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, 29 July 2016

Caverns Measureless

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to the sunless sea.

I don’t have any photos of sepia caves and caverns, as per this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt, so once more I am delving into my inherited postcard collection. There is a motley selection of well-known English caves and a couple from Yugoslavia and Gibraltar. No exciting messages, just souvenir postcards from various relatives’ travels. Some of the older ones looked pretty boring (the cards, not the relatives), a blurr of stalactites and stalagmites - until I scanned them and zoomed in - then all sorts of details were revealed. The first batch are from Cheddar Caves, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills in Somerset and formed by underground rivers following the Ice Age. Gough’s Cave is a sequence of chambers with names such as Solomon’s Temple, Swiss Village and Cox’s Caves with the equally enchanting names of The Pagoda, The Marble Curtain, The Curtain Chamber, Transformation Scene and Home of the Rainbow (below).

 Next we visit Wookey Hole, a series of limestone caverns, also in Somerset. Here at last I actually find a boat to answer the call of the prompt image.The occupant appears to be standing alongside, perhaps the better to appreciate the scale of his surroundings.

In the next card shows the Escape of the River Axe, but no boat party.

 These rather dull sepia cards are enlivened by the a visit to the ‘Witch of Wookey Hole’. Go on, you know you can see her!

 And the boat makes another appearance in the kitchen of the aforementioned Witch. I can’t make out any occupants of the boat; perhaps they had a spell put on them.

"Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

At last we find an occupant of a cave. This is St.Michael’s Cave in Gibraltar. It’s a so-called Neanderthal Man, who apparently sat out the last Ice Age in these caves. A skull was found in 1848. All he needs now is a Rock Chick and the party can begin.

Ok it’s not that sort of party in the prompt picture. At the end of our cave journey we finally spot a party of people enjoying the Postojna Caves in Slovenia, or as it was then, Yugoslavia. They aren’t in a boat though; this is a train, and the link shows that these are much more modern than the one shown here.

Why not join other troglodytes for this week’s Sepia Saturday? Here’s the prompt: Party in Boat, Speedwell Cavern, Castleton. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Time for Bed

No sepia photos of bedrooms in my album, to match this week’s prompt image for Sepia Saturday, but I did find a couple of postcards in my inherited collection.

This one was picked up by my mother on a visit to the American Museum in Bath, about twenty years ago, and shows; ‘A New England Bedroom’. It is early 19th Century, with stencilled walls and bedspread.  The ‘field’ bed with serpentine tester (whatever that is) has, like the doll’s bed, a traditional American netted canopy. The rocking horse still has its original ‘fly net’ cover.

This one is a very old souvenir postcard of a visit to Ann Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon Avon (I’d guess 1960s). Ann was William Shakespeare’s wife, and he famously left her his ‘second best bed’ in his will. I wonder if this was it.

I was reminded me of a visit to Chestleton House in the Cotswolds a couple of years ago.

Two lovely carved beds (click to enlarge for the detail) offering different warming methods; the first an electric hot water bottle and the second a warming pan.

Join us at Sepia Saturday to see what other contributors made of the prompt image below.

Friday, 8 July 2016

The Walk of Life

This week’s Sepia Saturday co-incides with what would have been my fathers’s 95th birthday. Dad died three years ago, not long after he and Mum celebrated seventy years of marriage. He was more than a walker; he was a wonderful dancer, and I’m told he had pretty nifty footwork on the football field as well.* However, our prompt picture, is a street walking picture, beloved of seaside photographers, so I’m limiting my post this week to similar pictures, and those which feature my Dad. The one on the right was taken on a long-awaited holiday in Llandudno in 1946, and Dad is balancing my three-year old brother on his shoulders. It was his birthday too earlier this week, so you can work out for yourself how old he is!

The rest come from a family outing to Skegness, the following year.  My paternal grandmother is walking between Dad and Mum, who is holding my brother’s hand. The photographer seems to have caught them at the beginning of their day; the sun is up and everyone looks happy. Dad’s sister, my aunty Jean, walking between my grandparents, has treated herself to a toffee apple. At eighteen she wasn’t much more than a kid herself, but she had married her first husband at Easter that year.

The last picture seems to have caught the family at the end of their day out. The sun was probably going down, the jackets and coats are on, and my brother is sporting a fetching paper hat. Everyone looks ready to catch the bus home to Nottingham and shake the sand from their shoes.

*"He got the action, he got the motion
  Oh yeah, the boy can play
  Dedication, devotion
  Turning all the night time into the day."

Take a walk over to Sepia Saturday to see what other contributors made of the prompt below, and if you aren’t singing along with, ‘The Walk of Life’ by Dire Straits, for the rest of the day, well then, you don’t know what an earworm is!