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."
Thursday, 31 December 2015
This is my Mum in 1963 buying some fruit from a beachside shop in Chapel St Leonard’s. The photographer would be my Dad, once more demonstrating an uncanny knack for the unusual shot. How Mum put up with him taking a photo of her ‘behind' (on more than one occasion) I’ll never know.
There are several kinds of fruit in the racks behind; oranges, apples and bananas, but I believe Mum and the shopkeeper (the sign says, “Props. E. A. Litchfield & A. D......”) are inspecting peaches and he is helping her to select some ripe ones. The crate label reads ‘Golden Valley’, but that doesn’t really help. I expect Mum was trying to vary the diet from the ice creams and candyfloss we loved to eat on a day trip to the seaside.
Enlarging the picture I can see: buckets and spades; seaside postcards; beachballs, blow-up lilos; paper windmills (for your sandcastle); cricket stumps and a stack of deckchairs. The signs are advertising both Players and Woodbines Cigarettes; take your pick.
On the freezer is a sign stating the hire rate for those deckchairs, 2/- (two shillings); whether this was for the day or by the hour I’ve no idea.
There is also an advert for Zoom Ice Lollies and a bucket with a label exhorting us to, “Put your Eldorado Ice Cream wrappers here”. Quite right - no litter wanted in front of this tidy shop. I remember Eldorado with fondness, but I don’t believe the company exists any longer. The shop has a sign boasting that it is a ‘Four Star Independent Retailer’. Below the sign are some more inflatables and a couple of boxes of Ashley’s Ice Cream Wafers.
The most curious item is the comic character behind Mum and Mr Litchfield; probably some sort of inflatable toy for lobbing around the beach to scare the kiddies and little old ladies having a nap in their deckchairs.
I also noticed that Mum is wearing tartan slacks (or trews as she liked to call them, even though there wasn’t a drop of Scottish blood in her), a hand-knitted jumper and ‘comfy’ sandals. This helped me identify other shots taken on the same day.
I expect the shop also sold kites as another picture shows me demonstrating my newly purchased model.
I’ve seen that first photograph many times but I’ve never given it more than a passing glance until now. It’s amazing how Sepia Saturday makes us scrutinise and dissect old snaps to discover some little hidden gems we never noticed before. I feel as though I know Mr Litchfield - or is he A.D......? and his neat little four-star beachside shop, so well now. This is one day, more than half a century ago, but it could be yesterday again. By the time most of you read this another year will have begun and tonight we’ll be ‘Ringing in the New!’ It will be a time for looking forward and making resolutions, but don’t forget to join us at Sepia Saturday as we celebrate the past and look forward to another year of Sepia memories. Happy New Year everyone.