Hello. My name is Tessa Steer and I am one of Marthe Janssen-Leyder's English nieces. If you have just found this page, my Tante Marthe lived in Belgium and was an active member of the Secret Army during World War II - follow the link back to my Home Page to read about her. My family roots are European - Luxembourger on my father's side and French on my mother's side. I was born in England and grew up in Finchley, North London, and in Ferring, a small village near Worthing, West Sussex.
I have been married to John for over thirty-eight years and we live in Chichester*, West Sussex. (See link at bottom of page for a map). Chichester is a small cathedral city on the south coast of England. It is one of Britain's oldest towns and was known to the Romans in the 1st century AD as Noviomagus Regnorum named after the regnum (independant kingdom) of the Atrebates. The surrounding area is steeped in history and it is probable that nearby Fishbourne Roman Palace was the home of the King of the Atrebates.
John and I have two children, Sarah and David, (John also has an older son, Peter), Davidand we are the proud Grandparents of three bright and beautiful grandchildren. Twins, Stephanie and Elliot, born on 21st July 1998 to Sarah and Adrian - I well remember my daughter's excited and tremulous voice on the telephone telling me that her scan had revealed TWO babies! And the latest addition to the family, Andrew, born on 1st January 2004 to David and Shelley. In the top picture, I am wearing my “If I'd known having grandchildren was so much fun, I'd have had them first” T-shirt!
We are a very ordinary couple and lead a quiet life.
Stephanie and Elliot
I took early retirement in 1996 when my office closed down and I am happy to spend more time at home and to help out with the twins, who live nearby. We love Jazz music, particularly pianists like Phineas Newborn, Gene Harris, Oliver Jones, Oscar Peterson and Count Basie (his duets with Oscar are fabulous!) plus the Modern Jazz Quartet,
Listen to "Plaisir d'amour"
Slam Stewart, Jimmie Smith, Benny Goodman and jazz drummers like Louie Bellson (I could go on for ever!). I also like listening to Tom Jones, Frankie Vaughan, Tina Turner, Mozart and Ivan Rebroff - a superb singer famous for his Russian folk songs and with a vocal range from rich deep bass to soprano.
Well, how did I start to write web pages? I knew absolutely nothing about the Internet when I went on line on 28th December 2000. As I was such a greenhorn, I decided to join an evening class called, "Surfing the Net, Beginners", at a College near me. I started to learn about HTML (Hyper Text Mark Up Language). Fascinating. You have to put all your commands inside pointed brackets - very much like using a word processor and viewing all the non-printing characters. I was hooked. (Click on View on your Toolbar and click on Source and you can see what it looks like). We did some very simple pages in class and I decided to come back for the summer term and do "Surfing the Net, Advanced".
Then over Easter 2001, I remembered the box on top of the wardrobe with papers my Dad had kept about his sister, my Tante Marthe. I got it down and read it all again - it
brought a huge lump to my throat to see the lists of flowers and the details of the funeral which my father had carefully preserved. I was too young when my aunt died in 1946 to attend her funeral in Croydon and I didn't have the personal memories of my much older sisters. I consulted my sister Janine first - she thought it was a great idea to do a Website. My cousin, Yvonne, was thrilled that I had some material she did not know about.
And so I started to write a Web Page and another and another... I know I did things back to front. I didn't have a site plan to start with, that came a bit later. I did not know about differences in browsers or screen resolution until I saw my pages on my sister's computer – what worked on mine didn't work on hers! I redesigned my pages several times and, although I learnt a great deal as I went along, I have also begun to realise just how much I don't know! Correcting and updating my coding to meet the current specifications is a challenge which will keep me occupied for a very long time! In the meantime, I hope that our little bit of family history, which is part of a greater history, will be of interest to everybody who reads it.
Thank you to all who have helped. A huge thank you to my husband for putting up with me glued to the computer for days on end.
Janine, Marie-Claire and Maud
Thank you to Roger Valentine at Felpham Community College for inspiring me in the first place. Thank you to my sisters: Marie-Claire for sending me copies of photos and the music for "Little Grey Home in the West". Maud for her help and for telling me about the radio transmitter Tante Marthe had to take on the train.
A Proud Dad
David with Andrew
Janine for lending me more photographs, for transcribing Renier Janssen's letters (his writing was minuscule!) and for telling me how Tante Marthe and her daughter, Yvonne, got a message to Yvonne's husband, Hubert, when he was arrested by the Gestapo. A big thank you to my son, David, for copying lots of photographs for me, for his help with Paint Shop Pro and for acting as a 'sounding board' with all my design changes. Thank you also to my Cousin Michel for sending me emails with more information and for his initial support. And last but not least, thank you to all the helpful websites out there, particularly Joe Burns' HTML Goodies Site, which is full of easy to understand tutorials and which answered numerous "how do I do this?" questions.