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, 30 June 2016

The Somme Day One

Tomorrow marks one hundred years since the beginning of the great Somme offensive, which was to claim so many lives. My own great uncle lost his life there in September 1916, and I wrote about this in Dulce et Decorum Est. Here, I am simply going to choose a few words and images, provided by others, and let them speak for themselves, as a memorial to the many who died. The First Day of the Somme was the opening day of the Battle of Albert.

This image was captioned, ‘British trench near the Albert-Bapaume road at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme’. It shows a German trench, occupied by British soldiers of A Company, 11th Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment.

From Albert to Bapaume

Lonely and bare and desolate,
Stretches of muddy filtered green,
A silence half articulate
Of all that those dumb eyes have seen.

A battered trench, a tree with boughs
Smutted and black with smoke and fire,
A solitary ruined house,
A crumpled mass of rusty wire.

And scarlet by each ragged fen
Long scattered ranks of poppies lay,
As though the blood of the dead men
Had not been wholly washed away.

Alec Waugh 

The image, by Richard Carline depicts the devastation by 1918, of a section of the Albert-Bapaume Road, and the surrounding landscape. A convoy of military vehicles drive along the bomb-damaged road, beside which are a few bell-tents. In the foreground is a grave, marked by a white wooden cross.

A time will certainly come in these rich vales
When a ploughman slicing open the soil
Will crunch through rusting spears, or strike
A headless iron helmet with his spade,
Or stare, wordless, at the harvest of raw bones
He exhumes from the earth’s unmarked grave.

(An extract from ‘Still', a new poem by Simon Armitage

A contribution to Sepia Saturday.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Birthday Lullaby

Go to sleep my baby
Sleep well, safe and sound, 
Sweet dreams are wished upon you,
Dear friends all around.*

Lullaby, and good night, in the skies stars are bright.
May the moon's silvery beams bring you sweet dreams.
Close your eyes now and rest, may these hours be blessed.
'Til the sky's bright with dawn, when you wake with a yawn.

Lullaby, and good night, you are mother's delight.
I'll protect you from harm, and you'll wake in my arms.**

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise,
Sleep pretty darling, do not cry, 
And I will sing a lullaby.**** 

Happy Birthday today to my hardworking son, who can still sleep anywhere, anytime, at the drop of a hat.  All those lullabies must have done the trick! This special edition of my posts for Sepia Saturday (where we have finally reached Zzzzzzzzzz, in our alphabet countdown) is dedicated to you.

* Traditional lullaby
** One of the several versions of lyrics sung to the tune known as Brahms Lullaby
***Cradle Song, a poem by Thomas Dekker, set to music by Peter Warlock and later used by the Beatles.

Friday, 17 June 2016

A Christmas Koala

A Koala is for life, not just for Christmas. Except these two obviously weren’t. They were a Christmas gift by a kind member of my family and were passed on when we moved house, probably to the grandchildren, but I’m not sure. The pictures are from twenty-four years ago.

And if you think that was cute and kind of funny, what about My husband got? Chocolate hedgehog anyone? We’re such a fun-loving family.

Join us this week at Sepia Saturday, where other contributors will have come up with a far better  match for the prompt image.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Wheel Meet Again

Two engineers discussing the workings of a disused mill wheel in 1985. My husband, in the checked shirt, and a friend. Unfortunately, although I wrote the date on the back of this photograph, I had no idea where the mill was.

The kids get involved with the gears and handles, visible to the left in the first photo, but I was no nearer solving the mystery of the location, until.........

Image courtesy of Richard Croft on geograph
...the man in the checked shirt, did some Internet detective work and found it!  It’s Stockwith Mill, Hagworthingham, Lincolnshire. It was a flourmill, which ceased production before the Second World War, although the wheel powered a generator until the 1950s. There used to be a tea room there and clearly we had taken the kids out for the day in the summer of 1985. It wasn’t far from where we lived at Coningsby.

I know where this mill is though; it’s old name was Harnham Mill, Salisbury, round the corner from where I used to live. A great place to walk to from our house, for a drink or a meal. The Town Path, which begins in the city of Salisbury, and ends here - or perhaps it’s the other way round, depending on your desired destination, passes though the Water Meadows, familiar from John Constable’s paintings.

The stone building (here showing a smart chequerboard of ashlar and flint) was constructed about five hundred years ago as a paper mill. It occupies the site of a medieval fulling mill, and over the years has been used for making cloth, bone fertiliser and candles. It is now the hotel and restaurant we know and love and a great place for a reunion. Whenever we go back to Salisbury to see old friends, it’s one of our favourite places to meet. We’ve lost touch with the friends from 1985, but who knows one day we may meet again.

This picture was taken last September, at the Old Mill, where I caught up with some of my lovely friends from the world of education. Why not catch up with old friends, and meet new ones, over at Sepia Saturday, where the image below was our inspiration.