Friday, July 24, 2015

Sepia Saturday 289 : Let's Not Forget The Donkey


Sepia Saturday 289 : Let's Not Forget The Donkey


It's a seasonal Sepia Saturday theme this week: a sandy beach, a salty sea and the sun beaming down. When you look back you always tend to look through sun glasses because the sun always shone when you were young, the sands were always crystalline yellow, and the sea was always warm and sparkling. And there was always a donkey. Let's not forget the donkey.

My main picture must have been taken in 1949 because the young chap on the donkey looks about a year old and I was born in 1948 (yes, it is me!). Let me introduce the other two dramatis personae: that is my brother Roger on the left, steadying the beast, and my mother, Gladys, steadying the rider. I am pleased I was able to feature Gladys in my post this week as it would have been her birthday on Sunday; she was born on the 27th July 1911. Looking at the photograph, there is a good solid Yorkshire goodness in her face and a clear pleasure at being at the seaside. She loved the seaside, and even when she was in her eighties, her face would light up at the sight of the sea and she would walk along the sands and paddle in the sea water.

It is the donkey that is the star of the show. It appears his name was Hero, an apt description for an animal who dedicated his life to carrying little children up and down Bridlington sands. All things are comparative, however: a few generations earlier and Hero's forebears were probably carting tubs full of coal deep underground. There are many worse ways to spend you days than feeling the hot sands beneath your hooves and listening to the happy chuckles of generations of toddlers.

So thank you Hero, for carrying me all those years ago, and thank you for taking me back to my childhood today. Thank you for reminding me that Yorkshire skies can be blue and the sun can occasionally shine down in this country I still call home.


15 comments:

  1. I too rode a donkey on the beach at Margate at about the same age, but they don't have them there any more. I don't think they ever had beach donkeys in Australia. Is that disembodied girl looking over your shoulder connected, or just a passer-by, who these days might be termed a photo - bomber?

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  2. She looks like my mother, too, good English stock she was. Well half of her. Roger's swimming trunks were knit by someone, too.

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  3. I've never seen a donkey at the beach. How interesting!

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  4. That's a lovely shot - and wonderful words. I know a good joke about a seaside donkey and a zebra, but there were no such things on the beaches where I grew up. That was in the deep south, where I have to say the skies were a lot bluer than where I live now (the frozen north - love it)! PS My dad would have been 99 on Monday 27th; happy birthday, dad.

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  5. This has really made my day, as I have such wonderful memories of my childhood in Bridlington before my family migrated to Australia when I was nine. A day at the beach always involved a difficult decision- whether to spend the sixpence that Mum gave each of we three children on an ice cream or a donkey ride. I remember the teams of donkeys with their names on the harnesses, how gentle they were and how we would pat them. There was a boating pool on the promenade where my Dad would sail my brother's model boat, and a children's playground with little rides and climbing equipment. My mother was very similar to yours in looks, hairstyle and dress, good Yorkshire stock. They were such happy times. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  6. We never took a seaside holiday but I did have a donkey ride down Hampstead High Street in about 1970. Do you remember Me Mammy with Milo O'Shea? The title sequence had him walking a donkey up the very same Hampstead High Street.

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  7. I'm betting your photo is one of a kind. I know in the US, we would not likely have seen a donkey at the beach.

    Here's to Hero, and all those happy memories...

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  8. That could so easily be my brother, mother and I on the beach at Blackpool, as we come from the same era. Your mother has a lovely air about her and reminds me so much of mine - they had the same hairstyle. And what a bonny baby you were with those fair curls!

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  9. A donkey on a beach sounds so odd - and yet so much fun for a little one!
    Love the photobombing over your left shoulder!

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  10. Thanks for another splendid summertime read, Alan. By coincidence I have a good story on a musician from Bridlington which I hope to feature soon.

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  11. Such a cute photo and even better that you can add the names, place, dates and context.I have so many photos in albums that have none of the above.

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  12. Indeed, let's hope Hero enjoyed the ocean breeze and the sand and water beneath his hooves. Not a perfect life, but a noble one.

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  13. A lovely post full of happy memories. I vaguely remember riding ponies on Blackpool Beach. I'm taken in by the swimming trunks of the day that your brother is wearing.

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  14. A very poetic post. I never met a donkey at the beach here in the USA either. My father would have been 104 on June 13 this year. I was born in 1946. We are following each other through time.

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  15. You didn't look too pleased to be on that donkey, but what a wonderful picture! And Happy Birthday to your mother's lovely spirit.

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