Friday, 6 September 2013

OVER THE HILL at Haslemere Museum

The Opening of the Private View

On 1st October 1977, I qualified as a solicitor, having undertaken my Articles of Clerkship (now known as a Training Contract) at the firm of Raper & Co in Chichester, West Sussex. I applied to several firms for a job as an assistant solicitor including Burley & Geach who made me an offer which I did not refuse but they also told me that there were no prospects of Partnership. Four years later, I became a partner of the firm. I continued to work at the Haslemere office until 1985 when I moved to our new office in the nearby village of Grayshott where I remained until 2006 when I was forced to retire due to having Parkinson's Disease. On 6th September 2013, thirty six years after I had qualified, I returned to open a show at the Haslemere Educational Museum. The Private View was attended by many people I have known for some years including several former clients and my former senior partner as well as a number of other acquaintances from my days as a lawyer. It was very interesting, not only to return to my old stamping ground, but also to speculate who might come along. I was very touched that those who did attend spoke so movingly about the project and me and my health problems particularly Alan Perry whom I have known for over 35 years and who said some very kind things in his address. I really felt glad to come back and to mix together the two worlds I have inhabited i.e. the legal world and the post diagnosis world of modelling, filmmaking and writing.  

The photographs on display show a brilliant cross-section of the marvellous array of the challenging and inventive work in the project. Some of the photographs have been exhibited before but a large proportion have not and I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Haslemere not only to see my show but also the other wonderful exhibits on show elsewhere in this great little museum, the reputation of which has increased hugely over recent years. This has been due mainly to the hard work and enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers as well as to the wise decision making by the trustees led by the ubiquitous Alan Perry who brought an energy and an intelligence to his dynamic chairmanship in recent times, and which has been continued by the present incumbent, Melanie O'Dell.

Some years ago, a short time after my diagnosis, I went to see a speech therapist as my speech was beginning to become slurred. One day, she asked me how I had been and I explained that recently I had joined a local film society but when I attended the first film in the programme a few nights before, I had bought a plastic glass of wine and, as I walked to my seat, I felt very conscious of friends watching me do so and possibly thinking ''there's poor Tim, shaking''. The therapist said to me that I had to get used to the fact that I wasn't the Tim I was before, I was Tim with Parkinson's. That helped me a lot. I am Tim with Parkinson's but, at the Private View, the old Tim was still there.... deep inside and it was he who introduced the new Tim to some old and valued friends.

A film I have made about the exhibition can be seen here. A longer version with me talking about each of the photographs on display can be seen HERE.


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