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, 21 February 2013
In this picture, scanned from a 35mm slide from my Dad's collection, Mum joins an unknown family group, seated in the shade of the steps. The picture of the 'step-family' was taken on the Spanish island of Ibiza in the Balearics. It was my last summer holiday holiday with my parents as I was due to begin my teacher training at college in the September of 1970. I therefore naturally have very fond memories of the trip. It was August and almost unbearably hot, but Mum looks cool enough perched on the steps wearing her 'flip-flops' and sunhat, with earrings chosen to match her dress. I've mentioned before that Dad's artistic eye meant that he sometimes posed the family in interesting settings or at unusual angles, often not looking directly into the camera, as above.
On their trips abroad in the 70s, 80s and 90s Dad would be on the look out for 'the little old lady' as she became known to the family. In Mediterranean countries these women were usually dressed head-to-toe in black and and probably weren't very old at all. I haven't got access to any of those yet, so I've settled for the photo above. I expect Dad thought they made a charming group, but would have hesitated to take a picture of them on their own, so placed Mum in the foreground, thus capturing both his lovely wife and a little local colour.
It's difficult to tell the ages of the two women in black, although I suspect one is the mother and the other the grandmother. Times have changed in the forty odd years since this scene was captured and these days most Spanish women dress in modern styles, with very few wearing black. My mother in her short, vivid pink dress must have been something of a curiosity to this family. I wonder what happened to them. In the intervening years the children would have gone to school, begun work, married and started their own families. It's strange to think that they are very likely parents and could even be grandparents themselves now.
'Little old Lady spotting' for Dad's collection became a family joke and in 1995 when I was in Cyprus, visiting British Army schools as a headteacher, I saw this postcard and couldn't resist sending it to my parents.
For more unknown family groups, or even Little Old Ladies, head over to Sepia Saturday to see what other contributors made of the prompt. Regular Sepians are also invited to join our Facebook group, where age is no barrier, and you can dress in black or vivid pink as the mood takes you, as no-one will know.
Friday, 15 February 2013
Unbelievably, nearly forty years separate the above photograph and the three below. The turtle above was pictured by my husband in a shopping mall in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii in 1974. It must have seemed a novelty to him as I can't think of any shopping centres in UK where one could stroke giant turtles at the time.
My daughter loves the sea, fish and aquatic animals, and in 2011 we combined a short trip back to UK with a visit to Oceanarium, a sea front aquarium in Bournemouth, Dorset, where we were staying. There was a section called Turtle Beach and we were fascinated to watch the turtles at such close quarters.
This week's Sepia Saturday has a tortoise with a soldier in the old photo prompt, and Alan invited us to choose a theme from any item in the picture, generously allowing turtles in place of tortoises. Old, the picture at the top may be but it is not sepia; there is, however, a sepia connection. Did you know that reptiles, especially tortoises and turtles, enjoy cuttlefish bones?
And the sepia connection I can reveal at last is this; cuttlefish are marine animals of the order Sepiida. They range in size from 15 to 25 cms (5.9 to 9.9 inches), with the largest size, Sepia apama reaching 50 cms (20 inches) in length and over 10.5 kg(23 lbs) in weight. The Graeco-Roman world valued it as a source of the unique brown pigment the creature released from its siphon when alarmed. The word for it in both Greek and Latin, sepia, is now used to refer to a brown pigment in English, (but that last bit we all knew of course).
Image of tortoise with cuttlebone by Richard Mayer, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons share alike licence.
Sunday, 10 February 2013
Suddenly, impulsively, he turned,
Enfolded her, possessed her.
Planted his lips on hers,
Claimed her, bewitched her.
Quickly, passionately, she yielded,
Absorbed him, immersed him.
Opened her mouth to surrender,
Drank him, drained him.
Protectively, thoughtfully, his arm,
Cushioned her, rested her.
Possessively, greedily, her hands,
Clasped him, imprisoned him.
This is a response to an image posted by Tess Kincaid at The Mag.
The image is courtesy of Joseph Lorusso
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Sepia Saturday theme.
The prompt picture has someone, underneath a lamp-post, digging in the snow with a spade or shovel and this is the nearest match I could get. It's my daughter with the spade, and my son is in the background, under the lamp -post, and my friend is wearing a long coat, so I score three points! The date I have written on the back is January 11.1987. That day the BBC weatherman, John Kettley said: "The only bright thing on this forecast is my tie!" He rightly predicted freezing temperatures and blizzards all week, but this was an underestimation. During the day temperatures kept on falling as snow showers became more intense. I was living in our house in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, where my husband was stationed with the RAF. Unfortunately for me he was on the other side of the world in the in the sunshine of the Falkland Islands. Our friends and neighbours came to dig me out as I was marooned with two children, and rapidly going down with a severe case of tonsillitis. It was a bleak time I remember. The wind was blowing straight off the airfield, seen in the background, and we were running out of fuel to heat the house. The village was cut off and there were no deliveries; everyone was borrowing from each other and huddling together.
According to The Weather Outlook site, the following day was probably one of the most remarkable days of the 20th Century, as temperatures stayed below -5c throughout England, and below -8c in some places in the Home Counties. The weather log for January 1987 describes the 12th-14th as the coldest spell of weather in southern England since January 1740. Over the next few days the U.K. was swept by blizzards and freezing temperatures. It was widely accepted as the most severe spell of weather in southern England since The Little Ice Age, and it ocurred in an otherwise average winter.
Digging for more snow pictures I found this one of my daughter aged about fifteen months in the garden of our married quarters at RAF Wittering near Peterborough. This would be the Winter of 1979 and she was getting her first taste of snow, quite literally by the look of it. 1979 was the most severe winter of the 20th Century. It wasn't as cold as 1963, nor as snowy as 1947 but was memorable because much of UK experienced long cold spells with heavy snowfall. It was also the most severe winter since colour photography became widespread so there are many archive colour photos to record it. The entire winter, the third coldest overall of the 20th century was bitterly cold and miserable, particularly in January and February. The Weather Outlook site is probably correct in summising that it compounded the industrial unrest in what became known as 'The Winter of Discontent'.
The above picture of me in the Austrian Tyrol, only came to light recently when we were copying 35m slides from my parents' boxes. Of course I'd seen it before but had forgotten it until now. I'm not too good with heights so I was probably looking back to Dad for reassurance. We'd gone on a holiday to Mayrhofen in 1966 taking advantage of a cheap holiday offer. We were a little unsure as the price seemed to good to be true, but in fact it turned out to a lovely, happy holiday. The scenery was spectacular of course and we enjoyed staying in a comfortable guesthouse and visiting the local bierkeller for entertainment and music.
And for something a little different, here's one of my favourite snow pictures, painted by my Dad. There were several to choose from, and treescapes were his forté, but this one seems to sum up the simple pleasure of a brisk walk through the woodlands near where he lived. A cold winter afternoon with the sun casting long shadows of the tall trees in the snow. There would be the occasional passerby, a couple with a child, someone walking his dog, and all would exchange a greeting as they hurried on, buttoned up against the cold. The birds would already be roosting for the night and it would be time to head for home and warmth. I've walked that walk with my parents and family many times and this picture is another reminder of those happy times.
To see how other Sepians (for that is how we are now known) have interpreted the prompt, you may need to don your snowshoes as you set off for the round of wonderful pictures, memories and anecdotes that is Sepia Saturday. We also have a Facebook page, where we have nearly as much fun.