I came across it while I was beavering away tidying up all the rubbish that had congregated at the bottom of the bed in the third bedroom / study.
It’s one of those aerial photographs of your house – you know, the ones you never actually commission but a fella calls round and says that, while they were passing (as in up in the air, flying over the house, which is
a rather superior form of passing, you have to admit) they snapped your property and would now like to offer you a Once In a Lifetime price for a framed copy of your abode.
I distinctly remember when Mr B purchased this particular photograph. The Spy in The Sky wanted £25 for it. Mr B offered a fiver on the basis that it was of no use to anyone else but us. They finally settled on a tenner, which the Spy in
the Sky said would not even cover the cost of the frame. Mr B was not unduly sympathetic.
It’s a shame we did not have the foresight to write the date on
the back. It must have been taken in the last ten years because there in the drive is the silver car we still drive today. Next door’s extension has been built. Our tall chimney has been rebuilt. The photograph must have been taken in May or early
June because the tamarisk tree is in full bloom in the back garden. (Our tamarisk tree, planted back in 1986, is, beyond any doubt, the most beautiful specimen I have ever seen.) The whole back garden, indeed, looks invitingly lush. Mr B would doubtless
call it “overgrown.”
Some photographs take you right back to a Moment in Time. For example, I love the photos of my Foursome in their 1977 Silver Jubilee
tee-shirts. Especially as for once it doesn’t matter that I didn’t write the date on the back. Mr B was so keen that we recreated the photo for the Diamond Jubilee last year that he paid out a ridiculous amount of money for the official celebratory
tee-shirts, one for each of the grandchildren. The photos are fantastic though I am not sure whether any of the grandchildren (particularly the Older Variety) have worn their Very Expensive Tee-Shirts since our holiday photo session.
Recently my brother-in-law found photographs of me with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters as a baby, no more than a couple of months old (see Mr B's favourite attached.) Looking at them I
can still remember that day in the park, feel the warmth of the sun, remember the funny face ice creams my dad bought the older girls. The happy scenes had been captured on slides and, with the help of a new gadget my sister bought him for Christmas, my B-i-L
has been able to transfer them onto the computer. I need a gadget like that – not so much for slides but for the thousands of negatives I have gathered but dare not throw away because of the treasures they might yet display if I could only turn
them into positives.
Some photos tell a story that might well stay silent forever. Take the photograph of my grandfather with his three children – my Aunt
Clara, Uncle George and my Dad, a cheeky chappie of two and a half. Grandad looks so stern, a right martinet, someone once remarked when I showed him the photo. But this picture was taken just after my grandmother died, of the flu epidemic which swept
a country already devastated by four years of war. My Grandad, the sweetest, gentlest man, was sure that his beloved children would be taken to the workhouse and had this photo taken as a memento of “how things used to be.” Kind friends and
relatives saved the day, the children remained with their father, the threat of the workhouse receded – but the pain in my Grandad’s eyes as he contemplated an unthinkable future is captured forever in this photograph. You can see it for yourself
on my Family Tree webpage.
Misery of another kind is there to be seen in the photograph we took at the top of Mount Snowdon in about 1978. There’s
nothing to be seen but the swirling mist and biting rain. The Darling Daughters and I, wearing quite ridiculously inappropriate sun-hats, have stretched grins across our chilled faces. My Boy (aged 5) is grizzling, grumpily – there is no way he is going
to pretend that this is fun.
Mr B and I plan to take another trip to the top of Mount Snowdon this summer. We are hoping for fine weather, stunning views, a never
to be forgotten experience.
Rest assured, whatever the weather, there will undoubtedly be a photograph to remember the day. I might even remember to put the date
on the back...