Mr Ken Edwards - A distinguished looking gentleman
I was standing in a cue at the chemist counter of a local Tesco supermarket chatting to my sister-in-law when this distinctive looking elderly chap walked past and I mentioned to her that I would love to photograph him. Shortly afterwards, with prescription in my hand and my sister-in-law now off shopping, I thought I would see whether I could find the gentleman. After taking two tours of the aisles, without success, I had all but given up when I spotted him making payment at a checkout.
I lost no time in making an introduction, giving my usual photographic chat up line and asking whether I could photograph him. All this whilst he was paying the check-out lady. He agreed, told me that his name was Mr Ken Edwards and gave me his phone number and address which I entered into my smart phone, all much to the amusement of the cashier.
I telephoned Ken the following day and arranged to photograph him in his home, which was in a small village a short distance from my own. Ken was waiting at the front door of his small cottage when I arrived, welcomed me in and introduced me to his wife in the next cottage! What Ken had done is to buy the cottage next door and knock down the adjoining wall to the left hand side of the fireplace and in so doing created their lounge “next door” and a kitchen diner within his original downstairs space.
I asked Ken to sit on a beautiful old chair at the end of his dining room table with the intent of using natural daylight that was coming through a rear window over the sink in his kitchen area. I managed to get a flash and softbox set up close and over my left shoulder whilst crouching down on my knees, with my back tight against the wall. This was necessary because I didn’t want to shot down on my subject.
Anyway, now comes the really interesting bit that makes this story so remarkable! Whilst framing the shot I noticed that the dining room table was a bit cluttered and I asked Ken is we could remove some things. One was a rather large book which was clearly old and within which had been placed some page markers. Ken opened the book at a particular page and said “Does he look familiar?” and pointed to what I can best describe as a small 17th century etching of a chap shown in profile. I looked at it, then back to Ken and back at the little etching again. “Why it looks just like you Ken. Are you related” I ask. “Yes” he replies. He then explains that the large book is volume two about the Sackville FamilY. He tells me that the book is on loan from The British Library. This was obtained via the local library in Colchester, which it seems is possible if the intent is serious research. I was then told that that was precisely what he was doing because his roots are with the Sackville family. With that he turns to another page closer to the front of the book and unfolds a large diagram illustrating the family tree. It starts at 1066, when the Sackvilles’ came to England with William the Conqueror.
I was speechless. “That’s amazing Ken. So you can trace your roots all the way back to 1066 then” I ask. “Oh no, I can do better than that” he says He then tells me that he can do better than that and, because of the linage involved he had so far got back as far as the 800’s.
What a story and all because I took the time and perhaps a little courage to approach a stranger in Tesco’s.