Friday, April 03, 2015

Sepia Saturday 273 : A Lagavulin Smile


The theme image for Sepia Saturday 273 features a couple of Edwardian ladies riding their bicycles through Battersea Park in London. My best efforts at a match involves half the ladies, half the bikes and a park of unknown origins. The photograph itself comes from the ubiquitous suitcase of old family photographs and measures just three inches by two. But so much life, so many memories, so much history is distilled into that small space, it has a rare and fine distinction - a vintage single malt whisky of a photograph.

The photograph features my mother, Gladys Burnett, and must have been taken in the early to mid 1930s. At the time my father and mother had a tandem and their holidays would involve tours around Britain. Later my father graduated to a motorbike and sidecar, a graduation my mother welcomed because - given that the predominant climatic conditions were wet and the predominant topography was hilly - she was happier under the protection of a canvas awning and the motive power of an internal combustion engine.

Looking at the photograph now - eleven years after my mother died - I can still recognise the smile; a lovely warm rich smile, a Lagavulin smile (lovers of malt whisky will know what I mean).

See what the others are doing for Sepia Saturday 273 by going to the SEPIA SATURDAY BLOG and following the links

13 comments:

  1. I look at my mom's old photos and can see the smile, the stance, a quizzical look -- all so familiar.

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  2. It's a lovely photograph & I can see why you treasure it. One thing I noticed is that the tandem bike is male in front & female in back. I wonder if all tandem bikes were made that way, or did people have a choice?

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  3. A lovely photograph and tribute to your mother.

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  4. Your mother had admirable patience just to tolerate one of those tandems for a short while -- the poor girl is always stuck on the rear portion, has no control of steering, and can only look to one side or the other, for the front is blocked by the front person's...ah...um...yup! Good for her, graduating to a sidecar!

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  5. A wonderful photo! My first and only experience with a tandem was piloting one with my future (now current) wife. I was told by my more experienced navigator that the heavier rider should drive the cycle in order to aid the stability of steering. However this was no ride through the park, but a night ride through the east end of London which I found terrifying as I had no prior experience operating a British vehicle on the opposite side of the road!

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  6. Great photo, Alan. *raises virtual glass to Gladys*

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  7. I wish I had a photograph of my young mother on a bike. Alas, I do not. I have never ridden on a tandem bike and I think it would be terrifying to just sit back there and leave the driving to someone else. Terrifying.

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  8. What a smart outfit for tandem-riding, especially the jaunty beret.

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  9. I haven't thought of a tandem bike for years. They rent them at the beaches here - Gladys inspires me to try one out.

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  10. We quite often see tandem bikes around here, in spite of the variable weather and hilly terrain, for which I too prefer canvas and the internal combustion engine. They always seemed so precarious to me. That gate and entranceway seems very grand. I wonder if it's a stately house? Great photo.

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  11. I've been on a tandem once or twice but didn't enjoy that feeling of having no control on the back. Guess you just get used to riding one though. A lovely photograph with the story to go with it.

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  12. I've been on a tandem once or twice but didn't enjoy that feeling of having no control on the back. Guess you just get used to riding one though. A lovely photograph with the story to go with it.

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  13. Riding a bike is such a free feeling experience even yet one needs to be in shape for it. I think I have seen the tandem before in a different photo. You need to check out on the net George Burnett and George Burnett, Junior in Murray, Iowa to see if they cling to your tree.

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