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, 4 August 2011

Nothing Half So Much Worth Doing

“Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING...absolutely nothing...half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing.” 

So, spoke the Water Rat to The Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s children’s book ‘The Wind in the Willows’. You can read the whole chapter here. It happened to be my Mum’s favourite book at school, when a chapter was read out each day by her teacher. I wonder if she was remembering that quote in the picture below.


For Sepia Saturday this week we had a choice of themes taken from the picture prompt, but Alan only had to mention ‘boating lakes’ and I was off on one of my reveries.  I spent many happy hours of my own childhood on the boating lake at Highfields in my home city of Nottingham; sadly there are no pictures in the family archive to record this. However, I recently acquired this rare photograph of my Mum and her older brother from approximately 1930.  I think it’s rare because, despite my best efforts I haven’t been able to find a picture on the web of any similar craft (unless someone out there knows better). There are many old photographs of rowing boats, dinghies and sailing boats, even pedaloes, but not a hand-cranked paddle-boat. 

I asked Mum where she thought the photo was taken and she said it would have been on one of the annual week’s holiday the siblings took with my Gran when she visited her own mother in Watford. Granddad would have stayed in Nottingham working, as he would only have had a week’s holiday each year. This was the thirties and times were going to be even harder before long, with Granddad laid off from his labouring job more than once.

We think it was probably taken in Oxhey Park, where there was boating, bathing and other recreations. I haven’t been able to find any similar pictures of the park to support this theory and it’s possible that it could be some other place entirely. Mum said, “Can you see that I am pulling a face in the picture?” Yes, we can! Mum seemed to think there was an altercation between her and her brother Billy about who should have control. It looks as if they each have a handle of some sort to turn the paddle wheel, so I wonder what the grimace was about.




16 comments:

  1. That's an interesting photo. It looks like they might be stuck on something.

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  2. Oh this is a great photo and so cool to have for your Mom to look back and remember the day floating along the water! My guess would be some sort of paddleboat, but the ones I've seen are the ones that you use your feet and not your hands but I'm sure some one out there will come to the aid of just what it is! It's awesome for sure! thanks!

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  3. Looking at the angle of the boat, and the fact that there is disturbed water at his side, but not at hers, I think he was paddling harder, so they rammed the wooden rail, which jammed her paddle, and the grimace is because she can't turn the handle! Brothers, eh!

    A nice story!

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  4. Boats are not for me. But I think I could have handled this one.

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  5. I love this picture! It tells such a story, and even if the true facts are a bit fuzzy in places, there is so much going on in the photo. I notice the fence, the boardwalk and, is that a smokestack behind the fence?

    I'm glad that your Mum had fun on her family outings, even if her brother bugged her at times. That's what they do.

    Thank you so much for stopping by yesterday. I hope that your weekend is grand, Little Nell.

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

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  6. Lovely photo. Such simple pleasures.

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  7. What a grand photo! I really have been remiss in never having read, "The Wind in the Willows". I intend to remedy that!

    Thanks for the visit and the comment.

    Kat

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  8. I loved the Wind and the Willows as a child but it doesn't seem so popular these days. I still don't know where my copy disappeared, probably in one of the moves.

    I'm always very suspicious of children's hands being hidden behind their backs. They are usually up to no good at all.

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  9. At least we know they finally got unstuck and made it back to shore.

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  10. What a wonderful shot. And I never knew they had boats that had to be cranked. I've been in the peddle ones and ones with oars, but having to crank seems like such a bother.

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  11. The water does not look very deep I agree with Postcardy it looks like they may be stuck.
    This is a great photo.
    QMM

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  12. Intriguing isn't it. There almost seems to be a gradient and that there is a flow of water and one thinks of those water-courses where the boat was partly propelled by the water-flow rather than paddles or oars. Each Midland and Northern town had a local "resort" like this, we had one near here called Sunny Vale. It would be a regular escape for families at weekends.

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  13. I adore Wind in the Willows!! And I really like your photo. It's a great shot and it's fantastic that you now have a wonderful memory from your mother to accompany it. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  14. i think it's great that you can't find a gazillion other pics just like it. makes it even more special, as a photo, plus the memories that come with.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  15. Smashing picture of childhood innocence

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  16. Hey! That Looks Fun.I Would Love To Have A Ride In That Machine!!!

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