Genes definitely reunited!



Pipa and Penny Last October, my mum found an old address in a drawer which belonged to a woman who was connected to her dad, my grandfather, by marriage. Mum almost completely lost touch with him when she was young after a rather acrimonious divorce.

He died in the late 70s leaving two other daughters, one of which was my mum’s half sister called Penny, but with one thing and another, they completely lost touch after he died. 

Pipa and Penny All these years later, mum found the address. Knowing I was researching the family tree, she asked me to see if I could find this lady, Dorothy with the hope that we might find someone who could tell us something of her beloved father and half sister.

I of course jumped online and searched the address but discovered nothing. Being an RAF family, I got in touch with a chap doing RAF research in the Medway towns area and told him the story. He discovered Dorothy had lived at the address for years and years, until just 2008 but had no idea where she had moved on to.

Pipa and Penny Being in her eighties of course we weren’t sure that she’d actually moved at all or sadly passed away. He however then told me that his wife ran a local paper and if I were to write a letter, she could publish it – which I did and she kindly did too. 

Just ten days later, I was emailed by someone called Helen who turned out to be Penny’s cousin! Dorothy’s old neighbor had seen my letter in the paper, got in touch with the family and asked if my name sounded familiar. Helen, despite her husband’s concerns at getting involved, thankfully took the risk and contacted Penny (now living in Tasmania).

She recognised the name (as I of course was a child in the 70s) and she apparently had met me on a couple of occasions – and so we were reconnected.

We emailed to and fro, spoke on the phone – and very quickly for me, I discovered a kindred spirit. I’ve always been the odd one out in the family until now… I’ve met my missing gene pool in Penny! She’s a musician, a bit bonkers, animal mad and slightly into swimming upstream, if you catch my drift. We both do silly things like photographing random pebbles on the beach and take much enjoyment in standing in cowpats – imagine our delight when we could compare pebble photos? Ahh the little things!

Pipa and Penny rowing We’ve counted down the days for months and a couple of weeks ago, she and her husband Geoff landed in Gatwick with me there for first hugs! As I watched all the people pouring through arrivals, I kept welling up with huge waves of emotion, terrified and excited all at the same time! It was amazing!

Suffice to say, it’s been a great couple of weeks, we’ve talked loads, drunk bucket loads of tea, been to places such as Hever Castle and Wisley Gardens, went rowing in Guildford and been on plenty of pub lunches – we’ve done lots of lovely English things that Penny grew up with but most importantly, we’ve reconnected with family.

For me it’s been precious, for my children it’s been brilliant but for my mum it’s been beyond wonderful and for Penny I know it’s been a real surprise as she thought she had NO family left and had no idea how to find us again – now we’ve all found each other!

Pipa x





  1. Wendy Hague October 11, 2011 at 11:44 am -  Reply

    how lovely , there must be lots of people in the same position enjoyk

  2. Michelle Roberts October 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm -  Reply

    Pipa, What an amazing story, thank you so much for sharing that with us lot, by the way you are not bonkers, you are just full of life and seem to live it to full which is exactly what we all should do, such a funny blog you know you have cheered me up no end.!!!
    Have a good week pipa
    Take. Care
    Hope all your animals are well!!

  3. janet groves October 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa.
    what a lovely story and even your hair cut’s are the same!

  4. Susan October 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa,
    What a fab story! That’s the second amazing story – what with your hubbie’s family a couple of years ago. Amazing!! The resemblence is amzing too Pip. You and Penny look so comfortable and meant to be. Enjoy!
    Take care
    Susan x

  5. Susan October 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pip,
    Hope you’re well. I’m just having a cuppa after walking the dog and loving you and Keeley’s show!!! You 2 are fabulous! Body brushing daily lol you’re right bonkers!! I absolutely love your clothes Pip. They’re soo me! I love all the loose floaty feminine clothes you wear. Do you know where you got the gorgeous nude and black top you had on with Keeley? If you do please share!!
    Enjoy your weekend.
    SUsan x

  6. Jan Burnley October 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm -  Reply

    Helo Pippa.
    If only I knew how, I’d email my pics of pebbles on a beach in the Shetlands. Guess I must be bonkers too, and I thought it was my age!! Ever been to Tasmania Pippa? If you get the chance, go. I loved it. Jan x

  7. Kristina Moore October 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm -  Reply

    Hello Pipa, now you have reconnected keep connected and have fun. And taking pictures of pebbles isn’t odd – I do it. I also take pictures of lichen. The lichen on the trees through the nature trails on St Marys, Isles of Scilly is amazing.
    I am so glad you had a great time and found your gene pool again.
    Tina X0

  8. Gail October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am -  Reply

    Hello Pipa, how wonderful for you all. Today was a very special day for me. I too found family; my great grandfather and great grandmother. After a little research I found where they were both buried and with a little help from the Cemetary Office I located their location. It was unmarked but I knew they were there. I had found them and that was all that mattered. You see, my Great Grandmother and I share the same disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. I knew what a terrible life she would have had in the end as there was no treatment in the first half of the 20th Century (she died in 1955). I knew she would have been deformed, bedridden and in the most terrible pain. She would literally have ceased up. It was very important to me to find her and tell her that people weren’t suffering like that like they use to. I told her that I was there today due to medication and treatment. I talked to her with tears running down my face. I just wanted her to know that I was alright and that she was remembered. Somehow I knew she was listening. Today I found family too; not quite in the same way but just as important. Lots of love Gail xx

  9. Pipa October 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi ladies – we should be the pebble club!! I’m a big fan of the simple pleasures 🙂 Tina don’t you worry, there’s no way we shall ever lose touch, Jan no I haven’t been to “Tassie” but it sounds gorgeous – I am going to go and visit at some stage definitely ….although my Aunt seems hell bent on moving back here too so we shall see!! Gail I’m thrilled you found your Great Grandparents, it must have been very emotional sharing the way you did – just as important, absolutely! Finally Susan, thanks for the comments, that top was from Reiss this summer – I’m a big fan of fashion as you well know, glad you enjoyed the show with Keeley, we did have a hoot!
    Take care everyone, keep in touch here and on my Facebook xx

  10. Susan October 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm -  Reply

    Thanks Pipa, I have never been into Reiss – ever!! I must take a look. I do love your shows so don’t go anywhere! Look forward to hearing more stories about you and Penny x

  11. Kristina Moore October 31, 2011 at 8:56 pm -  Reply

    Hello Pipa, I know I need a hair cut as I am admiring yours and wishing mine was that short. Mine is only about an inch longer though. Not only do I take photos of pebbles but I also collect semi-precious pebbles. I have several hand turned wooden bowls with them in. Hope all is well with you and your family and the pets.
    Tina X0X0X0X0

  12. Shirley December 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi PIPA love reading your blog still laugh when you got stuck in the turnstyle I could just see you im glad you enjoyed your trip up north to the panto and the Metro Centre its lovely we go quite a lot PIP have you lost your rings you always have them on and I always admire them hope you dont mind me asking keep well .
    hugs shirley

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