This is how I remember growing up. Long hot summers with a bright light leaking in around the edges. Such is the power of the still photograph, I remember it only in monochrome. The first picture, taken by my Dad with a Kodak Brownie, is on top of the Iron Bridge, Ladies’ Walk in Andover.
The bridge was installed in 1843 by Taskers Ironworks and carries the walk over Micheldever Road. Taskers was the last company my maternal grandfather, Fred, worked for until his death at the age of 74. The bridge is about a half mile up the hill from where he lived with my grandmother, Florence May aka Mrs Kipper, which explains why we are there. The bunch of wildflowers was for my sister’s pressed flower project – strange what you remember.
Micheldever Road was once a busy road linking Andover with the villages and army camps to the east – to prove the point, there is the blur of a car passing beneath the bridge. The upgraded A303 now slices through the road such that it goes nowhere and has fallen silent along with Fred, Florence May, my Mum and my Dad.
Further along the walk I was handed the camera to take the second picture, inevitably from a slightly lower angle – they are all looking down on me. As is the way with little brothers, later in life I would take great pleasure in reversing this perspective on my sister.
The achievement? Well, I am still here, clinging to the wreckage.