A fascination with a shadow-figure, a ghost.

Our sense of place, our ‘position’ in a  social, cultural and topographical sense, creates our sense of personal identity. In an increasingly uncertain, rootless and virtual world, sense of place takes on still greater resonance. How do we find ourselves? How do we understand our desires, our motivations, our fascinations? Is it as simple as looking in a mirror for answers? Or relying on the uncertain responses of the ever changing Other?

Sometimes our sense of belonging (or recognition of ourself/selves) comes by a less explicit means than through the mirror darkly. It comes in reading the knowing looks of tipsy relations at a family gathering; in the mingling of the overheard asides of childhood with excitedly whispered tales of ‘skeletons in cupboards’; it comes via our senses – the touch, smell, sound and sight of a familiar place.

The Bub Notebook is all about a sense of place.

It’s a cumulative journey, one that’s anchored in a pre-WW2 small town in the Derbyshire Dales, and it’s a journey that’s happening too late to talk to the grandparents who lived through the period. Instead this seeking-after stories uses what remains at hand, contemporaneous written accounts, local histories, family photographs and vintage postcards. It’s in the background and in the telling detail of this material that the story of place takes shape.

Cyril ‘Bub’ Edmonds, as followers of this thread of posts will know, was my paternal grandfather. He died young, during the second world war, but not before he’d scandalously met my grandma and fathered a child. The child was my dad.

Bub remained a family secret until long after he’d died, until long after dad died too. It was only after dad’s death  in the mid-1980s that my grandma dropped hints of the story. It was as if she’d not wanted the story to die or that she’d felt sharing Bub with his grandchildren was important.

On the journey to Bub I’ve been fortunate to making connections with family members I never knew existed, and people like CLH are helping me to better understand where I came from and who I am, after all Bub is a 1/4 of my DNA, he’s a piece of me and I’m a part of him. My sense of place, my ‘bond of belonging’, my connection to family are all more secure, and my roots in a lost community deeper, as a result of the unfolding story.

The gallery below explores connections. Bub’s there, as a child and man, and dad too, and Bub’s parents. If only the pictures could talk what tales might they tell?

“A sense of place results gradually and unconsciously from inhabiting a landscape over time, becoming familiar with its physical properties, accruing history within its confines.” 
Kent Rydon


(The images of Bub and his family have been very kindly shared by CLH who I now know to be my ‘first cousin once removed’, thank you.)


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