The More Things Change …

Old Postcard – WWI Era

Another year has just sped by, with its fair share of joy, sadness and inspiration, leaving me little time to catch my breath. It hardly seems possible that, a whole twelve months later, I am wondering exactly the same thing about the year that has just gone. Where? And how quickly!

One hundred years ago, my grandfather was preparing to face the worst year of his life on the Western Front, not believing that he would survive; little knowing that it was to end in an Allied victory.

Now, a century later, with my father approaching his 90th birthday, the world has developed amazingly. Although, some would say, not for the better.

Looking, with misgiving, at the attitudes of our leaders; tensions simmering in odd little corners of the globe, with threats and posturing uncannily similar to those of pre-WWI, I realize there is one constant in our ever-changing world – human nature.

The old adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same, is just as apt now as it ever was.

I might have said that my New Year’s resolution was to have no resolutions, but I do have two. One is to publish Book IV, Guardian Angel, which will complete my Master of Illusion series. And the second is to finish the two novels I have been working on all year. The first will be accomplished very soon. For the second, I am taking inspiration as it comes. (Refer to adage, as above.)

Today, as we stand on the brink of the unknown; a bright, untrammeled new year waiting to be ushered in; I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a safe, happy, exciting and inspirational 2018.

Postcards From the Front

Beautiful embroidered postcards from France – WWI. Photo courtesy Felicity Matthews.

Making lace and silk-embroidered postcards and souvenirs for homesick Australian soldiers became a cottage industry for many Frenchwomen during the long, hard years of World War One.

The examples sent home by my grandfather are exquisite – cards decorated with fine hand-made lace and colourful silk embroidery. Some were in the form of envelopes on the front of the card in which could be placed tiny cards, smaller than today’s business cards, with printed messages such as Merry Christmas; To my dear Wife; To my darling Son; etc.

Other items he sent home were embroidered silk stocking covers; delicate handkerchiefs; silk-painted pillow shams and antimacassars fringed with wide lace borders that gave them an appearance of luxury. One very special cushion cover had a painting of buildings on fire and was entitled, The Burning of Arras. Obviously a commemoration of one of the great tragedies of the war.

The fine hand-made lace, the sheen of the silk and the painting of these artefacts is magnificent and the fact that they are still in existence today, as bright and beautiful as ever, is a testament to both the quality of the materials and the work of these wonderful and talented Frenchwomen of the Great War.