Snap Around…

You know, getting out and about in an English Autumn is very special to me. I can almost taste those wild fruited berries and falling golden leaves. It’s a time to reflect on the warmth of past summer months and it’s a time to plan ahead for the coming winter. It’s a time of sensible shoes from the back of the wardrobe, and it’s a time to shake out that heavier jacket stored there since last March. It’s a time to feed the small creatures in my garden with more than their summer ration, and above all, it’s a time when family and friends brace together and form a circle of one…

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The shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 55… Disappointment

It was raining very heavily that following morning. Bill said he wanted to finish off a landscape and Margarita felt there was plenty to do in the kitchen, so donning raincoats and weather proof hats the two of them set off in the direction of the old manor house.

‘What are we looking for?’ inquired Esme, as they made their way up a long steep gulley. The wind and rain down drafted along this pathway and progress was slow.

‘I don’t really know.’ he replied. The rain stung their faces unceasingly, ‘Anything that is not how it should be, I guess.’

At last they arrived. Everything seemed as they had both seen it for the first time. Stonework was crumbling and nature had taken back her heritage in every way. It was possible of course to follow the ruined outlines of the old house and also to determine the structured remains of fallen rooms.

‘There must be cellars’ declared Charles, ‘A house of this size would have cellars. Perhaps, undisturbed for years. I doubt the fire would have reached below ground level and this could reveal some insight into how life was during the heyday of the house. We must find an entrance, it will be somewhere near to the servants quarters.’

‘This could have been the servants kitchen?’ Esme stepped into a structure that was wide, long, much toward the rear of the house. ’This would be referred to as “below stairs” of course.’ she told herself.

‘Look for remains of stone steps down or even a steel trapdoor in the floor.’ called Charles. ‘At the very least, there would have to be a wine cellar!’

‘That’s impossible. The floor is strewn with scattered debris, not counting the fallen bricks and masonry. Perhaps, Rebecca Haig did not drink?’

‘Well maybe, but her guests would have. Just try to find something, anything that may give us a lead to what lies below. I’m sure there would be more than just wine bottles below. The Family and for that matter, the staff, would put items down there that were seldom used. The Butler would then hold the keys to the wine cellar. Determination sat within Charles mind. He smiled to her. She had always been the keeper of his enthusiasm.

‘I know Charles. We learnt at Prep School, just how the British aristocracy behaved. It was one of Miss Ferguson’s pet subjects when it came to modern history lessons!’

The rain began to ease and a sparkle of sunshine began to break through those darkened clouds. ‘Well, I hope that’s a good sign.’ remarked Charles. They removed their raincoats and hats, then threw them over a low wall. ’They might even dry a little.’ he said with a chuckle.

A search of this supposed servants hall revealed nothing and after an hour of trying to clear the floor Charles called a halt to their labours. ’I think we are looking in the wrong place.’ he declared. ’It’s no good, this can’t be right.’ He looked very despondent, clearly wishing they had found some clue or other to the cellars.

‘Let me come here alone, at another time.’ suggested Esme. ‘Perhaps, that’s the only way we can be involved in this. Perhaps, Rebecca will talk to me again, hopefully.’

‘Well, she hasn’t talked to either of us today that’s for sure. She has got to be the key to all this or we are just off our chumps.’

‘You know. I’m sure we are right about this, we are both rational people. Bill and Margarita, well maybe they have a different take on this. Frankly. I’m not even sure what their views are on this. Perhaps I can tune into this supernatural phenomena where others can’t. It seems we both can’t do that together. Let me try and explore here alone once more and then tell you of the images that form in my mind from my experience.’

‘Ok, if you have this gift Esme, and I accept that you do. Then, I insist on you taking every precaution. I will not run the risk of losing you to some aspectual entity.’ There was  a serious look in his face.

‘Look Charles, what could possibly happen to me up here. You can see the place is a ruin. Nobody really lives here anymore. It’s got to be simply a case of over-imagination.’

He felt there was not much reassurance in her words, but he would agree. He also felt the outcome could be quite different from that imagined, just here and now…

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Snap Around…

There are times when taking in your local antiquity market can be a real surprise, like this one in Spitalfields. Now I don’t spend the time here that I would like to, so this visit became a real eye feast. The guys here offer the buyer just around everything that you’ve never imagined. From out of date publications, typewriters long forgotten, jewellery that only the brave would wear, to stuffed animals and full size human skeletons from medical research institutions; I’m assured. It’s a wonderful bric-a brac of British life and our celebrated history that can only be attributed to these wonderful Isles.

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Snap Around…

You know, there are times when your left eye catches something that your right eye was not covering. Like suddenly stumbling on this guy trying to put across his point of view on Speaker’s Corner. I always say, if you got something to say, someone should listen, anyway it’s pretty real to get it off your chest…

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 54… Consolidation

Those words of Charles that were said downstairs revolved around in Esme’s head. She sat on the edge of the bed in their little room and pondered. “Surely, Charles did not really mean what he was saying. This was not him. It couldn’t be him. She knew him. He would never offer those sort of views and yet now, he was saying goodnight to the Porrit’s downstairs and would be here soon. She would say nothing, that was decided in her mind. His footsteps were heard now on the narrow staircase leading to their room, he would be here in moments, loving and always protective for her as ever. There should be no reason to doubt him…Non at all!”

He quietly entered the room making sure his entry would not disturb her and was slightly surprised to find her awake. He moved over to her and gently kissed her on the check. ‘Do you mind if we stay a little longer here with the Porrit’s?’ he asked softly.’

Somehow her eyes were suddenly full of warmth and her smile did not portray those earlier thoughts. She braved her words and looking into his concerning face said: ‘Of course I don’t mind. I rather like being here with you and being away from London for a while, and I just love Bill and Margarita. They have made us so very welcome.’

‘Then it’s settled my princess. When you want to return. We shall!’ Charles was aglow and seemingly settled in his own mind. And for the present Esme felt this moral comprise was perhaps the best solution. She had for the present, no particular desire to return to London. She wanted more time. More time to unravel this peculiar world of dreams and reality. And more than ever, that driving force that made her part of it.”

She thought of Charles and his dedication to her through those terrible times in her past, his support and determination to be with her was unending. Whatever, his thoughts and determinations were now, she had to be there for him, and him alone. There was no question of her unfailing love for him.

‘We could go back up to the ruins in the morning, if you want to, and try to make an understanding of all of this.’ She knew now that this would be the only way to repay his loyalty and love for her. ‘We are in this together’ she added, ’Both you and I.’

‘Yes, we are, my love, to the bitter end!’

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Snap Around…

You know, looking back through my drawer of memories, there were times when I was asked to photograph in some strange and unusual places, like this eerie Dry Dock in the Jarrow Dockyards, and of course, special permission had to be sought on this occasion. Well, this I had, and now, it was just me, my camera and this huge hunk of tonnage! If the day ever arrives when you feel you are the most significant thing on this planet, forget it! You’ve only got to stand and face this magnificent beast…

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Snap Around…

Sometimes you just go to a drawer and pull out those old memories. You look at the picture in front of you and soak yourself with the days of camera film and splashing around in a darkened room with trays of photo developer and fix. This shot was borne of that era. That one moment when everything in your view just comes together for a great shot. I guess I’m very lucky in my life to have been able to bridge two different world’s of still photography and because today’s digital revolution is truly spellbinding.

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 53… A Concerning Time

‘That’s truly incredible.’ stated Bill. He looked quite astonished at Charles. ‘Are you telling me that your friend e’r… Tobias is behind all of this. I just really can’t believe it. Because this Rebecca Haigh business and visions nonsense has been going on for years in village gossip.’

‘No Bill. I’m not saying that. Somehow, we have all become part of this, and that, somehow Tobias can tune into this fantasy world in such ways that can effect our thoughts and what we think we see. I’m scared for all of us and for what we now are beginning to understand and for where it will take us. I just don’t feel there is a way out. There can be no running away. This strange world will inhibit each and every one of us. I’m certain of it!’

‘What you are saying Charles. declared Esme. Tobias is really here and that these are tricks he can play in our minds?’ she looked at him for some reassurance.

‘Maybe, I just don’t know. If he is here, he could be just tuning into local superstition. But for what reason I can’t imagine.’ He looked thoughtfully at the others. ’Perhaps, it’s all just nonsense in our heads. This house of ruins must surely evoke the wildest of imaginations in everyone, and really, there is no harm done.’

‘Come on Charlie. Now you’re talking sense, there is no point in upsetting ourselves’ stated Bill, who then presented a somewhat comically distorted face.

‘Well you are right Bill, of course. Perhaps I was talking about the supernatural in terms of the spirit of the soul. That the spirit lives on in a way and after death becomes an energy, a force in it’s own right. Not in any some creditable form that we take to be an apparition, but a spirit force able to move within a kind of blackness zone and yet, aware of surroundings and it’s actions. True, many people today believe in spiritualism and there are growing groups around the world devoted to these thoughts. There have been many documented funerals where mourners have felt the spirit of the soul rise up and leave the body of the departed. In fact, my mother was such a believer when at the time my grandmother was laid out in our front parlour. I’m sure the spirit or the soul, whatever name you want to give it lives on in each, and every one of us and that it never fades away. I’m certain there are many people in our mysterious world who can tune into this astral plain, like so many famous “mediums” whose predictions have prove to be correct. I feel that Toby, wittingly, or unwittingly is part of this gift to us and I think if a person has the ability to look forward into our futures and can see into our past’s… Then they have a proper understanding of our present.’

‘This is tall stuff and all very morbid Charlie.’ replied Bill. ‘I think we are scaring the girls.’ He took a glance at their concern faces. Lets keep away from the ruins and just forget about it?’

‘You are right Bill of course… And I feel sorry for the girls. But I don’t think it will be that simple. In fact, I don’t think it will be possible!’ answered Charles.

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Snap Around…

Ok, the holiday season is upon us and it’s the time you just wanna sit back and enjoy the ride. And it’s a time when visitor numbers drop a little on PGC because these guys have got something else on their minds, like having a good time. Why not! Now, I came across this ornate style of Italian garden at Stockwood House Gardens in Bedfordshire some time back, but thought this could do with another shake out. Just for the sake of it and for the rest of us stay at home’s to sit back and enjoy…

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Snap Around…

There are times when my local park can throw up some really interesting watching for me, like this team of young fella’s who recently won a TV talent show.

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