Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The dying of the light

It's still summer here, or so we're persuading ourselves, and Mr L and I had a lovely walk in the Botanics the other day. We haven't been there for a while, what with being away and then having Littlest Granddaughter to stay. It's only ten minutes' drive away but she's not a great fan of car journeys, not being used to them.

Soon the view of the city skyline will be much less impeded by leaves.

But there's still plenty of colour in the gardens.

Mr L has been painting the garage doors. Biggest Granddaughter and Grandson were an interested audience - watching, as it were, paint dry.

They love their Lego at the moment.

At last, six years after my mother's death, I've forced myself to go through her archives. It's so hard to know what to keep - lots of albums with my parents' holiday snaps? hmm - but I probably won't keep this photo, inscribed by - whom? - Asqualina Taifa??? - to my father. Dad was in Egypt for much of the war, defusing bombs, so I imagine that this man was an Egyptian.

I know this young chap's name. He was a friend of my father's, and also one of the suitors for my mother's hand. He sent her quite a few studio photos of himself. He remained a friend of both my parents for some years, and did marry, though his wife was agaraphobic and wasn't able to visit much and I think they lost touch eventually.

And this chap - I only remember his first name - swore that if my mother wouldn't marry him, he'd enter a monastery.

She didn't. And he didn't. But I don't know what happened to him apart from that. Mum didn't keep in touch with him. But she didn't throw away his photo.

My dad kept annual albums in which he put lots of carefully jigsawed photos of the main family events of the year. He never got round to doing 2006 because he was in hospital by the end of that year, and he died in April 2007. There a lot of poignantly blank pages in this album.

Ah well. As my mum used to say, you can't live for ever. Which is one reason that I have to deal with these archives. And then there are mine... .


  1. Your mom led a much more exciting life than I do/did! I dread going through my parents' things when they pass. And my children won't have an easy time of it when I'm gone either. I guess I won't be around to worry about that.

  2. Oh, I do feel for you! We have recently "Been there, done that." BIll's father spent the war in the Middle East and there were tooo many photos of camels, rickshaws, unnamed, or unknown to us soldiers. Then there were the family photos , some named on the back some God alone knows who, and the HATS! Some of the photos of the late 1800s - early 1900s were extraordinary. In the ed we decided to only keep one or two of any person, and only if named. Then we had them all scanned 'digitised' is the term I think. Anyway, it was a drawn-out, difficult performance. Once cannot go on collecting family memorabilia and expect the children to cope when we get "passed it"!

    Best of luck!

  3. The frustrating things are the ones you can't understand. Mother-in-law left among her possessions a draft of a short story, or possibly the first few chaptrrs of a novel. It is quite definitely not her work though she may have typed it for someone. It obviously predates the computer age and has been hand edited by at least three people, m-in-l included. Husband had never seen it before it emerged from the drawer here where she'd kept it, and as it was one of the few things she brought with her when she came to live with us, it must have had some real emotional value. There are no clues as to its author. It still sits in a box in the cupboard as I can't bring myself to throw it away.

  4. Early in this year I went through my two suitcases of old photos. My uncle died the year before and I realised how difficult it was to be left with loads of stuff to sort so I resolved to get a grip on it.
    Many of the photos came from my gran, great-gran, great-aunt and I didn't have a clue who was in them. Those threw out. Of the others I tried to keep a representative sample although I suspect my children will be far more ruthless when it's their turn.

    My mum was in Egypt during the war but in the WAAF. And it looks as though you're getting better weather up there than we are down here in Wales.

  5. The picture of the children in front of the garage door made me laugh out loud -- you're too funny! I'll bet Mr. Life had fun listening to their conversation as he painted. Please figure out the secret to the archives. We have loads of things from both sets of parents (as well as our own) that need to be dealt with before we depart this earth -- tasks I'm not looking forward too