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

Seaside Shopping


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.


22 comments:

  1. A nostalgic look back, as I remember those seaside shops, and flying a kite. We lived in Blackpool and went to the old airfield to get a good run. It is now the site of Blackpool Zoo.

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  2. What a nifty little shop right there on the beach for all your needs and then some! Fun for sure! :)

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  3. Sweet pics, the dog will have had a fun day too! Happy 2016!

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  4. Bless your Dad for taking a good clear photo of everyday life and capturing it for us all to enjoy.

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  5. I love all the details in the first photo. The pose isn't exactly flattering, but it is interesting.

    I love the little dog too. It sure looks a lot like the cotton candy!

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  6. Lovely, Marilyn. Your Dad had such a flare for photography - so much more interesting than posed pictures. Happy New Year to you and your family x

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  7. What you say in your final paragraph is so true. There is something about such old photographs as these which invite you in to explore the environment and sift through the history. Have you read William Boyd's new novel, "Sweet Caress"? If not do so - it is Sepia Saturday in words. Happy 2016 to you and John and all your family. Alan and Isobel

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  8. I love all the details you pointed out. I'm afraid I have absolutely no experience with seaside shops. The two times I was close enough were in Panama and in Canada...both of which I was too young to remember. Happy New Year!

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  9. This is a wonderful photo with so much to look at. I wonder how many people popped in to buy a pair of sunglasses because they lost or forgot to bring theirs.

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  10. I bet the prices were pretty resonable too. Although it is a shot from the rear, it doesn't seem disrespectful. Very interesting view of the shop and people.

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  11. You are quite right about the way Sepia Saturday redirects our attention on old photos. I've always liked the jumble sale quality of small shops. A deliberate sales tactic to be sure, but one that makes you look at everything as if it was a treasure hunt. Which is Sepia Saturday again too. Have a happy 2016.

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  12. Interesting old shots of your mum and you?. They tell good stories. I noticed the sign for Players Cigarettes. My mum used to smoke them.

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  13. What an enjoyable look into your memories! Such beautiful photos of happy times!

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  14. You got so much out of that photo! Most enjoyable to read and to remember some of those old products. You are cute as a button in these photos.

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  15. A story telling photo instead of a snapshot. I wish we had more photos like that. It makes you wonder what conversation is going on over that tray of peaches. Perhaps the caption could go ...." A peach for a peach."

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  16. This post inspired me so much, I just posted my own today!

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  17. I also have a strange desire for cotton-candy!

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  18. Great how you can describe so much of the shop and its contents from that one photograph, and your Mum's rear view is certainly not the focus of the picture! I loved the jumble-like seaside shops we saw by the coast in places like Whitstable and Broadstairs in Kent when we were over that way last year.

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  19. So much in one shop! This week has made me realise how important it is for me to go out and take some photos of shops for my great grandchildren (I don't have grandchildren yet!)

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  20. It is fatally easy to take those "backside shots" All it needs is for your subject to thoughtlessly bend over at the crucial moment.... I took one myself the other day! A happy new year to you and I look forward to more of your photos and comments.

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  22. What a delightful outing that includes cotton candy.

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