It was a wet and cloudy day, blustery and unpredictable. Mack the rough collie, vigorous as ever, greeted us at the door of Martin’s house, closely followed by his owner. We had arranged to capture video footage of Martin walking Mack in the woods close by, so this was our first task.
After a short drive down a tree-lined road, which took us beyond the edge of the village and past some isolated benches we made our way into the light drizzle, slipping a little in the ferny undergrowth.
Some of us saw a deer weaving its way through the trees – some of us passed close to it without noticing. Mack was eager to be outdoors, and emitted steamy breath. The surroundings were quiet, verdant and very beautiful.
Later, having removed our wet boots, we sat in the warm front room. Martin wore a checked shirt and a functional waistcoat. He was pensive and spoke in a more subdued tone than usual.
It was the first time we had seen him since his mother’s recent death. Following his bereavement, he had spent much time in her house, slowly sorting through her personal effects, deciding what to keep, what to pass on, discovering new information and contemplating the fact that journeys to her home would now cease.
This was to be our last conversation for this project. We were treated to chocolate muffins and strong tea. The fish tank gurgled in the corner and the pastel-toned, gleaming evacuee figurines regarded us from the dresser. These were produced by Royal Doulton studios as a limited edition, entitled Children of the Blitz, in order to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of ‘Operation Pied Piper’. Outside, as we talked, it grew increasingly overcast. We had more than one muffin each and took a couple for the road as well.
We also captured footage of Martin at work in his small glass studio. Up the narrow stairs and located at the side of the house the studio is an intimate, colourful room right at the top, filled with fragile, luminous objects. There is a skylight, through which the long, curious tentacle of a climbing creeper has penetrated from the well-established garden outside. It remains unchecked, and is slowly dying. This is a meditative space, quiet, contemplative and precise. Martin said, that once this project is finished, we might work there together for a day.