Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sepia Saturday 169


Cherry Blossom Time

This week's prompt has an image of Photographers shooting cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 1922.  The Cherry trees were given to the United States in the early 1900s and it has become an annual event to photograph the blooming each spring.
It is to Japan and Sakura (the cherry tree) that I've gone this week.  Due to their brief blooming period, the Sakura cherry-blossoms have come to symbolise the transience of life. Cherry blossom season may only last a week or so depending on the weather.  Cherry blossom time is a big thing in Japan and each year calendars are published of the expected time of the blossom in each city.  The further south, the earlier the bloom.
A quick surf of the Net shows, that Cherry Blossom time happens all over the world and mostly with trees gifted by Japan.  Unfortunately, in the UK, to my experience at least, cherry blossom has been limited to Eddie Calvert's rendition of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" and the Batsford Arboratum in Gloucestershire where they maintains the national collection of Prunus (sato-sakura Group).   There is no celebration or festivity - just a few ooh aahs when the blossom appear in somebodies' garden.

The traditional method to capture the essence of the Cherry Blossom was the woodcut, often made with cherry wood.
There is, however, a dark side to the Cherry Blossom.  So strongly is it to the Japanese psyche that it is often seen as a symbol of Nationalism and, prior to the end of the second World War, of Militarism.  Poets compared the battlefield dead to the fallen blossom.
I'm not sure how much symbolism counts for today certainly in the West, and especially the UK.  The Cherry and Blossom are more likely to be used as a euphemism rather than a symbol.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Sepia Saturday 168

 One for me, One for you.....

This week's Sepia Saturday themes the Potsdam Treaty between the Allies in World War 2.  In common with most treaties, it was an agreement for carve-up to suit the political and economic policies of the victorious and most powerful.   And like many earlier agreement set the ground for problems for the next 50 years or more.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Sepia Saturday 167

Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In prince's court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain),
Walk'd forth to ease my pain
Along the shore of silver-streaming Thames;

Edmund Spenser

Not quite as exotic location as this week's Theme Image with it's tropical seas and eucalyptus trees, but nonetheless it fills all the boxes of comings and goings, and boats and water.

  Anglers' Wharf about 1895
River Thames by the Anglers' Wharf date unknown.

Commonly, and currently, known as the Anglers' Wharf after the near by Anglers' Hotel, it was once known as the town wharf.  It was one of the main ways large bulky goods got into the town.  My late Father-in-Law told tales of him going down to the Wharf to get livestock  and drive them back to the Slaughterhouse where he worked.   They were driven through the Town, up to Walton station and under the foot-passage under the rails. 

The Hotel was once fairly basic serving the needs of wharf workers and boaters, it also housed a long defunct Buff Lodge. Nowadays, the Anglers', whilst it has been gentrified and the food poncified, probably doesn't attract a better class of punter.  

Circa 1890

A short way to the right of this image a Ferry used to ply it's trade and take people to and from the Middlesex side;

The Minstrel sitting down to dine

To retrospection doth incline;

“A faultless figure, watchet eyes

As sweet as early summer skies !

What pretty hands, what subtle grace,

And what a winsome little face !”

In the Anglers’ driest sherry

He toasts the lass of Walton Ferry !

Adapted from Bolney Ferry, J Ashby-Sterry (1886):