Friday, 20 August 2010

Sepia Saturday: Path to the Past




This week, my Sepia Saturday offering might seem a little out of the ordinary. Not a person in sight. No visible family member, no ancestor posing for the camera. Just a snap of a garden path, lined with trees. And not a particularly good snap, either.


I have other photographs of this scene, sharper, in colour and taken at a time when the flower borders were better developed, more vibrant. However, this little snap takes me where no others can.


The hedge to the left is laurel. My maternal grandparent's house was called
'The Laurels'.


I can't look at this path without the memories coming back. I remember when it was laid, in concrete, from the conservatory door to the well. In fact, you can just make out the housing for the water pump, at the far end of the path.


I see my grandmother walking along its length, with a waddle caused by her arthritic hip. I can feel the newness of the surface under the soles of my child-sized shoes.


There was an incident that occurred on that strip of grass, between the apple trees and the laurel hedge, on the left. As a small boy, I trod on a garden rake that I hadn't noticed. The handle came up and struck me, soundly, on the forehead, and I let forth with all the mysterious words I knew adults used in moments of crisis or shock. It was my secret, or so I thought. Only years later, did my grandmother's elderly neighbour, Mrs Cooper, confess that she'd heard my outburst, as she had been working in her garden on the other side of the hedge. She had wanted to ask me if I was alright but, was so doubled up with stifled laughter, it was impossible to call to me.


My grandfather was proud of his old apple trees. Beauty of Bath and Worcester Pearmains to the left. Russets (his particular favourite - and mine) to the right. He learned how to graft, and eventually had a number of trees bearing two or three different types of apple.


There were other paths. They skirted around the greenhouse, the potting shed, the orchards and various plots and, they, like the lawns, were all neatly mown.


How many times did I walk this path? Called for tea by the warmth of the fire. Plodding along after feeding the chickens. Casually strolling with an apple in hand.


Yes, a simple and, on the face of it, a fairly nondescript snap. But, when allowed to tell a story, it becomes a treasured slice of my life.



25 comments:

  1. A delightful garden path with warm memories. Looks very inviting.

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  2. Very nice, Martin. I enjoyed sharing in your memories.:-)

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  3. This was a perfect SS photo and post. It tells a story of warm memories and childhood adventures. I loved it.
    QMM

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  4. Charming! Your memories are so vivid -- the mark of a writer.

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  5. Hi Martin

    this path leads straight into your memory bank of treasured family life...

    Happy days

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  6. I can't help but think of the yellow brick road when looking at this photo. Quite lovely.

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  7. You made that path come to life...Thankyou.

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  8. A good lesson in how to achieve the most from the least...

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  9. "A simple and, on the face of it, a fairly nondescript snap. But, when allowed to tell a story, it becomes a treasured slice of my life". This could be the mission statement for Sepia Saturday. Wonderful post, I so agree with what you say.

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  10. A treasured path worth sharing - it tells a tale of lives lived, family, camaraderie, love and remembrance. Thank you so much for letting us walk the path a ways with you.

    Kat

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  11. I absolutely enjoyed walking with you along the path, you painted a beautiful memorial photo; and that Mrs Cooper did not scold you for the "words" is funny, kind of different too. Great words with a wonderful photo showing there is more than meets the eye!

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  12. I love this post and how this photo evokes those beautiful memories for you. Just great.

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  13. Do you remember any of the words you used? I'd love to know.
    As they didn't shock your neighbour, merely provoked a fit of the giggles, they can't have been the words every child of today knows.

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  14. What a delightful story about your encounter with the garden rake! And isn't it amazing how smells or images can unlock the memory box?

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  15. Thank you everyone. So glad you enjoyed this post. The photograph holds such precious memories for me. I has been my pleasure to share some of them with you.

    Friko - I can't remember the words, but we could probably make an educated at what they were.

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  16. Wonderful post - it makes me think of my grandparents' garden too. Only in my case I fell on the rake and had to go to hospital for stitches in my hand - I don't remember what I said!

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  17. Martin, lovely memories,the knock on the head with the rake was probably more of a shock! The happiest childhood one can think of. The path of memories is a beautiful picture with the laurels casting a pattern.

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  18. It is a poetic view visually and also by your descriptions. I am at the age when memories can flood from such a simple sight. Very wonderful words and and thoughts.

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  19. How wonderful to have such a vivid memory, right down to the surface of the souls of your shoes.
    I enjoyed walking with you. Thanks.

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  20. Wonderful sharing of memories. The laurel hedge and the path.. a lovely shared walk. Thank you. You asked whether NZ haystacks were thatched as your uncle did.. probably not as well thatched I would think. Just a careful layer of hay, but the making of a good stack was a bit of an art all the same. thank you for visiting my sepia Sat. What fun it is.

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  21. It's interesting how a photograph can evoke so many memories of times past and the people and events of those times. I think it's a very lovely photograph, particularly with the walk narrowing in perspective and leading into some distant, unseen place.

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  22. I so thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, it's wonderful how many memories are part of this photo. Thanks for taking us on a walk up your garden path ;-)

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  23. What a wonderful post and a trip down the garden path and memory lane.

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  24. Good Photography is Always Totally Subjective.
    Thank You For Walking Us Through Both The Photo + The Memory..

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