I’ve been out of the country working for the last week (more on that another time) but came back to find that the Times had run a picture of mine in their newspaper and online. It was from a set of images on that was originally commissioned late in 2007 for a book, UK at Home.
I had three assignments for the book – one in London at the Tyburn Convent – which was, despite sounding rather dull, was an absolute scream (never underestimate Nuns having fun…), and two in Norfolk. One of the Norfolk ones was to illustrate poor Diana Wrightson whose home in the pretty village of Happisburgh was falling into the sea because of coastal erosion and that’s the one the Times ran.
She’d been a little tricky to get hold of and by the time we’d met at the house in the late afternoon, the light had gone. I checked into a hotel and made my way back there the following day at dawn. As soon as I got there however, I was treated to a fog bank rolling in. I ran down to the beach but because her mobile phone couldn’t get a signal, I had to keep calling her land line (so she had to keep running inside) and as soon as I finally got her into position with tea cup and looking out to see, the fog really came down. I perhaps managed three or four frames. As I was packing up, I took a step backwards on the beach without looking and went almost waist deep into a hole filled with sea water. I knew I only had one change of clothes with me and I was due on another job across the county within a couple of hours. As I turned around though, despite being soaked and furious I saw just how lovely the beach was in the fog and the frames that I took are below…
I sat for the next hour in this poor woman’s living room wrapped in a towel while she dried my clothes and cooked me a bacon sandwiches, amazed how resigned and calm she was to the fate of losing her home and her savings.
I hope that she is still resilient.