What do you do with old photographs?

Little Manchester Snow

The year we got snowed in for three days

Time after time, when people are asked what they would save from a house fire, they say their family photos. Which, when you consider how rarely we look at them, seems odd. And yet in another way this makes perfect sense.

Those photos are more than pictures. They are memories. Mostly happy ones too. The bad times are rarely, if ever captured on film.

They remind us of who we were, what we looked like and what we did. And they make us smile.

Little Manchester Family pic

Family portrait. Just look at the hair!

They also link the generations. The grandchildren can see what parents and grandparents looked like when they were young and get a glimpse of what life was like back there in the dark ages.

I’ve spent the afternoon clearing out a box of old photographs. They are now sorted into categories and ready to be put into albums. An old fashioned way of storing them, but what else do you do?

Some I’ve scanned and will save on my hard drive, others might be put into frames, but there is not enough space on the shelves for most and those in my pictures folder won’t get looked at very often.

So there they will be, volumes and volumes, from when I was a baby onwards. There are pictures of the holidays we had, houses we lived in and animals we owned, or in the case of the cats, deigned to share our home.

It’s a visual record of my life and of my children’s child and young adulthood.

Little Manchester pumpkin

Getting ready for Halloween

And one or two which are actually quite good photographs in their own right.




October 9th…

Tim Diggles

More photographs from walking Oskar round the big wet edgeland. The ‘pond’ is filling up as autumn moves on making some of the walk very wet. I took these photographs on a second-hand Canon PowerShot SX150 which I got for people to use on the Photo Collective’s Photowalks (one is coming up on the 18th October). It only takes jpeg and was making sure it worked ok, it was only £35 and a good little camera for walking around. I forgot to change the speed for the shot of Oskar at maximum zoom, but the effect is ‘interesting’ and very much how I see him as I saunter round and he goes chasing around and rolling in mud (and nastier stuff!).

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October 3rd…

The edge lands of Stoke.

Tim Diggles

Autumn’s setting in. Today’s walk with Oskar to the edgelands was breezy and cool, the sun was lower and the shadows longer. The grasses and leaves are starting to turn, the pond is a lot fuller after the rain. In the ‘panoramic’ photo of the trees on the ‘ridge’, on the far left, you can just make out Mow Cop in the distance, which has a folly built on the top to make a more interesting view and a summer house in the 18th Century.

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Live Age Festival: 2017

It hardly seems a year since the last Live Age Festival in Stoke-on Trent. For those who don’t know this is partly a celebration and partly a debate about the contribution older people can make to the arts and why and how participation can enhance health and well being.

Live Age 17 B

Jill working with us on our presentation


It’s also great fun. This year Ages and Stages, the group I belong to, did a performance on the stage of the New Vic theatre. Our piece was linked to Stoke’s bid to be City of Culture 2021 and we began rehearsals on Monday ready for performance on Friday. When I say rehearsals, I mean we began, under the direction of Jill Rezzano, to devise our piece.

Company worked on ideas, there was much heated discussion during the process, then Jill took away what we had said and came back with a script.

Looking back, this part of the process was what I enjoyed most. Way back in my childhood, I’d had visions of myself as an actress, and there was a certain frisson at being on the stage of a world renowned theatre, however the thrill of the spotlights did not compare with the buzz of working with other people to create a piece of drama.

I loved the way in which we took up each other’s ideas and worked on and modified them until no one could tell who had suggested what. As the rehearsals went on, we also became braver and making comments both about the work and the way we were delivering it.

It was a great way to spend a week and I am looking forward to our next project.

How Many Pairs of Boots Does One Woman Need?

Now that is a very good question. As far as this woman is concerned I have, currently, about eighteen pairs in my wardrobe.

This may sound rather a lot, but my boots go back a long way. The oldest pair I have dates from the early seventies. Maroon lace-up Victorian style, they came from the theatrical shoe makers Aniello and Davide and although designed to wear on stage I’ve worn them in the same way, I’ve worn my other boots. They’ve lasted better than other pairs and for much longer than their sister pair in black.

They were the pair I wore when pregnant with my second child, I went to visit my sister in hospital after she had had a narrow escape from a house fire. Aunk and the maroon boots, and indeed David, are inextricably linked and it would be almost impossible to get rid of them.

Green Boots.JPG

The same is true of the green Italian boots which I bought with my first royalty cheque. I was teaching drama at the time and since it was almost impossible to find suitable plays for schools that involved a large cast, I wrote my own. Carel Press, an educational publisher, was looking for material and, taking a deep breath, because I’d never submitted before, I sent off “The Last Disco”. They took it and subsequently published “The Kidnapping of Cloud Nine” which I wrote with Posy Miller. For years we got royalties and performing rites from both plays, but my very first payment was celebrated by buying the green boots. Made from the softest leather with velvet trimmings they are blissfully comfortable.

Red Docs.JPG

My red Doc Martens were a present from my kids, my multi-coloured boots were bought for me by my husband. Then there are the brown boots with the buckles that one of my pupils gave me, because I’ve got size 3 feet and so had her twin and her twin didn’t like her new boots, so would Miss like them?Brown Boots

And so it goes on. Every pair I own has a story. Even the wellingtons with their tops chewed by one of our Water Spaniel puppies.

Do I need them all? Probably not, though some are useful, some merely beautiful, like the purple ones with ribbons, some both, like my rainbow boots, I wouldn’t part with any of them.

And if this all makes me sound just a little obsessed with boots, then I would have to confess that I am.

Friday Favourites: Belshazzar’s Daughter

Fridays are book days. I’m going to blog about books I’ve enjoyed reading recently, plus books that are long term favourites.

Today’s book is by an author I’ve not read before. Barbara Nadel was recommended by both my sister-in-law and a friend. They both said that once they started reading her books they couldn’t stop.

Intrigued, I borrowed the first in her Inspector Ikmen  series, “Belshazzar’s Daughter” and I was hooked. The novel works on so many levels. It’s a good mystery with tension and suspense. The characters and their motivation are convincing, the atmosphere of Istanbul is vividly conveyed and Inspector Ikmen is a gem.

No angst, just a family man who loves his wife and family, who struggles to balance an all demanding job with his duty to his elderly father, his wife, Fatma and their nine children.

Another thread running through the book is the history of Istanbul and the many different nationalities who have made it their home.

All in all a great read.

Belshazzar's Daughter

Displacement Therapy

Some people have social media fasts. Others move house.

Jan Edwards

House moving looms and we find that BT are unable to supply a telephone line until 14 days after the current house owner has moved out, and can’t supply us with a telephone number until then. Our internet provider cannot supply us with a connection until we have our new number – and there is a ten day wait. Well that was the first rendering. My other half spending half a day on the phone has resulted in shortening those time scales a little, with luck, but only time will tell by how much.

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