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Friday, 27 May 2016

Aaahhh ......Some reflections on bridges


This week's Sepia Saturday prompt photo is of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. I've only been to Venice once, back in 1976 on a self-guided post student 'grand tour' of Europe, and I seem to have only taken two photographs in that venerable city, or at least only two that I deemed worth keeping. We must have seen the Bridge of Sighs, but it's not one of those two photographs. One is of St Mark's Square and the other is below,showing the Rialto Bridge and a gondolier viewed artistically through poles.
From Venice we caught a train to Vienna. There was a train strike threatening and we were quite relieved when after a considerable delay the train eventually departed. I took a couple more photographs in Vienna, our next stop, including this one of what is called the Anker Clock, mounted on a bridge between buildings of the Anker Insurance Company. I probably only had a very basic instamatic camera back then. Of course if we visited again I would take a lot more shots, and at least I would be able to see them instantly and know if they were any good or not, rather than just having to bring back exposed films and hope for the best. We've been back to Vienna since 1976 but not Venice. 

There is also a Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge England, where I lived with my parents as a toddler for a year between 1953 and 1954. My mother's trip scrapbooks don't include any photographs she took of it, but the bridge is featured on a Christmas card she and Dad must have received that Christmas in 1953. 

Below is a photograph of my grandmother's cousin Ivy Power, who came to visit us while we were there, and according to the caption, Ivy and I are on King's Bridge.

Mum's scrapbook also contains a program and newspaper article about a concert held under King's Bridge on 26 July 1954, which she and Dad must have attended. The report is written in an amusing tone, but it sounds like it was a successful and enjoyable event, more or less, despite the wind and threatened rain. As it was held on a long midsummer evening, I was probably tucked up in bed sound asleep, in the company of a  baby sitter.

I've been back to visit Cambridge briefly several times since living there in 1954 but the only bridge photograph I've taken is of the Mathematical Bridge, which is the next bridge after King's. I must have been standing on the nearby Silver Street Bridge to take this shot. Cambridge should really be called Cambridges, there are so many of them over the river Cam.

Photograph taken April 2011

Here are two interesting covered bridges from our travels, photographed on a wander through the old town of Nuremburg on the Pegnitz river in 2009. Very picturesque.


 You can often get good reflections of the bridges and surrounding buildings in the water below, and I like this shot above taken by my husband on our recent trip. It shows the viaduct above the medieval Port of Dinan, Brittany. There's an old stone bridge below the viaduct from which several of the photographs in this little collage were taken, as we enjoyed dinner by the water on our last night in Brittany. 

Back home and far away now, (she said with a sigh), but for more reflections on bridges of all kinds and numerous other things, just click and go to Sepia Saturday #332

Saturday, 21 May 2016

All mothers and babies, please line up!

The Sepia Saturday prompt photo this week shows three babies and their mothers, lined up for an English baby show in 1938. Hopefully baby shows are no longer in vogue, although there are baby photo competitions people can enter if they are so inclined. Every baby is beautiful in the eyes of his or her parents, and the job of judging them must have been fraught with danger. 

Below is a photo created from my late father-in-law Bob Featherston's collection of negatives. The two children are toddlers rather than babies, and the photo must have been taken in about 1947, the year that Mary, Bob's wife-to be, arrived in Australia as a war bride, but unfortunately she doesn't remember who the mothers were. I don't believe they were related to Bob, but they may have been neighbours of either his mother Eleanor or his aunt Dulce, as there are similar photographs taken when Bob and Mary were visiting family in Geelong. It would be a nice photo if not for the fact that the mothers' heads have been cut off, but in that respect it is also a match with the prompt.

Next a couple of snaps of our older daughter Claire with some of her playgroup friends, enjoying the sunshine at a picnic outing to Sydney's Centennial Park in mid 1980, and with friend Andrew sitting on the slippery-dip in cooler weather on another park outing. Sad to say, we moved to another part of Sydney and over the years I lost touch with the mothers, so I have no idea what these three boys are up to these days, but like Claire, they may well be parents themselves by now.

A supporting hand is the only evidence of a mother here, just in case, sitting being a skill only recently learnt by these 6 month olds.

Finally two photos from a couple of years ago, showing Claire's daughter Isabelle and two of her little friends dressed up in cute outfits for a Halloween party, and the whole group out of costume, lined up on the couch. There is a set of twins in the group, and surprisingly only one boy out of the nine. The mothers are not shown here either, but no doubt they were hovering close by.

Our granddaughter Isabelle in her catsuit on the right of this shot 

And she is third from left in this lineup - I think!

That's all I have to offer this week, but if you fancy being the judge of more baby lineups, just check out  Sepia Saturday #331

Friday, 6 May 2016

Sorting the sheep from the goats?

I'm travelling at the moment, but just for fun I searched my Google+ photo file under the topic of sheep, and apart from some photographs that I've used in previous blogs, came up with a few examples of sheep and goats photographed in various countries over the last few years.

The first photo below is of a rather agressive looking ram in a field close to our relatives' farm on the outskirts of the village of Clehonger, Herefordshire. On a walk down the lanes, I hoped the fence between us was without any gaps, but nevertheless I didn't hang around after taking his photograph, just in case. Those horns could do some damage! 

These sheep near Apollo Bay in Victoria could enjoy a spectacular ocean view, but they probably never notice it, being much too busy contentedly munching grass. We were staying nearby in a unit with the same view, and we did find time to admire it.

This is what a drover in the Wairarapa district of New Zealand's North Island looks like, and if you're driving on a country road it may take a while to get past him and his flock, giving plenty of time for photographs. Sheep have right of way here and it's not a good idea to speed, as you never known when you'll come across them around the next bend in the road. Sheep numbers in New Zealand are decreasing but there are still around 6 sheep for every per person in the country.

This photograph shows a statue of a mountain goat in the main street of snowy Smithers in British Columbia Canada, taken by my sister Louisa, whose daughter lives there. We haven't been there ourselves yet, but hope to visit one of these days. Apparently the statue was erected as a tribute to all the local people who work in the guiding business. 

And finally, a couple of sure-footed goats spotted on the steep slope surrounding the walls of the medieval Chateau at Fougeres in Brittany, France, which we visited today. Fougeres is a lovely old town to wander through, with beautiful gardens and half-timbered medieval houses surrounding its moated chateau, of which only the walls and a few towers remain.

    An elevated view of Fougeres Chateau and surrounding old town

So no sepian shepherds or sheep from me this week, but I'm sure you'll find some from other bloggers here at

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Mrs Wu's painting

A late entry for this week, but better late than never! Sepia Saturday prompt #328 shows two women carrying a painting they are saving from destruction. I saved this fine watercolour painted by my Chinese friend Yin-Sun's mother Mrs Wu from being given away to charity a few years ago.  Mrs Wu had given it to my mother Jean many years earlier and she treasured it, but when she was downsizing to a retirement village it would have had to have been given away had I not been there to rescue it and give it a new home. It now hangs on our living room wall, beautiful and elegant in that uniquely Chinese style. 

Mrs Wu and her husband came to Australia from Taiwan in the 1960s and I met Yin-Sun when we attended primary school together as 8 year olds in Canberra in 1961. His father worked with what at the time was the Chinese Embassy but he must have encountered what he felt were some insurmountable personal difficulties there, because sad to say he committed suicide the following year, leaving Mrs Wu to bring up their two sons Yin-Sun and his brother Yu-Sun. My classmates and I knew only that Yin-Sun was not at school for some time, and then came back again. I believe it was only many years later that Yin-Sun was able to discover the possible reasons for his father's death.  It must have been very very hard for Mrs Wu in a strange country, speaking little English, but she had good friends in the Chinese community to help her and her boys did well career-wise, becoming an IT specialist and an optometrist respectively. Mrs Wu painted beautifully and was also an avid Majong player. The boys quickly became Aussies and translated for their mother when necessary.

 Yin-Sun moved to California to work with IBM in the 1970s and married there. He and his wife were divorced after some ten years and we lost contact with him for a while afterwards. Sadly his brother Yu- Sun fell victim to stomach cancer when only a young man in his 30s. He left a son, born posthumously, to whom Yin-Sun was a loving uncle.  Mrs Wu survived into her 90s but suffered from dementia for some 10 years before her death and in the end was unable to communicate with Yin-Sun when he visited her in her care home in Adelaide.

We got back in touch with Yin-Sun in the 2000s and he stayed with us several times on his visits back to Australia, the last time being in 2011. In 2012 we were shocked to hear that he himself had been found to have invasive cancer, which claimed him in just 3 months, aged 59.

 I'm really glad to have this painting and a few photos and other mementoes to remember the Wu family in happier times.

Happy times: l-r Yin-Sun, Mrs Wu, Yu-Sun and Jean, in California for Yin-Sun's wedding in 1983.
R.I.P. to them all.

For more blogs inspired by this week's photo prompt, go to