On kite tails and such.
Friends and new-near-neighbours-to-be (who are also historical detectives extraordinaire) gave us a photograph last night. There are several old pictures, either of the house or with the house in them, but I particularly love this one.
Here it is:
And a close up:
It was taken in 1935 by Charles Walton. The Harbour Bridge was completed three years before. Our house was, by then, a boarding house. The area had gone from being genteel and somewhat schmancy to being poor, populated almost entirely by people connected with the harbour – wharfies, coalies and their families. There are still a few people in the area now who come from families who worked on the habour and lived in the area as far back as a century ago . I, who have moved on average every two years all my adult life, find it hard to imagine what it would be like to be so rooted, knotted in, as into a kite tail, and secured there by generations of family streaming back across the years.
In the photo you can see the rear balconies had been blocked up by then, to provide kitchens for the multiple families living in the house. The woman is standing at my un-garden gate. The window the children sit under is my laundry window. And to cap it all, the little girl standing up has the good taste and sheer prescience to be wearing my haircut. I love it! So much so, in fact, that I’m debating whether it would work to have it blown up as a wall-sized mural somewhere in the house. A little Surface View-ish. Yes? No?
Speaking of whom and which (and all those little nuggety bits of grammar left by the wayside now in this climate of apostrophic madness – and don’t let me get started on that!), I do have a bit of a liking for this crop of a piece of wallpaper from their V&A archive images:
And that, said Fred, is that. Other than that I think I have the ‘flu coming. Either that or someone parked a football in my gullet when I was busily dreaming last night.