I met Tracy today on the end of the pier at Shoeburyness. She was with her husband and son who were trying out a new telescope her son had been given for Christmas, spying on the boats chugging past! Her red scarf and hat, along with matching lipsick, immediately caught my attention. We chatted for a while about the telescope and her life. The family have recently returned to the UK from Queensland, Australia after spending 4 years there. They came back so that her son could have treatment for a serious medical condition. He is now on the road to recovery and looking forward to using the telescope to watch the stars as well as the boats. They are hoping to join a local astronomy club. Thank you Tracy for taking the time to chat, it was great to meet you.
Ross was the second stranger I met at the Bikes & Barges event in Maldon this afternoon. He was playing bass with his tribute band The Doll Set Tones, entertaining folks on the quayside with a couple of catchy sets. I made a picture as he was playing – his colourful sunglasses immediately caught my attention. But that image wasn’t great, and at that point, I hadn’t spoken to him, so it was just a candid portrait. Sometime later, I was wandering around making images of the bikes on show and Ross walked towards me and the two friends I was with. I was just about to grab the chance and ask if he would mind me taking his picture, when he suddenly recognised my two companions whom he’s know for about 15 years but hadn’t seen for ages! So of course we got chatting. He started out as an apprentice motorbike mechanic working for my friend Simon, but left a few years ago. The modest rock and roll lifestyle he leads clearly wasn’t sufficient for his wife, who was apparently at a Robbie Williams gig today, rather than listening to hubby play! He also breeds cats as a hobby – Simon and Sue have one of his (now grown) kittens, Sox. It’s a small world really, and although Ross was a stranger to me, he was an old friend to my mates. Great to meet you, Ross.
Tony was attending the Bikes & Barges event in Maldon this afternoon, which I went along to with a couple of friends. There were lots of shiny motorcycles on display which we enjoyed photographing. Tony was admiring a particularly well kept 1959 Harley Davidson and we got chatting. He’s been riding bikes since he was a teenager, but had a break when he discovered girls and decided a car was a much more practical vehicle for taking them out on dates! Having decided he needed to get back on two wheels some years later, he now rides a Kawasaki ZZ1400 which he says can be a bit of a beast to handle, but he enjoys it rather than having a show bike which he would never dare to ride for fear of scratching it! Thanks for agreeing to be Stranger #29, Tony, it was lovely talking to you.
I took a walk along the beach at West Mersea this afternoon. It was very hot and sunny but there was a cool sea breeze blowing. I struck up a conversation with Mary and her husband Patrick (Stranger #21) who were sitting on deckchairs enjoying the sunshine. In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a nudist beach – Mary was wearing a rather nice off the shoulder purple sun dress! She enjoys reading her book on the sand and watching the world go by. They have a caravan behind the beach huts which they use during the summer to stay in the area. Thanks Mary for being one of my strangers – I think your glasses are very stylish and would not look out of place on the beach at St. Tropez!
I met Josh today on the Typography tour of Brighton (along with Keith and Andrew). He is a web developer from Brighton who has recently started working for well-known local firm Clear Left on their Font Deck website project. He was optimistically wearing huge sunglasses, despite the constant threat of rain during our walk. Thanks for posing for me, Josh.