Monday, February 04, 2013

Sepia Saturday 163 : Mucky Back Streets And Thick Cold Snow


Searching for old family photographs to fit in with the theme for Sepia Saturday 163 and finding precious few snowy scenes, I found myself wondering whether it was really true that back in the golden age of my youth, the sun always shone and snow was confined to the magic of Christmas Day. And then I heard the voice of my mother, echoing down the decades, shouting "Don't you be taking that expensive camera outside in this weather and getting it all wet!". Photographs were for the summer holidays and smiling family groups slung on deckchairs. Photographs were for weddings when the generations of old would posed in their moth-balled finery. Photographs were for young lovers, arm in arm, looking into each others' eyes and seeing their future. Winter was an inconvenience, a challenge and a trial to be endured but seldom photographed. I have had to move forward to the 1960s before snow-bound photographs emerge from my collection : an age when I could over-rule my mothers' objections and rashly spend my pocket-money buying film to waste on "mucky back-streets and thick cold snow."

As usual, you can see how everyone else has approached the theme image for Sepia Saturday 163 by going to the Sepia Saturday Blog and following the various links.


This Sepia Saturday post forms part of my experimental News From Nowhere Weekly. Other stories in this issue include :
* STRICTLY SUSTAINABLE : Introducing News From Nowhere Weekly.
* FLIGHTS OF FANCY : The Story Of Albert Spanswick   
* BOOK CHAOS : Keeping Track Of The Lines 
* LET IT SNOW : Screensaver Of The week   
* BLOGGERS OF THE WORLD UNITE : The AGM Of The YCIB(S)B.
* BY THE PASS OF THE SCANNERS' BEAM : Old Negatives, Freshly Scanned.
* WEEKLY PUB QUIZ : Ten questions to test your inconsequential knowledge.

The full copy for all these stories can be found by clicking on the Read More >>  link.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STRICTLY SUSTAINABLE
Introducing News From Nowhere Weekly
Those with good memories will recall that last month I tried, as an experiment, posting to the Blog on a daily basis. The results were a case of acute exhaustion and a reading experience that was about as weak as a pint of John Smith's Bitter. However, 2013 is the International Year of Experimentation and I will keep changing the format of my Blog and my posts until I find a style that is both sustainable and mildly interesting.

Therefore, for one month only, I am delighted to introduce you to NEWS FROM NOWHERE WEEKLY which contains all the goodness of your daily blogpost packaged and presented on a weekly basis. That doesn't mean that there will merely be a single, static post every week : just like mould on stale bread, News From Nowhere Weekly will be evolving, growing and changing on a daily basis.

Over the course of the week, new stories will be added which means the weekly edition can be consumed on a daily or a weekly basis : the choice is yours. New stories will normally be added at the start of the weekly post (the exception is this week with this explanatory introduction) so return visitors can quickly work out what is new and what is old and decayed. Hopefully this will mean that the Blog is not just sustainable for me (I can add bits when I choose and the weekly output can be as fat or as thin as events dictate), but also sustainable for you as a follower (you can visit as frequently or infrequently as you like and still see the whole week's output) It also means that you can spend less time commenting and more time living. We will see how things go, give it a try during February, and probably return with something entirely different in March. I might decide to set the whole thing to music and sing it via an audio track. Now there's a thought!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FLIGHTS OF FANCY
The Story Of Albert Spanswick
The picture, taken in 1897, shows Albert Spanswick with his wife Gertrude. By the time this photograph was taken Albert was a successful travelling salesman for the Co-operative Wholesale Society, selling tea to local co-operative societies in East Lancashire. Albert always prided himself on his appearance and would often tell Gertrude that "no grocer would buy from a scruffy salesman". So Gertie would always try to ensure that Albert's clothes were clean and well presented and devoted the rest of her time to ensuring that the same could be said about their house, on Emberson Terrace, Cheadle. They never had children - "it is what God had decided and they had accepted", she would say later in life - but they led an active and respectable life, an important part of their wider family and local chapel congregation.

In 1905, seven years after this photograph was taken, Albert decided on an important change of career and left the Co-Op to open his own small grocery shop in Marple. Gertrude would help out in the shop and continue to ensure that Albert was smartly turned out to greet his customers. Albert was excited by the new venture and believed that it was the first step towards establishing a small chain of local grocery shops in the Manchester area. Gertrude was excited because Albert was excited.. Tragedy, however, struck just two years later when Albert was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He died in Halt Hill Sanitorium in April 1908. His illness meant that he had been unable to keep up with his business and, following his death, Gertrude had to sell up before moving back to Cheadle to live with her sister, Ethel, and her family.Ethel's children remember "Auntie Gertie" as a quiet, rather reticent, old lady whose eyes could occasionally light up with the dream of what might have been. She lived to an old age, eventually dying in 1948 at the age of 86. A small group of people from the local chapel attended her funeral, although few knew her.

All the above, is sadly, quite untrue : a figment of my own imagination. It was created to give a story to a picture of an unknown couple, bought at an antique centre for a few pence. It didn't seem fair that the photograph of such a proud couple had survived the years whereas their story had not. They looked like they deserved a back-story, and this was my attempt to give them one.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BOOK CHAOS
Keeping Track Of The Lines
My life seems to have been dominated by books over recent days as those usual warring parties - digital downloads and dusty paperbacks - have conspired together and marched under the banner of Universal Chaos. My collection of Kindle downloads has now reached such a scale that I am not sure what is within the little machine; what I have read and what I haven't, and what is waiting for a period of philosophical retrospection and what has been lined up for a holiday beach. The on-board Kindle Library Apps are less than perfect and tend not to work on things like my iPad and iPhone.

At the same time, I started Spring cleaning my bookshelves and finished surrounded by a pile of books that threatened to encase me like Richard III in a Leicester Car Park. The problem with bookshelves is that they are quite wasteful of space in that they only really work if books are kept one layer deep. I have come up with a possible solution to both problems, although at the moment it is still a work-in-progress. I have acquired a useful little App called My Library which allows me to create a database of both my eBooks and my real books. Entering the information is easy, all you need to do is to provide an ISBN number (or scan a barcode) and the App will work everything else out. You can even allocate an entry a specific location, so real books can be stacked in layers. You can allocate books to collections and lists and therefore easily find what is next on your "to-read" list. So far I have managed to enter my library of some 130 eBooks to the database. Now I need to face up to my mountain of real books.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LET IT SNOW
Screensaver Of The Week
I have a topical screensaver on my Desktop Computer this week. The photograph was taken looking out of my front door last night. I am pleased to report that by this morning, all the snow had gone.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BLOGGERS OF THE WORLD UNITE
You have Nothing To Lose But Your Sobriety

The inaugural meeting of the Yorkshire Chapter of the International Brotherhood (Sisterhood) of Bloggers took place at the Big Six Inn, Halifax, last week and rarely have so many Bloggers been gathered together in one place. There was Tony Zimnoch and me, and ... Tony and me, and ..... well there were a couple of other friends as well but they weren't actual Bloggers. There was a full agenda to drink and we only managed to get through it by dedication and hard work. One item of business that does stay in my memory was that we unanimously decided to award the Holroyd-Hebblethwaite Trophy for 2013 to that fine pictorial Blogger, Roy Hillbinger. A worthy winner indeed. I am sure that we agreed on a date for the next meeting of the Chapter, but I must confess that by then, my memory was beginning to fade slightly.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BY THE PASS OF A SCANNERS' BEAM
Unknown Road, Beacon Hill, Halifax

This particular road was already abandoned when I took this picture some thirty or thirty-five years ago. If you look it up on Google Maps now it is nothing more than a shadow on the hillside where the tree-line hesitates. At one time it would have had houses and traffic and life: iron-soled clogs would have sparked fire off those stone cobbles as workers descended the steep hillside towards the mills and factories of Halifax. It is wonderful how old memories can lie sleeping, encased in cellulose acetate, only to be wakened by the pass of a scanners' beam.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Answers will be posted next week.
  1. What is the maximum number of Friday the 13th there can be in any one year?
  2. What is the modern name of the city that once was called Byzantium?
  3. Which author wrote Strangers On A Train, and who directed the film of the same name?
  4. Which comic creation of the Belgian cartoonist, Hergé, first appeared in print in 1929?
  5. Which British statesman died aboard HMS Hampshire in 1916?
  6. On which island was the singer Freddie Mercury born?
  7. Who said, "The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it"?
  8. In the Dickens' novel, what are the names of David Copperfield's two wives?
  9. What are the two main ingredients of the drink Kia Royale?
  10. In which decade were the terms "blog" and "blogging" first used?

58 comments:

  1. I did considered a once a week compendium, but it could get rather long and before you know it you've lost the interest of the average reader (and if its my son, then it's a maximum of 3 paragraphs).

    How about trying the "blog when you have something to say" strategy? I'm currently doing just that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...although having said that, I suppose it depends on your objective for blogging and whether you are doing it for an audience or just yourself.

    I haven't quite decided yet. In the early days of blogging it was definitely for the audience, hence deadlines, focus groups, etc. (my God, the pressure).

    These days I lean more toward doing it for myself and not caring if anyone actually reads it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rather suspect it will get a bit long and tedious and this is why I am trying it for February only. Perhaps I will try "blog when you have something to say" in March but I fear that approach may produce a raging river of consciousness.

      Delete
    2. Nothing wrong with that.

      Delete
  3. ...and I suppose it shows.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's a good job I don't go to the pub because I can only answer one of those questions and that I'm not about. How about Istanbul for #2 ?
    Did David Copperfield even have two wives? I'm having difficulty even remembering the plot and I majored in English Lit -- but I bypassed Dickens whenever I could. Not my favorite. The photo of the city and the cobblestone city looks really good in black and white -- maybe because we can't see the smog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had better not give any answers yet Chris, but David Copperfield did have two wives

      Delete
  5. It seems that a number of us 'seasoned' bloggers are trying to find the right 'fit' for our blogging activity. I think Chairman Bill is right about posting when we have something to say. I'm currently planning for a five day week, and anything that crops up over the weekend will have to wait until Monday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see the headlines in the Daily Mail : "European Working Time Directive Ruins British Blogging Industry"

      Delete
    2. I admire Martin's will of iron, just as I take my hat off to Kat's Facebook Famine. My own recent hiatus, for reasons beyond my control, made quite bereft.

      Delete
  6. Once again, thanks for the award. How far into the night was that decision? Heh, heh!

    I'm working on the pub quiz. I got about half of them right off, now I'm pondering (read: raiding Wikipedia) the rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. However far into the night it was, you would be a worthy recipient of the Holroyd-Hebblethwaite Trophy. As Tony may have explained to you, the trophy is a somewhat delicate object and therefore can't be shipped by post. You will therefore have to come over to Halifax to collect it.

      Delete
  7. I Like The New Format Alan! Although, God,I Look rough in that photo !{...nothing new there then.....}
    I,m dying to shout out one of the answers to The Quiz {tho I Will say,the author of Strangers On A Train is one of my favorite writers.)
    You know ,that hill in Halifax..? I've never been that way I don't think....it must have been a Pig to walk up ,especially after a hard days work in Dean Clough.
    We didn't agree a definite date for our next Meet. Barring MON/TUES work (or my next trip to Italy..which i don't have a date for yet) I'm free most days.Keep Me Posted.What Can The Next Award Be?

    ReplyDelete
  8. The road ran from Beacon Hill Road down to Charlestown Road at its junction with Southowram Bank. If you look on Google Earth you can still see the outline of it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey, I like your new concept! It also gives other bloggers ideas and may cause some bloggers to think about their own blog and come up with some new innovations. I kept reading down and found a variety of short interesting posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like it Red. I will be adding three or four new bits throughout the week but hopefully it will be easy to recognise the new bits and the bits you might already have read.

      Delete
  10. That is some Picture and the Hill looks a right Grunt (Rambler-speak for a hill I'd rather not walk up).

    As for that vexed question of when to publish, I just let the flow take me or go where my belly guides me.

    Thanks to technology, the quiz questions have answers - do you want to collect them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will let you self-mark your quiz questions. I rather like the idea of going where my belly guides me.

      Delete
  11. Well your new format could be interesting..I am sure you will give it a good go. That pub quiz was hard..don't you have a super easy edition:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As for the format - I am undecided myself at the moment. I'll give it four weeks and then make a decision. As for the quiz - you can always ask Uncle Wiki if you get stuck.

      Delete
  12. Like the black & white shot at the bottom; I have completely given up on regular blogging. Had 6 months off and now only pop my head up every now and then.
    Love books, have too many - Kindle is the solution for paperback/novels and holiday. Love the fact that I can read any book on the Kindle, the iTouch or the iPad depending on which I am taking with me on any particular day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is always a pleasure when you pop your head up John. And I do agree with you about the Kindle - the Dishwasher of Literature.

      Delete
  13. That Libarary app would be really useful, except that I'm guessing it's for iPhones as iPads don't scan :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It works fine with the iPad : just point the iPad camera in the direction of a book and it scans just fine.

      Delete
    2. Oh goody. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow.

      Delete
    3. It had better be good Alan, I've just forked out a whole £2.49 for the full version (which is £2.49 more than I usually spend on apps).

      Delete
  14. Snow..you got snow and yours melted..you lucky ducks! Ours just piles up! I found a stash of books today..sure I knew they were there..saving them just in case I ran out of books. I have yet to order that app for my kindle..I suppose I should:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've introduced this new quick-melting variety over here in the UK. The older stuff is being phased out because it is a health and safety risk.

      Delete
  15. I hope your News From Nowhere Weekly won't be exactly like mold on stale bread. Maybe more like strawberry jam on a fresh biscuit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How kind. Mmm, I can smell that biscuit now, fresh out of the oven.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  16. A good observation about snowy scenes in family photos, which is the case in my own collection too, although there is one of my grandfather dressed warmly and posing between banks of snow, but I can't find it - so I guess the drifting snow has covered it.

    Interesting idea for your blogging - the difficulty for someone who's subscribed to your blog (as I am in Google Reader) is that with a single weekly post you see it when it's first published, and get none of the subsequent additions/editions.

    I was taken in by your Story of Albert Spanswick, despite the unlikely surname, until we got to the date. I'm pretty it would have been taken in the 1880s, but otherwise, I reckon it's spot on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tend to agree with you about the updates which is why I suspect I will be trying a new format in March. As for Albert Spanswick I should know better than try to fool you with a photograph date.

      Delete
    2. I forgot to add that your pile of books looks very familiar. Even though I haven't read any of them, I would contemplate reading all. Actually, I think I have a large format, hard cover version of Letter from America, butr it may be a different collection of letters.

      Delete
  17. Glad some of these snow pictures do exist for us today. Moth-balled finery sounds so charming!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moth-balled finery is a kind of ancestral sensory memory based on family weddings and funerals attended in my youth.

      Delete
  18. Oh dear. I don't know the answer to any of those questions :(
    Love the last photo - very atmospheric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry about the questions, in my experience those who are good at pub quizzes are not always very good at life.

      Delete
  19. Snow, covers the dreariness of everyday life.

    You must have an insight to the lives of Mr & Mrs Spanswick.. He looks so full of earnest, self importance I could picture him as a salesman. Poor old Gertie, she has the look never-ending duty to the hubby's appearance and an over-arching ache of missing. Perhaps Albert was too stiff to relax in the bedroom.
    Until the end I'd believed every word.

    I quite liked the format, but it took me sometime to realise that one could dib in and out of the comments as required. I was always slow on the uptake, but it must be hard work for you to monitor what we say.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for feedback. I still suspect it is a bit too much in one weekly clump - maybe three a week would be better.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wonder what Auntie Miriam will think of your new concept. But knowing she's a kind lady I'm sure she won't let you down.
    When you consider a doing another Pub Quiz may I suggest that you provide the answers? Then we'll do the questions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind maybe, but she always had a streak of Yorkshire honesty within her. When she was very old, she had a small cottage just next to the bus stop in the village where we lived. Both my brother and I were inclined to duck under her window and rush past her house in order to avoid being called into the house for a good talking-to. And often, just as we got a little way up the road having thought we had escaped her, the cry would come bellowing up the road "Aye, Bugger-Lugs, Get thee back here"
      As for the questions - I ask them, YOU answer them.

      Delete
    2. I am getting to like Auntie Miriam more and more... :)

      Delete
  22. This is all so neat, Alan! I love your weekly paper and will be sure to check back often.

    I had to laugh about your Mom not wanting you to take her good camera outside.

    Kathy M.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Darn, I don't know how we overlooked acknowledging Roy as the Holroyd-Hebblethwaite trophy winner at our action packed awards ceremony. Please accept our apologies and be assured that next year the HHA recipient will be appropriately toasted and buttered.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I like the nice short entries in your weekly news. You seem like the kind of person who can always think of something to say.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Now that I know it is the International Year of Experimentation, I'd better get busy experimenting! Good luck with yours!

    ReplyDelete
  26. The Snow - Proof Camera ! Snow is rather shy stuff...it kinda finds ways of stopping the budding photographer from strutting his stuff! An example , someone took my photo on Boston Common once...but it was SO SUNNY! And the snow was SO WHITE...it managed to ruin what would have been a fine photo

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is an interesting experiment and worthy of the year of experiments. I must complain though that the photos are not coming through for me. I'm on my laptop, no fancy small devices. I can see them if I click on one of the photos that does appear and then they show up in the strip. It seems a lot of work to me, or for me with this format. Looking forward to March's experiment already!

    Great snow photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhhh, not that I made a comment, they all appear.

      Delete
  28. Great post Alan! My father, (unlike your mother) enjoyed taking pictures in all the four seasons here, I'm glad he did! I get my love of photographs and taking them from him. I can't believe it has been over a year that he passed on. As for the quiz, I will be patiently waiting for the answers next week. I'll not get Alzheimer's while you are around Alan! (chuckle)......

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's so funny about your mother, mine was pretty much the same- but funnier yet is my hubby to this day thinks pictures are only for having people in them! Ha ha! Imagine that- with me his wife who loves to take the oddest of photos ever- often not having any breathing soul in them! As for your look out the front of your house- where is all your snow????? Ha! Ha! I know you've hardly had any winter there period!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I had to search my way to this place. The detour was interesting, kept me reading on. Like your snow picture, You must have been excited to see so much snow, as I was always told England has no snowr and children can wear knee socks all winter long! My mother liked photographing and right she also had mainly photographs with people on it, my husbands too, mine are empty of people. Films and their development were expensive, so family and friends, people were the main items to be preserved.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your stories Alan. Isn't it interesting that in Britain the camera was reserved for sunshine yet as visitors it got a complete workout in the snow. Amusing and interesting stories.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Alan,
    I can't stop thinking of the News from Nowhere Weekly Pub Quiz so I'm back to let you know I don't know any of the answers. But I think it will be great fun to research them.

    ReplyDelete
  33. There is no end to the inspiration you provide, Alan! Between the photos, stories (real or imagined), questions, and answers you have redefined the art of the blogger once again. Your weekly digest offers a full choice from the bar menu. What does the barman recommend?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Our family didn't encounter snow apparently, not even in the 60s.

    A weekly compendium sounds like hard work but interesting for your readership not least to decide whether to answer each section, or one, or a few...

    I refuse to have a Kindle and the floor is starting to suffer. My husband had a Kobo because the local library also refused to have anything to do with Kindles but would, and still does, accept other e-readers. He used to borrow e-copies of books from the library.

    ReplyDelete
  35. It is true that we perhaps don't explore the world so much during winter.
    I know I don't...
    I wonder what your mom would say if she could see now your photo collection.

    Good luck with this new format.
    Trying new ways is good, finding the right one is another.
    As far as blogging goes, my personal philosophy is to keep it real, be it daily or weekly, just keeping it real. The rest is merely details to contend with.
    :)~
    HUGZ

    ReplyDelete