Photography fact finding mission to Aylesford Priory


The  group  headed  out  of  Waltham  Forest along the Eastway

on route  to the Blackwall Tunnel (our entrance to South London).

We were  driven  by  a  council driver known to us only as Steve,

an intrepid  soul  who  had great knowledge of our planned route

 and gave us a very smooth journey.


The  rain  was  persisting  down  as  we  left  base camp and all

weather  forecasts that I`d heard in the previous 24 hours hadn`t

promised  any  respite.  We were further upset to hear that Brian

had  had to visit a doctor and couldn`t make the journey with us.

He  had  however  managed to write a sheet of suggestions for our

mission,  Arthur handed us these papers as we boarded the bus.  I

remember  thinking  as  we drove through the rain and mist that a

wretched time lay ahead. Why had I come?.


As  we  made  our  way  into Kent the rain became drizzle and had

stopped  by  the  time  we  arrived.  After a few really viscous

road humps we got to the car park.


We  left the bus and headed off clutching our cameras.  I set off

towards  the pottery with Arthur, a wise choice, he had been there

before  and knew the lie of the land.  It was in the pottery that

I  saw  a  pestle & mortar I liked, don`t worry thinks I, it will

be  there when I return..... it wasn`t.  As we left the pottery a

strange  thing  appeared  in  the  air.....   yes it was BLUE SKY


The  sky  grew ever bluer as we moved through the grounds

towards the  chapel.    The  whole  place  was  really  lovely,

smashing buildings   and  gardens,  and  everywhere  a  great

feeling  of serenity and tranquillity .... yes I loved it.


Arthur  and I headed off towards the chapel, inside it was a mass

of  colour  as  the bright sun shone through the brightly coloured

glass.    It  was  a triffik effect, at the place we stood bright

colour bathed us from three sides.


We  spent the next few hours exploring, with the obligatory stops

at restaurant and gift shop.


After  leaving  the  shops  we headed for further exploration and

photographic  work,  it was during these travels that we made our

first  searching interview. We caught sight of a monk relaxing in

the  sun,  he  agreed to letting us take his photo, after which I

chatted to him,


We  found  out  that  he was a Carmelite monk, an open order that

work  with  the  public  as  opposed to closed orders that stay in

Monasteries.    That  the  priory had been taken from the order by

Henry  VIII  (he  took that personally I thought) and only bought

back  in  1949; hence the modern decoration and glass work in the

chapel.    That  he  had  first  visited  the Priory in the early

sixties  on a 7/6d return from Kew and a lot of interesting facts

about  the Priory now and then.  Although he never told us but we

think  he  was  Irish (probably his accent),you have to keep your

wits about you in this game.


After that back to the pottery and that pestle and mortar. It was

only  Merle a charming lady that brought me back from the edge of

despair  as  I found that my chosen item had gone.  She posed for

photos  and  we  chatted  but  best  of  all we traded cake info,

focusing on chocolate cake.  A great end to a great day.


After  surviving  the viscous road humps again, we drove through

some beautiful scenery basking in the autumn sun.



Ralph (I did my best to be serious) Edmunds