Tag Archives: father

We Must Treasure the Good Times……..

Today I took my little mam to the pictures.  She loves going to the pictures.  Normally it is a scary movie we go to watch.  Today was no different.  She loves scary movies, although she often complains that they are not scary enough.  Time is running out, she’s 88, well 87 actually.  Her birthday is in 3 weeks time and then she’ll officially be 88.  We got there at one pm, the film was due to start at quarter past.  They hadn’t even opened up.  I don’t know how these places make any money.  Oh yes I do.  Nearly 20 pounds it cost, for an adult and senior citizen ticket, one small diet coke and a cuppa.  Yes that’s how they make their money.  I remember the days when………..  well you get my drift.

My mam walks with a stick so I have to get her seated and then go back for the refreshments.  She hates climbing the stairs to get to a seat but she doesn’t like to sit too close to the screen so up we go, my little mam hanging onto my arm and using her stick to help her up.  She chooses where we sit even though our tickets said we were to sit elsewhere.  I told the man when he asked which seats we wanted that we’d sit wherever my little mam decided to sit regardless.  He laughed.  Not sure I like this new practice of asking people where they want to sit.  The film seemed to take ages to start and then eventually we were off.  The sound is so intense sometimes but why of why does my mam insist on talking loudly during the quiet scenes.  Yes its embarrassing, but haven’t our parents embarrassed us all out lives.  When the film finished we waited until everyone had gone and then slowly made our way down from the gods, back to terra firma.  And we followed the same routine, stopping off at pizza hut on the way back to the car so my mam can take a pizza home for her tea.  Its little things like this that I will remember with fondness, and maybe shed a tear or two, when the inevitable happens.  My mam doesn’t understand why I want to take photos of her.  But I do, she’s my mam, and these are my memories.

movie day three

movie day two

movie day


Trying to write a narrative to accompany this project is, for me, so difficult.

The Road to Blackhall

For many years Blackhall was no more than a village to pass through, very rarely stopping, only maybe to visit the Co-op for bread, or milk, things you run out of or have forgotten to buy at the large supermarket in the neighbouring town.  I never noticed the inhabitants, never wondered who they were or what their lives were like in this ex-pit village.   But I have a history that connects me to this place.  It is filled with memories of my dad, Albert Anson.  He lived here, he worked here, he is buried here. 

I wanted to reconnect with him, with my history. I wanted to rediscover lost memories, create new ones.  I have a large collection of black and white photos, some taken when we were kids, happily laughing as we played on the beach, in the garden, or sat on the back doorstep.  Amongst them are photos of relatives and people I do not know, all long gone.  But in these photos I find a connection with my dad.   I find a connection with my past. 

And now I can add to that collection of photographs.  These photos that I have taken are the now of Blackhall, the people and their lives.  They help me to rediscover my dad and his past, and they reconnect me to him in such a way that I could never imagine happening. 

Blackhall is a survivor.  Once it had a pit but now it is long gone.  Once the people had employment on their doorsteps but now that is gone too.  My dad was born in a neighbouring village.  His dad was from Sunderland.  I know little about my grandfather (he was knocked down and killed in Blackhall long before I was born)    In them days men, and their families, moved around from pit to pit, going where the work was. 

Blackhall Library

Thank you so much to Carol who runs Blackhall Library for allowing me to show some of the photographs that I have taken in Blackhall.  It was such an honour and a pleasure.  And the best bit about it was having some of the people that I’d taken photographs of come along.  It was so nice to see them and that made my day.  It was a bit of a whirlwind getting them ready for exhibition as I only had two weeks but I got there in the end.   And even thought it was for just one night I am hoping to have them on display again soon so that more people can see them.  It was a very proud moment and I hope that if my Dad was looking down he’d feel proud of me.

Blackhall Library Exhibition

Blackhall Library Exhibition

The Hardwick

Had a quick visit to Blackhall this afternoon and met some lovely new people.   Every time i go i find something, or someone,  new.   And every time it is deep joy when i find an association with my dad,  or the family.  Worked with him, was his marra, knew the family, rediscovering the past is a wonderful experience.  



Little Gems amongst the Coal Dust

bijou eight

bijou four

bijou one

bijou three

bijou two

bijour five

Meaning of the word persistent…………..

  1. Continuing firmly or obstinately in an opinion or action in spite of difficulty or opposition
  2. Continuing to exist or occur over a prolonged period

Whichever meaning you pick, as I think both are equally suitable, persistent is certainly a good word to describe Blackhall.

It was a word used by Ruth, proprietor of Bijou, as we chatted about the village.  And Blackhall is a survivor.  It seems that whatever has been thrown at it over the years it picks itself up, dusts itself down and gets on with it.

And its lifeline, or beating heart, is Middle Street.  It has an eclectic mix of shops running along it.  Some have been around for a lot of years too.  And Bijou is one of them, its name the perfect accompaniment to the tiny shop.  As I mentioned earlier Ruth is its proprietor.   She rents the shop off Anne, owner of Snipz, the hairdressers, next door.  Ruth has been running her shop for 13 years.  An unlucky number for some but not for Blackhall.  Ruth was born in Peterlee but has lived in Blackhall for most of her life.  Some of the community spirit has gone, she told me, due to the terraced houses being used mainly for rental but she enjoys living there.

And her shop is fabulous. The walls are lined with books of all descriptions.  Fiction galore, all arranged in their relevant genres.   Non-fiction delights can be found on the shelves too.  There are toys, children’s clothes, 45’s, LP’s, glass display cabinets with lots of lovely glassware in them.  There’s not a lot of room to manoeuvre but it’s a great place to explore.

I even bagged a lovely little book whilst I was there too, Turner’s Visions of Rome. Printed in 1925 it has some lovely plates of Turner’s work from his tour in Italy.

Even though my dad died long before the shop opened he would have loved it.  He was an avid reader, he loved his books (most of which now sit on my bookshelf at home)   I can just see him diligently scanning all the books, looking for a good thriller to read.

I will be going back soon, to rummage amongst the 45’s (I already have my eye on some Dave Clark Five singles), and to take more photographs.