Friday, March 30, 2012

Sepia Saturday 119 : Orange Creams Of The World Unite

Coming from a family of mechanics and engineers I have always had a kind of ambivalent attitude towards work. Work was something you did wearing a pair of overalls, something that dripped oil over the back of your hands and required you to walk around with a ruler in your top pocket. By such definitions I have never been a worker, for me, oil was something you cooked your chips in and a ruler was something that lived in a pencil case. For a short time I was a bus conductor and wore a uniform and that was about as close to real work as I ever managed to get. For the rest of the time I wore a suit and shuffled papers about on a desk which, although it meets the old Marxist description of "workers by hand and by brain", never seemed to produce anything.

So for Sepia Saturday this week - where the theme is WORK - I turn to my father, Albert (most of you will recognise him by now, seated just left of centre), who was a worker by any definition of the term. Here he sits in front of one of the machines he will have helped to build and install, and what a wonderful machine it is : a real machine. It has levers and dials, buttons and switches and looks set to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile into orbit. However, the only thing it would launch into orbit was an Hazelnut Cracknell or a Strawberry Delight, for my father worked for the sweet and chocolate manufacturer, John Mackintosh, makers of Quality Street.

The photograph perfectly illustrates a pride in work and workmanship. Here was a body of men (ah, in those distant and unenlightened days, the men built the machines and the women operated them) who had collectively created something; something which they no doubt thought would last for a hundred years. It didn't : the firm is gone, the factory is gone and the machine will be long gone. But the photograph has survived, so I am going to reach over and select an Orange Cream from the tin on my desk and pay homage to the world of work and workers.

To see the work of other Sepia Saturday contributors, visit the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pulp Fiction : Sense And Sensibility

I bought a book yesterday. Now that might not seem like a big deal to you, but it was to me. It is the first time in almost four months that I have actually bought a book, and by book I mean one of those thick things made out of paper and glossy cardboard. When I invested in a Kindle last December I decided to give it a decent trial period, imagining that it would take some time to get used to the transition from parchment to pixel. However, I was surprised how easy the change was, Kindles are sturdy little things that can be tucked in almost any available pocket. When you fell asleep at night they always remember the page you were reading and these days the range of titles you could buy is enough to keep any bookworm burrowing. Whilst some of the digital offerings were annoyingly expensive, Amazon did a daily deal where you could graze the genres for just 99p a bite. You could download first chapters free and carry a library around with the ease of an elephant. All praise the mighty Kindle!

I recall once reading that the majority of vegetarians who had fallen off the wagon, did so when they had unexpectedly come upon the smell of a bacon sandwich. And yesterday was a bacon sandwich moment for me - whilst undergoing the misery of "shopping" with the GLW, I passed a bookshop. I have been in bookshops since the Kindle Epiphany, but simply to browse, to research downloading possibilities. I had found the experience somewhat grubby and unsatisfying, a bit like walking down those back streets in Amsterdam and looking at the ladies sat in the windows. Something happened yesterday, something different. I fell off the wagon, I bought a book. In many ways it is an annoying thing; it wont fit comfortably in my jacket pocket, it gets dog-eared and beer-stained and, I suspect, it will not last for ever. But as I left the shop with my guilty purchase suitably wrapped in a brown paper bag, my heart danced with joy. All praise the mighty book!

Oh, I know what you are all going to say - there is a place in this rich and complex life we lead for both Kindles and, for the want of a better phrase, what we could call, quite accurately, pulp fiction. I am sure it is true and you won't be seeing my Kindle for sale on EBay any time soon. Kindles make good sense; they are easy, practical and good for the environment. But books, real books, pulp fiction, they have sensibility and sensuality and they make the hell of shopping just a little more bearable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Treading The Green that Fowler Trod

The new outdoor crown green bowling season starts next week. Following a winter of rigorous practice on Huddersfield's magnificent indoor bowling facility, I can reveal that Denis and I are just as cack-handed as we ever were and our one hope of matching Isobel and Sue during the up-coming season is in the development of a bowling App for our iPhones. (Note to App developers : surely the creation of something which takes into account the gradient of the crown, the weight of the bias, the lie of the jack and calculates a suggested road cannot be beyond an appliance that can pinpoint a gnat sneezing in the Sahara Desert).

To mark our return to the outdoor green at Cowcliffe - ah the resonant clack of bowl and jack, the happy click of glass against glass - I thought I would post one of the postcards from the collection of my great Uncle, Fowler Beanland. This photograph must have been taken 100 years ago but you can still see the same stances, the same calculating looks that measure the respective distance between jack and bowls, the same purposeful stride down the green after delivering your winning bowl, on countless crown greens across the north of England.

Devonshire Park in Keighley still exists but as far as I can tell there isn't a bowling green there any more. I must take a trip there soon and investigate matters. It would be rather fine to tread the green that Fowler trod.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Nice Morning For The Revolution

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness : it was the summer of 1968. In Paris, the Sorbonne was under attack by riot police, in cities all over the world people marched against the war in Vietnam, and on Blackstone Edge we held a commemorative meeting. I remember how this curious gathering came about; I was at a Young Socialist meeting in Halifax and I suddenly said "what we need is an anniversary". The reference books were consulted and Blackstone Edge which is high on the moors between Halifax and Manchester was chosen. In 1846 the great Chartist leader, Ernest Jones, led an army of workers out of the mills of Lancashire and onto the high moors to meet up with their comrades from West Yorkshire. The Chartists were demanding votes for ordinary working people, the abolition of the Corn Laws and a host of other political reforms. At the gathering high on Blackstone Edge, Jones, who had the reputation of a fine poet and orator, addressed the meeting. He later wrote a song to commemorate the gathering:
O'er plains and cities far away
All lorn and lost the morning lay
When sank the sun at break of day
In smoke of mill and factory
But waved the wind on Blackstone Height
A standard of the broad sunlight
And sung that morn with trumpet might
A sounding song of liberty!
When a small band of Halifax socialists clambered back onto the moors at Blackstone Edge in 1968, the wind didn't wave nor was the sunlight broad. In fact the moors were smothered in a thick mist. But it takes more than a damp morning to postpone the revolution, so we took our banners and gathered at a spot close to the track of the old Roman road. That legendary local socialist, Tim Enright, read the speech that Ernest Jones had made 122 years before. Then we sang The Internationale and as we did so the mist miraculously lifted. And all of a sudden we noticed an elderly couple walking down the Roman road with their dog. It must have been strange for them, to be walking high on the moors, to hear singing, the mist to lift, and there before them is this strange group of left wing radicals gathered around a banner. In the best traditions of these parts, they didn't bat an eyelid. They merely looked up, nodded and said "nice morning for it"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Pin, Two Views 6 : Some Final Thoughts

Well I have thoroughly enjoyed myself this last week with the experiment Jennyfreckles and I have been carrying out. Our decision to independently visit the village of Thornton and photograph whatever took our eye has resulted in some fine images. It has also demonstrated that cameras are rather clever objects : when you point them at a subject, they not only take a photograph looking forwards, but also capture a reflection of our own personality and frame of reference. Looking back on the photographs Jenny has featured in the series, it is clear to see that she is a master of shape, colour and composition. Looking back at my own ..... well you can draw your own conclusions, but the fine old Yorkshire expression "maungy bugger" comes to mind.

I am finishing with a brace-and-a-half of images which I suppose sum up my Thornton experience. The first one features a broken old gas lamp on a mill waiting to be demolished. Down in the bottom of the valley there are a host of such buildings. mostly empty and disused. patiently waiting with what remains of their Yorkshire dignity to be converted into aspirational apartments.

When I spotted that second image of a closed and derelict post office I couldn't help thinking of the stonemason who carved the date above the windows in the belief that here was a building that would last the torrents of time. But it is perhaps the third image that encapsulates Thornton for me : the steep hills, the cobbled streets, the wonderful houses.

Finally, can I thank everyone who has followed this little experiment of ours, your comments have been an integral part of the process in the very best traditions of Blogging. And can I particularly thank Jennyfreckles - the Salt to my pepper, the Wise to my Morecambe. If Jenny agrees, I would like to suggest that we repeat the experiment next year and indeed make this an annual experiment which, along with the buildings of Thornton,  will last the torrents of time.

These posts are only half of the story. Visit Jenyyfreckles' excellent SALT AND LIGHT Blog to see how she has concluded the experiment.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sepia Saturday 118 : Going Out (To Thornton?)

The theme for Sepia Saturday 118 is "Going Out" and I have chosen this photograph of my grandparents (Kate and Albert Beanland) to illustrate it. They are certainly going out : Albert with his best silver watch chain, Kate with an upturned soup plate on her head. And what that rather curious hand gesture Kate is making is, we shall never know (which is perhaps a good thing)! I suspect the photograph was taken in the immediate post-war years - Albert died in 1948 at the age of 73.

So where was the photograph taken? I suppose it could have been the seaside, but times were hard in those immediate post-war years and pleasures often had to be found nearer home. People would go out for a day, to a park or local beauty spot. The reverse of the photograph provides no firm evidence, but it does give an address (Yarwood Grove, Bradford) where my grandmother lived. And if you look at a local map and imagined where they might have been going out to, what is that village a couple of miles north-west of where they lived? None other than Thornton, the very same Thornton that Jennyfreckles and I have been blogging about all week. So my Sepia contributions might just be part of my "One Pin, Two Views" series. We will never know, but I like to think it is.

Get yourself out and see what everyone else is doing this Sepia Saturday by visiting the Sepia Saturday Blog and following those sepia links.

Friday, March 23, 2012

One Pin, Two Views 5 : Painting The Layers Of Life

There is a particular type of house you often find in West Yorkshire towns and villages : stone terraces houses with a bit of a swagger. They are often set a little above street level so you can sit in your bay-windowed parlour and look down on the rest of the world. There will be a little wooden porch so you can shelter from the ever-present rain whilst your shake your umbrella off. And there will be little adornments, little pieces of unnecessary decoration which sets the overlooker aside from the mill-worker, the Council clerk from the railway porter.

And these little wooden banisters and traceries provide endless decorative opportunities for house painters. How many generations of Thornton house-painters have clung to their ladders whilst painting every twirl and curve in olive green are oak tan? Layer upon layer of paint matching the layer upon layer of generations that have inhabited these well proportioned rooms.

The houses on Wensley Bank, Thornton, have a fine prospect across the valley. You could look out of those windows and feel at peace with the world. And in the light of those windows you could get out your paint chart and plan what colour to paint the woodwork, what shade to mark the layer of your life.

This is the fifth part of the exploration of Thornton, West Yorkshire by Jennyfreckles and myself. We visited Thornton independently and used our cameras to record our own interpretation of the village. You can see how Jennyfreckles has approached the task by taking a look at her SALT AND LIGHT Blog.

There will be a break from this series tomorrow to make way for my Sepia Saturday post, but the final part of One Pin, Two Views will be published on Sunday.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One Pin, Two Views 4 : The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore

For those of you familiar with my blog there will be a question you will have been asking yourself ever since I started this short series of Thornton photographs : "when is he going to get to the pub?" Well, I think I have done quite well, because here I am, at Day 4 and I have only just arrived at the pub. And the sad thing is that it is closed. There are indeed still a good few pubs open in the village (I felt it incumbent on me to visit three or four in the interests of research) but I always feel that the closure of just one public house diminishes the sum total of happiness, conviviality and joy in the world.

If you climb up out of the centre of the village, up West Lane, you will need a stout constitution and by the time you reach the top of the hill you will deserve a bottle of stout - or two. For previous generations of walkers, the Sun Inn at the junction of West Lane and the somewhat spooky Wicken Lane has provided refreshments for the weary traveler. But alas, the inn sign no longer swings in the north-easterly breeze, the hand-pumps no longer dispense Waller' Nourishing Stout or Hammonds Ales, and the brittle click of bone dominoes no longer sends cats seeking the shelter of cellars.

The Sun Inn, Thornton rose every day for over one hundred years with the certainty of celestial clockwork. It made it into the twenty-first century: just. And then it closed and now it slowly fades into antiquity. I belong to a Flickr Group called The Dead Pubs Society and we share photos of pubs that were and are no more. I will add the Sun to our collection - and shed a tear as I do so.

This is the fourth part of the exploration of Thornton, West Yorkshire by Jennyfreckles and myself. We visited Thornton independently and used our cameras to record our own interpretation of the village. You can see how Jennyfreckles has approached the task by taking a look at her SALT AND LIGHT Blog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Pin, Two Views 3 : A Bin, A Bath, And Time

Thornton is quintessentially Yorkshire: stone terraces climbing steep hillsides, mills and moors, bitter beer and dry humour. And Yorkshire folk hate nothing more than wasting brass (spending money extravagantly). We build dry stone walls up in these parts: why waste money on mortar when stones can hold themselves up. And if you have an inconvenient hole in your wall, just find yourself an old dustbin, slit its sides and hammer it out.

And if your wife demands a new bath, there is no need to waste the old one. The sheep need to drink and the bright blue fibre-glass will blend into the grass and stone landscape eventually, after a century or two. But time passes quickly up on these hill-tops; it was only yesterday that the young Bronte children trod these paths. I remember hearing the story of an old farmer who went down into the village to collect his pension for the first time. He arrived at the Post Office at 8.00 am only to be told that it didn't open for another hour. "It's all right mate", he said "it doesn't take me long to wait an hour"

This is the third part of the exploration of Thornton, West Yorkshire by Jennyfreckles and myself. We visited Thornton independently and used our cameras to record our own interpretation of the village. You can see how Jennyfreckles has approached the task by taking a look at her SALT AND LIGHT Blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Pin, Two Views 2 : Stone and Smoke

Much of the village of Thornton is constructed along the side of a valley. When the settlement reaches the top of the valley-side it contents itself with sending thread-like filaments out into the green of the rain-rich fields. These stone terraces thrust out into the countryside and then seem to almost lose interest.

The second photograph is merely an enlargement of part of the first photograph. Look at the chimney-pots. These houses received no shelter from the valley, their little rooms were under constant attack by a wind that was being funneled down from the Arctic tundra. But they were built near seams of coal which delivered heat to the rooms and smoke to the atmosphere.

Stone and smoke and mucky washing hanging out on a line. 

This is the second part of a short series in which two photographers - myself and Jennyfreckles - examine the same village from different perspectives. To see Jenny's second photograph in the series go over to her blog : SALT AND LIGHT.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Pin, Two Views 1 : Where To Start

At some point last year, Jennyfreckles of the blog Salt and Light and I started to discuss, via comments on each others' blogs, how different photographers approach the same location. As we live only a few miles away from each other we often find that we are taking photographs of places the other has featured on their blog and we became intrigued by the different approach two people might take to the same set of stones, hills, mills and moors. And so we came up with a game (or an exercise, or a project) to investigate this phonomenon. We would stick a pin in a local map until we came up with a village that neither of us was familiar with and then each of us, independently, would visit the village and put together a small portfolio of photographs. This is not a competition (if you are familiar with Jennyfreckles'  work you will know that I could never win such a competition) but a way of assessing how much of what a photographer sees is, in fact, a reflection of themselves. We have decided to publish a selection of our photographs of the West Yorkshire village of Thornton (the place where the pin came to rest) over the next week. I have no idea what images Jenny is going to come up with, but I will be very intrigued to find out.

Where does one start? I suppose one could start with the famous bit of Thornton which is the house where the Bronte sisters were born before the family moved a few miles up the road to Haworth. Or one could feature the beautifully curvaceous Thornton railway viaduct which crosses the valley like an ancient relic: sans trains, sans rails, sans everything. But what really struck me about the village of Thornton, which is only two or three miles from the centre of busy metropolitan Bradford, was the way the little streets of old stone terraced houses threaded up the side of the valley, linking nothing with nowhere, pasture with moorland. I can't remember the name of this little street, but if you Photoshopped out the two cars and drained the shot of colour, it could have been taken at any point during the twentieth century.

This experiment of ours is about our own personal interaction between a place and ourselves, and this, I suppose, makes it an exercise in psychogeography. So this was my first interaction, the first point where I felt compelled to press the shutter and capture Thornton through my eyes. Which makes it a very good place to start.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sepia Saturday 117 : A Life Within A Century

Our Sepia Saturday theme this week is scouts but the ever-kind Sepia Saturday administrator has allowed us to widen the theme to incorporate other youth groups. This allows me to feature this 1924 photograph of the 9th Company, Bradford Battalion of the Boys Brigade. The Boys Brigade (BB) was - and indeed still is - an interdenominational Christian youth organisation which has a history that goes back further than the more widely known Boy Scout movement.

The photograph must have been taken from a newspaper or magazine and at some stage my father has conveniently pinpointed himself (just as well as many of the young lads look just the same to me). My father (AB = Albert Burnett) would have been 13 at the time and if I look very carefully I suspect I can recognise him. 

If I try and enlarge the photograph I finish up with a completely different, heavily pixillated image which Andy Warhol would have been proud of. Within it I can still see my father, gazing out of a pattern of two or three hundred individual ink spots. It's a picture within a picture, a life within a century.

To see how others have interpreted Sepia Saturday 117, parade on over to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gimme A Pigfoot And A Decent Internet Connection

A final selection of photographs from my Lanzarote holiday. The first one shows the amazing Green Lagoon at El Golfo on the south of the island; a volcanic crater eaten away by sea erosion. The algae-green lake is separated from the sea by the black volcanic sands and the cliffs have been eroded into amazing patterns by the wind. John told us that the famous scenes with Raquel Welsh in her animal skin bikini were filmed here and later, strictly in the interests of research, I tried to find an on-line clip of the sequence. Alas, the WiFi at the hotel was lamentable and I had to rely on nothing other than my own imagination. It is easy to forget the delights of a decent internet connection, but I had plenty of opportunity to dwell on this fact of modern life as I waited each morning for the ten minutes it took my copy of the Guardian to download.

My second photograph was taken just along the coast from the hotel we were staying at in Costa Teguise. I am not sure who the sculptor was, but it provides another fine example of how the bright colours and raw landscape of the island provide an almost perfect backdrop for art.

My final photograph was taken in the island capital of Arrecife. You will recall that I spoke last time of how the artist César Manrique was able to save the island from  the perils of high-rise developments. There is only one high building on the island, a multi-story hotel which must have been constructed when Manrique wasn't looking. The photograph shows this miserable pile carefully within the sights of one of the old cannons that guard the fort.

It is now almost a week since we left Lanzarote but the memory of that striking landscape, those wonderful colours and the near-perfect sunshine will remain with us for a long time to come. As will the memory of the hospitality of fellow-bloggers who have now become firm friends : thank you Marilyn and John.

Let me finish with some music. One morning as I waited for my guardian and my e-mails to download and silently cursed the slow internet speed available, I found myself beginning to sing that old Bessie Smith number, "Gimme A Pigsfoot And A Bottle Of Beer".

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just The Way It Changes, Like The Shoreline And The Sea

Whilst on Lanzarote last week we spent a fascinating day visiting the house of the painter, sculptor, and environmentalist, César Manrique.  César Manrique (1919-1992) was a native of Lanzarote but his paintings and sculptures have been exhibited throughout the world and for a period in the 1960s he lived in America. He was friends with, and influenced by, such people as Picasso and Andy Warhol, but perhaps his greatest legacy is to be found on his native island. There he was able to influence the government to restrict the spread of high-rise hotels and sky-scrapers, and there he built a magnificent home which is now a museum, gallery and the headquarters of the Fundación César Manrique. 

The house is built within one of the gigantic lava flows that so characterise the island and takes advantage of five huge volcanic lava bubbles which have been incorporated into the very design of the house. You can thus descend into the lava field itself and explore the various rooms, pools and gardens that have been sculpted directly into the rock. It is difficult to describe properly, but unforgettable to visit, so if ever you go to Lanzarote you must visit it.

The most striking feature was the way the surrounding environment of lava flows and magma bubbles seem to flow into the house and into the galleries, so that the line between art and nature is not simply blurred, but almost purposely distorted. As we walked around and viewed not just Manrique's own work but the work of many other modern artists, I found myself thinking of that memorable line from the Sainted Leonard's "That's No Way To Say Goodbye" :
"you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me, 
it's just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea"
It is a magical place, somewhere where the gallery itself is perhaps the most important exhibit.

And as you walk around the building, you also find yourself merging into both the environment and the artwork. So I had therefore better point out, that this is no modernist sculpture, but your very own News From Nowhere reporter seen against one of the magnificent mosaic panels in the grounds of the house.

You can discover more about the life and work of César Manrique by visiting the website of the Fundación César Manrique.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Comes Around, Goes Around

The crescent and the circle are visual emblems of Lanzarote. It is an island with little rainfall but it still manages to cultivate vines by harvesting the heavy dews within semi-circles of volcanic stone. These provide each vine with its own windbreak and reservoir. Similarly, some of the beaches have windbreaks built up from the ample supply of volcanic basalt.

But it is a different type of circular movement that will stay in my mind. Each evening our hotel would put on entertainment in the large open, vine-clad atrium. On the first day we noticed that the show on stage that evening was a reptile show, featuring a cast of lizards and snakes. Now the GLW is not fond of snakes, but I assured her that fortified by a good supply of the free alcohol on offer and seated well away from the stage, she would be safe. So we carefully chose our seats near the rear of the atrium and collected our first free drinks of the evening.

The lay-out of the atrium was interesting and you can get an impression from this photograph. The stage is just hidden by the staircase and vegetation on the left of the photograph whilst the beach-hut thing was the bar (and the supply of free drinks). We were positioned safely in the area on the mid right of the photograph well away from serpents of all kinds. It wasn't until we were well into our first drinks that I became aware that something strange was happening : the whole auditorium was slowly rotating around the central bar. The movement was so slight that you wouldn't notice it normally, especially after a drink or three. However, by the time that I went to the bar 15 minutes later to replenish our supply of alcohol I noticed that we had rotated by some 90 degrees : and that was 90 degrees nearer to the stage - and the reptiles on display. Pretty soon. the GLW had also noticed our circumnavigation  and drawn the appropriate conclusions. that as sure as eggs are eggs and 20 foot pythons are 20 foot pythons, within 15 minutes we would be rubbing shoulders with the pair of rather large snakes that were the highlight of the show.

I tried to calm her nerves, I tried to logically point out to her that once we had skirted the stage we would  thereafter be transported further and further away from the beasts in question. I tried to calm her with more alcohol. But what comes around, goes around, and she eventually jumped from her seat and fled - somewhat unsteadily and using language that surprised even me - back to the safety of our room.

Monday, March 12, 2012

An Island Of Views And Prospects

We are back after a splendid week in Lanzarote where the sun shone and the beer and wine flowed and the entire visit was made even more memorable by meeting up with fellow-blogger Little Nell and her husband. Us bloggers inhabit a strange world where we know each other well but, in most cases, have never actually met face-to-face. And can there be a finer tribute to this on-line community that we belong to than the fact that a fellow blogger can extend such a warm hand of friendship and hospitality to someone who has, until then, been little more than a pixel avitar. Marilyn (Little Nell) and her husband John took us around the island and introduced us to places that will live in the memory for a long time. For the next few days I will feature some of the photographs I took in order give people just a little flavour of what is a stunning island set in the Atlantic Ocean about 80 miles off the African coast.

To fully appreciate the beauty, the history and the geography of the island you could do no better than look at Marilyn's Blog (Hanging On My Word) and also John's own blog (Lanzarote on Foot). My own pictures can merely give an impression of my memories of the island and its' stunning scenery. My photograph for today was taken in the north of the island on the high cliffs overlooking the small northern island of La Graciosa. The picture captures some of the rich colour of the island - the brown and umbers of the baked earth and the deep blue of the sea. The photograph also serves to remind me that Lanzarote is an island of views and prospects where the natural shapes of land, coast and mountain are set off perfectly against the vibrant background of sea and sky.

A lovely island - more to come tomorrow.

Friday, March 02, 2012

It's The Same Sea, Wherever The Sands May Be

Cleethorpes Pier - Sometime in the 1980s
I took this some thirty years ago at Cleethorpes. I am on my travels again at the moment - but not to Cleethorpes. I will try and bring some photographs back.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Sepia Saturday : A Flying Visit And A Cover Drive

This is a bit of a flying visit. I have been a little busy these last few days and we are about to fly off for a week in warmer climes. We head for the Canary Islands on Sunday for a week in what we hope will be the sun and thus there will not be much activity on News From Nowhere for at least the next ten days. I am leaving you with a Sepia Saturday submission  for this weeks' theme which is GAMES. The picture would have been taken in about 1950 and it shows my brother Roger defending his wicket in what I assume was our back garden in Great Horton, Bradford.

Even though I was only four when we moved from Bradford, I can just about remember street cricket games and, in particular, being hit in the face by a well placed cover drive. It was only a tennis ball but it left me with such a psychological injury that I have avoided all kinds of active sport ever since (well, that's my excuse anyway). I do play a mean but relatively restrained game of chess and, as this tends to be via Facebook these days, I have so far avoided being hit in the face by a Kings' bishop.

My games during the next week will be limited to a little non-competitive beer drinking. And hopefully, the holiday will allow me to meet up with a favourite fellow-blogger. Please don't feel as though you have to comment on this post, I am afraid that I probably will not get chance to reciprocate until I return. But why not go over to the Sepia Saturday Blog and see what games all the other participants are playing.

A Lot Of Gas And Some Empty Chairs

  You can decide which jet of nostalgia is turned on by this advert which I found in my copy of the 1931 Souvenir Book of the Historical Pag...