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Friday, 27 November 2015

Holding on to Cyril

The prompt this week shows children holding hands in a circle. I don't have any similar family photographs, but like Marilyn, I do have a sweet one of a brother and sister holding hands. In this case my mother-in-law Mary was out walking in the city somewhere with her little brother Cyril, who was some seven years younger than his big sister.

Cyril Olds was born in Hull,Yorkshire in 1932. He enjoyed working outdoors but later joined the Civil Service and became a VAT inspector, although he always said he didn't really like having to tell people of their tax liabilities. He didn't marry until he was 50, at which time he gave up smoking. Cyril always referred to Margaret as his bride. They enjoyed over 30 happy years of married life together but sadly he passed away almost a year ago from lung cancer.

The photo below shows Cyril when we last saw him in 2014, in the spring garden of the family property,Yew Tree Farm in Clehonger near Hereford.  Margaret and her late first husband had been next door neighbours ever since Cyril's parents Frank and Doris Olds bought the farm in 1956. After she was widowed Margaret downsized to a cottage just across the road, and following their marriage in 1984 Cyril moved in there too. He looked after Yew Tree Farm in his spare time, maintaining the cider apple orchard and tending the gardens that he had established, and at various times he raised or agisted sheep, pigs and cattle in the fields.  Cyril and Margaret also ran a nursery business from the greenhouses that Cyril had installed behind the barn. They had no children but always had a dog or two for company.  Here is a photo I've posted previously of Cyril and his mother Doris at work gathering apples when I first met them in 1976. At that time Cyril was a bachelor in his early 40s, and we went with him on a day trip from Hereford up to Hull to 'see a man about a dog'. It wasn't a sightseeing trip.  Cyril drove fast and stuck to the motorways, stopping only once or twice at roadside service centres for sustenance, so we didn't see much of the English countryside at all. When we returned his mother asked how the drive had been, and Cyril assured her in his broad Yorkshire accent that there had not been much traffic, and "what there was, we passed". 

    Cyril. above right, with his wife Margaret, his younger sister Helen and their nephew Roger (son of Mary),  in April 2014.

                               Photo taken from the upstairs bedroom window of the farm.

     Young Cyril has headed home and his tractor now stands idle in the greenhouse. Without him, the future of the farm is uncertain.

May 2015

          Over the years Cyril and Margaret visited Australia several times, staying with big sister Mary in Canberra and exploring parts of the coastline from Queensland down to Sydney.  Helen and Margaret are coming again to spend Christmas with their sister/sister-in-law next month.

                                                 R.I.P. Cyril Walter Olds, 19.10.1932 - 14.12.2014

  The Black Sorrows, Hold on to Me

     To find out who else may be holding hands or playing games for Sepia Saturday #307,
just click here.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Off we go, with our hats and bags

This week's prompt shows some young boys playing a game that possibly involves throwing something into their hats.  It's probably not tiddliwinks, marbles or hopscotch, games that were popular when I was at school. Here in Australia these days school hats are compulsory for primary aged children, as part of their uniform, and it's certainly a case of 'no hat, no play!'

I'm presently away from home, but here are a couple of photos that I just happen to have handy. The first is from 1960 and shows my brother and myself on his first day of school. We both had big hats, although we're not wearing them.

This second photo shows our older two children ready to go off to Montessori school. No uniforms or hats but they do have backpacks like one of the boys in the prompt. Our son must have been almost 3 at the time. 30 years later and he's getting married this Saturday.

For more blogs connected in some way to this week's prompt, just go directly to Sepia Saturday #306

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Whether the weather be fine or not


In 2002 we bought tickets for a balloon ride, to celebrate jointly reaching our half centuries. We were living in Sydney at the time but had chosen to fly over Canberra, because we liked the idea of looking down on the National Capital scenery, including its monumental buildings and central man-made lake, which I've blogged about previously. We drove down the night before and were up bright and early, arriving at the meeting point as required, around 5 a.m. I think. Unfortunately the weather wasn't looking too good, but the company remained confident in forecasts that the squalls and showers would clear in time for us to take off. The photos below include one showing my husband helping to tether our balloon while it was being inflated.

Up, up, up ...

... and away!  It appears from that fourth shot that we were aboard the first of the four balloons to become airborne.

Above and below are two rather gloomy shots of our view from on high, including the old and new Parliament House and the High Court. You can see rain approaching in the distance and after only half the scheduled flight time, our pilot decided that the safest and most advisable course would be to descend as rapidly as possible. We didn't complain, as there was nowhere to shelter away from the heavy rain streaming down the sides of the balloon canvas and funneling into the basket and its occupants, so by that stage we were completely saturated. We landed unceremoniously in a lakeside car park, feeling happy to have avoided ditching in the lake. Our tickets included a sumptuous hotel breakfast but we were way too wet to be able to enjoy that and instead we just headed straight back to my mother-in-law's Mary's place to get warm and dry.

 We were offered either a raincheck (!) or a half refund, and we did try to book again some months later, but that day turned out to be too windy to even take off, so that was it. We didn't try a third time as it was too difficult to arrange when we didn't live close by. By then we had left it too long to get that refund, but never mind. Our balloon adventure came to a soggy end, but it was fun while it lasted, sort of!

I took the following rather contrasting shots in 2006 during the annual week long balloon fest held in Canberra. We were again visiting Mary and enjoyed being spectators around the lake on that occasion. The building on the right is our National Library, with a balloon house floating above it, and you can see the Flying Sćotsman up there too, together with a bee and a few other unusual balloon shapes as well, their colours reflecting in the lake. Lake Burley Griffin itself appears blue rather than brown or grey on a blue sky day.

Here's the Flying Scotsman landing 

and going down, down, down, in a rather undignified fashion. 

We see early morning balloons floating over our house here in Melbourne quite regularly, but we don't feel tempted to join in. Mishaps don't happen often, but when they do they can involve near misses or worse. One had to make a forced landing in someone's front garden last year. It wouldn't have fitted into ours! For more ups and downs of various kinds, just float away and see what other bloggers are doing for Sepia Saturday #305. very possibly involving more sepia that you see here.

Perhaps there will be balloons of another kind at our son's wedding, which we're flying off to attend next weekend. I rather doubt I'll have a chance to post next Saturday.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Spirits of our past

No double exposures or ghostly images from me, but I have interpreted the above photographs as showing people from the past watching over others. I like to think that our ancestors do that in some unknown way, and so here is a collage showing my daughters, granddaughter and myself surrounded by some of our female ancestors. Although they are gone they are always with us, in the sense that there's a little bit of all of them in all of us.

Top row: Jane Young nee Patterson, Mary Anne Hays Byles nee Bills
Middle: Mona Morrison nee Forbes, Jean Cruickshank nee Morrison, Jo Featherston nee Cruickshank, Laura D nee Featherston, Claire K nee Featherston, Isabelle K, Charlotte Cruickshank nee Joss, Elin Cruickshank nee Hickey
Bottom row: Jane Isabella Forbes nee Young, Myrtle Cruickshank nee Byles

Jane Young and Charlotte Cruickshank were just two of Isabelle's thirty-two 4x great grandmothers. 

For more interpretations of this week's prompt photographs, click here and you'll be spirited away to Sepia Saturday #304.


Here's a re-do of my collage, including 3 more ancestors. Bottom right is Janet Cruickshank nee Mackie, 5x GGM to Isabelle, at top right is Mary Forbes/Paterson nee Anderson, 4x GGM and in the middle row at far right is Mary Bridget Morrison/Morrissey nee McNamara, 3x GGM. I've also replaced the older photograph of Jane Isabella Forbes with a beautiful photograph of her as a young woman, at top left.