If you missed this event here is a summary
Introduction for Beautiful End Sharing 26 May 2018
Heron Corn Mill
Reading from Godiva Rides To America: “My dad’s mum…to test the power of the wind”
Last Saturday I was in Coventry sharing the Royal Wedding event with my sister and my mum – a little gathering around the telly with Prosecco, prawn and crab sandwiches, and M&S meringues studded with a figure of Prince Harry on a cocktail stick. Mum struggles to walk these days and getting up the stairs to Mandy’s loo is like a trek up Mount Everest. No wonder she was wandering around the hallway looking for the downstairs loo…that’s at my house and I live miles from Coventry now.
Mum is 84 and it is the week before she moves to a new home with her husband…I have been thinking a lot about her moving home stories …from hospital/workhouse to children’s homes 1 2 and 3, then foster home, then naval home, then relative’s home, then council flat home, then council house home, then own home, then own flat and now new sheltered home.
Some of these stories have formed backdrops for my own creative work. It is unsurprising to me that I am now concerning myself with stories of ageing as I since working at Heron Mill have:
- Reflected back on my dad’s life and death through Little Blue Man
- Presented my Nana’s story of institutional care through The House
- And now I find myself in the real life story of my mum’s move the very week we are preparing for this presentation.
Getting older/ ageing is the script we all play out every day and a script we might mindfully play so we don’t miss its real presence.
Old man Kit Sill is being passed from the care of his youngest son, Bob into the care of his eldest son, Thomas who now lives on the old farm at Beautiful End (now known as Waterside Fold adjacent to College Green Farm). Kit had formerly lived and worked there as a young tenant farmer bringing up his family of three boys. More a musician than a farmer and not very astute financially, Kit is now destitute and in his twilight years but his fiddle playing keeps him alive. The novel charts Kit’s journey from one “care home’ to another navigating a common familial dilemma: how to best look after an ageing parent.
Tell the story a bit mention it’s written by local writer Constance Holme and how you found it in the archives etc etc
Play My First Impressions Film
You have an idea for a creative piece of work and it’s always bigger than you can realise. My big idea was a realisation of ‘Beautiful End’ within the actual marsh landscape it was written. At the invitation of Audrey Steeley, with musicians (Luke Crookes and Carolyn Francis) we are at the beginning of the process which has included drawing on the experiences of people who are being cared for. We have so far led workshops with the residents of Stonecross Manor in Kendal and Wings School near Milnthorpe who have generously shared stories and worked creatively with us.
‘Beautiful End’ was published in 1918, though it began life as a one-act play ‘The Home of Vision’ receiving a short London run mounted by Edith Craig’s Pioneer Players. Like much of Holmes’ once lauded and now forgotten work, the story concerns a rural community undergoing processes of change prior to the First World War, harking back to an age of perceived simplicity and innocence. Within the novel’s pages issues of ageing, class, isolation and family relationships are tangibly raw. Its themes are as pertinent now as then asking deep questions about what we really mean by ‘home’. The inside cover bears the strapline “The place for which I cry”.
Talk about what will be included today – sharing some of the process in audio visual records of the work to date and some live work for and with you, followed by discussion.
Introduce the team: Audrey, Luke, Carolyn, Darren:
Each to say a bit about their role
Audio Visual 1 Luke’s response to turn 3 mins
Audio Visual 2 Group’s First visit to Waterside Fold 3 mins
Audio Visual 3 Stonecross Manor I will not Marry You 3.31 mins
Audio Visual 3 Wings From Marget’s to Agnes’s 3 mins
Audio Visual 4 Our work on Monday Journey through the landscape 4 mins
Live section: Landmarks 4 and 5 (The Bridge. The moss-road) Pg.131-133
Tea and discussion
3.30 Summary and finish