A momentous change in my life.
When I had my interview we were given a tour of the college. One thing really fascinated and impressed me, the TV studio. It was a large purpose built space with a control room and editing suite. The college ran a Radio, Film and Television course. I had made a few short experimental films myself. There was a man at the top of a ladder moving lights. He was the technician that ran the studio and taught the students how to use the cameras and to edit. He could see that I was interested and lingering after the others had gone so he came down to talk. I liked him. He was an enthusiast. You have to remember that it was in the days before digital imaging. It was so much harder then He had to invent so many gadgets himself especially in the editing suite, cutting wasn’t easy like it is now.
Spring blossom near my studio. In those days there were lots of pleasant open spaces. I suppose it is not surprising that they have largely been swallowed up by new buildings nowadays.
After I started term Betty had gone off somewhere. I think it was to do voluntary work with Czech and Hungarian refugees in a hostel in Austria.
In October the Senior Common Room ran a social event, a Harvest Supper. It was a sit down affair and who should be sitting next to me but the technician, I discovered that his name was Kenneth Cook. He was an inventor and maker, like me. He loved jazz and swing, like me. He liked to sail, not like me. He was divorced, like me.We got on well and arranged to meet for a drink, we went to a pub in Broadstairs. He liked biggish cars but his car was out of action so we went in mine, my beloved Renault 4 with it’s Heath Robinson gear lever!
In the year that I started at Christchurch I still had dark hair (just)
The long and short of this is we fell in love, we had so much in common ( I know it sounds cheesy at our age but it was true) Of course when Betty came back it was a terrible shock for her and we had to decide what to do. Ken had a little bungalow in Blean, we could have lived there but it would leave Betty in the lurch. We decided to continue to live in Herne Bay. Betty had the top two floors (the nicest part) and we had the ground floor and basement. The basement had been condemned because it was flooded in the great flood of 1952, sea water is bad news. We managed to do it up and use it as a kitchen and work room. The walls are still not good in spite of being treated by various builders. The part that worked was the kitchen which we did ourselves with a lot of hard work. We were married in the Quaker way in the Easter vacation. I knew it would be hard for his children, though they were all young marrieds by this time, with children of their own, because I remembered how hard it was for me when my father remarried. I have to say that- though it must have been weird for them- they did welcome me. Ken had already had a heart attack, he was ten years older than me, so at least they knew someone would be with him.
Ken doing what he loved to do best, making things, but above all he loved to make wooden boats. We built an extension on the garage.
He also made our beloved Canadian canoe. We paddled that canoe in so many rivers and canals here and in Holland. His only disappointment was that I didn’t like sailing, which he loved. I got myself a kayak so that at least I could be on the sea at the same time!
I forgot to say that Ken, had been a keen photographer developing and printing his own film, like me. we also turned an outside garden loo into a darkroom. We went to Tresco for our honeymoon I was back to my beloved beaches.
My drawing of New Grimsby. Tesco. There were no cars on the island, you walked, there were a couple of tractors.
Back to the shoreline. I can never get tired of these small worlds that echo the larger world of which they are a part. They were the starting point for my work for so many years in both painting and textiles.
There was one rather sad occasion. Hockerill had a small TV unit (it wasn’t a taught course, it was used as an aid to teaching) they were having to get rid of their equipment. Hockerill and Christchurch were both C of E colleges so it was decided that the cameras should go to Christchurch and Ken and I had to go and get them. It made me feel quite a traitor and it was heart breaking to see colleagues there (really talented people) that would never get another job. Although they were trying to be positive there was an air of gloom about the place. At the end of the cuts there were very few colleges left.