Thursday 5 April 2012

Opening Hours for the next few days -

Thursday 5 April                      midday – 5pm

Friday 6 April Good Friday    9am – 11.30 am

Saturday 7 April                      10am -  5pm

Sunday 8 April Easter Day      12.30pm – 5pm

Monday 9 April Bank Holiday, church and exhibition closed

Tuesday 10 April                       10am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm

Closing Prayer to end exhibition 3pm in the gallery amongst the paintings Tuesday 10 April

I have met some amazing people at St James's.  I sit there amongst the paintings every day, and watch people come and go.  Some come in, climbing the stairs to the gallery, hesitate at the door and turn and run away.  Some come in and spend time looking and I can see them thinking hard.  Others come in and glance at the paintings, read what they can quickly and leave without making eye contact and some come to speak to me and tell me what is going on in their lives.

Yesterday a smart man in a suit told me he was 75 years old.  He said, he was happy enough, he was retired and had never married nor had children.  His father died when he was 16 and he said, after that, he saw no reason to be optimistic about anything.  His own life, he said, had been run of the mill, he had no ambition and didn't see the point in doing anything really, he never regained his optimism and still missed his father.  He gave me a hug and left the exhibition.  This man had a lovely gentle smile, and I don't believe his life was run of the mill.  He just didn't feel that forgettable.

Another man dropped in yesterday, struggling up the stairs with his walking stick.  A few minutes before he got to the door a small boy walked into the exhibition, and made his way along the paintings, silently and with great confidence.   A few minutes later, an anxious old man with a walking stick appeared at the door.  I asked if a small boy with lovely aubern hair belonged to him, and he beathed a sigh of relief.  His grandson, he said, and he kept losing him because he couldn't move very fast.  He is fine here, I said, because the grandson was skipping about the pews in the gallery and had found some toy animals that were part of a small tribute to a young man called David.  The old fellow rested on his stick and started to tell me that when he was six, like his grandson, he had been evacuated.  He told me the story of his evacuation, and how he had recently been back to visit the village in the country where he had ended up.  He was a real East Ender, he said, London was all he had ever known, it was a real shock and adventure at six years old.  After a while, Grandad went to sit quietly in the pews in the gallery.  Soon, the little fellow made it clear that he was finished, and it was time to go on to the next adventure. On his way out, Grandad made a donation to the exhibition.  He had not looked at a single painting, nor do I think he even knew what it was about.  It is very nice, he said as he left, to meet nice people.  It is good, he said, to have someone listen.

The closing prayer for the exhibition is on Tuesday 10 April at 3pm.  We will bless and thank all those involved in visiting, supporting, taking part in, the A Graceful Death exhibition and experience.

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