Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fishing In The Pond Of Inconsequence (Sepia Saturday 397)

In the lead up to Christmas I am indulging myself with pointless blogposts about matters of no consequence. Today I am fishing in the pond of inconsequence whilst wearing my sepia Christmas bobble-hat.


My catch is this splendid photograph of a group of Edwardian fishermen who look as if they have been taking part is some very prestigious fishing competition. Even with the most powerful magnification I can't quite make out either the name of the trophy or any of the winners (although one of them might just be West Leeds Angling Club). Hopefully, the trophy still exists, hanging from the wall go some half-forgotten club house. Sadly, the Anglers themselves will be long-gone.

To see what other Sepians have caught this week, go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Playing In The Pond Of Inconsequence

Today's dip into the pond of inconsequence rewards us with the sound of live music - or at least the look of live music.


Jazz@The Keys, Huddersfield : 6 December 2017
Dave Newton, Piano; Jon Taylor, Saxophone; Dave Rocky Tyas, Drums; Ben Crosland, Bass.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

On The Pond Of Inconsequence From Yalta To Malta

December is a busy month: cards to write, presents to buy, quantities of alcohol to consume - and with all this going on there is little room for logical blogging. Luckily, I am committed to illogical blogging which is devoid of meaning and therefore I can carry on in my own sweet way, dipping into the pond of inconsequence with the gloved fist of uncertainty. Today it brings to the surface the Empire Medway.


This is a scan of an old print of unknown provenance that came into my possession in ways I have long forgotten. It shows the ship, the Empire Medway, which, at the time, had the designation "HMT" or His Majesty's Troopship. It was built in 1929 and for the first 21 years it went under the name of the Eastern Prince, before being renamed in 1950. During the war it served as a troopship and its finest hour was probably in February 1945 when it served as the accommodation and support vessel for Winston Churchill's staff at the Yalta Conference. After the war it continued to ferry troops around the hot spots of the world until 1951 when in was involved in a collision  in Valletta Harbour in Malta. Two years later it was scrapped, leaving behind a handful of memories and the odd old photograph.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Monkey Matthews In A Tent


This is one of those little family photographs handed down within my family. Luckily, it is one of those rare photographs which has been annotated on the reverse, so I am able to identify the participants in this camping trip. They are, from the left, Billy Duffie; Monkey Matthews; Bunny Smith; and, my father, Albert Burnett. Just where they were camping is not stated, but it will have been somewhere not far from Bradford where they all lived. The date, I would guess, was about 1925.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Being Diddled By A Halifax Muck Rake


Ah, the good old days, when family entertainment meant more than playing Angry Birds on your iPad. According to the Halifax Courier of 2nd December 1899, if you had nothing better to do on your afternoon off, you could take yourself along to Gray's Art Gallery on Commercial Street and pay sixpence to have a look at Sir Noel Paton's latest masterpiece - "The Muck Rake". Was it value for money? To answer the question you don't need to pay sixpence (which would have been about £10 in current prices), all you need to do is to stop playing Angry Birds for a minute and Google the painting.


I have to say, I think the citizens of Halifax in 1899 were being diddled!


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Lost The Sunshine And Found Twenty Pence

Back home again and already the memories of the sun, sand, heat and music that make up the tropical cocktail of the Caribbean are beginning to fade behind the greyness of a British November.

As well as some completely unearned relaxation, I did manage to get another chapter of a project that is so old it still has the working title of "The Great Novel Of The Twentieth Century" completed. Over a malt whisky or three too many, late at night in one of the many pleasant bars on board our ship, I also publicly pledged to complete the project before I reach my seventieth birthday.

This milestone seemed a long way away as we sailed from tropical island to tropical island, but in the cold, cloud-covered light of a far from tropical West Yorkshire I realise it is only a little over six months away.

I will try and channel my limited creativity into finishing the book during the coming months, but such resolutions are rarely followed through and therefore the normal flow of pointless blogging will probably be uninterrupted.

Whilst on the subject of pointless blogging, the latest volume of my blog posts has been published and is now available on Amazon. At just £12.95 ($17.79) and benefiting from free postage if you are an Amazon Prime member, it makes a perfect present for those difficult to please people who have everything they could possibly want (i.e. something they wouldn't want!) And remember that for every copy sold (which so far, I believe, is 1) the author received almost twenty pence!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sepia Saturday 391 : Marching Back To Retrieve Some Love Letters


Our theme image this week features a parade through the streets of Rotherham in the early 1980s, and my matched image features a parade through the streets of Northowram - a village a couple of miles north of Halifax - in the mid 1960s. This was the same village I grew up in, and looking back at this strip of negatives taken fifty years ago is a little like marching backwards through my life. I used to walk up this road to my Junior School every day, and I was familiar with every cottage and every donkey-stoned doorstep. I can particularly remember that magnificent stone wall that can be seen on the right of the photograph, which is now, alas, long gone. It was a dry stone wall of significant proportions, and this meant that you could slide certain stones out, and use the space behind them as hiding places for all kinds of childhood trophies. I remember secreting a series of love-letters written by the ten year old me to the equally ten year old Maureen Brown. When the wall was finally demolished (long after I had moved away from the village), were these letters found and were they perhaps passed on to the said Miss Brown? The internet is such a powerful tool of communication, no doubt I will get an answer to this question within days!

To get other answers to sepia questions, go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sepia Saturday 390 : Gazing Back, Looking Forward


Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features a young girl stood outside a door. The image comes from a job-lot of old photographs I bought on eBay, so I have no idea who the girl is. My match, however, features two people I know very well indeed - my mother and father, Albert and Gladys Burnett.

I suspect that the photograph was taken in the mid 1930s when they would have both been in their early 20s. At one stage I thought that it might have been taken outside the new house they rented in Cooper Lane, Bradford, after they were married in 1936 - but it appears far too grand for that location. 

They did, however, go away most weekends - at first on their tandem bicycle, later on their motorbike - so the door and window probably belong to one of the boarding houses or small hotels they stayed in. They look young and they look happy: gazing back into the camera lens, looking forward to a future that would see them enjoy a further sixty-five years of married life.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Beanland Postcards : Millbridge, Skipton


This postcard was sent to Fowler Beanland when he was living and working in Longtown, Cumbria in November 1905. The view is a familiar one to anyone who knows the Yorkshire town of Skipton - that is Holy Trinity Church in the background and behind that, hidden by the trees, the remains of Skipton Castle. The building in the very centre of the photograph is now the Castle Inn, and, indeed, it may well have been an inn at the time the photograph was taken.

The card was send by George Edward Fowler, a cousin of Fowler Beanland, who lived in Union Terrace, Skipton, and worked as a drawer in a cotton mill. The message reads as follows: "Dear Cousin, We were very pleased to hear from you, and will be glad to see anytime you are down this way. We are nicely, Yours, Cousin George Ed Fowler". If you take nothing else away from this delightful vintage postcard, take away the view of the picturesque solidity of Skipton, and take away that wonderful phrase; "We are nicely".

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sepia Saturday 389 : You've Got It Wrong Again!


Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features a little girl sat at a desk. My match is a little boy stood on a step - which may not sound like much of a match, but nevertheless it is appropriate for this particular time. The photograph was taken in 1946 at the photographic studios in Brown Muff's department store in Bradford, Yorkshire, and the subject is my brother, Roger.

What would normally happen at this point is that Roger would leave a comment to this post saying something like: "No, you have got it wrong again, that isn't me, it's you, and it wasn't in 1947 but 1950, and it was taken at the Busby's store, not Brown Muff's!" He has been sending such factual amendments to my family posts, from his home on the Caribbean island of Dominica, ever since Sepia Saturday started, more years ago than I can remember. It is unlikely, however, that there will be any factual corrections to this post in the immediate future, following the devastation brought to that small island by Hurricane Maria. 

I have not had direct contact with Roger since the night before Maria struck, some three weeks ago. He has managed to get a message to me via other members of the family that he is safe, but with no power and no running water, things are still very difficult on the island. I suspect it will be a good few months before there is any possibility of such things as internet access and emails being available to him again.

In the absence of his ever-welcome corrections, I will look at the photograph, think of him, send him all my very best wishes, and look forward to the day when a comment appears to this post saying: "No, Ali, you are mistaken yet again, that is in fact Uncle Harry in 1907, and it was taken at Jerome's studios".