Monday, January 21, 2008


Postcards from the edge

These guys did a journey of the sort I'd definitely be interested in doing - exploring the UK slowly, in depth, taking their time and having chance encounters with archaeological celebrities. Who should they encounter while recharging their milk float (definition added for the benefit of confused readers who buy their milk in shops) but an archaeological luminary,
none other than Phil Harding from Time Team, who was soon regaling us with
stories of the only other person he'd ever come across who owned a milk float -
our unofficial patron saint, Keith Moon.

In other news, a huge box of postcards kept by Mollie have turned up. Most of them are from the 1950s onwards, from family holidays, featuring comments about the weather. However, there is also a treasured packet dating from around 1900 - 1910. The few that were posted are dated between 1904 and 1906. Excitingly, they feature theatrical stars such as Ellaline Terriss (not the same person as Ellen Terry - although there are a few of her as well), Edna May, Seymour Hicks, Henry Irving, Wilson Barrett, Maud Jeffries and various other intensely glamorous characters.

There are several featuring Mr C. Hayden Coffin giving us his dandy highwayman pose, his American newspaperman impersonation, and demonstrating many other ardent stances in a manner that seems to me the epitome of high camp. I promise to scan some!

It's as if people sent postcards several times a day - I suppose there were several postal deliveries, and no telephones. Some are rather peremptory, like this one (with an image of Mr Seymour Hicks as "Dickie" and Miss Ellaline Terriss as "Blue Bell"), which could have been penned by Lord Peter Wimsey's mother:
Dear G,

I sent the goloshes off this afternoon by maid. I don't think they are much
Hope you are well. With love - Mother.

Goloshes! Maids! I am charmed. I imagine these read in the perfectly clipped tones of a dowager duchess.

There is also a very repressed, suitably inhibited one-sided British love story, tantalisingly played out ... if only I knew how it ended! More to follow soon.

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