Thursday, July 16, 2009

1 June 2009 - Day 2: Back to Bexhill (Sidley)

2.30 p.m.

Returned on the train to Sidley yesterday, taxi to Mary's house. Mary Hooper is an artist who, working in Arts and Healthcare based at Conquest Hospital, first encouraged me to develop this project.

Sidley, she tells me, was originally a clearing for charcoal burners, developed as a staging post for passing coaches and has now been subsumed within Eastbourne's urban expansion.

Mary's house is a visual feast, "just ideas", she says, "a sketchbook". She plays me the soundtrack of work she is doing with junior school pupils about English apples - chidren's voices harmonising rhythms of these old apple names we seldom hear any more.

7.30 p.m.

Mary drives me to a rehearsal of the Battle Choral Society established in 1903 of whom eighty-nine are fresh from a successful concert on Saturday night at the de la Warr Pavilion.

I speak to Tricia who has severe asthma, and Marjorie, who had polio at six months, and whose husband died of emphysema. They and everyone else I speak to confirms the benefit of regular singing for lung health.

Back at Mary's I photograph her youngest son Pete's tattoos, executed by his older brother Thomas who works as a tattooist in Brooklyn, NYC.

Pete is keen racing cyclist. With the sweet fitness of youth he finds it hard to understand my own limitations.