Wednesday 17 May 2023

A Richmond (Yorkshire) 'Blow-Up'

My mother, Audrey Carr (née Blease), aged two, with her mother Julia Blease (née Mattison, later Ghent)

Antonioni's 1966's film Blow-Up is a firm favourite of mine, so much so that I named my book of short stories inspired by details in old postcards Blow-Ups. I've blogged about that before and I've also blogged about the wonderful shop that my great-grandparents ran in Richmond, Yorkshire, before WWII: Mattison's Bazaar. In this post I'm going to combine the two.

The urge to write about our family history was strong in both my mother, Audrey Carr, and her mother, Julia Ghent (pictured together, above). And it seems it's just as strong in me, a need that nags away at me and demands to be fulfilled. In fact I've been planning to write about my mum and other members of my family for years and have been accumulating memories and photographs and source material until I now have a mountain of anecdotes and insights just begging to be written up -- except that I've made the task so daunting, now, that I don't seem to be able to get a foothold on that memory-mountain and it's proving hard to get down to the job of turning it all into a book. Where to start? How far back should I go, in order to set up the back story that will make sense of my mother and me and our strange, funny, sad entanglement?

Really, I just need to jump in. I can sort out the final shape of the story once I've written it! So, as I way of coaxing myself into making a start, here's a Richmond 'Blow-Up' which I find very pleasing. My great-grandparents John (usually known as Jack) and Julia Mattison were the figureheads of my family when I was growing up and it seemed as though everything we stood for as a family flowed from them. My great grandfather was a skilled tinsmith who could make almost anything out of sheet metal. My great grandmother was a born businesswoman, tremendously hardworking and singleminded. She ran an ambitious shop, which she named Mattison's Bazaar, in the 1920s and 1930s. It occupied two sites in Richmond market place at different times - I'm not sure of the exact dates when it was at each premises. In the map above, I've coloured them in: the yellow block is next door to the King's Head, the grandest hotel and drinking spot in Richmond. But today we're focusing on the pink location, down at the far end of the market place, next to the much smaller Richmond Hotel. The address was no. 30 The Market Place and it was a long narrow plot, with my great grandfather's tinsmithing workshop down at the bottom, near the little cut-through known as 'Waterloo' (although I see it's now labelled 'Waterloo Street' on Google StreetView).
     The sepia postcard above dates from 1936 and shows Trinity Church (famous for having shops built right up against it) and the Market Cross.This is as close as I can get to the same view on Google StreetView today:

But if we zoom in between the church tower and the obelisk of the Cross it's possible to make out Mattison's Bazaar:

The fascia reading 'Mattison's Bazaar' can be seen fairly clearly above the shop window of the shop on the left. Here's more or less the same closer-in shot on Google StreetView:

In the more recent shot, the shop that was the Bazaar is the central red-brick building, one of two occupied by the Yorkshire Trading Company (in fact I've taken it from 2018 StreetView as there were less cars in that version). In May 2023 (time of writing), it's actually Elixir restaurant.
     It's thrilling for me to see the shop during the period when it was in operation. The rather grand door to the right of the shop window was the entrance to the living quarters above the shop. And I think this derelict structure must be the remains of Jack Mattison's workshop behind the shop:

Here he is inside it (the figure on the right), with his two employees (one of whom was Les Fowler -- on the far left):

He had a good reputation as a maker of metal goods such as pans and kettles. Here's a letter from a satisfied customer (in 1950) who wants to buy another teapot from him. Ms Singh lived a long way away, in Cambridge, so she must have rated Jack's workmanship. I love the way the letter found him even though the address was only approximate. He was very well-known in the town.
But let's continue with our 'blow-up'. We can't really zoom in much further as there isn't much more to be seen in the details of the postcard but... if we focus on the shop door, between the two windows, we can see a vague shape:

Could it be the pale oval of a woman's face, with a white collar below it? I think it could. And there's a reason why I feel fairly confident about it. My great grandmother was a stickler for customer service and always liked a member of her staff to stand at the door of the shop to welcome customers in -- more often than not she would do this job herself (see below). When my granny, Julie, was obliged to leave school at fourteen so that she could work in the Bazaar (something she resented bitterly but, alas, it wasn't at all unusual for the times), she also spent many hours on duty at the shop entrance:

In the right-hand photo, Julie looks as though she has only recently left school; she's older in the picture with her mother. I definitely think that fuzzy oval in the 1936 postcard could be my great-grandmother's face, don't you? In 1936, she would have been about 52 and Julie 26, so I think that photo on the left is of around the same date. I adore the glimpses of the lovely things that were for sale in the shop in these images: the beautiful dolls in particular. 
     These photos reconnect me with my family so powerfully. It's just the shot I needed to get me started with my memoir in earnest.

Friday 29 October 2021

The War on Chastity -- and Vera Lynn's part in it

"When the lights go on again all over the world ...
Then we'll have time for things like wedding rings"

(from "When the Lights Go on Again" by Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus and Eddie Seiler, Warner/Chappell Music)

I've been immersing myself in the wartime hits of Vera Lynn and enjoying a fantasy of giving a Stars in Their Eyes type performance one day. My 'set' is up to ten songs now, none of them the ones that Vera is most famous for, and some of them still have the power to reduce me to tears, which is tricky when driving. It used to be "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" that made me blub, but thoroughly learning a song, including the timing of the crisp consonants that Vera always includes at the ends of her words (she has such exquisite diction!), seems to neutralise the devastating power of the lyrics after a while. Currently it's "How Green Was My Valley" and the end of "That Lovely Week-end" that still have the pathos to draw my tears.
     Singing these marvellous songs over and over has made me focus on the lyrics and what the effect of them must have been when they were hits during World War II. Two in particular have made me think about the way the war speeded up changes in behaviour and hastened the dismantling of sexual restrictions that we more often associate with the Sixties.
     While I've been writing my novel, If This Isn't Love, which is set in 1946, I watched as many Forties films as I could and a strong theme I noticed in several of them was a push-me-pull-you wavering of the morality around women's sexuality and agency (see, for example, My Reputation from 1946). The war effort needed women to step up into men's roles, to do the work that the men had done before they went off to fight which was liberating and empowering. There was also an accelerated social acceptance of the idea that Our Boys should enjoy the love (and sex) of a good woman when they were on leave, to fortify them for their return to the front. Both of those things represented rapid and disruptive changes to the social structures that were in place before the war (such as 'saving yourself' until you were married -- of course not everyone did by any means but that was the social standard). Yet at the same time women were still expected to be good wives and mothers, and once the war was over they had to be able to be corralled back into the home, so that the men could have their jobs back again. To put it crudely, they had to pull off the old Madonna/whore conundrum, an almost impossible challenge. However, some of Vera's songs offer a kind of primer in how to do it.
     I'm going to look closely at two song lyrics. I think they contained interesting messages to the women who first heard them. There are links to YouTube so you can hear Vera's recordings.

First up is "That Lovely Week-end", written by Moira and Ted Heath and recorded by Vera in 1942. It's a narrative song in which Vera takes the part of a woman who has just spent the eponymous weekend with her soldier boyfriend. She's writing him a letter to thank him for "Those two days of heaven you helped me spend". Make no mistake, the song is about the fact that she slept with him during his weekend leave:

"To mark the occasion we went out to dine
Remember the laughter, the music, the wine..."

     Note that the one thing she doesn't mention is the food, which was probably not terribly nice, given rationing. The song continues:
"That drive in the taxi when midnight had flown
Then breakfast next morning, just we two alone."

     The lyrics can't touch on the sex itself, but they symbolise it by referring to the heady anticipation of a taxi ride back to the hotel and then with a jump over the intimate night-time hours to breakfast in their room. This is rather racy stuff for the time.
     The song has already established that the woman's boyfriend is worth risking her reputation for. Not only is he sexy ("The thrill of your kiss as you stepped off the train"), he's also kind ("The smile in your eyes like the sun after rain"). The whole premise of sleeping with your man before marriage is that he has to be worth it and the woman has to trust his commitment to a shared future. She isn't fooling around.
     After the dreamy melody of the verse, there's a bridge with a much more urgent and anxious feel -- the tone changes, there's a kind of crisis in both the music and the lyrics:

"You had to go, the time was too short
We both had so much to say
Your kit to be packed, the train to be caught
Sorry I cried but I just felt that way."

     Emotions are running high, understandably. She has given herself to her man and now, at the point of greatest intimacy, they have to part almost immediately and the chap is heading into mortal danger. But then the melody of the verse returns to pour balm on their wounds:
"And now you have gone, dear, this letter I pen
My heart travels with you till we meet again
Keep smiling, my darling, and someday we'll spend
A lifetime as sweet as that lovely weekend."

     I like the echo of Vera's greatest hit, "We'll Meet Again", recorded three years earlier so already embedded in the national conscience. The song's great payoff is the promise that the "lovely weekend" is just a taster of the long and happy life the couple will spend together. It combines reassurance that one day the misery of the war will be over (though it would be another three long years before peace was declared) with justification of the decision to have sex before marriage -- don't worry, ladies, you're simply borrowing a little intimacy on credit from your expected lifetime with your man. No doubt in many cases this didn't turn out to be the case, but I think the lyric represents a pragmatic squaring of the circle of chastity vs sexual reward for Our Boys.

The other song that seems to speak to the same anxiety -- and even more intimately -- is the wonderful "Room Five Hundred and Four" (lyrics by Eric Maschwitz, music by George Posford). It was written for Maschwitz's 1940 revue New Faces, which also gave us "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square". The sheet music above shows Judy Campbell, who was in the original cast. Vera Lynn recorded it in 1942, with Jay Wilbur and His Band. It's another narrative song in which a woman tells of a night spent with her lover in an expensive hotel. Unlike "That Lovely Week-end", the lyrics don't refer explicitly to wartime, but this story of one night in a hotel certainly fits in to the theme of squaring the circle of chastity vs the "gift of sex".

The first verse establishes the scene:
"Such a big hotel, a very grand one,
Right upon the avenue.
We could not afford it
But, Sweet, I just adored it,
My very first and only rendezvous"

     The modest bank balances of the pair are important to declare, so as not to alienate anyone listening -- this is an ordinary couple, just like you and me. The word "sweet", together with "sweetest" and "dearest", set the tone of non-threatening loveliness: this night of sex is going to be presented in as unthreatening manner as possible and, let's get this absolutely straight, our lady has never done anything like this before and never will again: her "first and only rendezvous". So don't go thinking she's some sort of loose woman.
     Let's go on to the next verse:
"In room five hundred and four,
So sweet a room, so strange and new,
It was romance, a dream come true
That perfect honeymoon alone with you
In room five hundred and four."

     The song is calling this a "honeymoon" but I don't think it's what we conventionally think of as a honeymoon, which is taken immediately after marriage. Rather, it's a kind of symbolic honeymoon -- as good as, a marker for the marriage that will surely follow. In this, it's exactly the same as "That Lovely Weekend" which looks forward to a "lifetime" together. Women were "allowed" to sleep with their boyfriend before marriage as long as they were fully committed to each other and intended to marry. In fact this get-around was socially sanctioned much longer ago than this -- in the 19th century the same quiet blind eye was turned to sex out of wedlock, as long as a couple were betrothed, certainly among the working class. But it was not alluded to in popular songs, as far as I know.
     The couple, no doubt by now anticipating their fast-approaching intimacy, go into their hotel room:

"We turned the key in the door
We hadn't dared to ask the price
That kind of thrill can't happen twice
And who could bargain over paradise
In room five hundred and four?"

     I love the line about bargaining over paradise, and the mention of a "thrill" is the raciest moment of the whole song. Let's not get overwrought, now! 

     Here comes the bridge:
"The lovely night, the starlight above,
The sleeping town below.
And in the dark you said, my love,
The dearest things I know."

     This is it, the actual bit where they, you know, In the dark. But the song veers away from passion and substitutes words in its place, the rather tame "dearest things I know". I feel this is part of the song's mission not to frighten the horses. As before, the sexual act is like an empty space at the heart of the song, and the lyrics always look away from it rather than at it -- up at the stars, down at the town, at the room itself, which becomes a metaphor for what happens there. The subtext of the song is that a "nice" woman will understandably be nervous about going to a hotel with a man, even if it's the man she fully intends to spend the rest of her life with, and so she can take comfort in the pretty hotel room and the reassurance that her man will only talk to her, not do anything physical and alarming. There's a twofold blurring of reality here, firstly the song sells the idea that sex is "sweet" and "dear" (which of course it can be, but it's not just that). Secondly, it also reinforces the idea that women won't be just as excited and passionate as men when it comes to sex. Mid-century mores are deeply embedded in this song.

     The final verse takes us forward in time and the woman looks back fondly on that night in Room 504:
"We don't live there any more,
But still in memory I adore
The sweetest room I ever saw,
A seventh heaven on the old fifth floor,
Our room five hundred and four."

     What strikes me here is the idea that the couple "lived" in the room. And this is underlined still further by it becoming "our room" in the last line. There's a sleight of hand that makes a single night in an anonymous hotel be part of the couple's "life together", a home. It isn't, but that's all part of the reassuring story which overlays rule-breaking sex with a veneer of photo-album sanctity.
     I love this song -- but it amuses me to dissect the have-your-cake-and-eat-it lyrics that gave women permission to sleep with their boyfriends at a time when no one knew if there would be a happy ever after.

If you'd like to read other posts relating to If This Isn't Love, my novel about love, sex and murder in 1946, read "Vera Lynn -- One of the Boys" and "Going Back to 1946".

Thursday 28 October 2021

John James and Catherine Rosa Harris -- sleuthing an old photo


Catherine Rosa and John James Harris

I bought this nice old photograph for £1 from Snoopers Paradise in Brighton, happy source of many of the old photographs I've previously explored on this blog. As with all the photos I've 'investigated', one of the main reasons for choosing it, if not the main one, was that the subjects in it are identified on the back. Much as I like to think I have sleuthing skills, even I can't intuit the names of people in photos without a bit of help.

So, from the writing on the back, we know we have Catherine Rosa and John James Harris, who look to be aged around five and seven respectively, perhaps a little younger. They look like nice children and are probably dressed in their best clothes for the photo session -- although you can see that their footwear is a little worn, so perhaps the family were not terribly well off.
     When I first brought this photograph home, I thought it would be relatively easy to identify these two, because I assumed they were probably brother and sister, and I had full names for each of them. But as it turned out, I drew a blank -- I couldn't even see any candidates for the pair when I broadened the search on Ancestry to include variations on the spelling of Catherine's name. As I had bought other photos in Brighton which I got a 'hit' with, I set the Harris children aside -- for several years, as it turned out.
     Then, just recently, I came across the photo again and decided to have another go at cracking it. New information is added to Ancestry all the time, particularly by people who are researching their own family trees. At first I got nowhere again, and then, for the first time, I noticed that at the bottom right of the photo there's an address -- 62 Rundle Street. The photo card has actually been mis-cut, so that the name of the photographic studio that took the picture is almost completely cut off (bottom left), but the studio's address was still eminently searchable. To Google StreetView where Rundle Street turns out to be a highly developed shopping street in the centre of Adelaide, South Australia. Well, no wonder I was drawing a blank as I had my Ancestry search set to UK & Ireland only!
     While the turn-of-the-century buildings have disappeared from this very commercial part of Adelaide now, I found a photo of Fruhling Studios, which had its premises at 62 Rundle Street (corner of Gawler Place):

You can just make out the tops of the letters spelling 'Fruhling' on the bottom left of the photo.
     And now I soon found the Harris siblings in the Australian records as well. They were both native-born Australians, indeed born in Adelaide: John in August 1893 and Catherine in July 1895 -- so I'm dating the photograph to around 1899/1900. As far as I can tell, they were the only children born to John and Mary Harris who married in Adelaide in November 1891. Mary's maiden name was McGuire and she was also born in Adelaide, but her father, John McGuire, had been born in Co. Tyrone, Ireland before emigrating to Australia. Mary's mother (nee Grant) was also an emigre from Ireland and the couple married in Adelaide in 1862 (Mary was born in 1865 but many of her siblings were born before 1862, so there may be a mistake with the marriage date or they may have left it a bit late). 

John and Catherine's father John Harris had been born in Melksham, Wiltshire in 1862. His father, Jeremiah Harris, was a sheep farmer and Methodist preacher who married Rosa James in 1861 (and there's the link to Catherine's lovely middle name -- and possibly to John's middle name too). By 1871, the family had moved to Bysshe Court farm, Smallfield, near Horley in Surrey. On the date of the next census, 1881, John (the children's father) was 19 and living in Reading, lodging with a family and working as a butcher, no doubt a useful trade to have and one that you could carry out almost anywhere.
     He was 28 when, in November 1890, he embarked on the 75-day journey to Australia on the steamship Oruba, bound for Sydney with calls at Colombo, Albany, Adelaide and Melbourne on the way. This is assuming I've found the right John Harris in the passenger records:

 There is a small question mark over whether this is 'our' John Harris because his age is given as 24 whereas he would have been 28 -- but there is often a degree of uncertainty about ages.

John Harry Grainger

By chance, on the same voyage, the very successful architect and engineer John Harry Grainger was also a passenger, returning to Australia where he had a company (his other claim to fame is that he was the father of the well-known composer Percy Grainger). He had been back to England for a break following the breakdown of his marriage. Grainger was also a very accomplished artist and he painted this great watercolour of the Oruba setting sail on her voyage halfway around the globe:

S.S. Oruba leaving Plymouth for Australia, Nov 12, 1890 by J H Grainger, courtesy The Grainger Museum, Melbourne

When Grainger arrived back in Australia he settled in Adelaide -- and so did John Harris, perhaps growing tired of being at sea and jumping off when the ship made port in Adelaide rather than hanging on until they reached Sydney.
     John Harris seems to have landed on his feet as he was married to Mary McGuire within a year of his arrival and then his two children were born just a few years after that. I haven't found out much more about him except that he died in 1927, aged 65. It was to John's father that the photograph was sent: Jeremiah Harris, the farmer and Methodist preacher who lived near Horley in Surrey. His wife, Rosa, had died in 1892, which is why the photo is just 'To Grandpa'. It isn't very far from Horley to Brighton, which helps to explain how a photograph taken in Adelaide ended up in a vintage emporium there. Jeremiah died in 1908 and probably never got to meet his daughter-in law or his grandchildren in person.

What of John James and Catherine Rosa themselves? I found grown-up Catherine, married to an Alf Edwards, plasterer, at 90 Campbell Street, in the Collingwood area of Melbourne, from about 1931. The section where no.90 would be has been redeveloped, but I bet they lived in a little house like this one, further down Campbell St:

As for John James, he fought in World War I, in the Imperial Camel Corps in Egypt:

According to his military records (which you can see via Ancestry), he seems to have been hospitalised several times for illnesses such as gastritis but he made it through and returned to Adelaide in 1919. After that, I'm not sure -- there are several John James Harrises in the Australian records. I was quite excited to find a John James Harris who had been in trouble with the police in Adelaide and further afield in the late 1920s -- to the genealogist, such events always cause excitement. In September 1929, he illegally cut down some sandalwood along with an assistant, Frederick Lambert:

Then, one month later, the same John James Harris was in trouble for not paying Lambert's wages. He and his wife and three children left Adelaide (on the lam?):

However, I'm not 100% sure this is our John James. There's an ambiguity over his age (possibly a typo in the first report -- our John James would have been 36 in 1929), and the description is somewhat at odds with this one, from John James' sign-up papers in 1915 (which I'm much more confident about -- for a start, the age is exactly right, down to the month):

 Then in 1933 a John James Harris is wanted for non-payment of a fine (this is definitely a John James Harris, as other reports, not included here, use his full name):

Maybe it is him? But now he has fair hair and skin. His eyes are sometimes described as blue and sometimes as grey... You'll have to decide for yourself. Is this the grown-up version of the little boy in the photo, who perhaps found life hard after he returned from the traumas of the first world war?
     The lives that can unfold from one random photograph are so fascinating.

Saturday 7 August 2021

Postcard Art / Postcard Writing

This post is to mark publication of my book of stories inspired by old postcards

I've loved postcards for as long as I can remember. I've also collected them since I was a child. In 1974, I wrote in my diary, 'I put some postcards in my album. I want them to be museum pieces some day.' Well, at the age of twelve I wasn't very realistic about the likely future interest of the world in my album of postcards from my first holiday abroad plus assorted pictures of Victorian girls and boys bought in the giftshop at Bowes Museum (near enough to home for an afternoon's visit), but my collecting instinct was already strong.

A glimpse of one of my boxes of modern postcards...

Since then, my postcard collecting has continued, branching out in various directions. That original set of modern cards has grown, added to with cards from art shows and holidays -- I've sorted them into groups by subject, as you can see above. 

But then there's the older postcards I've bought in job lots at auctions which I haven't entirely got to grips with yet: hundreds of cards (as you can see above), mostly from the 1950s to the 1980s, of holiday destinations, largely in the UK. From these I've started to pick out the treasures, cards which for one reason or another, have a special appeal. I keep these in albums, which I like to rearrange every so often, just like my twelve-year-old self.

Above is a page from the album where I keep cards that I've used in paintings. If you follow me on Instagram (@foundandchosen), you'll perhaps recognise the iceskater in a pink dress -- I use my painting of her as my avatar. I've done paintings of four of the other images you can see here as well (spot them here). 

In this album, above, I keep cards that I use to make digital prints, some already realised and some waiting to be done. I'm fascinated by different postcards of the same place and I like to overlay them to get the effect of changes over time. I've done a post about my overlay prints recently, if you're interested.

Above is a page taken more or less at random out of my big album of postcards which have the potential to inspire stories. I love these so much, and it's these I've used in the book you can see at the top of this post: Blow-Ups: Stories from old postcards. The two postcards of 'Brighton by night' made me imagine a scenario where the man and woman in the two different shots have missed each other on a blind date that their friend has set them up on. Here's the page in the book: 


They each send their friend an (imagined) postcard after the disastrous attempt at matchmaking. 

And here's the page in the book inspired by the postcard of Broad Haven in Pembrokeshire (bottom left in the album page): 

Robert and his father -- appreciating Wales

There are fifteen different stories in the book alongside an introduction about my passion for these cards (with a nod to Antonioni's seminal 1966 film Blow-Up) and lots of lovely 'blow-ups' of details from old postcards . If I've piqued your interest, you can buy the book for £12.99 from the foundandchosen Etsy shop or from online retailers such as, Barnes and Noble or Amazon or you could even order it from a bookshop (ISBN 978-1-9196197-0-5). And thank you so much, if you do!

A spread from my book -- for the sheer loveliness of blown-up litho postcards. You've got to love the dots!

As a postcard-lover, I've also become a collector of books about postcards and postcard art. It wasn't until I went round the house gathering these together for this post that I realised I had quite so many. Naturally I have a copy of Tom Jackson's Postcard From The Past (4th Estate, 2017).

Tom has made finding funny or poignant messages on the backs of old postcards his life's work (by which I mean he excels at it) and his Twitter feed (@pastpostcard) is a constant delight. He also does a lovely podcast, Podcast From The Past, where guests talk about postcards that have special significance to them. Perhaps Tom will have me on there one day...?

My Instagram friend, Michelle Abadie (@majandmaltbydesigns and also @johnhindecollection) is a true postcard aficionado, in particular the glorious output of John Hinde Studios. Above are two of her postcard books, both great. The John Hinde Collection (extended edition, 2020) is just beautiful, with restored prints of the work of Hinde's team of photographers. Nothing To Write Home About (Friday Books, 2007) is an earlier book (with Sue Beale) which gives the reader the enjoyable combination of Hinde postcards and the funny messages written on their backs. I've shown both the back and front of this book, as it cleverly uses a postcard back and front.

Then there's:

A spread from Bizarro Postcards, edited by Jim Heimann (Taschen, 2002)

and, of course:

Martin Parr's Postcards (Chris Boot, 2008)

I feel very in tune with Parr's propensity to sort his postcard collection by theme:

This page is especially pleasing

I like the cover of this 2008 book from Laurence King publishers very much:

The lettering of the title (simply Post Card) is cut out and there are postcard-sized pockets behind so that, if you wish, you can change the book's appearance by slotting in different cards. However, inside it is akin to one of those fairly commercial directories of graphic designers and I don't feel so in tune with the very contemporary designs. Give me an impossibly blue sea and a miniature railway any day.

Incidentally, whenever I find myself desperately trying to flick through an entire box of old postcards on a market stall or at a car boot sale -- with members of my family standing right behind me impatiently tapping their feet -- as a short cut I look for the little strip of blue sky sticking out at the top, a sure sign that the postcard is likely to be one I'll like:

I can see a few likely candidates above -- can you?

What I really need to do, though, is to stop buying more old postcards and thoroughly sort out the ones I've already got -- thousands by now, I suspect. But how to order them? By place? By subject matter? By colour? By their potential for various art projects? The permutations are endless. But I will leave you with the happiness that is my (growing) collection of postcards of the Piramide in Rome...

I feel sure there's a book in here somewhere...