18 June 2014

Bustles and Begonias

Finally, I've managed to build up my collection of people and gardens and people and plants.
It wasn't hard, Victorians loved posing amongst their well loved gardens and with fashionable ferny props.

Here are the photographs which have the most social and garden history interest.

Most date from the 1870s to 1900s

Favourite armchair in the garden

Really interesting - walled garden in Winter, with cold frames and espalier fruit tree

Back indoors - young lady and fern

Meanwhile outside  - tense expressions all round in the garden

Lady with Begonia
Suave young man in a really interesting small garden
Milder looking chap with window boxes
I picked this one out because of the Wardian case/cloche with a plant in it
 An unusual corner to have a photo taken, obviously this lady wanted her fern collection to be immortalised too
Glamorous young lady posing with ferns
Note on the back says "dear old Sam". Lovely ramshackle garden with Nasturtiums

16 April 2014

Ponty Park Life

I saw a couple last week who were going to the library. They looked about 70 and would be the perfect pair to advertise a retirement complex... one where Judy and Ron pop by with a cottage pie one evening and talk about their grandchildren's university lifestyles in a casually competitive tone.
The gentleman wore acid green corduroy trousers and a brown tweed jacket; an upside-down tree. The lady wore a white and red suit, I got the feeling she wore suits regularly because she wasn't walking stiffly, as Barbie and Sindy would. When I walked past, they smiled broadly, in unison. I looked quite conventional (on my way to work) like someone with a partner who knows a good mechanic and plumber; takes a banana to work for break time.

 I got to work 45 minutes early, in time to make everyone a cup of tea. Cheaper than buying one at a cafĂ© just to get to work at start time.

After work, I took the boys to Ponty park. Once there, perched on a piles-inducing bench, another mum made polite conversation with me. We end up having a proper chat, and I ask lots of prying questions. It's lazy interview syle discussion on my part.

The park is changing - some things dying; others reborn. The weeping willows are crying leaves again; shocking turquoise pool being destroyed, former big pool being restored after two decades of doing nothing.

Previous blogs of mine were full of stories featuring Ponty park. I spend less time hanging around the place now. More time moving around with (albeit dutiful) purpose.

The lady I spoke to at the park went home to have dinner with her partner.

 Lurid trouser man and crimson suit woman probably had their dinner around 5pm, (chicken and spuds).

 Just a hunch.

 I had dinner with my three sons.

There's an image in my mind, not unlike the blank Facebook profile picture, when I try to imagine another person joining us.

 Anyone would be welcome though.... providing they don't post lifestyle memes, 'like' those posts about 'retro' sweets (which are still widely available in many corner shops), don't use txt spk, don't talk about friends in 'heaven' when they're not even religious and don't moan about Monday every Monday.....

Lucy Abberley

10 April 2014

Animal, Vegetable

This new blog will be completely different from our old ones. More of an emphasis on the esoteric, over heard conversations, snatches of the past and any current obsessions we may have.
My current obsession is Victorian Gardening and I've decided that from a social history point of view, I'd like to collect images of people in gardens or people with plants. I'm just starting out, so I thought I'd keep you entertained with a previous collection. Dogs - and people with dogs.
No set style, just whatever took my fancy


From "The Leisure Hour 1898"

Miss Vesta Tilley - the famous music hall male impersonator

 Noble beast