Becky Cracks The Conundrum

I have received observations about yesterday’s post ‘Revealing The Ancestors’ from Becky, Helen, and Jackie. These have been added to the story of the photograph. Becky, in particular engaged in some exciting and informative research, which Jackie eagerly followed up.

This information is all so staggering that, although it emerged today, it belongs to yesterday, which is where you will find it, by clicking on the above post.

Today, I can refer you to Adrian Barlow’s blog post of 21st January 2012:

Jackie’s cousin on the Dove side, Adrian shares with her their Great Great Grandmother Martha Edith Dove, nee Shotbolt. His post, suitably illustrated, tells the story of this amazing woman. We think it is Adrian himself, and his mother, Jackie’s Auntie Doreen, seated on the church wall opposite the schoolhouse. Another of his illustrations establishes that Great Great Grandfather Albert Edward Dove is the second man with a cigarette, seated between his two daughters.

Given the profession of these great great grandparents, it is fascinating that they now hang on our wall beside my paternal grandparents and Great Aunt Evelyn in their own Norwood School for the Sons of Gentlemen.

We had great fun unravelling all this this morning.

Sunset is coming later each day. This one at the front of the house was soon after 5.30.

SunsetAlbert Edward Dove’s great great granddaughter served up a beautifully matured liver casserole with fresh, crisp, carrots, cauliflower and new potatoes for our dinner this evening. I drank more of the Lussac Saint-Emilion, and Jackie didn’t.

As I set about posting this missive I found a comment from Adrian Barlow at the foot of yesterday’s post. It provides even more fascinating detail.

Revealing The Ancestors

We have a stairway the walls of which we are reserving for photographs of those we call the ancestors. A start was made with the Norwood School for the Sons of Gentlemen featured in ‘One For Rebekah’.

Beside that print hangs a wedding photograph from Jackie’s family. From the clothes worn by the group of family and friends, we estimate the event to have been pictured in the 1920s. Today I spent some time on my iMac refreshing this image that is almost a century old. Instead of a wander around the English countryside, today’s journey guides you through the process of producing as near a pristine photo as is possible for me. I’m sure my professional friend, Alex Schneideman, would make a better job of it.

Almost the longest stage was removing the 8″ x 6″ print from what must be the original very sturdy frame. Small nails had been driven through the hard wood surround into a backing plank thick enough to take them. Clearly this had protected the photograph, but it proved impregnable to my delicate efforts. It being Jackie’s heirloom, she was less nervous about using ‘brute force’, and prised the nails out with a small screwdriver.

Jackie's Green great aunt wedding original version

My original scan shows the customary sepia coloured print that has come down to us. This would once, before the passage of time, have been a crisp black and white.

Jackie's Green great aunt wedding B-W scan

I then adjusted my Epson Perfection V750 PRO scanner setting to convert the colour to black and white.

Jackie's Green great aunt wedding iPhoto version

The next step was to brighten up the image in iPhoto.

Jackie's Green great aunt wedding final crop

Then I cropped out the mount.

Clicking on this last image to enlarge it will expose lots of little white or back blemishes. These are not relevant in the normal sized reproductions I have used in WordPress. Anyone wishing to examine this slice of social history in more detail, or to enlarge the print, would prefer the retouching that I then carried out. The iPhoto facility for this involves, with the use of a mouse, placing a circular motif which can be adjusted according to the size of the area to be treated, and clicking on or dragging it. You need a keen eye and a steady hand. And rather more time than I was prepared to give it, as will be seen by following the suggestion below, thus revealing that my work was not perfect.

Jackie's Green great aunt wedding after retouching

Comparing this final image, similarly enlarged, with the last one will show the final result which I then made into a 10″ x 8″ print. When framed, this will not replace the original, which is a treasure in its antiquity. The two will be hung one above the other.

The bride is Jackie’s paternal great aunt Renee Dove, who was marrying Canon Percy Green of Keystone in Staffordshire (See PSs below). Interestingly, it is the groom’s mother, Jackie’s great grandmother, who holds centre stage. She favours a dress length of her generation, rather than that of the younger women around her, who are not afraid to display their ankles. One of these, second from the right on the front row, is Jackie’s grandmother Vera Rivett, nee Dove. Is she wearing spats? Her outfit is certainly most splendid.

Would today’s bride wear gloves? Or would she, like her mother and the woman on the far left, hold them in her naked hands? Are feather boas the precursors of today’s fascinators? Neither, after all, is a hat, like the wide brimmed ones sported by these ladies.

Fob watch

I do like the gentlemen’s three piece suits, and, had my brother Chris not left me one that sits, in its box that Frances made, on the window sill beside my chair, I would envy the fob watches.

It would certainly be unlikely in 2015 for a fag to be carried into the formal photograph grouping. Hopefully, the smoker in the back row (identified in Adrian’s comment below) flicked his ash out of harm’s way. There are no white spots on the shoulder of the gentleman in front of him.

The great granddaughter of Mrs Dove senior cooked a splendid liver casserole for our dinner tonight. New boiled potatoes, and crisp carrots and cauliflower accompanied this. Dessert was apple crumble and custard. I drank Chateau Saint Pierre Lussac Saint-Emilion 2012, while Jackie chose sparkling water.

 P.S. Becky’s Facebook link comment dates the picture with a little more precision:

  • I would say around 1919. The hats and skirts are still a bit WW1.
  • Rebekah Knight Fashion drawing from 1919

    Rebekah Knight's photo.
    P.P.S: Helen added this: ‘Not in Staffordshire, but Jackie and I have been trying to get that information straight. Lovely and interesting picture. The young lady in the front row next to the man with the child has a familiar look. Wonder who she is.’
    Jackie has noticed that the gentleman next to her grandmother also clutches a cigarette. (Adrian’s post highlighted below establishes that this smoker is Great Great Grandfather Albert Edward Dove). Vera is wearing a wedding ring which suggests either that grandfather Albert Rivett was still involved in World War I (he was at the Battle of The Somme in November 1916), or that he did not attend for some other reason.
    Later, Becky would seem to have cracked the condundrum: ‘Had a little mooch on Find My Past and have found a Percival L Green who was married in 1921 in Grantham and an Irene Dove who was married in the same year in Grantham.’
    She continues with this quotation from Adrian Barlow:  “…by 1895 they [the senior Doves] had moved, south this time, to Denton in Lincolnshire, their home for the rest of their teaching lives. And what a home! They lived in the school house, a large and elegant early Georgian building. Here their children – Albert, Vincent, Irene and Vera – grew up. Albert joined the Navy, while Vincent and Vera became teachers. A local clergyman, the Rev. Percival Green, proposed to Vera, who turned him down, so (rather like Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice) he proposed to Irene instead. She accepted, and they were married in St. Andrew’s Church.” (Albert, in Victorian times, was a name popular enough for Vera to have one as a father, one as a brother and to marry another)
    ‘You should see the picture that goes with this piece!’, says Becky
    Here it is
    Jackie has now done the Google walk on Denton, just outside Grantham, and has established without a shadow of doubt that her ancestral wedding took place at St. Andrew’s Church, and that the photographer produced the photograph in the garden of the school house, now called Ley’s House, across the road. Those parts of the church that are visible in the old shot are identical to those in the modern one above. The stone wall that can be seen through the gap in the hedge surrounds the church. The twin-trunked tree still towers from the lawn today.
    Adrian Barlow’s blog of 21st January 2012 gives further amazing detail.
    This post now holds the postscript record.

A Footpath, A Carpet, And An Oak


DitchThis morning I encased my right knee in a crepe bandage and hobbled along Hordle Lane to the footpath alongside Apple Court Garden and back.

Now the leg has toothache. That’s it. My rambling will be  done in my head until further notice.

The ditches are now pretty full, and pools still lie on the fields, although the tarmac no longer carries water.

As you walk along almost any lane in this area between the sea and the New Forest, each step provides a different view of the landscape. I have shown before how the wind sweeping across it tends to shape the direction of trees, particularly those in open spaces. The bent oak in the next three photographs demonstrates this point.Landscape with bent oak 1Landscape with bent oak 2Landscape with bent oak 3Snowdrops 1Snowdrops 2Snowdrops 3Snowdrops 4

Footpath 2Footpath 3A thick pile white and green carpet lines the roadside alongside Apple Court Garden. Upon closer examination you discover that the woven woollen strands that form this covering are aptly named snowdrops threaded through the mulch of the undergrowth.

The footpath between the nursery and the neighbouring garden, with its greenhouse and birches, was rather waterlogged.Footpath 1Greenhouse and trees

Jackie produced two different rice dishes, each of which was a meal in itself, for our dinner this evening. These were special fried, and mushroom versions. They were, however, accompanied by a rack of pork ribs marinaded in barbecue sauce, and followed by syrup sponge and custard. My lady drank Hoegaarden and i continued with the Bordeaux.

Spring According To Susan Hill

This morning I ambled gingerly down to the Shorefield post box and back. My right knee remains sharply painful. Perhaps I am stuck with it. Daffodil, snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, pulmonaria A few sturdy daffodils, such as this one alongside snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, and pulmonaria in the shady bed, swayed bravely in the strong breeze blowing through our garden.Camellias 1Camellias 2 Our several varieties of camellia shrubs are now quite full of blooms. PrimulasCelandineLichenGorse Primulas and celandines adorned the hedgerows on Downton Lane. Stick-insect-like Lichen clinging to budding branches, and golden gorse glowed above them. Susan Hill’s ‘yellow season’ is arriving.

At the other end of the day heavy rainclouds over the garden were given a peachy tinge by the setting sun. I was showered by peach juice whilst shooting the scene.

Sunset 1Sunset 2Sunset 3Sunset 4

I am becoming addicted to antiques programmes on daytime TV. Is this the thin end of the wedge?

This evening’s dinner was Jackie’s flavoursome cottage pie with crisp cabbage and carrots, followed by custard tart. She drank Hoegaarden and I imbibed Chateau Clos Renon Bordeaux superieur 2012.

A Slight Break With Tradition

The Mikado poster

Yesterday afternoon Jackie drove us to the small town of Leatherhead in Surrey for the family group attendance at the Godalming Operatic Society’s Gilbert and Sullivan performance directed by the sisters’ cousin Pat O’Connell. As will be seen from this extract from the programme: Pat O'Connell 3.15Pat is much appreciated by this thoroughly professional amateur group who delivered their usual acclaimed rendition of ‘The Mikado’.

Leatherhead Theatre

My post ‘All Part Of The Process’ gives the history of this theatre.

As usual, we dined with Jackie’s sisters, brothers in law, and Pat, Christine, and their daughter Olivia at the Rialto Italian restaurant, where I enjoyed a starter of squid followed by a well-filled calzone, and shared a carafe of merlot with the director. As usual, after the performance we met in the bar for convivial drinks. I drank sparkling water and Tiger beer.

We then spent the night in the Travelodge in High Street. This is a good example of a low cost hotel chain which generally offers a good basic service. The view from our bedroom window, across the flat roofs, wasn’t too savoury, but then, this wasn’t a stately home.Rooftops from hotel window

High Street at dawn

 Travelodge stands in High Street between Argos and Swan shopping centre.

Thus we followed tradition. The slight deviation came this morning.Crescent Street


North StreetBarton's Bookshop

I rose with the sun at dawn, left everyone else sleeping, and wandered around the deserted streets, watching the changing light.Rooftops and supermarket trolley

Wishing to look down on the morning, I climbed to the top of the six storey car park, where I discovered someone had been there before me, with a supermarket shopping trolley.pigeons and 'peacock'

What appeared to be a rather ragged peacock perched above the pigeons occupying a leafless tree. There are many other options for what can be visualised in a tatty bit of black bin bag caught in the branches.

At 10 a.m. we convened in the hotel foyer. Excellent as are both the fare and the service in Annie’s cafe where we normally have breakfast, were the establishment to appear in an estate agent’s brochure, it would be described as a ‘bijou residence’. Pat had had his meal at the Amici in High Street, and recommended it. Although the same group as had dined together yesterday had to be split and seated at two different tables, there was more accommodation and the food and service was quite as good. We all enjoyed Full English breakfasts, with some slight amendments.Amici cafeHigh Street

There is no pedestrian precinct as such in Leatherhead, although the three photographs of the High Street demonstrate what to me is an unique arrangement in which slow moving vehicles share the centre of the road with walkers, who have to weave in and out of cars parked on the sidewalks. It seems to work quite well.

Jackie drove us home in time for me to watch Ireland shatter England’s hopes of a grand slam in the Six Nations rugby tournament by beating them 19-9. It was an intriguing, tense, tussle.

Acute observers will have noticed that we had  stopped dining at The Jarna restaurant in Old Milton. That is because toward the end of last year they received some very bad press concerning illegal immigrant labour and failure to meet cleanliness standards. Shortly before Christmas the establishment changed hands and was renamed Spice of India. We decided to try it this evening, and were not disappointed. Jackie enjoyed her prawn bhuna and mushroom rice, as I did my naga chicken and special fried rice. We shared good onion bhajis and an excellent parata, and both drank cobra.

Amity Grove

This morning I scanned a dozen colour slides from April 1969. This exercise took rather longer than usual, firstly because colour restoration was required, and secondly because of the amount of retouching that was necessary. My Epson Perfection V750 PRO scanner has a template that takes 12 slides of the 35 mm variety, and scans them in a batch. Unfortunately the colour restoration facility only works on one at a time.

Today I present a selection taken at Amity Grove which I bought for my second marriage. My American WordPress friends have been amazed at the ‘crazy’ real estate prices that prevail in UK. I paid £5,000 for that house in 1968. It was sold last year for £745,000.

Jackie 4.69 001Jackie 4.69 2Jackie 4.69 3

Here are three portraits of Jackie photographed in the garden, where Michael enjoyed playing. At just five years old, perhaps he was showing signs of the practical bent that saw his setting up and managing his own building firm sixteen years later.Michael 4.69 1Michael 4.69 2Rio's rattle 4.69

Rio, seen here stretching for her sun-kissed rattle, lived next door.Elizabeth and Matthew 4.69Elizabeth 4.69 4Elizabeth 4.69 2

Elizabeth carefully bottle feeds her nephew Matthew. The wall decorations behind my sister were produced by me cutting out pictures from photographic magazines, mounting them on boards, and hanging them in an asymmetrical manner. She wasn’t experimenting with a new eye makeup. That was the best I could do with a damaged slide.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Leatherhead for the family’s annual Gilbert and Sullivan performance. We will be staying there overnight, so I will report on that tomorrow.


This morning I added three informative Facebook link comments, one from Becky, one from Lesley O’Neill, and one from Jackie herself, to yesterday’s post.Mice suffragettes

Some of you will remember the nomadic mice from Christmas. Having joined the suffragette mousement, they have now taken up a position on the sitting room window sill.Pheasant

Albeit out of focus and through an upstairs window pane, I was today able to shoot the pheasant which was wandering around the garden as if he owned it. In an attempt to take a clearer photograph, I then walked out into the garden. By this time it was nowhere to be seen, until it squawked, flapped, and lumbered off like the R101, from the next door jungle.


Before lunch we drove to Molly’s Den in search of a birthday present, and bought, at a good price, a hand-woven Afghan rug from Khiva for ourselves. The design apparently dates from the 18th century.Downton Lane pines and number 27Downton Lane oaks

This afternoon I set off to walk down Downton Lane. I got no further than Roger’s footpath before retracing my steps to the back drive where I had noticed I had a job to to. Number 27 and its pines basked in the sunshine, as did the still naked oaks.CrocusesPeriwinkle

We now have yellow crocuses and a spread of periwinkles of various types. A crow took off from our mature copper beach, itself still leafless.CrowInsect hotel remains

Most of the insect Hilton hotel rooms have now been stolen. Perhaps, given the number of wood burning fires in the area, I should not have been surprised. Especially as a couple of days ago I watched a van take the diagonal across the end of our drive into the care home on the corner, I decided to relocate the log pile to the safety of the rose garden plot.insect hotel relocated

My original structure had filled five wheelbarrow loads. In retrieving what was left I barely completed two. At least that made the task a little easier.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s superb takeaway fish and chips with pickled onions and mushy peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the rioja.