"What a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday", I said to my friend Arthur as we, along with our wives, left the Scotts Arms in Wetherby after a rather fine lunch. We had been dining there at his suggestion - a possible entry for my Great Yorkshire Pubs Blog, he said. It made the grade without even raising a sweat and is now firmly recorded - and graded - for posterity.
Over lunch and a pint Arthur and I talked about the kind of things old friends talk about and the subject came around to our desire to - and indeed our duty to - leave something behind for our grandchildren. We are in a unique position. Most of us have some form of family memory which can reach back a couple of generations and we have access to information sources which can take it back even further. We are in a position of being able to put together the story of our families over the last 150 years - the period during which more has changed than at any other time in history.
Fired up with enthusiasm from our talk, on my return home I turned to the Box File of family history papers. I had promised to print something off concerning Isobels' mothers' family (the Liverpool Ushers) and I went in search of where I had got to the last time I had a spurt of enthusiasm. Where I had got to was to Henry Usher, Isobels' great, great grandfather. I had a vague date of birth - around 1820 - and some suggestion that he was not born in Liverpool. Without any real effort and thanks to the mass of on-line census information now available, this evening I tracked him down in the 1861 census returns. And there it was in the "where born" column - "the Isle Of Man".
I have always wanted to go to the Isle of Man, but until now I have not had a reasonable excuse. But my discovery settled things. Once Christmas is over I am off to the Isle of Man in search of Charles Usher. When the time comes, I will report back.