It all started so well.  The photo-book I ordered for my big sister’s birthday arrived just as we were setting off on a 600 mile round trip to her party.  We arrived in good time for the big event at Waddesdon Manor and the slideshow ran faultlessly until the screensaver kicked-in due to lack of any keyboard depressions – the Rothschilds obviously don’t do PowerPoint.  It was strange because I was mostly surrounded by people I had either never met or had not seen in over thirty years – “should I know you”  is not a good opening gambit.

Then about ten minutes before ‘carriages’ (up t’north, we call it the last bus home) it got stranger still – I took a very unpleasant turn for the worse – not through over-indulgence I hasten to add.  This was the start of something that continued for the next seven hours – I was then semi-comatose for the next twenty-four. My stomach muscles still ache.

Big sister had a great time though which was entirely the point of the exercise.  I take no credit for any of the photos in the slideshow only the many hours spent re-editing in Photoshop CC, OnOne and PowerPoint – a labour of love. The edits were not always strictly necessary, it is just one of my compulsive habits.  I trust Ray Davies, Guy Garvey et al will forgive me for ‘borrowing’ their music – the second track demands a decent sound system to get the full effect of Elbow’s magical production – something else the Rothschilds don’t do.

This is my favourite image from the slideshow – my sister is about three or four years old which makes it 1947-1948. A friend of the family is on the left, my mum is in the centre and my dad to the right is acting-up in front of the camera – it’s not just me, it’s in my genes. I’m Not There – not even thought about at this stage I imagine.

Manchester - 1947 or 48

Act III, Scene 13
Alexandria. CLEOPATRA’s palace.

Come, Let’s have one other gaudy night: call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more;
Let’s mock the midnight bell.

It is my birth-day: I had thought to have held it poor: but, since my lord
Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.


  1. Tish Farrell · April 8, 2014

    Hope you’re feeling better, Robin.

    • northumbrianlight · April 8, 2014

      Many thanks Tish – improving but being a chap, it is a slow process 🙂

  2. restlessjo · April 8, 2014

    Tap dancing again? (gingerly!) 🙂

  3. suej · April 8, 2014

    If it wasn’t over indulgence, perhaps you were allergic to the opulent surroundings??

  4. elisa ruland · April 8, 2014

    Love the post, the pictures the stories and the smiling faces. 🙂 Do not love that you caught a bug. 😦

    • northumbrianlight · April 9, 2014

      Many thanks Elisa – always good fun doing those slideshows but they take so long to set up – worth it for big sister though.

  5. LaVagabonde · April 9, 2014

    Oh no. Must have been the caviar canapés. Hope you’ve recovered from the spring cleaning. 😉 I bet your slide show was superb. I love the vintage photos you post.

    • northumbrianlight · April 9, 2014

      A hard lesson learned – always fly north, never south and insist on Beluga o_O
      I am recovering thanks Julie….but slowly 🙂

  6. easyweimaraner · April 9, 2014

    I hope you feel better. the birthday show is fabulous I enjoyed every minute!

    • northumbrianlight · April 9, 2014

      Many thanks, that’s very kind. I put some of these posts online as a kind of online diary so when people take the time to actually watch a 10 minute video it is a real added bonus – thanks again 🙂

  7. Fractions of the world · April 10, 2014

    What a lovely birthday gift! Glad you’re feeling better – I have to admit at first I thought it was all figuratively speaking 😉

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