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."

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Travellers’ Tails

Yes, I do mean ‘tails’ but there are also ‘tales’ to be told. The prompt for this week’s Sepia Saturday shows Anna Finlayson, a 1959 Canadian beauty queen packing her bags for her next competition. It appears that her little dog is unhappy about being left behind and would like to be getting in that suitcase and travelling with her.

We have just become first time dog owners and now have to take another little soul into account when we make any plans for travel. Pico, aged fifteen months, was rescued from the pound when a puppy; unfortunately he was badly treated by his new owners, so has been doubly unlucky. Now that he has come to live with us we can see that there are a few issues we have to deal with, and the thought of leaving him alone to even go shopping has to be quickly dismissed whilst we start from scratch with house-training and building up trust. Eventually he will be able to to stay behind for longer periods, as he slowly gets used to our ways. Time, patience and lots of love, which we have in abundance, will help him defeat his demons. He’s already sleeping all night with no crying or accidents, and the greeting I receive in the morning is joyous.

Although this is the first time we have owned a dog jointly, long-term readers of my blog will recall that when I was a girl I had a little white poodle who has often appeared in my blogposts over the years. He was a present for my eleventh birthday and lived for fourteen years; as I moved away to college and then got married, he became more of my parents’ dog than mine.  However, when I was thirteen, I travelled to Austria on an exchange trip for a month and although (as far as I know) Kim did not try to climb into my suitcase, nor pine for me whist I was away, I was homesick and missed my little companion dreadfully. My host family had dogs of their own, but they just didn't take the place of my own beloved pet.

This is my favourite picture of Kim sitting, not in a suitcase, but in my mother's shopping basket. It gives a good idea of his size, and although small dogs are often toted around in handbags, he never was.

Ferried by car and carried underarm, but no, never in a handbag, whereas Pico...........

............arrived in Lanzarote by air exactly a week ago today from Gran Canaria,  having travelled on the charity volunteer’s knee in a bag. It’s only a forty minute flight and allowed with dogs under five kilos. When we met them at arrivals I asked where the dog was and she pointed to her shoulder bag.

And there you have it in black and white travellers’ tails - which are constantly wagging.

Join other travellers and their best friends for this week’s Sepia Saturday, to see what they made of the prompt, which come courtesy of Vancouver Public Library, via flickr commons.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Girl, Bicycles and Dogs

This was our prompt picture for this week’s Sepia Saturday;  it comes from the State Library of Queensland, Australia, and it features: Miss Ida Zornig of Maryborough c1911. I'm a little short of time, photographs and ideas this week; however, a quick trawl through my photograph collection yielded one or two, (although I'm sure they have been seen before).

This is my Mum, aged about eighteen on her treasured bicycle. It featured in Girl on a Bicycle back in 2015, along with the one below of my daughter, learning to ride, in 1982.

Heres my daughter again, in 1990, with a friends dog, Spark, and three years ago, making friends with a young Podenco who followed us on our walk. Podencos are Canarian hunting dogs.

Just for fun, heres a dog on a bicycle; well, in a basket on a bicycle, strictly speaking. I snapped this just a couple of weeks ago, so aged him using editing tools to fit in with the sepia side of things.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Golden Couples

Today is the Golden Wedding Anniversary of my brother and his wife. I was a bridesmaid and I can’t believe it was fifty years ago - I bet they can’t either! We’re all grandparents now.

My sister-in-law’s faux-fur trimmed train was a nod to the chilly conditions of a February wedding, but fortunately the sun shone and everyone had a lovely day. I believe my sister-in-law made her own wedding cake. They were married in the same church where I would be married seven years later, and where our parents worshipped for fifty years.

Mention of the parents reminds me that our own parents had long and happy marriages and so set a good example to us all. The family has its share of divorced and separated couples, as do most, but my parents made it to their Platinum Wedding (seventy years) and my parents-in-law to their Golden Wedding, as did my grandparents, before one partner passed away. My sister-in-law, sadly lost her own mother just three years after the wedding, just as her first grandchild was being welcomed into the world.

Here are my grandparents cutting the cake (made by my sister-in-law) at their Golden Wedding, as featured in my post Golden Years, and my parents at their own Golden Wedding; cake also made by my S-i-L.

And for good measure, here we are at our Silver Wedding - guess who made the cake - and celebrating our Ruby at the largest telescope in the world on La Palma, in the Canary Islands. Just a few more years before we join the ranks of our families’ Golden Couples.

Join us this week at Sepia Saturday, where the prompt image is couples, very appropriate so close to Valentine’s Day.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Birthday Honours

Today is the birthday of my maternal grandmother, born in 1897. Even though she died forty years ago, the date came into my head and reminded me, possibly because I’ve been tweaking the family tree recently, and delving into the history of her family.

I have written about her many times on this blog, and early readers may remember that one of my first ever posts was about her wedding, a hundred years ago this year, in Wedding Day Delay. I also covered her rôle in WW1 as a munitionette, in She Did Her Bit. In Golden Years she appeared with mygrandfather at their 50th wedding anniversaary. I’m not going to reprise all the posts here, nor repeat my many memories of her; instead here is a collage taken from the family albums. The first, taken in 1916, is the earliest photo we have of her, and the last, taken by my father, is when she had moved in to live with my parents and was quite frail. She died in 1977.

This picture, shows her very much as I remember her in her later years. My grandfather died in 1971, and for a while she managed to stay in her own home, with some help. 

Join others at Sepia Saturday this week, to see more old photographs and memories.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Grave Reminders

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known,
As the stars are known to the Night.
                                         Laurence Binyon

April 1984 was a memorable one for me and my family. It was the Easter school holidays and we were stationed in Germany at RAF Rheindahlen. My mother came over from England to join us, on her own as Dad was working, and we had a two days touring the WW1 battlefields and cemeteries, with two small children. Not the most exciting trip for such youngsters I know, but we were making the most of the opportunity we had, and they behaved very well.

I’ve written about this trip before, telling how we had gone in search of the memorials, and one grave, of my mother’s three uncles, and shared many of the photographs associated with them. I still had photos to show, and as this blog is about old images, here they are.

This is my husband on 9th April 1984, standing by the grave of my Great Uncle Edward, in Caudry, France. Edward died here after the War, and you can read his sad story in The Last Hundred Days.

The following day, among the many moving memorials and cemeteries we visited, was Tyne Cot at Passchendaele, containing 11,900 graves.

Here were also several memorials to the missing, including this one to the New Zealanders who fell at Broodseinde and the First Battle of Passchendaele.

There was an intact German Pill Box, later used by the Canadians as a field dressing station. This in itself a moving memorial, and a reminder that men of several countries died here.

We posed our small son, not quite five years old, in front for scale.

We returned to our married quarters that evening, and a couple of days later, leaving the children with their grandma, we went off to Berlin, on a special four day trip. I wrote about that in Where We Were Then, and showed pictures of the amazing Treptower Park, a memorial to the 80,000 Red Amy troops killed in the Battle for Berlin in 1945, and a cemetery for 7,000 of them.

Here, my husband stands in front of one of the memorials, designed as sarcophagi to represent the graves; these actually lie beyond the park, behind the plane trees which line it.

Altogether these Easter holidays were memorable and a grave reminder of the scale of damage and misery wreaked by two world wars.

See more contributions to this week’s Sepia Saturday, where our prompt image is Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, from The National Library of Ireland on Flickr Commons.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

All in a Row

Midsummer rather than Midwinter and we’re all keeping cool with an ice lolly, or ‘suckers' as we called them. We’re all sitting in a row and I’m the tiniest one in the middle, with a cute bow in my hair, very fashionable for 1954.  I don’t recognise most of the others. The girl on the far left was our next door neighbour and my parents’ goddaughter, so I’m guessing they’re all neighbours’ children. We don’t seem to be in play clothes; the girl next to me has a hand-smocked dress and the boy is wearing his slippers!

I know it’s our front garden because that is our birdbath, made by grandfather, and which has appeared in countless photographs over the years as well as always moving house with us.

I couldn’t let the first Sepia Saturday of 2018 go by without leaving my mark, even if it’s a tiny one. Our prompt image was a family group, lined up all in a row.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Season’s Greetings

Some of the oldest family Christmas cards in my collection. The one above, depicting a jolly Victorian coach scene, was sent by my mother to my father during WW2. The couple are also shown inside the card, where they have joined others in skating on a frozen lake. Scenes like these were typical at this time and also into the fifties; I remember that similar ones would also appear on chocolate box lids.

The one below was sent by Dad to Mum and and my brother, from the same era. Dad was in the RAF, stationed at Swinderby, and I’m guessing it was hard for him to get away to buy a more appropriate card.

The front of the card was very simple, with a small RAF symbol in the middle of a cream background. Inside, the greeting was very straightforward, but Dad managed to personalise it in his beautiful copperplate handwriting. He still thought of Mum as his sweetheart as they’d only been married two years, but in fact she remained so for the next seventy. It was one of his many terms of endearment.

My brother sent his own card with a line-drawn snowman. The card stated that it was hand coloured, but not by my brother who was far too young. The greeting on the back is in Mum’s handwriting, but my brother has been instructed to add some kisses to Daddy and there are a handful of spidery pencilled crosses.

When he was older I’m sure my brother would have made his own Christmas cards, just as my own children did in the 1980s. Most parents, and grandparents, will tell you that these are the real treasures; the cards are often made at school and frequently covered in shiny paper and glitter.

For years, both my children made their own cards; many were inventive and creative, but here are a couple of their early attempts.

My son’s Three Kings, one of whom appears to be happily distracted, and the message inside my daughter’s card, in which she has thoughtfully shown herself and her brother.

This is my contribution to the Christmas and New Year edition of Sepia Saturday, where our prompt image, below, is from the Flickr Commons collection of the Cloyne District Historical Society, the Muriel and John Van Ness album.

It only remain for me to say to all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. see you all in 2018.