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 24 September 2015

Two Girls, Two Dogs

It’s 1962 and I am walking with my friend Linda, in Partridge Woods, close to where we live. We were just two girls who were dog mad and would have loved to own these poodles, Tina and Sherry; instead we dog-walked for their real owners. My father, who took this picture, would have driven us all to the woods where the dogs could be let off the lead and get their noses into all those woody scents.

Here we are again in my family’s back garden, and the dogs are being very well-behaved, posing perfectly for their picture. My recollection is that Tina was Sherry’s Mum but I may be wrong. Their owners were always happy for us to exercise the dogs and we would walk for miles in the fields near our homes. Those fields are all gone now; filled with modern houses.

Eventually, when I was eleven years old, I became a dog owner myself, and what did I choose? A poodle of course. My mother, who had recently been very seriously ill was relieved that the dog was small, and didn’t shed hairs. it wasn’t long before he became a part of the family.
Here I am with Kim and my (now) Sister-in-Law, and her dog, Heidi, a daschund.

Two girls, two dogs, just like our Sepia Saturday prompt picture this week. Why not join us there at the weekend to see what other contributors have come up with.

Friday 18 September 2015

Hanging on the Line

If there’s something vaguely familiar about the above picture, let me refer you to ‘A Boyhood Backyard’ which featured my father’s painting of this scene and the story of how it came to be the subject of his picture. At the time of posting, in March last year, I only had the painting; the photograph subsequently came to light whilst scanning my parents’ albums. Please do take a look back at that updated post to learn more.

The Sepia Saturday prompt this week is washing on the line and the only image I can find in my own albums is this one of my children playing in our pocket-hanky sized back garden in our RAF Married Quarters in High Wycombe.  We had just moved in and hadn’t even managed to do anything with the ‘borders’, but with two young children there was always laundry to be done. My son looks grumpily from his playpen whilst my daughter takes the opportunity to jump in the empty laundry basket.

Join us for more images and words inspired by the prompt below.

Friday 11 September 2015

Renewed Lustre

Mateus Rosé was the iconic drink of the 1970s. I don’t remember it tasting particularly good, but the bottles were a pleasing shape with attractive labels. It was probably quite cheap to buy and was within our student budgets. After we had polished off the wine we would use the bottle as a candle holder, allowing the drips of successive coloured candles to form a rainbow-coloured carapace. This image comes from my souvenir programme from the Lords Taverners charity cricket match at RAF Cranwell, and the advert is alluding to the charity’s 21st birthday in 1971. The complete programme can be viewed on my Flickr album.

Another colourful label is this one, spotted on at the ‘Whirrs, Cogs and Thingamabobs’ exhibition at the Naval Dockyards, Chatham in 2012. Again, you can see some of the oddities on display in my Flickr album of the exhibition. This label is for a chemically treated dust puff from the 1950s.

I can almost forgive the incorrect use of it’s for its, because I was amused by the description of the ‘patented kinky construction’. Even though it was ‘soft and fluffy’ it promised to ‘renew lustre’ - very similar to the Mateus Rose in fact.

This week’s Sepia Saturday calls for adverts, wine and old labels, so I’ve ticked all the boxes. Why not join us and see some more polished posts.

Saturday 5 September 2015

High Fortress Above the Sea

High Fortress above the sea - the world drives
Its carriages across it;
And you, all you ships of the sea,
Pass beneath its chains.
David Owen (1784-1841)
Translated from the Welsh englyn poetic form.

The year was 1959 and we were on holiday in Llandudno, Wales, during the last week in August. My brother and I are posing on the Menai Suspension Bridge. Designed by Thomas Telford to carry traffic between the mainland of Wales and Anglesey, it was completed in 1826. Before its completion the only way to cross the dangerous waters of the Menai Strait was by ferry.
“I heard him then for I had just
 completed my design,
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.”
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

The towers on either side of the Strait are constructed from Penmon limestone. The sixteen huge chain cables, each made of 935 iron bars, support the 176 metre span, and between manufacture and use were soaked in warm linseed oil (not boiled in wine as the White Knight in Lewis Carroll’s poem, above, suggests).

And here are our parents snapped at what was then a T-junction. The breeze has caught the skirt of Mum’s dress, making her appear much larger than she was, so it’s possibly not one of her favourite photographs.

Incredibly, Mum and Dad are standing just across the road from where this weeks’ Sepia Saturday prompt photo below, was taken. It comes from the National Library of Wales, and  shows the bridge in the Winter of the previous year, in thick fog which appears to cut it in half.

Help bridge the gap by joining other contributors to this week’s Sepia Saturday.