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."

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Just For The Record

Some help needed with a question at the end of this post please. 

As he catalogued his music collection,
she wondered if she ought to mention,
that she had seen one of her own,
amongst the heap, and had he known?
A subliminal glimpse of the record label,
as he dropped it on the old turntable,
confirmed her fears, that he’d purloined it.

She listened smiling to each track, 
but vowed that she would have it back.
At coffee time she took the risk,
and carefully slid the vinyl disk,
from sleeve into her bag of shopping,
said No to coffee and wasn’t stopping,
then dashed to catch her bus.

Once home she placed it on the table,
donned spectacles and read the label.
She peered quite closely, scrutinising,
and then she felt the panic rising.
For hers lay on the living room floor
Discarded from the night before.....
and now she has a criminal record!

© Marilyn Brindley
Image courtesy of Tess Kincaid at The Mag, where Tess provided the picture prompt to get our creative juices flowing. It's Charlotte Gainsbourg by AnOther.

This is me in 1974-5 (Look at that 'lovely' wallpaper!) Now, I'm not stealing anybody's record; it's one of my own. However, I'm having trouble identifying it by its sleeve. As I no longer own any vinyl I can't go and simply have a look. Does anybody recognise it?

The mystery has been solved as of 3rd February 2013 and I can now reveal that it is the upside-down image of the reverse of Don McLean's 'American Pie'. Apparently I cared enough about it to put it in a plastic sleeve to protect it.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Going Bananas

The picture above was taken on the island of Tenerife, and marks the moment when I first discovered  that bananas grow pointing upwards in bunches, and not down, as I had expected.

It's a rather grainy image because it is scanned from a 35mm slide and was taken thirty-eight years ago on our honeymoon, when we looked like this. We know a lot more about bananas these days as we live on the neighbouring island of Lanzarote, here in the Canary Islands. Lanzarote doesn't grow bananas as  we have less rainfall than Tenerife and it can be a bit more windy, which banana plants don't like apparently. My next 'banana surprise' came when we encountered the fruit in shops and markets. They can look distinctly unappetising as they don't have to be of uniform size and colour, as you find in supermarkets in England. However, they taste delicious and are just as good for you!

EU Commission Regulations state that bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature," though Class 1 bananas can have "slight defects of shape" and Class 2 bananas can have full "defects of shape." (EC) 2257/94. I can vouch for the 'double banana' I discovered here  three years ago as being very tasty (though it had twice the calories!

More often than not it's the green bananas on sale in both supermarkets and on market stalls, like this one in Mancha Blanca last August. They soon ripen when we bring them home however. This quick video shows a family plantation in Tenerife.

That's the end of the travelogue, but if you want to know how we went bananas last Christmas.......

It was by playing 'Bananagrams'. In actual fact it probably kept us sane. Here we are on 15th December, just three days after my Dad's funeral, applying ourselves to the game. Mum, at 92, still does daily crosswords and it showed in the words she was producing! We were pretty evenly matched and I can't remember whose words are shown above. The point was we were thoroughly imersed. It had been a tough week, as we'd also lost my sister-in-law the day before Dad's funeral. So, after dinner, we cracked open another bottle of wine and decided to start getting into the Christmas games. We were determined not to be gloomy as both these much loved family members had enjoyed playing games. I'm not sure if the wine helped or hindered, but we were certainly more 'relaxed'.

Alan's Sepia Saturday picture prompt for this week showed men selling, among other things, bananas, so I went down that track...and look where it lead me! 

This picture is bound to produce a crop of great old photos and stories and there'll be a bunch of other contributions by Saturday, so why not take your pick and join in the fun. Add your own picture or story and visit other Sepians. If you really like old photos and stories, but don't want to add a contribution yet, join our Facebook Page where we have nearly as much fun.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Skipping Rhyme

Image courtesy of Tess Kincaid 

At seven years our friendship stood,
We shared an apple and life was good,
All on a Monday morning.

At twenty years we’d dance and jive,
And it was fun to be alive,
All on a Tuesday morning.

At thirty years we’d tied the knot,
And started up the pension pot,
All on a Wednesday morning.

At forty years we’d children three,
And no more time for You and Me,
All on a Thursday morning.

At fifty years we’d snipe and snap,
And married life became a trap,
All on Friday morning.

At sixty years we made the split,
And said goodbye and that was it,
All on a Saturday morning.

At seventy years I’m all alone,
And I’ve nobody to call my own,
All on a Sunday morning.

© Marilyn Brindley

The image provided by Tess Kincaid at The Mag this week, reminded me of school children holding hands in a playground game and that set me off on skipping chants. It helps to imagine two children turning a long rope and with each verse one more child 'skips in' and then 'skips out' again until one child is indeed 'all alone'. For a fascinating look at the history of children's skipping and dance rhymes and chants, go to The British Library website where you can see video clips and hear archive recordings.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Where was Maud?

Where was Maud? in our wood;
And I, who else, was with her,
Gathering woodland lilies,
Myriads blow together.

The Maud in my photograph is not the one made famous by Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem of that name, from which the above quote comes. The girl on the waggon, smiling from behind the bottom corner of the banner, is my very own Great - Aunt Maud (1893-1980). And where was she? Well, on the back of the photograph is pencilled "Missionary Festival, Albert Hall, 1905" in Maud's own fair hand. This was not the Albert Hall in London, but the one in my home city of Nottingham. At that time the hall was in the hands of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, but the year after this photograph was taken, fire swept through the building. The Albert Hall which I remember was begun in 1909 and to this day remains magnificent concert hall and conference venue, adjoining the city's Playhouse. 

So that takes care of the location and answers the question posed in my post title. But who was Maud? She was the older sister of my maternal grandfather Sid and his brother Albert, and is seated next to him in the 'Wedding Day Delay' photograph.  She worked in the Nottingham Lace industry but after the war itself she was assigned to  'Army Labour Corps Records' which dealt, among other things with demobilisation. I recently acquired her autograph book, where many of her friends from the office wrote poems and sketched pictures for her.

Mum and Aunt Maud

My mother (born in 1920) was very fond of Auntie Maud (or Maude, depending on how she felt like signing it). During the 1930s Mum attended Sunday School picnics organised by her, and even went away on holiday to the seaside with her. Maud was a keen amateur photographer, and developed most of her own pictures. Some she hand-coloured, and two in particular she had made into wooden jigsaws for my mother. I still have them and one of my very first posts as a blogger was about one of these. There are no comments on that post so I'm guessing very few have seen it; please spare a minute to take a look at the wonderful jigsaw and the original picture with my poem in my post, 'In and out the Dusty Bluebells'

Great- auntie Maud with two-year old Me

I remember her from my own childhood when I would be taken by my parents to visit her, or she would call on my grandparents whilst I was staying with them. She was a very kind lady who volunteered in her local community, notably with the 'Hard of Hearing' club. She was quite deaf herself and wore a hearing aid. Unfortunately this meant that she also spoke rather loudly. She also had a habit of repeating sentences, beginning the second sentence (as an echo of the first one) with an introductory, "I say.....". Whether this was a result off her disability or indeed just a habit, I'm not sure.

My daughter with her Great-great Auntie Maud

Maud and her brothers lost their mother when they were very young; Maud was just nine years old. Possibly this made her quite independent and not a little feisty. She was able to turn her hand to many crafts and made many of her own clothes. She was still tending her garden and making her own bread in old age. She was one of the WW1 generation of young women who never married. So many young eligible men lost their lives, reducing the chances of ladies like Maud to marry. She and another maiden lady became 'companions' and shared a home together until Maud's death. My grandfather always maintained that it was more than just friendship, but we shall never know, nor indeed, care. I was fond of both of them and they always showed affection to my own family.  

Alan's prompt for this week's Sepia Saturday suggests 'waggons' and 'aunties' so I've managed both. Why not see for yourself what others have come up with. There's also a lively Facebook page you can join (you don't have to be a blogger). 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Knitting Yarn

Image courtesy of Tess at Magpie Tales

She likes to try the latest crazes,
Her efforts sometimes do amaze us.

She determined the craft of knitting to master,
The result, I’m afraid, was a woolly disaster.

She isn’t a very clever girl,
She knitted when it should have been purl.

At the sleeve she forgot to count the rows,
And only stopped when it reached her toes.

The other arm was far too wide,
As she found when she pushed her head inside.

Exhausted at last she needed a drink,
And sat for a while in order to think.

Completely swaddled in pink cashmere,
That’s when she had her big idea.

She’d market the garment as a Onesie-Knit,
For monopods, to buy as a kit!

©Marilyn Brindley

From The Nuremberg Chronicles courtesy of Wikipedia
Linking to Tess Kincaid's 'The Mag'. Do join us.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Beach Baby

This particular 'beach baby' is me aged two and a half on a family holiday. We were staying in a holiday bungalow in Seathorne, near Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast. It was an easy journey for us from our home in Nottingham. We had one holiday each year, for which my parents would save carefully; I even remember Mum buying one item of grocery each week to put by in the holiday box, as we were always self-catering. Sometimes we stayed in caravans, but this particular year it was a real house!

I acquired this particular snap only very recently, whilst going through my parents' albums after Dad's funeral in December. It made me realise again the power of these old photographs to evoke long-forgotten feelings and memories. I was too young to remember the actual holiday of course but looking at my two-year old self, smiling at 'Daddy' and running the warm sand through my fingers, I was certain as I ever could be that it was a happy time. It must have been sunny as I am in shorts and wearing a hat. My chubby knees are making indentations in the soft sand and my toes would have been curling with pleasure at the freedom they were allowed.

Skegness is famous for its wide, clean sandy beach and, like many English seaside resorts, for its donkeys, which patiently ambled along it, giving generations of children rides. I wonder if that's where my lifelong love of these gentle creatures began. Here I am with my brother about to set off on our ride; if we were lucky the handler would command Rita and Benny to trot, making me giggle with delight.

When the donkeys weren't available then Daddy made a wonderful substitute.

Of course the best way to appreciate the sand was to be immersed in it, and, apart from making sandcastles, this is what you did on seaside holidays - buried each other, but only a little bit. The 'victim'   had to be able to break free with very little assistance. Cue more helpless laughter and jokes about sand getting into everything.

I visited Skegness many times over the following years and in adulthood actually lived and taught in Lincoln, from where day trips would be made. My memories of those holidays and excursions are happy ones, but none I'm sure can match the pure innocent pleasure of my 'beach baby' days.

Listen to the original Beach Baby single by First Class (Top Twenty in 1974).

If you'd like to reverse the sands of time and see what other contributors have made of the photo prompt below, then go to Sepia Saturday for a real nostalgia trip.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Window of Opportunity (2)

Image by Daniel Murtag

Now, whilst the New Year’s revellers continued their din, amidst party hats, streamers, and masks, she braved the frosty night air and danced barefoot over the dewy grass to the summer house. An over the shoulder glance to reassure that none had witnessed her departure and she stood, breathless and shivering, at the door. Suddenly she was beset by doubts. Was it possible that she had misinterpreted his message? No, she was sure now, as she discarded all garments save her cobweb-lace gown which seemed to have been spun around the contours of her body, enfolding it - making an offering of it.

He suddenly became aware of her, standing under the dim light which bathed the window in a misty glow. She hadn’t been there a moment ago and now suddenly there she was, one hand on the door, the other reaching for her throat, as if to settle the fast-beating heart. He caught the uncertain look, saw the beads of perspiration on the downy lip and answered the question in her eyes with a smile. There would only be a short time before the carriages were called and her mother would be signalling to her father that it was time to take their leave. She had made her resolution. It had to be now. He stood and moved towards the door as she turned the handle and stepped into the darkened room.  

©Marilyn Brindley

Linking to Tess Kincaid's 'Magpie Tales' and joining others who have used this prompt to keep their muses alive and well.