Wednesday, 22 August 2007

RIP MY FRIEND FROM FLAMBOROUGH

1 The Yorkshire Heritage Coast



2. Different in winter.

3. Different in summer. Fishing from high on the cliffs.

4. Autumn, it can get rough and even more beautiful.


5. Always something to photograph!


6. Robert with the man who used to build his boats.... had come to pay him a visit and talk about the old days.

7. The boats get tied up and secured firmly during the high tides.

8. Lovely names and colours.

9. Their pride...

10. Robert, my friend

11. The tear...

R.I.P ROBERT EMERSON.

Flamborough, on the stunning North- Yorkshire Heritage Coast, one of our fave haunts around here, just under two hours away it is a place that is special, the rugged white cliffs, its inlets and coves, the clear blue water, the sounds and smells now so familiar, we need our regular dose of it. WE ALWAYS find something new to photograph, the sea is ever-changing as is the sky and the light, the seasons.

You can go to Flamborough Head with the light house, but we love Smuggler’s Cove… You arrive through the small village, the road opens up, the gulls welcome you, there’s a big parking, and that’s where his van stood, always the first thing you saw, winter summer, always a fire going in a drum, the back doors open, people…

I took many portraits of this beautiful man, gave him copies the next time for which he was always grateful, but being a true Yorkshire man… I always had to pay for my crab! Hihi. Gladly, because these people deserve every penny, such a hard life!

This is about Robert, my friend, who is no more; I just heard he died last month.
All his life, except for the war, he lived in Flamborough, born into a proud family of fishermen; he was also a life long volunteer of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
He eyes shone when he told me that all the boats belonging to him and his family had lovely names like ‘Madeleine Isabella’ and their signature is a white rose, the Yorkshire symbol!
He still went out to inspect his crab pots every early morning, well in his eighties, the women cleaned, prepared and dressed them, most for the fishmongers on markets, the rest for the back of his van, parked in his place at Smuggler’s Cove, where he sold them, that’s how we met.
I love fresh crabs and he loved people…
If you're lucky, you encounter some people in your life that are special, add something, who leave a lasting impression even if you met them only occasionally enrich you forever, Robert was such a man.
I remember the times we sat together, chatting and laughing, wonderful. He loved holding my hands in his huge, rough, calloused hands.

When he heard I was from Belgium, he grabbed my hand; in front of his distant, watery eyes he saw the horrors of war, as we sat next to his dressed crabs, in silence.
I grew up hearing about it; I grew up amongst the many graves in Flanders.

It was a winter’s day, bitingly cold, I’ll never know if the tear on his cheek was the icy wind or …
His kind face etched by the tearing wind and salt and sun and conditions of the North Sea, his pale blue eyes damaged by glare, here he is squinting, but, he had the most amazing gaze. I can't go back there yet, I need some time, give him a place in my heart...

Time is precious, best use it for good, have a lovely day and thanx for your time, Magda, (*_*)

WHY DO YOU STILL MARCH OLD MAN,
WITH MEDALS ON YOUR CHEST?
WHY DO YOU STILL GRIEVE OLD MAN,
FOR THOSE FRIENDS YOU LAID TO REST?
WHY DO YOUR EYES STILL GLEAM OLD MAN.
WHEN YOU HEAR BUGLES BLOW?
TELL ME WHY YOU CRY OLD MAN,
ABOUT THOSE DAYS SO LONG AGO?
_________________________________
I'LL TELL YOU WHY I MARCH YOUNG MAN, WITH MEDALS ON MY CHEST.
I'LL TELL YOU WHY I GRIEVE YOUNG MAN, FOR THOSE I LAID TO REST.
THROUGH MISTY FIELDS OF GOSSAMER SILK
COME VISIONS OF DISTANT TIMES.
WHEN BOYS OF TENDER AGE LOST LIVES
AND ALL THEIR MOTHERS PINED.
WE BURIED THEM IN A BLANKET SHROUD,
THEIR YOUNG FLESH, SCORCHED AND BLACKENED.
A COMMUNAL GRAVE, NEWLY GOUGED,
IN BLOODSTAINED GOURSE AND BRACKEN.
AND YOU ASK ME WHY I MARCH YOUNG MAN?
I MARCH TO REMIND YOU ALL.
THAT FOR THOSE APPLEBLOSSOM YOUTHS, YOU'D NEVER HAVE KNOWN FREEDOM AT ALL.


This poem is published with the kind permission of Brian Hutson.

8 comments:

cloverstar said...

A wonderful dedication to your friend. The story is heart wrenching.

David Toyne said...

The last shot is jaw droppingly good Magda. The tribute is wonderful also. You are a true human being.

jillian.bradshaw said...

What a lovely tribute you have left for someone who was such a lovely man. I knew Robert, or 'Burdo' as everyone seemed to call him. I could sit and listen to him for hours telling me stories. I was so sad when I heard that he had died. The photos you have taken are wonderful. He would have been very proud.

ChrisJ said...

Magda: I just arrived on your blog. My sister told me about it. When we were in our teens we lived at Flamborough, first in the village and then at the lighthouse. I knew Robert very well. He was a great man and just as you described him. He lived just across the road from us. His cousin Margery was my special friend. We went to the High School in Bridlington together. We still keep in touch and we always visit them when we get over there. I have a blog called flamblogger.blogspot.com If you ever have the time to scroll through it, you will find many references and photos of Flamborough. I also have a blog through the Bridlington Free Press -- Blogs Today. It is called "Homesick for Flamborough.Your photos are truly spectacular. Robert was a good man.

I have a web site too but it is down right now because I had to change servers. Hopefully it will be up again soon. It had a lot of photos of Flamborough and historical postcards too.

carole said...

Dear magda,what a lovely tribute to my father,thankyou. He was very special
I have tried to contact you on your website but without luck

Terry said...

hi magda, just seen your tribute to your old friend robert and it was very fitting to the great man he was , i did,nt know him personaly but did buy crabs from him on many occasion , i did,nt know he had past away till only recently whan i travelled to the north landind to buy crabs from him and sadly found out he was no longer with us ,once again thank you for putting out such a great tribute , kind regards terry.

Michael Eyre said...

Magda wonderful story, my mum and dad had one of the wooden tiled holiday bungalows at north landing and were good friends of Robert and his brother Norman. We had many great holidays there in the 50's & 60's as kids. Used to spend probably 7 weeks there every year. Both Robert & Norman were great with my brother & I. We used to help them unload the catch of the day and collect the 1 shilling for a coble trip around to smugglers cave and Bempton cliffs. My grandson is doing a project at school on flamborough this is how I came across your blog. Photos are stunning.

Michael Eyre said...

Magda wonderful story, my mum and dad had one of the wooden tiled holiday bungalows at north landing and were good friends of Robert and his brother Norman. We had many great holidays there in the 50's & 60's as kids. Used to spend probably 7 weeks there every year. Both Robert & Norman were great with my brother & I. We used to help them unload the catch of the day and collect the 1 shilling for a coble trip around to smugglers cave and Bempton cliffs. My grandson is doing a project at school on flamborough this is how I came across your blog. Photos are stunning.