i learned that irving penn passed away on thursday, aged 92. he was one of my favourite photographers. and i am very fond of black and white photos like his and henri cartier-bresson’s, although i don’t take any black and white photos myself any longer. i only rely on digital camera now and my old canon eos has been laid to rest in my closet for years. i’m not good at portraits, but i used to take a few black and white ones, of colin wilson for example. he is an english author who is actually better known in japan and the usa than england.
cool and fresh air of this glorious autumn morning brought me memories of my october trip to scenic cornwall where colin and joy wilson lived. i sort of befriended them when i made colin fly to tokyo for a special lecture as part of a symposium i organised along with my girl-colleagues. they were kindly saying to me i should visit them home in cornwall some time. so some months later, when i started my ma art course in london, i took a train from paddington. in advance of that, joy reminded me not to forget to bring a raincoat with me because the weather could be whimsical there.
joy picked me up from the st. austell station. after a heavy shower, the sun appeared on the way to gorran haven. the day turned out to be a beautiful indian summer day, which seemed as if it’d last forever in cornwall. fuchsias were still in full bloom here and there in the village. in their big garden, there were a bungalow and several sheds that all stored some 30, 000 titles of books. i stayed at the bungalow comfortably but in fact i slept being surrounded by their bookshelves. during my stay, between sightseeing, joy took me to various places such as an archaeology workshop and a local library for her research, namely, to help colin out.
colin would work on a book in his basement study from early in the morning to 5pm every day. supper would start around 6pm when colin opened a bottle of wine. they had no dinning table. we gathered in the lounge instead, using a tray on our each lap. colin kept talking (almost nonsense) to rowan, his younger son who lived with them, while joy kept just smiling quietly. although i forgot why, i happened, and sure was certainly honoured, to meet all his family members at the weekend as his daughter came back home from south africa for some reason where she lived at the time and his elder son drove home from london to join.
as time went by, i lost contact with them. but i am glad to find via some net news they are both well. especially these black and white photographs make me feel appreciative of the precious time in cornwall colin and joy offered me.
his house is built on the hill overlooking the sea, while the parrot perching on a branch overlooking me in his lounge.
small room next to the entrance hall. i found the young colin on an old poster quite cute.
idylic view out of the bungalow window where i stayed. there were flocks of sheep and goats behind the wire fence.
their cat fell asleep on joy’s lap while their dog yawning. i often walked the dog down to the nearby shore during the stay.
joy told me that all the animals in the house belonged to her daughter. whenever she came home she left joy and colin her pets one by one.
entrance hall. no cornish country life could exist with no wellingtons!
in the bungalow. i picked nasturtium from the garden and placed on the windowsill.
mr colin wilson, smiling.
how are you enjoying this sunday?