Yesterday I published a few of my favourite travel photos. Today, I’m posting my mother’s favourite travel photos. Well, technically I’m not, because she’s not guest posting. Basically I’m going back through her old travel photos that I have access to and picking out a few of my favourites. It’s her birthday this week and I thought it would be a nice way to honour her, the life she’s lived and the places she’s been.
My mother is from New Zealand, and lives there now, but she travelled around Europe as a young woman. These photos are from the early 1970s, a time when colour photography could only be paid for with gold bullion and then you got to sit back and watch over the next 30 years as your expensive photos faded and turned yellow and then essentially orange all over.
To counteract this, my mother took slides. They’re small, easy to travel with, full colour and square. They’re the original Instagrams. Around 10 years ago I had access to a machine that scanned slides, so now I have the digital copies. Prepare yourselves for some wacky sartorial excellence from the 70s.
My mother lived in London for two years in her early twenties. After hearing stories about this throughout my childhood I knew that I wanted to do the same. Only thing is, I’ve now been here six years with no plans to head back to New Zealand…. sorry, Mum!
The top photo was taken in Finsbury Park I believe, and that coat she’s wearing is pure 70s glory. I went through a spell when I was a teenager where I wouldn’t take it off. The bottom photo is of course Westminster, but that’s not a rainbow filter. That’s light sneaking in where it shouldn’t. Bloody film.
My mother is half Scottish, so at some point she grabbed a friend and decided to hitchhike around and really get to know her father’s homeland. The house above is the house my grandfather was born in. Every 20 years or so someone turns up there from my family, desperate to see the place even though they left Scotland in 1926.
Bonus viewing: I adore the little girl’s miniskirt in the John O’Groats pic! My mother’s the one squinting at the lower left.
Unfortunately the top two are rather bad scans from prints I have. Mum did a few group tours in Europe (of the Contiki ilk) and the Netherlands had apparently decided that the best way to nab that tourist dollar was to dress them up in traditional costume. It seemed to work!
Side note: I am in love with those red flares she’s wearing in the clog photo. Why don’t I look this good in trousers?
Salzburg, Austria and Strasbourg, France
I remember looking at these pics when I was a teenager making up a photo album and asking my mum about them.
Me: Where was this taken?
Me: So I’ll label it Germany?
Mum: If you want, but it was France when I was there.
Thanks for that shade, Diane.
The first pic is mum dressed up to tour a salt mine. There’s a very specific dress code for a salt mine. The second is another dodgy scan, but that outfit. I think it’s my favourite. Apparently the dress was stolen from a backpackers at some point during the trip, and I can see why. I bet that dirty thief looked hot.
More of Europe
The clothes really make this tour of Europe come alive for me. The yellow minidress is stunning, and there aren’t many people who can pull of vibrant yellow so close to their face. I’m also intrigued by the clogs she has on in the Barcelona photo. (I’m not sure if it’s Barcelona, I hadn’t labelled that file properly, so I’m going from my hazy second hand memory).
There’s also this gem:
At some point my mother enjoyed a nice row boat journey with this guy who shared her love for bare feet. Good one, mum. The matching outfits are also pretty special.
Why not end with a few pics from her New Zealand adventures? It was an age of teeny tiny short shorts and odd roadside attractions. Yes, that’s my Great Aunt wearing a dunce’s cap while my adult mother sits in a concrete high chair beside her. I don’t understand this anymore than you do. The important part is that the yellow dress is back, and the shoes are so on point I could cry.
Happy Birthday, mum! I love you and I miss you. Here’s a pic of us with a horse, but he’s refraining from kicking and biting. Lucky us.