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Sunday 18 February 2024

Eating Out is Fun -Sepia Saturday

Continuing this month's Sepia Saturday "Fun" theme, I look back at memories of Eating Out.

Restaurant sign in Chartres, France.

I cannot  remember ever as a child going for a meal to a cafe or restaurant.  I grew up in the 1950's and we simply never ate out.  I don't think we were unusual - people just did not do it, when you could eat at home. 

We lived then in the north west seaside resort of Blackpool, so there was an abundance of cafes and fish & chip shops - but they were there for visitors, not for us.  My only memory is of a regular Saturday afternoon trip with my mother  into town to meet my Aunt Edith at a cafe that specialised in icecream from the local Palatine Dairy.    


  Blackpool with its famous tower.

In my  early teens we moved to York,  and again I have no recollections in my teenage years  of eating out. This must  have been the time of the coffee bar culture, but that passed me by, and at weekends I met friends at my home or theirs. There was no "just hanging out". 

By my late teens we were living in Edinburgh and I remember going for a birthday treat with my mother to the Chocolate House (long since gone) on Princes Street.  (I remain a chocoholic!).   There was also the tea room with my mother  at PT's (Patrick Thomson's) department store on the North Bridge, where it was all very genteel with soft music playing and waitresses in black dresses and lace pinnies  serving you.   

I suppose my first experience of eating out must have been school dinners - not much fun!  
Like most people I hated them, especially the fatty meat, liver, red cabbage, sprouts and anything with hot milk such as custard and the milk puddings - rice, tapioca (nicknamed frog spawn or fish eye pud!) and semolina where I tried to eke out the miserable spoonful of jam to disguise the awful taste.  Also among my dislikes,  soggy bread & butter pudding  and Queen's pudding (apart from the meringue topping),  Menus did not seem to change much over my 13 years of school life. Fly pie (current slices), was my favourite.  The idea of taking a packed lunch, as now was never consideredMoving to Scotland introduced me to haggis neeps & tatties (haggis with turnips and potatoes)  and a chip butty,  (chips in a buttered roll) and kilted sausages (sausages wrapped in streaky bacon.  s an impoverished student, a lived off beans and chips

(1s.6d) as the cheapest item on the refectory menu. Meeting friends, we would go to a  a Wimpy Bar and make one coca-cola drink last all evening.

Now eating out is one of our great regular pleasures, not just for special occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries or family visits,  but to enjoy a relaxing lunch in a pub, bistro or country house hotel.  
Burts Hotel in the historic abbey town of Melrose, five  miles from my home.
Eating out on holidays abroad is extra special, especially if it is out of doors (we don't get much chance of that in Scotland).  
A  restaurant sign in Poland. 
We are extremely partial in Bavaria and Austria. to visiting "Konditorei" (the equivalent to  French patisseries) .

A sign at our hotel in Berchtesgarten. Bavaria.  

I was an avid reader in my early teens of the Chalet Scghool stories, set in the Austrian Tyrol where having "Kaffee und Kuchen" seemed to be a favourite phrase.  It was not until I learned German at school that I realised the correct pronunciation - "und" was "unt" and the ch in Kuchen was as  in "loch" not as in "chips" 

By the time we went to Austria on holiday  I could order from the amazing selection of delicious cakes and pastries at the Cafe/Konditorei Zauner, founded in 1832 in the spa town of Bad Ischl,  It more than met my expectations of an elegant, old fashioned  Viennese style cafe. 


We indulged!  

Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers   to share their family history and memories through photographs.

Click HERE to see  other bloggers had fun. 

Copyright © 2024· Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Saturday 10 February 2024

Having Fun Down the Generations - Sepia Saurday

Continuing this month's Sepia Saturday theme of Fun, I take a look at Fun Down the Generations - from my granddaugher  to her ggg grandfather .

 Granddaughter having fun on the swings  in the park - the nearest photo I have  to this week's prompt fairground image.

Christmas Day - but there is as much fun in the box as with the presents - a photograph I could not find when  I was looking for it for an earlier recent prompt.


 Jumping for Joy!  Granddaughter never happier than when jumping, climbing, or running. 

         Daughter having fun.  playing hide and seek at Hermitage Castle in the  Scottish Borders

Winter Fun on a misty hill as daughter and her Dad enact "The Hills Are Alive" - look at that nifty footwork!  Our dog has dashed out of the picture at this sight - spot the red dog lead around my husband.  c.1990's.


I loved playing at dressing up.   The Village Gala was the focal event of the calendar where we lived.   All the surrounding  villages had the their annual gala day, when the local band led the Rose Queen in procession with her maids of honour and retinue to a field where she was crowned Queen by some local worthy, followed by dancing displays  games, stalls, craft competitions, refreshment tents - and sports.  

Here is a picture of the junior dancers at  the Gala Day at  Staining, near Blackpool, Lancashire around 1950, and I am the little girl kneeling on the left of the front row. .


 Much older - enjoying a drink in a Munich  Beer Garden in Bavaria, Germany.

I first saw this photograph amongst papers after my mother's death. She is the second figure in from the left - looking very trim and elegant in that boyish costume. 

But what are they dressed up for?  There is a  clue on the back - with the name of  a photographer in Stirling (Scotland). That means it was taken  after 1961 when we moved north from England.  
I do know that Mum went  to Stirling to take part in some regional events for the Townswomen's Guild - or was it WRI (Women's Rural Institute) -  and these clearly are all women.  Was it a play?  Mum was never interested in acting and I cannot see her delivering lines in a play. But she enjoyed singing and joined a choir wherever we lived.  So  was it a choral performance?    Italian or Spanish, judging by the costumes?  Is that a bride & groom in the centre with the "priest" alongsid?  Gilbert & Sullivan's "Gondoliers" came to mind, but there are no gondolier hats.  I shall never know!  But it shows you are never too old to enjoy dressing up

My mother , Kathleen Danson (standing) playing with her sister, my aunt Edith  in the garden, c.1913. 


My father, John Weston is on the right of the middle row, 

My  father John Percy Weston (1912-2003) had written down for me the memories of his  early life in Broseley, near Ironbridge, Shropshire.

"I was mad keen on soccer, so much so that I had a trial at Birmingham with the English schoolboys. Then I found out  that two directors from Birmingham Football Club came to see Dad and Mum to sign me on for the junior team  - they refused, saying I was too young to be away from home. I was not told about this until later and sulked for a month!

But a bit of glory followed, when my school team entered a cup competition. I was vice-captain and we got to the final - and won the cup, the first ever for Broseley."

Apparently a photograph was taken of the team's success, but no pictures of my father's early life passed down the family.  Unfortunately I only had a broad indication of the year i.e. 1926  for the event, which made tracing it in local newspapers difficult.   I contacted Broseley Historical Society who put my enquiry on their online newsletter.   I am delighted to say I  heard from three members of the society with more personal memories - and even better have a photograph of the winning football team, with my father on the middle row right. This is the earliest photograph I have of my father and I am so grateful to the Society for it. 

Some  humour even in war time - as illustrated by the photograph of my grandfather William Danson, that shows the camaraderie that could exist amongst soldiers in World War One. 
The photo  intrigued me when I first saw it as a child. There was no Scottish connections at all on my mother's side of the family, so why was Granddad wearing a kilt and a tammie?   The story was that he became friendly with some Scottish soldiers, and as a laugh he had dressed up in one of their uniforms and had his picture taken to send home.  It must have been taken in France as the reverse of the photograph  indicates it is a "Carte Postale" with space for "Correspondance" and "Addresse".


This is the only photograph I have of my great grandfather James Danson (1852-1906), the bearded figure on the left,  sitting merrily in the ancient stocks at Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  By all accounts of his family, he was a bit of a ne'er do well, but clearly having fun in what could well be a staged photograph.



Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers   to share their family history and memories through photographs.


 Click HERE to see how other Sepia Saturday blogger have related their family stories for this week


Friday 2 February 2024

Fun by Water - Sepia Saturday

February is Fun is the theme for this month's Sepia  Saturday  posts, with the prompt image showing a group of girls having great fun in water.  In Scotland there is not too much opportunity for it to be warm enough  for that,  so I have gone  for the next best aspect  - Fun BY Water i.e. at  the seaside. 

On the left, wearing the cloche hat is my husband's Great Aunt Pat, beside her daughter Annette - with unknown friends. Judging by the fashions and the age of Annette,  it  was most likely  taken in the late 1920's  on the beach at Margate in Kent,  where the family lived.


 I was born in Blackpool, Lancashire  on the north west coast of England,   Here - the earliest picture of me enjoying the beach.  I reckon this was taken June 1945, as my father here was in uniform.   I know that he had leave between marking VE Day in Germany and then being posted to the Far East where the war with Japan was ongoing. 


Toddling along with Daddy - on an unusually quiet beach. 

Our own family holidays were taken in Bournemouth on the south coast of England, where a great friend of my mother ran a small hotel. All the ingredients of  traditional 1950's seaside fun were there - setting up deckchairs, playing  on the beach, making sandcastles, eating icecreams  taking donkey rides, exploring rock pools. 

  With my mother.  Every summer she made me a new sun dress and I remember this one in green & white p'polka dots with the bolero. 


It must be a photographic quirk that Dad appears so sunburnt in the photograph above, because he did not lead a particularly outdoor life to get that brown. 

More fun on the beach - my brother in that fetching knitted playsuit - and myself 

Digging holes with my brother.    You can tell this must be the 1950’s - those were the days before the anti-smoking  campaigns and  my father is happy to enjoy his cigarette, long before he ditched the habit.  Goodness knows why I  was I wearing a hated rubber swimming cap, as I could barely swim at this stage?    I suppose to keep dry my long hair which was  usually in plaits.   
I can remember  when the weather was miserable, and Dad took us onto the beach where we had fun making shelters out of the deckchairs. Or we took a walk along the cliff tops - the Chimes, and collected pine cones to take home and decorate for Christmas. 

On duller days too, we walked along the promenade for an ice cream or went into the park  and played in the stream that ran through it - the usual result was my brother fell in the water and my mother knew always to take spare clothing.  At night the trees in the park were decorated with fairy lights that made it magical.  My abiding memory was of one of a happy family time.


Fast forward tot he 1960s when I spent  a year working in the USA at  Cambridge, Mass., with time to  relax on Nantucket Island   - this was the life!  

  In September 1966,  returned home from a year's working in the USA, travelling aboard the Cunard liner "Sylvania" from New York, calling at Boston and Cobh, Ireland,  before reaching Liverpool.  The ship, small by today's cruise ship standards, was very quiet and I was lucky to get a cramped 4 berth cabin all to myself.  Goodness knows how four of us could manage in the space  short of perching on our bunk bed.  Commercial jet planes services  were hitting the transatlantic  scheduled shipping and the Liverpool-New York sailings were axed in November after my return.   But I enjoyed this experience  and had my first glimpse   of Ireland with dawn over Cobh.

My daughter  (in the middle) enjoying a donkey ride on Blackpool beach. This was taken in Blackpool in the school  October half term holiday, so not exactly summery. 

Husband with our second cocker spaniel, Coleen on the beach at Beadnell, in Northumberland.

We are still laughing, despite a gale blowing as  we shelter from the sea on the Atlantic coast  on the  Isle of Iona of the west coast of Scotland with our last pet Casmir.
Here is my daughter on a beach which we had to ourselves 
 on the Isle of Iona July 2016.

 Our dog enjoying the water on Mull, with the ferry to Iona in the background. 

All Happy Memories of Having Fun!


Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories  through photographs

Click HERE to see how othe Sepia Saturday bloggers
have taken up this week's theme.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Alive with the Sound of Music

Music and Austria - two of my great loves - so what better to end this month's Sepia Saturday "Sound  of Music" theme with a travelogue of the Austria with some musical moments - notably Mozart and That Film.  

We stayed in the  village of St. Gilgen on the banks of Wolfgsngsee  - which lovers of "The Sound of Music" film will recognisevfrom the opening sequence as  the camera swooped over the landscape. This was the view from our hotel.



 Free Salzburg The City Of Mozart photo and picture

 The typical view across to the Castle in Salzburg


The Mirabel Gardens which feature in the the film 

Free Horses Horse-Drawn Carriage photo and picture 

Rest your legs from sightseeing by taking a carriage ride 

The centre of Salzburg


The Schlafbergbahn - the cog railway up into the mountains 

Below at  Mondsee the train took visitors from the main car park into the town centre.  Mondsee is probably most famous now as the location of the church used in "the Sound of Music"  film for the wedding of Maria and Captain von Trapp.    But sorry no pictured of the church


Free Mozart Birthplace photo and pictureA

 Mozart's Birthplace in Salzburg

Free Mozart Wolfgang photo and picture

Mozart's Statue

Mozart's Statue in Vienna

Monument to Mozart in Baden, near Vienna. 


 The concert hall in Bad Ischl, near Salzburg

 A tribute to another  composer  Johann Strauss.


There is so much we like about Austria - the landscape, the  architecture (chalets and churches), the food especially the cakes, culture and the traditional costumes  - no wonder we chose to spend our wedding anniversaries there!