Yesterday was my Mum’s birthday, she would have been 91.  The photograph was taken on the promenade at Bournemouth; the year is 1929.  She is sharing a deckchair with her Dad, Fred.  Pipe in hand, resting on his cap, his right hand is bandaged.  He spent his entire adult life enmeshed in aero and auto engines at a time when industrial injuries were taken for granted. There is another picture of him standing outside Andover Hospital with his arm in a sling, the result of another workplace accident, this time at Taskers; he would have been in his seventies.

Mum and Fred

My mum and I did not agree on many things but we shared a great affection for Fred. I can still smell the Three Nuns pipe tobacco which he would rub in his large scarred hands.


  1. Malin H · August 14, 2014

    Absolutely wonderful… A fantastic photo and story!

    • northumbrianlight · August 14, 2014

      Many thanks – this is one of my favourite photos of them both – an enlarged version hangs in our kitchen

  2. Cate Franklyn · August 14, 2014

    Happy birthday to your Mum! August 18th is my mother’s birthday. If she were alive she’d be 96.

  3. LaVagabonde · August 14, 2014

    Your mother sure had a piercing gaze for a child.

    • northumbrianlight · August 14, 2014

      You’re right Julie – there is something demonic lurking there 🙂 I think I over-did the Photoshop dodge tool 😦

  4. easyweimaraner · August 14, 2014

    It’s wonderful and it has such a “take me back” effect… I would like to visit this time for a while :o)

    • northumbrianlight · August 14, 2014

      Many thanks Easy – I particularly like the man in the trilby looking back over his shoulder … searching for his lost youth?

  5. littledogslaughed · August 14, 2014

    This is a wonderful image Robin but the backstory makes it even more so-

    • northumbrianlight · August 14, 2014

      Many thanks Meg – I don’t smoke but I am tempted to buy some Three Nuns and sniff the tin, just to bring my Grandfather back.

  6. Photobooth Journal · August 14, 2014

    My dad is 80 today (the 15th). Great photo and lovely story aobut your Grandpa. (The pear-shaped woman and her partner add to the nostalgia of the image, so like that part, too.)

    • northumbrianlight · August 15, 2014

      A very happy birthday to your Dad! I like those two extras as well. She appears to be using an upside down umbrella as a walking stick. Maybe everyone did that then 🙂

  7. mark · August 15, 2014

    Thanks for sharing this Robin, a great story and photo. Fred looks like a great guy, such a kind face. I love to hear about that era, my Granda is 97 and whenever I speak to him I try and get him to tell me stories about when he was younger. One time he just so happened to mention that after the war when everyone was coming back home he came back from Rome with a load of others all packed into a Lancaster Bomber and he was right at the front, lying down in the nose that was made of glass. He said that it was like being a bird.
    Different worlds altogether…

    • northumbrianlight · August 15, 2014

      It is good that you are old enough to appreciate your Granda’s stories – mine died when I was 15, before it ever occurred to me to ask. He spent most of the Great War in Egypt servicing the first RFC aeroplanes which they were using to attack the Turks – the tales he could have told.

      What a way to come home – those Lancasters are magnificent.
      As you say, different worlds. All the best – R

  8. Mélanie · August 16, 2014

    souvenirs, souvenirs…

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