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."

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Hold Hands and Stick Together

When you go out into the world, 
Watch out for traffic,
Hold Hands and stick together,
Be aware of wonder.
              Robert Fulghum

The little girl in the picture is my Mum, who is 95 years old today. She is holding hands with her brother Billy, who was just seventeen months older than her. This is about 1924 and they are standing on the Wilford Suspension Bridge, which crosses the River Trent in Nottingham.

This is the bridge scanned from one of my Dad’s slides and originally photographed in 1991. Since then, the bridge, which was completed in 1908, has had a major refurbishment. It was originally constructed to carry a water pipeline across the Trent to Wilford Hill Reservoir, and at the same time the opportunity was taken to incorporate a route for pedestrians and cyclists. It stands on a bend in the river and from it you enjoy views in both directions, right round the corner of the river. It’s the only connection between the Meadows, where Mum and her family lived, and West Bridgeford.

 I think these two pictures of Mum were taken on the same day, and I would hazard a guess that they were either taken by Great Aunt Maude, or by Billy, using his aunt’s camera.

Maude would often take the children on outings. She had no children of her own and a Sunday afternoon walk across the bridge to the fields on the other side, would have been a treat. Those fields disappeared long ago. Mum appears to be picking wild flowers, although it would appear that Billy is clutching grass. Perhaps it was for a pet rabbit.

I remember crossing that bridge myself when I was young and it used to terrify me as we clip clopped our way over to the other side. Perhaps that’s why Mum looks a little anxious, and why she needed to hold onto her big brother’s hand.

Why not cross the bridge to this week’s Sepia Saturday and see what other Sepians have made of the prompt image below.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Balloon Park

This post has been updated after its original publication to include information kindly supplied by Robin Macey of Nottingham and Derby Hot Air Balloon Club.  I’m delighted to give Mr Macey permission to reproduce the photo below to use in his illustrated lectures. Dad would have been very pleased. If any Nottingham readers have old photographs from past ballooning events in and around Nottingham, I’m sure Mr Macey would be pleased to hear about them

This is a scene captured by my father at Wollaton Park, Nottingham in 1970. There were no clues on the slide when I scanned it, but I found an article from the ‘Nottingham Post’ which I thought had helped me to identify the year. I recognised Wollaton Hall, a famous Nottingham landmark, and the park where I spent many happy hours as a child so this was a very good clue.

The article 'The Day Balloon Festival Filled Our Skies’ was actually published in 2009 in the ‘Bygones’ section of the Post. Further searches revealed a special balloon mail envelope issued to mark the the very 'First British Balloon Festival’ at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, in 1976, so I believed (mistakenly, as it later transpired) that Dad’s picture was recording only the third year of the festival being held. In the Bygones article Robin Macey of the Nottingham Balloon Club recalled the sport’s last major event in the city (up to the time when the article was published). In the late 1990s the City Council started to introduce red tape and to charge for the balloonists to launch in the park. As a result small private balloons stopped using it. The 1979 festival actually lasted a whole week and forty balloons took part, so it’s easy to see why Mr Macey said they filled the skies.

This picture by David Myers,** was taken at the park some time in the 1980s. The Council charges remain in place but special occasions, such as Armed Forces Day,  allowed organisers to pay a fee to use the whole park and therefore launch balloons without any extra charges. The RAF balloon was pictured at Wollaton Park on Armed Forces Day 2009 and pictures by Andy Jamieson.*** It’s not known whether it was actually launched, or simply tethered.

This article on the Easy Balloons blog talks of a forthcoming event in October 2013 when balloons were again expected to launch from the park for triple celebration of the first balloon flight from Nottingham in 1813, the 25th Anniversary of the East Midland Balloon Group and the 50th Anniversary of Anthony Smith’s flight from Nottingham Castle. Sadly, on the day the weather prevented the balloons from launching, even though the organisers were prepared to pay the fee to cover the special launch. The participants must have felt quite deflated but consoled themselves with a special celebration luncheon in Wollaton Hall itself. That must have been an uplifting experience.

Join us the  this week’s Sepia Saturday Balloon  Club for more posts inspired by the image below.

* Robin Macey believes that the balloon in my father’s picture is registration G-AXJA, later sold to a buyer in Ireland and changed its registration to EI-ANP
** Geolocation: Attribution-No Derivs 3.0 Unported
*** Wikimedia Commons: Creative Commons Share Alike 2.00 Generic Licence

Friday, 6 November 2015

Haunting Images

In this photo my son appears to be standing on his ghostly twin, as he peers through the bars of the balcony on our 1981 Corfu holiday.

In 1949 my husband is cuddled by his sister whilst some kindly spirit has bathed them in ethereal light.

In 1963 as I posed with my parents in front of Wordsworth’s Cottage, the ghosts of William and his sister Dorothy seem to be peering out of the bedroom’s leaded window. Fanciful perhaps, and probably just the reflections of the clouds on the small pieces of glass, but who can tell?

In 1968, as we prepared for my grandparents Golden Wedding, my mother appeared to be conjuring something up. Her cousin is trying to waft it away, and I’m pointing in amazement at something which seems to have bitten my ankle. What this picture also conjured up of course, were the memories of our 1960s council house kitchen, and my father’s penchant for painting things orange. It’s a good job you can’t see the wall behind my mother - not ghostly, but ghastly - wallpaper with large orange flowers!

And finally, here’s my own little ghost, knitted for last year’s Hallowe’en decorations. For more ghostly goings-on, float on over to Sepia Saturday; it’s sure to lift your spirits.