The Wreath-Laying

Last night I finished reading Chapter 7 of Barbara W Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower”, being a collection of articles on the build-up to the First World War. This is ‘Transfer of Power – England: 1902-11. It deals with the beginnings of the rise of Socialism and the weakening of the dominance of the aristocratic landed gentry and hereditary peers.

On a dank-dismal day Danni and Ella dropped in with a parcel shortly before Jackie and I drove to Walkford to meet her sisters and their husbands for the annual wreath-laying on their mother’s burial plot in the Woodland Burial Ground.

Our great-niece protested that she wanted to come indoors, but settled soon enough for

a tour round the garden involving chucking stones into the Waterboy’s shell pool. We left her with her mother as we drove off.

As always, we tramped along soggy paths to the site, where Shelly placed the wreath and we all paid our respects. Jackie photographed the wreath

and the husbands, and I focussed on the wives.

We had begun with coffee and cake at The Walkford and returned after the event for lunch.

The Assistant Photographer photographed the rest of us and I photographed

my brunch and her Hunter’s chicken meal. Our drinks were Abbot’s Ale and Amstel respectively.

Ham sandwiches sufficed for our evening meal.

A Tug Of War

Ron has e-mailed me four more scans of the early negatives of his late father, Ray Salinger.

The first image, made in 1948, is of the Blandford Forum, a West Country Class steam engine that pulled the train that took my brother in law to school until he left in 1967. Ron points out that the burnt banks are wooded, now that steam and cinders have ceased to singe them. When I commuted to London by electric train a common cause of delay during autumn was “leaves on the line” for, it seemed, funnel furnaces no longer set them aflame.

Another ridiculed excuse, for winter commuter train tardiness, was “the wrong kind of snow”. I would hope that the precipitation blanching the roof of The Walkford

in this next image was of the right kind. It was inside the bar of this hotel that Ray’s first set, featured in was photographed. has this entry for

Strong & Co. of Romsey LtdHorsefair Brewery, Romsey, Hampshire.

Founded c.1778. Brewery and 23 tied houses leased to Thomas Strong 1858, who bought the business in 1883. Registered November 1894.

Strongs were acquired by Whitbread & Co. Ltd in 1969 with 940 public houses. Brewing ceased at Romsey in 1981. Partly demolished in the early 1990s.’

The Fighting Cocks pub at Godshill, visited in is another popular hostelry once part of the Strong chain;

a chain of strong men engaged in a tug of war in the first of these two images of the SRDE (Signals Research and Development) sports ground at Somerford. There is a faint possibility that the little boy in the roller coaster is Ron.

The SRDE, where Ray worked, was a pioneer of satellite communications. Wikipedia tells us that ‘The Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE) was a British government military research establishment, based in Christchurch, Dorset from 1943 until it merged with the Royal Radar Establishment (RRE) in Malvern, Worcestershire to form the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in 1976. Its focus was military communications (signals).’ The sports ground, now owned by Siemens, is still at Somerford, once part of the eponymous estate.

This afternoon I wandered up and down the paths collecting up refuse to transport to the compost bins and dead-heading roses and poppies.

In the Palm Bed on one side of the Gazebo Path we have these new alliums; on the other the eucalyptus trunks support hanging baskets spilling petunias.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s potent pork paprika; flavoursome savoury rice; and tender mange touts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Squinzano.

In Keyhaven Harbour

Yesterday Ron told me about his discovery of a collection of negatives made by his father, Ray Salinger, in the 1940s and ’50s.

Ron scanned these high quality photographs of drinkers in The Walkford pub and e-mailed them to me. We think the man in the apron is the milkman who has just delivered the milk the barman is holding – by horse and cart, of course.

On a humid-damp, dull, overcast afternoon, after a visit to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea, Jackie drove us to

Keyhaven where I walked along the harbour wall.

Strong winds swept across the high tide surface, sending rippling waves shunting weedy scum seething against the stonework,

and sweeping bent grasses alongside.

I watched various boats speeding around the harbour; and a

sailboarder prepare his steed and weave his way among the moored craft.

A boisterous dog enjoyed chasing a floating stick its owner kept throwing for the purpose;

a pair of swans drank their fill.

Perhaps in consideration of the engineers involved in cable work, the owners of a house nearby had placed a polite notice at the start of a neatly mown drive across the sward.

We continued along Saltgrass Lane and observed walkers on Hurst Spit.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy lamb curry, savoury rice, and plain parathas with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Saint Emilion. I was given a special addition of a dish of fried onions, chillis, and garlic to increase the heat of my portion.

What Would You Save?

Using mostly out-of-focus prints ranging from 12cm x 7cm to 8cm x 10cm in size, I aimed today to produce the rest of the A4 prints of the wedding of the parents of Ron and his sister Jackie, in Highcliffe on 15th September 1945. The originals could not be removed from the septuagenarian album, so I had to scan them in situ, balancing one side of the volume on the handle of a conveniently placed hole punch. Scanning a page at a time meant that there were two or three to be copied at once. I then had to duplicate the pages and crop one photo at a time. The resultant images vary somewhat in quality, but I am reasonably pleased with them.

Here are the final half dozen:

Salinger Wedding 15.9.45 007

An unknown photographer did well to make this image of the ceremony using the available light inside St Mark’s Church, Highcliffe. I left this one alone, feeling that the creases accompanied the shafts of sunlight in a rather charming manner.

Salinger Wedding 15.9.45 008

I imagine Captain Raymond Salinger is here accompanied by his best man. The photographer had clearly developed a list. I straightened to picture as much as I could without shaving the gentleman on our right. Daphne’s parents were the licensees of The Walkford which was closed to the public for the reception.

Salinger Wedding 15.9.19006

As the bride and groom leave the church, a Wren unwittingly steals the picture, which I would have been pleased to have taken.

Salinger Wedding 15.9.45 003Salinger Wedding 15.9.45 004

Group photos in the garden of The Walkford perhaps caused one gentleman to be impatient

Salinger Wedding 15.9.45 005

for Daphne and Ray to lead the way into the reception.

A conversation piece is often the question: ‘what would you save if your house was burning down’. Very often the answer is ‘photographs’.

Had Mr and Mrs Salinger not saved their wedding album when, some twenty years later, their house burnt to the ground with most of its contents, this post would not have been possible. Not that that would have entered their heads. Or mine.

After this continuation of a task begun yesterday, I all but completed another. This was incinerating branches and clippings. Heaps of leaves remain for another session.

Having spent the day on garden maintenance, Jackie produced her famous chicken jalfrezi (recipe) with mushroom rice for this evening’s dinner. She drank Hoegaarden and I quaffed more of the cabernet sauvignon.