A French Holiday, A Porridge Bath, A Wedding, And A Mystery Woman

Once again this month we had not put the bottles out for recycling. Jackie therefore drove us to the bottle bank in Milford on Sea where I enjoyed the sound of smashing glass as I lobbed our assorted bottles and jars into the large green bins. Jackie then left me by The Beach House and I struggled home by the usual route.

Why struggled? This was because I began battling against powerful winds, coming off the sea to my left and straight ahead.I was somewhat buffeted.


When I took this photograph of the solitary speedboat venturing onto the water, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and had to hope for the best.

Seascape 1Seascape 2Seascape 3

The turbulent Solent took on various colours of slate, as usual reflecting the skies above. I was at first able to descend to the level of the beach huts on the outskirts of the village and watch the oncoming waves.

Soon, sharp needles assailing my cheeks, made me aware that the spray ascending the cliff sides had been superseded by almost horizontal rods of rain. I was being pricked, drenched, and blinded.

In order to open my eyes for a few minutes, I took refuge in one of shelters along the path. I had, until then, been alone on the cliff top. I blinked, dragged my wet raincoat sleeves across my brow, and, as the Isle of Wight rapidly disappeared, saw a couple with the wind behind them, being swept along past me. The blemishes on the photograph are caused by raindrops on the camera lens.

Walkers in rain

Fully understanding why the America’s Cup yacht race had been cancelled yesterday, I resumed my trek into the wind, and was eventually relieved by the comparative calm of the more sheltered Shorefield Country Park. When I arrived home I needed to peel off my garments, and dry myself.

This was clearly going to be a day for scanning old photographs. As I pondered which ones to embark upon, the post arrived. A welcome bundle from Frances was delivered. This contained items from Chris’s postcard collection, some of his photographic prints, and a tiny Kodak transparency measuring one by one and a half centimetres.

The postcards were from my maternal grandparents, and from my great uncle Chris, addressed to my parents and the family in September 1951. All bearing French stamps and clear postmarks there was

Cannes 9.51

one from Cannes,

Peira-Cava 9.51

one from Peira-Cava,

Nice 9.51

and one from Nice.

In ‘Fundraising’ I wrote about a charitable stunt I was engaged in on 2nd July 1987. Chris took all the photographs at that event. Here are a couple more of them:

Derrick & Jane Reynolds 2.7.87 002

I entered the porridge bath as Jane Reynolds, Westminster Mencap’s Director, was leaving.

Derrick 2.7.87 003

 I then had it to myself for a while.

My brother’s second photo shoot was at Michael and Heidi’s wedding.

Michael & Heidi and Mark Banks 5.10.91

Here are the bride and groom, with Michael’s Best Man, Mark Banks.

Michael & Heidi wedding couple, parents, and bridesmaids

Parents and bridesmaids now join the couple. Reading from left to right, we have Heidi’s sister, Cath, me, Jessica, Louisa, Michael, Heidi, Heidi’s parents Werner and Joan, and two more bridesmaids.

Michael & Heidi wedding Couple, Derrick & ushers 5.10.91

Next it was the turn of gents in top hats. The two fathers flank their offspring. Matthew stands next me, then comes Heidi’s brother Chris, and Mark. Two more ushers are to Werner’s right. The comes Sam.

Unknown woman and boy

Finally, we have the mystery woman framed, with perhaps her son, by the minuscule transparency. I managed to scan it and e-mail it to Frances. Neither of us know who this is. Kodak had kindly embossed the date, 1976, on the plastic holder. Can anyone solve the puzzle?

I drank Doom Bar beer with Mr Pink’s fish and chips this evening. Jackie abstained. We added supermarket-bought pickled onions and gherkins.

Published by derrickjknight

I am a septuagenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs

37 thoughts on “A French Holiday, A Porridge Bath, A Wedding, And A Mystery Woman

  1. Derrick, I fully enjoy looking at all the ranges of slate in the ocean and in the northern Wisconsin forest in November. The porridge gig cracked me up…don’t know if I’d be up for that. Surely, you should have been a model or actor with your expressive face. And, finally, you and the Mrs. can stop over anytime you want to hear broken glass. My building is next to a martini lounge. At 2:00 a.m. they break all the bottles (outside) before putting them in the recycling bin. Unbelievably, I am so used to this sound that the exercise no longer wakes me up. Ten years ago, when I heard it for the first time, I thought someone had broken a window and was breaking into my house. I came out swinging!

    1. Thank you Ginene, especially for the compliment. I can understand how the breaking glass would no longer disturb your sleep, because the house I grew up in backed onto a London railway.

  2. I eat porridge for breakfast every morning but I usually put maple syrup on it. I never thought of topping it with a man with a top hat! Mad, my dear, simply mad!

  3. There was a time when I used to collect jars for jam but it is no longer possible since they’re now inside wheelie bins.

    I hope you raised enough money to pay for the suit 🙂 I love the photo.

  4. Your wild sea shots almost carry the scent of the waves. As for the porridge bath, I echo Pauline. Maybe the woman is the boy’s grandmother? It’s the hair…

  5. I love having you as a blogging friend.. when my nights are long, I can sit here and go to another world, with your thoughts and pictures, it takes my mind off my physical pain and that is a great thing.. thank you, thank you.. Blessed be!

  6. Aw, the wind! We has a windy weekend. I tried to jog, but gave up after a few kilometres pushing against the wind.

    The old photos are beautiful! The porridge bath, hilarious! 🙂

  7. Top hat and tails at the wedding – Yay! – in the porridge bath – brilliant! 🙂 – now, if you had worn them during your walk – all clean! 🙂
    Glad you made it back in one piece Derrick! Your weather seems to be turning early?
    Great post!

  8. Highly enjoyable read. I relate to the wonderful summer weather we’re not having although I spot the sun today – peeking out. I do love my porridge, I’ve even used it in a muslin cloth as a facial cleanser but never even thought to try a bath in it. If Scotland’s weather doesn’t improve pronto I might just be doing that. 🙂

  9. Cool cool and more of the coolness – can’t help but be drawn to your exquisite coastal shots. Laughing as I read about the power of the wind and surf, oh yes Derrick – totally reminds me of our time along the Maine coast. So funny the shot of you in the bath, quite the ham!

  10. Oh this one is packed full of all kinds of interesting stuff. Great old postcards. I swear those must be the Tour de France curves. Love those! The wedding photos are just delightful. Everyone is dressed wonderfully and of course I love the top hats best.

    I’m glad you made it through the storm, and bravely brought us photos from the journey.

      1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m only partially moved in at this point. It’s going slowly because I work full time plus overtime, so there aren’t many free hours. And it’s summer, so those free hours are packed with summer stuff. It’s ok, Winter is always coming, and there will be plenty cold, rainy days that compel me to unpack more boxes.

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