I spent much of the day wrestling with the problem of uploading the photographs to yesterday’s post. There were still eight more to do by the time I went to bed.

I was constantly running out of time for the process, and receiving the message that the connection was lost. This is not particularly unusual, but the internet connection was not down. After many attempts with only three successes, instead of just having another go, I sat back and did some lateral thinking.

The lost connection, it seemed to me, may be between WordPress and my computer. It was as if I were being timed out.

Customarily I scan at a rather high resolution so that, if I wished, I could make large prints without pixellation, and similarly readers could enlarge images if required. This, as usual, on this occasion was 3200. Reducing it should reduce the time, so I tried 600. This loaded very quickly but did not permit much enlargement by readers. 2400 was partially successful, in that it was hit and miss as to whether I ran out of time. Eventually, I settled on 1200. It remains to be seen whether that will work with large prints, but at least readers can produce a decent enlargement.

Matthew 1985 res 1200

Here is a token picture from those to be found on the now complete version of

Could this problem have anything to do with uploading Siri yesterday, I wonder? This seems to be a disembodied voice which invites a question from me. It frightens the bejabers out of me.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne with scrumptious savoury rice. She drank a mix of Hoegaarden and Bavaria, and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012.

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
    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.

Monochrome Portraits

This morning was spent on sorting out Tony’s car. Having realised that the problem was probably a battery in the Mercedes’s electronic key, yet been unable to open it, we visited the always helpful Steve at Downton Service Station. He took a battery from another remote key, and lent it to Tony to see if it would work on his car. It didn’t, until I had the bright idea of checking that the battery had been inserted the right way round. It hadn’t. As our friend went out to the drive to try again, I sat in my chair, surprisingly hoping to hear the strident alarm go off. It did. We then drove to The Motorists Centre in Old Milton and bought a battery at a cost of £2.50, which compared quite favourably with the £700 Tony had been quoted to tow him home last night. That is the second time Steve has helped out by giving advice rather than charging for an inspection of, and work on, a vehicle.

Madelaine's niece at wedding 4.70

Tony had not seen the little bridesmaid picture that I have featured before, having successfully exhibited it in The First Gallery. He did, however, recognise Madeleine’s niece Claire, from their wedding in 1970. He asked for a print for Dawn, the child’s mother. I made him one which he took with him this afternoon as he continued his journey.

We then waited in for the delivery of the chair bought yesterday from Fergusson’s. It came on time. I spent the rest of the afternoon scanning more black and white negatives from 1982. They were mostly of our and other people’s children. The first I have chosen to feature is a group of Becky, Louisa, Sam and Matthew taken in a garden shelter in the garden of Jessica’s aunt Elspeth in Rugby.

Becky, Louisa, Sam & Mathew 1982 1

Over the following few years, when I was still working with chemicals, I made quite a number of prints of varying sizes, including this image and extracts from it. Sam, in particular, seemed worthy of experimentation. I couldn’t resist another effort today. I like the graininess.Sam 1982Sam cleaning teeth 1982

It was on the same visit that I caught him cleaning his teeth. As far as I remember, this is actually a reflection.

Like a cat recently loosed from  an opened cage, springing into her Modus, at last freed from the blockage caused by Tony’s immobile Mercedes, Jackie drove us to and from The Family House in Totton where, this evening, we enjoyed our favourite M3 set meal with T’sing Tao beer.

I Have Written Down The Process

The crow has now sussed the bird feeder. It is over to us to work out how to deter it. We have nothing against the creature, but we can’t afford to feed it.
A midnight dark thunderstorm that kept us inside this morning made way for a gloriously sunny afternoon.
My friend Norman is something of an authority on coastal passenger ships. He is currently writing a book on those in the Bay of Naples which he has visited many times in a long life. His comprehensive collection of photographs goes back almost sixty years. There are a dozen or so of which he has negatives but no prints. I have undertaken to make the prints, and began the task whilst it was raining. It took the whole morning just to produce two scans.
The black and white negatives are 2.25 inches x 3.25 inches. I spent a frustrating hour trying to stop my scanner, set for 35 mil, bisecting the images. This is a difficulty I had surmounted a month or so back, but couldn’t remember how. When I had managed this today I reproduced pictures of boats with their names back to front because I had inserted the film into the holder the wrong way round. Having corrected this error I needed to remove a lot of spotting. I’ll do the rest, and make the prints, when I’ve got over the experience.
And yes, I have, this time, written down the process. These are Norman’s pictures to publish, so I won’t reproduce any here.
Pots from Walkford
Three trips to Walkford and back were all that was needed to bring the last of the portable garden back home.
All the roses we have brought to light, are now smiling aloft.Rose - red climberRose - pink climberRose - white climber There is a red one at the back of the oval path; there is a pink one alongside the first path we cleared; and the white one on the new arch is multiplying.
There are a number of aromatic plants, such as lemon balm, scattered around the garden. Eau de cologne mintOne I have not met before is the eau de cologne mint outside the back door. When subjected to a certain amount of friction it really does emit the aroma of certain elderly relatives’ handkerchiefs.
Brick path joining gravel
I made considerable progress on clearing and raking the oval path today until I realised that the last section joins a wing of the older brick route. I decided I couldn’t really call the job completed unless I fully exposed this. I began to do so, rapidly flagged, and decided, as Sam would have it, I couldn’t be assed. I’ll do it tomorrow.
Once again Jackie outlasted me. Some might say it is because she is a woman. Not just any woman, but Superwoman. She continued cutting back, tidying edges, and planting both new purchases and flowers retrieved from Shelly and Ron’s, in hanging baskets and recovered beds. Wherever you turn there is a heuchera.HeucherasChinese lantern tree
In the evening sunshine, the Chinese lantern tree was alive with the ceaseless hum of worker bees. The walk along the path carried the sound of passing a thriving hive.
Yesterday, in order to have more gardening time, Jackie had made enough delicious sausage casserole (recipe) for a couple of days. We therefore dined on that with freshly cooked vegetables and new potatoes. We each continued with the same choices of wine.