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, 26 February 2016

Ironing is Childsplay

This is how to do the ironing; when you are only two years old and learning so much about life, there’s no need to be bothered about electricity and laundry and all those other things.

Reading Beatrix Potter’s 'The Tale of Mrs Tiggywinkle’* may give some clues of course. This book was a favourite of mine and my daughter (above) as children, but enchanting though the story is, it isn’t very educational as far as this particular domestic chore is concerned.

My Dolls’ House had an iron, visible on the shelf above the kitchen range, and in days gone by that’s how little girls learned, through play, which kitchen equipment did what. You can read more about my Dolls’ House on my other  blog, in ‘Life Below Stairs’.

In the past, and sadly in some countries today, young girls were pressed into domestic service very early, working in laundries or below stairs, or taking on the chores when the mother died.  It was nearly always girls, because it was seen as women’s work, and only recently, in domestic settings, have men taken on the job. I avoid ironing at all costs as there is always something much better I can do with my time. Anyone with a husband who has served in the military of any kind, or worn a uniform, will be blessed, as these chaps always seem to make such a good job of it - aren’t I lucky? And here is my son in training at sixteen, ironing his school uniform.

Join us at Sepia Saturday this week to iron out a few wrinkles.

* Wikimedia via Gutenberg

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Lanzarote the Movie Star

On an abnormally rainy day in February we went to La Casa Amarillo in Arrecife, an exhibition centre organising temporary exhibitions focussed on the knowledge and history of Lanzarote.  This exhibition was  “Celuloid Landscape - cinema shot in Lanzarote’. Click any image to enlarge.

The volcanic landscape of Lanzarote serves as a prehistoric setting for a love story between two members of different tribes, condemned to wander through inhospitable lands. One if the first fantasy genre films shot in the Canary Islands, with special effects created by Ray Harryhausen, the film surprised cinema-goers with a scantily dressed Raquel Welch, who became an icon in her first leading role.

Later, Pedro Almodóvar, whilst visiting the island took ‘an enigmatic image of a couple embracing on El Golfo beach', which was to inspire Los Abrazos (Broken Embraces) 'a drama of passion, jealousy and mystery', starring Penelope Cruz.

“My trip to Lanzarote triggered my initial fascination for black and darker half-tone red, green, brown and gray. In recognition of the isand’s mystique, I took the picture on El Golfo Beach. I was captivated by the island. I’d never seen such dramatic colours in nature. For me it was not a landscape, but a mood, a character. From that moment I wanted to film there.”

Other films include ‘Enemy Mine, starring Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett Junior,  Mysterious Island, starring Omar Sharif, Krull and Clash of the Titans.

There are many more movie stills, and a couple of audio-visual presentations. A really interesting exhibition if you can run to the €2 entrance charge (€1 for residents).

Never too late to squeeze in a link to Sepia Saturday

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Reflecting on my Past

Christmas 1974 at my future in-laws' house in Lancaster. My husband had just come back from a few weeks away with the RAF and I had just completed my first term’s teaching. We were visiting both sets of parents and we were engaged in the following January, shortly after this picture was taken, and married that July. 

Mid-70s fashion was all about long dresses and big, permed hair. We weren’t going to a ball, or even a Christmas party, just a local pub with a disco, because that’s what you did in those days. 

I loved that mosaic tiled floor and the carved oak hall stand with the vase of holly. I could have cropped the picture, but then those interesting details would have been missed.

For more reflections of the past, join us at Sepia Saturday, to see what other contributors made of the prompt image.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The People on the Other Side

The postcard was sent by ‘Annie' on July 10th 1912 to Mrs A. Barlow, who was holidaying in Blackpool. It shows the opening of Werneth Low Golf Club near Manchester. Annie wondered if her friend recognised anyone ‘on the other side’. We will never know the answer, as this is not a postcard which has been handed down through the family. However, it does show my husband’s maternal grandfather, George; he is one of the people 'on the other side’. Of course, they are all on the other side these days, most of them having passed over many years ago. I believe George is the hatless one, behind the two gentlemen centre front wearing light-coloured suits and boaters. This information is too late for Annie and Mrs Barlow of course.

We have another postcard of the same event. George has donned his flat cap and is standing next to the young boy on the back row, right. I wrote about the young George in ‘The Eyes of Margaret’ where there are some lovely pictures of him as a young man. He was quite sporty, playing golf, cricket and bowls, and he obviously had the wherewithal to do so, as he was a dealer on the Manchester Cotton Exchange.

I found this picture on Photobucket and it shows the clubhouse doorway in 1920, when the ivy clinging to the wall in the 1912 shot, has been removed, exposing the brickwork. I’ve no idea who the group with dog and smiling baby, are, but it’s a great composition. I like the idea that the whole family, and their pets, seemed welcome. We know they often made a day of it and the club would organise tea-parties, picnics and charabanc outings to other clubs.


Here is George seated centre front, with his golf clubs, outside the clubhouse door, and below is his wife, Alice (fourth from right), with her golfing chums.

Our Sepia Saturday prompt this week was a picture of an Australian golfing foursome. Why not join us for a round of sepia pictures and memories? It’s not an exclusive club; anyone can join.

Sunday, 7 February 2016


Sculpture standing in the harbour, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, Islas Canarias*

All year beside the ocean vast,
a figure from the island’s past, 
a watcher - stands, eyes fixed ahead
to distant lands, unlimited
by faint horizons, or memory’s anchor cast.

Unmoving, as a statue, strong
and solid as a rock; the long
Watch is kept until this earth’s end.
Loyal guardian, look-out, friend,
Custodian of this isle, where all of us belong.

We hurry past and hardly spare
a glance; without a thought or care.
And still the staunch defender’s heart
is brave, and faith does not depart.
In this, the sacred task, the sentinel stands square.

© Marilyn Brindley 2016

Written in response to this picture prompt by Tess Kincaid at Magpie Tales. Tess encourages bloggers in the ‘honing of their crafts, sharing it with like-minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well.'

I set myself the extra task of writing to a poetic form, as is my wont; I like a challenge. This the Florette No.2. I’ve used the Florette before, but this one really had me biting my pencil. The rhyme scheme is a, a, b, b, a, and the meter is 8, 8, 8, 8, 12, with three stanzas! I know, what was I thinking? In the end I enjoyed the task. I haven’t written a poem for ages, but I’ve just started a new online course that has made me re-visit some of the poems I love and reminded me why I  enjoy poetry so much.

*Sculpture paying tribute to ‘ the generations of Canarians (our ancestors) who encouraged their children to improve their education and resources, promoting the development of towns and contributing to our current level of well-being'. Sculptor Chano Navarro Betancor.

Friday, 5 February 2016

These Old Shades

This is my mother looking super-cool in Paris in 1963. It was my parents’ first trip abroad and Mum was so excited. Yes, I know she doesn’t look it here - that’s because she was a victim of my father’s arty-shot that he liked to practise from time to time. He probably told her to assume the look of some sultry film star of the era. Mum is wearing a stylish red dress and her red earrings. I remember the earrings, which were sent by my great-aunt in America. You could pop out the centre from the ‘diamante' circle and pop in another of a different colour to match your outfit. We thought that was cool too but we probably used a different word in the 1960s. To top off the look Mum is wearing ‘shades’ - or sunglasses as we call them. It’s one of the few pictures of any member of my family wearing them in these old snaps from the albums; these days I wouldn’t be without mine in the bright Lanzarote sunshine. 

Dad and I are fooling around a couple of years later in the Austrian Tyrol. Dad used to wear a cravat, which he thought made him look very fashionable, but the orange jumper is quite bright in itself and it was probably a blessing we were all wearing ‘shades’. The jumper is hiding our trusty Kodak camera and a newspaper. Dig the tartan holdall too!

Just a few ‘old shades’ from my album.  I borrowed the title from the novel by Georgette Heyer, who in turn was quoting a Victorian poet, Austin Dobson. The title sprang to mind because that book of Heyer’s is one I remember from my parents’ bookshelves, even though, as far as I recall, I didn’t read it. It’s appropriate because shades is also a name for ghosts - something or someone from the past.

In this 1954 photo of our family holiday at Seathorne, my brother is the only one wearing sunglasses and shading his eyes. He had been very seriously ill and his eyes were badly affected; the rest of us just narrowed our eyes or squinted. It was the same story throughout subsequent holidays, although I did find this 1961 picture of me wearing trendy white - rimmed shades. I think I was being grumpy and hiding behind them as I didn’t want my picture taken.

My husband tells a story from around the same time, when he discovered his mother’s sunglasses and decided they would be improved by cutting a small hole in each lens to enhance her vision. I don’t think that went down very well. 

There will be plenty more old shades in this week’s Sepia Saturday, so if you want to look really cool, like the people in this week’s prompt, come and join us and see what other contributors saw through the lens.