Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Camera Shy!

This happy soul looks relaxed and enjoying her stay at Butlin's Luxury Holiday Camp. Hang on, luxury? I thought people stayed in chalets? Anyway, relaxed is not the demeanour of the man behind who is concealing his face behind his hand. Is that his wife alongside? I think not! Tut, tut!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Something Fishy Going On?

There is something funny going on here, but I can't put my finger on it. Let's look at the evidence.

The chap on the left is holding a parasol aloft in his left hand, while balancing a cup of tea on the other. The mother with the child seems quite normal but look at the face of woman behind and to her left - the expression is very disconcerting. As for the chap in the suit, why is he holding his hat and is there something concealing beneath it. One might also ask why the ends of his tie have been cut off. Next is the woman in the dark trilby - why is she dwarfed by the camping table? Alongside her, the next woman seems distracted - perhaps she is receiving a message in an ear piece? Did they actually have ear pierces at the time this photograph was taken. Finally, who is taking the photograph and whose is the camera in the foreground. Questions, questions . . . Any ideas?

Saturday, 24 July 2010

No Man is an Island

John Donne wrote 'No man is an island'. In this photograph, the man - who has the dress and demeanour of someone from the upper classes - sits on an island of ground surrounded by what I take to be a beach somewhere in Great Britain. Either that or he poses sat upon a UFO that has fallen to earth! What do you think?

Friday, 23 July 2010


About ten years ago, I was walking around an open air car boot sale and saw four large photographs lying on the ground. I duly paid my 50 pence and they became min. I find this woman captivating and because she seems so relaxed in front of the camera, I wonder if she was an actress? I recognise one of the locations which makes me think it was a West Country holiday or even a honeymoon? I can't quite pin down the fashions, but probably late 1920s to early 19302. Any fashion historians out there with an opinion on this?

Pretty as a picture

Sat on the quay at the fishing port of Brixham in south Devon
A Cornish or north Devon harbour?
The top of a gravestone is visible as pigeons are fed

Taking one's life in one's Hands!

I found a couple more envelopes of negatives and quickly looked through them. This caught my eye so I scanned it. Someone took this photo of the schoolboy looking over the edge  of somewhere. Surely not a teacher or parent. Did someone carry out a risk assessment? I think not!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Quack Quack!

While wandering around the Mells Daffodil Festival earlier in the year, I came across this gathering of ducks and geese. They were proving popular purchases with the visitors. I noticed an intruder (mid-right) masquerading as a duck - can you spot it?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Paradise Garden about to become a Golden Memory

Well, after eleven months of my having started work near Blackpool, Hillside Cottage has been sold. Contracts have been exchanged and Completion Day is Wednesday, July 28. Before then, we have the packing team here for two days to put our posessions into boxes on Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week. Then, their colleagues arrive the week after to start removing it all to storage for a few weeks or months - it will take them two days to complete their work, too.

I have just about come to terms with leaving here, but at least I will have two posts on this blog to remind me of how it was: Hillside Cottage and Paradise Garden. But I am still very sad . . .

Anyway, let's look on the bright side, at least we will be able to look for a new home unfettered by the need to sell our own.

Also, the move has given me, in particular, the opportunity to re-find lots of old photographs, postcards and historical documents to put in my blogs. I've done a fair bit of scanning recently so that I can write some posts and set them to publish at intervals over the next few weeks. I am particularly looking forward to sharing, for example, the images I took in a 19th century sailors graveyard at Comfortless Cove on Ascension Island in the south Atlantic, a colourful collection of early 1900s humorous Allotment Gardening postcards and much, much more.

Talking of boxes, I have recently scanned a number of family negatives - about 100 - that been stored in an envelope for decades. I had never ever seen them as photographs and I was stunned to find they dated from the 1930s to the early 1950s. Anyway, here is one of them, a photograph of me having a close encounter with a cardboard box in 1950 in Cyrenaica! Just look at my hair! Eek!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Back with the Trees!

I visited the Blue House in Frome, Somerset recently to look at a sculpture garden. Getting lost in the trees at the end of the large garden, I was very pleased to discover this trunked creature moving slowly by as it munched at the vegetation.

Friday, 16 July 2010

A Baby Farm?

Has anyone ever seen a postcard series like this before? Heaven knows where I got them from but it is a seriously strange subject. They may be German and I guess it illustrates some sort of tradition? If anyone recognises it, I would love to know what it is all about.

The baby salesman brings the young woman to the baby bed.

The woman makes her choice as the baby gardener looks on.

Some days later, the baby gardener delivers the chosen crop.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Birthdays Come but Once a Year

Having looked at a list of several hundred (alleged) celebrities who share my birthday today and recognising very few of them, Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac and Julius Caesar excepted, it was a big relief to find the attached story on the Daily Telegraph website! Click HERE to read the article.

I used to be a big fan of Andy Pandy and it has come as a big shock to discover he was attached to strings . . . Didn't he have two companions - Teddy and Looby Lou? And what about the Woodentops with Spotty Dog and the third Watch with Mother star - Muffin the Mule? and the creme de la creme of children's shows - Rag, Tag and Bobtail? 

Andy Pandy, so the story goes, was first broadcast in England in July 1950 just as I was being born in Cyrenaica. Then two years later when my parents returned to England and were housed by the local council - like hundreds of others - in an estate formed from old wartime Army nissen huts - they got a television. Oh Joy! Those were the days, my friends. Ah, nostalgia - a powerful thing.

Right - LISTEN UP! - and enjoy!





Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hidden Treasures 2

Well, I have just completed the seemingly endless task of scanning the glass plate negatives. I underestimated the total - around 50. I also found some film negatives as well from which I will also draw for future posts. But, for now, here is a another selection of images.

Taking a Dip
This photo shows a really informal side to Edwardian life. Judging by the series of photographs scanned today, this is the Lady of the House. She has encouraged her dog to leap in the lake, but is still in charge. Note her extended hand which is encouraging the small lapdog in the grass to stay where it is. Mind you, lapdogs don't normally go swimming!

Bid for Freedom
This is surreal. Here, young cadets at a nautical college are learning to sail a dingy in a water tank. I imagine the hull is fixed, but the sails and sheets can be handled as one would at sea. Quite remarkable!

What line of Work are they in?
Not sure what these chaps do, but there are confusing clues around them. A pile of stones in front and horseshoes on the building behind. From what I can remember about horseshoe folklore, you are supposed to hang them with the open end upwards. This is so the shoe can catch the good luck falling to earth. The other way round lets the good luck out!

He knows his Place
Having seen some of family groups, I think the Landowner is on the right and one of the gamekeepers to the left. I wonder if they are just setting out to shoot a bird or two. Note the impressive leather gaiters.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Hidden treasures!

On the floor of my study, as I prepare for removal day, I noticed two brick shaped packages wrapped in brown paper. Surprisingly heavy, I unwrapped them and found two or three dozen glass plate negatives. Holding them, each in turn, to the light, I was amazed by the quality of what I saw. I share some samples with you in advance of my doing some research into them. I think you will agree that they are a bit special.

The Game Keeper
A number of the slides depict not only members of a well-to-do family on their country estate, but also the workers, beaters and, here, the game keeper. Click on the image to enlarge it and then ask yourself the question, why is there a spoon tied to a stick resting against the saddle of his bicycle? Is that a sack of grain on the ground and why would he need to reach the feeding place with a spoon? Even worse, does the sack contain rat poison? Shudder!

Who is this?
The car is extraordinary and so is the occupant, by today's standards! Could she be the District Nurse or Midwife - she looks too mature to be a bride and driving yourself to your own wedding would have been a bit daring at that time. And why the floral decoration - was it a holiday or a jubilee occasion that involved a procession? I don't know - what do you think?

The Age of Steam
A passenger train somewhere in Britain - early 1900s. The engine number is visible on the front - No. 454. Any train enthusiasts have any ideas?

Industrial Heritage
This is some sort of industrial works. Note the winding wheel behind the chimney. I wonder where or what it is.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Great Blog!

If you like vernacular photography or ephemera, get yourself over to DULL TOOL DIM BULB where some amazing images are on display. I have just spent a marvellous 30 minutes over there enjoying the view. Click here to visit. Oh, and if you want to follow the blog, you will have to scroll down to the bottom of the page!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Smooching Cats

I was just sitting on the bed this evening when I noticed that Benjamin (right) had put his arm around Minnie and was planting a kiss on her cheek. For once, I had a camera handy and captured the evidence.

Eventually, Benjamin realised I was watching and turned and curled his lip, disdainfully, at me.

He pulled his arm away suddenly, leaving Minnie to raise her head and wonder what she had done to offend him!