Not Really A Crime Scene


I have received a 4th Anniversary Greeting from WordPress.

Haircut; car tax; filling up with petrol; paying in cheques; a new plant tray. I don’t normally report on the mundane, but this lot did occupy most of the morning.

This was a day of poor light, not conducive to photography, so I scanned some more colour slides from 1980, made during our last few months in Horse & Dolphin Yard.

Regent Street lights 1.80 1Regent Street lights 1.80 2

Just after New Year the Christmas lights still illuminated Regent Street’s night sky which sported several moons and numerous shooting stars.

In February, as often at weekends,

Michael 2.80


Matthew 2.80

and Matthew (clearly in the midst of a perennial growth spurt) played football in Horse & Dolphin Yard.

To take these photographs I must have been standing outside the door of our flat. On another occasion two gentlemen, to my left, somewhat the worse for having consumed a quantity of the cheapest possible intoxicating liquid, sprawled against each other in a corner on the floor. Michael and his friend Eddie were playing with a tennis ball. Soon, my son came running up the stairs to inform me that one of the imbibers had taken their ball. Naturally I descended into the yard to persuade the gent to give up his spoils.

The man’s fingers still clutched the ball, even though he was now dead.

I called the police who arrived quite quickly. The officer in charge, whilst arranging for disposal of the body, instructed me to send Michael inside because he shouldn’t be seeing this. It didn’t seem politic to argue, so I quietly suggested to the fifteen-year-old that he would get a better view from an upstairs window. Up he went.

There were no blue and white tapes applied to keep out sightseers, and no chalk outlines were made. Clearly this was not really considered to be the scene of a crime. Except possibly the snatching of the ball. In the circumstances, I was prepared to overlook that.

Jessica 1.3.80 1

On 1st March Jessica emerged from the flat on her way to our wedding at Marylebone Registry Office,

Jessica 1.3.80 2

and later returned to celebrate among a myriad of bouquets.

Jessica drying hair 3.80 1

In the last Soho picture, later that month, she is drying her hair.

This evening Jackie and I dined on succulent cod fish cakes in fish gravy, new potatoes, cauiflower, carrots, and runner beans; followed by treacle tart and cream. The Cook drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Vineyards cotes du Rhone 2014. Fish gravy, by the way, is white sauce laced with fresh parsley.


  1. What a story about the tennis ball! I love the fact that you told Michael that he’s get a better view from the upstairs window. 😀 Jessica looks really lovely on her wedding day.

  2. Do you have all your photographs organized for your family or will you? I just wonder because my dad left a basement filled with albums of photos and nobody knows what to do with all of them. And now I am just the same!! I keep trying to organize, but more photos comes into my life than I scan and organize old ones!

    1. Mine are mostly all organised. I am working though identifying some of the negatives, but they are all in files. I am also gradually scanning them. Thanks, Luanne

      1. Oh, I envy you! I have so many photos from my grandparents, my parents, etc. and I can’t keep up with any of it!

          1. Aside from your artistic skill with the camera, I am also jealous of the quality of your photos (camera-speaking). My photos from the 70s and 80s are atrocious. The quality is so poor and the color has already been ruined.

  3. That was quite a tale about the body and the ball!
    Jessica was so lovely in the wedding photos–and the hair dryer photo is cool. 🙂

  4. I can think of quite a few of even your earlier posts whose content might seem “mundane” compared with that! “Go upstairs for a better view”: THERE’S a “dad to son” comment!

  5. Congratulations on four years of blogging. Love seeing all the old photos of your family. I need to organize mine better. Some day. Perhaps a retirement project down the road.

  6. Derrick – such a story! Happy 4th anniversary to you. Would you tell me the name of the post where you told all about your family? I remember it was quite full of sad things happening to people you love – but I don’t remember the specifics and would like to reread it – but I am not sure what to search for.

  7. Happy WP Anniversary! I loved looking at your 1980’s photographs — vintage and undeniably so 80’s — Michael’s pants and jacket especially.

  8. Happy Anniversary! Very generous of you to overlook the matter of the stolen ball. That made me laugh. Beautiful pics of Jessica. I thought your title was in reference to perhaps a fashion crime with Mathews outfit ?

  9. Luanne, you’ll probably find it’s only the prints which have discoloured. Try scanning your negatives, if they’re with the prints. Even without a specialist negative scanner (under £50/$75US, in the UK), you can do a basic scan on a flatbed, making the equivalent of a contact-sheet. Most imaging software has the facility to invert the colours, to make positive images of them. If the negatives HAVE discoloured, too, almost certainly they’ll all have shifted in the same colour-direction so, one you’ve sussed the correction for one, it’s quick to apply it to all.
    For sorting the prints, even if a bit ropey now, your family might be glad of your naming people in the pics and stating their connection with you. You could do his film by film as a first run, which might be rather ‘broad brush’, but better than nothing for anyone finding them, in a situation when you’re not there to ask about them.

    1. Thank you for this, Paul. Luanne, if you do have the negatives, I’d be happy, if we can trust the post, to have a go with a sample on my specialist scanner, if you don’t have success with what Paul has outlined

    2. I would like to learn how to invert colours because I have a lot of white on black pictures that eats up all the ink when all I want is black on white.

      1. Look through the menus of your software (I expect there’s a general menu item labelled “Image”, or similar: a likely source) until you find a “Negative”, or “Photo[graphic] Negative”, option. (You can ignore the labelling “photo”: the software (or hardware) won’t know if it’s an actual photograph, or any other type of image).
        I don’t now enough about even the standard imaging software programs (e.g.Paintshop, Corel or Photoshop) to walk-talk you through the exact sequence, but I rely on your intelligence [ulp!!!!] 🙂

  10. I liked the photos of the boys and was rather shocked at what apparently was some kind of natural death. I like how you politely told the boys to go upstairs for a better view! 🙂
    I tend to like tartar sauce on my cod but you made the white gravy with parsley sound like it would go deliciously, Derrick.
    Jessica is beautiful any way you capture her.

  11. Happy anniversary wow 4 years! I love these photos so special! What a weird thing to happen right there outside your door. I love the pictures of your children Derrick!

  12. As many times as I’ve tried to organize older pictures – mine are a mess in various stages of sorting. Good for you, Derrick!

  13. Happy 4th Anniversary in the blogosphere, Derrick! I laughed at loud at the dead drunk story. Kind of sad, but what made me laugh is you telling Michael he would get a better view from upstairs. 🙂 You crack me up!

  14. Happy wp anniversary, that shows staying power!
    My parents used to take me to Regents Street when I was a child, to see the turning-on of the lights at Christmas. Are you also (like me) originally from London?

  15. Congratulations on your 4th year at WordPress! You enjoy it out here on blogosphere and it shows in your posts. I enjoy your photographs, observations of life, and detached humour (in my opinion). I didn’t know I could look forward to reading about what someone had for dinner, until I started reading your blog! 🙂

    1. Very many thanks, Timi. The dinner began as a joke. When I forgot to mention it one day, my niece, Danni, commented that she wouldn’t be able to sleep without knowing what I’d had for dinner. I like your analysis of my blogging

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