Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Exercise In Putting Off Having To Send An E-mail To Cousin George


You know the feeling. It is the start of the day and the computer has just been re-awakened after its overnight sleep (I don't know about you, but I have a fear of turning mine off all together in case it never starts up again). Anyway, there is work to be done : letters to write, bills to be paid, blogs to be written. All the things that count as life here in the fast track of the digital speedway circuit. But before you launch yourself into the data stream, you seek a few moments of serenity. You seek peace, reflection, contemplation and a reminder that we are individually little more than an unimportant byte in a terabyte world. Some, I dare say, might reach for religious iconography or Good Books (capital G, capital B). If it was later in the day I would probably reach for a bottle of 18 year old Lagavoulin. But at this time of the day I crave peace rather than stimulation and therefore I seek out The Commons on Flickr. The Commons is where the image archiving and display site, Flickr, exhibit images from some of the great on-line digital archives. Working in co-operation with museums and galleries from around the world they not only increase knowledge of these magnificent publicly accessible archive collections, but also invite people to add to the information available about individual images. 

I just go there to browse, to flick through the wonderful old images and delay just a little bit more having to write that cheery e-mail to Cousin George. Sometimes I will find pictures of far and distant lands, other times pictures of the opening of a motor cycle garage in Oswestry. It matters not. Whatever image I find there, it will always be one of my favourite places.

26 comments:

  1. Just noting some of the names above the door in this photograph. My late step-father's brother-in-law (are you still with me?) now aged 97, used to potter around the lanes of my boyhood, on a James. I remember it having a sort of fly-wheel that was an object of fascination for me.

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  2. My father was a great lover of motor bikes too and I think I have seen pictures of the type of bike you mention. As I recall it looked a bit lethal, the kind of thing that would not get past the Health and Safety inspectors today.

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  3. Your titles grab me and I stay, to read, no matter what you are writing about. It's the unique way you string words together that make me feel we sat down and had a chat. -J

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  4. H-H : That's a lovely thing to say Jayne. Thank you.

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  5. Seeing the brand name Sunbeam on the store banner made me laugh. While in the UK that's the name of an automobile/motorcycle manufacturer, here in the US that's the name of a home appliance manufacturer (mixers, toasters, steam irons, etc.) My Grandfather used to call all small cars "Mixmasters" after the Sunbeam blender of the same name, and used to joke with me when I was little that he and I between us could lift one of them into the flatbed of his big old Dodge truck. Apparently his nickname for small cars actually came from the British automobile, which I remember seeing from time to time in foreign car dealerships back in the '50s and early '60s back in Maryland.

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  6. Roy : Oh I remember Sunbeams well, Sunbeam Alpines were popular when I was young. No idea what happened to them - went the way of all the rest I imagine.

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  7. I know that fear of turning off my computer at night so well. My dear old Frankenstein of parts is on its last leg!

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  8. Willow : It is an odd relationship we have with our computers isn't it. They are like lovers : we fear that they will abandon us and leave us with lives that are empty. And we curse our reliance on them and long for the days of innocence when all that was needed was a quill pen and some parchment. And yet we know we are fooling ourselves.

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  9. I just went to have a look at the site and I can see why Cousin George has to wait around for your emails.

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  10. your musings often bring peace to my digital wanderings.

    thanks for taking us to unexpected places and times.

    give cousing george a cheery hi from me - i hope he's half as sweet as my cousin george!!

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  11. i guess a cousing is what you get when you cross a plain cousin with a kissing cousin!!

    i really should learn to proof read! that is my problem with the digital speedway - zoom zoom

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  12. Kim : Proof reading is for wimps. I'll take the flow of words any day - cousings and all.

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  13. Another great post and I can see why cousin George will have to wait for an email - I could spend hours browsing this site so thanks for the link.
    My grandfather always told me that we were related to James (of James bike) family but I have never been able to find any connection.

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  14. Aww the serenity. I'm with Jayne actually, you make the smallest joys sound so fabulous.

    I never turn mine off, just put it to 'sleep' for the night.

    My weekday ritual is much less calm, a quick cuppa, check gmail then race off to work. Retirement is beginning to sound very appealing should I ever get there!

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  15. Baino : I am sure you will get there Helen. Mind you, if things down under are anything like they are here, there will keep on upping the retirement age so you never will quite make it, however long you live.
    Marilyn : Glad you liked the link. Not sure about the James bike firm, perhaps others might know of it.

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  16. I love to start my day off quiet and peaceful, too.

    And I never turn off my computer! It just dozes through the night with the monitor turned off. Amazing how addicted we are, isn't it? What DID we do with ourselves 20 years ago?? :)

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  17. It is great to know about this. Winter is coming and I could travel back in time for awhile.

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  18. Alan,
    Very well spoken. I call my browsing my mini-vacations or as you might say mini-holidays. Thanks again for your words of wisdom! Have a great day, Alan!
    :) The Bach

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  19. I Have never Be To This Flikr Page.Thanks For The Tip Alan.
    I Sit Watching David Cameroon on the telly..Quite A different Commons!

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  20. Bach : I like the idea of mini-vacations.
    Tony : It's like watching the Fall of the Roman Empire in slow motion. With ref to PM's Questions - young Ed did quite well I think.

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  21. Bach : I like the idea of mini-vacations.
    Tony : It's like watching the Fall of the Roman Empire in slow motion. With ref to PM's Questions - young Ed did quite well I think.

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  22. I bookmarked the site. I'm so glad to know it exists. Thanks to you and your cousings!

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  23. There is a fascination in photos from the past, but my interest is only really triggered by the ones which show a snapshot of life, as this one does. Simple portraits are nowhere near so appealing.

    Hope cousin George doesn't mind waiting :)

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  24. British Motorbikes,now there's a sad tale.
    Nice post.Bravo.

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  25. Strange. I got an oddly peaceful feeling after reading this post. Strange... but appreciated.

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  26. Jayne and Silver Fox are both so right there--your way with words, and your very dry wit offers such a hoot too. thank you. Cant' wait to read your sunday roast btw, whenever you do that.

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