Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Old Family Photos

I've been scanning in some old family photos so that I can forward them to my cousins. 

Some of these pictures I acquired in 1996 when I was in Wisconsin for my dear Grandma Carew's funeral.
My Grandma Carew's engagement photo.   Taken circa 1931.   She was always very fashionable.  I miss her terribly.  She was a perfect grandmother.  I am hoping that if I get to be a grandmother, I will be just as good at it as she was.
This photo was on top of her dressing table always.  It was put there the day they moved in and was there until I removed it after her death.  It is my grandparent's wedding photo.  I remember seeing the dress.  It was a dark forest green velvet with silver bugle beads around the neckline and around the back.  It was stunning.  My cousin Carey and I tried it on in one of the unused upstairs bedrooms when we were teens.   We knew the importance of that dress and were so careful with it.   Grandma was slender before those babies started showing up!  I don't know where the dress is now.  I hope my my Aunt Mary Ellen has it.  She'll keep it safe.

My Grandma Carew's parents were Dennis and Elizabeth Halloran.  This is their wedding photo from on or about 1899.
Dennis Halloran looks like someone who could fit in to a crowd of local farmers here.  I've seen faces like that at agricultural shows and auctions my whole life.
Great-grandmother Halloran's own engagement photo.  It amazes me that the clothes in these older photos were all made by hand, very possibly by the person wearing them.  All the older family photos are all studio portraits.  No holiday snaps, no pictures of Great Uncle Clifford with a big fish.  Photos were a serious business and an expense to be figured into the budget.

This is Clifford Carew - aged 4,  Murray Carew - aged 3 and John 8 months.  They look like they would have run Great Grandma Carew ragged.  It was the fashion to dress young boys this way.  It surprises many when I say the middle child with the long curls is actually my grandfather.  I recognise that shade of brown hair and those eyebrows I see them when I look in the mirror.

Standing are John, Murray (my grandpa) and Clifford Carew.  Seated are Grace and Great Grandma Nell Carew.

My Grandpa Carew died when I was young.  I just have images of him in my head.  I wish they were clearer.  The few memories I have of Grandpa Carew are great memories though.  He was always smiling and happy and loved to indulge his granddaughters.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Um El Faroud - Malta

One of the tasks that was set for me during a recent dive trip to Malta was to get some deep dives completed.   The first deep dive of the dive trip was on the wreck of the Um El Faroud, a Libyan motor tanker.  The ship was being worked on in dry dock in Malta, when a gas explosion on board killed nine Maltese dockworkers. For three years after the 1995 explosion she lay in the harbor of Valetta.  She was then moved to the current location
Memorial Plaque to the dockworkers of the Um El Faroud
Our dive club had a couple of good reasons for diving on this wreck.  
Rodger Donald dives the Um El Faroud
Our Branch Diving Officer, Rodger Donald had been diving on this wreck not long after it had been sunk and was keen to see how it had changed in 10 years.    Back then there was a large crack through the ship.  One could stand on the deck and straddle the crack.   A violent storm (or series of storms)  completed the break and the ship is now in two large chunks on the floor of the sea.  It was commented that there is less life sticking to the wreck than we expected.  
Um El Faroud
It was agreed that if the ship had been sunk in the Clyde estuary , it would have been covered by soft corals and encrusting algae by the time 10 years had elapsed.  I don't know how much of those opinions are based on loyalty to home waters . . . however, there was plenty to see. There were more fish here than I have ever seen on any dive in the Clyde.
Rodger Donald and a ladder inside the Um El Faroud
I loved this dive!  I'm not overly fond of wreck dives.  I'm much more interested in staying shallow, where the light is better and there are more little things for me to see.  I will admit that the number of fish living near this wreck was amazing and kept me from staying inside my own head where I start to worry about the depth, air consumption and other less pleasant thoughts.
Male Parrot fish on the Um El Faroud
In addition to thousands of damel fish, I saw at least six parrot fish, both male and female.  I'd only ever seen one parrot fish in all the other Mediterranean dives I've done.
Damsel fish on the Um El Faroud
In going forward to the next stage of dive training, I have to complete 10 deep dives.  This wreck dive plus one other deep dive completed during this trip means there are 8 to go. 

The thought of doing the remainder of the deep dives in Crummock Water in the Lake District where there is 0 visability and 0 life doesn't inspire me.  I wonder if I can convince anybody to go away with me for another cheeky little dive trip. . . . to warmer waters.
Rab and Nick dive the Um El Faroud
There was a sea squirt and some encrusting sponge starting to stick to the side of the ship so life is beginning to think of the hull of this ship a permanent thing.
unknown sea squirt
When I get find out what this is, I'll edit this entry - New Book Needed!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diving in Malta

Sunday the 3rd of April was Mothers Day here in the UK.  I was given a less than traditional gift by my son George.  He gave me some lovely white linen trousers.  I wore them later on in the day when I drove to the airport.  Ok so linen isn't the best material for travelling, but . . so what.  I don't care about a few wrinkles.

Manchester Airport bar
I went with six other member of the Dumfries and Galloway Subaqua club to Malta.

I had missed proper sun the sort of sun that makes you seek out the shade.   It was good to be doing things.  Being active, diving, walking places.  It is always interesting to see how things are done in other countries

I really liked the diving.  It was so great to get back in my dear old wetsuit.  Diving is just easier with a wetsuit.  In this instance it was easier, but a little bit colder.    The water was about 16 C the week we were there. 

St Paul's Bay - Malta
The people who dive regularly on the island were still in their drysuits.  The first day out we were teasing them about being soft southerners . . . until after the first days diving.  Then we were wishing for our drysuits.  We toughed it out.    I won't speak for the others but I found that when my mind was occupied on other things, like looking at fish, going through wrecks and underwater caves, I forgot I was cold and really enjoyed the dives. 

One of the things to do on my list was get some deep dives done.  I managed two deep dives onto wrecks.

Um El Faroud
Up until now, I wasn't overly fond of wreck diving.  Now that I see large number of fish that call these wrecks home, I am almost converted.