April brings the ephemeral but spectacular display of blossom on the cherry tree in our garden.
I always take lots of photos of it, even though they are the same shots every year. I can't help it, the white blossom and green foliage against a fiercely blue sky look beautiful.
No apologies either for showing you this jacket again; I'm happy to be wearing the hell out of it.
It's as old as I am and still looking sharp. .
1960-70s David Butler by Pressler maxi dress - Second to None, Walsall
1960s Admyra jacket, sunglasses and bangles - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)
I've been looking at old photos from my dad's side of the family, and finally got round to scanning some onto the computer.
(I've shared a few old pics and my thoughts on family before on the blog, here.)
This is Tuckey, the farm run by my great-grandfather Henry Monk in the 1850s.
According to the 1861 census, the farm consisted of 320 acres, Henry was married to Eliza with 3 children, and employed 8 men and 4 boys on the farm, plus a dairy maid, groom and nursemaid.
This is William Readman Monk, the youngest of Henry's 7 children, born in 1871. He took over the running of Tuckey in the late 1890s.
William and his wife Esther Curtis (the source of my name).
They had 4 children, the eldest being Norman, born in 1900.
That's my dad!
Norman and his brother Frank with their maternal grandmother, Anne (known by her maiden name as Granny Barton) in 1903.
I love this photo of Norman, Joan and Frank, around 1906.
Here are the family together in the early 1930s - siblings Norman, Joan, Rose and Frank with their parents Esther and William. Plus dogs.
Esther died in 1951, William in 1958.
Dad in 1932.
One things is clear from perusing the photos; they loved their animals.
There are endless pictures of cats, dogs, horses, chickens, pigs, and as seen above, even a domesticated fox (called Minnie). All the animals are named, in fact they have equal billing with the people.
And yes, that is a dog sitting on a donkey (bottom right).
Dad and Rose...
and Joan riding sidesaddle.
They were part of the tennis-playing, hunting and point-to-point set, and loved their cars...
There are holiday photos in Margate and Brighton;
Joan and Rose;
Esther striding down the prom (hope that fox fur stole isn't Minnie);
Norman on the beach in a suit and tie...
and off for a drink with his first wife Dorothy.
So what happened?
Dad moved away from Tuckey when he married Dorothy (who died), but Frank, Joan and Rose never married and continued to live there. Dad and Frank ran the farm until it was sold in 1973.
My mum's take on the family is that they had a high opinion of themselves and didn't think anyone was good enough for them; they disapproved of her when she arrived at Tuckey as a land girl, and were unimpressed by her marriage to Norman. I don't know if that assessment is correct, and I know you can't draw any major conclusions from photos, but the years preceding the war seem to have been happy ones.
Mum, late 1940s.
We inherited these few photo albums when Rose died some years ago; there are no photos during the war, or indeed afterwards. It's as though life ground to a halt for them, apart from running the farm.
But not for Norman; he married my mum and became a father in his 50s and 60s. Rather a shock to the system, I imagine.
Dad carrying me, 1965.
My sisters and I visiting Tuckey in 1965...
I have memories of climbing on the straw bales in the barn, and tracking down the various farm cats for a fuss (this one was called Tim). We'd clamber on the mounting block in the yard, and sometimes sit on one of the horses (which I seem to recall being a terrifying ordeal). Joan would come out of the house to give us a sweet or two while we were allowed to pick flowers from the garden to take home to mum, but we were never invited inside.
After the farm was sold, Frank, Joan and Rose continued to live together in a small semi, where my sisters and I visited them from time to time. Frank seemed to relish his retirement, and embraced foreign travel; Joan sadly developed dementia, and Rose became her carer.
One by one, they died.
For most of us, our legacy on this earth is short-lived; within two, maybe three generations, our personal histories are reduced to dates of birth and death, and a few photos.
Too pessimistic? Maybe.
Still, a blog is a fantastic photographic archive, and if anyone in the future (my kids, their kids) wants to know about Granny Curtise, here I am, in words as well as pictures.