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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bill Woggon - 1960's Family Values

I had two quite tough and tiring days to end the working week so didn't think I would be putting out a post this weekend and then two corresponding things happened to change my mind.  First my dear friend Barbara from the fabulous March House Books Blog gave me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thanks so much Barbara - if I can manage it I will put together the prerequisite acceptance post although I have to admit I am becoming more and more aware of my limitations!  Then yesterday I noticed that Terence (Agman) from Aviator had dedicated a post to my last offering of the Nadir Quinto Star Maidens. (I had a fabulous response to that post ans would  like to thank everyone for your wonderful comments.)  Terence's words: 'If you've ever wondered? where children go when they dream visit this post'  kind of blew me away - if I had to put into words what I was trying to achieve with these posts, describing them as 'the place where children go when they dream' would be the highest accolade I could aspire to.

This week I'm not featuring a fairytale or particularly colourful post, but for a while I've been wanting to do the second of three offerings on the Bill Woggon Story of the Ballet Coloring Book  (first posted in January). I know a few people besides myself have very fond memories of this book (I hope Georgia comes back to find me again - I'm sorry it has taken me longer than expected to include these extra pages.)  I would have been a contemporary of these two little girls at the time the book was published and as I was a big fan of ballet I identified with them entirely.

Today though what I want to post is not the ballet aspect of the book but the family at the core of the story.  Those of us from the era will recognise the lifestyle it contains immediately and like me, I'm sure, will find it equally delightful.

'Mommy' is the quintessential 1960's home-maker.  She is beautiful and feminine, always immaculately dressed (with high heels and jewellery) and perfectly coiffed.  Mommy prepares tasty meals for her family, the table is artfully set and her home filled with flowers.  In the next post I'm planning from this book you will see she is also able to whip up a sparkling array of ballet costumes for her two girls without breaking a sweat.

'Daddy' is clean cut and handsome.  He is the breadwinner of the family.  Every day Daddy disappears to that strange and mysterious world called 'the office'.  Daddy is the decision maker of the family and everything must be deferred to him (although to my eyes now he looks impossibly young!).

The womenfolk of the family are however not above some clever feminine manipulation to ensure that Daddy makes the correct decision.

The family is rounded off with Fiddle Diddle the dog.  When I bought the book I knew it was used and not in perfect condition but was so happy to have finally found a copy I have no complaints.  Some of the pictures are coloured in and a few pages are missing.  Amongst them are Fiddle Diddle's antics at the ballet class so unfortunately I will not be able to include any of those.

This last picture is the one that produced the biggest reaction from me.  When Daddy gets home he is brought his pipe and slippers to relax after a hard day at work.  Here he is happily smoking away indoors with a daughter on each knee.  As a child I would have found this completely normal and not given it a second thought!

The Story of the Ballet, illustrated by Bill Woggon. Costume design by Cassie Bill. Published by Saalfield 1963/64.

Recently I've been mentioning how much my new extended commute eats into my day, leaving me with little time to pack in everything else I have to try to do outside of working and travelling - and as a result I'm feeling quite tired.  It is a bit of a conundrum though because the commute itself is through beautiful scenery and I often think to myself that many people spend a lot of money to experience just once what I get to see it all its changing moods every day.

It takes about half an hour to get me to the station and on to the train and twenty minutes to walk to my office when I get to town but everything in-between is by train.  I suppose I could spend the time more constructively if I bought a tablet or more portable laptop or even a book to read.  But for the moment I am still enjoying the landscape as it glides past and to be honest I value the downtime.  I suffered a nearly fatal dose of encephalitis when I was a teenager leaving me prone to migraines and my eyes extremely light sensitive.  Working in IT and staring at a monitor all day was probably not the wisest career choice!  So this chance to sit and do nothing is often quite appreciated, especially in the mornings when the train is empty before we reach the commuter belt.  (Coming home I've had to work out a strategy of juggling two different types of trains to have the best option of getting a seat!)

As Shakespeare so eloquently said 'had we both world enough and time'!

Leaving Rathdrum station

I took a few photographs to show my husband and son some of the parts of the trip I enjoy the most and thought I would also share them with my blog friends.

We start off through fairy forests and lovely farmland.

Then after Wicklow Town we hug the coast almost the whole way into town.

Bray Head

Bray Head (Between Bray and Greystones)

I was quite lucky to get the next photo as I don't usually have my camera with me and on this particular day a sailing ship just happened to be there as we went past.  They were moving and we we moving and I wasn't sure if we would get close enough before they disappeared around the corner (and we went into the tunnel) but I just managed to snap this shot.

Killiney Bay

Iarnród Éireann have recently introduced a new fleet of commuter trains that are very smart and it feels more like you are in a plane than a train.  There are glamorous sounding announcements first in Irish and then English throughout the journey.  The older trains are not as smart but they are possibly more comfortable and seem bigger.  

The 'station' at Kilcoole is quite unique - it is just a single platform on the beach!  (There is a car park but no station building.)

Sunrise at Kilcoole


earthenmagic said...

...this dear kindred has got to be the most awesome post ever! ~ thankyoU! ~ sO much for sharing thine book and even more so ~ thine commute images! ~ what a blessing! ~ i feel as though i'm traveling with thee! ~ pure awesomeness! ~ blessed be! ~ dear gentle heart!...(0:

Barbara said...

Hello Sharon, I’ve just been to visit Agman, what a lovely and well deserved tribute.
I really enjoyed the pictures from the Ballet colouring book. They somehow reminded me of the Fairy liquid adverts from the 60s where the washing up was always done in heels! There is just so much nostalgia in those pictures.
I also enjoyed seeing the pictures from the train; thank you for sharing them it all looks very beautiful.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Sitting in my "dad's" chair by the fire smoking my pipe entertaining the nippers before they go to bed would be pretty good right now. Although I picture more of a two boys with a Scalextric set kinda scene. Wouldn't mind a fishing trip to that beach in the photo either.

Darlene said...

Thanks so much for sharing pictures of your commute. It is very lovely. I was happy to hear that you were able to relax on the train and not fighting traffic in a car. The fact that you are still able to put together such a wonderful blog is amazing!

CraveCute said...

Sharon I adore the coloring book! The 60's lifestyle that is shown here is so typical in it's portrayal of that time. However not at all what I grew up with living in the Midwest United States on a farm!But my mother did wear house dresses for years and probably didn't start wearing pants until sometime in the 70's!

Your pictures from the train are just gorgeous, I'm with you, I would just enjoy the view while you can. Lovely post friend! ~Diane

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I so enjoyed the illustrations from the book. They remind me of the characters on Leave it to Beaver (although girls instead of boys). Isn't it funny- that the picture at the end seemed so normal way back when, but now we live in a different world.

I loved seeing the pictures from your commute. Stopping and enjoying the scenery is probably the most relaxing way to spend the trip! I am glad you have such enchanting views to keep you occupied. Happy traveling. :)

Nora said...

Thank you so much for sharing more of the coloring book. I can relate to it as well since my Mom did always look nice (and wore an apron) when she cooked the meals. At least in the evening during the morning she'd wear her robe and an apron. I remember many a time sitting on Dad's knee while he watched television ( The Ed Sulliven Show and Walter Cronkite come to mind) and smoked his pipe. To this day I still love the smell of pipe smoke.
I'm so envious of your beautiful commute! I live in the desert and though it can be quite beautiful (especially at sunrise and sunset) I'm partial to the ocean and coastal areas.

Donna Yates said...

Such lovely illustrations. They give a nice loving feeling. I must admit I've never worn high heels at home.
Your other pictures are something I would love to view every day.


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