My mum Rene (Alice Irene Flitney née Harding) died in 1999. When my brother, sister and I went through her things we found an envelope full of old newspaper clippings and other bits and pieces. We looked through the papers and put the envelope away, but those yellowing pieces of paper keep whispering of half-forgotten times and places. Places like Butlers Cross, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, West Wycombe, Little Kimble, Wendover, Ellesborough, Southcourt and Princes Risborough.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Vintage Holiday Greeting

As many of you already know our son, his wife and their two little daughters are spending Christmas and the New Year with us.  They arrive on the 6th December and return to Australia towards the end of January 2016, which means I will be away from my blog for a few weeks.

But … before I go I'm sending you a message, wishing a wish or two.
To let you know I'm thinking, this Christmas tide of you.

Kind thoughts  

and Yuletide greetings

I'm sending loud and clear.

To wish you a Merry Christmas and the happiest New Year.

I am very grateful to everyone who visits me here, thank you. I hope this coming holiday season brings you all much joy and happiness.
I hope to see you again in 2016.
With love, Barbara xx

Friday, 23 October 2015

You Need Hands

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt shows a lady playing a harp. Was she a famous harpist or is the harp merely a prop? I have no idea but thinking about it reminded me of the time my mother in law purchased a portrait sitting for Terry and I. As some of you already know I dislike having my photograph taken so I wasn't looking forward to it. When we arrived, the photographer spent a great deal of time arranging us in such a way that my hands (which he declared the most elegant he had ever seen) were evident in every shot. I'm sure he used the same compliment over and over again, but it worked and the photographs turned out well. 

Smiling faces thanks to elegant hands!

Some years later we purchased a collection of Carte-de-visite photographs. Neither Terry nor I had much interest in them, but we did like the album they came in. Luckily, we kept both the album and the photographs and as our fascination with family history grows so we've begun to appreciate them. Looking at them now it's interesting to note how many of the sitters are holding props. Are those props employed as a distraction rather like the photographer distracted me?

Books are evident in many of the images;

A different photographer but once again the sitter is holding a book.

The design on the back of this card is almost as nice as the image on the front.

Holding a photograph while being photographed was another popular choice.

Both of these examples were produced by W. Vick Portrait & Landscape Photographer, London Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom.  The two ladies appear to be sitting in the same chair and holding the same photograph. They also have very similar hairstyles so it could be the same woman photographed at different times.

This was one of my favourite images until I took a closer look. What on earth is wrong with the cat? One ear appears to be transparent or missing, and its eyes are very strange...

Could this be a post-mortem image as mentioned over at Sepia Saturday a couple of weeks ago? The woman looks very much alive but there is something strange about the material of her dress (see above) - the more I look at it the more it reminds me of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations.

Alfred S Fisk artist & Photographer was responsible for the following image. He offered copies enlarged to life size at any time. He also advertised views of churches, mansions, etc., to order in any part of the country!

A couple of the Carte-de-visite images in the album

and a decorative page from the same album.

The title of this post was prompted by the song of the same name.

It's now time to hand you over to Sepia Saturday 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases

A quick check in our bathroom cabinet reveals thirteen cold & flu remedies, five different types of sticking plasters and numerous other pills and potions. When did it become necessary to have so many? When I was growing up just three things resided in the family medicine cabinet. The first was a large jar of Vicks VapoRub, the second a packet of Veganin tablets and the third a bright orange tin containing Elastoplast.

Most minor ailments were taken care of with these three simple remedies. A Veganin and a bedtime story were guaranteed to cure a toothache, Vicks VopoRub applied to the chest cleared the nose and ensured a restful sleep, and a plaster applied with a 'kiss to make it better’ was all it took to sort out bumps and bruises.

I only recall one occasion when something more than a plaster was needed to sort my bumps and bruises.  I was reminded of it recently when my little granddaughter Lilly had an accident. Lilly fell onto a slate floor and ended up having a two-hour operation to repair a really nasty gash to her forehead.  I was luckier in that the gash to my forehead required just a few stitches and a very large bandage.

Something like sixty years separates these two photographs.  

The photograph on the left is of me (with bandage) my brother Tony, my sister Sue and my mum.  I don’t recall the name of the lady I'm sitting with and can only assume she was a family friend.  The other photograph is of Lilly with her 'bandaged bear' – if you look closely you will notice the bear is wearing a bandage around his head and another around his arm. 

Elka Little Bear with Bandages

I didn't experience many ailments as a child, but I did suffer from motion sickness (strangely enough it has returned with a vengeance as I've grown older). I've tried all kinds of remedies from pills to patches to wrist bands, none of which really help. Maybe I should go back to my dads tried and tested remedy.  Imagine this conversation on one of our frequent trips to Cornwall or on the way to Buckinghamshire to visit relatives.   "Dad I feel sick".  “Hold on, we are almost at the shop”.  "There you go that will sort you out”.  It took years for me to realise a bar of chocolate would do one of two things; it would take my mind of the motion sickness, or it would make me sick but either way I would feel better. Simple!  How did my dad get to be so wise?

This next image found in The Windsor Magazine has nothing whatsoever to do with my childhood, although my nose might have benefited from a little reshaping. 

So Easy to Shape Your Nose - corrects all ill-shaped noses quickly, painlessly and permanently. Over 100,000 satisfied users.  Trados Model No. 25 (British Patent).

As the season of colds and flu is fast approaching I feel duty-bound to share this public information film with you. Enjoy! 

Now it's time to call in at Sepia Saturday to see what ails my fellow Sepians. Don't forget to take your handkerchief....

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I'm a Phillumenist!

Not a lot of people know that and why should they when I've only just found out myself.

According to Wikipedia Phillumeny (also known as Phillumenism) is the hobby of collecting different match-related items: matchboxes, matchbox labels, matchbooks, matchcovers, matchsafes, etc., The word, derived from Greek phil- [loving] + Latin lumen- [light], was introduced by the British collector Marjorie S. Evans in 1943 (who later became president of the British Matchbox Label & Booklet Society, now renamed as the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society). A person who engages in Phillumeny is a Phillumenist. 

Going by the notes in my scrapbook, I became a phillumenist in 1963 and by September of that year I had 500 matchbox labels in my collection.

I seemed to do very well in that first year. Did my dad buy a collection to get me started? I feel sure he must have done. Back then the two of us spent almost every Saturday morning scouring the local second hand book shop – is it possible they came from there? Where is that time machine when I need it?  Three years later, another 100 or so had been added to the collection. The final tally from December 1975 is 699. 

I remember spending a great deal of time carefully gluing matchboxes onto pages. I must also have spent a lot of time counting them!

Choice Wines and liquors ... We Deliver

Hines' Downtown Liquor Store PH. WA. 63529 North Division Near Main 

I'm not sure what possessed me when it came to this page, pin-ups next to orphanages. So much for classification – what was I thinking?

A page dedicated to Camp 'Flags of Nations'. At first glance, they all look exactly the same (apart from the individual flags), but a closer inspection reveals several differences.

I assumed the oldest is on the left and the newest on the right. Do you agree?

Bomber Matches - Sahigara Match Works, Chorvad Road, (Gujarat, India)
This company is still in existence although I couldn't say if they still manufacture matches. The business is owned by Abdul Razak Ahmed. Trading as: Abdul Razak & Co. 
Also Sahigara Oil Mills.

The Ship and Swan Vestas were the matches of choice when I was growing up. We always had several boxes around the house.

Family holidays were spent in Devon and Cornwall where many a matchbox could be found.

Mum and dad with their pride and joy – a converted Bedford Dormobile. Dad did all the conversion work himself (with a little help from my brother Tony) even the tricky job of fitting the lifting roof.  The first holiday to Cornwall caused a few anxious moments because dad was concerned the roof would ‘lift or leak’ on the way, but he needn't have worried it worked beautifully.

The Old Cornish Mine series of matchboxes first appeared in 1962. A product of  the Cornish Match Company of Halsetown, Cornwall.  Rosemergy mine at Morvah was opened sometime prior to 1788 and reopened several times as part of the Morvah and Zennor Mines but was finally abandoned after a short-lived boom in tin prices in 1874.

Mum and I and the interior of the converted Dormobile.

Uncle Tom Cobley and all from the Old West Country series issued by the Two Counties Match Company, Honiton, Devon from 1963.

Although my collection is quite small in comparison to some, it contains a wealth of social history, which should keep me happily researching for years.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday 296; Adverts, Wine and Old Labels

Now it's time to drink up and head on over to Sepia Saturday where the party will soon be in full swing.

Those of you with an interest in match box collecting might like this site 
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