Friday, 2 September 2011

Sepia Saturday: Markers

I would never underestimate the importance of life's 'markers', the intimate relationships we have with items that help us to keep our place in a particular time.

This photograph, taken at 'The Laurels', home of my maternal grandparents, is packed with them.

The tree in the background, killed by lightning and somehow striking back, grey against the blue sky, with it's bare and brittle branches. An ancient apple tree that produced sweet red fruit, tailored perfectly for a small boy's hand. A water butt where I observed tiny life forms performing in summer's heat, and from where my grandfather released a wheel of ice near the end of the Big Freeze in 1963.

A conservatory (built for £92-15s-9d) heavy with geraniums and waiting for morning glory. Two pale green doors. One, leading to a pre-flush toilet, the other, opening into the sweetest of kitchens where grandmother grew her rice puddings and apple sponges alongside the chicken's 'mash'.

Finally, two kitchen chairs, painted bright blue in a moment of modern madness, and a rickety folding wooden table. This is where we sat, mid-afternoon, with cups of tea circling a beleaguered biscuit barrel. Royal Scot, Princess, and Lincoln biscuits, dunked in sunshine and eagerly consumed.

In this picture, it looks as though the breeze was getting up. You can see various papers weighed down with unidentifiable objects. Seems that my grandmother was one for not losing her place, too.

More Sepia Saturday posts HERE


  1. Someone had the foresight to take pictures of 'things' and not just people - equally enthralling. I wish I had photos of my grandparents' homes.

  2. It's what photographs are for, and thank you for reminding us of that. We all have those markers, and I think it's important to reinforce them now and again.

  3. Wonderful post, Martin! I have similar markers from my childhood.

  4. Photos can write stories that take us back so easily. I like your memories and the stories of your grandmother. Yes, weigh those things down with a stray rock and have some tea.

  5. Great post, Martin. Reading this is almost like being there!

  6. Delightful, Martin ... I'm not sure I see a "water butt"... Is that what I'd call the "drain pipe" off to the right?

  7. oh I really admire this conservatory. Wonderful to have such a photo.

  8. Life Is Full Of Bookmarks We Don't Notice Until Later..............

  9. Where can I get a conservatory at that price? We all have place markers but need to be remided of them sometimes.

  10. I loved this post, thank you! I've always been intrigued by how much meaning we invest in things. Is there a cat or a dog just behind the tree stump on the path?

  11. magical memories. Keep hold of them.

  12. You almost didn't need a photo for this. Your description created one even more vivid and three dimensional.

  13. Lovely writing - sounds like a great place for making memories :)

  14. Yes, I remember all this - not exactly as you record it, of course - in a very similar house in Botley. Do you not find occasionally that an unexpected scent, an un-anticipated whiff of nostalgia, will bring these things spinning back again?

  15. jennyfreckles - These pictures are among my greatest treasures.

    Brett - Absolutely. Those markers have proved invaluable.

    Vicki - We are so lucky. I'm still amazed to hear that so many people don't give them a second thought.

    Larry - You're a man after my own heart.

    Martin - Thank you.

    Postcardy - Yet, still accessible.

    sEAN - Thank you. The water butt is the holding tank, below the drainpipe.

    Pat - You know, that wooden framed conservatory was only replaced in 2001.

    Tony - Which is why we need to keep a close eye on them, making sure they don't slip from view.

    christine - There was a chocolate coloured labrador-cross, called 'Sally'. She was probably laying in the shade, out of shot.

    Sheila - Yes, I know. When I saw the original receipt, I could hardly believe it either.

    Friko - Don't worry, I intend to…and I shall pass them on at every opportunity.

    Christine H - Thank you so much.

    gabrielle - 'The Laurels' was a very special place to me.

    Christopher - Botley eh? I was born in Lower Upham, and lived in Bishops Waltham for a few years, until my parents divorced. Then it was back to Upham once more. And yes, that unexpected scent takes me straight back to a place in time, with dizzying speed.

  16. Since my father passed away in June, I've been spending lots of time with family photographs, and most of them are packed with meaning and memories. Then there are the ones that we can't identify at all! Get your loved ones to identify your photographs before it's too late.

  17. My grandparent's home had a small stoop outside the front door and we have decades of family photos all taken at the same place. Holidays, departures, homecomings were all commemorated there.

  18. Wow what a great post! It gives the feel that I just walked back into yesterday, where everything just paused for a moment...perhaps to run inside for more tea or lemonade!


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