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Soon, sharp needles assailing my cheeks, made me aware that the spray ascending the cliff sides had been superseded by almost horizontal rods of rain.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.