Saturday, 13 March 2010

Sepia Saturday: That Far Away Look

It’s difficult to look mean and moody when you’re a curly haired three year old in short trousers, but it seems as though was trying my best in this photograph.

The compliant girl was called Sarah, and she lived a couple of doors away from the house where I was born. She looks a bit bemused at having the camera pointed in our direction.

I vaguely remember us playing together in the garden, but my interests were really centred on my little tricycle. Breaking speed records along the path at the side of the house was infinitely more attractive than playing nicely with Sarah.

Having looked at this photograph for a while, in preparation for this post, observations include the fairness of my hair – I was very blonde from birth – later it turned dark brown and then greyish, before some of it decided to leave entirely, disgusted with the unpredictable colour changes, I suspect.

I also noticed the old hazel hurdle standing behind me, near the bottom right of the photograph. No doubt it was made by my grandfather. He was the only hurdle-maker in the village, and one of a handful working in the county of Hampshire.

More Sepia Saturday (HERE)

© 2010, copyright Martin T. Hodges 


  1. Aw, that photo must strike a chord with lots of us - who hasn't felt like that, as a child in front of a camera! I'd far rather be behind one than in front - even these days. Looks like a magical garden to play in.

  2. My mind joined in this time warp today, at the mention of tricycle - though I always called mine a bike - obviously my maths was suspect, even then!

  3. I love the idea of your hair getting offended at all the changes and just hiking off! This photo begs for a caption: 'You mean, you mean, STAND by that GIRL? What? Like, NEXT to her? You must be JOKing.'

  4. Charming picture. Love the analysis of the hair. And I'm glad you pointed out the hurdle.

    What really caught my eye was Sarah's dress because I used to wear dresses just like that -- back in the Forties.

  5. A wonderful picture capturing a moment in the childhood of all of us.

    My hair has really been offended.

  6. You were a cutie! Let's get outta here... on our tricyles! :) The Bach

  7. I had to look up "hurdle"...a new term for me! Your analysis of this photo is absolutely charming and evocative.

  8. Well, you are still adorable even though you are scowling! ha! Love Sarah's dress with the smocking across the front. I had some dresses like that when I was young.

  9. Sweet photo of the otherwise occupied little boy! And I had to look back to see the "hurdle" glad you wrote about that. I had to look up the term! One photo can contain a wealth of story!

  10. We all change as we get older, and those changes start at a very early age. It's such a psychological experience to look at a photo of oneself during childhood... it truly is. So many memories come flooding back, and so many thoughts are conjured.


  11. Cute were using your brooding look that day. I don't know what a hurdle is either, so am off to google it.

  12. It looks as though you were forced to stand and pose with Sarah for this pic, Martin. SO cute!! My hair was also blonde as a child, then brown, then gray, then brown from a bottle. ;^)

  13. Very cute picture. I'll bet you're looking at your tricycle. What's a hurdle? Is it a fence that the cattle couldn't hurdle?

  14. Sarah looks sweet in her dainty little dress. I'm surprised she was allowed to play in it. And as for you, Mister, you obviously still thought girls had cooties at that point.

  15. pray tell, what sort of purpose did hazel hurdles play in the village?

    you were a cutie! what is sarah up to these days?

    i do find it strange how so many of us were so fair haired as children....

  16. you do look as though you were playing hard to get. I love these informal snaps of moments.

    I was very blond as a child, like my mum - both of us ended up boringly mousey by the time we were old enough to care!

  17. jennyfreckles

    I still don't like my photograph taken. Silly really. And yes, magical garden, magical days.


    It may have been a tricycle, but I was always on two wheels!


    That has to be the winning caption.


    Thanks. Strange, isn't it, how children's fashion seemed to remain fairly static for around three decades?


    Our three year old granddaughter asked me if the wind had blown mine away.


    Tricycles ruled then, I have to say.

    Leah, Pat, LadyCat, Barbara, Mouse

    Thank you. Hurdle-making is not so widely practiced today, but when I was growing up, there was still quite a demand. This kept my grandfather very busy.

    Originally, hurdles served as portable fencing for penning livestock etc. Gradually, they became more popular for domestic use around the garden. Today, they've become a kind of trendy 'must have' in some quarters.


    Thank you. You'll be pleased to know I tend to scowl a lot less these days.


    After looking closely at this photograph, I could actually feel the sun and smell the garden. It certainly is an extraordinary psychological experience.


    You know, I can't remember the moment. I just sense a strong familiarity. I was probably distracted by something or other.


    I suppose I do come from that 'sugar and spice and all things nice' generation. A claim I always queried, privately.


    The more I've studied this photograph, the more it is becoming one of my favourites from this point in my life.

    My mum still waxes lyrical about my blonde hair and beautiful curls. Our daughter was a blondie too, but she also went mousey.

  18. Another great post Martin. I also spend some time looking carefully at the photographs before I scan and post them. There is so much to discover in the detail.

  19. Thanks Alan. Sepia Saturday is teaching me a lot about observing detail in photographs. Often, therein lies the real story.

  20. Martin,
    This is a wonderful photograph and description to go with it. You may have been off to ride your tricycle when you were forced to stop and have your picture taken. Me, I am off to get a hurdle. I didn't know I needed one until now.

  21. I can't repeat so I will just say that I really think you look great, the master tricycle driver. It is a cool picture.

  22. Christine H

    You know, you could be right. I do have the look of someone who has been stopped in their tracks.

    As for the hurdle - every home should have one!


    Thanks. Of course, my exploits on the tricycle didn't impress the girls much. I imagine I fell off too much!


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