Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The old boy: Sepia Saturday 165

This photograph was in my mother's collection. All the other photos were carefully named but this one had a question mark by it. "Who's he?" I said. "I don't know who the old boy is", she replied, "nan couldn't remember either, some relative of Tom's (my grandather)".

I know my grandfather's family were originally from Merthyr Tydfil, in South Wales and the family names were Price and Welch. That's all I know.

The photograph was taken at The Penton Studio in Pentonville Road and I have been able to locate some in a similar style here. They would suggest a date of between 1895 and 1903 and a photographer called Wilhlem Goebellhof.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Tom and the bird: Sepia Saturday 164

The prompt for this week shows an Australian soldier looking intently at his tortoise. It reminded me instantly of this picture of my grandfather.

I absolutely love this photo, and I present it to you as it was found; faded, wonky, tattered and blurred.  It shows him in just his vest, hair uncombed, staring intently at his budgerigar. He is standing by the back window, looking out into the garden as the sun streams in.

I can't remember the name of the budgie, in fact I think he had a few over the years and at least one of them could speak and sing. My grandfather loved music so I think he enjoyed teaching the budgie to sing along with him! On one occasion my father looked after it for a week or so while my grandparents were on holiday and it came back with a slightly fruiter vocabulary, much to the annoyance of my grandmother!

Although it was interesting to discover more about my grandfather's life as a younger man, this is the grandfather that I remember; the sensitive, quiet, slightly nervous budgerigar loving, gardening, pipe smoking man, who spent his whole life with my grandmother. I think she must have taken this photo and that's probably why she kept it all those years. They were completely devoted to each other and had been together all their lives, starting as childhood friends, marrying in their twenties and staying together until he died. Tom never did know how many sugars he took in his tea! A true love story of the time, as I don't know whether those types of relationships are so common now.

The relationships between humans and their animals are fundamental. They help to keep us sane, in touch with nature and the world, and by their very non-humaness keep us in touch with our own humanity.

Here is my more modern contribution to Valentine's day!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Snow is snow: Sepia Saturday 163

This picture is taken from the begining (or end) of the South Downs overlooking Eastbourne. It was a Sunday afternoon and it shows kids and their parents playing in the snow.

It isn't that old! (You can see the original here). I have just been playing around with it to make it look old, because the truth is, I am not sure that the scene would have been that different 50 years ago. Maybe the town wouldn't have looked quite so big in the background; maybe the jackets and clothes would have looked a bit different, but essentially when the snow comes to Eastbourne everyone goes out to play. They grab whatever they have to hand to use as a sledge and get out there! There's a footpath that goes from the golf course to the base of the downs and after a few people have been down on their sleds it becomes like the cresta run! Walking is more dangerous than sliding!

It doesn't snow very often on the South coast and when it does it makes the news. This was an old postcard I found here. It shows Eastbourne after 'the Great Blizzard of 1908'. The seafront looked much the same after the snow of 2010!

Monday, 4 February 2013


Sunday was dry for the first time in ages, so we returned to the lake for a walk. The water levels have risen considerably and if it rises another 3 metres it will be full for the first time in several years.
It still has a way to go though!