Friday, 8 May 2015

HELPLESS by Jacqui Booth and Al Brydon

HELPLESS by Jacqui Booth and Al Brydon
There is a cave in Birchover......which forms part of the Rowtor Rocks site which Jacqui, Al and I drove to after visiting the quarry (see previous post ). We parked in the road alongside a neat grass verge onto which some modern houses fronted - at least, my memory says they were of recent construction certainly in contrast to the Rowtor Rocks which were fashioned over three centuries ago. We walked past the aptly named Druid Inn and up along the path which encircled the pub until we reached the ledge outside the cave, the walls of which had been chiselled and sculpted like rocky feathers. Jacqui had brought a light with her and the photograph on the right above was taken by Al although they both clicked away in there before I put my clothes back on just before a jolly old couple (old? Well, they must have been at least 64....) turned up for a look at the cave. We clambered over some more of the rocks and tried different shots including one which foretold my death - yep, it will come to even me. 


At one point in the day, we ate our sandwiches bought from M & S, the standard of which (according to Jacqui) were not quite equal to the quality of those available at the Spar shop which Al usually patronises. Our next point of call was Doll Tor south of Stanton. This was in a beautiful clearing  which we reached by walking a few hundred yards from the main road, pausing only for Al to climb a very large rock - see below. 

Again, when we were shooting, I felt totally relaxed and in touch with the earth as I lay on part of what was an ancient burial ground. I did not feel at all that this was disrespectful to the dead or anyone else  - indeed, it felt quite the opposite. The photograph of me on the left above was taken by Jacqui. By this time, early evening, we were all famished and had a superb supper in a pub (it might even have been the Druid Inn) where we enjoyed a very easy conversation with each other whilst eating the delicious food. Then the moment we had all been waiting for - the BIG CAVE - we set off again in Al's car and drove through Hartington on the way which is where Jane's father was evacuated during the Second World War and where his ancestors (named Lomas) lived. We stopped in Church Street outside the Old School House which was owned by Jane's Great Great Great Grandmother. Since Jane and I had visited the town some 14 years ago, the house had been refurbished. I knocked on the door but there was no reply. 


We carried on and eventually I saw the gaping mouth of the cave from the road. It looked enormous. I felt excited at the prospect of being photographed there. By now, it was almost dusk and we started our tramp along the rutted track leading to the first style but, as I walked, I noticed that my gait was a bit more wobbly than it had been. We crossed another field and I began to feel increasingly uneasy. I said so and we halted at the next style and Al said the mouth of the cave was around the next bend of a narrow track which ran around the top of the steep hill (you get the picture don't you? Uneasy, wobbly, narrow, steep - not a good combination when one has Parrkinson's and suffers from vertigo anyway). We pushed on for another twenty yards or so but I gave up at that point. I felt very sorry for Al and Jacqui as this was the main reason for my visit - a night shoot in this amazing cathedral like cave. They were very nice about it and obviously, the success of our day up to that point provided some balm but the silence in the car journey back to Sheffield said it all - if only. But we'll always have Paris. 


Al dropped Jacqui off at her hotel and we went on to Al's house where we crept through the door as his partner Jen and their son Finn were both fast asleep upstairs. We chatted over a cuppa and then we retired too. I hoped to see Jen before she left to catch an early train to London the next day and, although I woke early, I drifted off almost immediately and she was gone by the time I surfaced. Al introduced me to his beautiful boy, Finn, before taking him to the nursery while I watched the Conservatives win the Election on TV. Al returned and we chatted some  more - he is the loveliest of men - before we went to collect Jacqui who had not slept so well but had grasped the opportunity to take some early morning photographs. We parked at the station and had a coffee together before hugs and goodbyes were enjoyed and said respectively and I skipped on to the train for London. 


Helpless? That sounds negative but it isn't. Without the medication and my DBS surgery last year, I would be pretty helpless. Without friends like Al and Jacqui, we would all feel a little helpless. Thank God for irony and thank God for Al Brydon and Jacqui Booth. Amen.


There is a town in north Ontario
With dream comfort, memory to spare
And in my mind, I still need a place to go
All my changes were there


Blue, blue windows behind the stars
Yellow moon on the rise
Big birds flying across the sky
Throwing shadows on our eyes

Leave us, helpless, helpless, helpless

Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked and tied across the door
Baby, sing with me somehow


Blue, blue windows behind the stars
Yellow moon on the rise
Big birds flying across the sky
Throwing shadows on our eyes


Leave us helpless, helpless, helpless
Helpless, helpless, helpless
Helpless, helpless, helpless
Helpless, helpless, helpless
Helpless, helpless, helpless
                                    - Neil Young


                              http://www.jacqui-booth.co.uk/

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