The most exciting thing I brought back from Manchester this weekend is this beautiful gem. My grandfather’s old camera. This has been in my uncle’s attic for the best part of about 40 years, untouched and forgotten. I tried putting a film through it on Sunday but firstly, I was so excited about using the camera, I forgot to clean it. I was also using a film that was about 5 years out of date. Oh, and I don’t really know how the camera works.

Those are the three excuses I’m giving for why the negatives came out almost completely blank when I developed the film last night. There’s a faint turin shroud-esque shape of figures on the film but it’s not in any way useable. However, project number one for winter is to learn how to use this lovely thing and hopefully take a half-decent picture with it.

I also brought back my grandfather’s beautiful super 8 projector, which looks a bit like an old bakelite food mixer and needs a new bulb but looks amazing. I loved the fact that the box it came in had a fossilized frog in the bottom, showing how long it’s been lying dormant. I also have most of his collection of super 8 film now so winter project number two is to digitize the best of them as a present to the family.

Watch this space.

I feel a great affinity to my grandfather, although I never really knew him. He is, however, responsible for my earliest memory. I remember watching my mum sitting on the edge of her bed in tears while on the telephone and being so panicked that I started crying as well. I was eighteen months old and we’d arrived in Hong Kong only four weeks previously. She wasn’t able to fly back for the funeral as this was the 1970s and we were on the other side of the world.

He was, however, a great one for grand plans and gadgets, fine wines and foreign travel and was considered a great entertainer and raconteur by all accounts. I think there’s something of that spirit in this picture below which has to be one of my all time favourite photos .

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