Blue

Take a look at this picture. It’s some sort of night out, probably at the end of the 1930s. Maybe even after the Second World War has broken out, because despite the bow ties and evening dresses, there’s something a bit shabby about it. My grandparents are in this photo, so is one of my aunts. She’s the young one with her husband behind her. There’s my grandfather’s brother, Fred, who made his money in oil and lived in Baghdad for a while. Fred is the fourth from the left. But it’s his wife I want you to look at, my Great Aunt Eve. She is sitting just in front of him. She’s wearing a dark dress and looks relaxed and comfortable.

A Party


Eve was Fred’s second wife. I think his first wife, Maud, died. If there was a divorce, it never reached my ears.
Fred and Eve lived in a village just outside Guildford. They had a spacious bungalow whose gardens stretched down to the river. Maybe that’s where the boat that I remember dimly from early childhood was moored. Great Uncle Fred I remember not at all. Eve made a more lasting impression, outliving her husband by more than a decade. She moved from the bungalow into a flat in the centre of Guildford. She was the generous source of treats and delights we didn’t get anywhere else.
Here she is again with Fred, he’s holding one of my cousins and it must be the early 50s.

By the Sea


Eve’s bedroom at the bungalow was the most wonderful room I had seen. It was huge. An expansive bed stood on an island of blue carpet. The bed covers were blue, so were the curtains, the walls and all the ornaments. The ornament I remember was a blue unglazed rabbit. I think they were popular in the 50s, and for a while in the 80s I’d see them in various colours in charity shops and think of Aunt Eve, by that time dead.
I loved her bedroom. It spoke to me of undreamt luxury, though I understood quickly that some of the adults thought it tasteless and rather vulgar. A few years ago I looked at my own, much smaller bedroom and realised that Eve’s bedroom had had a lingering influence.My walls are blue, so is the carpet. I have a large blue cushion on the bed.

Blue cushion

There’s a collection of items in the room that are blue. When I visited Sweden and bought my own little Dala horse, of course I chose a blue one.

Clock and Dala Horse


It’d be nice, I think, if a little girl who saw my bedroom liked it as much as I did Eve’s, and when grown up created her own version, and another little girl saw her’s and did the same. For all I know, Eve’s bedroom may have come about because of a room she saw as a child, and mine is just part of a long line of blue bedrooms.
I wrote this as part of sideview’s weekend challenge. Yes I do know it’s Monday, but the weekend had presented me quite a few challenges already.

28 thoughts on “Blue

  1. Blue was a colour quite expensive for carpets at one time – (I think there are rich blue carpets at Blenheim Palace) then they went through a stage where they were considered ‘common’ – I remember that my mother thought so – I’m not sure of their status now, but we have a blue bedroom carpet too!

  2. I love the idea of a continuum created by childhood impressions – some of which might even have been subliminal. We probably all have something to relate on that score, but might not even be aware of what or when or who. How nice that you are consciously aware of your Aunt Eve’s influence.

  3. She obviously gave you ideas, you made them your own though.

    I realised some time ago that my current home has some features I fell in love with in a double-storey house my father’s boss had. I think it was visiting them that gave me the love of nooks and crannies

  4. I do wonder how much I was influenced by the people I liked and respected when I was little. I love to sit in a rocking chair to read. When I think of my grandfather, this is the image that always comes to mind. Lovely post Isobel.

      • As an old Guildfordian, I was enjoying reading back through your blogs that feature ‘my town’ when I came across your comment above, about how we remember people. I know my response is six years late but I was reminded of a quote from Terry Pratchett and thought you might enjoy it……….

        “No-one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away, until the clock they wound up winds down, until the wine they made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life is only the core of their actual existence.”

  5. This is a super post with so much in it. I love looking at those old photos and trying to put names to the faces. We have many influences like the cushion but it’s only when we have a moment to ‘connect the dots’ that we see them. Lovely post Isobel!

    • I find it sad that I do not know who all the people are, and it is now too late to ask. In that first photo, the only person still alive is my aunt, aged 96. She has the erratic memory of so many elderly people.

  6. Great old photos and recollections…….blue – very calming and soothing and perfect for a bedroom…..as someone else said, much like bringing a bit of the sea and sky indoors. Lovely.

    Pam

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