Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Picnic Puzzle

Here's my Mum (b.1920) on a Sunday School picnic, aged nine or ten. She's looking a bit sad, clutching her hat and leaning on her Auntie Maud. Regular readers will already know about my Great Aunt Maud, who ran Sunday School classes amongst her many other activities. In this picture Maud is in her mid-thirties and obviously good company. Mum tells me the picnics would have been close to home; somewhere they could walk to easily, perhaps the Embankment in Nottingham. Some doubt has been cast on the location since my original post, and suggestions have been made of Gunthorpe (which Mum is dubious about as this would have cost money and no-one had any to spare!), Colwick or Wilford. I'd love to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this.

Mum thinks the lady in uniform was a member of the Church Army, and known as Sister Whitehead. Most of the girls look cheerful, apart from Mum; they'd probably just had their picnic, although the girl on the left is still eating. The brown paper bag in the foreground probably had some buns or 'rockcakes' from the local baker and Sister Whitehead seems to have had charge of the Thermos flask of tea. She probably needed it to help keep her cool, as she seems a little overdressed, with dark clothes and thick stockings.











In the second picture, apparently taken by Maud herself, Mum seems much happier; perhaps it was the prospect of a ball game. The smiling lady with the pearl necklace was Maud's lifelong companion, Mary, who first appeared as a little girl in my post, In Her Sunday Best.


The third picture is taken on a different occasion, when Mum was a little younger. She's the one eating a banana. She tells me that the girls would have been drinking cold tea, which would have been transported to the picnic in a bottle wrapped in a cloth, if no thermos flask was available. Maud is in the centre of the picture, so perhaps her friend Mary was the photographer this time.

I've mentioned before that Maud was a hobby photographer who often developed her own pictures and hand-coloured them. Two of her pictures she had made into 100-piece wooden jigsaws for Mum. My favourite, of Mum picking armfuls of bluebells was the subject of one of my first blogposts, Life is a Jigsaw and is still in good condition. The picnic scene is a little less well-preserved, and I'm sorry to say that a few pieces are missing. I've recently found a link to the makers of the puzzle, Jerome (the name appears in the bottom righthand corner), on this interesting site, where one more example can be viewed. You will also find information there about the Jerome studios and a personal recollection of a hand-colourist who worked there.

The original pictures are very small, approximately 8x6 cms, so the jigsaw-maker did a very good job of retaining the details.

No two pieces are alike, and despite the simplicity of the scene, it was fiendishly difficult to put together. Wouldn't you know it, there's a piece that just wouldn't go in any of the spaces. It's definitely the grass bank in the foreground, and there's part of Sister Whitehead's shoe on there, but despite appearances it doesn't fit in!

There's probably a story or a poem to come out of that!

There's no need to puzzle over where to go next. The prompt picture for this week's Sepia Saturday was a picnic scene with many theming possibilities. You're invited along to what will no doubt be a feast of responses.


32 comments:

  1. I do like to see photos of lots of happy smiling faces. The top picture is particularly nice.

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  2. My guess is that perhaps more than one of these jigsaw puzzles was ordered and supplied, and although the pattern of pieces was supposed to be identical, slight imperfections meant that they weren't, and one of the pices was mixed up. I remember your last jigsaw puzzle post, but thanks very much for sharing another. Wonderful to have the original photo as well. Did they come in a box, and is the manufacturer's name present anywhere, I wonder?

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    1. Thanks Brett, this prompted me to search further. The name 'Jerome' appears in the corner, so I've updated the post. I can't find anything else about them though. Any suggestion of where to look?

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    2. Oh yes indeed. When you want an answer to a photographic question, where should you look? On Photo-Sleuth, of course. Jerome Studios were a countrywide chain with branches in most major towns. I know that they sold hand-colouring kits, but I didn't know about the jigsaw puzzles. Now I want one! Well, a good scan or high quality photograph of the front and back of a jigsaw and original photograph will do. ;-)

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  3. Wow, what interesting details with each picture! Your Aunt Maud was truly a special lady! Her puzzle is wonderful and I just know back then it had to be truly rare to see. Your mother is so cute and always sporting a meaningful expression.

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  4. Great picnic photos, and the hand colouring of the puzzle pic is great, bad luck about the missing pieces. Is your mother still in touch with any of the girls?

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    1. Sadly not Jo. Mum is nearly 93 now, and I expect few of those lovely smiling girls are still alive. My Aunt had written 'Joan' and 'Kathleen' on the back, but the names meant nothing to my Mum.

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  5. It's a pity some pieces of the puzzle are missing, it must have been played a lot. Still it's a treasure to have. The pictures are cute, these must have been joyfull days for the girls, I guess everyday life wasn't that easy back then.

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  6. Oddly, I don't remember playing with this when I was young, though the buebelll one I did a lot. I don't think we are responsible for the loss (at least I hope not) as you will have seen from my 'Life is a Jigsaw' post, I store them very carefully.

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  7. I don't think I've ever heard of jigsaws made from your own photo. What a wonderful idea. Your photos are beautifully clear.

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  8. Three wonderful photographs. Isn't it odd what can jump out from a photograph as a kind of indelible time stamp : in that first photograph it was undoubtedly the thermos flask which whisked me back in time at the speed of light. You can get a smashing little App for your iPad which will convert your own photos into digital jig-saw puzzles. Now wouldn't Aunt Maud have loved that!

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  9. Beautiful pictures and fun following your Mum and the girls from photograph to photograph.

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  10. All girls in these picnics - nothing like the ones I went on - all brothers and all boy cousins - no pretty dresses on picnics for me!
    I'm going to look up that smashing little app that Alan mentioned!

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  11. That puzzle is an excellent piece of family memorabilia!

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  12. Aren't these fun memories! Love the little girl in glasses with her feet up. The puzzle and original photo make a wonderful keepsake. Maud's hobby makes it all the more special knowing her part in colorizing the picture.

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  13. Great photos, wonderful jigsaw! Your mother has such a wonderful expression on her face -- maybe not unhappy, maybe just thoughtful!

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  14. I especially like the hand coloring.

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  15. What an excellent idea to have the jigsaws made; I haven't gone as far as that with mine - just an odd canvas print. Two excellent photos to cherish.

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  16. Wonderful photos with lots of characters. As a jigsaw maker, I can tell you that puzzles are usually cut in pairs or more to keep the printed faces together and avoid the fuzzy sawmarks. It's very easy to get a piece mixed with the wrong puzzle.

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  17. Lovely photos to have of your mother and friends. I wonder why she was so grumpy in the first photo?

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  18. Lots of picnic munching going on in these lovely old family photos. I had a friend who coloured photos and she showed me how to do it. I had fun with some of my mum's old photos but now I prefer them in their original black and white.

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  19. Wonderful images! I especially love Sister Whitehead; she has a lovely smile.

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  20. What wonderful group pictures! Even tho you mother doesn't remember the names of the other girls, what you have is a great point in time to remember your mother and her friends, and of course, Aunt Maud.

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  21. I get the feeling that your mother was not very keen about getting her photo taken?

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  22. I do like those 1920's photographs of simple enjoyable fun and the hat makes it so typical of the era. I remember Sunday School picnics from my day, but we never seemed to have taken any photos of them.

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  23. Excellent photographs for 1920. Thanks for the link!

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  24. Great photos, and I really love the jigsaw puzzle! What a unique memento. It's a shame there are pieces missing, but at least you have the original photo to compare it to.

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  25. They are all adorable ... even the top "glum" photo of mum. :) The puzzle is amazing, and the fact it is so well preserved. :)

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  26. That's funny that the very first person I looked at in the first shot turned out to be your mom. I was immediately drawn to her bored look. The one person who appears to have no interest in the photographer. But one photo cannot tell the whole story as proven by the next shot.

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  27. What great photos and to top them off even a puzzle! Do you keep it assembled or un-assembled?
    Barbara
    P.S. When I find it I'll send you my next embarrassing travel story.

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  28. I think it was a good idea to give a child a puzzle depicting a moment in her own life. An uncommon thing to do. I loved puzzles as a child but never had one like this.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  29. Hi - think I can help with the two first photos. First almost certainly Colwick Woods. Second DEFINITELY Wilford, shot taken from the bank of the River Trent and the big clue are the two brick arches far top left, part of the Great Central Railway. In fact at least one is still there but the rest of the viaduct has gone. You mentioned Gunthorpe but from memory its fairly flat with Gunthorpe Bridge over the Trent. Dont think 1 is Clifton Grove either, its not as hilly or as steep as Colwick Woods is. Oh yes, great photos!

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