Sepia Saturday 139. I’m 2 today! Ice cream & jelly!

I can’t believe that it has been two years since I tentatively wrote my first blog post on Images Past.  I dipped my toe into the blogging world just for fun, and I’m really enjoying it.  I didn’t imagine that anyone would actually read it, but some very supportive followers gradually appeared and made comments.  Have a look at me in 1966 when I was two, back in the days when you could let small children play with golf clubs and no one called Social Services.

Future golf champion.  NOT.

My first post was a rather reserved one about my Dad’s love of vintage tractors and I showed some old postcards which he bought at tractor rallies in Canada and the US.  The postcards will probably only be of interest to someone with similar enthusiasm for old agricultural equipment but Dad’s tractor collection almost caused a divorce.

Since my blogging confidence has grown, due to the support of my lovely followers (hello to both of you), I’m now quite happy to rattle on about all sorts of things.  I’ve had great fun getting to know my Granny through Great Granny’s Album.  Granny died when I was only 3, and although I remember her, I never “knew” her.  It seems like she was quite a character, judging by some of her antics.  I think my favourite post is probably about a photo of Granny up a tree with her cousins.  It’s obviously hereditary as here’s a rather poor photo of me up a tree.  Strangely enough I was wearing pink slippers.

This tree-climbing lark must be hereditary

Exploring the photo album has prompted me to do some interesting research , and I found out that in the 1920’s there was a factory that built “cars made in Scotland by ladies for ladies“.  I had no idea!  The little purple sports car at the end of the post has now moved on to a new owner 😦 but it was fun while it lasted 😀  You guessed it – this is me with That Car….

Cocky little bugger

Looking at the blog stats, the most popular post was where I compared two identical old sewing boxes and their contents.  One belonged to my great aunt, and the other belonged to Elsie, who was my non-tree-climbing Granny.  Elsie’s sewing box was trashed in comparison – she wasn’t precious about her stuff and had a very Gung Ho attitude compared to her more dignified sister.  My “Sentimental Sunday” story about visiting the grave of Greyfriars Bobby seems to attract a good few visits too.  Bring a hanky.  Just to be contrary here’s a pic of me with a cat.

Me with Harvey Wallbanger

Judging by the old sheepskin jacket, this was taken in the mid 1980’s.  Good grief, the shadow behind my head makes me look like I’ve got a beehive!

I’ve found that having an intriguing title for a blog post makes it more popular but in retrospect, including the words “busty blonde granny of 6” probably led to a lot of disappointment for Googlers.  Joining in with memes, such as Sepia Saturday is a great way to find inspiration and the contributors are a very supportive bunch 🙂

Making “virtual” connections with people from all corners of the globe is exciting, and has also enhanced my social media experience through Facebook and Twitter.   Heartfelt thanks to everyone who reads my blog, to those who leave me comments, to my new Facebook friends and Twitter tweeps – it’s great to know that you’re out there 🙂

Now off you go to Sepia Saturday to see what some of my blogger chums are up to!


Posted in Photos, Sepia Saturday | 41 Comments

Historical newspapers – taxidermy or burial? Decisions, decisions

Everyone knows how much I love trawling through old newspapers and earlier this week I received an email from Thomas, who runs a company that sells original newspaper gifts.  How did he know?  He offered to send me a couple of newspapers if I would write an article about them and/or link to his website.

Naturally, an unknown man offering to send me gifts in the post made me feel a little uncertain, but I decided to take him up on his offer – the lure of the old papers was just too much for me.  He asked me what titles I would be interested in and I said “one of your oldest Scottish papers, please”.  This morning, the postie delivered this

And inside, wrapped in tissue, were two newspapers

North British Daily Mail and The Glasgow News

I gave them a quick inspection.  There was a copy of the “North British Daily Mail” from Saturday 7th January 1882 and a copy of the “Glasgow News” from Monday March 9th 1885.  Brilliant – old newspapers I can read without cranking a microfilm reader handle until my hand falls off 🙂

The first thing I noticed was the size of these broadsheets.  They’re 18″ wide and 24″ long.  In 1882, there must have been a lot of elbowing on the train as the men with bowler hats went off to work, or maybe the train seats were bigger too.

They smelled a bit funny (kind of like old newspapers) and a closer look revealed that they were slightly yellowed – surely not… surely not?  Then the penny dropped that they are the actual ORIGINAL prints, not the reproductions that I had expected.  130 year old newspapers that managed to avoid the fish and chip shop or being made into firelighters.  Amazing.  Needless to say, I have been reading a lot today.

Does your cat need stuffing or a relative need burying?

Are you in need of tricycle training, turkeys or tweeds?

I fancy getting myself a Ladies maid.  That would make me a Lady, wouldn’t it?

I’m glad I took Thomas up on his offer as I’m going to have so much fun with these newspapers.

If you fancy having a look to see if Historic Newspapers have something which might interest you, I have been given a 15% off discount code to share with you, so if something catches your eye, enter the code 15TODAY.  They have newspapers from all over the world, but the bulk of their archives are from the US and the UK.

Jo 🙂

Posted in Photos | 8 Comments

Sepia Saturday 134 – want to share my pram?

The inspiration for today’s Sepia Saturday post comes from a photo of a lady in traditional costume posing with a baby in a vintage pram.

Here’s me in my “now vintage” pram – cool wheels in March 1965.  This is one of my favourite photos of my Mum 🙂

This pram is probably responsible for my interest in sports cars.  Note the piece of string hanging over the edge.  Teddy was tied to it for easy retrieval when I launched him over the side.  My pram even had a fancy canopy to keep the sun off – back in the days when you could wheel your baby outdoors and leave it.

Inevitably, you sometimes have to share your wheels –

but I seem quite happy sharing the pram with my little brother.  Here we are again looking a bit bigger, with our granddad, Douglas, and Teddy.  I still have Teddy although he is now a bit bald, cross-eyed and mis-shapen 🙂

Now, burn some rubber and go and see what everyone else has been inspired to write.

Jo 🙂

Posted in Sepia Saturday | 19 Comments

Sepia Saturday 133 – baby elephants?

Today’s inspiration for Sepia Saturday is a photo of a baby elephant at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, taken by Sam Hood (1872-1953) and comes from The State Library of New South Wales via flickr. It was taken about 1930.

For some strange reason, Great Granny’s album has, once again, come up with a rather obscure but appropriate image.  Meet Dougal and the baby elephant in St Edmund in August 1928 –

Dougal and the Baby Elephant Ceylon St Edmund Aug 1928

I haven’t a clue who Dougal is.  I gave my family tree a good shake, but no Dougals fell out.  Just a few nuts.

"Dougal and the Baby" - elephant! rear of photo

Perhaps someone on Tinterwebs will find him and let me know 🙂

I suspect that this Nellyphant was a working Nellyphant, rather than an “exhibit”.  I’ve never been a fan of zoos and, as a child, I would cry when I saw the polar bears or the tigers cooped up at Edinburgh Zoo.   I’m really soft when it comes to animals (Lassie/Flipper/Black Beauty/Skippy – NOOOO!) and cried when I saw the amazing Lippizaner horses “dancing” to classical music.  A few years ago a friend persuaded me to go to see a dolphin show while on holiday in Tenerife.  I should have known I would snivel my way through it.

Check out the other elephant-inspired posts at Sepia Saturday

Happy weekend!


Posted in Great Granny's album, Photos, Sepia Saturday | 10 Comments

A carte de visite from Harry and Minnie Murray – Sepia Saturday 132

Inspired by a lovely blog that I follow, Forgotten Old Photos, I did something I haven’t done before.  The lady who writes the blog buys up old photos and posts them in the hope that they might be reunited with descendants some day.  There are helpful folk who do some research if the photos have names on the back, and there is a general “PARTY!” feel when a photo is reunited with its family.

I rummaged around on Ebay and found a cute Carte de Visite.  The seller was in the US (I’m in Scotland) but the CDV luckily had names penned on the front so I snapped it up.  Meet little Harry and Minnie Murray who had their photo taken by Patersons of Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.  I wondered if I could find some relatives for these two.

Harry & Minnie Murray

I was so excited when it arrived!  Harry and Minnie were very likely born in the Glasgow area, and although I research the Scottish records on a daily basis, I knew I would have trouble finding them in the Census Returns – there was no date given on the photo, which meant I couldn’t estimate their years of birth and would have to trawl through Census documents hoping to find a Harry Murray who happened to have a sister (assuming she was his sister) called Minnie.  Harry can be short for “Henry” and Minnie can be short for all sorts (my great granny was a Minnie – short for Andrewina, strangely enough).  Oh dear.

I guessed that Minnie looks about 7 and Harry looks about 4, but I’m not good at guessing ages.  Most of the time I can’t even remember my own age.  Please chip in with your guesses at their ages!

I Googled for Paterson’s Photographic Co and discovered that they operated from Sauchiehall Street between 1882 and 1897.  The style of the card and the printing of the company name suggest a time period of the late 1880’s to early 1890’s.

I also sent a copy of the photo to Forgotten Old Photos, asking for advice about dating the photo from the clothing and she kindly responded “First of all the card stock..light pink..I assume it is the same color on the back.  Pastel colors like pink were used after 1880. The card has rounded corners so that dates it sometime after 1870.  Button trims and the high neck and tight sleeves on the girls clothing look like the 1880’s to me.  That little boy is really cute in his trimmed suit.  Childrens clothing is much harder to date..because they handed it down.” 

Although all my Scottish research is carried out using the original records which are held nearby in Edinburgh, as it was Saturday, and raining (excuse for not cutting the grass – YAY!) I logged on to my account to see what I could find out about the two little ones.  Ancestry doesn’t have access to Scottish records, apart from transcribed Census returns so I tend not to use the site much, except for passenger lists and non-Scottish Census data.  Well, what an eye-opener (if the shaky leaves were telling the truth, but I’m still not totally convinced :-)) but I think I found them in the 1881 Census.  They were the 8th and 9th surviving children of Archibald Murray and Marion McColl and were living at 438 Crown Street, Glasgow.   Minnie was aged 6 (“Marion” on the Census,  born c 1875) and Harry was aged 3, which fits with the dates of the photography business, and would date this photo around 1882.  That makes this card about 130 years old – I wish I had family photos (even one!) that old.  By the time of the 1891 Census, the family had moved to 285 Crown Street.

Look at Minnie’s FOUR strings of beads, and the embroidered detail on Harry’s jacket.  Considering that Archie had 9 kids by then, he was doing well – or perhaps Harry’s suit and Minnie’s beads were borrowed from the neighbours, which was accepted practice when a family had saved enough for a studio photo.

From Ancestry, it seems that Harry and Minnie probably had an older sister, Maggie May.  Yes, we know a song about her, thank you, Rod 🙂  Maggie married George Noble and emigrated from Scotland in 1906, landing up in Winnipeg and later moving to LA, where she died.  I wish I had asked the Ebay seller (Robert at hc-quality) where he had acquired the card from.  I guess we will never know for sure if the carte de visite was a treasured memento of her kid sister and brother that Maggie May took with her when she left Scotland.

As a follow up to this post, I will use the Scottish birth, marriage and death records to see if I come to a different conclusion rather than relying on census data, Ancestry member family trees and passenger lists, which can easily lead you to barking up the wrong tree 🙂


Head over to Sepia Saturday and see what other interesting old photos are being discussed with this week…

Posted in Photos, Sepia Saturday | 19 Comments

Sepia Saturday 130 – daft women and their cats :-)

Thanks to Little Nell for babysitting us Sepia Saturday-ers while Alan loafs about drinking delicious beers on holiday with the GLW.  I’m sure Nell will do a marvellous job in his absence.

This week’s post is allied to Alan’s black and white photo of the legs of an embracing couple, with a (probably ginger ) cat stepping between them.

Anyone who even knows me vaguely will have realised that I am Cat Woman.  Not the glam one from the film, the bonkers old one with all the polythene bags who befriends stray kittens and wants to bring every unwanted cat in Europe home and look after it.  Yes, just like Brigitte Bardot, but with less tan 🙂  As a child, living on a farm, we had our fair share of abandoned animals, but one cat made it his mission to become part of our family.  By the time I was 18 months old and toddling, I was feeding this cat, and after our old collie died, he appeared near the house.  Needless to say, he wheedled his way in, slept in front of the fire and lived to a ripe old age.  We never named him, as we always thought he would disappear one day, just as he had appeared, but he was still around for my 18th birthday.

Subsequent cat boarders were mainly of the “my landlord doesn’t allow pets, can you take him for a while?” type and it was a long time before I had a cat to call My Very Own.  I rescued Brian from a friend’s flat where the flatmates were being less than kind.  I didn’t like to leave him Home Alone so I used to stuff him down the front of my jacket and travel around Edinburgh with a large kitten buttoned into my top.  It was probably the highlight of my life, from the point of view of male attention 🙂  I went to the ABC Cinema in Lothian Road in Edinburgh one night to see a double bill of “Life of Brian” and “Blazing Saddles”, and the kitty came with us.  He slept throughout the whole thing and was thus named Brian.  He had the run of several student pubs in Edinburgh and, even as a sizeable cat, still liked to travel in my jacket.  I remember being in a fish and chip shop in Fountainbridge one night when a man came in with a very agitated greyhound.  While I was waiting on my chips, the dog kept whining and trying to sniff at me, and the owner kept telling him to shut up.  One of them knew I had a large cat secreted about my person – a large cat who was also getting a wee bit annoyed.  I suppose  my scars don’t show much now, after all this time.

Fast forward to the year 2000 and I managed to find a litter of kittens and bagged two – the most inquisitive one, and the cutest one out of the litter.  The most inquisitive one went the way of all curious cats, and after he was 18 months old I never saw him again.  The cutest one, Bumble, is currently kipping on the bed 🙂  Thankfully.  Here he is

When my partner, Adrian, and I got together, he was very blase about Bumble, and I was used to Bumble sleeping on the bed with me.  Where he BELONGED.  After a few grumbles from Adrian and nights where he shut the cat out of the bedroom (and the cat ripped chunks out of the carpet) Adrian finally accepted that he could either sleep in the cat basket in the hall on his own, or join me and Bumble in the bed.  It has been a happy tale ever since 🙂


Posted in cats, Photos, Sentimental Sunday | 22 Comments

Sepia Saturday 126

Alan and Kat have provided the inspiration this week by posting a group photo of a wedding on the Sepia Saturday blog, so I had a rummage in my archives and came up with another photo of Granny from Great Granny’s Album.

This one is particularly poignant as it shows Granny (on the right, being more sensible than usual) and her younger sister, Chrissie, (on the left) in their roles as bridesmaids to their older sister, Margaret.  Margaret married George Thom in Perth on 26 October 1935.  Granny would have been 26 and Chrissie would have been 22.  They both look a lot younger than that to me.  There has always been a striking resemblance between Granny and Auntie Chrissie  – they both had the same eyes, cheekbones and red hair, but seeing this photo is quite a revelation.  Back then it seems, Granny and Auntie Margaret had almost identical facial features – their eyebrows and smiles are  very similar in the photo.  We called Chrissie and Margaret “Auntie” because they were Dad’s aunties, but they were actually our Great Aunties.

Granny died when I was only 3, but I can remember visiting her a few times, and I remember Auntie Chrissie and Auntie Margaret well.  Auntie Chrissie never married, and was a sociable lady who attended the usual family functions with gusto until she was quite elderly.  She was also a great letter-writer and kept in touch with many members of the family via the Royal Mail.  Auntie Margaret was a typical Perthshire farmer’s wife and lived in a cold stone farmhouse which we visited a few times a year on the way to see other Perthshire farming relatives – usually Dad’s cousins.  One year, on the way to the annual raspberry-picking fest (eat your own weight in raspberries, which we did),  I was invited to stay overnight at Auntie Margaret’s house while the rest of my family went off to the final destination.  I’m guessing that I was about 5 or 6, and it seemed like a great idea at the time (they had a PIANO and a DOG – items which were on my Wish List) so it was agreed that I would stay the night with them.  When it came to bedtime, despite the hot water bottle, I was inconsolable – I bawled my eyes out for my Mum and Dad, and must have been a real pain in the butt to my hosts.  The dog tried to bite me every time I went into the kitchen, so I hung around in a corridor by the back door until Mum and Dad came to get me.  I never got to play the piano, either.  At that stage, I hadn’t had any lessons, but I wanted to tinker with it – I thought it couldn’t be that difficult.  I found out otherwise a few years later 🙂

Posted in Great Granny's album, Sepia Saturday | 8 Comments