In Toastmasters and in life there is nothing more valuable than having a mentor, someone you can go to for guidance, a trusted colleague or friend who can share their experience and offer you guidance and advice.If you are ever offered the chance to have a mentor I recommend you grasp the opportunity – you will never regret it.
If you can write good code when those about you,
Are breaking builds and blaming it on you;
If you can trust your tests when others doubt you,
And write more tests to cover their code too;
If you can patch and not be bored by patching,
And never prematurely optimise;
Or understand Haskell’s pattern-matching,
And not expect a coding Nobel Prize:
If you can branch – and not commit to master;
Or write terse code – and not make golf your aim;
If your app can recover from disaster
And restart so the state is just the same;
If you can bear to see your OAuth token,
Rejected by an API of fools,
Or find a legacy application, broken,
And fix it up with twenty-year-old tools:
If you can make one heap of all your objects,
And risk them on one garbage-collector pass,
And leak memory because of runtime…
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There is nothing more satisfying than finding another piece of a puzzle that is the family tree. Only last week I finally discovered the grave of one of my ancestors. This is his story.
On 17 May 1862 Susan (nee Smyth), wife of George Maynard Beare, gave birth to her fourth child and her third son. He was christened George on 2nd June by Rev. John Bleakley in St. Peter’s Church, Bandon, Co. Cork, Ireland. George received his early education at Bandon Grammar School, and at the age of 21 he entered Trinity College, Dublin. He lived with his brother John Isaac Beare while attending University.
George graduated as B.A. in the winter of 1887, and BAO. BCH H.B. in the winter of 1892. He did his locum at Ballineen, Co. Cork, a village 8 miles from Bandon. Names where jobs were available were put in a hat in College and those who qualified picked out their future destination (As far as we aware this is how the medical jobs were allocated). George chose Griquatown, Bechuanaland, South Africa.
George left his family and his home in Bandon for the last time on the ship Athenian in April 1893. His brother, John, was at Southampton to see him off. Did he know this was the last time he would see them, (with the exception of a few visits by his brother John) as he said his goodbyes, I wonder?
This is a copy of a letter he sent to his brother William, shortly after arriving on board the Athenian.
April 11th 1893
I was just going to go without writing you a line which would be too bad.
I was simply writing a few words to Mom when I remembered that I led you to expect a letter from me before I sailed out.
I got that letter of Mr. Donovan’s’ from you the other day. It was a pity John Bird did not find out before the vestry meeting whether he was at liberty to publish it. I expect John was keeping it dark to himself so that nobody should get hold of his important news with one exception information.
Be sure to get the bicycle by hook or crook if you did not get it before. This is the finest exercise in the world for keeping up the heart for when you find yourself low spirited you drive away dull care by working the peddles hard against the hill
John has gone away in the tender and I am now sitting in the saloon writing this by myself all the other passengers are on deck gazing. I have a very decent fellow in the cabin with me as far as I can judge. There are only the two of us in it. He was at the Cape before and I suppose will be able to give me some tips.
I will let this letter open for a while to see if a parcel came from a friend of Mr. Bennett for me as I have closed the letter to herself without being able to find out.
Tell Tom I wish him well also his wife
Remember me to all at home
Interesting how even over 100 years ago the benefits of cycling were promoted by the Medical profession!
The next letter received from Doctor George was by his brother John, sent from Kimberly.
May 7th 1893
Just a line to say I have got so far.
I have not much to say about the voyage out. I was sick the first week and the last, when we had a storm which kept us back a couple of days.
I did not land at Madeira but saw plenty of the natives about and in the ship. It would do your heart good to see some of them diving for money. I tried to drop four half pence into the boat of a little fellow who was not getting anything, but in trying to catch them he knocked three into the sea. Another fellow who saw them fall down from about five yards out under the little fellows boat and brought up the three before they had gone down any distance. Snow capped or enveloped in cloud or what ever you like to call it ‘Tenerife’ was certainly a striking sight. When I first saw it there was a thick cloud covering it from about the middle to very near the top and which we were passing, the cloud gradually got dispersed and left it shine out in all its majesty. It looked to me the highest thing I ever saw and the snow looked curious in such warm weather. I was pointed out Albatrosses which had nothing grand about them. The sailors said the large ones are not seen on the West coast of Africa. The ones we saw were about the size of ducks and flew just like seagulls. Flying fish we saw in thousands. It seems to me the reason they fly is that they are afraid of the ship as you only see them when near it and fly away from it. We saw a lot of porpoises and a few whales.
We came into Table Bay on Friday morning and saw Table Mountain just as the sun was rising on it. It is flat on top, looks about 1000 feet or so high and a few hundred yards long. It is supposed to resemble a lion but I could not make out the likeness.
Cape Town itself is very English looking. I had to pay £5 for registration. I started for Kimberly at 9 o’clock pm on Friday and arrived this morning at 8.30.
The journey up was very monotonous. Hundreds of miles of flat land, with here and there a low earth path – stones sometimes in great quantities scattered about – then only vegetation, small bushes call ‘veldt’ at some distance from one another and hardly green which merely makes more striking the awful barrenness of the country. This of course is when there is no water but it is so in 99% of all the land I saw from Cape Town to Kimberly. Where there is a spring everything is exactly the opposite, the land seems to be the most fertile and the vegetation most luxurious I ever saw in coming to Kimberly. I believe I came 60 miles too far but I can not get accurate information today as it is Sunday. Hoping Gussie and the children are well
I am yours as ever
It appears the good Doctor was quite the prose writer when he put his mind to it, with an honest but at the same time descriptive letter about his journey and surroundings. He worked in Griquatown for the next 3 years and then received a posting to Kuruman, as evident in the following letter.
Kuruman (Kuruman is about 108 miles north of Griquatown in British Bechuanaland)
June 4th 1896
I only arrived here on Thursday last though I left Griquatown on the preceeding Tuesday and I can assure you I found the journey a bit tedious. The latter half of the road was not too bad as I travelled with Mr. Price, the oldest Missionary around here, and a very decent old chap indeed. He asked me to stay a few days with him at Kuruman till I got some suitable lodgings and when I was about to learn yesterday for the only boarding house in the place – which by the way has anything but a good reputation – he proposed that I should stay on at his place till I get married. I said I should be very glad if he would accept the same amount from me per month as the boarding house charged, which he would not hear of at first but after a lot of persuasion on my part he agreed to take £3-10-0 per month for my board. The usual rate about here is £5 or more so that I may consider my self lucky. I have hired three rooms from the mission society for 30/- per month which Mr. Price will furnish for me gratis. One will be a surgery the others a sitting and bedroom so that up to the present I am not doing so badly. The magistrate here is very nice. He has written to Cape Town to get the Government to appoint me acting D.G.. until the estimates are passed and in the meantime has got me to visit the jail, see some sick prisoners and write some medical certificates for which he says I must be paid even though the Government do not appoint me acting D.G.
This is about the nicest little place I have seen since I came to S.A. The people too are as kind as kind can be and I should not be surprised if I got on very well with them. Of course there are only very few of them so that there will be little or no private practice except among the natives and they can’t pay much.
Yours ever George
A new post mark on the envelope so a new address for Dr. George. He has moved north a hundred odd miles to Kuraman. The possibility of marriage seems a bit sudden or did we miss a hint? It is more likely there are missing letters. The offer of accommodation is coming from his future father-in-law.
George did indeed marry. He and Elizabeth Price, daughter of Roger Price and Elizabeth Lees Moffat, on 31 Dec 1896. They had two daughters, Helen Barbara Beare born in February 1904 and Mary Elizabeth Beare, born on 1908. George’s wife Elizabeth was related by marriage to the famous Dr. Livingstone.
George continued to work at Kuruman until his death on 24 Jan 1941. The Kuruman Moffat Mission at Seodin was established in 1816 and still exists to this day.
Up until last week we did not know where Dr. George was buried. I finally found a photograph of his grave which I have attached here.
IN MEMORY OF
BORN AT BANDON, CO. CORK, 17 JAN 1862
DIED AT KURUMAN, 24 JAN 1941.
“ENOUGH, IF SOMETHING FROM OUR
HANDS HAVE POWER
TO LIVE, AND ACT, AND SERVE THE
Please feel free to leave a comment or if you have any queries.
Bye for now,
Follow me on Twitter @elainebeare
Vocal variety comes into play for Speech 6 of the competent communicator manual. The objectives are to:-
– Use voice volume, pitch, rate, and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message.
– Use pauses to enhance your message.
– Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally.
I used this speech to show how one simple letter can start you on a quest resulting in a rich family history. This is the speech entitled “Perseverance Pays Off” which I delivered on 19 November 2012: –
Perseverance Pays Off
What makes us strive to achieve our goals? Is it our genetic disposition or do we learn along the way that persevering will bring us success? Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and welcome guests, as you may be aware my father and I have a keen interest in genealogy and my family history. But how did this interest start and what is the relevance to my speech title?
Soon after my paternal grandmother died in 1985 my father came across some old letters. His curiosity was piqued and therein began the laborious hours week after week spent trawling through church records. His search soon began to eke out small titbits of information, and the bait to continuing the search was not in vain as it resulted in a list of eight children born to John Beare and Elizabeth Maynard. Births and baptisms were listed but no equivalent deaths so what became of these eight children? They were born in the early 1800’s, an era when Irelands population was heading for an estimated 7 million. Economic depression had come on the heels of two foreign wars. The Napoleonic wars end with final British victory over France, and the War of 1812 with the United States. Soldiers returned to a time of protest, low wages, and high food prices. Two more victories for steam were achieved – an “iron horse” showed the success of rail-locomotives, and the first steam ship crossed the Atlantic in 26 days. Conventional sailing ships still took at least 60 days. All of these factors, the search for work, and the looming famine led to mass emigration from Ireland. So did these eight children emigrate? And if so where? This brings us back to the old letter my father had found. It was written by Jane’s husband, Josiah Roberts, on her behalf and addressed to her brother George.
29th December 1892
My Dear Brother George,
As I have not heard from you for so long a time, I was so uneasy I thought I would write again. Hope that nothing is seriously the matter with you or any of the family.
I have had a very bad cold I am not as well as usual now. My daughter Louisa died in October after having suffered excruciating pain with a very severe attack of Gangrene. This attacked her in the lower limbs and they were affected so badly that by her consent and the doctors the limbs were amputated. There were four doctors present and she seemed to rally after coming out. This was in the afternoon but suddenly about the middle of the night she took a turn and died immediately.
I took this very hard as it was my only daughter living, but such as this is God’s will.
Your sister Jane
As Jane was unable to write, her husband Josiah wrote the letter and added a PS.
P.S. If it is possible a speedy answer to this letter would let us know how you are and I thought it better to write as she is always speaking of you and Sarah (her sister).
Jane and Sarah were my great great grandaunts, and George my great great grandfather. So here we had mention of three of the eight children.
The letter came from PEI, which, after searching the atlas, we discovered was Prince Edward Island, a small island off the east coast of Canada. Dad decided to write to the postmaster of the island to see if he could shed some light on what had happened to Jane. A few weeks passed with no news until one day eureka a letter arrived with the postmark PEI.
It was from the postmistress telling us that not only was there still a living descendant of Jane on the Island named Laura Roberts, but that she herself was also related!
A flurry of letters followed over the next few months, family trees were exchanged and confirmed and then came the stunning announcement; Laura and her sister in law Beatrice were coming to Ireland for a holiday. My parents contacted their travel agent and arrange to collect the two ladies and bring them home for dinner. The big day arrived and all went smoothly. An emotional reunion between my father and Laura ensued and the piecing together of the family history began.
Jane had emigrated to Prince Edward Island, where she met and married Josiah Roberts. Josiah had also emigrated to PEI along with his parents from Plymouth England. Jane and Josiah produced seven children, two girls and five boys. Most of these children in turn married and had children, down to the current generation of Laura and her children. Over 100 relatives descended from Jane and Josiah.
In 1990 a few years after Laura and Beatrice visited my parents decided to visit PEI. A large family gathering was arranged and my father got to meet many of his distant cousins. The tales emerged of different ancestors, some of whom had migrated to the far side of Canada, where we believe their descendants still live. It appeared life was a little quieter on the island with only one liquor store and they produced five generations to our four here in Ireland.
In November 2011 we read with sadness the passing of Laura who had only died a few months earlier in April. However there are still many surviving relatives living on the Island and across Canada and we hope to make contact with them also.
Jane died in 1894, two years after that letter was written, and is buried on Prince Edward Island, in that same area Murray Harbour where she and Josiah had raised their family.
So in conclusion I ask you to consider this. Who would have believed that one old letter over 100 years old could have become the basis for creating so much of our family history? My father and I persist in our quest to find every descendant of that family of eight children. You can take the negative route of saying who cares, dump that old letter and dismiss the past. Or you can take the positive to follow up, dive in and explore the rich rewards that persistence brings. We have now traced five of the eight siblings and what an adventure it is proving to be with living descendants located around the globe. Remember if what you seek is just out of reach one more step will bring it within your grasp.
I hope you enjoyed this speech and my brief delving into family history. I welcome all comments so please feel free to leave a message.
Follow me on twitter @elainebeare
Hi everyone. It’s hard to believe we are already 3 weeks into the new year, and for me it seems to have passed in a flash. All good things happening so far this year.
Personally I have added over 200 more people to my family tree and found some photos on-line of my ancestors graves. My tree seems to be growing more like a week 🙂
I also achieved my ACB (Advanced Communicator Bronze) Award in EMC Toastmasters last week so that is added to my ALB (Advance Leader Bronze) Award. Definitely a great start to the year and a very proud achievement for me.
Work at EMC Ireland COE has also certainly been keeping me busy. I headed off to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014 on 9th and 10th January. EMC Ireland had a stand there for the 4 days, and with nearly 49,000 visitors to the Exhibition it was a hectic but exhilarating few days. You can check out EMC Ireland’s full involvement on my work blog here.
This week it is the turn of EMC Vex Robotics. The Ireland Finals of the Vex Robotics Competition 2013/2014 are on Friday, 24th January in the Nexus Centre, Cork Institute of Technology, Bishopstown. The Vex Robotics program, sponsored by EMC, was launched in Ireland in 2012. This year fourteen teams are entered for the finals.
This year’s teams include: Davis College, Mallow; North Monastery, North Cork; McEgan College, Macroom; Deerpark CBS, Cork City; Bishopstown Community School, Bishopstown; St Colman’s Community College, Midleton; Colaiste Pobail Naomh Mhuire, Buttevant; Ballincollig Community School, Ballincollig; Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig; Nagle Community College, Mahon, and a Coder Dojo CIT team from Bishopstown.
The game for the 2013-2014 competition year is VEX Toss Up, an exciting, fast-paced game with robots trying to score in a variety of ways. VEX Toss Up is played on a 12′x12′ square field. Two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a fifteen second autonomous period followed by one minute and forty-five seconds of driver-controlled play.
The winners of the Excellence Award at the Ireland Finals will qualify to compete in the Vex Robotics World Championships in California in April 2014. Davis College Mallow, winners of this award in 2012/2013 will return to defend their title. Last season’s Tournament Champions Deerpark CBS, also return as defenders of their title.
Follow the updates on the Vex Robotics Competition Ireland Final on Facebook here.
In a nutshell, as my title says, these 21 days haves been both energising and uplifting. Here’s hoping the rest of the year will follow suit.
Bye for now.
(Follow me on Twitter @elainebeare)
Speech 5 in the CC Manual is “Your Body Speaks”. The objectives of speech 5 are to: –
– Use stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact to express tour message and achieve your speech’s purpose.
– Make your body language smooth and natural.
– Focus on methods of delivery, but do not overlook speech content.
By this stage I was becoming more comfortable in my speaking and decided to inject a small bit of humour into my speech as well as combining my love of genealogy and animals. You may think this is a strange combination but I none-the-less hope you enjoy this speech.
Granny wasn’t feeling well recently. My parents took her to the local vet and after a shot and a few tablets she is now back to her old self.
Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and welcome guests, I should explain at this stage that Granny is the name of one of our cats at home. She had five kittens a few months ago which led to her illness but I am glad to report Mother and all five children are now doing well.
It has become a bit over the years at home to name some of the cats, especially if they stand out in some way. We currently have ten cats and aside from the six previously mentioned there is Mother, who is Granny’s daughter, Small Big Fella who was very lonely until Big Small Fella came along and Brownie, the only tabby in a family of black cats.
The latest five kittens are currently delighting and frustrating us with their antics. A few days after they were born my father moved them and Granny to the safety of the glasshouse. After a few weeks he fed them milk morning and night. They only have to hear his voice now to come running. Even at a young age of two months they are displaying individual characteristics. The biggest is always first out for a rub, followed closely by the smallest who wants his fair share and will howl until he gets it. The middle three are more reticent but will quickly begin to purr once they are rubbed. Four of them have now discovered how to get out of the glasshouse but have not yet mastered the trick or re-entering so come morning time my father is only met with one howling voice. However one quick call and the remaining siblings will all instantly respond to his call.
It is quite amazing how individual cats can be. We have had several who stood out from the rest and as a result were closer to the family. There was Talula, who loved nothing more than a handful of dry cornflakes every morning. She would munch them down and then happily settle herself on a seat cushion to watch the goings on.
Then there was Samantha, a friendly intelligent cat. Her greatest joy was the nightly excursion to the chicken house to catch a mouse. She didn’t seem to have full night vision however as making her way through the sleeping chickens she would occasionally bump into one, resulting in sleepy clucks from an abruptly woken chicken. Hunt satisfied she would return to us ready to head home.
Another favourite was Clarence, named after a judge in America who was making headlines when Clarence was nearing a year old. He was a gentle giant of a tom cat with a thick black coat of shining fur. Clarence was a cat you could trust to leave in a room with food on the table. If you held out a morsel of meat to him he would cup a paw gently around your hand, keeping his claws sheathed as he enjoyed his tasty treat.
It became quite normal for us from an early age to have conversations with the cats and quite often they would seem to understand as they would cock their head and purr or mew softly back at you. My parents, on their daily walk, often meet Willis, an old tomcat who left home a few years ago when some kittens came along.
He moved in with an old couple down the road and is content now to sit on the wall outside in peace and quiet with no youngsters bothering him. My parents will salute him “Hello Willis” and he will meow in return.
There were three other tomcats we had in my teenage years both of which reside fondly in my memory. The first is Pumpkin, named after the cartoon of course, a grey tabby who loved a good chin and ear scratch. He would curl up on the couch purring loudly as we stroked him. Poor Pumpkin suffered from a few abscesses in his mouth so a quick consultation with the vet brought a supply of tables to ease him. Despite trying every method to disguise the tablet he had the uncanny knack of devouring a plate of food and leaving the clean tablet in the bottom of the bowl. He lost a few teeth but otherwise regained his full health.
The second tomcat was my sisters pet. He would sit in her arms listening to her chat and meow in response. One fateful day we found him at the side of the road, having been hit by a car. We took him to the vet who issued us with two options – put him down or amputate his front leg. We opted for the amputation. After a few weeks the cat was back to his lively self. The lack of one limb was obviously not a hindrance as he proudly fathered several kittens after that.
The third warmly remembered cat is Scrawny. He was the runt of the litter. A small tabby, missing the end of his tail, you would wonder how did he get through life. But scrawny had one trick that made him superior. He could jump at a vertical wall, spreading his four paws evenly and then spring like an intrepid rock-climber higher and higher until level with the small top window where he would then swing across and in to food and the indoor comforts of life.
So maybe you are wondering why have I told you all these stories? It is to show that, in my opinion, cats are more than just furry animals. They are intelligent, friendly individuals, who will show you boundless affection if treated right. Albert Schweitzer said “There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats”. You can believe that when it comes to cats. There is something very therapeutic and soothing about rubbing a cat. And to hear a cat purr you know you have made him happy in return. That’s the bonus of being a cat-lover.
I hope you are enjoying these speeches and if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact me.
George Beare was born on 13 October 1895 in Bandon, Co. Cork, Ireland. He was the first of four children born to William Beare and Maria Smyth. The birth took place at home with the help of a local woman. Living on the edge of town meant George experienced both rural and urban experiences. His family owned some land and raised dairy cows that supplied milk to both the household and some members of the local community.
From an early age George was submersed in literature and learning. He attended a local school in Bandon, and also loved to read at home, a practice encouraged by his mother and grandmother who also loved literature. George spent his spare time and holidays working on the farm and doing various DIY jobs with his father. In those pre-automobile days, the family had a horse who was used both on the farm with a cart to draw goods including gravel and wood to build new sheds for the animals, and also with a trap to carry the family to Church every week.
George suffered from ‘petit-mal’ but never let the episodes shake him and passed them off as no great consequence. Indeed one episode proved to be beneficial. After falling from a roof during one of these episodes George was sent to the local cottage hospital. It was here he became acquainted with Miss Margaret Elliot, the matron. A friendship ensued and on 22 Mar 1933, they were married in Limekilns Church, Limekilns, Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland. The married couple then returned to Bandon to start their own family. Margaret bore three sons, William in 1933, Robert in 1936 and George, my father, in 1938, all born in Bandon.
George spent his life farming until his death. He suffered a heart attack on the Friday, followed by a second on the Sunday which led to his death on 5 July 1969. He is buried in St. Peters Church Graveyard, Bandon. His wife Margaret lived on until 1985.
This was my grandfather, known as the “Boss”. The picture is of my mother Daphne on her wedding day, with my grandparents George and Margaret Beare (December 1967).