Friday, 9 April 2010

Sepia Saturday: Produce and Prizes

Today’s offering is a photograph taken at the end of the garden of the house where I was born, ‘Yule Cottage’.

Pictured here, in this mother and daughter scene, is my maternal grandmother, Hilda, and my mum, Christina. It’s an appropriate setting, given their shared love of gardening. My mum has inherited her ‘green’ fingers from Hilda, but we’re not so sure where the horticultural bent originated precisely. Hilda’s niece, Helen, is also smitten, and in retirement, recently returned to further education to study horticulture. She passed with a distinction, so maybe the answer lies in the genes.

When I was a child, Hilda tasted considerable success with her entries in the local shows. Her lovingly raised flowers and produce harvesting their own share of first prizes and diplomas.

Mum entered in many of the same shows. Not with anything she had grown, but with the wonderful sponge cakes she baked. Her speciality was the classic Victoria sandwich, and her rich reward, the Feathery Flake Diploma.

Happy photograph. Happy days.

More Sepia Saturday contributors HERE.

© 2010, copyright Martin T. Hodges


  1. Love these photographs, Martin.

    I used to visit friends in Dartmoor for the annual Fete Worse Than Death.

    Top prize in all categories: 25p!

  2. Definitely happy times! Those smiles are glowing across time. You have such beautiful slivers of family history, Martin. I'm sure you enjoy them immensely. Thank you for sharing them, as always.


  3. lovely mother-daughter snap.

    ah, a feathery flake diploma!!! i'm going to have to google 'classic victoria sandwich' - it's new to me!

  4. Wonderful pictures! I love the carefully arranged produce.

  5. What a wonderful snapshot into yesteryear, Martin. I can just imagine!

    And I love the fab new look here!

  6. Your post brings back memories of the decade Linda and I lived in the small town of Powassan. One of the cultural events of the year was the Fall Festival with row after row of produce, flowers, baked goods and knitting waiting to be judged.

    It was such a fun time. Your mother and grandmother certainly seem to have been enjoying themselves.

  7. I am wondering about what a Victorian sandwhich of sponge cake might be. Great photos; they look too dressed to be a'gardening, must have been out there admiring the efforts...

  8. Wonderful mother-daughter pic. They look as if they could be sisters!

    My grandmother used to enter a lot of her baked goods, etc., in the local Indiana county fair. My uncles tell me she was running late one year and actually sneaked some store bought canned peaches into one of her Mason jars and entered it at the fair. It won a blue ribbon. Hee. (I should post on this sometime soon!)

  9. What richness to be able to share in such a visceral way, fragments of the stories which have helped to make us who we are. Thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog, and for pointing me in this direction. I am honoured and delighted to participate.

  10. Lovely pic of your mom and grandma! I think I'd like a Victoria sandwich right about now!

  11. It's interesting how talents & passions pass down thru the generations. Love the Feathery Flake diploma!

  12. I have only once tasted the classic Victoria Sponge and it was an experience I won't soon forget. Do you carry on the tradition in your own house?
    What a wonderful shot of your mother and grandmother.

  13. Great photos for SS. It is so much fun to do these and then to see what everyone else has done. Brings back a lot of memories.

  14. "It's all in the genes", maybe so; isn't it nice though to think that.
    Like your photograph.
    btw, I also left a comment on your previous post.

  15. Moptop - 25p! That must have been a very swish part of Dartmoor.

    Nevine - Thank you. Sepia Saturday has developed into a wonderful weekly event. I'm glad that I can contribute a little of my family history here.

    Mouse - Ah, the Victoria Sandwich. Do look it up and try the recipe. You won't be disappointed.

    Vicki - Yes, my grandmother was very particular about how her displays were arranged. I'm so lucky to have this shot, although it isn't as sharp as I'd like.

    Ciara - Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I wasn't sure about changing the look of Square Sunshine, but it seems to have worked out fine.

    Barry - Isn't it brilliant that communities far and wide enjoy this kind of local event? Any ideas about where the name Powassan originated?

    Pat - I was thinking how they looked a bit too smart to be gardening on the day of the photograph being taken. You're probably right about them admiring their efforts. Do Google the Victoria Sandwich recipe and try it, especially if you like light and fluffy sponge cakes with a jam filling.

    willow - Thank you. And I don't suppose your grandmother was the first to get 'inventive' when pushed for time. She won't be the last either.

    Nana Jo - Welcome to Sepia Saturday. It's good to have you on board.

    Betsy - Thanks. Go on, cut yourself a slice. I won't tell anyone.

    John - The Feathery Flake Diploma was quite a big deal in those days, but I don't think you can even buy the flour now.

    Kat - Thank you. Yes, rarely a family gathering or celebration passes by without a Victoria Sandwich as a centre-piece.

    Queenmothermamaw - It's great to hear that you're enjoying the Sepia Saturdays. They really are fun to take part in.

    Friko - Well, sometimes it's a bit of wishful thinking but in other cases it's hard to see it any other way. As you say, it's nice to think that a particular love of something can be passed on through the genes.

    Thanks for commenting on my previous post. Have got around to replying at last.

  16. Ah, sponge cake. What a neat name that I had forgotten about. I found my grandmother's 1917 cookbook and I am going to look that one up. I really enjoyed reading your blog about two special people in your life.

  17. Larry - Thanks. Do let me know if you decide to try that recipe out. Wonderful that you've still got your grandmother's cookbook from way back in 1917. There must be some great offerings in there.

  18. That Victoria Sponge has my mouth watering on the very day that I promised myself to re-start my diet. I feel sure we have seen another picture of your mother and grandmother in the same garden - early on in the Sepia Saturday series - am I right or is lack of food causing my memory to play tricks.

  19. Oh, go on Alan, treat yourself to a slice.

    I have posted my grandmother along with my great grandmother in a different garden, but none of my mother and grandmother together. Have another slice of cake, just in case the diet is messing with your memory.

  20. If Your Mum was anything like mine, she would let you lick the cakemix bowl? Why does raw- mix taste SO GOOD?!

  21. Tony - You're so right. She DID let me lick the cakemix bowl. I imagine there are health and safety reasons for advising against the practice today.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.