Monday, 25 January 2010

Remembering a Lifetime of Pets

I have recently been thinking about all the pets I have had since childhood. Reminiscence can be difficult and it is easy to become maudlin. Perhaps the most colourful pet I had was Alan - he was the one chick that became more than just a chicken. He was the strutting cockerel who would direct the hens to food. That made him popular with the girls. One day, I saw him facing off a fox, standing between it and his hens. Sadly, he was killed by the fox a few months later, right in front of my eyes on . . . my birthday! I was very sad.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Naming of Names

From time to time, I feel that I might have slipped into another dimension. This happened most recently when I spotted the annual ‘beautiful baby’ competition in my local newspaper. Three pages of baby mugshots – my, don’t they all look the same at that age, but I digress. It was the names that caught my eye.
Every year, the government’s Office of National Statistics releases the top ten names of boys and girls in England and Wales. I’ll publish them at the end of this blog post. So, back to baby names. There seems to be a trend for apparently (and I’ll be kind) ‘impressionable’ young parents to name their children after so-called stars of third rate television soap operas or ‘Z’ list celebrities. Two words come immediately to mind – good and grief!
In many cases, it seems as if the parents have lost the ability to spell. For example, Izabella, Ellauise, Gillyanne, Hana and Hunnie. Imagine the problems they are creating for their children in adult life. In conversation with the customer, the company’s rep writes down Honey or you have to say “My name is Honey. That’s spelt Hunnie.” It begs the question: “Why?” There is a very fine dividing line between originality and stupidity. From what I saw in my local newspaper, the line is crossed with increasing regularity. 
If the trend continues, I guess we could see a trend where people are named after their home town or everyday objects. What about Nately Scures Smith, Scunthorpe Brown, Book Millar, Frying Pan Robinson, Artichoke Allen or Potato Head?

I really would be interested to hear your views on names. Don’t be shy, let them out!
A Selection of Names from the Paper
Jayden, Payton, Charlie-Ray, Deon, Taia, Skyla, Paris, Tao, Kalib, Chase, Yanah, Isla-Jaye, Alekos, Elzbieta, Colby-Jay, Brianna, Lexie Ryley, Caelan, Poppy-Faye,Lataya, Izabella-Kate, Isobell, Mya, Ellauise, Ajay, Gillyanne, Shrina, Jai, Kameron, Tallon, Macy, Neo, Demi-Leigh, Erin-Grace, Hunnie, Malakai, Hana
Top Ten Girls’  and Boys' Names in  England and Wales 2008

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Proud as Punch

I can remember how proud I was when I got my first bicycle and judging by the expression of this woman's face, she was pleased as well. It is a very swish machine for its day. Can you remember your first bicycle and the joy of riding around the neighbourhood? Oh what joy!

Raising the Bar!

I've been thinking about my previous post 'Doggy Day' and the photo of the Inventor with his jack russell in a canvas carrying bag behind the handlebars. Great photograph, but something troubled me. I had another look and was stunned at the height of the frames top tube - the part that runs between the handlebar and the saddle. It is above the height of the cyclists navel and the word 'pain' came to me when I thought of the consequences of dismounting badly! Perhaps, this is why early cyclists would scoot with one foot on a pedal and then cock their leg over the saddle to mount the moving cycle - reversing the process when dismounting. Ouch!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Doggy Day

I recently found a small number of interesting dog postcards and photographs at a bric-a-brac fair. A couple repulsed me, another made me sad while the last one cheered me up.

Hunting Dogs
Part of a collection of Hunting Dog postcards purchased and posted in Paris in 1902 (but not by me!). The recipient was Mme. H V J in Athens. I don't find them particularly nice, but I guess others will admire them?

The Pathetic Mourner
Caesar, the faithful companion of King Edward VII. The card describes him as a pathetic mourner at the King's funeral. I seem to remember seeing postcards of him walking with the funeral courtege at the State Funeral of the King.

Death and Dogs
This delightful Raphael Tuck art card depicts a puppy with very appealing eyse. The spidery scrawl on the front contains a sentence that stands out. "Did you see that RH Blake was accidentally killed in South Africa? Isn't it sad?" I wonder who he was?

An Inventor?
I love this photograph of a man and his bicycle. Note the Jack Russell terrier seems to be sitting in a specially designed dog carrier. Fascinating!

Dog Von Stroheim
Now, here is unusual postcard. It shows a cartoon dog operating an early movie camera. On the reverse, someone has written the enigmatic message - "Good times are coming - X" On the front is written - "Keep Smiling". I will, I will!

The More Mummy

 The More Little Mummy on the World

This macabre postcard was sent from Guanajuato, Mexico by a guy named Steve in August 1980 to the Samson Family in Hawaii. He bemoaned the fact he couldn't find his friend from Florida. He told the Samson's to check out the translation in English. I can't read Spanish, but guess it refers to the 'smallest' mummy in the world. Am I right?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Tragic Snowman Photographs

If you go over to the marvellous Tattered and Lost Vernacular Photography blog today, you will find a very unsettling trio of photographs depicting the demise of a snowman. Poor thing! T&VLP posts some remarkable photographs and is well worth a visit. You should also take time to visit its sister blog Tattered and Lost Ephemera which always leaves me either open-mouthed in amazement or laughing my socks off. Wonderful!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Dawning of a New Age

It is the dawning of a new age - a new year and a new decade. What will it bring us, I wonder and are those storm clouds on the horizon? So what are we going to choose, optimism or pessimism? The choice is yours . . . Happy New Year everyone!