But I've been having a Hancox Half Hour of my own each evening and I'm starting to get that feeling that I'll be bereft when I finally turn the final page of this book.
'Off to Hancox' I say after dinner as I settle down to my daily rummage through another few drawers in Charlotte Moore's house and continue my acquaintance with her ancestors.
Two hundred pages into Hancox A House and a Family and I'm part of the furniture now.
Aunt Barbara Leigh Bodichon has just died (sorry...spoiler) and that was enough to send me dashing of to the Womens' Lives shelves to seek out Pam Hirsch's biography, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon Feminist, Artist, Rebel, bought for £1.99 knowing that a book about the life of the woman who set up Girton College and advanced educational opportunities for women would come in useful one day.
I'm sure our Head Teacher was an Old Girtonian (someone will confirm, or correct I'm sure) and I've got a feeling the Head Girl in my leaving year followed in her footsteps. I know she got 100% in a history exam which probably helped but I always used to feel sorry for her. Heavy must have weighed the enamel badge when part of the Head Girl's remit was the daily task of collecting the fully-gowned Head Teacher from her study and escorting her around the corridors of the quad towards the hall and onto the platform for morning assembly.
What on earth did they talk about on the way round?
I couldn't have imagined anything more daunting, best to be pond life.
The Prefects and Captain of School would all be seated up on the platform while the rest of of the school grubbed around on the hall floor, and somehow a magic signal would be given as they approached so that we'd all be on our feet in time for the entrance.
The daily ceremony and ritual of a girl's school in the 1960s, but doubtless Barbara Bodichon would have been delighted to see us all there and perhaps we owe her a small debt of gratitude that we were and Hancox has led me onto the Barbara Bodichon trail in earnest.
I knew of her Girton connections so was unsurprised to discover that Aunt Barbara was a feminist force to be reckoned with in the confines of a patriarchal Victorian family, and numbering Florence Nightingale amongst her cousins too.
There's a heartbreaking tale of a love affair between twenty-seven year old NM (as Charlotte Moore's Great Grandfather Norman Moore was known) and the love of his life Amy, who at seventeen was forbidden any contact with NM until she was twenty-one in the family's vain hope that the love between them would starve and die. NM considered impoverished and lacking in social status, despite being a respected doctor at Bart's who was eventually to become President of the Royal College of Physicians. Barbara, for many years acted as a go-between for the couple, doing what she could within, and slightly without, the rules to keep their love alive. The pining, lovelorn NM meanwhile, and doubtless in between the 2360 post mortems he performed, filled twelve notebooks of daily writing to the woman he would eventually make his wife only to diagnose her with TB months after the wedding.
I give nothing away that isn't written on the dust-jacket, yet reading Hancox is like reading a sort of real-life version of The Forsyte Saga, with Soames and Irenes and Jolyons around every corner and Charlotte Moore (and her mother who started the chronological cataloging) has done the most incredible job of extracting the story from the copious journals and correspondence at her disposal. The writing is all-consuming with that happy knack of frequently letting chapters rest on little cliff-hangers which add to the interest and have me rushing back for my next Hancox Half Hour....
'Can't stop, Aunt Barbara's support is about to be 'suddenly and shockingly removed...'
'I'll do the dishwasher later, Uncle Ben's ship's stuck in the Arctic, he's eating polar bears....'
'Can you get the washing in ...Uncle Ben's about to marry a woman forty years his junior...'