Archive for the ‘family’ Tag
I dont know if you are anything like me but flowers always make me smile. It started at an early age, my Grandfather George used to carry me around the garden and tell me all the names of the plants and flowers, sometimes stopping to let me smell them. It was a real show garden with perfect borders, expertly mown grass lawns and showstopping roses. My Granny’s garden was somewhat different, city based and functional with vegetables and herbs edged with bricks and a concrete path down the middle and a railway line behind a privet hedge, but it would flower into life with scented sweet peas, bluebells and cottage garden flowers self set by seeds dropped by the birds that flew overhead and the rhubarb picked fresh was a treat! And so began my life long love of all things flora. Colour, scent, texture and pattern you cannot ignore them, even so called weeds can be utterly beautiful, maybe we should all make more room in our gardens and our hearts for flowers…….
Whilst out walking around the park yesterday I couldn’t help but notice the variety of people around me, families, couples, dog-walkers, teenagers, toddlers, pensioners, even the odd happysnapper such as myself! The sun was shining and although there were sheltered areas covered in a half hearted frost the day was warming nicely. Id taken the path around the lake but as I rounded the corner I saw the bench, bathed in shafts of hazy winter sun, half shadowed by a large rhodedendron bush shining with dew, the seat vacant awaiting use, but in one corner a carefully placed stem of lillies wrapped in clear cellophane. The first thing that struck me was the vivid colour of the lilies against the grey green weathered slats of wood, a contrast of age and of youth. The wrapper was drenched in diamonds of frosted dew, but the flower stood tall and defiant against the elements, almost like a statement left by the one who had placed them, a statement that shouted out to me ‘You may be gone, but you are not forgotten’…….The inscription was ‘In the memory of George and his loving wife’ …….I may stand and wonder who you were but that someone who left the lillies will always remember you.
The 2012 London Paralympics is holding it’s opening ceremony as I write this, it’s on record! But if the Paralympics held an event for Mum’s mine would be the gold medallist in my eyes. At a very young age my Mother contracted Poliomyelitis, in the 1950′s the disease was at it’s peak worldwide and paralysed or killed over 500,000 people per year. Thankfully my Mother survived the trauma of being placed in an iron lung, and being made to wear metal calipers on both legs to enable her to learn to walk all over again, as well as losing the use of her left arm, hand and affected vision not to mention the loss of her childhood and most of her friends, precious years lost. She was told that having a child was impossible, although she had also been told that she may not survive the disease, I therefore am living proof that my Mother was not only incredibly lucky but also an incredibly determined woman. Her life after Polio has been difficult, but she has overcome not only the physical restrictions but also the predjudice of those who see only her disability and not the person. The Paralympics means so much more to me because of my Mother. I have grown up knowing that she has had to fight for everything, battle with her own body to achieve and struggle with people’s ignorance. So when I watch those paralympians compete, strive, win and lose, I see their strength, conviction, dedication and drive, their elation and their despair, but I also see my Mum….Love you Mum xx
Many weeks ago I bought a guide book to circular walks in The Cotswolds, a beautiful place frozen in time with chocolate box villages and stunning scenery. Last night I made a discovery in the guidebook that led me to a location I have driven past many times that revealed a secret, and a subject hidden from view, a subject that I have on my list of things I want to photograph! I was joyous! Having had Sunday lunch at my parents we all set off on the 60 mile drive to a village called Snowshill, near Broadway, the location of a 3rd generation Lavender farm in the heart of the limestone Cotswold hills. Its a gem of a place hidden away 1000ft above sea level, and the family use a steam distillation process that is unique in Britain, with its products being sold around the world. For a small entrance fee you can walk freely along the furrows growing with many different varieties of lavender, the heady scent lifts your spirits and you feel a sense of calm as you wander. Today was simply a dream for me, I couldn’t have been happier, the sun shone and and my parents walked arm in arm as I reeled off more than 150 photos! My timing was perfect too as next week they harvest the fields, but amazingly the ticket allows you to return as many times as you want through the season, so I am positive I will be returning to this little piece of heaven!
My Father was from the city of Coventry, my Mother from a rural town in Shropshire. A few years after their marriage I arrived but Mum hated city life and so they moved to a smaller village called Burbage in Leicestershire. This was where I was to live until the age of 22 when I moved out into the town of Hinckley a mile up the road from Burbage. The two places almost merge together now but there is a really different feel in the village from that of the town. Burbage has held onto its village way of life with many cottages, churches and pubs to be found in a small area, mainly due to its prosperous past. As it was such a nice afternoon I decided to revisit some of the places I spent as a child, Burbage Congregational church’s hall was the location for the Playgroup that I attended prior to going to school, the Methodist Church hall was where I ran my dance school of 10 yrs, many happy hours spent teaching children of all ages how to dance. I drove to the centre of the village and walked around the grounds of the main church St Catherine’s with it golden weathervane shimmering in the late afternoon sunshine, and onwards to the smaller parish church of Aston Flamville, a hamlet on the outskirts of the village, a beautiful gem of a church, small and welcoming, a place you can step back in time as nothing has really changed for hundreds of years. Driving further round the village I parked up and walked onto the park where I spent hours with friends, and Saturday afternoons watching the cricket with my Dad, a match was in full swing as I arrived although it looked like the visitors were winning! I love the shot of the Pavillion where the expressions say it all, as does the chap laying flat-out on the bench! The image of the old factory shows the knitting and textiles industry was thriving here although it has long since gone and is now the home of a photographic studio, the pub opposite which was once full of workers now a trendy bar and meeting place. The image of the blue door is purely for the colour, although Id love to know what was hiding behind….a cottage garden maybe? And there it is, a small insight into the place I grew up in, a place I have known all my life and loved to share with you all.
For those of you who adore bears this one is for you! I started to collect Charlie Bears a few years ago when my Mother bought me one as an additional Christmas gift……and then every Christmas thereafter! Its kind of become a Bear obsession, although they haven’t broken out of the cabinet yet! The problem I have is that there is a wonderful toy shop in Bowness in the Lake District and each time I visit I feel drawn to the bears! The last purchase was a limited edition collector bear, oh those eyes just begged me to buy it! As a child I was not one for dolls, it was always soft toys that drew my attention. Whilst holidaying in Devon we always visited a group of craft shops and one was a soft toy makers….and so the obsession was born, managing to persuade Mum and Dad to buy one although the budget was tight and so it was always the smaller ones that I used to have, but that was enough for me, something to cuddle up with in the caravan and fall asleep with on the long journey home. Some of us never really grow out of our childhood passions, some collect dolls, some collect toy cars, others toy train sets……but why should we grow up!?
A Right Bunch of Charlies!
Ooh I do love a dramatic headline! I was reading the newspaper round my parents house this evening and noted how the more dramatic hadlines grabbed my attention, so I thought Id apply the same logic to my post tonight. Plus I have to say that the colour’s going on in my Dad’s containers are simply riotous! Pansies are a fairly widespread garden flower and I remember as a child planting them out with my Dad’s careful guidance and then once they had flowered and the seed heads dried out I used to collect them and scatter the seeds in the hope that they would return the next year, and happily they did! Only Id manage to scatter the seeds all over the patio and so most of the new flowers were appearing in the cracks between slabs! But I love pansies, the flowers always seem to look like faces smiling up at you come rain or shine, a truly cheerful little flower. The other images are of a slightly more hybrid flower, the Fuscia, my Mum’s favourite. I always think they look like tiny ballerinas twirling and pirouetting at the end of the stems, so delicate yet quite a long lasting flower (weather permitting). The problem with these is that they require quite a lot of management especially over the Winter as they really don’t like a hard frost. But the rewards of careful effort are stunning, where would we be without flowers?
Following on from yesterday I decided to walk back in to town and see what the streets were like on a Sunday. The sun was out for a while and the church bells of St Marys were ringing out….it felt like a real Sunday morning. But the streets were quiet, not a soul to be seen except for the odd church goer or the pigeons clearing up the crumbs from yesterdays snacks. I walked back down the main Castle Street now deserted, no market stalls, no market traders shouting out their wares…..eerily quiet. So I walked through the church grounds and back towards the council offices soon to be made redundant…..the commemorative benches empty and trees planted in honour of some old long since forgotten event….the bandstand silent, just one guy sat on a bench, his head in his hands….why I wondered, had something happened, some bad news received….or just a long night? I walked round to the War memorial with its manicured lawns and freshly painted benches, waiting for someone to come and sit in quiet contemplation….but no one came…..only a blackbird sat aloft the memorial statue…I touched the brass plaques with row after row of names…..of those who had died in the Wars….who were they? What would their lives have been had they not died in the line of duty, the saddest thing was that there were 2 family names, each listing 4 or 5 members, simply listed as civilians, innocents. Its amazing what your home town gives up to you in the quiet of a Sunday morning.
As you may have seen in the press (well certainly those of you who live here in the UK) today is the first day of the Jubilee celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queens reign. So, feeling patriotic I went out to see if I could capture just a small bite sized piece of the celebrations and share them here with you. The weather as always for a bank holiday has turned quite dismal and so there is no shining sun or blue sky, but I think that the amount of red, white and blue in the images more than makes up for it! I visited a small village a mile from where I live and found plenty of party spirit! Everything from Union Jacks flying in the breeze, windows decked out with pictures and souvenirs to a bridal shop (Jane Barker Bridal Gowns) which has a stunning window display dedicated to the Queen complete with a stunning one off original bridal gown trimmed with images of the Queen’s reign and a giant replica crown! (Jane is in the photo herself!) The street parties begin Sunday and Monday with roads closing and people enjoying the atmosphere….sharing a glass with neighbours and friends alike….looks like the British spirit is alive and well and proud to be cheering on The Queen 60 years after she ascedended to the throne….congratulations Your Majesty!
Gardening and flowers, borders and containers….regardless of what it is as long as its in the garden I love it! I have always had a fascination for gardens for as long as I can remember. All my grandparents were exceptionally good at gardening and growing and they all used to take the time to show me different plants and vegetables and explain their names and what they were. My Maternal grandfather George was a superb gardener and from the moment I could toddle accross his immaculate striped lawn he shared his passion of all things horticulture with me. I dont remember this but my parents say that he used to pick me up in his arms and walk me round all the plants and veg and tell me the Latin names as well as the common names…apparently I was the ony one allowed to pick the tomatoes from the greenhouse! I definately remember the smell of them, so fresh and tasty…..I also remember landing up sat in the cucumber cold frame!!! Now I am older I indulge my passion further by visiting National Trust Gardens and houses, camera at the ready of course! These little beauties were a little closer to home tonight, residing in a front garden 4 dooors up the road! I asked permission to photograph them and the lady was more than happy for them to become stars of this blog!