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Funeral for a VW Beetle Enthusiast

How else could we honour a VW enthusiast other than by forgetting the usual funeral cars and by travelling to and from the church and cemetery in 7 VW Beetles?

This week my husband and I said our last goodbyes to our dear friend, Lawrie Ellis, who was in fact one of the first friends we made when we moved to this area. We met over 25 years ago because he and his wife had VW Beetles, as did we, and since then we have spent many a happy hour together at various VW shows around the country.

So how else could we honour a fan of VWs other than by forgetting the usual funeral cars and by travelling to and from the church and cemetery in not just one Beetle, but in a convoy of 7 Beetles.

I had only taken my handbag camera as I wasn’t expecting to take photographs during the afternoon but soon after I arrived I was asked if I would take a few shots of the cars.

It was a fitting tribute and a bit of a spectacle in the small village.

My husband though, I sometimes feel as though I can’t take him anywhere as as at one point I found him with his head in the engine lid comparing alternators with a fellow enthusiast!

Lawrie Funeral-40

Colchester Castle

The castle is Norman but built on the ruins of a Roman temple that itself was built when Colchester was the Roman capital of Britain.

After visiting the Martin Parr exhibition last week I took a walk up to the castle and through the park on my way to the station.

The castle is Norman but built on the ruins of a Roman temple that itself was built when Colchester was the Roman capital of Britain. The keep is the largest ever built in the UK and one and half times bigger than the White Tower at the Tower of London. Some people have speculated that it could have had up to four storeys.

There are some great exhibitions inside the castle that explain the history of the town but today I wanted to stay outside and walk around the extensive park. I believe the park was first landscaped by the Victorians and still wins awards. I think one of my first dates was a visit to the park and a game of crazy golf! I have been to many many events held here over the years from fireworks displays to proms in the park and the military tattoo but it is also lovely just listening to whatever is playing in the bandstand on a sunny afternoon.


A sunny day in Aldeburgh

The other weekend I spent a sunny few hours in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. It is a lovely, if stoney, beach that seemingly goes on for miles. I had the chance to walk around for a bit with my camera but unfortunately didn’t quite make it to Maggi Hambling’s beach sculpture.

I understand that Alde Burgh means ‘Old Fort’ but there is no evidence of a fort today as the landscape has changed over the years and what was once an important tudor marine town has mostly been lost to the sea. Now it is a place where people look to purchase a second or holiday home and where expensive boutiques, pretty gift shops and notable fish and chip shops line the main street. It is famous as being the home of composer Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears and also as the place where Francis Drake’s Golden hind was built.

These are a few of the photos I took. They are a bit more saturated than I would usually choose but after a visit to the Martin Parr exhibition I felt that it was time for a little more colour!


St Botolph’s Priory

Actually called the priory of St Julien and St Botolph this is the first Augustinian priory in the UK.

While I was in Colchester I took the opportunity to take a few photographs in the town centre. I can’t believe that I have never taken photos of some of the main sights before!

First up was a quick visit to St Botolph’s Priory. I think the last time I went in here was more than 30 years ago on my way home from school one night. Then it was a bit of risky place to be as it was frequented by undesirables but since then it has been cleaned up, made into a nice park and I thought it was a very pleasant place to be.

Actually called the priory of St Julien and St Botolph this is the first Augustinian priory in the UK. It was built by the Saxons, probably using some Roman bricks from earlier buildings and was founded as a priory around 1100 and was the place where canons lived together and served the town. Although the priory closed and was partially demolished in 1536 the church remained open until the civil war in the 1640s when it was caught in the crossfire of the assault on South Gate. A Gothic Victorian church was built next to the priory in 1837 and it is this church that still stands and is active today.

Martin Parr at FirstSite, Colchester

An excellent exhibition and well worth a visit.

Last week I had yet another visit to Suffolk/Essex but this time a made a special effort to stay an extra day and visit Colchester’s FirstSite gallery on my way home. the FirstSite building has been open about three or four years is currently hosting its first major photography exhibition, Martin Parr’s Work and Leisure.

The whole gallery has been given over to the exhibition that is on until early October and it displays photographs taken throughout Parr’s life.

Within the entrance area is a selection of images displayed in a grid from Parr’s ‘Common Sense’ collection taken between 1995 and 1999 they make a striking and sometimes lurid display. Parr’s trademark style comes across clear and bright in the display of closely cropped cups of tea, cupcakes, sandals and lots of other ordinary every day items that I generally wouldn’t bother to document. Together though, they are very striking and really do give a taste of modern consumerist culture.

Parr CS


Along the gallery is Work and Leisure taken around the world between 1986 and 2015 these photos show people doing their normal every day jobs and also relaxing. The first group of photos show people at work dong what needs to be done to prepare products or services while the second group shows people relaxing and consuming. I was particularly drawn to a photograph of a large indoor swimming area/beach. It is a vast space full of people laying out on towels, sitting on the sand, paddling and swimming. It looks like a Where’s Wally picture.

Parr WL


Further along in the next gallery space are photos that Parr was commissioned to take of the Rhubarb Triangle in Yorkshire. The bright rhubarb colours clash brilliantly with their surroundings. I particularly liked Parr’s image of a grower holding a large bunch of picked rhubarb which glowed against his navy overalls and muddy boots.

Parr RT

I have looked at Parr’s Last Resort photos in the book so often that they were very familiar when I saw them up close and for real in one of the next galleries. I was very pleased to see that most of my favourites were there on display.

Parr LR

I was pleased to see a few images from The Cost of Living collection. These were all taken between 1986 and 1989 in response to criticism of class voyeurism of Parr’s Last Resort photographs. It is a similar documentary effort to that of the Last Resort but about the middle classes, conservative gatherings and floral wallpaper.

My favourite exhibition though was The Non-Conformists, a collection of black and white film images of the people and places around Hebden Bridge taken between 1975 and 1980. I particularly like to see the elderly ladies at church, one where they appear to be asleep in the pews and another of a lady having a cup of tea below a representation of the last supper.


Parr HB

Other displays included a series of self-portraits and some ‘boring postcards’, both are worth a look but didn’t really do anything for me.

All in all I thought this was an excellent exhibition and it is well worth a look around, there is so much to look at and some of it is quite thought provoking. Parr really does have a lot to say about our greed and consumerism.