Tag Archives: parents

Backwards glancing…

When we look backwards what do we see? Times gone past. Childhood. Memories bubble up. Rocking back and forth. Here and now, then and gone. We wind our way, on, on. Seize the day! Make it pay! Squeeze the essence and live every moment. So our mind’s eye can see and not forget…


Memories of childhood

A long glance backwards


The winding path

The winding path


Making memories

Making memories





I saw an angel in the garden

If you look very carefully, in the background, hiding amongst the grasses, you can see an angel, hovering in the garden at my parents’s house.

A guardian angel

Why would an angel live in the garden at my parents’ house? Because she was invited to, of course, out of generosity and charity when a helping hand was needed. And now she lives in gentle repose, watching quietly. Is this not what gardens are for?

A place for relaxation and togetherness. Occasionally we still whack the tennis/cricket ball about, but more so we chat and spend time together.

The garden has become more magical with time. Strange mystical creatures flutter here and there.


My daughter adds her own personal belongings, echoing the loved toys of kids that have gone before. Tibby here, now very clearly a dog, was called Ollie 30 years ago, when he was an elephant. Poignant repetition.

Ollie and Tibby, kids then and now. Such thoughts keep us warm.

holding hands

And amongst it all is the angel, watching and smiling over us.

A garden Guardian, fleeting and beautiful

Easter snap happy

Easter  is a great time to get together. Family, old friends, new friends. A chance to catch up. To reminisce, and to look forward. We indulged. An art show with my Dad; a college friends’ get-together with lots of booze. Let the kids run wild a bit. And a chance to take some portraits….

Tea before a visit to the Hockney exhibition

Grandfather and daughter catch up on the gossip

A good trip

Fathers and sons

He's already bigger than his Dad...!

Mothers and daughters

Kids who are almost teenagers; how did that happen?

But the boy still loves a rough and tumble

A perfect long weekend.

If you like portraits, enjoy the following:

Sharing time together, telling stories

The Madness of a Peck weekend in Suffolk

No point bribing this lot…!

A couple of weeks ago I showed the pictures of the kids at a recent dinner party (click here). I needed ice cream to get them to stay still enough for a shot. Not so easy with the adults… They wanted booze, and lots of it! As you can see, the Mums got stuck in first

We Dads have more restraint… Not that I think that makes for better portraits, but certainly less giggling when trying to frame up.

I think I said previously that looking at the kids was like looking into the future. And parental shots crystallise that future – here’s what you will become! Well that’s not too bad if you can stay close. There’s some hope here, I think. These two, for instance, have got 3 kids – and they’re still going strong. not bad…

Here’s the next pair. They also have 3 – the energy needed – OMG! That slightly crazy look, well, it’s understandable.

A wicked sense of humour is what’s needed. And they have it in abundance.

And my brood? Well, we only have 2. And that seems to be enough. Here’s mother and daughter, as thick as thieves.

And a rarity – a picture of me. A keen photographer, but less keen subject for photography…

And as the evening winds down, the kids get tired, and the booze mellows us all. Here’s the best pic of the evening. A quiet moment, just before home time. Gentleness, peace and calm. Until time to get up tomorrow…

Where do we come from, and where are we going?

Why do we photograph? For many reasons of course, but first amongst those is to freeze time. 1/60th second, remembered for ever. Passed on to the future. And that’s why getting your hands on the family stash of photographs is so overwhelming. You look back from the present to the past, and wonder about the future.

My parent's wedding day

Photos allow us to tell stories. Part of my father’s story is here. It must have been complicated in the early 60s… My parents were both foreign students in France. He English, she German. Having fallen in love he had to go to Germany to woo her.  They spent much time zooming around on a velociped.

A croggy

Entente cordiale led to a wedding. Church ceremony in Cadolzburg, Franconia; Civil wedding in Sheen, London.

no 5 star hotels to get ready in those days

Onlookers at the Church: Guck' mal, der Englaender!

The happy couple

My Mum knew nothing of English wedding etiquette. So she wore a black suit to the civil ceremony. Looked pretty smart to my eyes!

Sheen, London

Grandparents on both sides

Of course! Honeymoon and nuptials:

3 days in Bournemouth

And a new life in the Shropshire hills

It seems my parents did a lot of camping...

And then the inevitable (well at least it is from my point of view…) is kids:

I think I'm laying down the law here...

And now my Dad lays down the law himself

A father and son moment, probably camping...

Blimey, that's me!

And then the past moves into the present. It’s my turn. Father becomes Grandfather, son becomes father.

The leap in the generations

Love, laughter, happiness. An ordinary story, but also a sliver of history, told through photos. Not bad for a 1/60th of a second. Keep your photos, and share them.

My father

My daughter.

Beethoven catapults me through time…

I went to my daughter’s school concert this week. The Chigwell Junior School concert in St Mary’s Church. A beautiful setting, an hour’s worth of music by the 8-13 year olds. I thought it was going to be light and frothy: indulgent parents and over-eager kids. But then it turned into something else. I was catapulted into my own past, and because I wasn’t ready, it was quite a shock.

How I best remember my Mum

One of the girls did a piano solo: Beethoven’s Sonata No 2 – the Moonlight Sonata. I was thrown back 30 years or more, to when my Mum used to take me to piano lessons, and I used to hack my way through the same piece.

But the power of the memory! The details – piano (the wonderful Boesendorfer), teacher (Mrs Johnstone – very patient, long slim fingers, very cool dry touch), my Mum marking school papers whilst I did the lesson next door.

Parental dedication and time: The weekly lesson at St John’s College in York, Mum ferrying me and my brother back and forth. We used to finish at 5.30, and listen to Just A Minute with Kenneth Williams on the way home. Shared laughter. Shared time.

Younger days

On her wedding day

Deep inside I’m sure that my Mum must remember these times too. I will ask her next time I see her, try to bring our shared memories back up to the surface. I should play her the Beethoven piece, although probably not on the piano…


And then the young girl finishes the piece at the concert, and I snap back to the present. Nothing light and frothy about that, she played it beautifully. Way back then, if memory serves me right, I did not… But I do have the memory, and for that I thank my mother and her dedication.

Mist and mellow fruitfulness

I went to visit my Dad this weekend. Bit of a crisis, Mum had to go into hospital, so I zoomed up the A1 to York to give my Dad a hand.

A portrait in the garden

Whenever I visit, we always walk around the garden. A chance to stretch the legs and get some fresh air. My Mum’s garden really, certainly the flowerbeds are – she put years into those deep borders. But the areas that catch the eye now are the orchard and the meadow. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is almost upon us.

Sweet eaters

The old bench

This is a garden that has matured and settled into a slow rhythm. It has its secrets and surprises.

An angel in the undergrowth


Seed head

That slow rhythm is wonderful though: Flowering, ripening, setting seed, rebirth. And memories, gardens always have lots of memories.

My Mum came back from hospital. We were relieved and thankful. Life goes on.

A kiss