Thursday, 28 February 2013

Boxed In - Sepia Saturday

I once did some environmental work for a packaging company that made thousands of cardboard boxes. However I don't have a single photo of work that would match our fine photo prompt for this week.

So I had to look elsewhere for inspiration, Simon the cat was not a good idea

Finally I settled for ladies making ammunition boxes instead, courtesy of the State Library of Australia.

Young woman making ammunition boxes at a small press - 1943 (By Smith, D Dorian - CC BY 2.0)
If that press is not large enough for you here's one operated not by one lady, but two.

Making ammunition boxes with a large press - 1943
(By Smith, D Dorian - CC BY 2.0)

I can't tell you the names of those two ladies but then I came across "Bobbsey Twins: Merry Days Indoors and Out" by Laura Lee Hope.

(By Carla Pettigrew Hufstedler - CC BY 2.0)

"The Bobbsey twins were very busy that morning. They were all seated around the dining-room table, making houses and furnishing them. The houses were being made out of pasteboard shoe boxes, and had square holes cut in them for doors, and other long holes for windows, and had pasteboard chairs and tables, and bits of dress goods for carpets and rugs, and bits of tissue paper stuck up to the windows for lace curtains. Three of the houses were long and low, but Bert had placed his box on one end and divided it into five stories, and Flossie said it looked exactly like a 'department' house in New York.

There were four of the twins. Now that sounds funny, doesn't it? But, you see, there were two sets. Bert and Nan, age eight, and Freddie and Flossie, age four."

How many of you, I wonder, keep your old photographs in a shoe box? Well here's one of a series of hindred-year-old photographs of the British Raj discovered in a shoe box in India.

Princep Ghat. Kolkata - 1900s (unknown author)
 If you are to keep old photos like that you need storage space. What could be better than a cardboard box.  Here's a demonstration in how to put one together that should be big enough for anyone.

Now all you need is the room to keep them in!

For more educational photos, perhaps even from a Box Brownie, box clever and visit Sepia-saturday-166.  

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Journeys into Space - Sunday Stamps

The countries issuing space related stamps often surprise you, like these two:

Earlier this week I was posting a letter to my daughter in the USA and there, in the post office counter window was the set of space science stamps which were issued on 16 October 2012.

Great Britain - Space Science
I was quite impressed by them, but when I got them home I was even more impressed by the information on the accompanying card. Here's a sample:-

This is just one panel of the three section folds on the reverse. There is more on the front two sections as well as the stamps themselves. I take back all those rude things I've said about Royal Mail stamps in the past.

Meanwhile for more space adventures you should check out others at Viridian's Sunday-stamps-111.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Watch the Birdie

One of the things I have done on and off for many years is to record the birds I see in my garden each day. This month I have seen linnets, siskins and a greater spotted woodpecker for the first time.

The challenge now is to photograph them - if I can. This week I succeeded with this at least.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker
Of course it would not cooperate and turn so that we could see the red at the back of its head and its red stomach that distinguishes it from the lesser spotted variety.

Not full frontal
At least in this second shot you can see some of the red on its stomach.

These shots were taken with a x40 Sony camcorder through a double glazed window. The sycamore tree is around 70 feet high; the bird is near the top and 30-40 feet from the window. It will fly at the slightest movement so there was no chance of getting closer.

Now I must hope that it comes back and 'poses' longer.

It is also difficult to photograph another more regular visitor, This is the best I've achieved so far, again through that same window at a distance of about 10 feet, but this time with a Lumix digital camera.

This is Britain's smallest bird that we see every year in the conifer which would have been cut down by now if it weren't for him.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Camel Bit Me - Sepia Saturday

Alan's prompt this week is an unknown family group.

I can't claim that my pictures are of unknown groups, but at least they are groups with a family connection.

Bob, Rachel and Amy
This was taken on a quite eventful day. Rachel, in my arms had one arm in a sling after she had fallen of a low stood and suffered a greenstick fracture of her collar bone. Amy, my mother-in-law, appeared in my first Sepia Saturday post here This day out was meant to be a treat until the camel came too close, Rachel let out a scream and cried, "Daddy! The camel bit me." 

For the sake of my security I'm not allowed to tell the year in which the photo was taken

I can guess that my next picture was taken at Christmas time and I know the event was in South Wales at either Six Bells or Abertillery.

Bob's Mother (front left)
You can see her again somtime in the early 1980's with two of her daughters-in law.

Iris, Annie and Edna - 1980s
Another  group of my wife's family that I can date, but it may be pre-WWII.

Amy and Bob plus two daughters (we think)
Finally, my wife's Uncle George and two unknown children in Stamford, Lincolnshire, again date unknown.

George Harper
This must be one of the few weeks in which that I have not had to resort to the internet for photos. It makes me realise how easy it is for people, dates and places to be forgotten when you look at family photos that are a lot less than 100 years old. 

For other unknowns and takes on family groups cross over to Sepia-saturday-165.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Letters and Numbers Around Us - Thematic Photography

My morning walk to collect a newspaper covers a distance of about two miles each way. As it was a sunny morning with the hard frost beginning to clear I took my camera, intent on getting shots to meet Carmi's theme of "Letters, numbers & other characters." I came back with 38 pictures, all of which seemed appropriate; obviously I can't show them all.

The local Shell garage is undergoing a refit and there was an environmental services wagon parked across the forecourt. I had to take this picture through a wire mesh fence.

Hazardous Material Warning Sign
Today was the day that household waste is collected and just down the road were three wheelie bins awaiting the refuse truck.

Wheelie Bins (Trash Cans)
The amount of roadside rubbish to be seen on the footpath, in the hedge bottoms and in a birch wood was appalling - discarded sandwich wrappings, coffee cups and soft drinks cans, enough to fill another wheelie bin I'm sure.

Discarded Energy Drink Can
Whoever left this obviously hadn't enough energy  to carry the empty can home.

The garage in our village does its bit to help the energy crisis as you can see.

Garage Sign
I've often glanced at the numbers of the lampposts in the village and just assumed that these were just for identifying individual posts. Then I found this.

Power Line Post
That plate at the top has hole-punched code which is alpha-numeric presumable for inspection and maintenance purposes.

If my pictures are driving you 'up the pole' just be careful which one you climb.

Danger Sign
Now what am I to do with 32 more photos? While I make up my mind perhaps you should head off to Carmi's Thematic-photographic-235. Please don't drop litter on the way or else you may become a member of the "Litterati".

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Chinese New Year - Sunday Stamps (Late)

Thanks to Jo at I am able to post a stamp to commemorate the Chinese Year of the Snake.

Canada - Year of the Snake
Jo included a recently issued stamp in one of her recent  posts (stamps-crabs )and kindly volunteered to send it to me after I said that it would be ideal for yesterday's Sunday Stamps. Despite her best endeavours it arrived today (Monday) after our linky list has closed.

I will include a link to it in the comments at Viridian's Sunday-stamps-110. and in the comments I make on other participants blogs.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Shell Shocked - Sepia Saturday

When I saw Alan's prompt this week my first thoughts were of the thousands of servicemen who suffered from shell shock in the First World War but eventually I decided a lighter touch was required.

I don't have a tortoise as a pet and the nearest thing we see, two for the price of one, are:

Two Small Tortoiseshells
You know I like to show photos of dogs but try as I might I could not find one suitable and settled instead for:

Tortoiseshell Cat
(By Rehman Abubakr - CC BY-SA 3.0)

By chance I found out that Horace Walpole (1717-1779) once had a tortoiseshell tabby cat that met an untimely death - it drowned in a goldfish bowl. The poet Thomas Gray, a friend of Walpole, wrote an ode to commemorate the cat which was called Selima. Part of the tribute reads:

Her conscious tail her joy declared;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
    The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes.
     She saw; and purred applause.

However tortoises and turtles have been exploited by man and their shells used in all sort of applications like this:

Tortoiseshell and Silver Snuffbox - early 18th Century

The plaque is stamped with a portrait of Charles I (1625-1649) based on a medal by John Roettiers of about 1670. The Huguenot John Obrisset worked in London between 1705-28 specialising in horn and tortoiseshell. (This photo was taken as part of Britain Loves Wikipedia at the Victoria and Albert Museum in February 2010 by Valerie McGlinchey - CC BY-SA 2.0).

I'm sure that you will be pleased to confirm that no tortoise came to grief for the next picture I have to show:

Jin (Jurchen) Dynasty Tortoise - Temple of Confucius, Qufu
(By Vmenkov - CC BY-SA 3.0,2.5,2.0 and 1.0)
This stele is in the third pavilion (from the east) of the Thirteen Pavilions in the Temple.

This 'fellow,' much smaller in comparison, had been intent on laying eggs in the grass of my daughter's Michigan home last summer. I can confirm that she was returned safely to the swamp from which she came. Oh and she is not a tortoise at all)

Snapping turtle (11inches long)
I hope I haven't shocked you too much with my take on the theme so I'll sign of with a collection of shells.

I just wonder how old these are.

Please don't forget to check out others' interpretations at Sepia-saturday-164

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Speed - Thematic Photography

Carmi has chosen to show a plane in flight as our prompt for his 'speed' theme so I thought I would follow him,

Landing Speed - 1940s
This was an aircraft coming in to land on an aircraft carrier during WWII.

Someone shouting dinner provoked this turn of speed.

Cody and Lily at racing speed
In the local town of Yarm is the house once owned by a war hero.

Sign for Tom Brown's House
Tom was the hero of the Battle of Dettingen in 1743 where he charged the French to recover the British battle honours. Supposedly Tom was knighted on the battlefield by King George II, the last British monarch to lead an army in the field.

Yarm has a fair in it's high street every October and there is always a chance to get yourself in a spin.

A Ride at Speed
From time to time a photograph gives an illusion of speed and you wonder how it happened.

Speeding Hedgehog
We have speed humps on the lane in my village approaching the primary school, not they would trouble this fellow if he ever made his way across the Atlantic.

Snapping Turtle
No wonder he's snappy, he wouldn't even catch that hedgehog.

No you have the chance to catch your breath before you rush over to Thematic-photographic-234-speed.

Teaser Tuesday - Prophecy by Peter James

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules for participating:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Peter James is one of my favourite authors; I started by reading his DS Grace detective books but my teaser this week is not from this series but a stand-alone thriller.

Cold musty air that smelled of damp stone and rotting wood poured out, enveloping her, seeped through her clothes into her skin, and she stared at the wooden steps that descended almost vertically, their bottom rungs swallowed by blackness, with a sudden sickening feeling of dread.

 This part of London was riddled with secret passages dating back to the  Middle Ages and were used by prisoners escaping from the Tower, by Royalists during the Civil War, by smugglers.


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Hearts and Flowers - Sunday Stamps

I've no hearts to show for this week's theme so I start with some flowers from the USA.

USA - Flowers 2001
I must say that I am not keen on these four as I would have preferred to see them in a more natural state, the backgrounds make the flower less clear.

So I decided that I would send my love some roses from Scandinavia instead.

Sweden - 1996
It was only when I enlarged them that I realized they were azaleas and not roses at all.

Perhaps I can be luckier with:

Sweden - Four-leafed clover
While I wait for the verdict you may try your luck over at Viridian's Sunday-stamps-109

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Snowshovellers - Sepia Saturday

With snow forcast for us this week I may have to get my snow shovel out again. I just hope that it does not get as deep as in this week's picture prompt.

Of one thing I can be sure I shall not get any help from any volunteers and no-one will ask:

Can I shovel off the snow?
(Artist - John George Brown {1831-1913} - 1871)

The worst winter I can remember was in 1947 when our village was cut off by deep snow. As a boy of ten I walked across the snowdrifts to meet the snowplough cutting its way to dig us out. I have no photos from that time and the nearest I could get was from 1978.

The Great Blizzard of February 1978
The backyard of Maple Street, Woonsocket, RI (By Dahoov2)

Here the snow had drifted to within two inches of the top of the door, The drifts were 10 feet deep and a jeep in the yard was completely covered. To get out the inhabitants had to shovel snow INTO the house.

Britain often comes to a standstill following just a dusting of snow, So far however the mail has made it through and not got stuck as it used to do.

The Mail Coach in a Drift of Snow
Artist: James Pollard

I can't see our postman coping with snow like that.

Meanwhile the sun is shining while we wait

I hope you don't get lost trudging over to Sepia Saturday 163

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Hero of Rome

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules for participating:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
 My teaser is from Hero of Rome by Douglas Jackson. It is the first of his books that I have had the chance of reading.  Already I have decided I want to read others he has written.

Valerius stared at the remains of the chicken but all he saw was a heap of feathers and a mess of entrails and watery blood.

Was the boy talking about his pursuit of the girl, or the path that would take him back to Rome against his will?



Straight Lines - Thematic Photography

I've tried to keep on the straight and narrow to meet this week's theme and started off in a modern art direction.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Where it was the building itself that caught my eye with its mixture of straight lines.

During the Queen's Diamond Jubilee last year she opened the revamped white water rafting site on the River Tees at Stockton; I didn't manage to get a ticket for the event but later obtained a shot along a footpath in front of the Talpore pub.

Union Jack Flagpoles   
I don't have a flagpole at home so this songbird has to make do with this:-

"If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle and sing"
Meanwhile my daughter's dogs looked out in hope.

Sam and Maxie - 2008
Now I suggest that you make a beeline over to Carmi's Thematic-photographic-233. to check out the straight lines there.