Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Peter Pugh

Thinking about Jim, and also about other friends who have died, I am reminded of my dear friend Peter Pugh.

Peter and I met in 1978/9 at what was the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau in Oxford, where we both worked as abstractors for the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux. Peter was a zoologist, specialising in birds, in particular pink pigeons. He had worked in a private zoo in New York and travelled widely, so I'm not sure how he ended up in forestry. We shared a love of films - and cider - and used to frequent the Penultimate Picture Palace and other cinemas in Oxford. He lived with another colleague, Anne, and her fiance, in Horton-cum-Studley, not far from Oxford. When I left Oxford, we kept in touch - this photograph (a pretty poor one) was taken in Preston, and we also met up in London and in Jersey, where Peter was working for the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. A few years ago, I contacted the JWPT to try to track down Peter but was gently told that he had drowned in a swimming accident in Belize. I believe there is an aviary at the Trust named after him. Such a tragic accident, made even more so by the fact that his brother, too, had drowned, some years before. I know nothing more of his life since we met in London - the internet only revealed a paper written by him, now out of print: Peter B. Pugh - Advances in hand-rearing techniques for thick-billed parrot at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, in International Zoo News for 1983. We helped to feed those lovely parrots - they were called A and B and had learnt to turn up the thermostats in their cages.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Jim Hennessy part 4

Judy Evans and Bob Barker, old friends and colleagues of Jim, have been looking out photographs, including this splendid one, taken at Jim's 50th birthday party in Brighton in 1990.

I denied all knowledge of this event, so it came as a surprise when Judy unearthed a photograph of me, her and Jim at the same party ...

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Jim Hennessy part 3

A poor Polaroid taken on the night of the screening of the last episode of Twin Peaks in 1991. The location was my flat in Eastern Terrace, Brighton.
A group of us gathered every week with damn fine coffee and doughnuts (and maybe a glass of wine) to watch the series and for the last episode we all dressed up as characters. Represented here are Agent Dale Cooper (Mark), the Japanese lady (Fiona), Dr Jacoby (Jackie), Sheriff Truman(Craig) and Deputy Brennan (Richard). Can't remember who Kim and Jim were supposed to be! Could have sworn Jim was the psychiatrist! I took the photo and was the mystic Log Lady.
Behind us on the wall was the chart which we filled in after every episode showing links between the characters, photographs courtesy of the Radio Times

Jim Hennessy part 2

Going through the stash of photos looking for pictures of Jim, I came across this one of some of my teaching colleagues from the Department of Library & Information Studies at the University of Brighton, taken at the Sanctuary Cafe, Brighton, in July 1993 (I think). If the date is correct, it was my unofficial leaving do.
From the left: Jeff Taylor (now Professor of Media Studies at the University of Lapland), Margaret Wallis (now Director, University Centre Hastings), Jim Hennessy, Dr. David Horner (now Principal Lecturer, University of Brighton) and me.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Jim Hennessy

Got some sad news last night about an old friend and colleague Jim Hennessy, seen here in typical red wine and smoking pose. He died in April this year.
I worked with Jim at the University of Brighton and we became great friends. He was charming, urbane, witty and full of fascinating stories. I remember him with great fondness and am sad that I never met up with him after he moved from Brighton to Totnes. I heard tales of him running a bookstall and learning languages. I can just see him, cooking, drink in hand, listening in to Spanish radio, probably ranting a bit.
Here's to you, Jim.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

viva espana

Judith, this is just for you. Here we are in Spain again, trying to keep cool and wondering how the vegetable garden is getting on back home. We'll be back in a few days!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Warming the bones

Yikes. Has it really been so long since I wrote anything? I wonder what I've been up to since late July? Looking back at the largely unintelligible notes on the calendar, Shropshire again, I see, looking at houses, and various notes to self (becoming bolder and more insistent) to PAY NATIONAL INSURANCE (oh the joys of self-employment). An embarrassingly disastrous cat sitting in which one of the cats died (old age, nowt to do with me, guv) and another ran off never to be seen again. Numerous jumble sales. Visiting my brother in Spain and being trounced at Scrabble. And, oh yes, starting my HND in fine art, something I've been looking forward to for a long time. However, it's not been plain sailing, with staff absences and lacklustre performances creating quite the opposite of what I was looking for, namely focus and inspiration. We Shall See.

Otherwise, like everyone else, I am bemoaning the onset of the damp and dark, but a recent experience camping (yes, camping, in November) has thrown some light up and reminded me what this season is really about. We returned to Blackberry Wood for a few days over Samhain and had a glorious time (if somewhat cold and wet). Samhain is sometimes referred to as the Festival of the Dead, but in latter years, since an interest in such things has emerged, I know it to be about beginnings as well as endings: it is, in fact, the start of the Celtic year and is traditionally a time to take stock (literally, in terms of livestock) for the survival of the winter months. Bonfires play a large part, with the word "bonfire" coming from "bone fire", as animal bones were burnt for this festival as part of a purification process. Largely remembered for the evening before Samhain as "Halloween" (All Hallows' Even), it is also a time when ancestors and other departed souls are remembered. This year, we lit candles for all of the friends and family members who have passed on, and as we sat around our fire, we imagined them sitting there, warming their bones. Although this is a dark time, it is also a reminder that light times are ahead.