Ragtag Tuesday: Touching the past

Nothing makes me feel older than looking at these three photos does.  They seem to be illustrations from a history book, but they’re not. I can reach out and touch them, because every one of them features my mother.

This is her christening.  And here are people I never met: her father Charles, the curate, who died long before I was even thought of.  Her mother Annie, from whom she became estranged. Annie’s mother and father Arthur and Elizabeth Pickard, long long dead.  Her sister Blanche and brother-in-law Jack who took themselves off to live and work in Swansea, so I never met them either: though my mother inherited almost all that Blanche had when she died in 1964.

News of my mother’s birth would have travelled by word-of-mouth or by letter.  I communicate with friends in four continents in an instant, by the click of a mouse or a quick call on Facetime.

When my children were small in the 1980s, we went to an exhibition featuring the future – a fax machine.  We got very over-excited sending drawings to one another down the phone line. Who uses fax machines now? They’re nearly as dead as the fountain pen. But even the telephone barely existed for most people when my mother was born. She lived to see her grandchildren use word processors, computers and mobile phones – but she was happier with what she knew.

I guess this photo was taken during World War One. Over the last few weeks our attention has been so taken up  by the horrors of trench warfare that it’s hard to imagine that in a small northern coal-mining town, life would have gone on much as usual.  Clergymen and miners were all exempt from conscription. Though my mother remembers food difficulties. It was her job to run to the shop and get a supply of golden syrup, and then to sit fishing the flies before it could be used  in cooking.

I have little grandchildren  of the same kind of age as my mother and her little brother Arthur in this photo (and for those of you who’ve been asking, Zoë is doing well thanks.  She should now be just under a fortnight old, but she’s three months old instead).

Theirs is a world of babygrows, disposable nappies, easy-care T-shirts and jumpers and the constant background whirr of the washing machine. My mother remembered the dampness and drudgery of Monday and its all-day washing as the worst day of the week.

Here’s another from the war years:

How could life have been so very – well – Edwardian?  Those floor-length clothes for my grandmother in the previous photo! That sailor suit for Arthur and a mob-cap for my mother!  Imagine getting Arthur and Betty along to the photographer’s studio in their Sunday-best, clean, tidy and with immaculate shoes.  These days, family portraits are all about getting out into the countryside with tousled hair then running barefoot through the heather.

I find it unsettling to look at the images.  

I feel strangely unconnected, as though my mother is from some strange unknowable place with which I have no relationship: ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’ L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between.

Today’s Ragtag Challenge is ‘past’.

A window of opportunity

I’ve always loved looking at the contributions to Thursday doors, where bloggers from around the world share images of their favourite doors. Somehow, I’ve never got round to joining in.  But looking through my photos for something or other yesterday, I realised that I had the makings of a post about windows. Here it is.

Here’s an image from the last March for Europe in London in June.  I’ll be there again, probably as you read this, marching for a People’s Vote on the Final Deal.  I’m not sure how much I believe in another referendum, but what other hope have we got to turn the tide against the national disaster that is Brexit?

Happier times, happier pictures.  I started off by including images from Europe too.  But I’ll do England today, and maybe travel further afield another time.

Hull Minster, as seen from the office buildings opposite.

And Ripon Cathedral glimpsed through a camera obscura in early 2017.

There’s an osteopath in Ripon who always has a delightfully quirky window display.  Here’s winter.

Through the car window, a snowy winter landscape near Kex Gill in Yorkshire.

Train windows:  a view of Canary Wharf through the windows of the DLR line.

And the more rural landscape from the Wensleydale Railway.

I’ll finish with the photo I found that started me off.  This was the view I took outside our house on Christmas Eve morning last year.

Ragtag Tuesday: Reflection

One of the minor pleasures of being in London is seeing its architecture and street life reflected in its many and varied plate glass windows.

The journey from Kings Cross to William-and-parents’-house starts as I take the Docklands Light Railway from Bank to Lewisham.  I pass the busy financial area of Canary Wharf with its skyscrapers and waterside plazas and docklands.  Here are reflections a-plenty: even, as we travel through a tunnel, the passengers in our own carriage reflected in the window of the next.

Travelling on the Docklands Light Railway.

 

On my way home, I might pass through the City of London, as I did the other day when visiting the Mithraeum.  I didn’t call into St. Stephen Walbrook this time.  I confined myself to admiring its exterior as reflected in the new office buildings which surround it.

And city life continues at ground level too.

This week’s Tuesday Ragtag Challenge is Reflection. 

Ragtag Tuesday

When the WordPress Daily Prompts and Photo Challenges unexpectedly and abruptly stopped, many bloggers felt deprived.  Some already had prompting challenges of their own: but a group of disheartened bloggers somehow connected together and set about replicating the WordPress prompts under the banner Ragtag Daily Prompt.  They began on 1st June.

However, they had a couple of vacancies.  They advertised.  I applied.  They offered me the Tuesday spot.  You can find my first post here today.

Here’s the story of how bloggers from four continents formed a community which writers, photographers, poets are joining by contributing their work.  Daily blogging ain’t for me.  But I do love a weekly prompt, and connecting  with others from all points of the compass.  Thanks to all you fellow-bloggers whom I’ve come to know in the last few years: it’s been enriching.

Today, I’m not offering much.  I’m simply showing you three photos, all illustrating the first word I’ve chosen: ‘serried‘.

Snapshot Saturday: a pond and a hungry heron

In the garden is a pond.  And in the pond there are some fish.  We live near the River Ure.  So near our home, some hungry herons live….

Back at Christmas time, William and family gave us a trail camera, wildlife-filming-for-the-use-of, mainly at night. This week, we decided to site it  near the pond, to see if a Hungry Heron would visit.  One did …..

The camera is still set to GMT. He really visited at 03.57.

This post is in response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt.  Let’s let them introduce themselves: RDP was started by a ragtag collection of bloggers who weren’t ready to give up on the Daily Prompt when Word Press was. So, seven of us agreed to provide a prompt once a week, and we began on June 1, 2018.’ Good luck, Ragtag!  This is the kind of party I’d like to join.

Snapshot Saturday: Walking and vertical

We found ourselves tussling with the fag-end of Storm Hector on Thursday, as it exhausted itself gusting round the neighbourhood.  It closed the market early as stallholders gave up the battle to keep their goods and stands in one place, and dumped leafy branches in the path of unwary motorists.

It reminded me of a more than breezy walk last February.  Look!  Here are the grasses edging the wetlands at Staveley Nature Reserve.

But some of us, and some plants, are made of tougher stuff.  Perhaps we knew that there might be a starring role in Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge:  columns and vertical lines.

Here’s a telegraph pole, a battered shed door on a local farm and – it is  a nature reserve after all – grasses and bullrushes standing (nearly) to attention.

In the absence of the popular WordPress Challenges, Cee Neuner has generously offered to compile and maintain lists of challenges and the bloggers who host them.  You can find them here.

Snapshot Saturday: some seaside sandals

The WordPress Photo Challenge is dead.  Long live the Photo Challenge.

I enjoyed that weekly photo challenge.  It was fun looking for ways – for photos – to meet the challenge.  It encouraged me to think creatively, and to flick through my albums, reviving memories of walks, holidays and days out.

But WordPress, for undisclosed reasons of its own, has given up on it. So I’ve had a bit of a hunt for others.  Here are two that I’ve found, and one – Cee’s Challenges – has several different themes.  Another that interests me is Sunday Stills, hosted at Second Wind Leisure aided and abetted by Mucho Spanish.

This week, Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge is ‘Shoes or feet’.  And I remembered a sunny day in Whitstable last summer, having a properly happy family day at the seaside with my son and his son, my grandson William.  I remembered our lining our sandals up on the breakwater as we went hunting shells and stones and baby crabs, and paddling, and generally being Brits at the Seaside.  Here is the evidence:

Fellow former users of WP Photo Challenge.  Please share your finds, if you know of any other good challenges.