The View From The End Of The World

My Mother

will be eighty-six on Saturday. Over the past two years she has given us a couple of scares health wise. Mum has a certain reluctance to visit the doctor, and both times when we forced the issue she was sent straight to the hospital. Now fortunately she is taking her medicine properly and her health has improved markedly!

Mum, photographed by my wife. Contax, Kodak Tmax 100.

My wife made this portrait. She said to me a few months ago that she would like to try shooting film, to make portraits of the people who are important to her. She wanted to try her hand at Black & White, so I gave her one of my Contax 139Q’s (I had a couple on hand for the day she would choose to shoot film) and a roll of Kodak Tmax 100 I happened to have in the fridge.

Mum lives in a cottage three doors along from us, and this is her front room, where she spends much of her time reading.

Mum and my Grandmother, on her wedding day in 1954

Mum married my Dad at the age of nineteen. Dad had not long returned from the war in Korea, and in those optimistic but financially constrained years after the war many brides wore dresses that could be re-used. The reception was an afternoon tea at my grandparents home, again very typical of the times. The photo would have been taken by my Uncle Bob, Mum’s younger brother who must have been about sixteen, using Dad’s camera. Kodachrome slide.

Mum, Dad & Me, 1956

I came along a year later, and here we are in front of my paternal grandparents house in the Karangahake Gorge, a goldmining ghost town, in 1956. Hats were still worn by properly attired gentlemen in those days, although Dad got out of that habit as time went on. I don’t remember him wearing one all that often! This image likely taken by Dad’s younger brother, my Uncle Max. Another Kodachrome! That was an amazing film stock, these slides have lasted much better than many that I have that are much more recent, modern film emulsions. They have scanned like they were taken yesterday!!!

A picnic in the grounds of our new house, about 1960.

My parents had a new house built in Cambridge in 1958, the year my sister was born. This photo was taken in 1960. The last time I was in Cambridge I noticed the house has been demolished and replaced with something more salubrious than what we could afford back then. It was a small house by today’s standards, two bedrooms and a small sunroom off the kitchen, heated by a chip heater in the kitchen and an open fire in the lounge. It was always cold in winter. I must have been about ready to start school when this was taken. Dad would have taken this, yet another Kodachrome.

Mum, with two of my brothers, 1979.

My parents moved to Australia in 1976, this photo was taken on a return visit to New Zealand in 1979! Forty-four years later Mum returned to New Zealand, following me back to Invercargill after Dad passed.

With my eldest, 1985

She seems determined to live independently, and the fact that she was able to buy a house just up the road means that it is easy to keep an eye on things. When the grass needs cutting I just push my mower up the street, no need for her to have one.

After her last health scare she was not permitted to drive for a time, but has just renewed her driver’s licence, and zips about in the car she bought last year. It is red, a colour she has always liked in a motor car!

We are very very lucky to be here in New Zealand at this time, where the COVID plague has so far been kept from spreading in the community, and Mum is still able to enjoy a normal social life, attending church at least twice a week, and joining in some of the ladies social activities that happen in the church community.

Happy Birthday Mum!

As usual, all these images are film images, the last two by me. All pulled out of the box in the closet and scanned on my Epson V800 film scanner. This is one of the advantages of film I think. You never throw out that box of slides and negatives, they are always sitting there waiting to be explored!

Thanks for visiting!

5 replies to “My Mother

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