Pictures of the Past

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bunty pic

More on this below but you may have seen this hamper before, it featured in my (highly entertaining) Christmas blog. I have opened it since. The results are shocking.

We shall also be roaming through Ireland, Finland, Norway and a few other spots via intriguing pictures of the past.

Here first though is me!!!!

farm step

Yes this is quite a while back. The inscription on the back states; Adrian on the front steps of Farberry Garth Farm near Warter Priory where Nana and Pop lived.

Yes we lived in Warter.

coracleSo did these guys by the looks of things.

The coracle, this old picture from the west of Ireland shows how portable these boats were, although the old text says they were used for fishing in rapid-running rivers, I think perhaps they would be put to much better use in stable waters. It also says that ‘Caesar’ adapted them for his Iberian campaign. They are much older than that, , well into pre-history I would say. These pictured where said to be made of split birch and canvas, I am sure over all leather would have been the most used surface.

The photos here (with the exception of the Bunty pic) were taken between 1890 and 1935. There were no credits with them and some are rather grainy, I felt they would be of interest to reenactors, costume makers, historians etc.

Of interest to folklorists too. This one intrigued me. We are still in Ireland. With some sort of rebel gang, which is now largely forgotten: The Straw Boys…straw boysYes the straw hats were a disguise as well as making them look terrifying, what scares me most is that they would dress in women’s clothing.

I am reminded of the Cat People, much feared in Celtic lands, but not now recalled who – or indeed what, they were.

Now this one, clearly, isn’t from way back then, as I have just painted it…

ice cities -01colouredIn fact it is a blatant attempt to get you to read more of my blogs by clicking the link through to my Viking Comics Inc. Graphic Novel written with older school children – Oski and the Amulet.

(Do come back here though! The best is yet to come.)

We are off to the Pyrenees Mountains now, for a folk dance.folk dance The rather disparaging text says, that as well as a flute and a violin, the piping chap also played a primitive form of wire piano struck with a piece of metal. Hang on! He is playing both at once. The ‘flute’ is some sort of one-hand pipe and the wired thing looks like a wonderful old traditional instrument. I want to know more! I want to hear theses guys (and I want to hear whoever sang with them!).

We are off to old Esthonia now.esthonian croppedWonderful old costumes. I wonder how much of this is recollected and still worn today in the form it is here from over a hundred years ago.

We are looking here at style of dress from the Petseri district; Unique costumes were popular on the many islands around the coast too.

Come to think, I want to know more about such people’s lifestyles and interests.

The stories…

Now this feller told stories…tellerNebulous shapes of a bygone age weave and drift from the telling of this Guernsey teller, who went so far back that all of it was true. All of it was believed in the moment of telling, for there are things to the world which are other than we know. If only we knew now; perhaps if we go to Guernsey there will be someone there who remembers him, and remembers his tales.

Mayhap he knows of the elves.

His companion has clearly shifted all that straw in the huge bale behind her. I note she has a hay bailer rather than a pitch fork, if my memories of the days I would sit on that step and watch the Wolds farm workers are correct. For it has two prongs not three.old-pitchfork-isolated-over-white-25223928

I am transported now to Russia. I am planning to do a blog on strange and quaint sayings and proverbs from around the world, and my favourite is perhaps the Russian one I read:

‘Beware of pitchforks, for they make three holes’ – Discuss.

(Do please send me ones you know.)

He doesn’t have string round his trouser legs though like Awd Mr Bott.

Off we go now to the Sheep Islands, better known perhaps as the Faroe Isles. It says in the blurb from over a hundred years ago; ‘belonging to Denmark’, is that still the case?fearoe coupleDescribed back then as an optimistic people, I hope they are all feeling as jolly now. I particularly like the feller’s hat – can you still get them?

(The shoe fastening style is of interest too.)

Is it time for a break from the black and white?

Yes!dads car croppedThere’s mum all dressed up ready for another adventure. There is the car! They got stopped everywhere they went – by curious coppers.

For those of you who are into the details of such a thing, it is a Mini sub-frame with a boxed steel outer frame welded on and a single wheel axle at the back. They went everywhere in it.

Oh yes and plywood.

Back to black and white. A totally different place to the Faroes, but just as flat – Holland.hollandAnd yes there are flowers on the whip. It was their wedding day you see.

Northern Holland we are in (perhaps that is a bit steeper). What you do is, you drive around all the local villages with your engarlanded whips and throw out sweetmeats (as we used to call goodies) (as we used to call chows) (as we used to call sweets)… As you might call candy. Phew, we got there in the end.

When we arrived at the end of the Forth Bridge (they still haven’t built the fifth one) Dad still had all the takings from the raffle he had ran the night before. As best man at a wedding he was informed of a similar tradition to above. This was the sixties, so I am not sure if it still goes on. He was told they had been collecting coppers (great big pennies and ha’pennies) and gave him a bag full. He was instructed that as they drove around the villages he had to throw a few out whenever he saw children congregated. So he thought, ‘Well, I’ve sent a cheque (‘check’ in the US, if you still use them), so I might as well add in all this silver’; tanners, bobs, two bob bits and perhaps a two & a sprat or two. IE quite a lot of money.

Gosh what an uproar there was. Never forgotten. They still discuss the generosity of Yorkshiremen up there.

(Between the third and fourth bridges somewhere I think.)

(One of my little geographical jokes there did you see?)

Moving on…

They have even stranger customs in Finland…finsAnd I have no more to say about that.

This isn’t an island…speech blob 001

But Stromo is (please add your own two little dots to the top of the last letter O).stromo girlsAnd these are the Stromo girls.

Apparently Faroe was one big island till Norway went and dropped a bit of it’s coast by mistake. See Geographical joke no. 1.

After that Thorshavn was the central island of 21, 17 of which were inhabited just over a hundred years ago, (Is that still about right for nowadays?).

These girls where described as speaking a dialect version of the Norse (Is that still the case?)

I like the different headress thingies.


It is Bunty time.

I used to steal my sisters Bunty comic as soon as she put it down. mainly because of the cut out dolls – free in every issue.

cut out(Note the little tags – that’s what it was all about.)

But shock horror…

Well, shock horror 01

I opened the hamper.bunty pic

I opened the comic. There wasn’t a cut-out dressing up section!

I recovered.

I read the comic.

Shock horror 02.

I read it.

Well, I only read the front. It was enough.

bunty  coverHow horrendous! How funny it was back in ’84. Oh Bunty chats so. In she comes to the lesson on first aid. Oh how she chats. Nobody can learn a thing. Then Teacher has a great idea. Bandages wrap like this, she ties Bunty’s arms and legs to the chair. Band Aid sticks like this; she clamps shut Bunty’s mouth. Oh how they all laugh. Learning first aid and gagging and tying up the over chatty Bunty all in one lesson., Ho ho. Ha ha. Ho oh my god, have we changed that much! Its only thirty years ago.

Let’s run away to Sweden.sweden girlsThese happy Leksand girls were described as well-built and prepossesing. It is a shame we cannot see the multi-coloured nature of their aprons. I also think their hats are really cool.

This one said they were disappearing.lappsThe Lapps that is. I don’t think they did disappear, but perhaps the tents did. It is described as a Kota and I want one.

There are plenty more to come in the future, but for now, here is the last picture of this edition. I like this one.norway window croppedIt says that the Hardanger people are staunch advocates of the femine orthodox garb. It also decribes them as modern Norwegians. There is a suggestion that this is a farm house; although it is noted that the old log cabin farms are few and far between as they are being replaced by farm houses built of brick and stone – I haven’t seen too many of those either.

More from me soon. I am always glad to receive input.

I thought the next edition of this series might focus on the Americas and Australia.

But my next blog will probably be favourite quotes, so do please send some…


3 thoughts on “Pictures of the Past

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