Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sepia Saturday 177: A Tribute to Blarney


These Madrid street kids are upside down, the wrong way up, and all over the place. That's what happens when you place kids next to the slightest excuse for a piece of acrobatic equipment. This 1908 photograph comes from the George Eastman Collection which has been made available by the wonderful Flickr Commons initiative.
Upside Down
Aileen Fisher

It's funny how beetles and creatures like that
can walk upside down as well as walk flat.
They crawl on a ceiling and climb on a wall
without any practice or trouble at all.
While I have been trying for a year (maybe more)
and still I can't stand with my head on the floor.

With a small tumor permanently lodged on my vestibular nerve, I experience a continuous mild vertigo. My brain has adapted to the presence of our unwanted clingy house guest;  I navigate reasonably well, except for the occasional stagger. Because of my condition, I read anything I can find on brain adaptation. Here's an article about studies done on adaptation to - seeing the world upside down.  In a scant week, test subjects wearing glasses which literally turned the world upside down could fully function including pouring tea, playing catch, riding a bicycle.
Seeing upside down

In a upside down frame of mind, I searched through my pictures and was delighted to unearth this old photo of my father kissing the Blarney Stone in 1964. He was even wearing a tie for the occasion! My father didn't need additional blarney as he was born with sufficient to last a lifetime; I'd say a double dose.  This kiss I believe was his tribute to Blarney and all it did for him.

 Uh oh! Looking closer I see the print "Kissing the Blarney Stone" is almost upside down. I'd better rotate the picture so the print is right side up. Now I see my father is actually on his back and is only partly upside down!

As for myself, I fondly remember hanging upside down on various fences but have no pictures of the events. I was a climber too. Fences and trees. The Mercurochrome bottle and I were well acquainted as I was a good "up climber" but very clumsy on the downward journey. Here's me and my little friend at 5 years old, standing on my favorite fence at the beach - we look about ready to launch into a swing or a tumble.

Darn -  it's so hard to lie about your age when the dates are so clearly written on the photos.

For more amusing stories swing over to Sepia Saturday.


  1. Since you do a lot of reading on the subject, you may have already read this book. I read it a few years ago and found it fascinating:
    Loved everything about your post from the poem to your dad and you and your friend!

  2. Bright red mercurochrome and gentian violet, the distinguishing marks of a happy youth, but I bet we'll both struggle to find any photos of ourselves sporting red- or violet-painted knees. That snapshot of you and your friend on the fence is wonderful - it perfectly captures the moment and the movement.

  3. That's a cute photo of you and your friend.

  4. Full marks for hitting the theme from all sides. The poem is wonderful too.

  5. It would be hard to beat that picture and your friend at 5.

  6. While kissing a stone is not high in my priority list,
    I did wiki blarney stone and found the legend charming.
    It sure provided you with a great pic and a story to tell.
    You and your friend looked lovely there.
    I also had my share of mercurochrome...
    Clumsy, scrappy?!? Nah, just curious!!

    Can't help noticing you got a spammer, just before me...

  7. 5 July 1977 - what's wrong with that. Lovely photographs.

  8. Thinking about all the lips that have been on that stone has made me decide never to do that if and when I get to Ireland.

  9. A post that ticks all the boxes and I have to say that picture of you and Judy is just charming.

  10. I know I have a photo of my mom kissing the blarney stone but I don't know where it might be. That's really funny that you thought your dad was hanging upside down. It's all in how you look at the photo. Great pic of you and your friend.

  11. The mercurochrome! We used to sing a song about someone saying to another that if you poohed on a stone and got cuts, you'll be treated with mercurochrome. Crazy but I'm smiling at the memory. Interesting Blarney shot of your Dad and of you with your friend. I realize now you're about the same age as my mom.