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."

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Golden Years

Look at the sky, life’s begun,
Nights are warm and the days are young.

My grandparents, pictured at their wedding in 1918, except it wasn’t their wedding, it was the day after and this is explained in an earlier post, Wedding Day Delay. They were very young; my grandfather having joined the army at the start of WW1 at just sixteen years of age. He was twenty and my grandma was twenty-one. I guess after what he’d been though, he thought it was time to settle down and enjoy some love and happiness. Whilst Granddad was serving, my Gran Did Her Bit as a munitionette. Now a new phase of their life would begin. This was no shotgun wedding, my Grandfather was far too honourable. A ‘honeymoon baby’ did however seal their happiness when my Mum’s older brother was born.

In walked luck and you looked in time
Never look back, walk tall, act fine.

Mum followed seventeen months later and the family was complete. Throughout the twenties and thirties my granddad worked hard to provide for them all, despite the depression years when money was tight. Sadly their firstborn was to die, aged just fifteen years, in a freak accident, and when my Dad came courting Mum, my grandparents took him to their hearts and treated him like a son.

They appear in many of my previous blogposts, including earlier this month, Twenty Tiny Fingers, with a photo taken towards the end of Granddad’s life. The way I like to remember them is as two loving people with whom I would enjoy spending time at weekends and holidays. They grew quite stout in later years and My Gran was not very mobile but they would still have a week’s holiday on the Lincolnshire coast in the Summer. Here they are making the most of some rare English sun in 1963. Strange to think that they are about the same age there as I am now!

I’ll stick with you baby for a thousand years,
Nothing’s gonna to touch you in these golden years.

They did make it to their Golden Wedding, I’m pleased to say and had a couple of years more together, before Granddad died, shortly before his 73rd birthday. Quite young by today’s standards.

Wish upon, wish upon, day upon day, I believe oh Lord
I believe all the way.

My own parents made it to their Platinum Wedding (70 years) and the trend these days seems to be for longevity, if you can ride the storms that life inevitably hurls at you. It’s so much better to do it with a loving partner by your side, as my grandparents did. Fifty years marks the special anniversary; Golden Years indeed.

The quotes are from one of my favourite David Bowie songs ‘Golden Years', which was used many years later in one of my favourite films, 'A Knight’s Tale', for a terrific dance sequence.

Join others at Sepia Saturday, where all this month we are posting on the theme of Love and Marriage.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Dedicated to Love

Honour, riches, marriage, blessing,
Long continuance and increasing,
Hourly joys be still upon you.
Juno sings her blessings on you.
(Shakespeare, The Tempest)

 Sorting through my photos I came upon some from a visit we made a few years ago with old friends, to Croome, a National Trust property in Worcestershire. I was struck by the fact that, out of a handful of snaps, I found three which demonstrate dedication and celebrate marriage, commitment and devotion, (apart from we two long-time married couples of course).

My husband and our friends sit in the Island Pavilion for some welcome shade and a rest. The scene in the panel above our friends is dedicated to love and marriage; based on the Aldonbrandini Wedding, you can see it in more detail here and compare it with the painting on which it is based below.* The allegorical work depicts: Aphrodite, goddess of love, tending to the bride who is seated; Hymen, deity of marriage at the foot of the bed, Muses on the right, with wedding attendants to the left.

We visited the church of St Mary Magdalene within the park, and found several wonderful monuments, including this one, which I found very moving, of Mary Craven, wife of Thomas, 2nd Baron Coventry.

Mary died on 18th October 1634 in her 29th year; her infant son also did not survive. There are two small figures kneeling at the foot of her bed, possibly her two sons George and Thomas, who would have been aged five and six when they lost their mother. She was also mother to two daughters, who died young. The monument would have been erected by her sorrowing husband, as a dedication to his lost love. The Latin inscription is translated:

In Memory of that most illustrious Lady Maria, devoted wife of Thomas Coventry, eldest son of Thomas Baron Coventry of Allesborough, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England. A truly most admirable woman, upon whom God lavished beauty, and what is rarer in her sex, virtue, her loveliness surpassing any woman’s, her generosity surpassing any man’s, of unblemished reputation and purity of life, with a lively mind, strong judgment, an easy eloquence and pleasant speech, calmly in control of her feelings, and finally not just a wise but a calm mistress of all these gifts. A fertile mother of four children, she arrived at the last fatal confinement, bringing forth a son, against nature, rather to death than to life, so that even while trying to share out her life, she lost it, and herself yielded to fate, a short time after her child, amid general lamentation.**
As we left the church and made our way home, we encountered this wonderful symbol of dedication from loving parents, united in their love and care of their offspring. Canada Geese are monogamous and mate for life, with both parents sharing the care of the young. Now that’s dedication.

Join us at Sepia Saturday, where all this month we are celebrating love and marriage.

*By Pietro Santi Bartoli (Unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
** With thanks to goodgentlewoman.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/coventry-v-st-john/

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Twenty Tiny Fingers, Twenty Tiny Toes

There are actually only ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes in this picture, as my grandparents welcome their first great-grandchild, my niece, in 1970. Sadly my grandfather passed away a few months later, just short of his 73rd birthday, so never got to tickle the next set of ten fingers and toes belonging to my nephew. My grandmother did, but she never met the next two great-grandchildren as she died  in 1977, when my daughter was a few days old.

My own parents met all four of their great-grandchildren, when my nephew and his wife became parents of first a boy, then a girl. Our own son and his wife managed all twenty tiny fingers and twenty tiny toes at once, by producing twins.

Dad is no longer with us, but the love he and Mum had to give, shines out from these photos.

Join us this month for Sepia Saturday to see what other contributors made of the prompt picture.