This is where my childhood adventures started. This is where I used to play, in the dene, next to my childhood home. I feel lucky to have grown up here. Maybe this is where my love affair with nature started too. I still live close to the dene, I still visit it, and the fields that surround it. And I feel that I belong, in the peace and the solitude.
My mam doesn’t like her photograph taken. She would only sit in the chair with her back to me whilst I took a mother and daughter portrait. She asked to look at the photograph and then told me that I was very naughty. She loves me really.
Continuing my experimentation with the Death in the Landscape photographs. I am still looking at mapping the photographs although I am not sure how to present them. This is one way I am looking at. I am trying to correlate the relationship between the photograph, the location and the landscape. Whether to do it seperately or merged like these photographs. As I explore them more I come across more themes, ie, the way we travel now, how we mourn, how the public perceive these memorials. I feel sadness when I see them, knowing that a family has lost someone they love. Who will remember them in years to come as a new generation travels the roads. Close by to where I live some young lads lost their life on a bend. I do not know who they were, it was when I was a baby, but if I pass the spot with my mam she always mentions it. There is no memorial there but it is still a memory for some people. How long will that last when those who were alive when it happened are gone? Will someone who is searching for their ancestry visit the spot where their relatives died?
Every week we went on picnics in the summertime. Kids around would come and say, “Are you going to the picnic?” “Yes.” And you either got a bottle of lemonade or water, whatever, and took that with you. And sandwiches, you know, and things like that. And go off through the, what we used to call the meadows, they call them fields now, and go to different places. Neddy’s well, there was a place called Neddy’s well. At Neddy’s well there was a natural spring. And the natural spring, my dad used to go there and you could get watercress. And then he used to go across the bridge and down into the field, across from our house, and pick mushrooms. But now from what I can gather its all built up with houses. Well along that what they called the cinder path that’s the way I used to go to school. Over the bridge, down the cinder path and up to the railway station. Over the railway bridge and the school was there on the right hand side. It was what was called a Church of England endowed school. That meant that the church paid for the school where the church never paid for the Catholic school, the Catholic people had to look after their own. And they used to go round their parishioners tocollect money off them to look after their church, the Catholics did. I mean we used to collect money but we didn’t collect it like they did, you know go around the houses. I used to deliver the church magazine at one time. In one of the magazines, but I don’t think I have one, its got my name in. It says about people who delivered the magazines and its got my name in.
“I’d run up the street when the mill was about to close and stand outside waiting for my mother. And people coming out and saying, “Hello there, your mam won’t be long”. And then maybe one would come out another different night and, “oh, your mam’s going to be a long time cause she’s had a smash.”
“And what you call a smash was the shuttle had come out of the reeds and broken all the cotton. And they used to have to bring all them through the reeds again and tie them. And if it was too bad a smash they would change it and start again, if it was too bad. But if it wasn’t too bad they’d mend it and then comb it. But that part when the cloth was taken off the loom itself it was cut out. ”