrounding Gramma and Grampa’s leaving England for Canada.

Special thanks go to Colin Smith & Ruth Pocock for being our primary England contacts.  We’re also grateful to Barbara and the rest of the Smiths: Roger & Pam and Richard & Sheila for their special contributions.  Thanks to Pete, Muriel and Joe West for hosting our visit to Garlands Farm and the rest of the West sisters who we were delighted to meet.  Thanks to Matt Webb and Ian Smith for showing us around Venn Mill and Venn Mill house and to Helen Mathias for her warm hosting at Blewbury Mill   Lastly, thanks to our fellow historians for all their hard work and input to our family history:  Helen Barker, Helen Willemsen, Becky Harris, Chis Frances, Tim Barker and Dan Peplar.

Until we meet again!