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Sepia Saturday 273 : A Lagavulin Smile

The theme image for Sepia Saturday 273 features a couple of Edwardian ladies riding their bicycles through Battersea Park in London. My best efforts at a match involves half the ladies, half the bikes and a park of unknown origins. The photograph itself comes from the ubiquitous suitcase of old family photographs and measures just three inches by two. But so much life, so many memories, so much history is distilled into that small space, it has a rare and fine distinction – a vintage single malt whisky of a photograph. The photograph features my mother, Gladys Burnett, and must have been taken in the early to mid 1930s. At the time my father and mother had a tandem and their holidays would involve tours around Britain. Later my father graduated to a motorbike and sidecar, a graduation my mother welcomed because – given that the predominant climatic conditions were wet and the predominant topography was hilly – she was happier under the protection of a canvas awning and the motive power of an internal combustion engine. Looking at the photograph now – eleven years after my mother died – I can still recognise the smile; a lovely warm rich smile, a Lagavulin smile (lovers of malt whisky will know what I mean).

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What The Papers Said : Memories Of A Poor Wife And A Bacon Sandwich

Halifax Courier : Saturday 4th April 1868 One cannot help wondering whether Professor Stokes was able to deliver his lecture without notes. He would claim that he could teach his system of memory enhancement in less than three hours and it was all based on his golden rule for memory which was “observe, reflect, link thought with thought and think of the impressions” He would give his students sentences to memorise – here is the one from Exercise 38 : “My memory men may memorise my matchless mouth martyrdomising memory medley”. Which reminds me of something I once read in a book …. but unfortunately I have forgotten what it was. I do know how Mr J G Lee feels. The Good Lady Wife has just set out for the shops in Huddersfield – so I am tempted to issue my own public announcement in a similar vein. However, before we attach too much blame to the poor Mrs Lee we should remember that 1868 was 14 years before the Married Woman’s Property Act came into force and at this time married women were not able to own property in their own right. She would have to use Mr Lee’s credit card as she was not allowed one herself. A legal case with a convoluted plot of Morsian complexity. I still can’t quite work out who gave who what – but it appears that a watch changed hands in exchange […]

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Vintage Postcard Path 11 : A Tale Of George Eliot And The Architect

I am taking a walk along the path where history interacts with geography and words rub shoulders with images – the vintage postcard path. The destination doesn’t matter and the route is determined by the random selection of old postcards I have bought at an antique fair. Number 11 in the series sees us in the schoolroom of a famous 19th century author. George Eliot was full of contradictions: a woman using the name of a man, a pillar of the Victorian establishment who lived a life of a bohemian, a girl from the provinces who lived life in the big city. It was a contradiction of my own that first came to mind when I picked this particular postcard from the pile I have accumulated over recent months – for here is an name I know so well but I don’t think I have actually read any of her books. That is a contradiction I need to put right in the near future, but for the moment I want to concentrate on the connectivity of time. George Eliot was born in 1819 and her relatively short life came to an end in December 1880. So when this postcard was sent in 1905, Eliot had only been dead some 25 years and would be more in the realms of a recent celebrity rather than a historical icon. The card was sent to William Edward Crabtree of Elliott Street (different spelling, […]

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Two From A Film Strip

It is the beard that is a give-away. There was a small window of hairiness, somewhere between late-onset maturity and marriage when hair warmed my chin. Then I was told it was ridiculous and I had to shave it off. So I did. So this photograph must have been taken in about 1972 when I was still at University in […]

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