I’m super excited today to welcome another member of the New Romantics Press to my blog. Following on from Lizzie Lamb’s lovely post, I’ve invited June Kearns to share her five photos with me, and she has responded magnificently. I’m a huge fan of June’s books – she even managed to convert me into reading about a cowboy, and did it so well that I’ve never forgotten the delicious Colt McCall! Here’s the lovely June to explain why she chose these five photographs.
Thank you so much Sharon, for the chance to take part in this blog. I’ve loved seeing other people’s special photos.
1. First picture is of my Grandad – the one with the laurel leaves round his neck. I think he’d won a bicycle race.
One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather’s knee under a thick blue cloud of pipe tobacco smoke, (home-grown, aromatic and probably illegal now, God bless my infant lungs!) listening to some mystical words on the Home Service. Forties, Cromarty, Tyne and Dogger, easterly veering south easterly. Becoming cyclonic.
The Shipping Forecast. Faraway places with strange sounding names.
(It came on before Listen with Mother!)
2. Picture of my Grandma and Grandad (Mary and Joseph!) with the eldest four of their six children – my mum, bottom left.
Grandad, who wore a flat cap inside the house and out, was the only male in my life. It was my grandma, my mum and her sisters who circled round me, with whiffs of scent and whispered secrets. Sitting under the table, hidden by the fringes of a chenille cloth, I’d listen to the rise and fall of their voices, the buzz of gossip. Knitting needles would click, teaspoons clink. There was a lot of laughter, some sniffing and tutting.
3.Picture of my grandma, Mary Ann, in service.
Grandma, (who wore a glassy-eyed fox fur with dangling paws around her neck on posh occasions) had been ‘in service’ to a titled family in the county. She told tales of being an in-between maid and of fearing the housekeeper – a dragon in black with keys clinking at her waist so that you heard her coming, and of servants being allowed to go to dances with a footman driving the carriage.
These stories were all repeated again, again and again, and I’d yawn and grow bored. If only I could listen to her now.
4. Here are our three youngest, loving every minute of sun, sea, and sand.
On my first ever visit to Ireland – 25 or so years ago – we’d been loaned an idyllic house overlooking the sea in Camp, County Kerry. My Irish husband’s family and friends were all so keen for me not to be disappointed. Look, they said – it’s bound to rain, just be prepared. So we clanked off the ferry, weighed down with umbrellas, plastic macs, thick woollies and wellies for all five children in huge, bulging suitcases. And for two whole weeks, we had nothing but blissful sun, blue sea and an endless choice of hot, totally deserted, white-sand beaches!
5. Mum and her sisters on the razzle.
Finally, a picture of my mum and her sisters – Doll, Kath and Nell – all well into their nineties when this was taken, and how I like to remember them. Double brandies was their tipple of choice that weekend, and they didn’t stop laughing the entire time they were together.
Oh, June, what fabulous pictures, and what lovely memories! I totally relate to wishing I’d listened more to grandparents. The stories they could tell, if only I’d bothered to pay attention or ask questions. Sadly, I only realised when it was way too late. Loved your post, June, thank you so much for taking part.
An only child, June Kearns was always a daydreamer who spent a lot of time staring into space and making things up.
She was brought up by women – grandma, mother, aunts – and it was their influence that made June want to write.
She started seriously after leaving teaching, and winning a national magazine competition for the first chapter of an historical novel.
A founder member of the indie publishing group, The New Romantics Press, she’s now published two novels – An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy and The 20’s Girl – and currently, in a warm corner next to the airing cupboard, she’s working on a third, set in 1960s London and San Francisco.
June is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives in Leicestershire, in the middle of England.
You can buy An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy here.
You can buy The 20s Girl here.