The start to my Brownie 127 project (Medway in the 1950’s) has been amazing. I’ve made such a connection with the people I interviewed, don’t get me wrong it has been amazing visiting the Medway archives searching through resources and reading books about local history, but it something entirely different talking to people, and listening to their stories. Here’s a taster of some of the people I have interviewed so far for the project (Don’t want to give any spoilers!), want to be involved? see here.
Barry E: a great visit to the former Horsted Farm site in Chatham where Barry’s family worked, it is now an open space with some housing, skirting the edge of Fort Horsted. Barry remembers when they planted the trees for the Orchard.
Richard B: we visited numerous places Luton arches area of Chatham. I loved hearing Richards stories especially that the proximity to living so close to the railway had inspired him to become an engineer! Richards enthusiasm for the local area and supporting its heritage hasn’t faltered as he is the Chairman of a charity working to establish a 1939 Chatham bus as an educational resource, the Medway Heritage Bus.
I’m taking part in a short course called The Body Electric. I wanted to undertake something purely for my own development, I’m aware that it has been some time since my last blog, but hey ho, I Love to be busy!
Starting The Body Electric course has proved a very valuable time to me as a community activist and photographer, giving me wider thought about my community; the role I play within it; how my photography reflects my passion for the Medway area, and to also open my mind to new creative ways of thinking.
The breadth of experience within the room, and willingness of sharing skills and ideas, is wonderful. Some areas of the Medway Towns are sometimes put down in the media, over the recent years I’ve only felt a real ‘can do/will do’ attitude through the people I meet. Don’t get me wrong there are improvements that can be made anywhere and no place is ever really ‘perfect’, but feel that your little slice can be made great and have a knock on effect to the wider area.
We shared lunch today, thinking about our environmental community, many people chose to bring along food to share that they had made themselves, I bought along a vegetarian pasta with pesto made from the spinach in my garden. The visit to the Sunlight Centres Community Garden, and Mens Shed project was inspirational.
I have definately got out of my comfort zone at our full day session today; I just went for a wander with my camera (those of you who know me well, know I like to have a plan of action!) to explore lower Gillingham, a place I hadn’t really visited before. Rambling over the old port train track, to Hillyfields. Amongst the rows of Victorian terraces I stopped at the Orchard on Hillyfields pondering over a cut tree and wrote this:
Hilly fields 09.05.15
Your roots are still there
And part of you to see
An illusion of a grand tree
That you once were, to me
I don’t know what happened
Or how it came to be
That you are there
with your bare bones to see
Amongst this concrete jungle
You are in an oasis of calm
The birds continue their tweeting
As the sun beats down on my arm
There are so many places in Medway
I have yet to see
But for now thanks Hillyfields
Thanks for having me.