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.

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....

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