Inscribed on the back of this photograph is a moderately barbed comment – it is in my mother’s hand: The Professor and the Girls, a reference, no doubt, to the ostentatious pipe. My mother takes centre stage flanked left and right by Aunt Bet and Uncle Ed. My dad is behind the lens. They were not actually related, just good friends brought together by the bombs that fell on war-torn Manchester; nor was Uncle Ed a professor. Girls doesn’t quite ring true either.
This is Morfa Nefyn, north Wales in 1956 (finally, the correct year) which puts them in their mid-30s. In not so many years I will be twice their age but they remain the older and wiser grown-ups.
The photographs were printed as contacts from Kodak 117 negatives. Scanned at 1600dpi, they reveal detail not apparent in the originals. I am clutching a tennis ball, presumably keen to resume the interrupted game of cricket. My sister has a half eaten banana in her hand, presumably keen to to resume feeding her face :-).
The many-roomed house is where we stayed – a self-catering holiday home with me posing outside. I have a wooden bat in my hand, part of a Slam! tennis trainer set, a wholly ineffective device which, if inflicted on a young Roger Federer, would have killed his brilliant career from the outset. I remember nothing of the inside of the house except for vague memories of the attic, a place deemed out-of-bounds and ‘haunted’ just to add spice to the ruling. I spent quite some time up there. Looking closely at this photograph I can see no ghostly faces in the attic windows but there are two at a lower level. I had never spotted these ‘apparitions’ before o_O.