Having realised that one of the most precious – and irreplaceable – items in my possession is a bag of old photos from the pre-digital days of my childhood and adolescence, I decided to scan them and save them electronically before they a) deteriorate any further or b) go up in flames/wash away in a flood (the latter alternative seems the more likely given the current weather).
So, this is me, a few months old. It is by far my favourite photo of me ever taken, bar none.
And these two just go to show me that my father and I did at least enjoy a close relationship for the first few months of my life. I have always assumed that I was breastfed for some reason, but that’s clearly a bottle. I’m also assuming the location is the married quarter at RAF Coltishall that my parents were living in when I was born. I remember those RAF issue chairs vividly. An article of furniture better designed to keep a person from getting too comfortable and morally lax I have never come across.
It sometimes surprises people what clear memories I have of my early childhood. For example, I very clearly remember the blue dress I am wearing in this next picture. I was about 18 months old, I think, which would make this 1973. Which is as good an excuse for sartorial error as I’ve ever heard. The dress in question had white ‘smocking’ on the front which felt scratchy and rough (as well as quite a lot of dribble judging by this picture). I’m standing in my grandmother’s kitchen, by the door to one of the pantry cupboards (always painted green) and my sombre-looking companion is my father’s old teddy bear. In a fetching ashtray hat.
Then my much-beloved brother arrived (I remember he came home from the hospital with a toy for his big sister hidden under the blanket in his carry cot so I allowed him to stay. I’ve always been easily won over with presents.)
As you can see, I did my level best to instruct and educate him but he was, then as now, mostly interested in feeding his face. As you will no doubt also notice, my mother cut my hair. Ineptly. Talk about cutting round a pudding bowl…
Here’s another one from the same period of my father and I. And a table full of debauched excess. I’m sure he would have been merrily smoking away with me sitting next to him. People did, back then, didn’t they? At least in Ireland.
Tune in tomorrow for the next swathe of 1970’s childhood; 1975-78. *shudder*