All aboard the SS Arcadia

My grandfather was a man ahead of the times as this photo shows.

Here is is taking a selfie shot in 1957 decades before it became the rage that it now is. Thank god he’s not pulling a duck face pout.


As you can see there is a massive pipe sitting in front of him and a suspicious looking little bowl. He picked that pipe up in Egypt and bought it home with a little something to put in it that my father once told me – almost blew my head off. Mum still has the pipe in her lounge room and it really is quite unique. Actually I’d better put a sticker with my name on it under the base next time I’m there.

The little banner on the left says Arcadia; that was the name of the ship they were on. It travelled between Australia and England via the Suez Canal which was why he had the opportunity to be shopping for bongs in Egypt.

A couple of interesting things there in the photo, the first being an airmail letter – I hated those things. When I write a letter it’s practically a novel so trying to fit all my stories onto one of those flimsy scraps of paper was always a stressful time for me.

Second thing is the bottle near the flowers which is an Oil of Ulan bottle – why did they change the name to Olay anyway? The blue box looks familiar but I can’t place it, it has a snowflake on the front.

12 thoughts on “All aboard the SS Arcadia

  1. Hookah smoking has become all the rage among the hipsters out here. You can actually find nightclubs and bars where you and your friends can rent a giant hookah and smoke flavored tobacco. My younger daughter’s favorite is some odd vanilla-and-cinnamon-flavored tobacco. I told her if she continued to smoke from a hookah, she had no right to criticize me if I take up smoking again. She said, “What are you smoking? That makes the difference.” I had no reply to that.

    But yes, you want to keep that hookah in the family.

    • Well… I saw a thing on BBC a while back that said that herbal tabacco produces as much carbon monoxide and you still get the tar in your lungs so you’re right really. Tell her to stick that in her pipe and smoke it. 🙂

  2. I was curious, so I searched. Oil of Olay was marketed under different names in different countries. (Ulan, Ulay, Olay, Olaz). When Proctor & Gamble bought the company they decided to go with one name world-wide.

    And as for the “duck pout” … considering the “selfies” today, I’m just glad he’s wearing pants, lol.

    • Oh, hang on, maybe it was Oil of Ulay we had – no Ulan popped into my mind first. I can’t see the word on the bottle but I recognise the bottle – which they’ve changed now as well.

      I’m very glad he’s wearing his pants as well – I’m sure there were some pretty wild times on those cruise ships.

  3. My high school friend’s family lived in Saudi Arabia for several years and brought back a beautiful 4-stem hookah pipe. Had it until my friend’s mother found out what it’s used for in the US. Then it was gone.

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