We were blessed with great walking conditions, war, dry, sunny and not too hot for our last walk as part of the Walking group. This also coincided with the last weekend of the Journeys with the Waste Land exhibition. We started by listening to music in the Nayland Rock shelter that had inspired Eliot.
We then walked to the beach where Billie had devised various games all based around the poem with Virginia and Sonia taking lead roles.
After stopping at various points along the beach for activities, we then headed to the steps for a final reading of an Eliot poem.
Once back inside Turner Contemporary we sat on deck chairs for the final part until a friend of Billie’s arrived from London. He also organises walks around the city of London, and provided some interesting historical information about the channel and what is still lying buried on the sea bed!
Whilst our activities will change now that the Waste Land project has come to an end and we all move on in new directions, it has been a time to reflect. The main thing for me has been the photographic opportunities that it has offered but also mainly the friends I have made along the way. Billie has been inspirational and on my wavelength, so I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to work with her.
This was a rescheduled event originally due to take place earlier in the year. However, as it related to TS Eliot’s wives and their treatment in his hands, it also coincided with the last weekend of the Journeys with the Waste Land exhibition and the end of the Research Group’s collaboration.
It looked at four sites that had played a prominent role when Eliot was there in 1920s.
The Albemarle Hotel – now demolished.
Margate Winter Gardens
Nayland Rock Shelter
Although there was not a large group attending it was a very interesting and informative session.
It is hard to accept that the three years I have been involved with the Research Group has now come to an end. It has been a wonderful photographic opportunity and I have met some interesting people who have become close friends. Like everything we have to now move on and take this experience with us. However it has been is something special and will certainly not be forgotten! Thank you to everyone who has worked with me on this!
This walk coincided with the launch of the Journeys with the Waste Land Exhibition and followed a route around Margate close to the Turner Contemporary Gallery.
The walk involved various stops along the way with readings and interpretations of the poem at sites that were significant.
Keith, a local poet read some of his work and Julia, a local artist introduced us to TS Eliot’s ‘toilets’. This coincided with the erection of the blue plaque which is to be commemorated later in the year.
The group met finally with Mike in the Nayland Rock shelter.
A final meeting and reading on the beach before some of the group wrote their thoughts on postcards.
In hindsight when I look back at each of these walks despite the previous preparations, they are all so different and unexpected. We were again blessed with fine dry weather as the last one was challenging, trying to take pictures and keep the camera dry under an umbrella! However the day was very windy and I ended up with watery eyes so it was a wonder I achieved the results I did.
The only slight irritation (not I know unexpected at times) was one lady who was most insistent that I did not capture her in any of the shots. So as a result she seemed to keep popping up in lots of them when looked at the results later! Still I guess I’ve generally been fortunate up until now, as most people just seem to be engrossed in the proceedings and not take too much notice of me.
I always seem to see something else which catches my eye when I’m on one of the walks, either it is something unusual or the fact that as Turner commented, the skies are always impressive.
We always seem to be blessed with the weather when it comes to the walks. The forecast was abysmal but we only ended up with a few drops. The plan was to run through the proposed walk with Andreas and members of the team putting Margate Bookie together.
It is always a chance to capture something of interest whilst I am documenting the events. This was taken inside part of Dreamland which is yet to be renovated.
The group has now settled into meeting once a month and although I could not attend the June walk I did attend the one held on 17 May which included some members of the Garden Gate Project in Margate. This is a community garden working with people with mental health and or learning difficulties based at Northdown Park, Cliftonville.
We were blessed with a sunny day and a good day to remember!
The following images show what the inspiring work that is being carried out in a very calm and relaxing environment.
The emphasis of this walk led by Elspeth, was to look at the important contribution made by Vivienne Eliot to the work of T.S. Eliot and her influence on ‘The Wasteland’
Elspeth gave the group ropes which she had made, so that they could ‘knot’ things that had made an impact on them during the walk.
Contributions were made on different aspects of her life by Richard and members of the group during the day.
A very welcome break for a cream tea was taken at The Walpole Bay Hotel & Museum.
The final stop was at The Old Market where Judy read a piece she had written from the top of the converted bus inside the venue. The event had been advertised to the public and Sally Waterman’s video ‘In the Cage’ (2007) was projected onto the ceiling.
All these events have also been an opportunity for me to take images of interesting things I have also witnessed. In this case I took a picture of the baker inside the market who was busy in his work area. Although it was possible to see inside, there was a red film on the inside of the glass hence to colour of the image.
We met our visitors from Coventry for lunch at GB Pizza and then back to Turner Contemporary where they read a passage from the poem.
The TSE Research Group then discussed which works of art and artefacts have been agreed to be loaned to the gallery, and which are still to be agreed. Everyone then split into groups to decide which of the items best fitted to the thematic groups.
After an overnight stay in Margate the visitors met with Elspeth and the Walking Group, for a walk around the key sites in Margate that relate to the poem. It was another cold and blustery day but the intrepid walkers were not put off.
Various stops were made en route including The Pie Factory Gallery and Margate Museum. The museum provided valuable insights for the visitors into the Margate of the past and the interesting exhibit is which are held in the museum.
The group met for an introduction at Turner Contemporary, and aim of the session was of walking together and stopping for readings at stages along the route.
It was not a day conducive for walking but we carried on regardless and the weather did improve as the time went on.
Alongside reading from the poem, Elspeth had also arranged for some of the visitors to set up ‘Walking Books’ sessions and various people signed up for a session beforehand.
The group walked from the gallery along the seafront and ended up at the Garden Gate Project.
Keith, a member of the group read one of his poems at the end of the walk.
It is now nearly a year (17 November) since the group formed and we went on the first walk. It has gone from strength to strength with Elspeth ensuring that each walk has a main focus. Alongside the main aims, friendships have emerged and the parameters have been extended as to how the group has developed offering a positive prospect for the future.