Northumberland is a big empty county and we live on the edge of that emptiness. On Tuesday we walked the few miles from our home to the southern edge of Hadrian’s Wall. From up there the views south cross the … Continue reading →
Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette – this is the internal view of the Coates Roundhouse on the Thames & Severn canal. The picture was taken in the autumn of 1977 and, as far as I can establish, it remains the only one of the Thames & Severn roundhouses which has not been renovated. The image was taken with a Mamiyaflex C330F, lying on my back looking up to the sky. It is just possible to see from the remaining beams that, in common with the Marston Meysey and Inglesham roundhouses, it had an inverted roof which was used to collect rain water. Sadly these remaining beams have also collapsed.
Travel theme: Horizons – There is a quality of light in the sky as you approach the sea which is apparent long before you arrive at the coast. It is this I remember from long ago summer holidays, summers when the sands were too hot to walk on barefoot. I am still drawn by that light; last week I was at Colvend and could not resist the walk down to Rockcliffe where small family groups were living my past, their futures far out on the endless horizon:
(click on the images to enlarge)
Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside I do like to be beside the sea! I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom! Where the brass bands play: “Tiddely-om-pom-pom!” So just let me be beside the seaside I’ll be beside myself with glee And there’s lots of girls beside, I should like to be beside Beside the seaside! Beside the sea!
Yesterday was my Mum’s birthday, she would have been 91. The photograph was taken on the promenade at Bournemouth; the year is 1929. She is sharing a deckchair with her Dad, Fred. Pipe in hand, resting on his cap, his right hand is bandaged. He spent his entire adult life enmeshed in aero and auto engines at a time when industrial injuries were taken for granted. There is another picture of him standing outside Andover Hospital with his arm in a sling, the result of another workplace accident, this time at Taskers; he would have been in his seventies.
My mum and I did not agree on many things but we shared a great affection for Fred. I can still smell the Three Nuns pipe tobacco which he would rub in his large scarred hands.
Kippford overlooks Urr Water not far from where it flows into the Solway Firth. The road through the village runs out at The Ark as it becomes single track access for the string of houses that hug the shore. A few hundred yards along this track there is a series of art works created from driftwood and found objects. Down on the beach is this weathered installation which is all about texture – you know exactly how these surfaces feel without the need for touch:
Walk out of our drive, turn left and the road heads down the hill towards Beaufront Castle. The road zig-zags left, then right, then left again before passing the castle lodge. Another turn left takes you to the only opening … Continue reading →
Florence May was my maternal grandmother, the bright young girl who eventually metamorphosed into the dreaded Mrs Kipper. Around the turn of the 19th century, her older brother, my great-uncle Charlie, worked in service at 62 Montague [sic] Square , London (number 34 was once leased by Ringo Starr). From the days when a postcard was the equivalent of an SMS text message, these are some of May’s words written around the time of the Longparish school photograph:
Dear Charlie – I thought you would like a postcard instead of a letter because you can put it in your album. Barton played against Wherwell. Wherwell got two goals and Barton never got one. Mr Atkins and two more chaps that played for Wherwell nearly got up to fighting. Longparish played against Laverstock. Longparish got one and Laverstoke got five.
With love from your loving sister May xxxxxxxx
Another card sent around the same time:
My Dear Brother Charlie thank you ever so much for the chocolates and bannas [sic] you sent me they are so nice and beautiful. I got them quite safe and sound the other morning. I am so pleased with them that I do not know how to thank you for them. I will write a letter on Sunday so you must expect one on Monday morning. I think I must close now hoping you are quite well with love from your ever loving sister May. I have got a lot of news to tell you on Sunday.
Florence May is stood to the far left of this raggedy bunch and highlighted top right and bottom left. ‘Look stern for the camera’ seems to be the order of the day for most of them – maybe it was consequence of long exposure times but I can’t see why a smile would be so difficult to hold – at least one of them proves me right :-)