Today for the fist time in ages I took some time to sit in my chair and really just look at the pictures above my desk. One of them was painted by my grandfather and it is of a river that we used to go to when I was a small child. The colours of the trees are very autumnal and they are reflected in the dirty murkiness of the river water. The exception is a very green tree and bush that are rather central in the painting. The scene itself is one of serenity but it is the colours that have always attracted me with their pinks and deep purples and the contrasting yellow green of the grasses near the farther bank of the river. There is also a gnarled and twisted tree trunk in the foreground. It looks like it was probably burnt out at one stage and would have been a great place to play in, although of course the chances are high that there would be a huge ants nest in it.
The painting was given to me for one of my birthday’s. I always felt guilty about asking my grandfather for one of his paintings but I loved the few that I got from him. Now they are virtually the only things that I have left of him. I rarely even notice his paintings any more but every now and again I stop and I just look at them and am back in his study looking over all of his paintings again choosing which one I would like for my birthday.
The other picture on my wall that drew my eye today was one of my 3 times Great Grandmother Catherine Selina Lees. The photo I have of her is black and white on a sepia toned background. It has been hand enhanced because it is from the very early days of photography. Catherine was obviously wearing her best outfit with a lace collar and lovely dropped ear rings. Catherine has a mildly masculine or square face with rather deep set eyes but that could be because of the shadows that were added in the enhancing process. The photo used to live with my other grandfather and was damaged when he had a house fire. It was one of the few things that was rescued from the fire and although it has been cleaned and restored it still shows some murkiness that is probably smoke damage.
My grandfather remembered his father talking about his grandmother Catherine, my grandfather never met her personally as she died well before his time. However his father described her as a woman of considerable strength who used to work at a pub and would lift kegs and bags of flour off a dray as willingly and as readily as any man in the area. Catherine also apparently had a strongish Irish accent which was a hang over from her own grandmother.