When we were kids, our dad always had the camera handy, and as a result our childhoods are well documented. I love looking back at the old photos, and it is absolutely true that they prompt memories, so that with some photos, I can actually remember the circumstances at the time of the photo.
Fast forward to my twenties and thirties, from which I have practically no photos. There's probably a good twenty years of my life which went undocumented. Sometimes when I look back at diairies, I see the names of people who I can't even remember any more. They have come and gone, leaving no trace.
A large factor in this was a huge reluctance to be photographed myself. I always looked awful, like a gurning rabbit caught in the headlights. Plenty of chins but no eyes. And the more photos I saw like this, the less I wanted to be photographed. At weddings, I'd stand at the back in the group photos, behind all the tall men.
But I regret it now. I wish I had photos of those people who have been part of my life. I wish I had photos of me, no matter how awful, because they are the doors to the memories.
I was six years old and that day I was captured in the middle of building a massive sandcastle, a very impressive monument with doors and windows and shell decorations to make it pretty. I was sat just outside the clubhouse, down the stairs to the right, and the water I kept putting in the moat, kept disappearing into the sand. My dad said 'smile' and this is what he got, for his troubles.
Once my father interrupted me, I decided it was a good time to enquire about a snack. He was definitely the softer touch. Look, success. Mr Crispy no less! They were good crisps and are a still a weakness of mine. Chocolate I can take or leave, but crisps? Stand aside, I'm approaching the buffet table at a pace.
Tarqua Bay was a regular gig for us. Every Sunday, we would wait on the jetty at the Ambassador's residence in Ikoyi, Lagos. Eventually a little banana boat would arrive and we would get on board, put on our life jackets and set sail across the lagoon for the beach. We would end up in the bay at Tarqua. There we would disembark in the water, wade to the shore and then walk all the way up to the wooden clubhouse, where there were surfboards, refreshments and sun loungers.
Anyway, to come back to those photos of kids on facebook, have you got any great photos with stories attached? I'd love to hear them or even better, how about doing a blog post? Who fancies joining in?
ps: fun fact. Wings recorded their Band on the Run album in Lagos, Nigeria in 1973. I'm still waiting for that to come up in a pub quiz.
pps: I'll be round to see what you've all been up to soon.