Boat Maintenance


This morning I printed some pictures for Christmas presents, whichΒ it would be premature to publish here.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of colour negatives from early 1986.

Matthew, Sam & Louisa 1.86

During that prolonged winter, Sam’s and Louisa’s expressions show quite clearly how cold it was when Matthew, dubbed by Louisa ‘the best big brother ever’, took them out for a buggy ride from Gracedale Road.

Matthew reading to Sam & Louisa

It was clearly much more cosy when he read them a story.

Sam and Louisa (bouncing) 1986

At 10.19 one morning Louisa bounced up and down, possibly trying to dislodge her mother and brother from bed. Sam was not impressed. The bedside lamp was made from a stone hot water bottle gained from our ‘Mudlarking’ days.

That year snow lay on the ground for the first three months. It would have been after that when Jessica, Sam, and I spent a week in Mary Dewsberry’s holiday home in Haslemere. The evidence for this is the farm track up which we walked on a recce. Last year’s bracken and autumn leaves lingered in the country terrain.

Jessica, Sam and Louisa feeding ponies 1986

This may have been the occasion when we discovered that the two children both had allergies to horses, the touch of which caused their eyes to swell up alarmingly.

Under the cloak of a little coppice, Louisa made a diving effort to reenter her mother’s womb. Sam insisted that there was room for two.

Mary’s son, Nick, and his children Jack and Dora, welcomed Sam and Louisa into their boat maintenance crew. Louisa made a quick recovery after her early tip-up, and everyone set to with gusto.

This evening, Jackie produced succulent roast duck, suitably reduced spinach, boiled potatoes, and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Western Cape Fair Trade shiraz 2015.



  1. Lovely family photos, Derrick. Heartwarming is such an overused word, but these photos are.
    Matthew does seems like the best big brother ever. πŸ™‚

  2. Ah1 awakening old memories; in 1948 i recall going to a ” school holiday home” in Haslemere for a couple of weeks,
    I seem to recall on one excursion being taken (along with the rest of course) to a place named “Gibbet Hill”, where they apparently used to hang people up by the neck, until they were quite dead; at least, that’s what we were told, and how could we doubt them? They were teachers! πŸ™‚ The good ol’ days πŸ˜€

  3. Great memories, Derrick! I have been going through some old pictures as well. My nephew doesn’t have many from his childhood and now he has a son he is interested in showing his pictures to his wife. It is very satisfying going through old memories.

  4. The scenes shown here are precious. Family love exudes between the siblings, and what a riot with the kids climbing into Mom’s sweater. The photos of all the kids working on the boat are really wonderful.

  5. “Re enter their mother’s womb.” OMG – I m dying. That’s so funny. When mine were little and climbing all over me like that, I’d say “Are you coming back in?” No one thought it was funny except me. : )

    1. Well I think it must have been hilarious, I’d have laughed right along with you had I have been there and heard that! With all due respects of course πŸ™‚

  6. I really liked the photos of Sam and Louisa with big handsome brother Matthew guiding them in the stroller. Jessica created such special memories with her children. Letting them to go under her sweater made me smile and happy for the use moments which have to cover a lot of time where they were without her. She is in their hearts and minds.
    The boat photos are charming.

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