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 30 May 2014

Ay Me!

Here’s a thoughtful young lady in about 1912; in need of support, as her little legs probably grew tired waiting for the photographer to frame his shot. I wonder if there were any impatient sighs. Her hair is short as she’s only about two and a half, but look at that charming ‘kiss-curl’ in the middle of her forehead. She’s wearing a simple linen dress, appropriate for a toddler at that time, but a pretty little crocheted collar to take away the plainness. I wonder what colour her boots were, probably a soft brown leather. Who is this little charmer? It’s my late mother-in-law, Mary, in one of a handful of infant pictures we have of her.

Here she is a few years later, as a young woman. She’s aged about seventeen, in the first one, but perhaps a little more mature in the one on the right. It looks as though she still needs support and it would appear that she is leaning on the same small table. She was always an elegant lady and before her marriage she was a fashion buyer for a large department store in Manchester; her sense of style is evident here. By now she would have learned to curb any irritation with the photographer and she is confident and relaxed. It doesn’t mean that a small sigh did not escape her lips at some point however.

Our Sepia Saturday prompt this week is of a thoughtful young lady, also clearly in need of support, as she leans on a faux mantelshelf. Perhaps it was the weight of all that hair that was too much for her! It reminds me of the quote from Shakespeare’s 'Romeo and Juliet’:

“See how she leans her cheek upon her hand.
 O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
 That I might touch that cheek!”

Says Romeo as he gazes up at his love on the balcony. Juliet of course is lost in thought and sighs:
“Ay me."

Grace Sutherland, here in the original cdv (1890) from which the prompt picture was taken, may well have been sighing “Ay me” herself. She was one of The Seven Sutherland Sisters, who lead an amazing life. You can read more in this Collectors Weekly article, where you can see more thoughtful poses and young ladies, leaning on a variety of objects.

Join other Sepians this week as they comb through their collections in search of the perfect match for the prompt

Friday 23 May 2014

Bedding In

The picture above is of my room at Bishop Grosseteste Teacher Training College in Lincoln. I had it all to myself, a real luxury having shared for the previous two years. It also had a washbasin and mirror and a desk and chair but was a bit on the small side. For my fourth year I moved to a more spacious one at the other end of the corridor. I’m no longer in touch with those lovely girls, so I hope they don’t mind me sharing this picture. I can barely remember their names; Maggie, Jeanette, Debbie and Joan, I think that’s right.

We would usually congregate in one room or another, although we did share a little ‘common room’ to each four bedrooms which had easy chairs and a coffee table (and, being the 70s, was plastered with iconic posters of Robert Redford and Che Guevara!).

Look at those coffee mugs and that 70s bed cover and matching curtains (drapes) as well. Can you see my trendy patchwork suede bag hanging above Maggie’s head? I had a mini-skirt to match. I don’t know what the picture is behind Maggie’s shoulder but it helps me to match this picture with the prompt for Sepia Saturday this week. Taken from the State Archives of North Carolina about 1917. It’s a room much more sparsely decorated; an iron bedstead and bare wooden floorboards. A picture on the wall which looks like a man in uniform and could be the girls’ idol, the equivalent of Robert Redford.

No posters are visible however, instead we have college pennants which would have been just as important to these girls. I couldn’t resist scrolling through The Knowles Collection, from which this image comes, and immediately found myself sidetracked by accompanying pictures which come from ‘The Peace College'. There are more of girls in their dorms, and, like the image above, the odd ukulele or two puts in an appearance. Apparently it was ‘The Ukulele Club’ of Meredith College (or Peace College).

And there are more pennants(and ukuleles) and girls on beds and pictures on the walls in other pictures in the collection.

I spent a happy hour or two scrolling through the Knowles Collection, donated in the mid-1960s by antiques dealer J C Knowles who saved them for us by accepting an offer from a Mr Leavister (himself in the business of salvaging from demolished homes) of a box of old glass negatives. Very few of the subjects are identified, but the girls (and their ukuleles) also appear in the year book of the Peace College. If you decide to follow my example and click the link to this collection, be prepared for some unexpected and somewhat shocking images suddenly appearing amongst the jolly college groups and ethereal brides. The wonder of Flickr and of Sepia Saturday.  Why not jump aboard and discover the delights that other Sepians have shared, room for one more; "There were ten in the bed and the little one said......"

Friday 16 May 2014

It’s in the Bag

There’s quite a lot going on in the above photo, though quite why my father chose to capture this particular moment we will never know. I think it’s a scan of one of his old 35mm slides and records a moment back in May 1987 at Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire.

My daughter is rushing over to show grandma her latest shell and my son appears to be flying a kite. It obviously wasn’t a very warm day -  no bikinis or suncream in sight - but that doesn’t spoil the fun for a family determined to enjoy a day at the beach. Mum had put on her summer frock and sandals in expectation of a warm sunny day, but she’s wearing a padded jacket over it so it must have turned chilly. She’s not filling her bag with sand, like the lady in this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt picture below, but she is digging in her plastic carrier bag for something. I wonder what it was.

It may not even have been her bag. It could have contained anything from the children’s 'flip-flops’ to a picnic sandwich; all we can do is speculate. I was probably there on the day, but I have absolutely no memory of it all; let’s hope we all had a great time and then retired to the nearest beach café for fish and chips.

Here’s the same lady in 1952 showing my brother the way to do it. This poor quality print is not worth enlarging, but once again a moment has been captured. She isn’t stealing sand to make sandbags, as the lady in the prompt picture is, and my brother isn’t wearing a sailor-suit, but it’s a mother and son beach moment just the same.

Grab your spade and dig into the past along with other Sepia Saturday contributors.

Friday 9 May 2014

Table Talk

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt has two little girls seated outside at a table with some kind of recreational activity. The above image comes once more from the album of my late sister-in-law, Gillian. It shows her daughters, our great-nieces, c1967 at their home in Buckinghamshire. The older of the two told me that they were probably making pastry and that, "We were always allowed to make a mess! I remember us all painting the box that the washing machine came in and Mummy made it into a little house for us. Lovely memories. 

The two sisters in the prompt image look quite inhibited, unlike our nieces, as they play with Young Englands Floral Alphabet. They would probably love to be have been allowed to make a mess, but were prevented from doing so for fear of spoiling their clothes.

And heres another young lady whose mother didnt mind her making a mess; well she was eating her porridge after all!  This was my daughter, aged approximately 20 months (just before her younger brother arrived on the scene), enjoying an alfresco breakfast in 1979. In the background is the beloved push-along, Bruno.

Join other junior members of the Sepia Saturday crowd and see who else is seated at the table.

Friday 2 May 2014

Another String to His Bow

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt features dancers with arms outstretched and musical instruments.

The handsome, smiling Greek Cypriot in my pictures matches the theme perfectly as he demonstrates traditional Greek dancing. This was 2001 and whilst on holiday in Cyprus, we discovered this little taverna one night and were amazed when the owner, once he had recovered from the dancing,  took up his violin and serenaded us.

Yes I know we don’t look impressed, but we were, so much so that we went back - several times!

Join other Sepians this week as they celebrated May Day with dances and music.