Life, photos but not the universe

Looking over my shoulder

So I was searching for a certificate to prove that I am who I am – as it’s quite cold at the moment and I’d like the winter fuel department to send me some cash.  I came across a certificate which gave me pause, my Mother’s registration as a UK citizen.  There has been some blogging about families recently and it made me think about how complicated my own family was.  The certificate was one of the least complicated things in it!

I started writing about them and then realised that they deserve more than a single short post (not that my posts are ever short)  So if you’re interested, there will shortly be a new page somewhere or other on the blog – I’ve never quite mastered the art of making WordPress pages appear where they ought to be.  This may be followed by more family stuff.

But meanwhile, here’s the English side – Mum and Dad back left* .

and here’s the Dutch side.

I don’t have a photo of the Dutch family of the corresponding generation to the English one.  This is a very old photo of a family feast in the Edwardian (?) style.  I think my Grandmother is fifth from the right, leaning against that curtained pillar-ey thing.  Possibly my Grandfather standing at her shoulder.  If so, the three little girls peering across the table could have been my mother and her sisters.  However, I thought this was a much older photo in which case it would be my Great Grandmother – the resemblance is very strong.

The styles of the two photos say a great deal.  The plain, upright looking English family with tight, polite little smiles (except Mum who never did tight little anythings) and the huge, sprawling ostentation of the Dutch crowd, clearly pissed out of their many heads** after an excess of indulgence which they probably couldn’t afford.  Earlier, there would have been music of a very high standard (My Grandmother for one was trained at the Dutch Royal Conservatoire and once sang for Queen Wilhelmina, though my Grandfather forbade any public performances after they were married) and there was a 12 course menu of which I have a copy somewhere.

I do wish sometimes that I were a novelist.  I’m sure a gripping tale could be made out of the story of how these two families became linked.

*Oh and I notice that I am in this photo too.  I remember seeing other photos of that maternity dress.

**If not pissed, then obviously completely mad!   But my Grandmother was very sane so I’m going for the drink.


January 8, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Already a gripping tale, Mig – can’t wait for the new page.

    Comment by Tim | January 8, 2012 | Reply

  2. A formidable matriarchal line up on the English side – wouldn’t like to have been late for breakfast in THAT boarding house! And there are more moustaches in the Dutch team.

    Comment by Rog | January 9, 2012 | Reply

  3. Thank you Tim – new page looking over your shoulder, top right. Feel free to ignore at your leisure.

    Oddly enough it was the female spouses that were scariest Rog. Being in one case a serious Methodist (front right and married to cherubic looking but very dull minister, back right) and in the other a contented denizen of South Africa (second front left and married to tall centre back.).
    The Dutch team win handlebars up on the hairy front.

    Comment by letouttoplay | January 9, 2012 | Reply

  4. Wow, all that smoldering going on in your family pot! I am going top check out the new page..
    Our origin stories are always fascinating. Do you believe we carry in our cells some memory of the people who came before us?

    Comment by ☼Illuminary☼ | January 10, 2012 | Reply

  5. That’s a hard one Illuminary. The music has carried on through both families from both sides and one of the Dutch uncles was an artist. But really all the ones I only heard of are a mystery to me – I certainly haven’t inherited any of the moustaches anyway!

    Comment by letouttoplay | January 10, 2012 | Reply

  6. I love the old photos, and it is intriging to hear the stories of our own creation, well, not the actual play-by-play, but how the families came to be. I went back as far as grandma and Grandpa from each side coming to America from Italy. I didn’t go back any farther than that and there are no pictures that I know of.
    This was a nice visit here to your place my friend.


    Comment by Spadoman | January 10, 2012 | Reply

  7. Wow.

    There are no old family photos left…..not to my knowledge. I’d be hard pressed to produce one of my birth mother–maybe my sister possesses one.
    Oh, but I love the old photos and the stories they tell. And ohmy…..what a difference in the ‘air’ of the photos, huh?

    Comment by Mel | January 11, 2012 | Reply

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