Josie is a dance teacher. Every other year her dancing classes put on a show. 24 dances, performed by the kids, on stage, full lighting & music, packed audience of Mums, Dads, Grans, Grandads, Aunts and Uncles (and in our case a slightly reluctant teen brother…). The show is very slick and professional. Pride bursts out from the audience. But the best emotions are on the stage, writ large by the kids…
There is passion and beauty…
Passion and Beauty
Elegance and refinement…
Fun and laughter…
There is calmness…
There is belief…
And there is ecstasy…
And finally, there is love
A big thank you to Josie. How wonderful to be responsible for all these emotions…
OK, I know this is a bit weird, but I’ve spent the afternoon in a Victorian cemetery. Abney Park in Stoke Newington to be precise. It was a photography course, and I had in mind to make some moody, gothic, black and white pictures. But the light was soft, the colours gently autumnal, so I ditched the B&W, and let the colours shine. It all became rather uplifting…
No straight verticals here.
This is a very Victorian place, and of course the Victorians would definitely have come here to walk about as in a modern day ‘park’. Not a convention we follow today. But not a bad one to do once in a while. Momento mori and all that.
Soft and hard
Leaning on each other for strength
What on earth could be uplifting in such a place you may wonder? Well, the faint memories that linger here are sad, but positive. The greening words on the stones are about love and remembrance, fondness and farewell. And the care that went into the preparation of these stones… Just look at the fonts and the scripts …
We remember you
We love you
Never forget you
Joseph, too young
In the middle of the Park is a ruined Church. It has a modern sculpture placed in the middle, a simile for the feelings that inhabit such a place.
And because this is Victoriana, we have angels everywhere. Guardians maybe…? actually no. Bringers of peace and soft love represented by hard stone . How wonderful is that.
Aha! a classic guardian
The last picture, slightly Hardy-esque. A beautiful name, beautiful weathered stone. Someone has tidied this stone relatively recently, so Angel can be remembered again…
If you look very carefully, in the background, hiding amongst the grasses, you can see an angel, hovering in the garden at my parents’s house.
A guardian angel
Why would an angel live in the garden at my parents’ house? Because she was invited to, of course, out of generosity and charity when a helping hand was needed. And now she lives in gentle repose, watching quietly. Is this not what gardens are for?
A place for relaxation and togetherness. Occasionally we still whack the tennis/cricket ball about, but more so we chat and spend time together.
The garden has become more magical with time. Strange mystical creatures flutter here and there.
My daughter adds her own personal belongings, echoing the loved toys of kids that have gone before. Tibby here, now very clearly a dog, was called Ollie 30 years ago, when he was an elephant. Poignant repetition.
Ollie and Tibby, kids then and now. Such thoughts keep us warm.
And amongst it all is the angel, watching and smiling over us.
A garden Guardian, fleeting and beautiful
A couple of weeks ago I showed the pictures of the kids at a recent dinner party (click here). I needed ice cream to get them to stay still enough for a shot. Not so easy with the adults… They wanted booze, and lots of it! As you can see, the Mums got stuck in first
We Dads have more restraint… Not that I think that makes for better portraits, but certainly less giggling when trying to frame up.
I think I said previously that looking at the kids was like looking into the future. And parental shots crystallise that future – here’s what you will become! Well that’s not too bad if you can stay close. There’s some hope here, I think. These two, for instance, have got 3 kids – and they’re still going strong. not bad…
Here’s the next pair. They also have 3 – the energy needed – OMG! That slightly crazy look, well, it’s understandable.
A wicked sense of humour is what’s needed. And they have it in abundance.
And my brood? Well, we only have 2. And that seems to be enough. Here’s mother and daughter, as thick as thieves.
And a rarity – a picture of me. A keen photographer, but less keen subject for photography…
And as the evening winds down, the kids get tired, and the booze mellows us all. Here’s the best pic of the evening. A quiet moment, just before home time. Gentleness, peace and calm. Until time to get up tomorrow…
I went to visit my Dad this weekend. Bit of a crisis, Mum had to go into hospital, so I zoomed up the A1 to York to give my Dad a hand.
A portrait in the garden
Whenever I visit, we always walk around the garden. A chance to stretch the legs and get some fresh air. My Mum’s garden really, certainly the flowerbeds are – she put years into those deep borders. But the areas that catch the eye now are the orchard and the meadow. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is almost upon us.
The old bench
This is a garden that has matured and settled into a slow rhythm. It has its secrets and surprises.
An angel in the undergrowth
That slow rhythm is wonderful though: Flowering, ripening, setting seed, rebirth. And memories, gardens always have lots of memories.
My Mum came back from hospital. We were relieved and thankful. Life goes on.