Saturday, October 09, 2021

Houses and Gardens - Sepia Saturday

 Well, I come back to Sepia Saturday after a few weeks off and find the theme has changed to no real theme. Now that makes it difficult as I liked having that little nudge in the right direction.

However, I am a fan of old houses and gardens, so I did get a bit of an idea from this week's photo - I am looking for old houses and gardens in my collection.

My father was an Englishman from a reasonably well off family who can trace their ancestry back for hundreds of years. When I say he "came" to Australlia, I really mean he was 'sent' to Australia because my very strict Victorian grandfather had had enough of him lazing around doing very little in the way of work, partying, wining and dining and spending the family money. In retrospect I think he had a difficult 5 years in the army in WW1 and found it very hard to settle down in peace time.

Whatever the reason really was - and he never spoke of it or his war experiences, - he was packed off to Australia as a "remittance man" and told to 'make good". I knew very little of his background except that he had three sisters, I had English cousins and until the Depression, the family had money.

Since then I have been able to trace my cousins and now know a little more about the family, although they know nothing about my father except that he came to Australia for some unknown reason. I do however have some family photos, some of which I will share with you because they do fit my theme of old houses and gardens. For most of my younger years these few photos were my only connection with my English family so they were very much treasured.

My grandparents lived in Wallasey and there is information in the Wallasey History archives about their house which was demolished around 1920. It was known as "Braddofields" and was regarded as a significant house in Wallasey.

This is Braddofields circa 1900. The occasion appears to be a tennis party. At the time my father would have been 7 or 8 and his sisters a few years older. I have no doubt that my grandparents are in this photo and probably my aunts and father too. This is the tennis party enlarged. There don't appear to be any young children there so perhaps they were kept in the nursery.

This photo shows Braddofields during WW1 after my grandparents had moved. I am guessing that the tennis court was taken over to grow vegetables during the war years.

This house, known as "The Grey House" was the residence of one of my father's sisters and her family.

They had quite extensive grounds, including these lovely areas with bluebells and daffodils. These photos inspired me to fill my own garden with bluebells and daffodils.

This house  was also a family residence situated on the Isle of Man. I believe this was a farmhouse used by the family for summer holidays.

My Great Grandfather Lewis Hornblower was an architect and designer, responsible for designing the buildings, lodges and gates in Sefton Park, South Liverpool. I have no idea how much of his design remains. These are his designs.

Lewis Hornblower also designed many of the buildings in Birkenhead Park, including the Grand Entrance and the Cricket Pavilion.

Grand Entrance at Birkenhead Park

Cricket Pavilion

I have to admit I did not know until 5 minutes ago that he also did the designs for Birkenhead Park. Now I am on a roll, I have to follow up some more links and find out what else he did.

Liz Needle - linking with Sepia Saturday

Spring is Here

 Finally Spring has hit the garden - seemed to bevery slow coming this year. The daffodils, camellias and Magnolias came in  July and August as expected, but the flowering blossom trees seemed to take forever. Now the bluebells are looking stunning. What a pity they can't hang around for a bit longer.

The last of the daffodils.

This magnolia was beautiful this year despite being cruelly pruned by Tree Active because it is under the power lines.

This evergreen magnolia has a pretty perfume.

As doe this Michaelia (never sure of this spelling), but is smells gorgeous!

The flowering apples have been superb.

And the irises are about to begin. This variety is always early and very pretty.

Bluebells under the old  flowering cherry - well actually it rarely flowers anymore, but I like the look of the bare branches.

I hope you enjoyed this quick trip around the garden. More to come later.

Liz Needle

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Covid Projects

 It is some months since I posted on my blog - not sure why except that I haven't really had anything to write about. We have had a very wet, cold winter and have spent most of our time snuggled up under a rug in front of the fire watching TV - Tour de France, Wimbledon, Olympic Games and now Paralympics.  Good watching. We have also discovered the wonderful Andre Rieu and have been watching new (to us) reruns of his most entertaining shows.

However, all this time has given me the opportunity to get on with some sadly neglected quilting and crochet. I am using up some of my fabric stash to make lap quilts to be given to some of our veteran servicemen - a very worthwhile cause. I have enjoyed this and found it a bit of a challenge as the quilts are mainly for men - and I haven't made any man-quilts before.

The second one - somewhat different - and not the best of photos, but you get the idea.

My real passion lately has been crochet rugs. We all love them, especially the dogs who come running for a snuggle as soon as I get one out. First, my Aria Blanket from  Lucy@ Attic24. This blanket was a joy to make and I love the result - not my colors at all, but I love it.

This one, also by Lucy is the Woodland Ripple Blanket - gorgeous autumn colours.

My son Mark was so taken with the ripple pattern that I made him a blanket in his own colours using Lucy's  Neat Ripple pattern. I love the way this turned out and he has it proudly displayed in his room.

Finally, a real challenge I took on Lucia Dunn's "Eastern Jewels" blanket  which she adapted from the original "Persdian Tiles" pattern by Janie Crow. Just love this pattern and the colours.

My husband fell in love with every stage of this blanket, so I made him an extra motif which he keeps on the arm of his chair. This is one blanket the dogs are not allowed to touch! 

I did say 'finally', but I have to admit I am being frugal and using the left over wool to make a classic granny square rug in the same colours  - well  I did have to order a few extra balls of yarn to do this new one.

Where will it end?

Liz Needle

Monday, May 24, 2021

Autumn in my garden

 Autumn is nearly over and for a while I thought it would never arrive - well, the colour at least. I love Autumn with it's warm mellow days, light breezes, glorious colours and fruit everywhere. We have had a very mild summer and autumn this year and the deciduous trees, lacking the cold frosty nights, have taken a long time to get their colour. And then it came suddenly and only lasted a week or so, but glorious nonetheless.

Take a peek at my garden.

I guess for you northerners, these trees are nothing special, but here in Australia they are exotic  and much treasured in a country of greys and greens, so I enjoy autumn while it lasts.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Our World Tuesday".

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sepia Saturday 567 - Those Horses

The prompt this week shows a steeplechase horse - no steeplechasers here, but a few old family pets and a few old nags from the farms in the family.

Don's family came from a farming background, his great-grand parents ran a cattle and sheep station in the north of the state, so there were always horses around. My dad's family were from England and the children all had ponies. We have lived on a small acreage for the last 50 years and as my eldest daughter was/still is horse mad, there have always been ponies here - plus every other animal you can imagine - but that's another story.

So on with the Needle horse parade. Here we have one of the great aunts riding a stock horse on the old farm "Dingly Dell", which was north of Peterborough  at a place called Nackera on the road to Broken Hill.

 This lovely lady is my mother-in-law, Mavis, riding Molly

And here we have my father-in-law, Ron, on Trilly, - Molly and Mavis in the background with Mungrel, the dog.

Molly and Trilly were also used to pull the buggy.

Different horses here pulling the hay cart. Ron driving.

A total change of scene - and continent. My English cousins with their pony

And more English cousins, this time with pony and caravan. What a delightful way to have a holiday.

And here we have the same cousins but this time with a donkey and cart. They look like travelling minstrels - maybe dressed up for a fair or festival.

Finally, one of our own ponies, Pipsy and some of the family. Our daughter holding the head, my son on the back of the horse.

If you would like to see how the rest of the group interpreted the prompt, please visit

Liz Needle

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Whistlers in the Garden

 Great excitement in our house! Three days ago I chanced to see a Golden Whistler in out Viburnum opulus. Now we haven't seen a Golden Whistler here for a number of years, but there was this beautiful little fellow, whistling his head off and showing off, flying from the Viburnum, around the granny flat, under the veranda and landing in the Buddleia. Then reversing the process.

Naturally I ran for the camera and he continued his exhibition while I madly tried to capture him on camera. After 10 minutes he left and I waited in vain.

Next morning he was there again, same time, same place, repeating his display  of the previous day and whistling his little head off. This time he actually perched on the arm of a steamer chair on the veranda. I thought I could detect a softer answering call, but there was no sign of another Whistler. Again, after 10 minutes he disappeared.

I didn't see him at his appointed time this morning, so I got on with my task of cleaning windows. Then, an hour later, I heard his song and this time there was a definite answer. I snuck up on the Viburnum and was lucky enough to catch sight of his plain brown little girlfriend hiding in the leafy canopy - too well hidden to get a photo of course.

Three days in a row! What will tomorrow bring. It is mid-Autumn here and as we have had a mild season, the trees are very slow to colour up and lose their leaves. So what is going on? Surely it is too late to start nesting, though the Little Ravens nearby are collecting twigs for a nest and we have young Red-browed finches being fed on the lawn. I guess we will just have to wait and see what our beautiful visitors are up to.

A bit of background information. Golden Whistlers are fairly common but usually live in forested areas with thick understorey and closed canopies. They are conspicuous and noisy at the beginning of the breeding season which is from August to January. We live in an area surrounded by grape vines and grazing paddocks, although we do have an extensive garden of shrubs and trees hence our surprise at the visit which hasn't happened for years.

Liz Needle  -  linking with   -  Wild Bird Wednesday and Our World Tuesday

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Sepia Saturday 566 - The artifices of photography.


Well you have me this week. No photos of the rooms in any of the houses in my collection. What a shame. I would love to have seen inside the houses of my ancestors. On my father's side they would have been quite grand, I think. On my mother's side less so.

However as I was browsing through my old photos, something did catch my eye and that was the backgrounds and props that the photographers of the time used. Most old photos - at least in my family archives - were taken by professional photographers as privately owned cameras were very rare in the old days. I am amazed at how many professional photographers there seem to have been just in my home city of Adelaide. Anyway that is my theme this week - Backgrounds and props used by the photographers of old. 

Let's look at some of the furniture - there always seem to be chairs of some sort, even if they were only to lean on.  Here we have several cane chairs - and a fur rug - also commonly used. These children are some of my mother's cousins, taken around 1896

Speaking of furs. This little chap is cuddling up to a shaggy fur. Like many of the photos in my old album, these children are un-named. not family, but friends, I suspect. Who knows?

This velvet buttoned chair appears in a number of family shots. One of these young ladies is Olga Ernst, who became a well known children's author in Australia. A  second cousin twice removed??? Very obscure, but I am claiming her!!

My maternal Great Great Grandparents - I would die for a cane chair like that one. Interesting that the chair only has one arm as does the other chair. 

And then there were the other types of furniture like this toy horse and carriage.

Or this three-wheeled wheel chair

Then there was often something ornate to lean on - probably needed because they had to stand still for so long. Either an elegant one like this one 

Or something more rustic and (dare I say it in these days of political correctness?) more masculine.

Which brings me to the backdrops, like this rustic archway  in a garden setting

Or this one which really makes me giggle - My great great grandmother with her daughter and grand children (Olga Ernst again). A fake drawing room background.

I do have one more photo - a very very old one taken in Germany some time before anyone ever thought of coming to Australia. I'm not sure if it is even a photo? I am sure someone can enlighten me. This is of my great great grandparents Dr. Carl August Heyne and his wife Marianne. This image was possibly taken well before 1840, the year in which he died. There is a baby here and I know they had three children, my great grandfather being born in 1825, so this photo could be even older than 1840.

This photo does show the interior of a house.

That's it for me. If you want to see how the rest of the gang interpreted the theme head over to 

Liz Needle