As soon as my mother was old enough she joined the Women´s Land Army which was a British civilian organisation created during the First and Second World Wars which enlisted young women of 18 and over to work in agriculture to replace men called up to the military. She was sent to Argyllshire in the Highlands of Scotland to work on the estate of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the clan Campbell. For a city girl this must have been quite an adventure though I suspect that it didn´t entirely live up to her expectations. Knowing my mother and her love of animals, I imagine she´d pictured herself tending to cuddly lambs and petting sheepdogs. However, the closest she ever came to an animal was too close for comfort when she had to lead a large and very bad tempered bull from a field to a barn during a thunderstorm. I remember her recalling this episode with a shudder when she described how he tossed his head so wildly that he managed to get one of his horns into a sleeve of her plastic raincoat and would have shaken her about like a puppet if the sleeve hadn´t ripped from elbow to wrist and released her. As for lambs and sheepdogs, the former were far too skittish to allow themselves to be cuddled and the latter were mainly vicious and untrustworthy. Even so, she always looked back to that time in her life with great nostalgia. As the poet said, “Distance lends enchantment...”
This photo shows her with one of her colleagues. I sincerely hope that the implement she´s holding is a hoe or a spade and not a pitchfork. Apparently, on days when working in the fields was not a priority the girls were sent into the barns to kill rats and the weapon of choice was invariably a pitchfork. According to my mother, she always shut her eyes tightly before thrusting the pitchfork randomly into the straw. She said this was the most effective way of not killing anything!
Of the 2 smaller photos, one is of Inverary Castle, the seat of the clan chief and the other is the original photo of my mother which is, as you can see, not in particularly bad condition, just a little faded with some slight damage at the bottom edge. I thought I might have to experiment quite a lot to both brighten and darken it but actually “Auto Contrast” worked like a charm and the damaged edges were easily repaired using the clone tool and the healing brush tool. Having done that, I sampled an off white shade from the photo and used it in creating a new border.
Off now to tackle something more challenging.