Saturday, 30 June 2012

What A Raquet

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections".

 Photo of 1880 from the International Centre of Photography, New York
Subjects and photographer unknown
I came across this photograph by chance while looking for something else, irresistible to use this week. I can't decide if this is a hallway or a backdrop but they are having fun with this whimsical shot.  Who knows they may be about to run out of the door and start batting balls about.  Peering through those strings is a similarity of face that makes me think they are a family.  The boy's clothing at the back makes him looks as though he could have wandered in from the 21st century to join the photographic experience.

From one posed shot to another
which featured in the Picture Show Annual 1938 captioned "Dolores del Rio and her bull terrier, Michael, are inseparable, and he even accompanies here to the tennis courts".  Maybe a pooch like this is also useful for retrieving tennis balls.

Dolores del Rio (1905-1983) had a long career in film, theatre and television although at the time of this photo, at the end of the 1930s, was not finding roles in Hollywood and continued her career in Mexico for the next two decades, returning to the US in 1960 to make 'Flaming Star' starring Elvis Presley.  George Bernard Shaw was quoted as saying the two most beautiful things in the world were the Taj Mahal and Dolores del Rio.  Despite it being said her beauty routine was that of a diet of orchid petals and sleeping 16 hours a day
she seems to have fitted in a certain amount of racket sports.  The date is 1935 when del Rio filmed two musical comedies 'In Caliente' and 'I Live for Love',  both with the musical choreography by Busby Berkeley, and who can resist those elaborate kaleidoscopic and slightly wacky numbers he produced.   The photo looks as though it may have been taken on a film set, everyone seems dressed for hot weather apart from the suited man, not that Dolores
couldn't play in a suit herself although goes for the comfort of kicking off her shoes here.  Lastly
 Zsa Zsa Gabor and John Hann, Long Beach TTA President
we enter the world of Zsa Zsa Gabor.  Not sure what husband number she is up to at the time of this photograph but she is dressed for any occasion, those puff sleeves serving to distract her opponent as she flips the ball across the net.   

Table Tennis photographs from Larry Hodge's addictive "Celebrities Play Table Tennis" page.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Banks Away


Kirkby in Furness
Coming to the end of the wettest June on record it looks like even the smallest stream has the potential to be a river.   

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

ABC Wednesday - X

Can you spot the X?  If I had been thinking "X is one of the tricky letters for ABC Wednesday" while I gazed at this typeset  it could have been centre stage, but I was only thinking that I liked the different sized compartments on this typesetting sort.  I'll make it easy by cropping
There it is second row down next to the Y on the left.  The type sorts were in the Plantin Moretus Museum the location of two of the oldest printing presses in the world and both home and workshop of the Plantin Moretus family from the 16th Century until in 1876 when the whole caboodle was sold to the city of Antwerp and today is on the UNESCO World Heritage List
It houses libraries, maps and rare books such as this 16th Century Bible Polyglotta written in five languages. Just imagine how many different little letters and fonts you would need to make this page. 
But it is just as interesting to walk around this museum and see how a Flemish trading family lived in those sometimes turbulent centuries.  Here is its tranquil courtyard which at a stretch could contain another X if you considered it a tree planted garden walk, a xystus ---

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a walk through the alphabet from A to Z

Saturday, 23 June 2012

At the Fairground

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

I had a postcard image of high speed enjoyment  on a big dipper but as I can't find it here is something of sedate speed although my hands must bee moving fast they are fuzzy. This is the seaside resort of Morecambe of which one of my most abiding memory is of the giant ice cream sandwiches. I wonder what the game of 'Feed the Golden Geese' was in the background. 

But I'm going to go forward in time from this photo when aged about 9 I  joined my friends Jean and Marie in the St John's Ambulance brigade. For a year our time was spent recognising symptoms and practising bandaging but then there was great excitement for our troop was going to go away on a parade. My memory is hazy of its purpose, it was some kind of rally,  but it was certainly a big deal.  We spent the next weeks doing first aid but mostly practising marching, turning and looking left and right plus ensuring our uniforms were in tip top condition for the trip. We were to be inspected by Princess Margaret, who was Commandant in Chief of the cadet section of the St John's Ambulance.  Our marching practice over we set off to join hundreds of other troops from across the country.  I have no memory of where we went I can only narrow it down to Lancashire but it was a huge venue and we lined up in our hundreds.  The Princess appeared in full uniform motoring along the serried ranks standing up  in a land rover but what intrigued us girls the most was the thickness of her make up.  To get back to the theme of "Sepia Saturday" when the marching and inspection was over we were dropped off here
all still in uniform and were informed by the booth attendants that as St John's Ambulance cadets attending the rally we gained free entrance and free rides. What a time we had, a treat made even better for its surprise nature.  Our pocket money would never had run to this.  When looking for photos of Belle Vue, which closed in the 1980s, I immediately recognised the entrance booths, but not the dinosaur.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A Woodland Walk Through Winding Wingnuts

Take a walk in the the woods and there may be more than moss and leaves growing on trees especially in Grizedale Forest, well known for its sculptures and art works scattered across its acreage sometimes on paths sometimes tucked away off the trails. One of the lower paths accessible for both walkers and wheelchairs has suddenly sprouted some brass wing-nuts.
   I wondered what they were when we turned the corner onto this path
And as they appeared to go through the trees, what was the purpose of the bowl on the other side.
I wondered if they turned, yes, they clunked I turned it round with no resistance.  I moved on if I had stuck with it until experiencing resistance then this would have happened:

What a super surprise I would have got if this sound had floated out into the summer air.  I discovered , thanks to the internet, that this is "The Clockwork Forest" by the art collective greyworld, only installed in October 2011. Its idea is that of the untold fairytale, and the secret stories and distant sounds of the forest.
So amongst the wind rustling through the leaves one could sit here and get someone to wind this up and let the tinkling sound drift on the air.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a walk through the alphabet from A to Z

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Cool Cats

 An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

Here we are at the farm gate.  Where better place to find a cat, or indeed be a cat.  Imagine all the potential for mouse chasing and when that is all done just lying in the sun. Although at the moment of this photograph this particular cat has been scooped up by Peter and it gazes towards his sister Susan, or maybe it is just looking for a way to escape.  No chance, looks as though Peter has a firm grip.    

Aynsome Mill Farm was the home of  my mother's cousin Alice Airey (the mother of Susan and Peter) and we often used to visit.  I wonder as my mother holds me on a sunny Sunday in July whether this would be the first time I had been there.  Throughout my childhood we would travel to Cartmel to stay for the day and sometimes during the school holidays I would come here to stay. Sleeping in a ground floor room I would be awakened by mooing and shouting as the cows ambled and clattered  past the window on their way to be milked.  A day of play lay ahead.  I don't remember much about the cats but was particularly fascinated by pigs so they were always our first port of call.  As with most childhood memories the days always seemed to be as sunny as this photograph.

But to come up with two elements of the prompt picture
here is a doorstep and a cat, but this time of the tabby variety.  My father has written on the back "by the Co-op, Ulverston" so that is why there is crockery in the window but I am not sure of the significance of the illegible notice which has the amount £13 17s 6d in large letters. Seems a lot of money for 1955.  Anyway back to the cat, after stroking it I was probably wanting to take it home. I occasionally arrived home with "strays", they never were, or at least that is what my mother said as she sent them on their way.        

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

ABC Wednesday - Velocipede

What every velocipede requires is an ingeniously placed velopomp. The word velocipede was coined by Nicéphore Niépce to mean any human powered vehicle, the name never advanced out of the Victorian era in English and we embraced the name bicycle.  The French however shortened it into a word that seems to embody speed - the Vélo.  I think this sign may be a combination of French and Flemish  but it leaves no doubt what it is to be used for. All the velocipede racks in Belgium have a pump and we sat in a café in Sint-Niklass  watching this pump being lifted up and down to fill tires.  No need to carry a pump on your bike when when is always close to hand.   Belgium is definitely a place of velocipede lovers
 and I have never seen so many bikes in one place as outside the station in Ghent, they were stacked as far as the eye could see,  this is only a fraction.. They cluster outside the station
and then spread out into the surrounding streets.  I wonder what the collective noun for bicycles or vélos is, perhaps a pride, for the Belgians seem mighty fond of them.  But with so many perhaps it can be difficult sometimes to find where you've parked it so perhaps the best way is to vamp it up
with flowers.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a ride through the alphabet  from A to Z

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

ABC Wednesday - Uprooted

The uprooted tree has missed the old barn and is gently decaying amongst the foxgloves. 
This one may have been uprooted but its tap-root remains underground so being resilient and adaptable it continues to grow towards the sun while the sheep (whose hooves make them ugulates), take shelter from the midday heat.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z


Saturday, 2 June 2012


 An Entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

A song sheet featuring '"the last of the red hot mamas' for this week's prompt  took me to the red hot group of my teenage years 
and a whole song book; Little Red Rooster, I Just Want to Make Love to You, Bye Bye Johnny they are all in here, and a whole lot more, interspersed with moody black and white photographs.  I can even date it
because of the adverts at the back, yes we have arrived right at the middle of the swinging sixties when I was probably happily pasting Rolling Stones pictures in a scrap book and
daydreaming.  Except of course this is The Lovin' Spoonful, I just listened to their music, and bought sheet music. The place to buy that was Kelly's Music Shop in Barrow in Furness who had been in business from the time of gramophones and 78s.  In the 60s the ground floor was where the musical instruments, record players and reel to reel tapes lived but my school friends and I weren't hanging around down there, the action was upstairs where records could be spun. Turn right and there was the counter opposite which were two listening booths where you could bop around to the records. A Saturday port of call could be a trip in here, browse the records, come out hang around the main shopping street and then off to Buccianis Coffee Shop.   Both places have now gone but the hanging around on Saturdays 'in town' has never gone out of fashion for generations of school kids. I can't remember when they took out the listening booths, it may have been the early 60s but they continued to sell instruments, records and sheet music.  When looking at the sheet music it struck me that this may have been the decade of psychedelia but the front covers had not changed since Sophie Tucker's time.  Sonny and Cher
try to jazz it up a little with lettering but it would take the Beatles to
      do something different. It helped that they owned the publisher Northern Songs Limited.