A Burst Of Summer

Mike, the Perfect Plastering and Plumbing man who came this morning to replace our leaking outside taps, not only did a very good job with them, but also turned out to be an Apple user, and gave me advice subsequently confirmed by the iMac adviser.

The news about the iPhoto disaster, like the curate’s egg, is good in parts. When the latest edition of the Yosemite operating system was installed, iPhoto was superseded by Photos. I didn’t use that because I was reluctant to change from the application with which I was familiar. However, without my realising it, all my photographic work had been automatically copied into Photos. Thereafter I had happily continued to use iPhoto, but there was no further entry to Photos. That, I should have been doing myself.

There is no way of recovering the deleted iPhoto files. The last images entered into Photos were therefore inserted on the updating day in May this year. All photographic work carried out between then and yesterday has been lost.

Thankfully, everything posted on WordPress remains on the blog, so it could have been worse.

Since the end of July I have been unable to use e-mail on the iMac. Whilst I had Apple Care on the phone, I asked Leonel, the excellent adviser, to sort that out for me. He did.

So, it wasn’t all bad.

As so often in September, we are experiencing a late burst of warm and sunny weather, called ‘an Indian summer’.

Rose garden

The benefits are seen in the rose garden,

rose New Dawn

where New Dawn is now blooming.

View along Pergola Path

Paths, such as the Pergola one, are still surrounded by lush plants.

Butterflies Small White on lobeliabutterfly Small White on lobelia

The air fluttered with Small White butterflies, seemingly auditioning for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, ‘The Birds’.

Insect on bidens

A small insect, possibly an ant, clung to tiny bidens.

Red hot poker

We have several clusters of light, almost chocolate-coloured red hot pokers.

When I had finished the lengthy phone call I helped Jackie finish bagging up the rubble left over from Aaron’s brickwork, and spreading the last bit of gravel. After lunch we transported the rubble to Efford recycling centre. As I prepared to enter the car, the Head Gardener politely sent me back inside for my wallet. Naturally, she had no wish to visit the municipal dump without investigating the sales area. We came away with two more mirrors, and two more garden chairs.

As usual yesterday’s set meal for three from Hordle Chinese Take Away provided plenty left over for our dinner tonight. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the shiraz.

 

Cream Tea Crawl

On 15th September, Ron’s parents will have been married for 70 years. This morning, he brought me their wedding album, from which he has given me the honour of making some prints for a commemorative book he is compiling. So keen was I to show him how I would go about it that I scanned one to begin with.

In the process I managed to delete iPhoto and everything in it, including all the photographs I have worked on over the years. This threw me into something of a panic.

Fortunately Elizabeth managed to help me to open up a new iPhoto file, and learned from Google that it would be possible to recover what I have lost. This would require a phone call to Apple tomorrow, but it gave me peace of mind to enjoy the rest of the day and the facility to post today’s photographs.

Gravelled concrete

In the meantime, Aaron finished his work on paving and gravelling the garden, when he covered the concrete surface at the southern end with shingle.

Rose Flower Power

The exquisite, tiny, little rose, Flower Power, is living up to its name.

This was a perfectly splendid, sunny, day, so when the ladies fancied a cream tea we began with a trip to Gordleton Mill Hotel, where the catering is superb, and where we knew Elizabeth would enjoy the sculpture garden which has already featured in a few of my posts.

Unfortunately they no longer serve cream teas, but were happy to give us coffee on the lawn, within nostrils’ reach of the kitchen extractor emitting appetisingly tempting aromas of Sunday roast dinners, reminiscent of supermarkets wafting the smell of baking bread throughout the stores.

Gordleton Mill Hotel entranceRiver Avon

Sun played on the River Avon rippling beneath the white bridge over which it is necessary to walk to reach the hotel.

Ducks

Ducks were in their element.

I have photographed most of the sculptures on previous occasions, but

Horse sculpture

this horse made from bicycle parts is new.

Elizabeth photographing horse

Elizabeth was intrigued by it too, especially as she thought nephew Adam would like it.

Dancing hares 1Dancing hares 2

I have not noticed the dancing hares before (I am indebted to our friend, Barrie Haynes, for pointing out that the hares are boxing, as is, of course, their wont.)

Elizabeth and Jackie in garden

The garden offers many different outlooks. Elizabeth and Jackie adorn this one.

Eucalyptus trunk

The eucalyptus is beginning to shed its leaves.

Elizabeth and Jackie on giant chairJackie and Elizabeth on giant chair

Taking a break on a chair, roomy enough for them to share, Jackie and Elizabeth found their feet could not reach the ground.

Scones

For those who may not be familiar with the term, a pub crawl is a trip from hostelry to hostelry in search of the perfect pint, or whatever else takes your fancy.

Wasp on plateWasp entering jampotWasp in jampot 1Wasp in jampot 2

The craving for cream teas remaining unsatisfied, we visited Braxton Gardens tea rooms where Elizabeth and Jackie enjoyed their searched-for treat, consisting of scones, clotted cream, jam, tea, and the attention of wasps who indulged in their own crawl into the unfinished jampots.

After this, we drove via Keyhaven and past the salt marsh and around Hurst Spit to Sturt Pond before returning home.

Turnstones

On the marsh at low tide, turnstones were demonstrating why they are so named.

Silhouettes on Hurst Spit 1

Silhouetted against the lowering sun, a photographer positioned his subjects

Silhouettes on Hurst Spit 2

then took the shot.

Before Elizabeth returned home to West End, we enjoyed a Hordle Chinese Take Away meal with which she and I drank Caviller del Diable reserva shiraz 2013. Unfortunately Jackie was out of Hoegaarden.

Monochrome Moods

Rusting machinery in fieldRusting machinery

On this bright, cloudy, morning I walked as far as the rusting machinery along Roger’s footpath. To my left, clouds scudded across Christchurch Bay which reflected the bright blue of the sky; to my right, I could glimpse the rape field on the other side of Christchurch Road.Christchurch Bay from Roger's fieldLandscape

Poppy

In our garden, I struggled to catch one of the crinkled tissue orange poppies frolicking in the cool breeze.

Snail shell

Cracked and scattered snail shells signalled that the thrushes are alive and well. I wondered, however, whose were the droppings left by the half-eaten breakfast on the recently sawn stump.

Shelly dropped in for a visit this afternoon, and was suitably impressed with the results of her sister’s gardening.

This afternoon I scanned and reproduced a troublesome set of colour slides from September 1972. They were portraits of Jackie taken in the kitchen, wearing an outfit she had made herself. Although strong sunlight streamed through the window, the shots were largely underexposed, but I put them into iPhoto in an attempt to bring out elusive detail.

Jackie 9.72 006Jackie 9.72 006 - Version 2

Jackie 9.72 006 - Version 3

Almost by accident, I discovered that black and white cropped versions produced the best results. The computer has a facility for converting images to black and white. I used this, then increased the contrast. The three pictures above illustrate the progression.

Jackie 9.72 008 - Version 3Jackie 9.72 009 - Version 4

Jackie 9.72 010 - Version 5Jackie 9.72 014 - Version 3
Jackie 9.72 015 - Version 3Jackie 9.72 016 - Version 2

I believe monochrome demonstrates the many moods of my marvellous muse to the best advantage.

Seeking an identification for the omelette Jackie produced for tonight’s dinner, I was told: ‘I don’t know. It’s just an omelette with stuff in it’. The ‘stuff’ was onions, peppers, and mushrooms. A garnish of the chef’s garlic mushrooms topped by home grown parsley completed the presentation. And jolly tasty it was too. Chips and baked beans were the accompaniment. I finished the Merlot, and Jackie drank sparkling water.

A Dictionary Battle

Planted tubs 1Planted tubs 2

A very dull afternoon was brightened by the tubs at the front that Jackie had planted up in the morning; and the trills of songbirds in the trees, as I wandered around the garden.Goldfinch

iPhoto, aided by the Canon SX700 HS lens, helped me to transform a tiny black silhouette high up in a tree into a colourful goldfinch. The computer’s dictionary found this bird far more acceptable than yesterday’s greenfinches which it had insisted on changing to goldfinches. After a battle it allowed my word provided I accepted red underlining in the draft. I trust it is happy now.Back drive

Yesterday Aaron continued with his transformation of the back drive. He has now completed one side and most of the other one. Excess soil has been transferred to the verges and to the rose garden. I had dug out some of the bricks you see in the picture from what was then the kitchen garden. Many of the concrete slabs removed from there have been recycled elsewhere, and now that it has become a two way traffic I am reminded of my mother’s phrase: ‘You are playing put and take’, which she applied when we children were carrying out a similar process for one reason or another.

Mum was referring to the title of a game that first became known during the First World War (1914-18).
‘The full history of the game is unclear but It is thought to have been invented by a soldier in the trenches.
The original game was made from a brass bullet that the soldier shaped into a spinning top with six sides.
Each side had an instruction on that was either Put one, Put two, Put all, Take one ,Take Two, or Take all.
The top was spun by players, who each put an ante in the pot (said to be a cigarette), and depending on how the top fell
either took or put how many cigarettes indicated.
The game became so popular that during the 1920-30s it was introduced as a gambling Game and was predominantly played
in the North of England in Working mens clubs and pubs. Because the top would last virtually forever, being made of brass,
the production of the game did not last for long and during the next 40 years the playing of the game gradually died out.

Rules:
Any number of players can play. Each player puts a coin or chip in the pot.
The first player spins the top. If the top come down “Put” side uppermost the player puts into the pot the amount indicated (i.e. Put one two or All).
For “Put All” the player doubles the amount in the pot. If the spinner lands with “Take” side uppermost the player takes the amount indicated from the pot.
For Take All the player takes the whole pot.
The next player spins and the game goes on until somebody spins “Take All” and the game is re-started with a new Ante.’

The game is still popular today. Here is a modern version of the soldier’s bullet:top-pt_18

IrisPrunusCamellia

The small blue irises are multiplying; the previously pruned prunus is flowering; and the pink striped camellia is in full bloom.Pheasant

Our stately visiting pheasant frequently stretches its talons around the garden. Later this afternoon I was able to get a bead on it through the kitchen window as it pecked up spilled scraps from the greenfinches’ feeder. As soon as I joined it in the garden, it flailed its forelimbs, and flapped off in a flurry far over neighbouring firs. I do hope no-one shoots it before I get it properly in focus.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s charming cottage pie, with piquant cauliflower cheese (recipe), crisp carrots and cabbage; followed by crunchy raspberry crumble. She refrained from imbibing, whilst I finished the Cotes du Rhone Villages.

 

 

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
    1024px-Denton_near_Grantham_St_Andrews_Church
    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.

Is This Orlaith? 2

After I had walked down to the postbox and back, the rain set in for the day. I amused myself scanning more of my loose negatives, viz. fifteen from the summer of 1982.

Matthew 1982Becky 1982 01 Sam 1982 04That year water pistols were all the rage, and Sam was delighted to be introduced to them by Matthew and Becky in the garden of Gracedale Road. In his photograph Matthew is wearing his P’tang Yang Kipperbang haircut.

Covent Garden Craft Market at that time when the area was in the process of being rejuvenated was the genuine article. Covent Garden 1982 03Covent Garden 1982 06Covent Garden 1982 07Tiffany lamps1982Stallholders brought their own work for sale and continued creating it on site. Although we no longer lived in Soho, trips up to the vicinity were always popular. It was during the one featured today that I photographed the picture that Alice snaffled.

The iPhoto application on my iMac has a face recognition facility. It automatically picks out a face and invites you to identify it. It does occasionally select something like part of a tree that could resemble a fizz, but on the whole it is remarkably accurate. If it thinks it knows whose is the likeness it asks ‘Is this [a name]?’ and gives the option to put either a tick or a cross in a box. A tick receives an automatic entry. A cross allows you to enter the correct name.Sam 1982 02

This shot of Sam prompted the question ‘Is this Orlaith?’.

Orlaith is, of course, the daughter of Sam and Holly, and hasn’t quite yet reached the age her father was in this picture.

One of the consequences of finally acquiring a dishwasher is that, unless you run it before you have filled it, you need more of everything so that what you need is not in the machine awaiting a wash when you want it. This led us in search of a ten cup cafetiere this afternoon. Despite visiting Lidl, because you never know what you might find in the central aisles, we came home without one.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole (recipe), mashed potato, runner beans, and carrots, followed by ginger sponge and custard. She drank Cimarosa chenin blanc 2014, and I drank more of the rioja.

Is This Orlaith?

Last night I finished reading ‘No Cloak, No Dagger’, by Benjamin Cowburn. No cloak, no dagger illustration Geoff Grandfield’s dramatic illustrations perfectly enhance the pages of this Folio Society edition of the author’s reminiscences of ‘Allied Spycraft in Occupied France’ during the Second World War.

The book is well written and without exaggeration records Cowburn’s experiences including being one of the first undercover agents parachuted into unoccupied France progressing to recruiting and organising people and projects.  It reads like an adventure, although fraught with danger, carrying a surprising lack of the menace that is captured by the illustrator.  Grandfield’s spare style with use of strong silhouettes, blocks of colour, and distorted perspective, manages to be rather more emotional.  Not that that is in any way criticism of the writer whose fine detail certainly takes us into wartime France and the lives of those who endured it.

Perhaps it was the description of airborne drops in the book that kept my attention on the skies as I walked this morning down to the Village Green, up the footpath to Bull Lane, and back via Seamans Lane.  Or if that’s too fanciful, maybe it was just the threat of further rain that caused me to peer aloft..

Decoy ducks‘Little Thatch’ cottage is losing its straw. Even the family of decoy ducks has been stripped.  I imagine that when the house was given its name that referred to the size of the building rather than the quantity of its covering.

Horse & fence cloudscape

Lowering storm clouds threatened to release their load. Helicopter in threatening sky When stirred into action by an overhead helicopter, they began to do so.

This afternoon I scanned fifteen of my old negatives, and was able to date and place them in early 1981 at Gracedale Road SW16.  Two, of Sam and me, were taken by Jessica.  The others, of our son, were taken by me, all, I think, with my Olympus OM2.

Sam 1981001

Sam is pictured at the piano, which he did not pursue in later life;Sam 1981 5 on our bed; in a baby walker; and at a meal table, once eating and the rest of the time playing.

Derrick & Sam 1981 2In this shot I appear to have been pointing something out to him.  Perhaps it was a light bulb, for ‘gigh’ (light) was one of his very first words.  He used this when he wanted you to lift him up so he could switch on the light.

Sam 1981 7Jessica and I bought the dining table in about 1975 from our old manager, Muriel Trapp.  It now rests in the sitting room at Sigoules.  It was pretty ancient when we bought it, and is rather more so now.  I wonder whether there would be a market for it in a retro pub?

I really didn’t need to do much work on these pictures when putting them into iPhoto.  No more than a little retouching.  What was fascinating, however, was the face recognition facility.  If the computer identifies a human face it invites you to enter it into the file.  It often goes further than simply asking you for a name.  It has a stab at the identity and gives you the option to confirm or deny.  If you reject the suggestion you type in the name yourself and hopefully the machine gets it right next time.

In these pictures, my son Sam was only a few months younger than his own daughter Orlaith is now.  iPhoto therefore contains pictures of Orlaith contemporary with these.  By Jessica, Malachi, Imogen & Orlaith 8.13now you will have guessed that, time and again this afternoon I was asked ‘Is this Orlaith?’ How about my Christmas present picture from the Thompson family?

(Anyone confused about personnel is referred to the family tree)

The last time we met our friends Geoff and Sheila Austin was to share a meal in Ringwood’s Curry Garden.  By happy coincidence that is where Jackie and I were dining this evening when I received a text from Geoff offering Ashes jokes, all of which referred to England’s recent comprehensive defeat in Australia.  We were flanked, in the restaurant, by couples on either side who happened to be English cricket fans.  Those on my right were even in Sydney to witness one of the ignominious disasters for our team.  As we were leaving I told this couple the one about the difference between the English batsmen and Cinderella.  Jackie told me I should take Cinderella’s advice and know when to leave the ball.

The food, by the way, was as good as ever, and Kingfisher provided our liquid refreshment.