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."

Friday, 26 September 2014

Turbans and Towels


This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt gave plenty of scope to themers. I had it in mind to go with the motorbike angle but as I started skimming my digital albums, I found the towel ’n turban idea more appealing. The photo features a 1944 Canadian photograph of a motorcycle courier and two servicewomen. One of the women has clearly been caught out, either en route to the showers or in the middle of some domestic chore, as she still has her towel draped over her arm and has tidied her hair into a turban.



This headwear became very popular during the War years due to rationing. Women learned to be creative with the scarves already in their wardrobe, whilst subsequently discovering that the scarves thus utilised, kept their hair clean whilst carrying out the Spring Cleaning, or hid the errant locks on ‘bad hair days’.



In this c1955 picnic picture, my brother is neither doing the cleaning, nor in need of a shampoo and set. It was a warm day, so perhaps he was using the towel as a makeshift sunhat. More likely however, is that he was clowning around for the camera. Mum, in mid-sandwich and I, concentrating on my drink, were oblivious of course.






Clearly there’s something about a towel and warm weather which brings out the inner child. In this next photograph from c1968, my friend’s father has adapted his towels as both turban and cape. I remember the dialogue well, as I wrote it in my teenage photo album, He was offering to sell us carpets or naughty postcards. We girls were in hysterics and I can’t show the rest of the picture as my friend is convulsed with laughter just as she takes a bite from her barbecued sausage; not a pretty sight. These days that kind of portrayal would be seen as only worthy of an end-of-the-pier show or pantomime, and would probably be deemed racist. In the 60s this kind of fare was served up on British television on a daily basis and passed for humour.


No racism intended in the next two photographs of my son, aged just eight years. This is just a little boy dressing up and hoping to win a fancy dress competition at the Primary School, Coningsby in July 1987. I’ve no idea who won, perhaps it was Rupert Bear standing next to him in the second shot.



























The 1942 British Pathé video below shows us exactly how to make a turban from whatever we have hanging about in our wardrobe. Whatever you don’t forget to stick a bunch of flowers in there too, or use two scarves at once if you want to be a ‘natty little pussy cat’! Weave a feather in or make a ‘sort of beehive’ tipped over at a tricky angle! Be aware when viewing this short film that it ends abruptly and what follows is a shocking clip from another film which would definitely be non-PC .


Grab your towel and see what other contributors have made of this week’s prompt.

17 comments:

  1. Your photos match the theme so well and are memories of happy times for you. I liked the movie clip too on how to make a hat out of a scarf or three.

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  2. That photo of your brother being funny just makes me laugh. Oh how many times I've opened a package of newly developed photos to be surprised at what was going on behind me. And your friend's father must have been a lot of fun. I have no photos of my friends' parents, but it would be fantastic to have just one photo that captures their essence the way this one does. And that "extra" on the video really is non-PC. What's more, the winner doesn't look like she would even qualify for the title.

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  3. I didn't realize that turbans were a practical wartime idea. I recently bought some scarves, but I definitely won't be using them for turbans (though I think the kitty cat one is kind of cute).

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  4. The one with feathers looks rather like a dead bird...and, Britian's Miss Fatty? Really???? People really held that kind of contest? Yikes.

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  5. Isn't it funny (and kind of sad) how perspective is altered depending on timing & sensitivity. In today's world with the way things are, your son's costume wouldn't have been a good idea. But back then, it was fine - and a very neat costume it was, too.

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  6. Okay I'll try this again, Blogger is acting up all of a sudden! Never mind the camera, we're hungry and thirsty! Your brother is too funny, but your son is just adorable. Very cute.

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  7. I remember my mum wearing a turban back in the 50s, but sadly I don’t have a photograph. I think she probably whipped it off if a camera came near.

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  8. Those turban/scarf/hats were popular with the movie stars too, as a fashion item. LLove the old non-PC humour. Should be more of it.

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  9. I must have been blind this week as I didn't realise there was a turban in the prompt at all.

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  10. I can vaguely remember my mother wearing a turban when decorating.

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  11. Oh my, I never realized hats were rationed too...and back then they were part of your wardrobe...up till the early-60s where I lived. I tie my hair into a towel daily, to get in the shower.

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  12. I wore a turban while riding a camel in the Moroccan dessert, I think that's a valid excuse.

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  13. What an innovative "pick up" on this week's photo prompt.! I remember my mother on wash day putting on a wrap-around overall and tying her hair up in a turban - this was the 1950's and meant hauling sheets through a mangle - long before such labour saving devices as automatic washing machines. Needless to say I have no photographs of like that, but years later she wore a hat suspiciously like a turban for a wedding.

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  14. Wonderful! I don't think I would have a single "turban" photo!

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  15. Great set of photos for the theme! It's really neat that you could find three photos of turbans and link them together in the post. The video at the end reminds me of our dear Rosie the Riveter.

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  16. Spotted a few turban wearers in the vintage tent last weekend... Remember my Granny had one she wore when she went to the beach - it was a towelling, ready-made affair, so no need for careful twisting and tucking! Love the cheeky picture of your brother and your friend's dad - don't remember any of my friend's fathers being that much fun!

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