Family Frescoes

“I know!” my girl declared. “Let’s get paints and do a massive family tree mural on the ceiling of my room. It could look all medieval and sticky-outy like the ones you get in churches.”

“You mean a fresco?”

“I don’t know what it’s called. But we could get pictures of the family and hang them off the branches like apples! Shall we? Shall we?”

“Er … no.”

A few weeks later she wandered thoughtfully into the kitchen.

“Okay. How about we screen print people’s faces onto some cloth. Then you (me????) could stitch them all together and make a patch work wall hanging?”

I chewed my lip thoughtfully. I considered all the commitments and arrangements and general mayhem that stitches together my days at this time. I then looked down at her hopeful, pleading, large blue eyes and said, “nope.”

She went off, all shoulders drooping and head hung and I watched her go. Yes I felt massively guilty. I also felt quite relieved that I didn’t have to fresco her room or create an epic family tree of Bayeux Tapastry proportions.

Ooooh, why does parenting have to be such a condensed experience of love and guilt mixed up together?

Since then family trees have played on my mind. They have played and played and kept on playing until eventually I brought a gorgeous  “tree” print. It was about A3 in size and had lots of spaces hanging from the branches (it even had a little birdcage dangling from one). It was perfect for attaching photographs to.

So now me and the girl are on a mission to collect family photographs and fill up the tree with interesting faces from the past and present. Many of the older photos are too big and therefore unsuitable for the Family Tree so my plan is to use them in some black and white montage of gorgeousness. But before I do ANYTHING with them, I thought I’d quickly share them with you.  


Here’s one that my dad took of my mum. On the right is my grandad (Dad’s dad) and on the left is Windsor Davis, who played Battery Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. He was Grandad’s close friend. I think he looks like a bit of a crazy old dude and you just KNOW he’s going to wind up the young pretty waitress each time he orders a beer. 

 This is a picture of my dad and my brother, around 1980/1. My dad died six years ago this March and my brother died three years ago. Wherever these boys are now, it feels good to know that they are together. It happens to be my brother’s birthday today. Later, when it gets dark I’m going to release some Chinese lanterns for him, then watch a band with some of his old nearest and dearests.  

This is my mum with some rollers in her hair. My dad was massively into photography (it is his old camera that is pictured right at the top of the page) and I think mum got caught out when she wasn’t expecting it a few times! hehe

This is my favourite picture of all. It is my dad when he was a little boy, sitting next to his Aunty Betty. I love looking at this and thinking what an incredible man this little boy was destined to grow into. Look at those chubby little legs and old fashioned shoes. He would be completely angelic if it wasn’t for his shiny silver gun!

The reason I cherish this photo most is because my own little boy is practically identical to the boy in the photo. This is what is so amazing about family photographs. You see the same faces, the same eyes, the same spirit emerging again and again, generation after generation. There is something reassuring about that, don’t you think?

And here Dad is again, all grown up. I wonder what he was thinking about when this photograph was taken. He looks like he is watching something, but his expression makes me think he is lost in thought. Maybe he is thinking about someone he loved and lost. Love and memories and time all interwoven and mingled, captured in a single moment.

I am dedicating this post to people past and people present who I have loved. It is dedicated to your loved ones as well.

And also for all the people that we (you and I) love and are dancing through our lives on Planet Earth right now.

Especially the small, cute blonde ones. 

 – Happy St. Patricks Day –




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