I am having to wait in for the Gas Man to come and fix the boiler and therefore I occupy myself by continuing to sort through the junk in my room. This is a slow process because as soon as I pick one box up in order to file it away in some logical place, I give into temptation, open it, and browse. This morning was a box of old picture postcards and I will limit myself to the three which were at the front of the box.
The first is a cartoon card which, according to the postmark, was used in 1907. The phrase "My word if you're not off, I'll saw your leg off" is a curious one to modern ears but - according to what I found out via a quick Google search - it comes from a Music Hall song and was a popular saying in the first decade of the twentieth century. It appears to mean "I rather think it is time for you to be thinking about leaving". Alexander is due to go back to University in a few weeks time. As much as I love him I am getting tired of picking clothes off the floor and finding knives and forks pushed down the back of my armchair. I think I might send him a postcard.
The second card is a curious thing. It is a postcard made from a real photograph : again this type of thing was popular in the early twentieth century. It was sent to a distant relative of mine in either 1915 or 1919 (the postmark is unclear). On the back it says "To my dear Mum and Dad with lots of love from Joe" As far as I can make out the photograph shows four women, but who are they? At first I thought that the relative might have had a daughter called Johanna, but I have checked through the census records and that is not the case. I am almost sure they are women but perhaps I am getting too old to tell. Who are they? What is the uniform they are wearing? Who the hell is Joe? Experience has taught me that if you chuck such questions as these out into cyberspace an answer may just come back.
For the third and final postcard I am concentrating on the back rather than the picture. This one is very old : one of the early "Gruss aus" cards of the late nineteenth century. This one was sent in 1899 to Miss May Chambers. But it is the handwriting which is so spectacular : what penmanship, what care, what beauty. It makes our modern, computer-written blogs seem lifeless and dull. Fellow blogger Brian Miller recently did a hand-written post which I thought was a wonderful idea. I resolve to do the same myself : a handwritten post, a postcard from the twenty first century. Now I just need to find a decent pen.
The Gas Man has just left. The problem was that there was something wrong with the thermostat controlling the radiators upstairs. I was unable to turn them off. I was tempted to say to the man "If they're not off, I'll saw your leg off", but I didn't. Anyway, they are off now - and his leg is safe.