I have decided to end my project on Blackhall. It has been a splendid time and I have learned such a lot and met such lovely people. But I need to concentrate on other projects now. What I would like to do is write a piece to accompany the project so that it is all complete. I will still visit Blackhall and its people and still take photographs but I would like to round it all up so that it feels all ready to face the world. I had a dry run for an exhibition which was highly enjoyable but I am now looking forward to the next stage and showing people the work and what was behind it.
To say that I have grown as a person whilst doing the project is an understatement. I have learned such a lot, about people, about Blackhall, about myself. Who would ever have thought that I would have the nerve to walk into such a male orientated preserve as the Navy Club whilst the men took part in their weekly quiz. Colourful language, smoking, drinking, and there I was in the midst of it.
And I have met some wonderful people, like Jean and Stephen Riley, mother and son who own and work in the top fish shop. And of course the lovely Dot, such a vibrant character, always smiling.
To undertake a project like this would not have been possible without them all. How lucky am I to have this heritage right on my doorstep. And its all thanks to my lovely father. God bless him.
Visited a few places in Blackhall to say hallo to some of the people I’ve met and taken photos of over the year. Riley’s was my first stop as its one of my favourite places to go to, and the fish and chips are lovely too. Got a lovely photo of Stephen stood in the doorway. He did nominate his mum but she ducked out. He is always quite happy to have his photo taken. He used to be in a band so he’s used to it. And he takes a good photo too.
And then I popped down to Snipz to see how it was going and maybe get some shots. Sadly all the ladies were in various degrees of having their hair done so weren’t too keen on having photos taken. But I stayed and chatted to Ann and some of the customers and had a bit of a laugh with them. Some you win, some you lose. The only photo I managed to get was a cat in a window. I seem to be collecting photos of cats, and dogs, in Blackhall. At least they can’t say no to having their photos taken.
I had another visit to Riley’s fish and chip shop to see the lovely Jean and her son Stephen. Had a lovely time there taking photos although my flash gun had run out of batteries (must remember to pop some in my bag for spares – so disorganised) so the lighting is not perfect.
The more I visit them the more I get to know them and the more I like them. Why, because they’re lovely people and what they’re doing is fantastic. Jean has worked in fish and chip shops for a lot of years and this is the first one they’ve owned.
And its a fab little place. These are the places we should be supporting, our local businessess. These places hold communities together. They are a lifeline to some people. Just by popping out for a bag of chips you get to talk to someone, chat to your locals, talk to the owners, talk to the customers. Hear the local gossip, what’s going on in the village.
I popped in a few days ago, not to take photos, but as a customer. And how nice it was to chat to Jean and Stephen. Very welcoming. And of course the fish and chips was reet good too.
I look forward to going back again, with a working flashgun, to get more pictures. And to finding our more about them, and the people of Blackhall.
Riley’s or the top fish shop in Blackhall. Been around for a lot of years. Visited it many times with my dad to get fish and chips, especially on the way home from grocery shopping in Hartlepool.
And fish and chips………………what memories does this simple meal evoke. Who doesn’t love them. And the best way to eat them, in paper whilst walking along a windswept promenade, soaked in salt and vinegar, the fish and chips that is.
This is Stephen in the photo. He runs Riley’s with his mum. She has worked in a fish and chip shop for 40 years. This is the first one she has owned. Its a new old business, if that makes any sense. The shop has been around for years but Jean and her son have just had it for about nine months.
They have just joined my project and I look forward to visiting them again in the new year and taking lots of photos. I only wish I could capture the smell that emanates from a fish and chip shop. And how on earth I will resist the glorious chips and scraps I do not know.