It seems somewhat appropriate that this is an absolute mammoth of a post.
If you knew Graham you'll understand.
On Saturday 6th August 2016 I was working on the Isle of Wight, performing at a festival down there. Graham came with us, as he always liked to do when we went to the island.
It had been a perfectly clear day and I wanted to try to photograph the Milky Way. Graham took me out to Whale Chine on the south side of the Isle of Wight.
There's almost no light pollution and you can see the Milky Way when looking south out to sea as there's no land or population centre for over 100 miles.
As we arrived, after a clear day, the clouds rolled in and we couldn't see any stars. We hung out in pitch black, at the top of an eroding cliff for about 20mins. Just as we were considering calling it a night, as if someone switched the lights on, one by one the stars started to appear. We could see the Milky Way with our naked eyes.
I set the camera up, took one shot and captured it before the clouds rolled back in.
As Astrophotography goes, it was a pretty poor image but I'd captured the Milky Way and spent a lovely evening with my very ill father. It was a very special evening.
On July 17th of July 2017 at 5:30am Graham passed away.
I left it a long time before scattering his ashes, sometimes I wish I'd done it sooner. I knew where I wanted to do it, at Whale Chine at sunset drinking a Southern Comfort & lemonade.
On the 14th of October 2018 Grahams ashes were scattered off Whale Chine on the Isle of Wight.
Summer 2019 I once again found myself working on the Isle of Wight, this time with another absent friend after we lost Abboss this year. The last time I was on the island was to scatter Grahams ashes. It'd been an emotionally heavy weekend.
On Sunday 28th July 2019 I went out to Whale Chine again. On my own with my camera and a can of Strongbow (Grahams other favourite drink).
As I was driving down there the clouds started rolling in again.
When I parked up I shouted "turn the fucking lights on Graham"
As I walked from the car park to the cliff, the stars appeared again. I had completely clear skies in every direction. It was like being in a planetarium.
These are some photos from the evening
I stayed an hour, taking photos and talking to Graham. He'd have been so proud of the team this weekend and the dreams he helped make a reality. I wish he was still here when I need advice or someone to talk to.
I got angry and emotional, even shouted at him. I'm glad I went down there and I will visit again.
One of my biggest personal frustrations through the Covid-19 Pandemic has been the inability to go down to Whale Chine on the Isle of Wight and visit.