Page 1

Welsh Ukraine


4


Previous double page; in the heart of the huge steelworks which occupies many square miles at the city centre of donetsk stands one of the last original welsh built buildings - ‘1896’

left: 2 letters of invitation from ‘evolution media’ prior to flying to kiev and right: a letter of invitation from donetsk regional museum

5


le

Welsh The following is a diary transcribed from audio files I recorded during my project to document the ‘Welsh’ city of Hughesovka / Donetsk My thanks go to Evolution Media Ukraine www.e-media.com.ua/index_eng.html notably Elena Kolomijcenko and also to www.eqtranscriptionservices.co.uk

Contents Page 4 - 5 UKRAINIAN LETTERS OF INVITATION Page 10 - Page 116 PART 1 (in the UK ) Page 118 - Page 286 PART 2 (in UKRAINE...audio that had been transcribed so far) Page 290 MERTHYR TYDFIL COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL ENDORSEMENT Page 292 - Page 293 1943 BBC RADIO BROADCAST - Annie Gwen Jones Page 294 FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF KIEV - Ed Gold 6


Ukraine PART 1

The build up over 2 days in north Wales prior to flying to the Ukraine [If you want to go to the diary made in the Ukraine please go straight to Page 112 - Part 2]

*PLEASE NOTE - I took 4000 photos in 3 weeks in Ukraine and not all of them can be used in this diary so please click on these 2 links to see other work:

www.issuu.com/edgold/docs/kiev www.issuu.com/edgold/docs/donetsk04 7


Welsh Names of Characters

8


Ukraine

Elena Kolomijcenko Julia Litvinova Vadym ‘Vova’ Vitali Mykhaylo Borushevskyy Mykhailyna Skoryk Mykhailo Glubokyi Jeana Gomer

- - - - - - - -

Works for Evolution Media HQ in Kiev Director General of Evolution Media in Kiev Director General of UNIAN Information Agency in Kiev Driver for Elena and Evolution Media in Kiev Male Translator in Kiev and Donetsk Female Translator in Kiev Donetsk Regional Museum Evolution Media employee in Donetsk Wales’s largest independent book publisher

9


Friday 4th November 2011 – 21:47 Today I spent most of my time trying to sort out travel insurance. I pay £17.50 a month to Barclays Bank for various benefits, supposed benefits, and one of them is travel insurance up to 30 This is prior now to going to the Ukraine. days, but I am going for thirty eight so I asked my bank I am aware that I have to speak clearly since now I am making manager and he advised me to buy some more. Then they a second audio diary. The first was the Parachute Regiment in asked me why I was going to the Ukraine and I said to take photographs and the insurance broker said sorry you are not Afghanistan and now this one is going to the Ukraine to covered because you are going to be working. So I spent document Welsh heritage in the city of Donetsk. quite a few hours trying to convince them I was actually a What can I say? I have to be careful what I say because in this tourist, they still did not believe me, so I said actually I live in a field with sheep which I think they found quite amusing. I live case time is money. The longer the audio recording the more in a Yurt three hundred and sixty five days a year and I do not money I have to spend. ‘Transcription Hub’ sponsor me with pay income tax because I do not earn enough in order to do 10% off which is not too much. Having said that, even though so. I do not claim benefit. I live very frugally. they are based in Washington in the USA, they get the transcriptions made in India. Jen and Sha - short for Sharon, came to see me today. It was quite amusing really both dressed in black, both with dyed hair. It is dark; I am next to my gas cooker which I have sat on top Sharon with bright dyed blonde hair, Jen with jet black hair, of my wood burning stove because the stove is not going this quite long, both quite over-weight. Sharon aged 40 something evening. It has been a second very stressful day sorting stuff pregnant with her second child, her first child is a boy who is out. I fly 8.40am Monday morning Heathrow Terminal 4 with aged 14 and now she is just about to have a baby girl in about KLM to Amsterdam and then to Kiev. I am in the Yurt.

10

I live in this 8 foot by 8 foot mongolian yurt from october 2011 to august 2012 whilst my patagonia book is made as well as going to ukraine for 3 weeks in november 2011


11


two weeks time and Jen who I first met in 1999 and used to work at Kwik Save. Never got it on with her, always fancied her, she fancied me, but I was a bit slow on the uptake. I think I was very wary of women in those days. I am even more so these days, but I have had a lot more involvement with them. Anyway, it is funny when I think about somebody enough they always get in touch and I was thinking about Jen quite a lot recently and sure enough she texted me. It is 2011 now, but I have not seen her or heard from her since June 2003, so that is eight and a half years. So it has to be said for the power of thought. It is quite incredible the power of thought. You should be careful for what you wish for – you put a wish out there it very often comes true, for good or bad. I have had an invite to go to the Ukraine by a company called Evolution Media - a media company. They are making a book about Donetsk in the Ukraine.

flew to Afghanistan back in January this year and because of Gomer’s interest in my Patagonia work, I said to them - shall I go to the Ukraine because there is a city started up by a Welshman and they said yes they would be very interested. I do not actually have a book deal about Ukraine with them, but I think it is worth the effort. If I make the effort to go there then they will, hopefully, make a second book of my photographs. So I went to the Glamorgan Records Office in Cardiff earlier in the year especially to see a woman called Susan Edwards who has been to Donetsk and made a book about the town when John Hughes started it called Hughesovka. I asked Susan Edwards for any contacts from the Ukraine and she gave me a name of a woman called Elena Kolomijcenko.

I got in touch with this woman and it turns out that she lives in Munich but actually she is from Russia. Tonight she explained to Earlier in the year, Gomer who are Wales’s largest me that (I think) she is a political activist and that she independent publisher approached me and said can we escaped from the USSR over twenty years ago and went to live make a book of your Patagonia photographs of Welsh colonies in Germany, but now she works for a company called and they know that I have spent two and a half years at the Evolution Media who are based in Kiev, in the Ukraine. She is bottom of South America. I said yes. This was a week before I making this book with Evolution Media about Donetsk.

12

yurt interior - homemade bed from wooden planks on plastic supermarket crates. small items are stored behind broom handles in ceiling and larger ones under bed


Having seen the work on my website, she wanted to me to come to Ukraine for me to take photographs for her for this book and she wanted me to come and pay for myself.

come to the Ukraine now and rather than me pay she had actually arranged for a translator for me and also accommodation. All I would have to pay for was to get myself to the Ukraine by air and also pay for my eating – as I suggested then that I pay $80 which is £50 per week for she explained it – pay for my own food. If the food is cheap accommodation and a translator. She said that I would need enough I will offer to pay for the food for my translator, but we to have a driver as well. I said that I really could not afford that will see. The idea is that I arrive in the Ukraine and stay for one and after weeks and weeks of speaking, normally quite late at week in Kiev where Evolution Media is based and do a master night she would phone me from Germany, and I would be in class, as they called it, for other journalists. I am not quite sure my tent. Sometimes I would ignore her. I did not like doing so, who they think I am. I think they may think that I am famous, but I was trying to sleep in the tent and sometimes I would be but they have written a very nice letter of invitation for me to so tired I could not speak at all. come. I have asked them to write it in Ukrainian as well as English so that I can show it to Customs at Kiev airport in case I Eventually I said to her - look, I cannot come, it will have to wait am stopped and they ask me the purpose of my visit. for now. I think I will have to motorcycle next April. She said it was too late next April, and also it will be 2012 European World Certainly I am wary now of going to other countries especially Cup and it would be too busy, too many people. Now was a if I am by myself, like Canada in early 2010 when I was stopped better time. and I was sent back to Britain having flown for ten hours to Vancouver from Britain. If I am stopped in Kiev at least I can So we left it and I came to Llanberis in North Wales. Ironically, produce a letter written in Ukrainian, which is very similar to where everything started in 1999 when I first came up to Wales Russian, and show it to the officials and say that I am here beI camped in the exact spot I have the Yurt now. I came to cause I have to take photographs and I have been invited. Llanberis deciding to stay in Britain over winter, put the Yurt up and she phoned me three or four nights ago to say you must So one week in Kiev and then I will go to Donetsk.

14

i stop a passer-by on colchester high street to take a photo of me en route to north wales via wiltshire. notice yurt chimney attached near vertically to side of yamaha yp250 scooter


I am quite happy to go by air, bus or train. Over land would be very interesting. It will be quite phenomenal to be able to see the land and the people as it is while travelling. To be able to stop and see life as it really is on the ground. Get to Donetsk and spend four weeks there. They actually think I will be able to take all the photographs I will need to take in two weeks - no doubt because they want to save money, but we shall see. Of course, I have never been there, so I do not know what to expect. I have certainly seen some photographs and I have a book that Susan Edwards made from the Glamorgan Records Office which includes photographs, or what it looks like.

heavily a couple of times]. I cannot see any vapour from my breath [breathes out heavily again]. Yes there is some vapour, but it is really not that cold. Maybe when I get back in five weeks there will be some snow.

I am worried about the old dog called Toss, the old farm dog with one eye. He has been sleeping on the floor of the Yurt. I found a blanket for him to sleep on. It is one of those synthetic blankets that normally have tigers or lions on. It is very soft. Normally he sleeps outside in the rain, but in the last few weeks since I last got back up to Llanberis it has been blowing a gale and he has been outside saturated with water. He is a very I am not going to write notes like I did in Patagonia. I kept a hardy old dog, but he has terrible arthritis due to being outside voice recording in Afghanistan and I will have to do it this time so much. He either goes through the bins on the campsite or in the Ukraine because I will not have time to write. I think that the campers feed him. It is turning to winter now and there anecdotal notes are easier than trying to speak them. I find are less campers and less food for him. I have been buying anyway. I am much funnier and much more spontaneous with him dog food from Home Bargains. Home Bargains sell two kilo my thoughts when I am writing. You can really use artistic bags for 99p which is a really good price. Beef flavour or expression, artistic licence, than when I am speaking like now. chicken flavour. I am tired and have made myself a herbal cup of tea simply He seems to love it. because I have run out of hot chocolate and if I have a coffee I will not sleep. It is my last herbal tea bag. I am not having a I feed him three times a day. fire tonight I do not think. It is not really that cold [breathes out

16

‘toss’ the 15 year old sheepdog i adopt as he was without food and shelter. i ask a mate to feed him while i’m in the ukraine but i’m let down and toss is very thin when i return


I have trimmed lots of matted fur off his back with a Swiss Army penknife scissors. He had rolled in dog shit, by the smell of it, and the whole of his back was completely solid all glued together. It took quite a while, but I cut all the matted fur off his back. I took a photograph of him.

On the back, actually this is something I noticed on my way to see Susan Edwards funnily enough, I was going along the M4 and I pulled over at a service station called Leigh Delamere and I slept in the service station for the night in my sleeping bag and I have bought some of these from a supermarket because earlier in the year someone at a community Apparently, when he was young, he was squashed by a trailer in Crescent Road in Kingston, a guy called Chris, an actor, had and lost one eye and I remember him from when I first came given me some of these bars. I think I had seen them being here about twelve years ago. If he is fourteen, so he must have sold at Coed Hills Arts Centre. He gave me a few and I fell in been about two. I do remember him from a very long time love with them so I bought some more and one day I read the ago, but now he is a retired farm dog. He deserves a good back of the wrapper, and to be fair you do not normally read retirement I am not soft at all, but animals should be looked af- the small print, and it said ‘handmade in Wales using the finest ter and cared for. Unfortunately, the owners are slightly ingredients’. Then I read a bit more and it said Corwen, ignorant. I seems that they only really care if money is involved. Denbighshire. I go through Corwen normally on the road when Unfortunately far too many humans seem to be like that I am coming up from England. I go towards Shrewsbury on the nowadays. A5 and then turn down, get off at Llangollen and then Corwen and then carry on the A5 towards Bangor. I am just having my herbal tea and I have just eaten a 9-bar flax - the nutritious carob topped mixed seed bar with flax and Anyway, when I was at my lucky service station as I call it, as I hemp. Just delicious. I have to say, I am sponsored by Whole- always manage to get sponsorship when I am there - I normally bake Limited who make 9-bar energy bars. They are write asking for sponsorship at that service station – it has hapundoubtedly the most delicious energy bar I have ever had. pened twice this summer. Anyway, I wrote to these They are dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, contain omega 3 people and they have very kindly sponsored me for my trip to and 6. the Ukraine by motorbike next year.

18

the rear of the yurt and toss’s brown teepee i erect as shelter when i’m in the ukraine. toss is at top left. the farmer said i was ‘spoiling’ him. no! i’m feeding him! how is that spoiling?!


I thought I would go by motorbike this year, but obviously it has got too late and cold. It’s never too cold, but any fool can be uncomfortable and any fool can get in trouble, so it is probably better to wait until spring next year. Anyway Mark Gould very kindly gave me a load to take with me and when I told him that I probably would not go this year he said eat them over the winter and we will give you some more next year for your trip. So they gave me one hundred bars in different varieties and I have had three bars today.

stretched, not stretch marks, but it looks kind of weird, it looks like I have two or three more belly buttons in the way it has been indented. Anyway, I feel great, I feel light, I feel fit. It is quite incredible how my body has changed. I am just muscle and bone now whereas before I used to be fat. I knew I had muscle but to anyone else I just looked fat.

Anyway I did some clothes washing today. Jen and Sha came to see me, they were here for quite a while. I sat outside the Yurt. They sat inside on my bed and we had a laugh. I made I cooked myself noodles which I cook almost every night, just Sha a hot chocolate, Jen an espresso. Sha, because she is a packet of noodles and I buy jars of frankfurters. I either have pregnant, she was extra hungry, she had two 9-bars and Jen tuna or frankfurters. Tonight, as I have been very tired and very had one. They both liked them and I spent most of the day stressed, I had a tiny amount of tuna. Not regular sized tin of trying to get travel insurance and find out about a lead and tuna, tiny. It would only be sufficient to spread over one slice to go for a Mac Book Pro which I had delivered and which I of bread if you were to have a sandwich, and two and a half bought yesterday. ÂŁ750 refurbished from Currys I think, or frankfurters and either chick peas, peas or kidney beans. Dixons or PC World. Anyway, a really good deal I think. There Tonight I had chick peas. So I always have, I think, about 1,500 are signs it has been used quite extensively underneath it, it has calories a day and I have lost an awful lot of weight. I was been on a hard surface, it has been rubbing. It has little looking this evening in a mirror in one of the sheds on the farm rubber feet and it looks like it has had quite a lot of use, so I here. My belly skin does not know what to do because I have would not say it has been refurbished - it is second hand. lost so much fat off my belly that my skin has shrunk, but it is Really genuinely second hand, not a new model that has been typical of someone who has been fat and gone skinny and bought and returned within a week and then polished and the skin does not know what to do. It looks like it has been sent back out again. It is something that has been used quite

20

good example of my main meal of the day - noodles, tuna & chick peas. this is being cooked by the side of the road as i lived rough from march 2011 to october 2011 before i put the yurt up


a bit I think even though it is pretty clean. It has a couple of marks on the underside of it and when I first opened the package I was almost inclined to send it back. I got £100 off though, and £100 is £100. Anyway, I booked my air fare to go to Kiev. Elena recommended that I fly with KLM to Amsterdam and then to Kiev. I arrive in Kiev 16.30 (4.30pm) Monday. Sunday I will leave Llanberis. I will walk from the Yurt down to town; take a bus around 1pm. Go to Bangor and then take a train which will get me down to London by 8.45pm.

I am not staff. They cannot really afford to give me everything for nothing. I think what it is that they have given me enough. They have given me four cameras and two lenses and you cannot keep asking for another camera for the sake of it. You should receive the kit and just use it until either it breaks or needs to be repaired. It is not just a case of thinking, well now you sponsor me I can get a new one every year. I am very loyal to the people that help me. I will only use equipment from people that help me, so I only use Snugpak clothing because they are kind enough to help me. I only use PENTAX cameras, I do not even want to use a third party, let alone any other brand of camera. I will not do that. They believe in me, I believe in them. It is as simple as that. I will not mention anybody else that I use, if they will not help me.

I had an e-mail today from Steve Sanderson a very kind gentleman who helps me at PENTAX. He is a very genuine, sincere bloke who gives me a lot of equipment for nothing. He also lent me a PENTAX 645D which is a 40 megapixel format camera. He lent that to me to photograph the medal awards Also today, I had some news. Husqvarna, a brand of ceremony in Colchester where Prince Charles awarded medals motorcycle, originally from Sweden, but bought up by BMW to Parachute Regiment soldiers. It is a great camera. now made in Italy. They used to be highly regarded for their off-road motorcycles and still are. This year, 2011, they have Anyway, I have told him that I am going to the Ukraine. He has done very well in a lot of off-roading, motocross and enduro been really slow in replying to my e-mails. I even offered to buy races. They have a 600cc single cylinder 4-valve four stroke some kit from him. I basically get a staff discount, even though motorbike which I have asked them to sponsor me with.

22

whilst i’m living rough pentax lend me their ‘645d - 40 megapixel camera’ & i photograph hrh prince of wales awarding medals in june 2011. double amputee pte liam king is receiving his medal here


They told me today that the recommended retail price for this motorbike is about £5,500 they can give me a brand new one for £4,500 with a kick start fitted which is quite a bit more money because it does not come with one fitted, but you can fit it with a plug that goes over the shaft where you would fit it to. Also they said I would get my servicing for nothing and basically they will look after me if I need them to kit the bike out for my trip to the Ukraine next April and then to Mongolia they will help me. I have accepted their offer, but I had not heard from them for a very long time. I kept on writing to them and in the end I went to see them a couple of weeks ago in Shrewsbury. I left the Yurt very early one morning about 5am. I got a 6.25am bus into Bangor, took a train, they have got a motorcycle dealer right out in the countryside called SS Racing and that is where I met one of the managers from Husqvarna who was up taking some motorbikes away for a bike show from this dealership, and it is where they have all the press bikes, so when anyone does a road test or any press from a motorbike magazine, they go up to Shrewsbury and borrow a model from there because there is great off-roading countryside around there. Otherwise Husqvarna is based in Surrey and there is no decent countryside there to test them off-roading.

24

So I went there a while ago, back in October and test drove a TE630 and liked it. It is basically a competent off-road motorbike designed for dual purpose on-road and off-road, but I had not heard from Dave Plummer, the guy that is helping me, for a while and my mind wandered off to other types of motorbikes. I thought about getting the most powerful bike in the world, the Kawasaki ZZR1400 simply because I have completed a trip from New York City to Fairbanks in Alaska on a ZZR1100 and I thought it might be quite nifty to do it just for the sake of it on a 200 horse power motorbike that can do, well it is restricted to 186 miles per hour, but obviously it is designed for tarmac, not for going off-road. What I need is a light-weight motorbike, something very very light-weight. If I drop it, I can pick it up again. Basically, something that has both electric start and kick-start. I have learnt recently something I did not know before, you need a little bit of power in the battery on a fuel-injected motorbike to kick-start it but with a carburated motorbike you do not need to have any power in the battery at all to kick-start it. So, I will have to carry a separate smaller battery called a ‘Super-B’ which gives the bike just enough power to start with the before going to the ukraine i intend to journey to ukraine & mongolia in spring 2012 before i realize the patagonia book will curtail this plan. here is the husqvarna i considered for trip


kick-start if you have no power in the orignal main battery. So either you carry this little battery in a bag with you, or you actually have it attached to the motorbike somewhere and wired in to the main battery so it is kept charged all the time.

I have always wanted one, I thought that maybe I could buy myself a 883 Sportster or a 1200 Sportster and ride that to Mongolia. It has a bit of a ring to it.

A Harley Davidson to Mongolia - it is not an off-road motorbike, but they do make a style called a flat tracker and I do not see I do not think that is going to be a problem. It sounds like it was any reason why you could not get to Mongolia on something like that after all people have done around the world trips on less hassle and less risk of not being able to start with a carburated bike, but there are not any carburated bikes being 50cc bikes, on monkey bikes on Honda C90s, on 125s, on Harleys, on Fireblades on every type of bike imaginable. sold really nowadays by the sounds of it, because of emission rules. It has to be fuel-injected. Fuel-injection is good for some It just depends on what your aptitude is for the machine that you use. So I could use a Harley. reasons, it is automatic fuelling, you do not need to adjust anything, it does it all itself if it senses temperature and you I have a friend called Owie. He actually came to see me do not need choke, it is all automatic. Apparently, there are today, I feel really bad about that. I had invited him to come some problems with cutting out and stalling and glitches and and see me and he arrived when Jen and Sha were here. refuelling, but I do not think it is going to be enough to bother Anyway, he did not hang around, he said that he would me at all. probably come and visit tomorrow, but I might go and visit him in Penysarn before I go up and see Col in Nebo. So I have So I think that when I come back from Kiev, just before Christmas, I will spend ÂŁ4,500 on this brand-new motorbike and tomorrow to say my goodbyes. I will have a kick-start fitted, I will get it serviced and checked I am going to go and buy another hard-drive from PC World over by this dealership called SS Racing just outside tomorrow so I can back-up my existing one. I have one two Shrewsbury. Otherwise, I thought about just saying to hell terabyte hard-drive with every single bit of work that I have with all of it, buy myself a brand-new Harley Davidson.

26

after i get back from ukraine i opt to buy the triumph scrambler instead - a bad decision as it’s too heavy. here is a self-portrait with the bike and yurt i took for the daily post newspaper


ever produced on it, letters, photographs, videos, all sorts and I am going to take that to the Ukraine with me and obviously I need to back it up. It is backed up in a sense. Actually, I have some originals and I backed-up the originals with this hard-drive. Since then, I have added more work to it and I feel like I need to back that work up. It is just like a daisy chain. You back up a hard drive, you do more work to that hard drive, then you need to back up that hard-drive because otherwise you just have one hard-drive with every single bit of work on and, well I cannot explain, but it is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle.

While I was trying to sort out my travel insurance, I was also on-line doing a live chat by typing live on the screen messages to an adviser at the British Mac Store. For all intents and purposes, these live chats are actually fielded just by Indian people in India because it is cheap and they do not have a clue about anything to do with store opening times, etc. It really made me fed up.

The guy did help a lot, fair play; I asked him what kind of cable I needed. He asked me what kind of projector I was trying to plug into and I said I did not know, just a projector in the Ukraine, no doubt something that normally runs off Windows. So he told me and I tried to order it, but it was I think that I will get up quite early tomorrow; I have to go to PC Friday at 3pm. You would have thought that people would World to get that hard-drive. I am also trying to track down a offer next day delivery on a Saturday and this Apple store did. cable that you can connect to a Mac Book, that you can So I clicked on it and it was about £18 for Saturday morning connect to a VGA projector. That was another struggle today, delivery and normally what happens is, if you ask for that on trying to find where I could get hold of one. I have been asked a Friday it becomes the next day, because the next day after by these people to give a slide show in Kiev and I know that if I Friday is Saturday, but in this respect I am glad I read the small am not properly prepared, then it is just not going to happen. print because it said it would be delivered the following I need to seem professional and I want to be able to do a slide Saturday – in a week’s time. show of my work in my presentation. Which is really retarded. So I need to find a cable to plug into a Mac, to a projector.

28

for the 6 months i’m homeless and livng on the road i find a different place every night. this is the old shell gas holding station at rhosgoch, anglesey. notice rip in terra nova tent


So I asked a guy on live chat about this and he said that it was exactly true. When you ask for [laugh] Saturday delivery that is what you get, but it takes twenty-four hours to process the order. So eventually I phoned up Apple i-store after I had spoken with the travel insurance people and got the bad news from them that I could not get any cover. I phoned up this Apple i-store and eventually they told me that Heathrow Airport has shops, like Dixons, that keep Apple products and there is a shop in Terminal 4 who I can go to. It opens at 5.30am and I fly at 8.40am so I have said that I will probably sleep very close to the store on the floor in Terminal 4 as I get there in the evening, and I will be there when they open up and buy that item that I want because I cannot order it, I do not have time. I have had such little notice about going to the Ukraine. Anyway, this item will cost me about £18 and I will buy it, and hopefully if they say to me I need to make this presentation, I will have that cable I can plug into my Mac Book and do the job for them.

only maybe about every fifth or every tenth image or when anybody asked me to talk about it. I should not go into great detail about every one because it takes the mystery away I think she said, which is a shame really, but I suppose every picture does tell a story on its own. Although sometimes they do need explaining. Perhaps I should wait for people to ask. That is what I might do in the Ukraine. Also I will have a language problem, nobody will speak much English. If I have a translator, whom I hope will be young and blonde and female, by the way [laugh], then I should not have a problem. I can explain stuff.

Anyway, they did write me a very nice letter of invitation today which they e-mailed to me. One in Ukrainian, one in English. Also the Donetsk museum wrote me an invitation which is very nice as well. Both are very flattering, very polite, very nice. The Donetsk Regional Museum said that they have seen my work on-line, they have looked at my exhibition work and they like it and they want to invite me to see their museum and I I do not have a problem talking in front of lots of people. I have can have access to any records or archives that they have, done it before; I really do not mind it. I would say I almost which is very kind. So I can take photographs, I guess, of all of relish it. If I have any problems with it, it is that I probably talk that paperwork or whatever exists there. No doubt it will be too much. I was once advised by someone, by a Greek girl interesting to photograph inside the museum as well. called Vasso, that I should not speak about every single image,

30

at middle left on horizon is ‘wylfa nuclear power station’. a wet, lonely, depressing evening ‘on the road’. details about this site: www.amlwchhistory.co.uk/shell.html


I have had a bit of a flap on recently. I was just thinking to myself, as I always think when I embark on another project, that I am going to need more kit and for some reason I kind of think to myself, if I have more kit, I am going to do a better job and, ultimately, it is nothing to do with doing a better job. I suppose it is a bit of insecurity on my part, but I know that it is down to me and my eye and what is in my brain when I see something. It is the whole thought process about taking that image. So, what I would really like to photograph is interiors and I thought it would be nice to have a really wide-angled lens, like a fish-eye lens, one hundred and eighty degree lens that sees from left to the right all the way over and I thought about buying a PENTAX lens, it is called a 10-17, the ten side of it is very fishy, when I say fishy, it means very fish-eye, but actually it is not too distorted. It is quite a good lens. It is a superb lens. Steve at PENTAX said he could sell me one for £300, they normally retail at about £385 so I would be getting a discount. He cannot lend me one because it’s in use apparently.

I am very tired. It would be nice to see him. Hopefully, he will give me some kind of kit, but that is not the point actually, it will be really great to see him out of work mode and just chat to him. It feels quite strange: one actually being sponsored by people who seem to believe in me; and two actually being friends with them on a personal level. It seems to me now that people really are quite surprised, impressed, amazed by my efforts to travel and take photographs and it was only 2004 I first flew from 1988, but since 2006 I have really made up for not really having travelled for the second part of my life. My first part, when I was a teenager, I flew regularly out to Istanbul where my Dad used to work for Shell Oil and it did not bother me, but it was only flying over Brazil at night through an electrical storm that gave me a real fear and also basically getting very drunk once on a flight and the memory of that used to put me off wanting to fly. All for the wrong reasons. Anyway, I got over that when I went to Patagonia and since then I have been to Patagonia, the United States, Canada, Alaska and Afghanistan, and on Monday the Ukraine.

By the way, I meant to say that because he lives near Heathrow Airport he has offered to buy me a coffee on Sunday Hopefully, next year, I will go back to the Ukraine. I will be able evening when I go down to Heathrow and that would be really to see the people that I meet this time again. It is important nice. I do not know whether I have mentioned that already, that I make the right impression this time. It is important that I

32

when the yurt is put up for it’s 2nd winter (1st in essex) in north wales i make a blog and include a photograph of some of the kit pentax kindly supplies me with. www.pentax.co.uk


am very polite, I offer to pay my way, I offer to buy them meals, take them out and I guess I can afford it - apparently food is very cheap there. I do not want to show off there, I am not like that. I think these people, well Evolution Media have said, that they have been looking at my work for a long time on my website. I do not know what a long time means, if they have seen it from before I first contacted Elena Kolomijcenko back in the summer, or if they have only been looking at it since about June or July when I first contacted her. I will have to find out. Elena seemed to think she had heard of me, about my work from Patagonia in the past. I think it impresses them, but obviously I have been there and I have done it, and it is nothing out of the ordinary for me.

bunk bed which had been broken up and left outside. They were covered in cow and sheep shit. By all accounts, a girl during the summer had lived in a tepee and must have had this bed inside of it. It was only really good for firewood, but I collected some planks which I think were the sides of this bunk bed and used them as planks. Basically, I used planks from one up-turned plastic basket to the other and bungeed them in placed into each basket and I have actually screwed them together as well and it is very comfortable. I made it quite high off the ground so I do not get cold. I can store stuff underneath the bed as well which makes a big difference.

It sounds very amazing because it is so far away, but actually when you get there, it is just like being anywhere else. Yes, the people are different, the location is different, but you are still on planet Earth and generally speaking, most humans are the same wherever you go. Although it is an adventure, it is exciting. It is certainly better than Britain.

It is funny to think that I sent up a lot of this stuff, I sent up all the components for the Yurt, or most of them anyway, by TNT courier about six weeks ago and a lot of it, I think I brought up three really large loads on the back of a scooter which I have photographs off, which are quite incredible to see. It does not really give you a proper sense of how much weight or the size of the load that I had on the back of the scooter, but it is a good little bike.

It is dark; I am lying on my bed which I have made myself out of some plastic shopping baskets which I have turned upside down. I found some wooden planks which came from an old

I have everything I need in here. I am adoring it. It is my second winter in the Yurt. I have the wood-burning stove and I have lit it probably five or six times now. I am looking forward

34

i store my all my possessions on a farm in essex and here parcel up my mongolian yurt to be sent up to llanberis by tnt couriers. in photo is the door, broom handles, floor & stove


to when I can be in it and it is freezing outside, when it is about minus eight, if it is that cold again this winter because that is when the stove comes into its own and it is bearable. As it is quite mild right now, it is only five or six degrees at night, maybe it is warmer, it might actually be nine or ten degrees at night, if you have the stove lit, even with the door wide open it is absolutely boiling hot, so you have to get outside for a while to cool down. It is like a sauna really. So it is only really good when it is below freezing. I am hoping that it will not have got too cold by the time I get back so that Toss will not be too badly affected. I am hoping that he will manage to survive okay. I am going to ask for the landlady, Fiona, the Farmer’s wife, if she will keep an eye out on him, but I have to be careful what I say, I have known her and Joe, the Farmer, for a long time, but as Jen said today, generally Welsh farmers are only interested in looking after animals if money is involved and really things like old sheepdogs that have probably worked incredibly hard their whole lives are just tossed away when they get to retirement age. In a sense, it is almost kinder to put them down as soon as they finish working rather than just allow to wander around aimlessly not housing them or feeding them. I think that is really vile, it is vulgar behaviour.

36

Anyway, I have to be careful what I say to Fiona, how I propose it to her, but I have to give her £100 rent before I leave for a month. £25 per week, that is £5 more than I was paying in Essex last winter, but I do get the use of a shower here and a washing machine, even though I have to pay for a shower and the washing machine, the facilities are here. I get a very good view and there is always people around I can speak to. In Essex it was incredibly lonely and nothing to look at. It seems like a long time ago now, but it is nice and it is very strange to come back to North Wales and I never realised how many friends that I had. People that I have not seen for a long time and I have come back and all of a sudden, I think subconsciously, I really would like to see these people that I knew before again, but I appreciate them more now. I thought it was really nice of Jen to come and see me today and I did not give her enough credit, I do not think, for doing that. I think that, yes, she has her sugar daddy boyfriend right now who is sixty-five, I think she probably wants another boyfriend and certainly, I know she likes me in that way and so do I, it is mutual, but I have this project to do first. I need to concentrate on that and if it goes well I will be able to return to the Ukraine next year by motorbike on my way to Mongolia. night view inside the yurt looking downwards from ceiling at floor. top left to right: food supplies, opened tin of pineapple, espresso maker, stove, candle, gas cooker, left leg


I have already said to the Donetsk museum that I could return next April with photographic prints and a motorbike with me and make an exhibition of my work from this visit. I just hope that I will have the opportunity to take good enough photographs this time.

year when I went to visit him in Hereford, but I am not going to take that with me. First of all it is in Essex and I do not have time to go back to Essex to collect it, but secondly, it is far too big and unwieldy to travel with - for this trip anyway.

For this trip I am actually going to take one small laptop I will be taking the PENTAX K7, the K10D and *istD with a 35mm rucksack and that is it. I am hoping to take one laptop, one Limited lens, a 12-24 lens, an 18-55 lens and a 50-200 lens. I am external hard drive for my presentation and also the laptop so very passionate about interiors. I will be taking a Manfrotto I can save my work to from a photograph site. Which reminds 785SHB compact modo tripod with me. They have stopped me I have to install software on it as well. That is not really too making them now unfortunately. This is my second; I am really important. I was going to store software on it so that I could unimpressed by Manfrotto who are represented by Bogen merge photographs together, so I need to install Photoshop Imaging in London. I have e-mailed them and phoned them and InDesign, but really as long as I can back-up my old work and asked them to get in touch with me and they have not. on the laptop and on the external hard-drive and use the Out of disrespect for those idiots, basically, the second tripod external hard-drive with all my existing work saved on it to that they gave me, because the first one broke, the second make a presentation with then I will be happy. I did not want one is failing too. I phoned them up to say, I am not going to to take my old Mac Book with me to the Ukraine because it has quibble about this second one that is failing, I just want to get a a lot of work on it that is precious, that I cannot afford to lose third one and I will pay for it myself this time, but, unfortunately, and I do not want to take my Netbooks either, because they this particular model has been withdrawn, it is not too have work on which I have backed-up onto my external manufactured anymore, so I am going to have to bear with it. hard-drive. Jim Foster, a cameraman I met in Afghanistan, did give me a very decent Manfrotto tripod worth about ÂŁ350 earlier in the

38

stream water feeds blue nylon pipe which i use at nearby sink to wash my mess tins with everyday. freezing temperatures force me to go to the stream to find water still flowing


What was that? Wow, I have never heard that before. That was one of the poles in the Yurt getting banged. Is that an animal? There may be a feral cat.

ferent about what I am seeing this evening. I have just realised that it is quite a bit colder this evening and just shows how warm it is in the Yurt. Jen commented on that fact as soon as she got in it. She had only been sat down for a couple I have just walked outside the Yurt. Occasionally, feral cats of seconds and said it was warm and you do realise that. come along and jump on the roof of the Yurt. They might smell I do not know why, I think it is simply because it is windproof. something and try to get in. That reminds me, tomorrow I have got to place rocks around the bottom edge of the Yurt so that The stars are out; you can see every single star. I can see the nothing can crawl underneath the canvas and get inside. If Plough. I am looking straight up. I have not seen a night like they did, that would be the end [laugh]. They would just go this since I got here. Every night I will brush my teeth outside through all the 9-bars I think and probably shit and make a or if it is too hot with the stove going I come out to cool off, so mess. Otherwise, the canvas is incredibly tough, nothing will I am aware of what the night sky is like every night, but this is get through it and it is windproof and waterproof. It is an old something else. army canvas tent and there is ventilation points and those have guy ropes attached to it and I have tied those guy ropes It is a Friday night, as I said, some people are down camping. off around heavy stones that I have put around the outside of There seems to be many more campers these years, more so the Yurt. that in the winters I have spent here in the past. Never a whole winter, or very long, but I can see five people, six people in It is a really gorgeous night. I have just seen the clouds, very collapsible chairs sitting around a very big log fire. They are few clouds, the moon is out, there is three-quarters of a moon. having a great time drinking, laughing and joking with a great I am always talking about the night lit sky in my recordings, but backdrop and a great view. I think it is a really great thing for really it is something else. It gives a completely different mood people to be able to do, connect with nature and get back to landscape. I am standing in Snowdonia and even though I to what our roots are as humans. This is what we have been have been here many times at this exact spot, I am feeling dif- doing for thousands of years, tens or hundreds of thousands of

40

smartphone self-portrait inside yurt on wooden bed. black rucksack to my left hangs from yurt trellised wall with my laptops in. hard to get through long winter evenings without cabin fever


years. Sitting around fires and interacting, I guess, and just being outside with nature. It is great. If I had been more organised today, I would have sawn up some firewood and got a fire going. I could still do it now actually, but it is getting late. Tomorrow is my last whole day in Llanberis in North Wales. I have a slow puncture in the back tyre of my scooter and I have had a slow puncture since I got it, I have had two of those scooters, Yamaha YP250s all year, well since March and both had a slow puncture so I carry a cigarette lighter socket wired in to the battery of the bike and I can run a mini 12 volt air compressor to pump up the tyre, front or back. Every time I use it, every day, I have to pump up the tyre and for some reason I only thought of it recently, I suppose I was too mean, but I bought some puncture repair aerosol and tomorrow I am going to let all the air out of the back tyre and put this aerosol in which will seal the hole and the slow leak. It is not a puncture, it is, I think, on the valve on the rim. Actually, the aluminium rim might be leaking air not the valve. I can see a ram coming up towards the Yurt. He is quite cute. He is like an Old English Sheepdog. He has horns and he is incredibly woolly and he has an amazingly clean, smart coat. He has the best job ever - just going around serving all the

42

ewes that need to be served. It is funny because he will come up and he will walk up to the ewe sideways with his head on its side and he will be sniffing the air and then the ewe will stop normally because he will bite them on the bum to get them to stop because they will walk away from him, then they will do a piss and then he will smell the piss just to see if it is the right time, and if they are then he will do them basically [laugh]. For some reason he is up here all by himself looking at me. All the ewes, I guess, are lower down the side of the hill sleeping. He is just having a prowl around the field. It is really quite cold. I have got to think about what clothing I am going to take to the Ukraine. I washed my clothes today. I washed a really thick synthetic cold weather jacket I got from Snugpak. It is called a Blizzard jacket. I washed that in very soft detergent from Nikwax. It has not really cleaned the jacket very well. I really need normal detergent, that is what I should have used to get the stains out, but I am not too worried, it is not that dirty. I am going to look a bit more rustic. I am going to look more the part I think if I chose to take that, but if it is this cold here now, it has got to be a lot colder in the Ukraine right now, so I am taking some gloves that I wore in Afghanistan, they are Sealskins with three of the fingers cut off. The little finger and the finger next to the little finger with the parts of the yurt too small to send with tnt courier came up on the scooter over several journeys from essex to north wales. notice another section of yurt chimney and many different bags


the rest of the fingers on as they seem to get very cold, but the fingers I cut off was so I could use a camera, feel the shutter release better. I will be taking those, I am going to be taking a rucksack and two dump pouches, two United States army military made pouches that you can put on a belt and they are for putting spent magazines from a weapon into rather than throwing them away or dropping them. You push them into a pouch and the pouch is made in such a way that you can push objects into it, but it is really hard to pull them out. They have got a lip that points inwards so it is really hard to pull it outwards. I have all my cameras and those two pouches. I bought them for $15 each when I was in Kandahar and about to leave. I think that is a pretty good buy for what they are in Britain. Those pouches would cost a lot more. I will wear those on my belt and I have a rucksack and if I asked to put those in my backpack, which I will take as hand luggage, when I go on the plane then I will put those bags in my backpack and take a laptop out and carry the laptop on separately which I think you are able to do with hand luggage. You can take a laptop and a bag as hand luggage, so it is really two items.

44

I do not know where Toss is. I am looking around for him. He is probably down near the fire. I think he likes more voices. He might come up to the Yurt tonight. He has a good thick coat on him, although I did cut a lot off. Also, I wormed him because he had tapeworm - I could see that and I have also put a flea and tick collar around his neck and I have cable tied it in place. It is quite loose; you can almost get ten fingers underneath the collar. He has very thick fur, but he is missing quite a bit off his back where I trimmed him, but it should grow back fairly quickly. I love him. I have really taken to him. I do not normally do that with animals, but I feel so sorry for him, he is such a sweet dog. He never growls, he never barks. I stuck him in a stainless steel sink the other day. Halfway down this hill there is an outhouse with toilets in and a stainless steel sink. One of those spring release taps that you press and it lifts up slowly and the water cuts off after about five or ten seconds and the water comes from a stream further up the side of a mountain, down a thin blue nylon pipe. I put him in that sink the other day after I had trimmed all the shitty hair off his back, I got some anti-bacterial washing up liquid, I am aware that I probably should not have used that on dogs because it takes out all of the natural oils from their coat, but I thought anything to get rid of the smell of dog shit from his back. I did mention my ‘photography life’ means i travel alot and have no house/wife/kids/9 to 5 job. i never wanted a dog but ‘toss’ is now my best mate. he deserves to be looked after well - it’s my privilege


it to Will, the guy that lives in the van that comes to stay here sometimes and he asked me if I had ever had a dog and I said yes, quite a few. He said you do realise that they love to roll in shit, but I have never actually come across a dog that will roll in other dog’s shit. It will roll in sheep shit or whatever, but this was dog shit, so I am kind of surprised that he did that. I do not know what happened or how he got like that, but the whole of his back was matted. It was like somebody had put lots of tubes of superglue into his fur. So I cut it all out. He was very good about it. I am going to miss him more than anything or anybody when I leave here to go to the Ukraine and for the five weeks I will be thinking about him. I am looking forward to coming back and having him in my Yurt every single night next to the stove so he can keep warm. He has a really nice blanket to sleep on and these past nights he has been really enjoying it. The door to the Yurt has been left open so he can go out whenever he wants for a pee. I woke up last night to see that he was not on his blanket and I looked out and he was outside the door sleeping in the grass. That was after the stove had gone out, maybe he had gone out when it was still going and he was too hot or I was snoring, but it was funny because I went to sleep and then I woke up a

46

bit later on and he had come back in and he was snoring really deeply and he woke me up [laughing]. It is really nice to see. I am really chuffed to see a dog that has been treated badly, feeling that it is actually loved now, but I am gutted that I have to go, because he is just going to think that I do not love him. That might sound soft, but animals are great and humans are dreadful. Humans are the worst things on this planet, even though we can produce art and make music, it does not mean that we are good. Animals just get on with it. Animals do kill, but I think that is just nature, it is natural, they do not do it maliciously I do not think. Speaking to Elena Kolomijcenko tonight made me realise just how bad humans can be because she said she had escaped Russia and I started to think about the Gulag prison and just about how bad humans have been to other humans and how people have been treated for hundreds of years. How people torture other people.

from almost the 1st day the yurt was put up in llanberis ‘toss’ came into it to sleep at night and, apart from my ukraine trip, spent everynight in there until we left for france in late august


I am going back in the Yurt now. I have put my head torch back on. I should think about getting some sleep very soon. What time is it? Ten fifty-nine. I have been talking for a long time now and it is costing me money. I would like it if Transcription Hub could give me more of a discount in the future, but they said at 10% off they are only just making it worth their while. I have goosebumps. I am going to make recordings from now on every day up until I get back from the Ukraine. I have bought a Sony digital voice recorder further to using a tape recorder that I bought from Trelew in Patagonia when I was out there. Tapes are all well and good because you can buy tapes in almost any country in the world, but the quality is not that good and then you have to digitise it by putting the tape into a machine and plugging USB cables into and into the laptop and then recording in real time. So it takes an awful long time. You have to listen to it all over again, and as it is playing it gets saved on to your hard drive. Hopefully recording onto a digital voice recorder will be a lot easier. This is my third attempt with a digital voice recorder, my first one was with a mini-disk recorder which did not work properly and the second one was a Sanyo digital voice

48

recorder and it was just hard. If I pressed the record button sometimes it would not work, it seems that this Sony one is much better. I did buy the Sony voice recorder in the summer because it was bundled with something called Dragon software made by Nuance and my idea was, rather than pay a transcription service money, that I would buy the software and do it myself, but, unfortunately, Dragon software did not recognise my voice and when I ran an audio recording of me talking, something else would come out, it was like [laugh] garbled words from a different planet. Hard as I tried to train as it is known, train the dragon, into learning how you speak so it can recognise words better, to turn them into words, I just gave up. So it was £80 that I spent from this summer which I hope is not a complete waste. Basically, I do not know how much this Sony voice recorder costs normally, presumably it costs more because software comes with it, but the software by itself is about £60 or £70 so let us say I got this digital voice recorder for £10, but it is Sony so it should be quite good quality and hopefully I can download the digital audio files immediately to my laptop and then upload them to the internet at some stage and transcription will eventually send them back to me written down in text files and I can make another book. this is taken after ukraine when i bought the triumph scrambler. ‘toss’ is in a holdall on the backseat wearing a red harness and ‘doggles’ - dog goggles. just back from the beach


Facts are what is important, descriptions.

Patagonia photographs to send to Gomer, Luned Whelan and I said I had to do it somewhere where my friend does not have I guess the way I am feeling as well, today, I have changed my partner issues and she had a bit of a strop, but she is talking to mind quite a few times whether or not I am going. A couple of me again, but she is not very happy. days ago, I was not going to go. Then I realised that I would be foolish not to take up this offer. It could be a complete scam. It would have been nice to have gone around to hers to do It could be that the people in the Ukraine want to invite people that work. I used to go around to see her, but since her then they perceive as rich westerners from the first world over to, I do boyfriend, now husband, moved in who does not like me not know, rob them of their body parts, rob them of organs, try because we always have such a laugh together, me and and steal money from them. I do not know, or they are just to- Jackie that it is just not easy now and I am not really welcome, tally straight and they want to do what they said in their he said, to go and stay there, which I resent because we have letter or invitation. They want to broaden both of our been friends for a very long time, much longer than he has creative horizons; they want me over for companionship. known her for. I think I have been friends with her for six years I think, it is a dream. It could not be better. longer than he has known her and it was a case that when she Maybe it is just being very naïve. had this Council flat, well it is a Council cottage really in Rhosybol before he moved in, I could go and stay because it was I have not even told my Dad yet, or anyone in my family that I hers, but because he has moved in, he has some kind of coam going, but a couple of my friends around here know. Colin ownership of it and he can say if he wants me there or not and knows who I am going to see tomorrow. he does not. Owie Hughes knows, Jen knows, Jackie did phone the other night, but we have had a bit of a fall out. I told her recently that I had to go through my work, sit down with my computer and the hard drive and save a lot of work over on my

50

She is an old mate. She is a good mate, a constant friend as she calls it. We have had a lot of laughs together. In actual fact, I have more friends, many more friends in North Wales than I have in Essex and I realise that I actually do have many ‘constant friend’ since 1999 jackie. known as ‘the lady with the salmon’ this was my idea in 2001 to depict a bear catching a salmon in a waterfall. it’s a real salmon and naked jackie!


friends and also that they stretch back to 1999. Twelve years. I am going to stop talking now. There are many, many things I can say. Another thing I am slightly dismayed about. I had wanted just to store myself away this winter and work on my Para book. Now I have made a few already and there is one that I have on my website which is for potential publishers to look at and I have to finish it. I have written what it was like trying to get out to Afghanistan, I have written about what it was like in Afghanistan, or rather I have made audio recordings and I am waiting for them to come back from Transcription Hub, but I also have to write about what it is like when I came back from Afghanistan and what this whole year has been like, but I have not written about that yet and now I have to go to the Ukraine where I am going to be starting another project and I have not yet had a chance to finish the Para one.

hopefully I will be able to look back at the whole of the year and put it all into context. I am looking forward to making that into a book, really am looking forward to it because I am going to have a lot of writing, thirty-five thousand words about what it was like leading up to Afghanistan, Lord knows how many words from being in Afghanistan from these audio recordings and then quite a few thousand words about what it was like all of this year living rough, being on the road from March until October. I will then, of course, have another book to make myself with these Ukrainian photographs which I will put on my website and then hopefully if Gomer like them enough, they will make a book of the Ukrainian work. Maybe when I get back from Mongolia, because I will have taken more photographs in the Ukraine next April as well.

I have to see when I get back if I get the Husqvarna. It is ÂŁ4,500 Hopefully it does not get blown into the weeds and completely compared to ÂŁ6,000 for a new 883 Harley. I have got to left, but will be hard when I get back from the Ukraine to think decide about fuel, what I am going to be more comfortable about the whole of this year. Maybe it will not be too on. Many, many things. difficult. It is not as though the year will have ended then. It will be close to ending by the time I get back, mid-December, but Anyway, it is time to go to sleep. Tomorrow I wish I could just

52

the yurt in essex in its 1st winter whilst i waited to deploy to afghanistan to photo 2 para. i don’t claim benefit, have a tiny income and no regular work so this is how i live


sit back and have a quiet day, but I have still got many things to do. Clothing is drying in one of the sheds down there in the farm. I did wash some of my clothing today, as I said, and I have proofed it as well with water repellent proofer. A Gore-Tex army jacket also my Ventile cotton smock I have proofed. Hopefully they will be dry by the time I go. I have not quite decided what I am going to be wearing, but it is going to boil down to taking one or two cold weather jackets as well as a waterproof Gore-Tex jacket, possibly a Ventile smock, that might be one too many items of clothing that I really do not want to have to carry, that is the problem.

I am aiming, as I have said before, just to take the two dump pouches for all my camera gear and a rucksack. Probably two spare underpants, one spare pair of socks, no spare trousers, one spare long-sleeved t-shirt, the tripod, the laptop, the harddrive and I am going to take a birth certificate with me just in case there is any issues with my passport. It might get confiscated. I have also been made aware that I have to carry my passport with me at all times. Not a copy of my passport, but my actual passport. Anyway, as in the past, with all my travelling, just go with the flow; do not worry about it whatever will be will be.

One cold weather jacket may not be enough if I am just wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath it. I can imagine even wearing a Blizzard and just a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath if it is snowing is still going to be cold, even though that jacket is supposed to be rated to minus 20 degrees. I think I am going to need another Sleeka type of cold weather jacket underneath it like I wore last winter. Last winter when it was minus eight degrees I would wear a Sleeka and then the Blizzard and I would be just about warm enough. If I stood around for too long I would get cold, but if I moved around fairly slowly I could keep warm.

54

the yurt in north wales in its 2nd winter after i returned from ukraine and whilst i made the patagonia book with my publisher. im most glad that i was able to give ‘toss’ a home


Saturday 5th November 2011 – 09.29 I have been up since about six, just getting stuff sorted. I have been looking on-line for a business travel insurance quotation. I think I can get one for about £80 no fuss, no drama as they say in the Paras. I should be able to pay for some insurance cover on-line before I go on Monday. I have to buy it before I leave the country.

Will, who lives in the van, to come up and check on him whenever he is around and feed him, that way I know that he will be okay.

I just know that the farmer does not give a damn. It is inbred in the farmer, but his wife should know better. They have got loads of kittens, loads of cats, loads of dogs, loads of puppies This morning I have made a teepee for Toss so that when I go everywhere and it seems that they have just given up trying to away for five weeks at least he has somewhere out of the wind look after them. I think they are aware that I feel like this, and the rain to live. I took a couple of shots of it and one of because whenever I see them, they are always giving handfuls him inside of it. I have put his bed in there and a blanket that I of food to the dogs to make it look like they actually do care, found down in one of the farm sheds. At least, even if it snows, but it pisses me off. I could be completely wrong, animals are he is going to be cold, but he is going to be out of the wind their livelihood and at some point you have to cut off and not and it is waterproof. I do not think much rain will blow in. It care so much because if you did care that much you would depends what direction it is going, but normally it is a northerly be out in the rain twenty-four hours a day mollycoddling these wind and a northerly rain. He has two walls and also the side of animals which you cannot do. the Yurt to protect him, so he should be fine. I am going to worry about him less now because of making this for him. I am I am going to go and see Colin now. I have got to go to PC also going to go out and get about five kilos, no I will get five World to look at a hard-drive to back-up more of my work, I two kilo bags, so I will be getting ten kilos of dried dog food have got to get some travel adapters, I have got to get a which I will leave under a tarpaulin outside the Yurt and I will tell cable to connect from the Mac Book Pro to a monitor, or rather

56

before i left for ukraine i made ‘toss’ a small teepee from broom handles and left a kilo of food inside, pictured and 9 kilos under a tarp. unreliable ‘mates’ meant ‘toss’ went hungry


a projector, I have got to go and get some bits and pieces, some batteries, that kind of thing.

Saturday 5th November 2011 – 10:25

Signing off, I will probably do another recording whilst I am at Col’s. Tonight will be my last night in the Yurt and I leave tomorrow about midday to go into Bangor, get a train down to London and hopefully I will see Steve Sanderson from PENTAX for a coffee that would be good.

Just walking in Bangor High Street. Walking to try to get some Ukrainian money. I went to Barclays, they do not hold any. They recommended Co-Op Travel. I might pop in and see Nigel as well, if I have time. I have just been to a One Pound shop for some cheap batteries and I have got to go to PC World after this. I will just get some more shopping before I go and see Colin in Anglesey.

58

i never liked leaving ‘toss’ alone and even took him fishing at a nearby lake. he had his leg broken by the farmer aged 4 and finds it hard to walk so i took him in an army bergen- he’s happy!


Saturday 5th November 2011 – 19:25 I have got to make a voice recording whilst I am in Col’s flat, having a great day, having a real laugh. It has been good, Col has let me print out lots of different bits of paperwork, invitation letters from the Ukraine and also insurance that I have just bought. I had help with that from Tom Bartleett. www.chesham-insurance.co.uk What else, I have bought another hard drive today from Argos to back-up my work. Col is kindly letting me leave it here in his flat whilst I am away. I am leaving my old white Mac Book, two netbooks and I am leaving about three hard drives as well in total with all my work backed-up. So it is good. The radio is going, the gas heater is on, it is really chilled and, unfortunately, I have to leave in a while to go back for my last night in Llanberis. Llanberis is about twenty-five miles away. I am right at the northern tip of Anglesey on the island. I will go back by scooter to Llanberis in a bit. I have not had much time to think about this as I was only told a week ago that I should go to the Ukraine.

60

From 2001 to 2002 i lived in 1 of 4 converted flats from an old chapel in nebo, anglesey and colin rented upstairs. friend, expert astrologer, ceramicist deluxe and spiritual guru.


Saturday 5th November 2011 – 23:48 This is my last night in Llanberis. Tomorrow I head down to London. It has been a very long day today. I am outside the Yurt, it is a beautiful starry night, there is some cloud, but the moon is out. It is really bright, it is almost a full moon now there are just a few more days to go and the clouds are passing in front of the moon. It is Saturday night so I can hear people in the distance down at the youth hostel. Obviously, they have been drinking, having a good night.

like a laptop and air fares, insurance, batteries and all sorts of stuff that I need to go to the Ukraine with, I thought I might as well spend a bit more money, I might as well spend a whole load of money actually. These things do not happen often and I have to do the very best while I can. So I put some puncture repair in the rear tyre.

I was listening to some lads a couple of tents down the hill from me. It made me laugh because they were talking, as you do I started off by waking up really early this morning, gave Toss his when you first start camping, about macho stuff, about friends breakfast and had mine. I put a tin of instant puncture that have been doing jungle training and doing this and how repair, it is like an aerosol can with foam in, if you have a flat tough they were in doing that and it all sounded pretty good tyre you can inflate your tyre with it and it gets up to pressure. up until they finished the conversation and decided they were It is ironic that I have only just put it in after pumping my rear going to cook breakfast. Someone walked around asking who tyre up every day over the whole of the summer for months liked beans, who liked tomatoes and then when they went to and months up until mid-October. It is just weird how things actually cook the breakfast, someone burnt their finger and work out. I guess I was too mean over the summer to spend there were lots of yells and shrieks, the irony of being out in the the ÂŁ7 on an aerosol can of this stuff, but for so long I would not open, out in the countryside camping, hearing lots of chit chat spend any money on anything apart from petrol and food and and macho banter, and when it comes down to it, people now that I am having to spend quite a bit of money on things are too fussy to eat whatever they are given and cannot do anything without burning a finger. I mentioned that to Col this

62

one of the many beautiful winter early night skies in llanberis, north wales as seen from my yurt and taken with superb pentax k7 digital slr camera and manfrotto tripod.


evening and he thought it was quite amusing. I am next to the little teepee that I have built for Toss. I hope he uses it while I am away. I have been here for almost four weeks, but I am going to be away for five now. I feel bad about the old dog I really do. He has got really bad arthritis, but at least, if he goes inside his teepee he will have shelter and the blanket he sleeps on is quite thick. It is folded over many times so it is a good four inches thick and that will insulate him from the ground. I have also put a ground sheet down for him, a waterproof sheet and the teepee is pitched so that if any water does go in, it will drain down away from his bed which I will push right into the very back of the teepee. So very little wind or rain should get in and he should be fine, even if it snowed. He is a pretty tough old dog. He is an old working dog.

quickly and easily and it tastes good. I also bought some gaffa tape which is always handy to take with me. I cannot remember what else. Then I went up to the bank. I was boiling hot by this stage as I was walking around quite fast and I was wearing my bike jacket that Tom gave me. It is an old Baleno, black and bright yellow plastic waterproof jacket, but I wear body armour underneath.

I went into Barclays and asked a girl if she had any Ukrainian currency. She said no. I asked for US dollars as I knew that was second best. She advised me to go down to Co-op Travel to go and get Ukrainian currency down there because they would probably have it. I went in and they did not have it, so I went back to Barclays and I said I just want some US dollars now and they could not find any. So not only did Barclays mess me around yesterday - they were not able to It was a stressful day, I went into Bangor and, first of all, I parked cover me; basically I pay £17.50 a month and that gives me at Lidl or Aldi, I cannot remember which one it was, but I thirty days cover travel insurance anywhere in the world, and walked up to the pound shop to go and get a travel adapter, you do not even have to tell Barclays, you just go abroad and but they did not sell them unfortunately. So I walked out after if you have a problem you phone up and make a claim. They spending £1 on a variety of different types of batteries and I said that for an extra eight days, because they only cover bought some Matthessons sausages which were £1 each. up to thirty days, I would have to pay an extra £65 and then I Normally they are about £2 in a supermarket, but I will have would be covered up to forty-five days. So for an extra fifteen those for my journey tomorrow. It is protein that I can eat days on top of my thirty days that I get for my monthly fee with

64

the davies family. joe is the farmer, at right, and toss’s original owner. his wife fiona is centre. i don’t need to add any description as you can see what theyr’e like in their eyes.


the bank, then they turned around and said that as I am taking photographs they cannot insure me. Really they should have all sorts of policies for all sorts of customers and if I am going on business, which is what they said I was going on because I am taking photographs, even though no money is exchanging hands, then they should be able to cover me. Fair and simple. Anyway, I went into Barclays today, they did not even have US dollars for God’s sake. It is just pitiful. So the guy said to me – would you mind waiting over there and I will go and speak with a manager and get you some dollars. I said no. He said, well this is only going to take about five minutes; you have got to go and sit down. I said ‘oh shit, oh for fuck’s sake’ and all the rest of it and demanded by debit card back which I had handed to them to show them that I banked at Barclays and stormed out. Then I went back to Co-op Travel again, got two hundred US dollars, three $50, two $20 and one $10 and I mean to hide them on my person, so I am going to put some notes in my boots and I am also going to duct tape some notes to the back of my belt as well, so if I have any hassle anywhere or any emergencies at least I have some money on me, if I get mugged or something which is [laugh] very unlikely, but if I do,

66

then he can go for my pockets and stuff, they are never going to suspect that I have some US dollars taped to the back of my belt. I was actually going to make an incision in the top of my belt and push a note in and glue it up, but I really cannot be bothered, it would wreck the belt if it went wrong, I would just make a bloody great big hole in it. So my idea of putting duct tape at the back of the belt which cannot be seen from the front whilst I am wearing it is good enough I think. I went to see Nigel Rowlands in Yates’s. He was looking worse than ever I am afraid to say. He is looking really fat, he is looking really ill, he is killing himself basically through being an alcoholic. He has post-traumatic stress disorder from being in the Falklands war, but I am pretty sure it is just plain alcoholism now and I would really love to tell him to stop drinking, but I have tried once and he really did not like me saying it. Anyway, it was good to see him; we had a bit of a chat. I told him I was going to the Ukraine on Monday and I told him that I was looking forward to seeing him when I got back. Then I went back, got on the bike and spent my time at PC World, Home Bargains and Tesco for various bits and pieces. I bought ten kilos of dried dog food for Toss; that is five two kilo bags. That is about £5 worth. It is very good value. I am going to put Red llanberis sunset panoramic. 5 photos taken with an htc wildfire s smartphone and stitched using ‘hugin’ software. this is the view i had for 10 months from the door of the yurt


it underneath the tarpaulin and I have told Will, who has a van, who comes here occasionally, maybe two or three times during a week, to come and feed Toss whenever he is back here, which is really good. I feel much happier now. Before I was really sad, I was upset, I was worried that Toss would be out in the elements all the time with no food. It has been said that if he gets really hungry he will go down to the farmhouse and they will feed him if he turns up. Otherwise, they just do not seem to give a shit. He is up here, they do not check up on him, they do not care, he is fourteen, I guess he will have stopped working, well I can remember him walking around here, not working, when I was here with Tattie in 2007, so he has not worked for four years. I dare say he stopped working when he was seven or eight. So I do not know what he did in all that time, I do not know what he did last winter. It is incredible, last winter was really cold, I do not know how he survived if he lives outside. It is just incredible. I can see something in the distance. Is that a cat, I will just put my head torch on. It is not a fox. I did a hell of a lot today, I went to Argos as well, I went to PC World and I bought an adapter cable that goes from my Mac Book to a projector because I have to give a slideshow when

68

I am in the Ukraine. I wanted to make sure I had that today. That cost almost £30 and I was going to buy a hard-drive, but they said that because of flooding in Thailand, the price of hard-drives had gone up because the factory that makes them in Thailand was flooded and could not produce any dubious story. I went to Home Bargains and got Toss his dog food and I found some travel adapters for sixty-nine pence each, so I bought three. Hopefully they will work in the Ukraine which means I can recharge my laptop; hopefully the voltage will be the same. I did write an e-mail to the Ukraine asking what voltage it had, but I have been told not to worry about anything, which I am not, I just want to make sure the stuff works. I went to Tesco as well. I got myself some hot chocolate for today and I got some coffee to take with me, two different types of Lavazza which is probably my favourite make. It is Italian, it is really tasty coffee. I bought some crackers for Col because he likes gluten-free crackers at £1.60 a box, I bought two boxes and did not take any money off him. I also gave him some 9-bars which I was given by Wholebake in Corwen. I gave him a total of five bars.

early 2012 winter evening with stove going - you can see smoke from chimney. it’d get so hot inside the door would stay open most nights - better for ‘toss’ who could come & go as he liked


I went to see Col, I guess I got there about 2pm and I left at nine something and I managed to back-up a lot of my work onto the hard-drive I bought today. I have left three laptops with him and some other bits and pieces and it was good. I also bought some chips for us to eat, so all I had today was my porridge, plate of chips and two 9-bars, so not eating very well. What else. Jen has been texting me like crazy. She is pretty keen on me by all accounts. She is about forty-one, she has a sixty-five year old boyfriend who she has been going out with for about four years. I guess she is getting tired of him. She seems keen on me, but I have told her I really want to stay good friends with her and it is too easy to get involved quickly, so I want to wait a while. She said that she had always liked me and she did make an offer to me when I first met her back in 1999, but I was really wary of her. She is actually looking better now than she did back in 1999. She is still a big, tall girl, but she has long hair, she dyes it black, she does look after herself, she is always concerned about her appearance and looking good, but I am aware that she has had a lot of guys and her relationships do not last. She has two kids, a twentytwo year old boy and a fifteen year old daughter. So I have said, I will see her when I get back in mid-December.

70

She and Sharon came to see me yesterday in the Yurt. Well I got everything sorted for this trip. I had about a week’s notice, slightly less than a week. I could probably remember the day that Elena telephoned me. I could probably work that out tomorrow when I have time sitting on the train. I want to work out how much I have spent as well so far, because it feels like a lot, but actually I know I am being sensible about what I am spending my money on. It is hard enough to save it, so I want it to be hard to spend it too. I have got to be careful, but everything I have bought today, I have bought for a reason and it is all stuff that I really need, like batteries for cameras and batteries for flashes. All I have got to do tomorrow is get up, pack up my rucksack and two dump pouches that I bought in Kandahar earlier in the year. I put my cameras in there, I wear them on a belt or just clip them onto my rucksack. I will see how easy or hard it is to get on to a plane with that arrangement. I might need to take my laptop out of my rucksack and carry my laptop on and put my cameras in my rucksack. I will work it out, but I am not going with much, but that is the best way, I do not want to be carrying lots of luggage. So it must be past midnight now, I am going to go to bed. colin in his flat. it took ten years to get him to allow me to take this photo but worth it! notice his ceramics and dragons on walls, castle in windon, ghandi on wall, telescope etc.


Hopefully I will manage to get a shower tomorrow. I stopped in Llanberis on the way back from Col’s and got some rent for Fiona. I have got £100. I got here on 6th October and it will be, yes it is the 6th, which is quite ironic as well that I have been here exactly one month. I will be leaving today, little did I know when I arrived here that I would be going within four weeks to the Ukraine.

I eventually learnt how to speak Spanish fluently and really became part of a community, but thinking back I am still amazed in myself that I managed to go out to Patagonia because I just got on a plane and went out there.

I was joking with Col about many things tonight. It was hysterical. He was saying that I would not be coming back from the Ukraine, that they would be taking my body parts and selling them off and doing all sorts. [Laugh]

I recently had somebody e-mail me who is a student at a medical hospital, training to be a doctor and he wants to go and study medicine for part of his degree I guess it is, or doctorship, whatever you call it, he wants to go to a hospital in Trelew where he is hoping he will meet Welsh patients. I explained as much as I could to him, I e-mailed him quite a few times because he was quite worried about the language issues, but I told him not to worry and I told him exactly what happened to me. That I went with no knowledge of Welsh or Spanish and it was pretty hard, but it is not the end of the world. You are always going to get by.

On the positive side, he said I might even get a job out there, who knows. Apparently countries like the Ukraine are really up and coming right now, they are not part of the EU, countries like Poland are doing well as well. It is just another experience, life is short, you do not get many opportunities like this. It also means that I will be taking more interesting photographs hopefully. I have done quite a bit of travelling now and I have just got to keep going.

There is no two ways about it. You just go.

I felt there was an awful lot to talk about. I do not have too much anticipation about the Ukraine it is just another, it does I am looking forward to getting out there and seeing what it is not feel like a job, it is always an adventure and I am looking like. I remember when I went out to Patagonia, I was so green. forward to it, but I am getting quite tired now, not tired of

72

the farner removed worried the stream campers ill & that pipe remained so i i could still wash

the sink as he was water would make he’d be sued. the loosened a joint so mess tins and pan


living in a Yurt, I really enjoy that, but I am getting quite tired of the stress of preparing to travel and all the organising that you have to do. There is never anybody else to help. It is just being on the ball and making sure you remember everything, getting everything in order. So this is the last night in the Yurt until mid-December. Toss is spending a last night in here. There are quite a few cats outside the Yurt, they must have smelt food, but they have run off now. So Toss is in my doorway on his blanket.

a lot colder so my plans have changed. I was going to take one cold weather jacket, I am going to take two now and if I wear two together I know from last winter in Essex that when it gets to about minus eight it is ok. I can wear two jackets and not be cold so all I have got to do, instead of carrying them I have got to wear them. If I get too hot, I can take them off, but I can wear them more at the same time once I am on the airplane on Monday. Hopefully I will see Steve Sanderson tomorrow. I have e-mailed my mobile number to him so he should get in contact with me.

‘Hi Toss’.

I am really pleased at how the Yurt is doing.

He’s a good old boy. So I will be leaving the door open again tonight, the last night. Col recommended that I put all my sleeping bags into bin bags and tie them up which is a really good idea so nothing gets damp. I have done the same with all my clothes as well in the Yurt so when I come back everything will be dry. I look forward to having some good fires when I get back. I think it will be cold then.

I can hear a firework going off. [laugh] The noise of it is echoing down the valley. Wow. Echo just about finished now. Okay Transcription Hub, time is money, I have to stop talking.

I looked on the internet tonight to see what temperature it is in the Ukraine right now and at night time it is about minus two. No doubt by the time it gets to mid-December it is going to be

74

long exposure over mount snowdon at night results in ‘star streaks’ and a red sky using pentax k7 digital camera. the dot of light, right of centre, is the peak of mount snowdon


Sunday 6th November 2011 - 09:10 I’m just walking from the yurt down to the farmhouse. I’ve got my towel, some shower gel, all my rubbish which I’m going to put in the main bin. I’m going to go and give Fiona rent, because I’ve been here a month to the day; £100 for four weeks. It’s a gorgeous day. There’s not really a cloud in the sky. It’s beautiful sunshine. The sun’s only just come up right over Mount Snowdon in the east. I’m walking down the hill, the cockerel’s crowing. It’s, apart from the cold, it could be a summer’s day. It was really cold last night, noticeably so. There was almost a frost. I’ve got some items of clothing that I washed in one of the bunk houses on the farm that I’ve hung up to dry. Hopefully they’ll be dry. I’m going to be leaving, walking down the hill from here in about three hours’ time to go and get a bus at five past one that will take me into Bangor.

76

sunrise over ‘y garn’ in llanberis on the morning ‘toss’ and i leave north wales with the suzuki motobike and sidecar. see: www.facebook.com/www.edgold.co.uk


Sunday 6th November 2011 - 10:13 I’m sitting in the yurt cooking up some noodles and tuna and chickpeas with some medium-strength chilli sauce, sweet Thai chilli sauce. I’m listening to Kasabian on Radio 1. It’s a gorgeous day. I’m really chilled. I’m eating really early because I’ve got to leave the yurt at about 12:30 and walk down to the bus stop, get the bus into Bangor and hang around in Bangor for a bit and then get the train down to London. Yeah, try and keep up you scatter brain, is just what you said! Ha. Love it. Yeah, I’m looking forward to this trip. In my mind, because I don’t really know, the Ukraine is very similar to Russia. I don’t know if it was a part of Russia once. But I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. People are going to be very poor and it’s going to be similar to Patagonia, I guess. But possibly a lot stricter. I’m taking one rucksack and two army pouches. Each army pouch has got cameras and lenses in. And I’ve put all the batteries and memory cards already in the cameras so everything’s ready to go. I’ve taped up the shutter releases so they can’t turn on and drain the batteries involuntarily. And I’ve got one small laptop rucksack, a Targus

78

rusksack. I’ve got a mini tripod. I’ve got everything, I’ve even got two small pouches of coffee, Lavazza coffee and my espresso maker, which is incredible. I’ve got loads of nine bars. So I’m all ready to go. I’m just going to get changed. I’ve had a shower already. I went to see Fiona earlier and gave her £100 rent. I got change from a tenner as well, so I could have a shower. And I’ve got money now for the bus. I gave her my Dad’s phone number in case I don’t turn up. I said I’m due back here on the 15th December, but if you don’t see me by the 21st December or hear from me, contact my Dad and get him to contact the British Embassy. Because Col was winding me up last night about going. Because really I don’t know these people. They’ve invited me and I was telling him that the woman, Elena Kolomijcenko was saying that I didn’t need travel insurance, and said “of course you don’t because you’re not coming back”! [Laughter] Basically, he said “but it would be better to get it because we’ll have the aggro otherwise of getting your body back and if an example of colin’s ceramics - the truncated icosidodecahedron can be placed at almost any angle and still be used for storing or carrying or growing.


you’ve got travel insurance they’ll do that all for us”, which I must say I was in hysterics last night. It was a pretty good time. So I’ve just boiled up my noodles. I’ll wait for them to cool down a bit. I’ve discovered a drink: Nestle Aero Instant Bubbly Hot Chocolate Drink Minty, which is great. I also found that you can boil up water… Ah here’s Will, I can see him in his van, in his blue transit. You can also boil up water and add it to the powder and stir it up and you can drink it as hot as you want because it’s basically just a big frothy drink. Okay, I’m going to stop talking. I’m going to eat. I’ll talk to Will. I’ll tell him where the dog food is for Toss, which I’ve left out under a blue tarpaulin covered with stones so feral cats can’t get at it. And, Will has offered to take me to Bangor, which is pretty cool, as long as we leave before the last bus just in case something goes wrong and I can still take the bus. Otherwise I’ll have to take a taxi. Right, signing off for now.

80

when the stove isn’t being used its top surface is for cooking on. prior to taking the yurt down i pack my main gas stove & use my smaller meths travel stove & trivet for brews & main meal


Sunday 6th November 2011 -10:34 I’ve had something to eat. I was outside eating. Will came up. We had a chat.

Anyway, it’s pissed him off. I gave him a nine bar, energy bar for his breakfast. He did offer yesterday to take me to Bangor railway station. I’ll have to see if he still holds to that. He’s moving his van now. I don’t know if he’s going. He’s probably just going to get more level so he can get his stove working.

I showed him where the dog food was and where the dog’s tepee is. Basically, Fiona doesn’t like Will and she doesn’t want him here. She thinks he’s a bit of a tramp and he leaves his stuff lying about the place. Will’s pissed off because I pay less rent than he does, because I told him that I’d given Fiona the cash because he thinks that I’ve been here for nothing. So I said I do actually pay, but it turns out that he actually pays 20 quid more a month than I do, which is a real shame, which is really unfair actually. Fiona should have one set price, not different prices for different people. I think because I’m a bit steadier than he is she’s charged me less and I’ve known her, well, probably for the same amount of time that Will has.

82

will in his van at campsite. I’ve known him since at least 2007 & he has been mostly in the llanberis area since, in this van all year round. will gives me a lift to bangor en route to ukraine


Sunday 6th November 2011 - 12:46 I’m just in the back of Will’s van. We’re going to have a brew. Will’s kindly offered to take me into Bangor in his van if I give him diesel money. It’s a gorgeous day.

weren’t creased and the creases have still stayed dirty so it’s a kind of weird camouflage effect, but I’ve proofed it with cotton proofing. It looks pretty scruffy but I guess it’s what I’ve always worn, so I’ll continue to. And hopefully I’ll blend in a bit If I was going to take a bus out of Llanberis I would be walking in the Ukraine wearing it. down the hill right now towards the bus stop but it’s much nicer The sun’s out, have a brew with Will, it’s a shame I’m going but that I can spend some more time at the farm here where the it’s these times that you appreciate more I suppose. Because I yurt is, before I get to the railway station. I’d rather not take an love being around here but it would be good to get back but early bus and then hang around for about four hours before it will also be good to have these photographs from Donetsk. the train because I’ve got fuck all to do. And there’s two buses And have yet another experience abroad and somewhere I can take; 13:05 and 14:50. And if I miss the 14:50 one I’m different. Col was saying last night that maybe this woman, really buggered. Elena, will give me a job. So, hopefully she’ll be suitably So it’s going to be a weird transition from being in this place. impressed enough to employ me again or the company there In less than 24 hours I’ll be in the Ukraine, so I’m just can give me a job taking photographs for them. If they sent wondering what it’ll be like. I’m all packed. I’ve got one me anywhere, I would go. rucksack, I’ve got two dump pouches for my cameras and I’m I just find it funny that nobody in Britain can give me a job, but going to have to take a cold weather jacket as well as what yet these people are interested in what I am doing. I’m wearing, which is a black Snugpak top and my Ventile. Even though it’s a third world country. Britain’s becoming pretty much a third world country because of the economic Which I washed the other day and, because you put it in a crisis. People, I don’t know, just turn their noses up at washing machine all creased up it’s washed the areas which photographers in Britain. It’s not a respected job at all.

84

‘fat’ for the majority of my life i decided in december 2008, in patagonia, to diet from 120 kilos to 75 kilos (19 stone to 12 stone) at right. body mass index chart says i’m still overweight


Sunday 6th November 2011 -13:28 What springs to mind is that I have to make this audio recording interesting. Nothing beats writing, like when I was in Patagonia writing that diary. And I don’t particularly like the audio diary that I kept when I was in Afghanistan because I basically moaned a lot about the army and how I was pissed off I wasn’t allowed more time out there. And how hard it was to get out and how hard it was out there. Just what a fucking slog the whole bloody thing was. I know I have to lift my spirits a bit about this project and realise this is a civilian project so it shouldn’t be as hard work. I prefer to write but I won’t have the time. It’s much easier just to talk. But what is in my head and comes out through my hand is different from what comes out through my mouth. And I prefer what comes out through my hand. I don’t like my voice and I don’t like the way I say my words. I don’t construct them as well as I do when I write. It’s a completely different method. Really, this is just a data log. This is a diary of facts, times, places, events and I could write creatively from these notes later. Otherwise I’ll just make transcripts of what I’m saying and print these out.

86

I’m still here next to the yurt. Will’s just made me a cup of coffee. He’s going through his bits and pieces that he’s got down from a ruin of an old building on the land here at the farm. I’m up at the yurt. Toss is with me, sunbathing. And I’m just soaking up the sun. It’s a really lovely, calm afternoon. I think that they’ve stopped all the trains going up Snowdon now because it’s the beginning of November. I can’t see any running today. Normally Sunday would be a busy day for steam trains going up and down, which you can hear. I can see the whole of Snowdon. I can see the new café that’s been built at the top of it. I’m looking at it right now. I can’t see anybody walking up it. Oh yes I can. There’s always, at any time of the day, during the year you can always see little dots, figures, moving up and down it, because it’s so popular.

with the pentax smc da 50-200mm wr lens i can photo the summit of mount snowdon from at least 5 miles away and still get a good image of the cafe, at right. the crib goch is at bottom of image


If I wasn’t going to the Ukraine I was going to stay in the yurt and put the Para book together. I’m getting transcripts being sent back from Transcription Hub in dribs and drabs and I need to listen to the original audios and read the transcription at the same time and correct any mistakes or add or delete anything from them. Just get it perfect. They basically do the hard work, and I just tweak it. And when I put it onto the page I’ve got an InDesign document that exists already. As I’ve said before of writings that I did before I went to Afghanistan, I’ve got these audio recordings from when I was out there and I was going to spend this winter comfortably sat in the yurt writing my thoughts down about what it’s been like this year since I got back from Afghanistan and about how the army recently have just sent me a bill to pay for my airfare out to Afghanistan and back which is over £2,000 and also about $1,500 to pay for food and accommodation when I was out in Afghanistan as well. Obviously I am not going to pay. I have written to the MOD and also Colonel Andy - the ex-2 Para CO Commanding Officer to complain about this. So that is what I was going to do. And also I was going to take photographs of people in interiors in Wales up here. Like I’ve taken a photograph of Will in his van and Col in his room and Irene Darby in the church,

88

the upside down boat in Amlwch. And there’s one of me in my yurt naked, but I am modestly hiding my genitals in my hands. And there’s also one of a guy, I think his name was Idris in Nefyn. I’ve got to go and find actually out more about him, where he came from and who he is. I think we actually went to his house. That rings a bell actually. When Tattie was here I went with a couple we met who were learning Welsh as well and we picked him up from his house and took him back and he got quite drunk. I think he invited us in to look at photographs on his computer. That kind of rings a bell. It might have been someone else. It could have been him. But I took his photograph anyway and it’s really quite nice him sat in an armchair in this couple’s house in Morfa Nefyn or Nefyn. Anyway, so much has happened since then. What I’m going to have to do is go to the Ukraine, come back, send off these audio files for this transcription, get my audio files transcribed and put the words into an e-book and put the photographs from Ukraine into another book. But I’ve got to do the same with the Para book as well. It’s just a backlog now, which I’m not used to having. A backlog of work which I’ve got to make into books myself, put on my website and eventually as people look at them enough they’ll get in contact like Gomer did about my Patagonia photographs and say, “I love your i think this man is called idris and from nefyn. i took this shot which i added to a ‘welsh interiors - work in progress’: www.issuu.com/edgold/docs/ welshinteriors . from 2007 with *istDL2


work, let’s do a book of it”. It’s all good though. If I didn’t go to the Ukraine now I would have to wait until next April, by which time I would have proper cabin fever because I wouldn’t have done anything apart from put the Para book together.

got a woolly hat on as well. I’m a bit pissed off that I’ve got to take so much clothing. I’m only taking the Targus, laptop, rucksack and the two dump pouches I bought in Kandahar for my cameras, and I’ve just got an extra jacket to wear on top of my existing jacket, well my Ventile smock. I did think about not taking my Ventile smock, but really it’s me. They think I’m I was going to take more photographs of interiors, as I just a bit mad and quite eccentric and this top shows who I am. It mentioned, and also I wanted to get an off-road bike and shows that I’m an outdoor person. And I don’t like looking slick get up to the top of the peaks around here. I mean I see how and smart. I just don’t like that image, basically. And with my many peaks from where the yurt is, main peaks like Elidir and shiny, black Snugpak top, I’m not the person I really am, I don’t Mount Snowdon. There’s like one, two, three, four main peaks, think. But this Ventile top, it’s got a bit of an oil stain on the five, six, maybe seven main peaks from where I’m sat that I can back of one shoulder which looks pretty dodgy and it’s got a see that I would love to go up to the top of. Maybe a 250 or lot of stitching that’s been done by Kev from south Wales and even a 125. On a day like today you could take a picnic, you also stitching that I’ve done as well. But at the end of the day could get to the top of each peak. You would have the most it’s windproof, which is what you need if it’s cold and windy. It amazing view, 100 mile views. Sometimes I think, I need to go stops you from getting really cold. It’s got a hood and it’s got to the Alps and get to the top of mountains, which I’d done four pockets; two on the waist, two on the chest, which are when I was a lot younger to get amazing views, which you do useful. I’ve put my neck wind stopper, wind filter, neck tube get. But I think you can get just as good views from being in in one pocket. I’ve got two Matterson’s sausages in a breast north Wales. pocket as well. I was going to leave one here and I was going to have one for my supper tonight, a cereal bar A day like this is really, really unusual actually. There’s a slight tomorrow morning and just get on the plane at 8:40. chill in the air. I’m wearing a long sleeved t-shirt, my black I’ll probably have breakfast on the plane, actually, to Snugpak top and my Ventile top as well and I’m warm. I’ve Amsterdam. Even though the flight’s only a half an hour flight. many thanks to my sponsors ‘snugpak’ who, every year since 2005, have provided me with the best kit 90

www.snugpak.com

after ukraine i have to work on the patagonia book at the editors speed, in stops and starts. i use my time to document the valley ‘cwm brwynog’ near the yurt. this is an ‘hdr’ of snowdon


But they’re best before 30th November so I’ve actually got to eat them. I can’t leave them lying around because they’ll be off by the time I get back. And they’re full of calories as well. I think one sausage is about 700 and something calories, so I’ll probably give one to Will. And I’ll have just one to myself. Eating two is too much by the time I fly tomorrow at 8:00.

Anyway, again, time is money. The more time I spend talking the more I’ve got to spend to get these transcriptions done. I’m going to wait until I’ve got something important to say. And hopefully the information will roll in once I’ve actually got to Ukraine and I’m talking about people that I’ve met and buildings that I’ve photographed.

retake modern photographs with the same views as those old ones to make comparisons to see how it’s changed. And also obviously take my own viewpoints as well. That’s all I’ve got to go on at the moment. I don’t think there are any Welsh descendents. So you’re only looking at buildings. And I don’t think that, well everybody in the Ukraine seems to think I’ll be finished after two weeks so I could come back early, or I could find something else to do. While I’m out there, just continue taking photos of other things. But, I mean I’m happy to take photographs of steel works now which were originally Welsh but are now totally Ukrainian or just Ukrainian steel works which don’t have any Welsh connection. Just take photographs of the people. If it’s really industrial and quite third world I would like to see what it’s like. And I feel that that is what will give the city character, a feeling of a place.

What do I expect to see in the Ukraine about Donetsk? Well, it was called Stalino, which means ‘steel’ because it was a steel works created by John Hughes. I think there is a lot of heritage to do with him. There’s obviously a lot of Welsh-built buildings and this is what I want to photograph. I’ve got a book by Susan Edwards called Hughesovka and I’m hoping to look at the photographs taken which are used in that book, which are old black and white ones dating back to the 1800s. I hope to

I’ll just do what I normally do everywhere I go. I can’t do anything more than that. And if I’ve got a style, that will show through. I don’t know if I have. I will just take photographs of what captures my eye. I must have something good about my work because I wouldn’t be going otherwise. I just hope they don’t think I’m more of a person than I actually am. I’ve told them not to expect a superstar. I’m just me. But, as their letter of invitation said, they have looked at my work on my

I can’t get over today.

92

another ‘plan’ view of the inside of the yurt taken at night. at bottom left is my face looking up and top right ‘toss’ lying on his part of the floor. a lone candle lights the 8 foot space


website and are impressed. And they obviously think, well they ‘Can you see the paragliders, Will?’ said in the letter as well, I can’t remember the wording, but it’s not your normal work, they’ve said. It’s all a bit “non-standard There’s three up there. work”, I think they called it. I can’t remember. That’s awesome. I’m going to go down and see Will now. Toss has disappeared. I hope he’s going to use his tepee. I’ve shown him several times. I’ve actually picked him up and carried him and put him inside of it and I’ve told him that that’s his new home. And there’s lots of food in there for him. I’ve filled up his ice cream tub, empty ice cream tub, is filled to the brim with food, so he’s pretty much sorted. He’s got a large puddle at the bottom of the hill to drink from, which are tyre marks which are filled up with water. The sun is actually going down now. It’s going to go behind a peak. Oh, I can see a paraglider. That’s a good view. Two paragliders. Awesome. Coming off the top of a peak. That’s something I’d like to do. Three paragliders! Awesome. People just underneath parachutes. Ha! That’s awesome.

94

3 paragliders take to the air up behind ty mawn and moel eilio on the afternoon i leave ‘toss’ and llanberis for bangor with will and then on to the ukraine


Sunday 6th November 2011 -14:38 Well the last bus I was going to take was at 14:50 but Will has said he’s going to take me in to town. At the moment though he’s having a tidy up. A pretty much full-scale tidy up, by the looks of it. He’s got a fire going and I said I would help try and sort out a lot of the stuff he just needs to get rid of. I just took a photograph of the van with the mountains in the background. Kind of strange the exposure on the K10D. I under-exposed it and it looked really under-exposed. So I over-exposed it and it looked the same. But I was in sunlight reviewing it so I’m not too worried. I’ll have a look at it on the train or in the dark or tonight at Heathrow.

96

view north east in llanberis from yurt door of mount elidir. Will is in foreground ever tidying his van prior to giving me a lift to bangor railway station.


Sunday 6th November 2011 -16:51 Christ, my heart’s in my mouth at the moment.

I said to him, “Will, actually we’ve got an hour and a half before my train and it’s about time we packed up and got I’ve just got to Bangor. a move on”, and he got angry then, when I said that, and he took a lot of time getting everything put in the van and I I have been here for about twenty minutes but Will took me in thought at first that he was winding me up and then I just his Transit. He’s got this thing where, well he’s got…I wouldn’t ealised he’s not actually, well I could say ‘all there’, but he’s say ‘issues’, he’s a good bloke, I like him, but he lives in a van just not a happy soul, poor lad. So, we eventually got and he did bang his head in a bicycle accident a few years everything in the van and left and then we got stuck behind ago and he’s got a lot of belongings that he just can’t seem to a horse box. But having said that he still got me to the station sort out. with about half an hour to spare. So all is well. And the farm where sometimes he parks up and stays at, they’ve got an issue with all the stuff that he leaves lying around and today I tried to help him sort it out so it meant that he took a lot of stuff out of his van, as well as getting stuff from other places as well and we had a fire. He burnt an old down duvet which scorched the grass and it got to a point where I thought well okay, I decided not to take a bus and he’s kindly offered to drive me to the railway station, but a lot of his belongings were out on the grass outside his van, strewn all over the place.

98

I had pre-booked my tickets so I had to go to the quick ticket machine and just put a code in, put my debit card in and I was able to retrieve my railway ticket. So I’m here. It’s getting dark. I said goodbye to Will. We had a bit of a chat in the cab of his van before he left. I gave him another nine bar, which he likes. And I told him to take care. I asked him what he was going to do during the five weeks I’m away and he doesn’t know. He’s on his way to Bethesda now to go and see a friend. So, what time is it now? It’s about 16:50-something. I’ve got ten minutes until the train. Glad I made it. I really thought for a moment another stove top view inside the yurt of gas cooker, crusader mess tin, espresso maker (before it blew up) and snugpak mug with coffee. for brilliant outdoor clothing: www.snugpak.com


that I wouldn’t and I started to think what my options were. What would I have to do if I missed this train because there aren’t any more down to London tonight? I would have to get a taxi to London to get this plane from Heathrow. Oh, I’ve had a text from Steve Sanderson which is cool. I’ve got to look at that right now. He’s talking about meeting me at Terminal 4 for a coffee. He knows when the last flight is, which is 22:40, so he’s saying that’s when Heathrow closes and he doesn’t know if I’m able to sleep. He’s not quite as laid back as I am. I’m not bothered about sleeping arrangements. I think he’s quite, he’s a guy that does things by the book, basically. Anyway, signing off.

100

mark gould/9 Bar sponsors me with over 100 bars for my intended motorcycle trip to ukraine & mongolia. i take many when i fly instead and give most away which prove very popular www.9bar.com


Sunday 6th November 2011 - 12, no 11 sorry, 11.33. 23.33. Wow I’m in Neros coffee bar, Heathrow Terminal 4. I made it okay. It’s been a hell of a day. Since my last recording I got a train from Bangor. Nearly fell asleep, it was a pretty good train journey. It was really warm on the train. I’m glad I brought all the cold weather clothing that I’ve got because it’s quite nippy tonight and I was really feeling it even with all my warm jackets on. Got down to London alright. Mad rush to find the right tube train. Got a ticket, five quid for a single to Heathrow Terminal 4. Eventually got the Northern line south, changed at Leicester Square, got to Piccadilly, got as far as Acton Town and it said no trains to Terminal 4 presumably because there is some building work going on, on the line. So ran outside, there was a whole fleet of different coaches going to Terminals One, Two and Three and then Four and Five. So went running up to a group of guys next to one of the coaches at the far end of the street outside the tube station

102

and said to them “Is this going to Terminal Four”, he said “No mate Glasgow” and for like a split second thought he actually meant it but he was from Glasgow himself I think and he was having a laugh. So eventually I got on and there was only like one other person on there and I said “How long you going to wait for” because Steve Sanderson, brilliant bloke that he is, one of the Directors at PENTAX who sponsor me, who I know quite well said that he would come and buy me a coffee at Terminal Four and I didn’t want to make him late at all because I think he said that Heathrow closes at ten or the last flight is at ten and he didn’t want to upset my sleep here because he knows I’m leaving tomorrow and also he obviously had work to go to but he was waiting for me right down in the car park down below, where the coaches turn up. But anyway at Acton Town I said to a driver “Is there any chance we can go right now because I’ve got to meet somebody” so this driver said “Well who is it, is it female, is it a girl like because we’ll go if it is” and I said “No it’s much more important than that, it’s a sponsor and I’ve got a meeting”. He said “Oh well let’s go anyway”.


So we climbed on the coach and it was just me and a Chinese woman I think in a huge like 54 seater and he said “I’ll get there as fast we can”. So he really floored it and we were bombing down the M4 towards Terminal Four and at one moment we went up to a junction in the road and the way coaches turn is like they sort of go straight for a long time and at the last minute, sort of swerve because it was so long we’ve got to go forwards for a long way before they can turn otherwise they sort of get caught out on the corner. And I said to the driver because I was sitting near the front I said “Nice bit of driving”. He said “Argh easy money, money in the bank” which made me laugh the way he said it. Turned out his name was Billy, short little red headed Scotsman, really jolly and when a song that you liked came on the radio he would say “Come on” before the intro, before the guy had started singing or the woman started singing, he would want to get the music. So basically he would recognise the song, know the words to it but he couldn’t wait for the lyrics to start so he would start singing before the singer had started to sing which was quite funny. He would be like “come on” you know like get on with it. He wanted to start singing too soon.

done a good job of getting me to Terminal Four quick. So as soon as I got off the coach, I only walked a few yards and there was Steve waiting for me so very kindly took me upstairs, he knew where the coffee bar was. Presumably been here already having a coffee I don’t know, but he bought me a decaf Americano. He had one as well and he bought me a chocolate muffin which was delicious and we had a good chat about PENTAX, the state of the company at the moment. The way that it’s just been taken over by Ricoh, about the new PENTAX ‘Q’ which hasn’t had very good reviews about how small it is and how convenient it is to use. We talked about lots of stuff, it was really good to see him. It’s nice the fact that he isn’t just a guy that sponsors me, he’s actually a mate as well now and he takes a really sincere and genuine interest in what I’m up to. So that was lovely to see him. I hope I, sometime I feel like when I talk to him I feel like I’m a bit disingenuous because I probably look so keen. The fact is I don’t see him very often so that when I do see him, because I’m so grateful to him for sponsoring me, I probably seem over enthusiastic which might come across as being a bit false.

So I shook his hand I think as we got off the bus and said “What’s your name, I said cheers mate” because he really

103


So there was a load of armchairs at Nero and I’m cleaning right now, tidying up. It’s 23.42 and there’s a lot of loud music in the background blaring but it seems that this Sony Dictaphone is recording okay.

check in. Check in gate F or something and already my flights up on the board which is in about 8 hours and 50 minutes. So with any luck I can find somewhere to put my head down, somewhere that’s quieter than this place and I’ll go and find a bog first, toilet, brush my teeth. I’m said I’m going to send Couple of things that Steve said to surprise me because I Steve a link, an e-mail with a link to, well the letters of always thought PENTAX was a really big company. He said that invitation attached to it and also the Ventris website which I Canon is huge, it employs 1,400 people in Britain and Nikon showed Col yesterday. employs about 400 people and PENTAX employs 17 which puts things in real perspective. The fact that there really are It’s weird how things can, environments can change so quickly. recognised as just being the third biggest camera One minute I am in Colin Mead’s flat in the northern tip of manufacturer but yeah they’ve got so few people working for Anglesey and it’s cold and windy and black outside and it’s them. Anyway Ricoh have taken them over recently and he’s right up in the north and now I’m in the South of England in still waiting to hear how it’s going to affect them but they are a Terminal Four and I’m just about to fly to Amsterdam and the massive company and they employ in Britain 3,000 people. So Ukraine. It’s pretty mad. Anyway I’m feeling really just puts things in perspective, hopefully they’ve got the money positive about this project but these Ukrainian people believe to look after PENTAX and do a better job of marketing to get so strongly in my work, in fact it really is genuine I find out if it is. more sales for PENTAX. I’m hopeful that I will be able to get work from him in the future if I impress him enough. He seemed to be impressed, it’s just so While I’m sat in this armchair at Nero, I’ve just had a hot funny that I can’t get work in this country or interest in my work chocolate. Steve kindly bought me an Americano but I but someone like Ukraine I can. bought a hot chocolate in the hope that it helps me sleep. Funnily enough I’m sat literally opposite where I have to go to So before I fly I need to send some e-mails I think and also the boarding gate. Well not the boarding gate but go to the charge up my mobile and I can only do that via a USB

104


cable that plugs into my laptop, so if I could find somewhere to charge up my laptop I’ll plug it in otherwise I might just turn off my mobile because I won’t need it again until I get back from the Ukraine. I can charge like while I’m out there but I don’t think anybody, if anybody phones me I think it will cost me a lot. People can send texts.

anything like it. Lots of Qatar check in points. Some I’m going to go and have a wash in a minute. Wash my face. I feel pretty rough but it could be worse.

I’m going to go and find this Dixon’s travel store which I phoned last week because I need to get a projector cable to plug into my Mac. I actually bought one in PC World. I bought a PC Monday 7th November 2011 - 05.18 World own brand which was really expensive. It was almost thirty quid, so I want to go and see if Dixon’s travel store sell a I’ve just woken up, well I say wake up, I think I’ve been Mac one and if it’s any cheaper, and if it’s cheaper I might get dozing most of the night. Well I must have got some sleep. I’ve it and then take the one from PC World back because I don’t been on a four seater wooden bench. It’s like a like getting ripped off. composite kind of plywood that has been steamed and bent. Got a bit of a headache. It’s kind of weird, it was noisier I’ll get a coffee. I feel full because I ate way above my quota between midnight and four o’clock in the morning and now yesterday. For breakfast I had porridge, then I had noodles it’s gone all quiet and this is the time you’re waking up. So they and finished up chick peas and a tin of tuna. I ate early keep it all noisy when you want to be sleeping and when you because I was expecting to go and walk down at about half want to be awake, make it all quiet. It’s crazy. Anyway all the past twelve to go and get a bus at five past one. Instead Will floor sweepers have finished and all the crazy annoying music took me much, much later, so I had an early lunch and then on has finished as well. the train I had brought Mattesson’s smoked sausage with me and I ate all of that, not in one go but that’s over 700 calories. There’s a lot of check in points with women, it looks like they So actually my bodies not used to ingesting so much meat. work for Qatar Airways and it looks like from a Luc Besson film I could tell that my body was struggling so and when I got here set, the funny outfits. Burgundy red. Yeah I’ve never seen I had a coffee with Steve Sanderson, a chocolate muffin and

105


then I had a hot chocolate on top of that. So I feel pretty full still.

Monday 7th November 2011 - 07:11

It’s still dark outside, there’s a lot of cars driving up from God knows where. They must be passengers coming to park up and fly early in the morning. There’s a lot of people sitting and lying around, all different types of people. People trying to get comfortable on seats which aren’t designed for sleeping on, all hunched over cases and I can see one Chinese looking woman with her forehead pressed up. Oh actually she’s just dozed off. She’s got a trolley with two bags on and she’s leaning forward with her head against the handle that you push against when you push it and her head keeps on slipping off the bar that you push because she’s dozing off. All sorts of different positions, it’s quite funny. From millions of positions that you can get into. I mean there’s some benches which have armrests in between each individual seat and people manage to get their legs underneath the bars which are the armrests. Great if you don’t want to get away in a hurry otherwise you’re stuck.

Why should what I say be so interesting? I guess I’m trying to make an object from this whole project. I was explaining to Steve last night when he came to Terminal Four to meet me at Café Nero that when you’ve got writing and descriptions about the situation that you’re photographing then it’s much more interesting. I suppose I’m trying to make a story about this whole five week project going to the Ukraine. I just want to remember I suppose what happens and maybe other people are vaguely interested in what goes on. So far nothing out the usual.

106

I’m sitting in departures. I’ve checked in okay. At night I woke up to go for a pee, I’d only been asleep about two hours. I was really warm actually I had my blizzard jacket pulled over my head to block out all of the light because it was really bright and obviously it’s darker it’s easier to fall asleep and I woke up, wasn’t cold but I was almost suffocating from the weight of this jacket on my face. There wasn’t very much air underneath it. That wouldn’t have been good would it, if I’d killed myself from suffocation before even checking in [laugh] or at all for that matter.


So basically I couldn’t be bothered to collect my three jackets so I’ve got and my rucksack and my dump pouches with my cameras in and taking them all to he bog and then bringing them back again, just for the sake of a pee so I went up to a woman, an Indian woman and I don’t know if she spoke any English but I said to her “Look would you mind, would you be kind enough to keep an eye out on my stuff and if you see anybody doing anything just shout” but she didn’t say a word back in English, she didn’t say a word of anything she just gave me a kind of head wobble that Indian’s do and I went for a pee, came back and I waved to her as if to say thanks and she did the head wobble again. It’s funny just different cultures, it’s great.

A woman next to me, an elderly woman said “Oh for some reason I put my wash kit and wash sponge in my handbag instead of my hold luggage and I don’t know why” but they pulled her over for that and I said “Well it’s good to see because they’re doing a really thorough job because you don’t want somebody slipping through and blowing up an aeroplane or hijacking it” and then I got through eventually. I had to sit down, initially I asked for my rucksack back because they’d put it on another table and they said “No you have to wait” so I did. I’m not in any hurry, I checked in really early. I don’t go to the boarding gate until ten past eight so I’ve got an hour.

I’m sitting at a huge window looking out towards all the different runways, it’s incredible what’s going on. I can see a Anyway, the Indian family, well she was with her husband I think plane landing, a plane taking off. There’s an Etihad plane to and somebody else and of course when I woke up completely my left and there’s a Skyline or something plane in front of me, different couple sitting there. You know millions of people are a Boeing 767. I can tell because there’s markings underneath passing through here all the time. Anyway I checked in, they the front wheel where each different plane should park and pulled my rucksack aside and made me wait for about ten the markings are only two feet apart but I can see that it’s one minutes before I was pulled up to go through all my for a 747 and 737, 310, 321, 330, 340, 757, 767, 777 and a 340 all belongings with somebody which is really good to see. the different types Boeings and Airbuses and it tells me exactly A lot of people looked a bit pissed off by that. where they have to stop the front wheel.

107


I went to Dixons as I had arranged to do because I wanted to buy a cable adaptor to go from my Mac Book to a projector. I bought one at PC World and it was an own brand, I was called I want it and I bought this cable for 28 quid and they did say that you can bring it back and we’ll give you your money back because I said I’m sure that the Apple own make one at Dixon’s travel store at Terminal Four is cheaper, it’s only 18 quid. It’s 10 quid cheaper but it’s actually an original Mac item which it’s just weird, it’s such a rip off PC World but the thing is Dixons is a part of PC World but I spoke to a very nice girl from Lithuania, I think her name was Somalia. Really, really nice. I gave her my business card.

would never expect to have a beautiful place like that, she said it was like a fairytale land and I said I suppose I’d forgotten what it’s like but I did explain that when I first went there in 99 I never went back home after a two week holiday. So I suppose it had the same effect on me and I need to re-awaken that I think when I come back from the Ukraine. I need to realise exactly where I’m living. I did kind of feel that when I was leaving yesterday, it’s quite an intense feeling you’re leaving for a period of time.

You don’t really want to because you like it so much but for five paragliders in the air at one time and the hills are behind the yurt where they train I think because you can get a lot of We chatted about what her country was like because it was lift from the top of a hill but you’re not very high off the ground USSR back in 91 and she grew up there for about 6 or 7 years. as you’re descending. You’re sort of descending at the same It was better in some respects because everybody had a angle as the hill so you’re always only about 50 feet above house because all houses were free because it was communist the ground and you’re connected to a parachute essentially but it’s funny because now you have to have a mortgage in anyway. So if anything goes wrong, as long as the parachute that country whereas before you had your housing but she said doesn’t fold then you just go gently to the ground. people still eat there three times a day in restaurants because it’s a good standard of living compared to Britain. I’m sat here drinking a Starbucks coffee, my second coffee. I had one at Café Nero before I checked in. I’ve also, I’m also So that’s always interesting. She said she knew Snowdonia. having a vitamin C tablet. It’s good to see how strict they are She said it was beautiful, it’s so close to London as well. You now in security, it’s quite reassuring and it’s nice to know that

108


it’s very hard unless people are very well trained to get through. I’ve had a glass of water as well, a cup of water from Starbucks, got a vitamin C tablet on the go because I didn’t get much sleep last night and because I don’t eat a lot I’m more susceptible to getting a cold and getting run down easily. So vitamin C table should prevent that. I had a nine bar just now for breakfast and I feel full still from yesterday because I ate that great big bloody Mattesson’s sausage and I could have easily eaten two or three of those a few years ago when I was a lot fatter but even one just is too much now and I’ve still got one in my breast pocket of my jacket, which I’m going to be lugging a Mattesson’s sausage around the Ukraine with me. Slightly embarrassing. I’m looking across the runways towards different terminal and I can see some Virgin planes and then two Qantas planes. There’s a big Jumbo next to one of the new Boeings. I beg your pardon one of the new Airbuses, for giant Airbus and the tail on the Airbus is almost twice the size of a Jumbo jet tail. It’s just colossal. For some reason the bump on the to of a jumbo jet reminds me of a Gray Nicholls cricket bat, I don’t know why it’s all to do with scoops and bumps I guess. I don’t know. Singapore airlines, that’s a big old plane. I think that’s a new

super Airbus as well. I think it’s the A380. Oh I did see before I checked in, I went to the toilets just to wash my face and wake up a bit and a huge bloke, when I say huge I mean like a proper steroid body builder walked past me wearing a very thin tee-shirt, covered in tattoos, wearing a day sack, a patrol sack, looked like a British army one. Well you can’t say a British army it was a Camelbak daysack and it’s like you know a guy that big you’d expect to be Special Forces but then Special Forces wouldn’t rock up to Heathrow with a day patrol sack I don’t think, who knows. It’s just interesting seeing the different people you get and constantly I’m thinking about Afghanistan because the last time I flew it was to Afghanistan and most of the stuff I’m wearing is to do with military. I’m wearing British army issue boots. I’ve got a survival paracord wrist band that I was given at Camp Bastion Hospital. I’m wearing a Snugback Blizzard jacket. I’ve got US dump pouches that I got my cameras in. Easy money, money in the bank. I’m seeing a lot of Boeing 737s taking off which is a plane that I’m going to be taking, a KLM plane to Amsterdam and then another one to the Ukraine. I’m kind of surprised that such a

109


small plane is being used for such a long journey because it’s probably further than flying to Istanbul although in the olden days when I lived in Istanbul. All the flights were 737s in those days so they’re capable of doing a good 3000 miles, those little planes but they really are tiny. Just an aisle in the middle and three seats on either side. I did check in on line this morning actually with my laptop. I put my dongle in and managed to change my seats. So I’m sitting here with my back to Amsterdam, I’m sitting over the wing to Kiev.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever travelled when I haven’t been stressed about it. I’m totally chilled. I’m not bothered at all about absolutely anything. There’s nothing to worry about at all, why should there be. I did hide two US, two fifty US dollar bills in the left hand boot underneath my insole in a plastic bag. I’ve taped it up with duct tape so if I have any problems I know that I’ve got some cash hidden on me, I was going to hide some dollar bills behind my belt, duct tape them on but I really can’t be bothered. I could do that on the aeroplane I suppose to Kiev because I’ve only got hand It’s dead funny this. I can see lads down below in different tiny luggage with me. I’ll just see what happens. What’s that? It’s little vehicles, pulling vehicles it looks like or I don’t know what another 737 taken off. There’s a lot of light, I can see inside the they do but they were driving up to each other, facing each cabin as it takes off. An Alitalia plane is reversing back, oh it’s and not letting each other move. It’s just like one guys wearing like a little 737 as well. shorts and a funny Russian type hat and it looks like they’re having a whale of a time driving around the place. God Yeah actually talking about stress and stuff, I remember I used knows what they’re up to. It must be quite fun working and to travel a lot when I was a kid to Istanbul and one half term very, very busy and I guess you’ve got to have a bit of safety in my Dad flew me out to Istanbul. In those days I think because mind. A BMI British Midlands, British Midlands international just school was so horrible I was chuffed to bits to be able to get took off, a jet. Really, really slim, it looked like a gulf stream or away from it and in those days it was a case of packing my something I didn’t realise they had such little aeroplanes but it little school case I had which had my initials painted onto the looked really fast. I don’t know where those planes go to, side of it, EHG. And I would literally pack my case, I wouldn’t maybe it’s just to the internal British flight but it couldn’t have say goodbye to anybody because nobody cared. You just seated more than about 50 people. pack your case, everybody elses parents would be picking

110


up and taking them away back home at half term and you’d walk up the drive out of the school grounds, across the road, up a little side road I remember, a little country lane to a bus stop, stand there for a bit, get on the bus, go to Reading railway station and get a train to London. Then the tube and I remember going to Heathrow when I was well, I would have been 13, I think, 13 or 14 and I remember reading a Jack Higgins book called Solo. I was well into that book and all I thought about was wanting to find the time to read it so I couldn’t wait to get to Heathrow and sit down next to a window and look out at the planes and looked forward to seeing my parents and I had this book with me and I remember my suitcase was packed full of pot noodles because I recently spoken to my Mum on the phone I think or we didn’t speak very much actually. My parents didn’t encourage speaking on the phone because they thought it was a bit wet I suppose and it was costly these long distance international phone calls.

I thought they were so good and just my little case that I took to Istanbul was full of pot noodles, nothing else just this Jack Higgins book and about 12 pot noodles and maybe a change of clothes. And it was funny because when I got there my Mum was really chuffed I think but she wouldn’t eat them because really they’re minging, you know like the food isn’t bad in Istanbul at all. There was not a lot of choice in those days. There probably is but I don’t know. So I remember and the fact that I had no fear of anything. I used to have like a little book, I don’t know if air lines still do them for unaccompanied minors but sometimes you would have to wear a little sign around your neck and clear plastic envelope on a bit of string which would say UM to tell people that you don’t have an adult with you and they had to look after you. I got some good stories about that as well when I used to have stop over in Switzerland or Germany on the way back from Istanbul and maybe your connecting flight would be about 8 hours later so they normally send me downstairs to sort of the basement of the airport, wherever it was, Dusseldorf and I would end up being chaperoned by somebody who really didn’t have time for me.

So we used to write and my Mum was complaining about how she hated the food in Istanbul. I mean she didn’t really it was just something to talk about I suppose but I had just discovered pot noodle and we had a tuck shop, a [15.28] college. I remember buying about 12 pot noodles for my Mum because So I basically sit at the desk and read but sometimes I would

111


end up sort of helping and I remember there was a guy like Clint Eastwood and I commented on the fact and he said he got that a lot, people telling him he looked just like Clint Eastwood, a very young Clint Eastwood and he was moving lots and lots and lots of 24 can trays of Heineken beer and I was well into my beer at that age and I remember asking if I could have one and he said no, but I think they were for a party or something but I remember being astounded because there were hundreds of cans. Literally a vehicle just came up outside, very near a runway to his office because it was right on the run way edge and I helped them, it was quite cool. I don’t think he wanted any help but I was just bored out of my mind. So memories. Then of course having flown so much when I was younger I flew to Brazil in 1988 from Venezuela and hitting an electrical storm, passing over the top of the Amazon and really thought it was going to crash so I had a bit of a fear of flying after that. I didn’t fly from 1988 up until 2004 when I took Marie Adamson to Tenerife. I paid for us to go on holiday and that was a 757, I had to get absolutely paralytic drunk to go on that plane and it wasn’t too worrying. And I had to get drunk on it on the way back and she said why are you getting drunk the holiday is over and she didn’t quite grasp the fact that I had this fear and

112

I remember necking as many double whiskeys as I could on the way back. Then I ran out of money and I couldn’t afford to buy anymore. But she seemed to enjoy all the turbulence we had and to tell the truth I don’t mind it at all. On the way back from Afghanistan one of the Para lads was petrified and I said I don’t understand you, you’re quite happy to jump out of an aeroplane but you’re scared of turbulence. He said no I don’t mind jumping, it’s just being stuck inside the aeroplane and thinking it’s going to crash, because you know it’s not going. Basically you know that you’re safe if you’re going to jump out because you’re going to land on the ground pretty soon after. That’s the theory anyway. Monday 7th November 2011 - 11.36am Wow, it is 11:36 [laugh]. I am in the Amsterdam Schiphol airport, I am on a conveyor. I have got to stop. This is really slow, I have been tear-arsing it as usual. It is absolutely typical, apparently Frankfurt is worse, but Amsterdam is renowned for having very long distances to walk. I remember this from when I stopped here coming back from Istanbul when I was very young. Elena Kolomijcenko has asked me to get her Davidoff Blue


cigarettes. It is a case of getting off a plane and going to a duty free shop and asking and they say - no we do not have them, we have Red and White but not Blue. So they send me to the halls which is a seven minute walk which, if you have not got more than half an hour between flights is quite a long way because you have got quarter of an hour walking and then talking and explaining.

pretty good, so £4.70 for a pack of twenty cigarettes and a good make as well is incredibly cheap. Wow.

So I am walking back now to my boarding gate because I checked in back in Heathrow and I printed out my boarding pass for this flight in Heathrow so I know which gate to go to. I can see 43 ahead of me. Yes, gate 43 is ahead of me. People are queuing up to go to a flight. I am sweating. I have So I go and I have to wait for ages for them to find out what got all this cold weather clothing preparing myself for minus the next colour down or up from Blue is, because Blue turns out degrees, but in this airport it is incredibly mild and I am moving to be light, low tar as it were. I have got to start walking again. around like a blue-arsed fly, I always set myself these targets White is the next one up from it which is kind of a mild thing and where I have got to succeed, I have got to complete the thing then, what I have done I have walked from around gate 50 that I am told to do. I cannot turn up empty-handed for this all the way down to gate 1 to go to this other duty free shop, woman. It looks like I am not trying you know. they did not have Davidoff Blue either, so they explained to me that. Argh, I am trailing jackets. They explained that I have D47, okay. Sorry. D46 is in the distance. Okay, getting there. to go to another book shop where they sell individual packets Wow I have not been here since about 1984 or 1983 it is and they might have Davidoff Blue there and of course they incredible. I remember on the flight we were given free tiles, do not. So I asked for just an individual pack of White because like ceramic tiles with very collectable Dutch designs on them I do not want to buy about ten packs of White and Elena say – of Dutch buildings. Quite awesome. So, yes, I can see my oh I cannot smoke those because they are too strong. So I got gate. Well at least I got, oh I was going to get a box of her one pack, one lousy pack. I paid with debit card and the chocolates for the General Director of Evolution Media. Now equivalent rate for twenty cigarettes of Davidoff White is £4.70, that would have looked good. Damn it. I do not really have the debit card reader shows you the exchange rate which is time to go back. I was going to get her a box of chocolates to

113


say thanks for inviting me over. I will just have to do a bloody good job of photography. I have made it with eight minutes to spare. The gate opened for boarding, and really I could have spent those eight minutes getting a nice box of chocolates for Julia, but then if I got a box of chocolates for Julia I would have had to get a box for Elena because she would have been jealous and then I would have ended up spending money on two boxes of chocolates. I think it is probably better that I post them something at the end of my time, or buy them something locally or come back next April by motorbike and bring them something, who knows. I have been here two minutes and we are boarding so it is just as well I made the effort. I would have just hung around otherwise. As I said, better to get one packet of Davidoff White instead of getting ten and looking ultra-keen spending about ÂŁ40 on ten packets and then Elena saying that she really cannot smoke them as it will probably hurt her throat if she is used to a mild type of cigarette. We are boarding, I have not had a chance to get a drink or anything, but I get one on the flight. It is a pretty quick connection.

114

Britain was pretty grey and Amsterdam is even greyer. Funnily enough I can see a Turkish airlines flight outside, that is ironic, although I did fly to Istanbul last time I was here with KLM. I think it was on a Boeing 707 business class. I have to say the calibre of women has been getting a lot better since I left Britain. I have already seen some stunners, a couple of people on this flight, and the arses are getting a lot better as well, the sort of arses you used to get on women in Britain about ten or fifteen years ago. Hmm, maybe five years, but everything has changed, people are getting fatter and fatter. Well to be honest, when I bought the cigarettes I was getting advice, I asked a guy where Gate D46 was and he said it is a long walk you had better start moving yourself to get there in time because I said I only had twenty minutes. In actual fact the way I walk, which is really fast, I got up here in about four or five minutes, so if I had known the area properly, I have not been here before, then I could have taken my time there browsing the duty free shop completely, buying some chocolates and not being in such a rush, but then I do not want to miss the flight just for the sake of cigarettes and chocolate.


There is an interesting group of guys next to me from the Ukraine and they have all got their cameras out, little tiny compact cameras showing each other the photographs they have taken. They seem like quite a happy bunch.

12:43 Dutch time. I am on a plane. Hurry up and wait one guy says.

Monday 7th November 2011 -12.20

We have just taken off, climbing, gone through some really low level clouds. It is pretty noisy. I feel really knackered as I did not get very much sleep last night. It is a much shorter 737 than the one we went on from London to Amsterdam. That was a much bigger one. This is quite tiny in comparison and it does not appear as powerful because it is so much smaller.

I have put my watch forward an hour when I landed in Amsterdam. I have been a bit of an idiot. I could have spent half an hour shopping, but it is better to be safe than sorry I guess. We have waited quite a long time to go through more security and I kept on getting bleeped when I was going through the x-ray machine. Eventually I had to be searched. The guy told me it was my lucky day because it was, he was pretty touchy feely really, but I was still bleeping so they sent me through, they did not bother. I do not know why. I had to take my boots and my belt off. So I am waiting now. All I have got to do is walk down the ramp to the plane and that is it, off to Kiev.

13:40

A guy, I think he was American, came up behind the queue as we were walking down the connection thing that goes to the side of the airplane when you board the plane and he said ‘hurry up and wait’, which is probably what I will call the Para book I am making because they were trying to get everybody to get a move on to board a plane but when you went to board it you were told to wait outside so a queue builds up. It is a bit like get on a bus; get off a bus as Paul Smart said.

I can see two women swigging a bottle of something before Up above the clouds now and it is really sunny outside. I am they board the plane. It looks like a bottle of vodka although it impressed by KLM I have got say, they are a lot better than could be water. I cannot tell. Oh, I am boarding. British Airways, they are really polite, very courteous, very clean

115


it is a very new airplane, they greet you when you come on board, they say – ‘be my guest’ – which sounds kind of weird, but I suppose it translates differently in Dutch. Very bright, white clouds below. There is a huge blanket of clouds as far as I can see. I wish I had kept an audio diary when I was in Alaska and Canada. All I needed was a dictaphone, but I never thought of getting one. Probably because my experiences of them in Patagonia did not go too well, the Sony mini-disc and the Sanyo which I bought from, I think I bought it from Maplins, no I think I bought it from one of those Indian electronic shops on Tottenham Court Road or near Oxford Street and I never had any luck with it at all. No, I think it was from Maplins, it was pretty cheap but whenever I pressed record it never recorded properly, but this Sony works really well. I just remembered, Steve Sanderson and I were discussing last night how other camera manufacturers were fairing in the economic crisis at the moment and he mentioned that Casio, the managing director or the chairman or the president, has found that $650 million is missing from the company, which is a huge amount. They are trying to find out where it has gone and I asked if it was one person or if it was from different parts

116

of the world. He does not really know. It makes you wonder. I am looking at the Holland Herald again, the KLM in-flight magazine. It has a really nice cover, it is one of those, like a textured smooth cover, it is like plastic, but it is actually a very thin card. I would love to make a photo magazine with this style of paper. 13:58 still cruising in the air I had some kind of chicken garlic wrap which was pretty tasty and had a coke and some water. I am looking out of the window, it seems so serene below, looking down at the clouds and areas on the clouds, it is like a great big white sheet stretching out to the horizon and there is some areas on that white sheet which are really bright where the sun is hitting areas of it. It just seems weird because right now we are flying over Eastern Europe where there is no doubt a lot of poverty below, but it is weird because we are directly above it and it is the same world, but we are in an airplane, all that separates us is about thirty thousand feet of air beneath us and then you have got people who might not have very much in their lives, it just seems a bit strange. We are cruising along at five hundred miles an hour, drinking coke and looking out of the window.


PART 2 Kiev & Donetsk, Ukraine

117


“We have been talking about the Welsh in Patagonia, she was interested in Afghanistan and I have been asking her what does Donbass mean. Donbass is a name of a region around Donetsk. Donetsk is the name of a city. She says that she does not really know why John Hughes came here. We decided that it was because he was a pioneer, but I supposed that perhaps it was because the Victorians were very romantic, they liked to travel and have adventures, but she still does not really understand why. He had this steel making technology, but when he came here there was nothing, it was just green countryside. I knew that already as well�.

118

before i land in kiev the view from the air is largely of industrial chimneys with plooms of smoke in built-up areas. i took this photo from a car window


Local time is half past four; we are just coming in to Kiev airport. orange … dirty orange above the horizon going up into yellow and then blue. The ground just looks black from the air. Just, There is a … I can see a river which has a dead end so I don’t orange sunset and black ground with lots of buildings. know what that is. At first … well, it looks a bit like the River Thames; there’s a lot of buildings, erm, the sun’s going down There’s two rectangular buildings - absolutely gigantic with light there’s a very dirty orange sunset on the horizon. around the outside of them - I don’t know what that is; a huge warehouse complex, chimneys again with smoke. There aren’t many lights down below even though its getting dark; it looks like there’s a stadium with some lights in it. A highway - a very straight, long road. Otherwise, the river has got some islands in the middle of it - it looks a bit marshy, very industrial.

Huge fields divided by hedges - no, rows of trees; trees dividing fields; some dirt tracks.

Lots of blocks of flats, lots of apartment blocks; cooling towers right in the middle of the city with smoke coming out of them. Lots of chimneys with smoke.

We are banking over a farm complex.

Some forest and water amongst the trees - lots of water, lakes, lagoons, swamps. Industrial areas - apartment blocks and in the distance, chimneys with long plumes of smoke that stretch for miles. It’s a very flat, level horizon. No mountains that I can see - just

120

Lots of arable land, dark green fields, light brown fields. I can see a fire down below with lots of smoke pouring off it. I can’t see any grid systems but I can see lots of roads going off, very straight, long roads into the distance. But the land isn’t divided up into grids. Lots of angles - yes, some very large fields and the edges of them have lots of trees as a border and then the next field - not i see many apartment blocks also from the air and road. some are modern and some are communist soviet area but i’m amazed at how big they all are.


hedges but just two or three rows of trees side by side. Traffic have their headlights on so it’s probably dusk down below. Lots of metal towers as you’d expect; masts painted red and white.

I am sitting in the back of a Chevrolet car. We have just stopped. We have driven out of Kiev the city and we are driving towards the country house of Elena’s. We are not going to stay at the house that her mother stays at in the city.

I am going to have to stop talking very quickly when they I can see a few poplar trees down below. come back. I was greeted at the airport, I managed to get through customs okay. I presented the letter which is written in Lots of chimneys; industrial chimneys with smoke. Ukrainian explaining what I am doing here. It was exactly as I expected, basically, what Russia is like. It is exactly the same Row of poplars, yeah, it’s autumn; lots of copper coloured trees as Russia. Nobody said anything. The woman who was looking - literally all the leaves have gone now. at my passport just looked at me a couple of times, I gave her a smile, but she did not smile back, usual thing. I went through, We are just about to touch down - we’re about 100 feet off the I caught the eye of an official he said – where are you from – I ground; 50 feet; and touchdown. said Britain. He then asked me to put my bags on a conveyor belt and x-ray machine so your bags and your hand luggage is People are applauding. x-rayed and there is a lot of [laugh]. Basically as soon as I saw the women working in the airport, I thought they looked like extras from a Lady Gaga video, all dyed blonde hair and very short skirts and bright blue, looking very smart I must say. Obviously it has not hit me yet that I am in the Ukraine. Elena was waiting for me and luckily I recognised her, because I did Google her name and I think I found a photograph of her quite

122

2, st moscow street, pechersk, kiev. i was amazed to be able to still see bullet holes from world war 2 in this buildings walls. This was a production workshop factory (Wikipedia-moscow st)


a while ago and realised it was her. She mouthed my name and I nodded and we walked out. I gave her the packet of cigarettes. I apologised, I was not sure if I should have got packets or just the one because I was not sure if she would approve, but she said any Davidoff cigarette is better than what you can buy here, but it does not matter. She had a cigarette immediately anyway when I arrived and she seemed to like it.

quite a big bloke, he looks like he is a bit of a minder for Elena and her mum, but obviously, I do not know anything. I have to find out a lot of things about etiquette, if you are allowed to speak, I need to find out that when I make this presentation if I am allowed to speak basically. I do not know if there is any freedom of speech issues, I do not know if somebody is listening and will not approve of what I am saying, I could get in trouble. I need to suss all of this out very fast.

We drove on the roads for about, I suppose, half an hour. We have stopped outside a supermarket. It feels like it could be in Britain, but you can tell it is all pretty rough; this car has a big crack across it just like in Patagonia. Right outside the front of the supermarket there is a guy standing there. He has got black combat trousers on, black boots, bomber jacket, black beanie hat. He looks like a militia, policeman type, I cannot see any weapon because he is quite a distance away but he looks like a heavy basically. I suppose he is security or police I am not sure which.

By all accounts, it is exactly like Russia. Elena says she hates it here because of the corruption. She showed me a magazine that fits inside a pocket behind the seat, we are both sitting in the back together, and she said, for example, if you want your name or your business or your idea or your photo or anything on the cover of this weekly news magazine, it is like News Weekly or some political magazine (Weekly UA), she said you have to pay cash US$50,000. So it is all about the amount of money you have and who you know.

I am looking at some of the vehicles going past. There was a Vitali, the driver, has got out as well. He does not speak any huge, very new, Range Rover parked behind us, it has gone English. He has been looking after Elena’s mum for about ten now - Black gloss. So you have the mafia types I guess. I am years now, driving around and helping them. He has gone into just looking, there is a Subaru Forester in front of me. There are help get the shopping. He looks like a good bloke, he looks lots of Ladas, what looks like a Volkswagen Golf.

124

it’s possible to make out on the roadside ‘mishka’ - the russian bear mascot of the 1980 moscow olympic games, designed by children’s books illustrator victor chizhikov


It is dark, it was very cold when I got off the plane. It was a case of getting off the plane and going down to a bus that was waiting and everybody gets on a bus and goes on the bus to the airport terminal and then you walk off the bus into arrivals and then you wait against a yellow line on the ground until it is your turn to go to a kiosk where they inspect your passport. There are different queues for different people, like Ukrainian citizens, non-visa or visa. People look typically western, girls are wearing short skirts and tights, but it is bloody cold, so I am glad I have brought all my cold weather jackets. I was looking at people on the plane and people did not have cold weather jackets just pullovers and thin jackets, so I was wondering if I had made a mistake, but I think it could be freezing tonight. Well actually, yes, I saw on the news, BBC news I think, that Ukraine at the moment at night is about minus three. So I did the right thing. Basically, I brought clothing so that if I have any hassle and I end up on my own, then I can survive at night outside with just a lot of jackets and some hats on and stuff and a rain jacket. I did get some funny looks at the airport because I am wearing a green military style cold weather jacket, but basically people have left me alone. Col was ribbing me a bit

126

that, on one hand I do not know anything about Elena really, and I do not know anything about the Ukraine. All I know is that there is a Welsh connection and I want to photograph it and she has very kindly invited me to photograph it. She said that on Wednesday night I will give a talk and tonight an English speaking journalist or photographer is coming to see us. Presumably they have stopped outside this building to go in and get some food. It looks from the outside like a football stadium. It is just grey slabs of concrete and some low lighting and inside I can see something that says Ringoo in green letters and next to it are some little icons, graphic logos, one for a mobile phone, one for headphones, one for a camera and one for a laptop. It looks like a shop, it is like an arcade, a shopping arcade, upstairs I can see some very, actually, upstairs it is kind of modern, but it is rudimentary, upstairs I can see more and more levels going up and up. It is built in the same way as a football stadium is. Downstairs is all shopping and upstairs I cannot see, it looks like it could be a car park, but actually it is not, cars are not upstairs. It is not built solidly enough for that. There is low lighting everywhere. There is a car park, it looks like you have got to pay for that. Lots of activity, people driving around, number plates have a UA on i walk around kiev with one of my translators ‘Mykhaylo’ and see this wall graffiti, right. “legal butcher” which reminds me of the “cannibal district” i drove through in Buenos aires


the back which stands for Ukraine and a typical number plate is AA3752CK.

covering it with fur and making it look like an animal - people would say – why would we want to steal that it just looks stupid – and she said you would be surprised. If it moves, they Well, the women that I have seen are very pretty as I expected, will want to use it and they will steal it. She said it was far too and no over-weight ones because, obviously, a lot of people dangerous. It is like a war, which I can believe. These things here are not able to afford or there is no access to, Western used to happen in Buenos Aires quite a lot, people would get food which is fatty and sugary. off the back of a motorbike and draw up alongside you when you are on your motorbike and the person on the back of the I am looking through a window of this building and I can see other motorbike would get off and just hold a gun and point a model of a reindeer with a sleigh behind it, presumably for it at you and say – get off. They would jump on it and ride off. Christmas. I have seen a man walk in just now and he is now Hijacking basically, it happens all around the world. walking out and he has got a five litre container of water and just one plastic shopping bag full of food, not very full either. So I am wondering what I need to know to be streetwise and He has got a beanie hat on and a waterproof jacket and a ‘fly’ while I am here. She also said that you cannot use your jumper. debit card because people will steal the number and just take money out of your account so I think you have to be really I am not talking about a different planet here, this is not Europe, careful about which cashpoint machines to use You might but anyway, Elena was saying that she does not like this place have to use a cashpoint machine in a bank to get money and at all. She knows people, she speaks to them, but I think that is do not use US dollars, it is just Ukrainian currency, which I could it. What I think she means is that she is not friends with anybody not get hold of when I was in Britain. really. It is just an incredibly hard life. She also advised me not to come by motorbike because it would get stolen. I said that I have been sat here for about quarter of an hour now I am planning on getting an older motorbike if I do not buy waiting for Elena to come out. I did offer to go in with them a brand new one or get sponsorship for a new one and just and help buy some food, I still have the $100 in my left boot

128

i land at dusk so this is my first view in daylight on the outskirts of kiev from one of elena’s top floor windows. this is the dnieper river flowing from russia to the black sea


and another $100 in my rucksack which is in the boot of the car. It was a case of leaving the airport before opening the door in the back of the car for Elena. She got in and I closed it. Then her driver, Vitali pushed a button inside the car and the boot opened, it is like a saloon/hatchback. The boot opened I chucked my stuff in closed it and got in the back with Elena and we have been talking from leaving the airport up until coming to this supermarket place. We have been talking about the Welsh in Patagonia, she was interested in Afghanistan and I have been asking her what does Donbass mean. Donbass is a name of a region around Donetsk. Donetsk is the name of a city. She says that she does not really know why John Hughes came here. We decided that it was because he was a pioneer, but I supposed that perhaps it was because the Victorians were very romantic, they liked to travel and have adventures, but she still does not really understand why. He had this steel making technology, but when he came here there was nothing, it was just green countryside. I knew that already as well. Anyway, I had two printed sheets I made at Colin’s, one was an invitation from the Donetsk museum and one was a letter written from Evolution Media. The Evolution Media letter was

130

not as official as the museum letter, so I show the museum letter first although it is from Donetsk which is about five hundred miles from here and the Evolution Media letter is from Kiev. I showed the museum letter first to the woman at passport control and she did not even want to read the letter from Evolution Media because it did not sound quite as official. I have not even looked to see if she stamped my passport to come here. I cannot remember the name of a country house, I did explain to Elena that a yarla is the name of a country house in Turkey, it is something similar, it is a similar word to yarla. She said I will have to learn Russian or Ukrainian anyway. I think everybody in these countries like Lithuania and Latvia, people speak that language, but they also all learn Russian at school as well because those countries used to be part of the USSR so you had to learn it, it was compulsory to learn Russian. Elena asked me if I smoked as well and I said no, I gave it up. I said I used to do everything, but I have stopped. I think it upset her in a way, not upset her, it is just a bit boring that I do not drink or smoke, it makes me look a bit like a goodie goodie. my first morning i wake up early, make a coffee and walk into the garden to photo my new surroundings from elena’s house on the outskirts of kiev. the dnieper river is seen through the trees


I am hardly that, it is just that I cannot afford to do it and it is not not know what it means, but it is in European letters. good for my health. I did explain about my heart, that I could not join the army because I am missing a bit of my heart. A woman and a child have just turned up and the woman has taken the cigarette off the girl with the red jacket. She is Colin was ribbing me saying that I have come here and I might sharing the cigarette and she has trousers on and a long just be cut up and sold for body parts [laugh]. That they might jacket, so she is not all dressed up. What are they saying to the want my internal organs, I kind of doubt that though somehow kid. Hmm, the woman with the red jacket has just gone inside [laugh], but I am here to give a lecture. with the kid. There is a very pretty blonde girl standing outside the supermarket wearing high black boots, very faint black tights so I can see her skin underneath and a very short mini skirt with a short square red jacket, only slightly higher than her mini skirt and she is smoking a cigarette, so I shall wait to see what she does. Long, yes, very very thin stiletto heels on her high boots that go just up to below her knees. I wonder, would she be a working girl. It is hard to say. She is smoking a cigarette. It is a cold old night for a mini skirt and tights that is for sure.

Well, I have been here quite a while now. Are they discussing me, are they just buying food, I do not know what they are doing. I really do not know.

Before I went to Afghanistan I decided I had nothing to lose anymore, I am a photographer and I was not getting anywhere with my photography, so you have to take some risks sometimes. To someone in Britain saying you are going to go to the Ukraine is probably nothing it is just another country and, who cares at the end of the day, if you come back or you do There are two pillars that support a semi-circle overhang, there not. Plenty of people come here and come back. I looked on is actually, what does it say on the top, oh I see, it has got a the Foreign Office website, I think sixty four thousand sort of curved front to it with glass windows and up high there is people from Britain visited the Ukraine last year. I think two some yellow writing – Mera M – I do not know, I have seen a lot people were arrested, five people died and seven other of crylic Russian writing and there is a lot of writing in, well I do people something happened. I do not know anything so I

132

elena’s house is known as a ‘dacha’ - a russian word for seasonal or year round second home. it was owned by her grandfather who was the most famous doctor in ukraine for deafness/ hearing


cannot comment that is all.

Tuesday 8th November 2011 - 07.52

That woman with her son was just pushing a trolley out of the shop. She has one plastic bag in the shopping trolley and two containers with some kind of juice drink in, it is not the same view as people coming out of Tesco back in Britain. There is a couple coming out and they have got three plastic bags full of food in. People are not going in and spending £100 on food for a couple of days.

It is incredibly quiet. I am outside, I can hear a lot of traffic on a motorway in the background, but other than that, locally, there is a dog barking in the distance, but other than that it is incredibly quiet. I am walking down towards Dnieper river. The same name as the motorbikes made in the Ukraine.

I just woke up about a quarter of an hour ago, went downstairs, made a coffee using Elena’s coffee because I gave her I am trying to remember what else we discussed in the car. First some Italian Lavazza I had bought from Tesco, I had brought impressions count for a lot, so it is vital to remember what we two packets with me. I have given her one because I feel a bit discussed. Elena seems to be very nice, she is easy to talk to, tight because I only gave her one packet of cigarettes she understands English and she speaks very good English as yesterday. well. Some words she does not know, but she probably speaks English as well as I speak Spanish I would say, it is probably just Anyway, there is an awful lot to say. I have made myself a the verbs. She says she has a daughter that now lives in Costa coffee with her coffee, I have not opened mine because it is Rica, but prefers Malaysia to Costa Rica. Her daughter speaks a bit mean. I am out here in the cold. I cannot see a frost, but Spanish, but she says funnily enough that her daughter said it must have been about minus three last night. Actually, I can that Spain is very similar to the Ukraine and Russia, it is see a frost on an old vegetable garden, but the air is incredibly something to do with money and monarchy and status I think. [breaths in deeply] sharp and it is a hell of a lot colder than Britain. I am looking out across the river which is quite wide; it is about

134

i immediately photo my surroundings from elena’s dacha. this is one of her neighbours houses. i’m drawn to the corrugated roof, drying clothing, sunlight and paint colour, roof style


two hundred metres wide. I am looking out at a bank of trees on the other side, woodland. I am on some concrete steps leading down a fairly steep garden it is terraced and the sun is out and there is a huge blue sky. So I have made a coffee with my espresso machine, my espresso maker that I brought with me. There is an awful lot to say from when I had made a recording last night. So I will start. Basically, eventually Elena came back with Vitali the driver and they spent a long time in the supermarket and really they came back with two shopping bags of literally nothing inside. I mean, they bought lots of small bottles of water from what I could make out and some salad and that was about it, so I do not know quite what they were doing - maybe discussing me. Later Elena said that apparently Vitali had said that I seemed to be such a nice bloke and I came here with just a small rucksack on my back. They were surprised about that as I am here for five weeks. It shows I am, I suppose, a modest guy, I do not know, but look, enough about me and what I am like okay this is not about me. So we drove again for more time out to a Dacha I cannot re-

136

member the name of a country house, but it is like, it is very similar to a Turkish yarla actually, a Turkish country house. I knew that the old houses would have high ceilings and high doors that go up to the ceiling. I had a feeling it would be like that. Anyway, Vitali helped bring stuff inside the house and then he left. I shook his hand twice. He had a smile on his face. First time we went outside to the car to go and get stuff from it and I said – look Vitali, I know he does not speak English, but I said to him – look I know that we have not introduced ourselves yet - so I stuck out my hand and shook his hand and when he left again, as he was walking past, he shook my hand from a different angle, he did not look me in the eye, but he was smiling. He left and then Elena had to do some work on the laptop; I made myself a cup of tea down in the kitchen. I made a, I do not know what it was, I found some tea bags in the cupboard never had that taste before. I did not use milk, it was like a sort of herbal tea. Eventually a really nice bloke called Vadym turned up who looked like a biker to start with, he wears a bandana, but he the riverside end of elena’s dacha which reminds me of a turkish ‘yali’ with high interior doors which reach the ceiling and predominant use of wood though used less here outside


has made it himself, he has insulated it with foil because he has problems with radio waves and electricity and stuff like my mate Faisal Kouaja has. So I told him about Faisal and I said that they should get in touch because maybe Faisal has got some information that can help him, but he does have a lot of problems with this. It is probably because he is very intelligent, he seems to be super intelligent, PhD, he is only forty three. I was mystified because he has got a very good English accent and he said he has only ever spent four days in Britain, but Elena jokingly said he is a parrot because he just picks up words that he hears and he has obviously got a natural talent, he speaks a lot of languages and he has a posh English accent. I tried to explain to him what posh means, but he did not understand, but we talked an awful lot last night. I kept on apologising. I keep on having flashbacks from when I first went to Patagonia and I was talking to [Luned and Tegai] and Teigai said in Spanish I was pretentious because I had my camera out at the dining room table or the kitchen table that was their dining room. At their kitchen table taking photographs as we ate literally within my first hour of arriving as I was so keen to get started, but I am holding off from that.

of houses made from wood in a log cabin style and chimneys, old tin chimneys coming out of the top with nothing on the ends. It is very beautiful. The house has got white brick and is built with a corrugated iron roof, but it is in a gorgeous style. I was taken outside last night into the garden and I thought we were going to go a long way because they made it sound like it was a long way, but in fact in was ten paces out. There was an amazing wooden structure which was the size of a garage which is a sauna. They are very much into their saunas. I think Elena is quite interested in getting me in there tonight. She said that I should definitely have one and did I have a problem with being naked. I said I do not, but a lot of British people do. Already I am getting a feeling of what these people are like, they are very easy going.

Vadym used to be a word checker, I think he said, to the President of the Ukraine. So he has done very well for himself. He is the Director General of a very large news agency and he is a top journalist in the Ukraine. My first impressions did not say that to me. He is forty three, he looks like he looks after himself, he does not look that old. He certainly does not look forty I am looking around, it is absolutely gorgeous. It is a cross three. He also owns his own magazine, a travelling magazine between Turkey and Canada for me here at the moment. Lots called Mandry which is good quality and he has done an awful

138

Vladimir, known as vova, at breakfast in the kitchen of elena’s dacha. vova speaks around 5 languages including georgian and has perfect english despite only visiting the uk for 4 days


lot of travelling, to about fifty countries he said which is very impressive.

They asked me if I was Jewish because of my Gold surname and I explained that my father has traced our family history back seven hundred years to a county in England called Anyway, they have seen my photography, they like it and they Somerset and there was flooding and we migrated up to are very keen to get me to do this presentation which I think will Shropshire and we were copper miners or worked with copper, be tomorrow night so I have to get a move on and put some but they were quite insistent that I could have been Jewish. work together using my hard drive. I do not think it was anything to do with the fact that I did not really bring much with me. Certainly I could have brought ten During supper last night, Elena had made oxtail and it was packets of Davidoff Whites there would have been no harm proper oxtail it still had the bones from the tail of the ox in the in that because, as I said to Elena even if she did not like them pot and it was absolutely delicious, very tender, very tasty, she she could have given them as presents to people or sold them made a salad of cucumber, lettuce and tomato and an olive off. So that was pretty tight of me and actually looking at the oil dressing or just a sunflower oil dressing with some cheese. I cost of ten packets it was €38 which I guess is about £38 which had some cheese to start off with, which is a bit rude because, works out at £3.80 a packet. If you think about it, a packet like in England, you have cheese after the meal. We had some of twenty cigarettes in Britain is twice that. So it was a pretty cheese afterwards, but I helped myself to some cheese first of good buy and Davidoff are a good make and the tobacco all as well as I was absolutely ravenous and I had eaten a lot smells nice. yesterday. I had eaten all the snacks that they gave out on the airplane. I feel like I am exceeding my quota, eating far I slept in a very nice room last night. The whole thing reminds more than I normally do. me of Turkey at the moment, high ceilings, high doors. There is a lot of heat on in the house which I am not used to. All the Nobody is up yet, I think Vadym has to leave to go to work by radiators are on, really old cast iron radiators, everything I have eight thirty he says and I think Elena and I will leave afterwards. got to take photographs of obviously. It seems that I will go by train to Donetsk with a translator.

140

an ‘hdr’ image taken using a tripod and 5 different exposures, combined, of the room i sleep in at elenas dacha. i love the overhead lampshade.


I slept very well, did not get up at all in the night to go for a pee. I had about seven hours sleep I think, had about six hours sleep, but I can get by on that. It is very rustic. There are not a lot of leaves on the trees. I am looking at a little shed in somebody’s garden which has got carpet for a roof held down with a sort of strap of rubber I think or material or something. It is gorgeous I love it. I did not know what to expect. Vadym said he would take me about one hundred and fifty kilometres just to go and visit his mother. I will probably be the first British or Englishman to have ever gone to her village and I have to expect a very low standard of living. I said – you have to remember that I have been to Afghanistan which is like the times of Jesus Christ, well mediaeval anyway. So I know what to expect, I have seen poverty all around the world. I have seen poverty in Argentina and in Brazil and in Afghanistan. At one point I think I really pissed him off. He said that the average journalist here or a good journalist will earn $1,000 a month, so I said, well do you and he said no and Elena laughed and said he earns a lot more than that because he has a very good job. He said he earns a bit more, but maybe he earns $1,500 or maybe he is earning the equivalent of £300 a week. I think that is very possible or maybe £400 a week. I said okay well I actually live on half of that a year in Britain and

142

I think it pissed him off because he was making out that people are very poor here, but I think they have to understand how I have been living. I live very frugally. I can live on £1 of food a day. It reminded me, as well, of when I was out in Afghanistan I told the translators who were moaning about how little they got paid, that I lived on half of what they were earning. There was nothing for them to spend their money on in Afghanistan. They got food and accommodation for nothing from the British army, so when you have got that paid for, you have no chance to go into town, you have very little opportunity to spend so you can save up a lot in a short time. I have just finished my coffee. It is fairly strong, does not taste that good, certainly not as good as Lavazza. Elena suggested that I keep the packet for myself because I will need it in Donetsk, but I am quite prepared to buy local coffee as it is nice to be able to give something. She offered me some chocolates as well last night after the meal which were a good make. Not Lindt, another make, I cannot remember, but I had two small ones. I said that I was going to bring chocolates as well, but I really did not have time and I kick myself now because I did have time, but I did not want to miss my connecting flight.

i’m photographing everything all of the time and don’t want to miss anything. this is detail of elenas dacha’s guttering and drainpipe. i like the fact someone has decorated it


I am going to go back into the house now that I have my laptop. I am going to download some photographs of the yurt I took with a PENTAX Optio compact camera to show Vadym before he leaves this morning. I showed him my business cards last night as well and they said that at the presentation I must show the journalists the business cards because business cards like that are unheard of in the Ukraine where they have photographs on one side. So that is interesting as well, I suppose people have plain white business cards. It looks like I will have a sauna tonight which I am looking forward to because I love saunas as long as I do not have a stiffy [laugh]. There is a Subaru parked in the drive and there was an electronic gate driveway so when we drove up, Vitali pressed a button and it opened automatically. There is a fairly high red brick wall with all the cement oozing out the sides where they have been put on top of each other. If the cement had been cleaned off it would really look quite smart. I suppose the houses could be old German. I can see the tops of some chimneys with the heat coming out of them and there is a mirage in the air. It is really quite nippy out. I am going to go back inside, but the house is absolutely gorgeous. In the

144

garden there are some circles in the ground where there is some flowerbeds and they have been ringed with some upturned brown plastic bottles, like coke bottles, which makes a nice effect. It looks really smart the way the light is going through the brown plastic. It is a nice idea. I am looking at the gutter and the drainpipe from the top gutter of the house, it is just, well - I am really happy that I made the effort to come here. Last night I was slightly paranoid because I really did not know these people, but after talking all night I feel that I can trust them. They are very nice people. Possibly I am not as funny as I should be, I am quite serious but they do not yet know how committed I am to my work. I am going to go inside and let us see what happens. Tuesday 8th November 2011 - 08:31 I have gone back outside again. I did go inside; I made myself coffee before I came out the first time. I got my laptop out with some photographs on it from a memory card of the yurt and the teepee for Toss, the dog. I just remembered last night, when I mention the name of the view from the front of elena’s dacha into the garden and of other dachas across the road - some which are derelict


dog, Vadym knew some Welsh which is astounding, spelt the name of the dog and he could say it in Welsh.

I am going to take some photographs of some wood that is piled up in a tin bath. It is just beautiful.

Anyway, I took some photographs, the first photographs taken in the Ukraine was out of the top of a window looking at the view. That was the first view that greeted me. Well, the second view, the first view was looking out of a window of a bedroom as two men walked past on their way to work this morning. I saw an amazing old building on the other side of a road amongst some old trees.

Tuesday 8th November 2011 - 14:21

So I have come outside to take some photographs of the exterior of the house. I have learnt that when you are travelling you should always make the most of every opportunity because you might never be able to repeat it. For example, if, for some reason, I was unable to come back to this house again today, which is very unlikely because I am staying here for a week, then I would make the most of taking photographs in case I had to leave the Ukraine. You have always got to be slightly panicky about this.

We are in a café called Yaroslavna. After I made my last recording we left Elena’s she was showing me the film that she has made about Donetsk. Her sponsor apparently does not like it unfortunately. He says that it is ironic, but I cannot understand why, as by all accounts it is very good, it just needs a bit of tweaking to it. Since then, we drove back into Kiev and went to Elena’s office and I was introduced to several people. I was also given a Wi-Fi password so that I can use my laptop to give a presentation tomorrow. We went up into one of the offices upstairs, I was introduced to a good guy called Mykhaylo who is my translator. He is eighteen and just left school. He has been given this job by Evolution Media and we will go to Donetsk together.

I have come outside with the zoom attached as I was using the We left Elena’s office quite soon and started walking around zoom to take photographs through the window and I have a Kiev and we first walked up to take a photograph outside the wide angle as well. I am just around the side of a house and opera house, the most famous opera house in Kiev, and then

146

after translator Mykhaylo asks many people for permission we finally get to watch singers practice at the ukrainian national opera house in kiev. this is an hdr of the orchestra and stage


we walked down to a university which was painted red and went inside to try to take photographs, but it was not possible, everybody was at lunch so we walked back up to the opera house and went inside. Mykhaylo kindly made a telephone call and got the vice-director down, vice-president of the opera house and I took some photographs of the opera house. Eventually we managed to go upstairs and take some photographs of the vice-president who was very anti having his photograph taken. Elena explained and also Micha explained that older people are very wary of having their photograph taken, probably because they were brought up in the USSR era before it collapsed and in those days it was not a good idea to just pose for a photograph.

news agency where Vadym works, a very nice guy. He is the good speaking English guy that I met yesterday at Elena’s. He just took me for pizza and soup and a cappuccino. I showed him my work.

Basically, what happened today was this eighteen year old translator with an America accent called Mykhaylo took me around the city walking and I knew that at some point I would be asked to show my work before I make a presentation because they want to check that I am who I say I am and that my work is of a good standard. So I went to a café just now, a pizza place, where I was asked to show my work and talk through it. So I think they want to see that I am competent, they wanted to check me out to see how I talk We have since then left and gone to this café to have a coffee about my work. They asked me many questions, what lens is and some Piroshki, they look like small pasties, which are this, what aperture, what aperture do you use when you are fantastic. taking your photographs, why is this blurred, why is it this, why is it that? I think they were impressed. They left me there to Tuesday 8th November 2011 - 18:17 pack up all of my belongings in the basement of this restaurant and went back to the news agency building. I spoke to two of Everything is happening very quickly. This is my first full day in them, Vadym who is the Director General who was very senior, the Ukraine. I am by myself right now outside a very tall but he wears biker clothing because he has this problem with building in Kiev called The Information Agency Unian, Union is electric radiation radio waves and he wears a bandana with spelt wrong – Unian. It is on Khreshchatik Street, basically it is a tin foil inside of it, whereas everybody else is very smart.

148

vice director of national opera of ukraine - anatoliy ivanovich kozhukovsky was very reluctant to be photographed but helped make a great image in the buildings corridors


Another man was with him who was a like a journalist and a graphic designer and has just come back from Austria where he was taking photographs at three thousand metres. He said that he was very pleased to be back home. He has got chapped lips from the cold. Either they were sussing me out to see if I could work for them, or they just want to make sure that they have got the right guy in Kiev with them. They were introduced to me earlier in the agency building before we went to the pizzeria as a famous English, no, not a famous English photographer, but a well-known English photographer and I said please do not say that I am well-known. He said well you are. I said, well actually maybe I am fairly well known or I am well known in Wales, but people know of my work in England, but they will not give me work because it is who you know, not what you know or what you are capable of. This is what I am trying to put across to them. Anyway, I was in the news agency and they have got photographs of the work that the photojournalists who work for this news agency have taken in a corridor all framed up. They are really first class photographs worthy of winning titles in any country in the world.

150

I am standing outside the agency. I have been asked to wait inside for Vadym and that I am going to be going back to Elena’s. I am meant to spend a week in Kiev being shown around by Mykhaylo as far as I know, but tomorrow night 6pm is my presentation and my master class, between now and then I have to put a presentation together using my hard drive with all my photographs and then I will give a projector slideshow using Mykhaylo as interpreter to speak to people. Earlier in the building with Vadym he gave me tea and chocolate. I sat down in a room with two female journalists one who spoke Spanish and I was able to speak with her in Spanish and she is very pretty. The other one, her husband has passed away and she is not such a happy person unfortunately, but she said to me at one point, because she made out that she did not speak any English, “so are you a documentary photographer or do you just take photographs of naked ladies?” I could not believe my ears. It seemed to me that she could not speak in English to start off with, but then she seemed to know that I have taken photographs of naked women and they are on my website. The strange thing is that I do (did) have a book ‘Madfallod’ which means ‘Lizards’ and it is stood on my website or bell tower (1716-1719) at entrance to st michael’s golden-domed monastery in kiev.This is a 3 image ‘hdr’ taken hand-held using the pentax k7 ‘in-camera’ image processing feature


connected to it and they must have found it and had a look at it which is very inspired of them. Slightly embarrassed, but I discussed it later with Vadym. I said did I hear her correctly? In fact she has just left the building, I have just said goodbye to her. He said well it was not a bad question was it? I said, no, but it caught me by surprise. I said it is a healthy thing to do. Well many photographers do take photographs of naked women. So how they knew that, they could only have known that by looking at my website, so it seems that they have really done a thorough job of checking me out and I am here, so I must be here for a reason. They do not want my body for body parts [laugh] or they want me to do some work for them or at least take photographs of Welsh heritage in Donetsk. Vadym said that he would come and see me perhaps in Donetsk and I said that would be really fantastic, so hopefully he can. I have explained to him that I am a hard worker and very dedicated and that I was the first one to get up in the morning and the last one to go to bed at night (in Afghanistan). I am trying to establish, and I will establish in my presentation tomorrow, how committed I am to my work. Obviously, they do not know me very well and they are still to realise how committed I am. I am getting tired. I am forty-two, I have been to Afghanistan this year and I am here now. I am going

152

to go inside and wait for Vadym. I am standing outside, I can see through some double-glazing they have got photographs of President Putin on the wall as well. Really good photojournalists. I would love to be able to take photographs like this if somebody gave me the opportunity to work for them. How ironic it would be if I did, well it is ironic I suppose. Wednesday 9th November 2011 - 11:37 I really have to catch up. I have not been able to do a voice recording since leaving with Vadym from the news agency yesterday. We left in his Subaru Forester automatic. We drove to Elena’s where he stayed a night. The second night, he also has a wife and a child. His second marriage, he is only fortythree, he has an eight year old daughter and he has a eighteen year old daughter with his first wife. We went back to Elena’s and had a very nice supper and I went into the sauna which is in a special shed in the garden and spent some time in there talking and I came back out and spent a lot of time looking through photographs on my external hard drive for the presentation I am going to make tonight. I did not complete my work unfortunately as it was getting too late, I went to bed about 1.30am and got up at 7.00am so I builders pose whilst restoring steps up to st andrew’s church in kiev. this is a baroque church (1747-1754). the church is on andriyivska hill & the foundation has shifted causing concerns


have had five hours sleep and continued until about quarter to ten in the morning trying to collate my work. I have my website to show and I have access to the internet, but I also would like to show additional work, things like my trike which I showed to Vadym and Elena last night and they were very interested.

Now I am back in Evolution Media in a very nice office upstairs there is a balcony which people use for smoking, there is no smoking in the building. They want to do a three page double page spread about me in the magazine which is a huge honour. It is called Weekly UA, Weekly Ukraine. It is a very big news magazine that goes around the whole of the Ukraine. This morning Vitali, the driver, picked us up from Elena’s house This is the biggest media group in the Ukraine. This is a huge which is a, I have to get the name right, it is not a yarla which privilege. They are also going to send me to Chernobyl and is a Turkish country house, I might have mentioned it already, there is a party of journalists going and they basically needed I cannot remember. Anyway, we left through an electronic to get information from me today. They asked if I have a press gate driving out of the garden house area and parking just pass. I tried to make them understand before I came that I am outside it and waiting while the gate closes to make sure that not a journalist, I am more of an artist, but they said what proof nobody sneaks in as you drive off with it still closing. This is what do I have of my work. I said I have a story written about me on happens in South Africa apparently. the BBC website. They said that was enough and not to worry because I was going to give them the names of local newspaAs we drove, it appeared that Elena was speaking to the expers as well as BBC Radio Wales who did a story about me. president of the Ukraine in the car, what about I do not know, and I did not ask because it is not polite. I was taking Funnily enough now I am looking at Elena’s desk on her monitor photographs we got into Kiev today, my second day; Elena there is a story that was from a lady called Annie Gwen Jones told me that I would meet a woman at midday who speaks and it is a BBC Radio broadcast from December 15th 1943 from English. She knows all about Kiev and that she would show me 5:05 until 5:20pm, it says rehearsal 4pm from Cardiff, so this was around the city. I am happy with what happened yesterday, done during the Second World War and it is called The Steel the highlight was going to the opera house. City. This is translated from a Welsh version into English so this was a story that was narrated by this lady who used to live in

154

kiev city famously stands on although there are more than visible hills - at least 15. called mounts and the spaces are ancient small rivers

7 hills 7 some are between


Donetsk and it is all about her memories of going there in 1889. It is incredible that Elena has managed to find this and it is incredibly useful. So I am sitting here taking notes about what this lady has mentioned and if all else fails and I can go to Donetsk and I can look through my notes and match photographs to the words in this piece, so I could use this piece with permission from somebody in the future for a book perhaps and the photographs with the writing will make it much more interesting. That is the starting place since I have only been here two days. I have a list of fifteen pointers at the moment. It is very interesting. What also surprised me was, on the airplane, a very young couple, who appeared to have quite a lot of money, the man had an iPad which he was playing Scrabble on and I think he was definitely Ukrainian, but he was speaking in French as well and teaching his little child how to speak in French so it makes me aware that the people here are very intelligent and they have a real lust for needing to learn more. So I feel quite at home because of the need for experiencing different things and expressing themselves as well.

156

boris said: he was a geologist, all his family were true believers, he never married - that was god’s way. most important thing is that we behave in love, there is a lack of love in world

I was told yesterday by Mykhaylo that a lot of young people know English, how to speak it, and a lot of older people do not. It is a sign of the times. As I am reading from this extract from 1943, there is basically two classes of people: poor people, rich people live in large houses and estates, they have lots of workers and maids, they can speak many languages and the reading was immense. I was surprised, more than once, that they knew so much about the prime English writers of the time. The Russian author they mentioned the most was Pushkin. I heard only a little from them about Tolstoy. French was the second language, which is what reminded me of the couple on the airplane, and I heard almost more French than Russian. Russian was a hard language to learn. As I have mentioned, they were very fond of music and dancing and they were very fond of playing cards. It seems that when I think of Vadym, and the distinction between Elena and Vadym is that they are friends and they are both journalists and its seems that Vadym’s first wife was a journalist, his second wife is a journalist, I think his mother worked in a library and his father was a journalist. It continues through the family, there was a huge amount of interest and incentive to keep on going. I really like that. Obviously, I wish I had had that at left a monk valled ‘boris Siluan’ aged 73 “when i was tired of the world i decided to become a monk 23 years ago”. at right a man carries ‘icons’ up a hill


with my Father, but unfortunately he did not seem to show a great deal of interest in what I was doing, but I have managed to find myself luckily, but that is a different story. It is interesting how incredibly intelligent Vadym is. I joked with him last night and I said I am making a horrible joke with you, but the pains in the head that he has from these electric waves, I said it is probably not electricity, it is just the fact that you are incredibly intelligent and he has a PhD, but he is very well read so reading this made me realise. Anyway, I am going to write to Faisal Kouja, my old friend from ‘halls of residence’ because he has the same problem with electrical waves and I am going to write to him for advice and ask him to get in touch with Vadym.

journalist and we are in her car and it is a beautiful day. Mykhailyna has just explained to me that the governments in Kiev would like to see Kiev get bigger and do better and grow to be like New York City. So they are very keen to build here, but the builders here do not have enough experience to make things. Mykhailyna has just pointed out a tower, a bell tower which used to be the highest point in the city and it had to stay the highest point of because of like a... “Sorry” (Me) “That is okay” (Mykhailyna)

Wednesday 9th November 2011 - 12:13

“I am very sorry” (Me)

I am with a lady called Mykhailyna, who has been asked by Elena to drive me and show me different places in Kiev. Kiev is built on seven hills and we are on one hill which, two hundred years ago was a suburb, but now it is the most expensive place to live in Kiev. Mykhailyna is kindly going to show me various places I can photograph. Mykhailyna used to work as a

[Laugh] “It is alright. It was for the glory of God, it was out of respect for God” (Mykhailyna)

158

“Yes. Yes” (Me) “Okay, but now it is not the highest building, there are other mykha (one of the two translators who help me in kiev) in the ‘kiev monastery of the caves’ where there are many chapels and tombs of monks underground from 1051 onwards


newer ones. It is under wraps at the moment because it is being renovated. It would be a good place to take a photograph from� (Mykhailyna)

name of the restaurant here? Do not worry we will find out. It is very nice, it is round. It is called Koupal.

Since I last spoke Mykhailyna has been very kind, we went into Mykhailyna and I briefly discussed after we left Evolution Media I cannot remember where we were aiming for originally, there about what we wanted to do and I have got to think pretty was a big bell tower (Lavra) but we went towards a monastery quick on my feet because I am not a proper journalist, I am a and there was a church that we went into and I wanted a documentary photographer. I am here off my own back photograph from there. We were told to come back half an wanting to take photographs that could be made into a book hour later and we went to a shop selling icons, icons which by Gomer about Donetsk. While I am in Kiev, the only thing households have traditionally, which are religious which are I can do is to document anything to do with Welsh heritage. beautifully made, gold in colour. I want to photograph in there There is not any, so I have to photograph key points within the as well, but eventually we spoke to a monk and I took his city. photograph. He was called Boris and it was good to hear what he had to say. We went into some caves underground, I Mykhailyna is just re-parking her car and we are about to walk was not allowed to take photographs, but I did. I have a very about and that is really all there is. I have photographed good photograph of Mykhailyna. Mykhailyna had to wear a various different aspects, I am more interested in finding head shawl and also a skirt that you put on over your trousers officials in high places to photograph within their work if you are not wearing a skirt already which you have to hire environment, like in a hospital or a library or a school. I think, but you get your money back and you also go down We will see what happens. with a candle. I have taken one good photograph today, it is that one that I am happiest with of Mykhailyna. In these caves Wednesday 9th November 2011 - 14:40 there were coffins or caskets made from glass and wood which actually have the bodies of old monks inside and they are all I am sitting in a restaurant upstairs with Mykhailyna. What is the wrapped up in religious cloth so that was probably the

160

there are over 100 bodies of glass coffined mummified saints in lavra caves below the orthodox christian monastery which is a unesco world heritage site


highlight. It is 14:42 and at four I should really get back as I have this presentation to make. It is interesting talking to Mykhailyna about the black market, there is a sixty percent black market here, because I was asking how people managed to have so many big expensive cars. So it is easy to make money, because it is, I suppose high taxes and lots of corruption.

Wednesday 9th November 2011 - 15:16

Soon we will go back I think to Evolution Media and I will start to arrange the presentation for this evening. We have had a very nice meal. It was a soup, like chilli con carne, it was a chilli soup with a spicy flavour and then a cherry pie afterwards for pudding. It was very good.

“Okay” (Me)

We have just left Koupal restaurant/café and as we were leaving Mykhailyna pointed out that a woman obviously owning or running the restaurant was counting a huge amount of cash and it is obvious that they operate with cash like most businesses do here because the tax is very high and they do Two minutes past three. Mykhailyna has been telling me about not want to pay high taxes they do not want to declare the some friends she visited in South Wales and also about the money they are making so they deal with cash. It is very similar black market here and corruption which is interesting. The way in Britain where you do cash in hand jobs, you do not declare it it works and essentially what is now clear is that it is a system to the Government, which is really why taxes are so high, it is a that works. We have a system that kind of works in Britain. vicious circle. It is just a way of getting by which is interesting, but I still do not know or understand enough. It seems that some people have “Is it close to Kiev?” (Me) a very good standard of living here and I would not know how to compare it to the other countries that I have visited. No. This is Bromia (Mykhailyna)

162

I have returned back to Evolution Media with Mykhailyna. I have just seen my first motorbike in Kiev in the Ukraine. It was a Honda VT 750 Shadow. this is a wedding i photograph without permission in what I think is the great lavra belltower. ‘The crowning’ represents man & woman in union & is a symbol or martyrdom (meaning ‘witness’)


Thursday 10th November 2011 - 00:18 It is after midnight. It is a Thursday. I am really tired. I had five hours sleep last night because I was preparing my presentation. I have just eaten; Elena served up some more oxtail with salad and goat’s cheese which was delicious. Vadym‘Vavo’ or ‘Vova’ is here and so is Elena for a third night. I went to the restaurant with Mykhailyna the girl who took me around a monastery essentially, the area of a monastery today, down to some caves underground. I was not allowed to take photographs, I did not want to risk getting caught and being told to delete my images, so I took lots of photographs with a camera around my neck at waist level and many did not come out. I was not really worrying too much, I did not have a chance, the monks and trainee monks standing in the shadows everywhere we went, watching. They kept on looking at my camera to see if I was pressing the shutter release, but there is once that I actually lifted the camera to my eye and took a photograph of Mykhailyna holding a candle in one of the cave corridors. It is really beautiful. So if I take one good

164

photograph a day I will be happy. I took her for lunch, or rather she told me where to go and I offered to pay and it was 309 Grivnas which apparently is about £40 which could feed me for forty days, so I am utterly horrified, I told Elena this evening and she said that I would get my money back from Evolution Media because she now has the bill because Mykhailyna gave it to her. I heard that food was cheap here, but maybe it is in supermarkets, but it is not in restaurants that is for sure and it seems that a lot of people have a lot of expensive cars and I have seen a lot of people in expensive restaurants and if they have all of this money it is because they are not paying their taxes and it is all to do with the black market. I am speaking in Elena’s kitchen. I made the presentation today. Mykhailyna and I left the, “sorry I am just making a recording”, and what happened after that. Oh, Elena, no Mykhailyna took me to a shop which sells icons, beautiful orthodox paintings or prints rather of Jesus or Saints in a lovely Two colourful women allow me to photograph them while mykha shares a happy conversation. they kindly told us when to enter the bell tower at the right moment to photograph


wooden frame, they are all golden and I would definitely like to buy one. Some cost about 1 Grivna, some cost about 20, 30, 40 they go up to US$1,000 apparently. They are beautifully handmade and some use a lot of metal in them and I guess gold leaf as well. I wanted to take photographs of the women selling these icons and they would not be photographed and I asked them why, as it would help my work greatly if you would be kind enough to explain to me simply why you do not want to have your photographs taken and they did not have an explanation. I could not take a photograph of that. I was allowed to take photographs of icons close up and we left there and went towards the church because I asked Mykhailyna if I could take photographs in the church. She said yes. Earlier in the day Mykhailyna asked an old woman working in the church who was selling icons and candles, that kind of thing, because it is a catholic type of thing where you buy a candle, you light it and say a prayer and they do that in Orthodox churches and this old woman dressed as you would expect, a bit like an old country peasant, like an old gypsy. She said come back in half an hour. We went back I suppose two, three, four hours later and she said “agh, you will be able to take photographs, there is a wedding taking place, you will be able to go in and take

166

photographs and you can pretend to be part of the wedding party, do not say anything, just get on with it� which was fantastic, she was so positive this old woman, and because of all the negativity of not wanting to be photographed, I was incredibly surprised. Anyway, she was very smiley and a friend of hers came out and I managed to get a photograph of them together. I was trying to get one of them to smile because her mouth was full of gold teeth, but she would not. I went in and I managed to get in front of the couple getting married and get a photograph of their faces, photographs from behind using a wide angle vertically so I could take a photograph from the floor right up to the ceiling, beautiful light, and if I had got permission, I could have used a tripod and taken my time, I could have got some phenomenal results, but hand held you are looking at high ISOs not being able to close down that aperture at all and it is always a huge compromise. Anyway, I took quite a few photographs, I did not want to push it because the poor couple, they did not have many guests, apparently they wanted it very low key, and it was beautiful because two men came up behind the couple and held crowns like king or queen crowns over their heads. They do not actually put them on their head, but hold them, and I view of the kiev pechersk lavra & a large tree-stump which has been removed from the ground and placed on the cobbled street. this monastery has stood here for over 1000 years


could see their arms were getting really tired, they looked really heavy, they are holding them for five or ten minutes I guess while the priest is doing the ceremony to get them married.

make notes to work out the schedule of my presentation. I flitted between folders on my laptop of work I had taken off my hard-drive and put into different folders which started from photographs of me at school to photographs of me when I worked, when I was photographing in Scotland and then Anyway, so I was happy and then we left and we went back Essex and then going up to Wales and the whole life story to the car after that and Mykhailyna said – I will bring you back essentially. Anyway, I was told I had an hour and a half to talk another time because we are going to go up the tower - the and after an hour in Elena’s office, Mykhaylo the male bell tower and we also wanted to go somewhere high to take translator...(because I had Mykhailyna the female translator toa photograph of the city. Also we saw a Russian Soviet statue day, Mykhaylo the male translator who is eighteen. Mykhailyna and I think there are several in Russia and in the Ukraine, but it is thirty two and married with no children I do not think)... is basically Mother Russia so it is a statue, a metal statue of a Mykhaylo came and said – “we have to go Ed”. He is very well very, very tall woman holding a sword. I mean this must be two meaning, but he is a bit cocky, he is very young, but he is hundred to two hundred and fifty feet high. It is gigantic. So trying to be more mature and dynamic than he actually is and I would like to photograph this and I saw it illuminated tonight he is trying to tell me what to do. I do not think it will come to a with light and it looked perfect for a photograph and I was head, but I might have to say to him – you know, come on, you asking Vova if I could go inside of it because apparently there are being cocky now, you have a very good job as a is an elevator inside this huge structure and he said no, translator, but you are very young. definitely not. I asked him if he could and he said he could if Anyway, he came and got me and took me to the room he wanted to, so it is incredible how senior he must be in his job where I was to make the presentation and we spent about an because he is incredibly modest. hour plugging in my laptop, getting the projector sorted out. The projector is actually terrible quality and whatever I had on Mykhailyna drove me back to Evolution Media and I went into my laptop screen was far too dark with the projector. It was the office where Elena works in room 304 and I proceeded to very, very grainy and blurred. It could not have been much

168

another view in the underground caves which i found comforting & reassuring. note the glass coffins with the bodies of saints inside, lanterns, paintings & ornate artefacts


worse in truth. I was a bit fed up about it, but I got over that. So I was writing in my notebook the procedure of going between my website on-line and going between my work on my hard-drive of my laptop when a very, very pretty girl with black hair came in who is a TV interviewer and I was interviewed with a video camera for a TV station. She asked me questions in Ukrainian and Mykhaylo interpreted/translated and I replied and it was a pretty good interview. Then the TV crew asked me for examples of my work of Patagonia and Afghanistan and I tried to put them onto a DVD, but for some reason my new Mac Book Pro would not burn a DVD onto a DVD disc and I followed the correct procedure, but for some reason it would not work and I am really fed up with that because it was not professional. I brought blank DVDs especially for this kind of situation, then I realised I have got three pen drives which I should really wear around my neck for this kind of situation and I left them back in room 304. I went back to the room to try to get in to get a pen drive to save the work to the pen drive and hand it to the girl so she could give it back to me at another stage and the room was locked. So we went back and at that stage it was about two minutes past six and everybody was arriving. I suppose I did not count,

170

but I must have been talking to a room of about thirty people and I spoke for two and a half hours instead of an hour and a half. After half an hour people started fidgeting, I basically talked non-stop as I do [laugh] and Mykhaylo did a very good job of translating. I showed photographs of the evolution, I explained very systematically, without any mumbling at all, about how I went from Art College, to this, to that - up until Patagonia, Afghanistan and then my work and my ‘work in progress’ and then after my work in progress which is of Welsh interiors, I finished off by showing my work from two days in Kiev and I explained to the TV camera, I did not actually have a chance to finish explaining, they said what would you like to show of your work. I said I had about three pieces that I was really happy with, which is about right. I know what I have to photograph, but it is a case of getting permission, people are very suspicious of having their photographs taken and I really have to go to the top. I have to get permission to photograph in various places, like a hospital for example, but it is a case of turning up cold calling and then just seeing if it is possible which is always very hit or miss. It needs to be more organised to do a better job. I do not know if I mentioned, but I took a photograph of a in kiev during summer this is known as the flower clock near independence square. The clock is the biggest of its type in europe & world. the clock mechanism was suplied from edinburgh


monk today called Boris. I cannot remember his last name, but it is written down and I asked him why he became a monk and if he has any message and it was perfect, he almost said exactly what I was expecting him to say, so that would be good for the book. I only have five weeks, I cannot expect miracles, although Mykhailyna seemed to think that five weeks is a long time. I do not think it is at all. Two and a half years in Patagonia is not a long time I do not think.

room table and there was food on the table like some Chinese food which was not, hmm, it was different, hmm. We ate and we spoke and we kind of talked about the Gomer book and how long it would take me to make about Donetsk and if they will make a book and who will pay, do I pay or do they fund it themselves, which they do. So it will be good if this book goes ahead. I think Gomer should definitely try and do it, but I obviously need the work, I need to get the work and I need to do it well.

I made the presentation, I know I spoke too long, I did not Thursday 10th November 2011 - 07:40 enjoy speaking for so long, but I had something to say and Mykhaylo did a very good job of translating exactly what I said I am outside Elena’s house with a coffee. This is my second as I said it. It is hard work, I think, to do that. So fair play to him. coffee, the first coffee I made with her coffee, it is fresh coffee, or rather it is ground coffee, but it tastes pretty damn In the end, everybody applauded for a couple of seconds and awful, I am afraid to say. It has rather a bitter after taste, but got up and walked out, because they probably had places the milk is very good. It tastes like what I can remember French to go to and I had made them late, but a couple of people milk tastes like. I have not been to France since 1989. It is very stayed behind and thanked me and a very nice girl who is a creamy and much better than British milk, I am sure they put photojournalist gave me her details, so I would like to see her something in British milk. work and how good it is. Then I was invited to, I was told to go and get my belongings from room 304 and then we went up to Anyway, I have made myself a Lavazza; I brought two packs the director’s office which is quite a big room with a big board with me. One was on special offer in Tesco, it is a black

172

travellers on kiev’s underground train system. people are well behaved, quiet and trains and stations are spotlessly clean. inside the compartments there are monitirs which show adverts


packet, I think it is called espresso and it is a lot better than the red packet, but I am using the red packet for myself and I have given the black packet to Elena. It is only right that you give the best to your host. Just a swig of coffee there. I am walking down a garden, it is cold, there is not a frost this morning, but it is pretty bitter. Okay, events. I was talking last night in the kitchen while Elena and Vovo, Vavo, Vova, Vova - that is it. Let us say Vova were talking in Ukrainian a lot after we ate in the kitchen. So I stayed on in the kitchen, I had a cup of tea. I was a little bit dry with Vova which he appreciated. He said I have a good writing style if I wrote. I said I already have written, I explained that I had written an awful lot in Patagonia and people laugh when they read my writing. It is a case of proving, I feel like there is a chance that I could work with them, all the time I feel like I am having to impress them without showing off, slightly.

Anyway, one at a time Elena and Vova came through from the room they had been speaking in to look at me. They looked a bit shocked and a bit horrified to see me speaking into this microphone, they could obviously hear my voice and wanted to know why. I had already explained to them that I was keeping a recording, but I think they just wanted to see if I was talking to myself or talking to someone on the telephone. If anything is going to come out of this photography, one good thing will come out, which I can do myself rather than rely on a publisher to make a book, is simply to take photographs and do a voice recording and put those into words and put them together and then you have made something, you have created something that is very interesting I think and will stand the test of time. You can put it into a book on somebody’s desk for hundreds of years.

It is cold, but quite a pleasant cold. There is no rain. It has not rained since I arrived. It is not like God damn rain in Britain that In my presentation I said I would do anything to take a you get. Supposedly today I am going to meet with Mykhaylo photograph and I explained that I lived in a yurt, there are and Mykhailyna the girl and the boy translator again and go to some things that I left out, which I wish I had said also. I thought different places. of some this morning, but I cannot remember right now, because I want to talk fast. My only concern is that Mykhaylo will not be taken seriously in

174

i’m not sure if these apartment blocks are former soviet communist housing but they felt imposing. a colourful playground gave an irony to the area


Donetsk as a translator because he is only eighteen. He is taller than me, he is a good looking bloke, he has got black hair, a good haircut, but when we sat around the boardroom table in Julia’s office last night. She is the head of Weekly UA. She is a very pretty blonde woman, slightly plump, huge breasts, she has got a nice husband who has got cropped hair like mine, very short, who is a photographer as well. She did not really talk to me very much and it is funny because Mykhaylo was translating what I was saying to her, but she speaks perfect English. She is so senior that she obviously retains this air of authority and power, so it is a bit like talking to almost royalty or something, but she is very easy going and laid back. She did speak with Elena last night on the telephone after we got back from Kiev, back from Evolution Media and she said that she likes me and that it was good to speak with me. At the boardroom table when we ate this kind of very rough excuse for Chinese food, they were very earnestly concerned about, I would not say very earnestly, but they were concerned about if Gomer, my publisher, will publish this book, and they were trying to understand if I pay for the book to be done or if Gomer do. Also I said in my talk last night that I live on about US$6,000 a year and they said that no photographer here would live on US$6,000 a year meaning they would

176

probably earn US$10,000 or US$12,000. Mykhailyna told me yesterday that she had just bought an iPad for the equivalent of one month’s wage, so if an iPad costs the same amount as it does in Britain, you are looking at a journalist, because that is what she is, earning about £400 a month, I think they earn about £600 she was saying, which is a very small amount. I do not know if I said as well last night, I had to be careful what I said because I do not really want them to hear that I spent the equivalent of £40 on a meal for Mykhailyna and myself and in Britain people with money can do that, but I am not used to that [laugh]. I said I can live on £1 a day on food. I feel like I am overeating, I looked at photographs of myself yesterday that Mykhaylo took after the presentation I gave and I have just realised how incredibly thin I am. I have never been this skinny since I was at school and I was about ten years old. It is good to see. It is worrying me slightly that I am allowing myself to get so thin, because it is the fear of not wanting to be fat like I was in Argentina ever again and, of course, I fit in better in the Ukraine if I am skinny, because most people are skinny. I am not wearing a hat at the moment, my ears and my fingers are getting pretty cold and my coffee is going cold. Elena is staying at her house today. She has work to do at her house she says, meetings. I will go back and forth with Vova and people sit with charity boxes in order to raise money for the church. i took 2 candid photos, this is the 1st but was told to delete the 2nd when i was caught photographing the young men


tomorrow I think I will walk around with Elena and she will show me places.

is a very smart way to do it. I took two photographs, but as soon as I had taken two one young man immediately rushed towards me like he was going to hit me and stopped and said I remember after we ate at the restaurant yesterday, “You do not take my photograph okay! You can erase it right Mykhailyna asked me if I ever used flash, and I said yes, but I do now!” So I did, but of course I kept the first photograph I had not like it at all. She said do you have a camera that can take taken. It is nothing special, but it just gives an example of what flash. I said, yes of course. She said show me. So I feel all the it is like here. time they are trying to suss out if I am a photographer, if I am who I say I am, they are quite suspicious. I remember the son I was a bit upset after the presentation, I know I spoke a lot and of the vice president of the museum in Donetsk asked me to they, I do not think they took the piss a bit, they were a bit, I do email him my passport number so that when I arrive I can prove not know, at one point near the beginning of the who I am, I can say that I am the Ed Gold that he has been presentation, I was speaking, very honestly and openly, about communicating with, which is very typical of ex-Soviet something about my work, I cannot remember what, but I behaviour I think. caught Elena’s eye and she shook her head as if to say no, do not say that. Do not go there. I also explained that I was All the old people, apart from the monk yesterday, refused to omitted from the Smithsonian Festival by the Welsh government be photographed. They have this fear that you might use their simply because they do not like the English. After that I started photograph to harm them, presumably. In the olden days, I to realise what I was saying and it does not sound good, but guess, if anybody took your photograph a few hours or days it is the absolute truth. I do not have anything to hide, any later the KGB would turn up to drag you away. shame. Some of them said afterwards that they liked the fact that I work for myself so I can have my own opinions and I do I did take a photograph without permission yesterday of not work for an agency, because obviously when you work for some people sitting along a wall with boxes that you would an agency you have got to adhere to what they want you to put money into to raise for charity for the church. [Laugh] it do, but if you are freelance then you can do whatever you

178

photo of photographer natalia sharomova www.xphoto.com.ua and i before i give a talk to kiev’s journalists at evolution media’s head office in kiev, ukraine


want. There is something to be said for that. I would very much like to work for them I have to say. They asked me what I am going to do after I have photographed here. I do not know, maybe I will go to Colombia to photograph the Welsh community that existed there, but I would be more than happy to stay here. Another thing, I came back to Elena’s last night and Vova was adamant that I borrow a Canon camera of his and I start to use it, perhaps for this project rather than using my PENTAX. He is saying exactly the same as what Jim Foster said in Afghanistan, you have to get rid of your PENTAX and use much more professional equipment and it pisses me off that I am using PENTAX because of this issue that I seem to keep on having in professional situations and it was even a case that Vova got his old Canon camera which incredibly was in this house here, he does not live here, but he comes to look after it when Elena is in Germany and he had quite a big zoom lens on his Canon camera and he said look I will actually give you this camera, but I will take the lens off because it is no good for you because it is a tele-lens, but he took some photographs for me to show the quality and it really is good.

180

He said “will your lens fit my camera?” and he was really hopeful that my wide angle lens would fit. I said – no of course it will not, mine is a PENTAX K mount and yours is a Canon mount and Nikon is different too, but he actually took my lens off my camera and tried to put it on the Canon. I think he is so concerned about the quality issue, but it is possible that the photographs I took in the cave yesterday which I showed to Mykhailyna afterwards was really only one good one and that was of Mykhailyna. She said later that “a lot of these photographs are not working”. I said to Vova that in the UK Canon employ one thousand four hundred people and PENTAX employ seventeen so this is the difference you are looking at. I really want to remain loyal to PENTAX because they have helped me from the beginning and nobody else has. Vova said that if he gave me his camera I will have to be loyal to him, which is funny, I understand where he is coming from. Maybe I will use his camera just to make him happy, but the lens he has is not quite right. He has bought himself a much later, more recent model of Canon which he said he did not even need, but he just wanted to have it so he has this old model that I could use which is probably even more evolution media give me a press pass in kiev for my work in donetsk which proves necessary and useful many times. for example when i photo hunger striking pensioners for weekly ua magazine


megapixels than any camera that I have got. I got upset then, I did seriously get depressed, and I said either I buy myself a camera like a Leica or I will just go and work at McDonalds, but actually he did, I think, he picked up on that, later in the evening he started to praise my work. He said you have a style; your photographs are quite sombre, the people are not very happy in them, but that is life. Vova said he is very interested to see how I work and he thinks he will come to Donetsk while I am there to watch me.

one up as usual. I have had two coffees, but I am going to have to take some vitamin C to stop myself from getting ill because that will happen soon.

The wind is picking up, it reminds me of being on [0.15:12.1]. here. The forests remind me of Canada, it is damn cold, actually there is a thermometer on the wall here which I am going to walk up to and I am going to see what temperature it is. It was almost zero yesterday morning I noticed. Oh, it is actually about three degrees, so it is not freezing, but it is very Certainly before I go to Donetsk I need some letter of cold. I can hear a dog barking, but I cannot see or hear authorisation because I am going to get pissed off very quickly anybody. I am going to go in now, but if I can afford it, I think with people saying they will not have their photograph taken. they really want quality, I should got for a Leica M9 - why not, it I have never come across this so badly before. In Argentina is five grand. It will be money well spent. Oh dear, I have spilt sometimes, but I am actually going to have to get rude with some of my coffee down my front. I am a bloody idiot. I have the people here and say – look I have come all this way only brought one spare pair of socks and underpants, so I am everybody is rude, they do not want to have their photographs going to ask if I can soak my socks today, I had quite bad taken. You cannot fight an institution like the Soviet era thing athlete’s foot yesterday, but I had a shower, Elena asked me because it is built into the people. to have a shower. I am not used to washing so much, I used to wash every day when I lived with my parents, but I have just Anyway, I woke up at seven this morning and went to bed at got used to not washing. maybe half past midnight. Obviously I will have to get up early in the morning because everybody has to go to work and they Okay, freezing cold. have things to do and I cannot laze around, but I am the first

182

before going to donetsk i’m shown different parts of kiev - this is a half built school with graffitti by www.interesnikazki.blogspot.com more: www.issuu.com/edgold/docs/kiev


Thursday 10th November 2011 - 10:07

modern cars here and old cars like Ladas. We are just passing a Lada now and a Mazda and there is Citroëns, Renaults, Mercedes, Lexus, Chevrolet, lots of different cars, but there is a lot of money as well.

I am walking with Mykhaylo, we have just been on the subway, on the Metro. He gave me a plastic coin to put into the machine to get through some barriers, but that was it. No tickets, no pay for tickets, nothing. We are now walking along a busy road. Vova drove me into his office this morning and Thursday 10th November 2011 - 12:51 Mykhaylo came to meet me. Vova drove very fast in his Subaru, it is automatic but he was taking it up to the red line all I am walking with Mykhaylo. Since we were at the Dnieper the time accelerating very fast driving like a policeman [laugh]. River we took a Metro twice and I took photographs underground. There were no security cameras, but I do not think you At the moment we are at a bit of a loss as to what to are allowed to take photographs. I took some on the Metro photograph. We would really like to photograph, as I have train as well of other passengers which I have not even looked said before, people in buildings to give a feel for the people at yet. and the place, but right now we are walking. The plan is that, I think, I will meet Mykhailyna this afternoon and I would like to Then Mykhaylo took me to see a derelict building which was find somewhere high up to photograph the city below to give built as a school, but was never completed so now it is full of a feel of what it looks like. Right now we are walking along the graffiti so we walked around this and took many photographs. side of the River Dnieper which is named after a Some amazing, surrealist graffiti by a well-known graffiti artist motorcycle that is made in the Ukraine. We are walking who is from Kiev. “What is the name of the school Mykhaylo towards some bridges. On the other side of the river I can see we have been to?” “What is the name of this area?” some beaches with sand, presumably in the summer people come here and swim in the river and there are lots of woods on “It is Metrobrosek. The area it is called Darnytsia”. the other side. I think it is very nice. I can see, there are lots of

184

i simply like it that the butchers shop has icons for what it sells as well as writing which perhaps caters for people who cannot read as is mentioned by a. gwen jones on page 193 (3rd last para)


Darnytsia region of Kiev and it is surrounded by apartment blocks, some of them communal from the Soviet era.

But were there some flats back there that we saw?

Yesterday when I read the transcription from a BBC Radio story from 1943 of Annie Jones who used to live in Donetsk, she said that they had icon symbols painted on shops with no writing of food and I just saw a symbol now of a shop it had writing as well as symbols for fish and meat, so I took a photograph because I was reminded of what she had said. So we are hoping to find something similar in Donetsk.

There was a building built in communist times.

Thursday 10th November 2011 - 17:31

These are just four, two flats. This flat is one hundred square metres maybe less. This is not for communal.

Okay, they were built in communist times the apartment blocks “The more illegal you are the safer you feel”. around the derelict school, but they were not specifically for communal living. Now we are going to walk back to Evolution Thursday 10th November 2011 - 19:34 Media where I will meet Mykhailyna this afternoon. I am in the secretary’s office of Vova in the Information Correction, we are actually walking to, where is it? Agency. I have just come here with Mykhailyna. We have just come from a Pizzeria where I went with Vova recently, a couKhreschatyk ple of days ago, and I am waiting for Vova to finish his business and he will drive me, we will both drive together back to Khreschatyk Elena’s outside Kiev. The main street of Kiev. The main street of Kiev we are going to meet Mykhailyna now.

186

I went for about an hour and a half with Mykhailyna for something to eat and a coffee in the Pizzeria downstairs which was very nice. Before that after half the day with Mykhaylo, lesia, alexey’s wife takes me through an attic and out onto the roof of her apartment so i can photograph the evening cityscape of kiev streets below with tripod and long exposure


Mykhaylo took me to meet Mykhailyna at about 1.30pm I think and she took me to see a very interesting friend of hers called Alexa (a bloke, a guy) and also his wife called, I will have to remember her name, I have it written down, but the man who is probably about my age, is a very talented baroque artist. He showed me his work and afterwards he asked to see my photographs. Mykhailyna told me that because of the presentation yesterday and because of the work that I showed, she thought of him. For two reasons – one he has a good view of the city because he lives on the top floor of an apartment block and also because I might be able to take a photograph in his apartment because he has a very old fashioned room full of knives and swords which he collects. He collects ‘arms’.

on the tripod focused with the light on in the room using artificial light and then I turned the focussing to manual so I knew that it would be sharp and then I metred accordingly. After I turned it to manual because when you press the shutter release, you press it half-way down and it focusses and it also meters and I was able to use a torch for a very long exposure for about thirty seconds just to illuminate the face which gave a great result. So I was really happy with that.

Afterwards, she took me up to the attic of a building, it is a very old building from the late eighteen hundreds. The original timbers for the roof are still inside. So I was able to look at that. I then got out onto the roof which was panelled with flat sheets of steel and I was able to walk up to the top of the roof and take a photograph of the city scape below using a tripod, He had an easel which he put his work on and he talked about nothing special, but it is still relevant I suppose. it. It is first class painting, using Gouache. It is very interesting, I love it, it is very mysterious and medieval and I took a photoThen I went back downstairs, also the wife kindly made three graph of him posing. He was a little bit uncomfortable I think cups of coffee which was coffee from somewhere in the and he could not stay still for long exposures, but then his wife Ukraine, but made in a Turkish style so you have the coffee who is half Mongolian asked if I would take a photograph of grounds at the bottom of the cup and also a little bit of chocoher and she firstly sat on a bed in the living room and then lay late. That is definitely the best coffee I have had since I got on it and I took some photographs. At that point it was very here. Then we left in the car, Mykhailyna’s car and went to go late in the day and not very much light, but I put the camera and get the two daughters of Alexa’s wife, well Alexa’s

188

one of the many underground stations in kiev where photography is forbidden but which i find so alluring for its cleanliness and soviet style


children, they have two daughters, one who is six and one who collect his belongings because he is flying to Geneva tomoris about three or four and they will only speak English (to me). row, then he will go across the border to the French Alps where he will go skiing by himself for three days before going to Israel So, to summarise today, I walked with Mykhaylo for a long way on business. He is going to a place where there is no electronic as soon as we left, well I went to the work of Vova’s at the signals to interfere with his head because he has this problem Information Agency where he is director and Mykhaylo met me with electricity frequency or something. and we went on the Metro several times, I took photographs on the Metro. We walked a long way. We were going to see I wanted to say that when I was eating with Mykhailyna at the the iron lady, but that did not happen. The main thing that we Pizzeria, I asked her about the presentation or rather she asked did today was go to a derelict school which was half built and me first what I felt about it. I said I was embarrassed and she covered in graffiti and took photographs there. So that was did not understand that word, but I said I felt sad and guilty the main thing today. The other main thing with Mykhailyna because I spoke too much and I was not sure of the reception was taking photographs of Alexa and the best photograph of that my work got. She said it was very well received, people his wife. liked it. I said but I could hear people, well what I presumed was being uncomfortable, talking, but in fact they were disSo as I said yesterday, if I can get one good photograph a day cussing my work. She said that it is very good that I, the normal I will be happy, but I think I took several. I took a photograph things that people pass by in every day life, I think are unusual of Lenin, or I think it was Stalin on the Metro at a Metro station. and interesting, so it is good that I take photographs in this way, It is illegal to take photographs down at the Metro, but that that I can see these things. A colleague of hers before he left worked out okay. last night, he runs a blog, he said that he liked the fact that I am a very honest photographer with my work. I suppose there Thursday 10th November 2011 - 19:52 are a lot of bull-shitters out there or people simply are not that honest. Vova has just left to go back to his house which is nearby to

190

alexey is a baroque artist who uses guache paint. artists abound in kiev who flourish because their work is in demand. alexey collects knives and is seated here in his studio


I am feeling at a bit of a lose end. The photographs I am taking are not really enough, but I suppose it is natural because I have not started the Donetsk project yet. I have to remember that I have only been here almost three whole days and it feels like about two weeks already as is the case when you are working very hard. What am I achieving? Well, at the moment with the help of two translators, I am going to different parts of the city, basically just seeing and experiencing things. I am hoping that the photographs that I am taking will go towards the book about Donetsk even though they are not connected, this is Kiev, but I can only use what I have got. I can only take photographs of what I do during the day and I cannot do everything that is for sure.

to look at her name, it has been written down for me. Lesia, yes, I think it is Lesia. She basically rents an apartment for her husband and her two daughters and herself and next door she also rents an apartment, but she has turned it into a hairdressing salon and, this is not to be repeated in the Ukraine, because the hairdressing salon is illegal. It is an illegal business and Lesia said that the more illegal you are, the safer you feel. This is because people do not come and bother you like the taxman they leave you alone because they do not know you exist. So you can make as much money as you want. In retrospect, well on the flip side, not in retrospect, but on the flip side what happens is you have to bribe, pay bribes to your neighbours and also the person renting the apartment to you not to say anything to the authorities so you can continue running an Mykhaylo did not know too much about what we should do to- illegal business which is very interesting. day, so he took me to this derelict school which was half built. Mykhailyna took me to see her friends who have an amazing So, I went from this amazing apartment next door to what I apartment. It seemed to be just one room, but it was amazing, expected to be something similar and it was a hair dressing it was very old fashioned, all the swords and the knives and the salon at the top of a very old apartment block. It was amazing paintings. incredibly surprising. Apparently some of Lesia’s clients actually work or sing in the opera house and it is all by word of mouth. Another thing I want to mention, as well as Mykhailyna People recommend Lesia’s hair salon to other people and if inspiring me with her kind words about my presentation and my they get checked out and are approved then they can come type of photography is that Alexa’s wife Cecile no I will have and have their hair cut there. It seems like a really good

192

lesia - alexey’s wife is part mongolian and poses here for 30 seconds surrounded by alexey’s ‘arms’ collection. she makes the best coffee in kiev!


business. This is why there is so much money apparent in Kiev and so many people are driving so many big, expensive cars. I have never seen so many Mercedes and Porches in London as in Kiev. It is astonishing. Not only that, but people drive incredibly fast, well people do not drive fast because it is a city, but people accelerate incredibly fast. I saw a Mercedes saloon 500 which has a five litre engine V8 redlining it [laugh] and I have never seen that anywhere in Britain before. It is the sort of thing you expect on a Saturday night with a boy racer behind the wheel. This is what Vova was doing in his Subaru this morning. He was redlining his Subaru Forester automatic. I was looking to see if he had a sport mode. It was not apparent if he did, but I think that you get ‘kick down’ if you put the pedal to the metal as it were and the needle goes up to the red line and then it drops down automatically to a lower gear or rather to a higher gear, anyway, it changes gear automatically.

me in Spanish. We spoke for a fair bit until Mykhaylo arrived. She is very slim, very pretty, very sweet girl, a bit shy. So I am sitting at her desk, it looks like she is still in the building because her bag is on the desk unless she has left it behind, but it is getting very late and I think she lived, or she has visited Spain before.

Everything is good, it is Thursday and I think I am going to Donetsk on Sunday and I will be flying with Mykhaylo. We will be staying in a four or five star hotel, which is not important. Originally Vova said he thought I was staying in a one star hotel or a cabin or a hostel and sleeping in a bunk bed [laugh], that would not bother me at all because anything is better than what I am used to unless I am put outside without any covering at all [laugh]. I am confident that everything will work out. I do have this contact at the museum in Donetsk, so Mykhaylo I am sitting at the desk in his secretary’s office of a girl that asked me what I aimed to do when I first got there and I have speaks Spanish and she is called Oxana and I saw her in foyer told him that I will probably go to the local newspapers to ask of the information agency talking on the phone and I said Hola them to write a story so that people will be made aware locally or ‘buen dia’ I think or comos dias, I cannot remember, but she what my aim is so that when I approach them they will not be came and spoke to me. She looked a bit annoyed when I said surprised. Mykhaylo said that perhaps the best thing to do is that because she was concentrating on the phone, but afterto go to the museum because I have a contact there. So that wards when she had finished speaking, she came and spoke to is what we will do and we will work from there. It is going to Alexey in his studio

194


be hard work, but we will see what happens. I am sure that I will have good enough work at the end of this. I mean, within three days I have taken quite a few photographs which I am very happy with. I am very very happy with Alexa’s wife today when she was lying on the bed in the living room, simply because it is very creative, taking a photograph literally in complete darkness and then using a torch to illuminate the subject. Friday 11th November 2011 - 08:53 I’m in the back of a Chevrolet driven by Vitali. Friday 11th November 2011 - 09:50 I’m standing on the balcony of the second or third floor of the office block, where Evolution Media is based. It’s about 1 degree today I think. I’ve just arrived, Vitali just brought me here. This morning Vitali drove Vova and me to the airport, where I landed at Borispol, to drop Vova off because he was on his way to Geneva today. He will go to Geneva for about two or three days I think. He will hire a car and drive to France, to a ski resort, which he’s going to try out. The reason being, he has this problem with radio waves in his head and he needs to

check that the place is okay for him to go to for a holiday. So it’s a trial run but he says he has to do this before he takes his wife and daughter with him, otherwise it could be a very expensive mistake because he could choose a resort to go to, and he could get there and he could have problems with his head. So rather him take his whole family for two weeks and it be a disaster he’s only going for two days by himself as a trial run to see if it’s okay. Then he will come back here, and then he goes to Israel to report on a story about a Ukrainian who was badly treated in Israel. It’s all to do I think, he explained last night - I might be completely wrong, but a Ukrainian guard tape-recorded a meeting with some politicians in Ukraine I think, who were in Israel, where somebody was killed and he released these tape recordings and subsequently was jailed and mistreated so he’s been released and Vova is going to do a story or interview him I think in Israel. So that’s all we’ve done this morning. Last night was another late night, I was talking to Elena and Vova until about one o’clock in the morning and I don’t do late nights. One thing I haven’t said is that because I don’t drink alcohol they insisted that least I drink something that tasted of beer with them, that I’m really reluctant to do. I don’t want to have a taste of what alcohol tastes like, even though its alcohol free but I’ve had two bottles now. I’m just trying to everywhere there are signs that in 2012 ukraine will host the euro cup

196


ignore the fact that what I’m drinking is beer but alcohol free. I’m stronger now than I ever have been; it’s not enough to get me drinking again. Elena joked that she would start me off on alcohol free beer and then introduce me slowly to beer that had alcohol. Yesterday Mykhailyna and I went to a pizzeria, and afterwards she dropped me off at the information agency where Vova works. Vova was very busy so he left me in his secretary’s office, and he went away for a very long time. Over an hour, to get organised for his trip today. I don’t know what he was doing, he lives around the corner so he went home but he said he was going to be much quicker than he was and I ended up looking at a book called ‘Poland’ in his secretaries office. I was sitting at the seat of Oxana. It was a book called ‘Poland’, a photography book about Poland, made by a Dutch photographer. It’s interesting - in the introduction of the book he writes that he had a very hard time photographing people in Poland. Everybody said no, because everybody is suspicious, because in the soviet era people would come and take your photograph and the next day or the same day, they would take you away and you will never be seen again. So there is a lot of fear and a lot of suspicion that continues now. So this photographer used to give cards to the people who said no, which basically said that if you said yes in the future

198

you would have more of a positive life, which I would like to do. I think it’s struck a slight cord with Elena and Vova last night, because I explained this and I think this rubbed them up the wrong way. Obviously this is the culture here. I wasn’t knocking it but it is frustrating, so they set about explaining to me about how Hitler was and about how Stalin and Lenin where to how I have to understand what they were like. To tell you the truth I got very tired, and I really don’t want to listen to anything about Hitler. I asked Vova why he was giving so much energy talking about such a bad man, but he continued. Eventually Vova came back to the office last night. I made some notes, I was reading the Poland book and he came back, apologised for being late because I was falling asleep at the desk, and then he said ‘oh we have to go back to my house now’. I don’t know if he’d ever been there in the first place. I really can’t understand what was going on, it’s not important. Then we got in his car, drove back to the information agency, he said he was going to be three minutes but he was much much longer. He then said Elena has cooked so we have to go back for some food at ‘Lena’s’, but the whole journey back to Elena’s from Kiev, we spent with him on the telephone. Non-stop on his mobile phone, Texting and phoning while he was driving. He drives an automatic so he elena walks ahead of me to the evolution media office in kiev. i still plan on returning to the ukraine to complete this project


was putting his foot on the accelerator and taking it off. The car was going backwards and forwards, lurching the whole journey, it was very uncomfortable. By all accounts he was very very stressed to do with various phone calls. We stopped at a small supermarket on the side of the highway on our way back to Elena’s. He asked me if I wanted to stay in the car or go with him. I opted to go with him. I wanted to see what the supermarket was like. It was absolutely immaculate. I’ve never been in such a tidy well stocked supermarket in all my life. Apparently the prices are very high, but I haven’t had a chance to work out the currency rate yet...the exchange rates so I don’t really understand. I was going to buy a bottle of milk and I had it in my hand, but he told me to put it back because Elena already had milk, I seemed to irritate him. He was on the phone a lot again in the supermarket. I asked if they sell yeast and he said ‘well of course they do’, but he said it really angrily. He bought what he wanted to buy. Maybe he wanted to make a private phone call in the supermarket and me stay in the car, I don’t know but I left him to his own devices. Afterwards he asked me ‘why did you ask if they sold yeast?’And I said ‘I was going to bake some bread for Elena’. Obviously that pales into insignificance compared to all the stresses he has. He did say that he envied me not having a mobile phone here but he has a huge position of responsibility and with that I suppose

he gets paid a lot so you take the rough with the smooth. When we got to Elena’s last night he was in a really filthy mood by the time we got in. After a few minutes of talking with him and just general chit chat I said ‘are you okay? I can tell that you’re really upset and stressed.’ He said ‘yes but it’s not you’. But he was in a slightly immature and childish mood because he was stressed. He was slightly aggressive in the way he spoke, which was a little bit boring. I should have gone straight to bed after we ate, but instead I continued to stay up. I was explaining about my heart, which I think they were surprised about and I went round to the other side of the table and told Elena who trained as a doctor to listen to my heart. When she did she had to lift up my t-shirt, and then she had to listen to Vovas heart to see the difference and she said yes it is noticeable. Obviously I don’t bullshit. They were talking a lot in Ukrainian between themselves and Vova did apologise, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m really not interested but I explained to them about my Afghanistan photographs of the amputation of legs, and I had to run away out of a hospital to record them, to ‘back them up’, because I wasn’t allowed them. They didn’t really seem interested, and actually stopped listening to me and started talking amongst themselves. So I spent the whole evening listening to them but they...it’s interesting how soon it can take people to show their true view from inside of moving car of soviet statues from 1917 - 1991 period

200


colours. Nevertheless they are very kind and very nice. They are very very weary of me making a recording because obviously this Ukrainian in Israel made a recording, and subsequently somebody was killed or some people were killed and then he made a recording and then he was jailed. So you have to be careful, especially in these ex soviet era countries. That’s the impression I get. Anyway I’ve been brought up to the Evolution Media office. I’ve got a coffee I’ve made myself, a black coffee because there’s no milk anywhere. Two teaspoons of instant coffee, quite strong because I’m absolutely exhausted now. Each night I’ve had about five or six hours sleep since I’ve got here, and I will get ill if I don’t slow down so I hope I don’t have to do a lot of walking today around the city. Elena did say on Saturday morning I could have a lie-in which is good and I think on Sunday I’m going to Donetsk, so it will be good to be my own boss again. Elena and Vova were joking with me last night about how Donetsk, when I get there, is not Patagonia, but to counter that because I think they were making out it was going to be very boring and very hard to photograph. I countered it by saying Donetsk is not Afghanistan, to which Vova laughed and Elena sort of shrank back, which I think is fair play. Nobody knows what it’s like to go to a warzone until you’ve been to one, and

202

anything else I’ve explained to them is a holiday, which it is. Whatever will be, will be. I get the impression that I’m here because they know that I have the option of making a book with a publisher and I don’t think they have the money to make a book themselves, so I’m hoping my efforts to photograph Donetsk will go towards the book waiting to be published and perhaps include them as well so we can collaborate on the book. So in that respect they are happy to have me here so long as they can use me to get this book produced. Okay, I’m back outside again. I’ve just finished my coffee and got a couple of vitamin c together. I’m gonna be totally fucked if I don’t keep these up. I might have to have two a day and not just one. One thing I also remembered to say was I forgot to say was that Elena said last night that she can’t wait to go back to her home. She means Germany. She said two weeks being here is enough time. And actually while I’m in Donetsk, she will go back to Germany and come back to the Ukraine when I come back from Donetsk to Kiev. She said she can’t stand it here, she didn’t explain why but I think it was after talking to Vova in Ukrainian, because Vova has obviously come up against some problem with his work, some bureaucracy or corruption, whatever you call it, which has really annoyed him because he was slightly arguing with someorthodox art can be found everywhere. this mosaic adorns an outside wall. below it i watched a chauffer driven priest exit his mercedes limo


body on the telephone and it sounds like to me as if somebody has said to him, no you can’t do this or you can’t do that. And she said in English this is why she doesn’t like it here and she can’t wait to be back at home. Not only that but Germany is very much cheaper than here as well, which is even why she brings lots of food back from Germany with her. I had a pot of cottage cheese this morning for breakfast which is a hundred times better than any cottage cheese in Britain. It tastes very creamy even though it’s low fat. Cottage cheese in comparison in Britain tastes like shit. Friday 11th November 2011 - 10:11 I’m back out on the balcony for the third time, with nothing to drink this time. I was joined by a very pretty girl just now, a blonde girl and who was having a cigarette outside the balcony. Vova said to me, it’s funny the way he asked me. He asked me yesterday if I would like to ‘mate with a Ukrainian girl.’ and I said ‘one hundred percent, definitely’. He said it’s very easy; apparently they will do anything to practice their English with an English man. He said he had a friend from another country who came here, and he said he had many Ukrainian girls. So you can only hope can’t you. It looks like I’m just waiting for Mykhaylo right now. I guess he’s

204

taking me somewhere else today. I wish it was slightly better organised but they don’t know what I want to take photographs of. Well they didn’t know when I arrived, but they should know by looking at my work, and from what I’ve been taking photographs of so far. On one hand I’m here to do something that’s reasonably important but on the other hand I feel like a spare prick at a wedding, simply because everybody else seems to have a lot more important work to do, but then it’s just day to day work. Work everyday is the same as the day before and the day after. Having said that I don’t think anybody has documented Donetsk with such detail, but what I hope to do like I did in Patagonia. Colin Thomas certainly photographed Donetsk but his book, which I have seen here, isn’t that impressive at all. I think it’s all black and white, it’s made by Y Lolfa. It’s a very small budget publication. I’m just hoping I can take the same standard of work that I took in Patagonia, as I did here. Julia the director did say after my master class that she could see how my work has got a lot better from my previous work. She’s impressed by my Afghanistan work - she said it’s a lot better. I don’t know if it’s a lot better than my Patagonia work, but I guess I’m improving all the time and I’m getting better at this whole thing. I’m using the K10D a lot, yesterday I tried to use the K7 which is much higher resolution for the interior shots and the one of the monastery buildings which is part of ‘kiev pechersk lavra’ (kiev monastery of caves) overlooking the dnieper river


colours I was getting back, the tones weren’t right at all. I don’t know if it’s got anything to do with white balance, but I’m not into those settings. I’ve never been taught about them, obviously you don’t have those with film so, I’m not going to muck around with the settings but I wasn’t happy so I have reverted back to the K10D for doing interior shots and it was working very well so I’m going to stick with the K10. I’ve always said I prefer it to the K7, even though the K7 is the second highest SLR that PENTAX have got. One of its most recent good SLR’s - it’s much more of a consumer SLR and the K10 seems to be much more professional based. I’m thinking now about buying a Leica, simply because it’s five grand. Even if I can get a 645D for seven grand, well that’s the body. The lenses start at three hundred and fifty for staff prices, which PENTAX have said they would give me discount up to a couple of grand. So I’m going to have to think about whether or not I can get a Leica M9, which is a digital range finder for five grand including a lens or if I stick with PENTAX but Vova said I don’t necessarily need forty megapixels. I don’t need a camera like this, that a Canon would do me fine but I really don’t want to change brand. If I want to remain perfectly loyal to PENTAX then I will get the 645D, but it’s a pretty big heavy camera to lug around and I’m not overly impressed by the quality of it to tell the truth. Yes, when I took a photograph of 2 Para - a photograph of

206

the whole battalion with Prince Charles, it was raining and I was able to see individual raindrops coming out of the sky at a huge distance away so I’m going to have to think about this. Certainly a Leica, for the Ukraine, is much much better because it’s a lot smaller. It’s better for travelling as it’s lighter and it’s unobtrusive, people won’t see it as readily and they won’t even be aware that you are even taking a photograph of them. Whereas with a 645 it’s bloody massive and it’s the first thing that people’s eyes will clock, as soon as they see you they will look straight at the camera and then be aware of it. I could stick with a PENTAX Q, but then I won’t have the quality the Leica has and the Leica M9 certainly has the quality of a medium format camera lens, although you have to focus manually. It’s all swings and roundabouts, and if I’m ever going to do photo journalism work I will have to stick with an auto focus SLR, which focuses very very quickly but if I continue to do works like this I will get the Leica. I’m realising now that my interest is interiors and still life interiors and compared to the Baroque paintings of Alexey yesterday, I think its reasonable to say that I can justify taking photographs. Sometimes it’s hard to, in the greatest scheme of things in life, but what is life all about? That is the question. What is the reason behind it all? I think it’s marvellous that humans can paint to that extent but then you ‘pysanka’ is a ukrainian easter egg traditionally using beeswax to decorate it with traditional folk designs. this display it outside kiev pechersk lavra


might get someone like Mr Fordham who’s just a very basic farmer, who will say fuck the painting, survival is much more important. Working hard every day to make some money in order to pay the bills and survive. As he said ‘talk is cheap, money buys houses’. So he might say that about art and photography as well. Friday 11th November 2011 - 12:18

at a bus stop now. We’ve just been on a metro on the underground, people giving me funny looks. I asked Mykhaylo if I looked like a tourist, he says no. But I look slightly different I suppose with my cameras and everything. There is a car going past, some black cars, a marriage, some very nice black Mercedes and Toyota’s tooting their horns. Very pretty blonde bride inside. Friday 11th November 2011 - 12:25

Mykhaylo and I are walking to go and see the ‘steel lady’ - on the way we stopped at McDonalds which has its own coffee bar ‘Mac Café’ and we had a pretty good coffee there. When they make an Americano they only fill it half full and they ask you how much hot water you want which is obviously different from Britain. You don’t get asked you just get given the coffee so you can have it as strong or weak as you want to here. It was pretty good.

Mykhaylo and I just took the bus back to where I was with Mykhailyna the other day, where the monastery is. Interestingly enough, even though this is no longer Soviet Union, people still speak either Russian or Ukrainian and it doesn’t seem to matter which one you use. So thank you in Russian is ‘spasibo’ and in Ukrainian is ‘dyakuyu’. It doesn’t matter which one you use? So Donetsk is mostly Russian speaking so it’s better to use Russian. I think I mentioned this with Mykhailyna the other day We’ve just been in a subway underground, now we are but I’m walking with Mykhaylo right now, we have just passed a walking on a pavement. I just took a photograph of a building restaurant and a black car pulls up outside, and a priest got which must have been caught up in World War Two because out. All the priests, some of the high priests here have a very it has lots of bullet marks in the wall on Moscow Street so I took good life it seems, and they have drivers and big black a photograph of that. There’s a park museum where the steel Mercedes. The head of one monestery apparently has a lady is. It has a military museum so we’ll go there. We’re waiting Mercedes worth one hundred thousand dollars. It’s nothing like

208

ex-soviet statues stand in front of ‘monument of motherland’ (steel lady) a memorial of world war ii. the figure weighs 450 tons, the shield 13 tons, sword 9 tons and 62 meters tall


Britain at all, but a complete different class system here. There’s and I think, I can’t remember what the bill was, but he asked a high amount of money on show and as I said before, many for fifty, so i gave him fifty which included twelve for cigarettes. many expensive cars. So twelve for cigarettes and thirty-eight for food at a cafe, and three hundred and thirty-nine with Mykhailyna . So fifty for the Friday 11th November 2011 - 13:39 cigarettes and the cafe, three hundred and thirty-nine, I gave four hundred and got fifty back so that’s three hundred and I’m with Mykhaylo, within sight of the Steel lady. It’s very good fifty. So fifty for cigarettes and cafe, three hundred and forty to be here. We’ve just been to enquire about the cost to go to for a meal with Mykhailyna , that’s four hundred, and I had the top, which is apparently about two hundred meters high, fifty left because I bought today a coffee for me and a coffee and it will cost about two hundred hryvnia each, which I think for Mykhaylo, which came to forty-six and I was left with four, is about thirty dollars. So that’s far too much money and I don’t which gave to Mykhaylo to cover bus and metro. So I had fifty have that on me. I took five hundred hryvnia out of a bank the left from five hundred, which Mykhaylo said was quick so things other day, out of a cash machine, and I have about fifty left are quite expensive. so I spent four hundred and fifty. Three hundred and thirty-nine For the Steel Lady they where going to charge three-hundred was for a meal with Mykhailyna, and I received fifty hryvnia each to go up to the top, which I’m looking up at right now. change from that. It seems to me that Mykhaylo and It is incredibly cold; it’s about minus something Mykhaylo says. Mykhailyna are quite happy to give you back the incorrect It’s really getting to my fingers, so I put my fingerless gloves on. change, it doesn’t seem to matter to them. I suppose it’s like Sealskin gloves on and I cut three fingers off when I was in a tip they receive but what I’ve spent so far is; fifty on, well to Afghanistan. It would be kind of good to go to the top, but start off with, fifty went towards...was it twelve? Well our expens- actually if you take a photograph from the top, you can’t es so far are; I took five hundred hryvnia out of a machine, and photograph anything of the lady because you are behind I spent twelve hryvnia on a packet of Davidoff Blue for Elena the shield she’s holding up, and you only get a view looking but she says it’s not the same as foreign Davidoff Blue. She said towards where Evolution Media is based. In fact I’m going to the taste is not as good. Then I went to a cafe with Mykhaylo take photographs of a more interesting view which is looking the ex-soviet park where the steel lady stands at ‘the national museum of the history of world war ii’. 210


towards the Dnieper River, which you can’t photograph when you’re up the lady. So we’re not missing out on anything particularly, but its a really good view, probably the best view you could get without having to go up the lady. I’m going to do a panoramic now I think, with a tripod. It’s a shame I don’t have a ‘gigapan head’ to use for this but I will do the best job that I can.

month and also pay for airfares for me and for Mykhaylo from Kiev to Donetsk and back again they are really going to need to see that I’m a hard worker. Today was hard because I got up quite early and I had to leave quite soon. I had a chance to glug down a coffee very quickly and have one of those lovely pots of cottage cheese, which for breakfast is just fantastic because it’s quite filling. It’s only a small pot, I can’t believe it’s that high in calories and with a coffee its fantastic though local Saturday 12th November 2011 - 01:29 coffee isn’t very good tasting. I know you can get some good varieties but it costs a lot of money. You can get the same I’m lying in bed at Elena’s. I’m upstairs, its dark and I’ve turned types of Lavazza coffee in the supermarket here that you can the light out. Elena and Vova are still downstairs, still watching get in Tesco, but it’s about ninety Hryvnia a packet. I haven’t TV and talking. Yesterday was the most incredible day so far worked that out yet, I really have not. I don’t know how much really. The fourth day I have spent here. The latest bit of news that is. Anyway I don’t know if I mentioned, but we went to see is that I’ve put together a slideshow of about forty-five images the Steel Lady and it was about two hundred Hryvnia to go to from Kiev, my favourite since I got here four days ago. I’ve the top of it which is about … I think it’s about forty dollars, or really built up quite an impressive body of work. I’m very happy maybe its twenty-nine dollars I can’t remember, anyway I could with what I’ve got and some of the photographs are very dework it out later. But instead I took lots of photographs outside, tailed and have great colours. I don’t have a broad range of did a panoramic, which I am going to need to stitch together. variety, I feel I’ve got a lot of interiors that I love and I’m confident that it’s going to look good. actually the variety is enough to portray Kiev as it is really, given Mykhaylo and I walked, we went and got a bus again and the amount of time I’ve had here. I feel like it’s been somethen he was asking what I would like to do next. He is thing of a test and also they have wanted to obviously see me actually settling down, on the first day he was a bit juvenile and work whilst I’m here. If they are going to pay for a hotel for one a bit bumptious and now he seems to have grown up a hell of

212

visitors to the national museum of the great patriotic war climb on tanks used during the second world war and liberation of kiev from nazi occupation


a lot, I think he’s just tired, but for an eighteen year old he’s really pulling his weight now. As far as the translation goes, I think he’s quite phenomenal. He speaks very very good English, he understands just about everything. Ninety-nine per cent of everything, and he was really great today. I bought him a coffee this morning and he was quite surprised I didn’t want any money. He did offer me but having said that he paid for a taxi fare, I will come to that. After the steel lady we went to the university, the red University. He said that’s a good idea because we were going to go somewhere else but he said no, I said better idea I said lets go there so we went and we used our press passes. I used a press pass he had arranged for me and gave me today, which is rather excellent. It looks really official and it’s actually a weekly UA press pass so it’s the same as everybody else’s press pass who works for that organisation, so it’s a lovely thing to have. As soon as I was handed it by Mykhaylo this morning I took a photograph of it just in case anything happens to the pass, I’ve got a record of what it looks like because I’m really chuffed to bits with it. The fact that this whole situation is happening, the fact that I’ve been invited to the Ukraine, the fact that I’m here, the fact that I’m taking photographs for another Welsh based project is just so bizarre. It hasn’t really had time to hit me, although I’m much more chilled nowadays than I used to be and everything seems like

214

a dream to me really, it’s like I’m not really alive. It’s hard to explain, I just go with it and it’s just like going down the river on a boat really, you just go with the flow. I know it’s a cliché but it’s bloody true. Anyway went into the university and met a woman who is head of a particular department and she said she didn’t want to be photographed, though we spoke to her for a bit and I flattered her, I said to Mykhaylo tell her that I would rather have an attractive lady in a photograph than a man and I think she liked that. So eventually I got her to pose in the foyer of the red university building downstairs (National Taras Shevchenko University of Kiev), and I did the light trick with a torch that I did with Alexey’s wife on the bed yesterday, shining the torch at her, which really helped illuminate her. Something I really like doing, playing with light. So I took a photograph with a tripod of this woman in the foyer of this university building it looks really rather excellent. To begin with she wasn’t keen but when I got my weekly UA pass out its seemed to do wonders, I just flashed it at her and immediately she said yes, so it seems that working for this magazine or newspaper holds a lot of prestige because it is the biggest media group in the Ukraine. It’s quite a weird sensation to have this power now, that I never had before, just going somewhere and people saying no, then seeing the press pass and saying okay. It must be strange for everybody gate church of the trinity at pechersk lavra in kiev (built 1106 - 1108) is wedged in between monastery walls helping to protect the holy gates. a groom waits for his bride before a ceremony


concerned especially for me, the fact that I am British but it appears that I am working for a Ukrainian magazine. If they offer me a job after this I will be more than happy to accept, especially because the women her are absolutely stunning. I don’t know if I could manage to get myself a girlfriend but I would love to. They are the sort of women that you dream of all your life I think. Although I wouldn’t know what they are like to go out with but I was thinking about it today. It seems that they are all, I’m sure they aren’t naive but they all seem, they all come across as being rather innocent. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s like no English girl is. It seems to me they are like what girls should be, not fairytale princesses but feminine and quiet and cute. I really don’t know if that’s the case, if they really are like that. It’s not as if they know their place because that sounds chauvinist but it’s almost as though, they’re not all timid but they are all feminine basically. They are not necessarily soft but they are not as hard as British women are and outwardly they don’t seem to be as concerned about money. It’s a hard one, it’s like they’re actually women as opposed to animals or women turned into men. I don’t know how you would explain women in Britain, don’t even want to think about that it makes me feel too ill. So we went to the red University and I took a photograph of this woman Natalie I think she was, Natalia, and afterwards we

216

were invited into her office where she worked. She had a press photographer with her and also an Indian man who in India, met a Ukrainian woman, married her and came back to the Ukraine and now he speaks Ukrainian, he speaks three dialects from India, he speaks perfect English. He was very nice, really nice bloke, Buddhist. Oh and quite extraordinary really, very touchy, you know touching my arm and saying that I should definitely go to India and he thinks that Buddhism, he follows Buddhism because it’s all about loving and just accepting which I thought was really good. He also was very sincere, he said British people are very charming, that I was a gentleman; I said ‘well not everybody is, it’s how life used to be in Britain but its definitely changing, not as good anymore’. When he left he gave me his card and he said maybe you should come back tomorrow and I will show you around, we will photograph some students studying. I said that was very kind but I might be having a meeting before I go to Donetsk on Sunday with Elena. In the room, the blonde woman whose photograph I took in the foyer walked out and I was left with the press photographer and also the secretary with black hair, who was very slim wearing a lovely black dress and I asked her about her necklace because it looked like it was from Argentina or south America but in fact, it was from some place in Ukraine. It was made from some beads, red and white beads with some pattern on in foyer of taras shevchenko national (red) university of kiev, 60 volodymyrska street built from 1837 - 1843 in late russian classicism type construction


it and it looked Argentinean, I don’t know...Peruvian, but she said it’s from the Ukraine. I kind of caught her off guard, like she didn’t expect anybody today to ask her about her necklace. Maybe nobody did today I don’t know. Then after I had asked her about it, Mykhaylo translated, I sort of looked around the room minding my own business, I could tell she was watching me. I could tell out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t make eye contact with her but she was checking me out I think, she understood English but she didn’t speak any and I then said to Mykhaylo, who was waiting patiently because he’s got a cold at the moment, I said ‘I will go and get you a vitamin tablet if we can get you some water.’ So I went and got it and came back and at that point there was a glass of water. I tipped out a tablet for Mykhaylo and he put It in, he caught it himself, I didn’t want to touch it because you know germs and whatever, but he put it in the glass of water and he said ‘It’s not going to kill me is it?’ and I said ‘no its actually really good for you, you will feel a lot better tomorrow.’ At just about that point afterwards, this pretty back haired secretary said to me ‘would you like a tea?’ I said yes ‘I would love one please but could I have a coffee?’ So she said yes. She is really really a beautiful girl. Very slim, sort of a one piece short dress, so the bottom is above her knee but it’s like a one piece, with this lovely necklace round her neck and she said ‘I will go and

218

make you something’ and lo and behold when I stuck my head around the door in this beautiful room, this little annex an anti room, off the side of a main room but it’s actually quite a big room, she had sliced and buttered some bread, she put some sliced salami sausage on the bread with some cake, some chocolate’s, some chopped up apple that was really old so we didn’t touch those and some coffee. So when I kind of clocked, when I looked, basically she said ‘look go, here’s some coffee for you’. So we will finish talking to the press photographer in this room and walked to the anti-room and when I looked I could see on the table through the doorway all this amazing snacks and stuff and the coffee, so I looked back at her and said ‘thank you, your really kind’. She said ‘it’s okay, not at all, that’s all the English I know, “not at all”. Then she walked out with a pen and paper and as she walked out I sort of clocked her again I said.. I don’t really think I said anything but I nodded towards what was on the table and gave her a huge smile as if to say thank you, and she sort of gave a smile back but she looked a bit stressed. I was then invited, the blonde woman since then invited me she said if you’re going to take my portrait please come to this event, so I did. It was to celebrate ten years of a faculty in the building and was a big awards ceremony going on and I didn’t see her again, up until I was taking some photographs of this after photographing the lady in the foyer of the red university i am invited in to an anniversary celebration of a faculty. lots of speeches and flowers are given


awards ceremony and I turned around where actually it was really nice of Mykhaylo, he said we should go and say goodbye to the photographer, and that was very professional if you think about it. He’s eighteen and wasn’t in a hurry to leave, he said look before we go we should say goodbye to this press photographer who we’ve been talking to downstairs, he was only young, you could tell he was a young lad, his ambition is to go off and work for another photo agency, but abroad. He works for Ukraine but he want’s to work for a French one possibly. So I admire him, he was a little bit podgy with a bit of a stubbly beard, but it looks like he’s a good photographer, was really enjoying taking photographs, he took many more than I did. He was using a really expensive Nikon with an expensive telephoto lens and expensive flash which was bouncing off the ceiling, but it was a very high ceiling so I wonder what results he was getting, I’m sure they were very good. He was taking about forty photographs to every one I was taking. Then after I decided I was going to leave because I was squatting, kneeling down at the front of the room taking photographs and then I walked up an isle towards the middle of the room towards the back and I basically left. We said goodbye to the press photographer and I shook his hand and gave him my card because I asked him if he had taken any photographs of me while I was taking photographs myself of this ten year faculty

220

celebration anniversary. I had to find out what department it was, so Mykhaylo suggested we say goodbye. I tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around, me and Mykhaylo gave him a hand shake each and then the pretty girl, who gave the bread and butter and chopped up salami and little snacks, and she came up and I shook her hand as well as the photographers and I said thank you very much. I also gave the press photographer my card; he didn’t need it, I’m talking rubbish now I’m so bloody tired. The long and short of it is I really do fancy this girl, this black haired secretary. Saturday 12th November 2011 - 12:29 I’m in Elena’s bathroom sitting on the toilet. This is the first time I have gone since I arrived on Monday and now it is Saturday. I haven’t been over eating. I feel like I’ve been eating too much but as is the case my body is using every bit of food that I have put into it and there isn’t much coming out. What occurs to me is this Vova said to me that he doesn’t think Ukraine is a country for me because everything here is about making money and spending money which obviously doesn’t suit me. He thinks that countries that would be better for me would be like India or Malaysia, possibly Australia although I did cut him off at that point because I was going to say something else. Maybe photo taken by Yuri Tyvonchuk of me at red university faculty anniversary. yuri works as a photographer for the university but would like to work abroad for a photo agency.


he has more of a list so I would like to ask him at another time about this because Indian culture if it isn’t so financially based I would be interested in going there. I’ve seen first hand exactly what the cultures like in the Ukraine and everything is about looking good and driving big expensive cars and everything is cash based. As I was told before everything is black market, sixty percent black market, which is incredible. Over half of every aspect of finance is done black market with cash.

that she would miss me when she goes back to Germany and I said I would miss her to, which is really sweet. So, I can’t remember what point I was talking about last night. What point I talked up to. But to recap yesterday Mykhaylo, well I got a reply yesterday morning I was dropped off at Evolution media where I made lots of voice recordings outside and I went inside and I used internet and I got a reply from Faisal in response to my request for information for Vova about his electronic frequency problem, which makes him feel very ill and that was Ok I couldn’t continue talking last night when I was lying in bed good. I forwarded the email to Vova but he has a spam filter because I was falling asleep very fast. I was incredibly tired. I so my email was spammed so I had to basically find his email woke up at seven o clock this morning as is the norm for me, from Faisal last night and we copied and pasted the email to a when it starts to get light and I went for pee and then I went word document, we made it into a file which was saved onto back to sleep and woke up again at ten. I came downstairs Vova’s laptop so that he can come back to it whenever he just wearing my jeans and underpants and I feel perfectly rewants because Faisal’s email has information about a ‘faraday laxed in the house in front of Elena and Vova to be able to cage’ you can build. I also sent an email to The Daily Post walk round bare chested. Even to the extent that the night yesterday because Owen Hughes who I wrote to before I went before I still had some socks that I was soaking in a mop bucket to the Ukraine has replied to me asking me for more and I went to bed but I was told to get out of bed by Vova information about doing a newspapers story. I forwarded that because I had to take my socks out of his plastic bucket before email sent to him to Elinor Wyn Reynolds and Gomer to keep I went to sleep and I walked downstairs in my underpants and her in the loop as it where. I said I’m sorry if it’s impersonal of nothing else. I felt totally at ease. me to send this email to Owen and to you but I don’t have time to write anything else at the moment because I have to I like Elena a lot and she’s a nice lady and she said last night go out, because Mykhaylo was sitting next to me at the inside entrance to ticket office of an underground metro station in kiev 222


computer waiting for me to finish so we could go out into the city to take more photographs. Yesterday in a nutshell I photographed the steel lady, I photographed the university inside. We left and after that we were going back towards Evolution Media and Mykhaylo asked me if there was anything else I wanted to photograph and I said the railway station. So we had left the Metro by that point but we went back to it and got back onto it during rush hour and that was an amazing experience. It didn’t bother me but everybody was packing themselves on to the Metro carriage like sardines and it was a case that you were actually wedged up against each other so tightly that when the train moved forward and stopped you all sort of lurched together ‘en masse’ as it where because you were so tightly packed together. There was no chance of falling over when the train jolted to a halt or accelerating because you were so tightly packed in you didn’t have a chance to go horizontal you remained vertical like bottles all being stacked together. You’re so tightly wedged in and then actually when you left the carriage you had to move because you were carried literally with a wave of people exiting the carriage. It was a very strange feeling and one I’ve never had before. Certainly might end up being squashed against somebody in a carriage in London. But it isn’t that intimate as it were. But leaving this carriage you had to keep up with the pace of

224

everybody else moving - in fact you didn’t have a choice to keep up, you just kept up because you were being forcibly moved with every other person. You could literally be moved off the ground and be carried along with your feet in the air I expect. But this sort of splurge of people exiting a carriage got out from the carriage and then went up the elevators and these railway stations, sorry these Metro stations are very deep underground and there is quite a few elevators. But it’s very beautiful all the stations, they are very clean. Obviously there are many people on hand to clean and they don’t smell at all. The smell is neutral, but obviously in Britain you get the smell of brakes being used to stop the railway carriages, the underground carriages in London and other smells as well. Mykhaylo then took me to the railway the overland railway station, which I photographed outside and he said there’s not much to it. He didn’t really understand I think my need to photograph inside. But I kind off knew what it would be like inside. He said it was Soviet era but it was very, very impressive inside and obviously most people don’t see what I see, not that that’s anything special. But I was very, very happy so I took some photographs using my hand without the tripod. I didn’t have a chance to set it up and I’m also aware that you’re not allowed to photograph in the railway station so I was pretty ‘fly’ about inside entrance to ticket office of the overground railway station in kiev ‘kiev passazhirskiy’ which serves more than 170,000 passengers a day. built from 1868 - 1870 (old english gothic)


how I did it. Not only that but the lighting isn’t very good in the railway station. It’s not bright at all. Not as bright as you get in Britain. So if you stood in the corner of a room nobody would really notice you and also the police, all security guards who were in the building weren’t bothered at all about looking out for anybody. They would stand in one place and be looking in one direction but it was almost as though they didn’t want to do any work they were just day dreaming and an acting presence but not as a deterrent for anything or a preventer either.

“can we go?” and the taxi driver seemed more interested in sending a text message on his mobile than talking to Mykhaylo. But eventually he seemed to arrange a ride. So Mykhaylo got in the front, I got in the back. Now the taxi driver reminded me of the film actor Tim something (Roth). I can’t remember his name but he starred in the film Rob Roy as a baddie, a bad Englishman. The name will come to me but he reminded me off this actor. He was wearing fingerless leather gloves and he looked, he wasn’t tough or hard but he had a very indifferent air to him like he didn’t care, which is what this actor has Mykhaylo didn’t have much very much time to take photothis Tim actor. He was listening to a heavy metal radio station, graphs so I took two or three. Adjusting the exposure value which was playing some good music. It sounded really good E.V. all the time to get a nice under exposed effect so it’s very actually, I enjoyed it. I was tapping my fingers to my leg. It was dark and mysterious. Then we left and Mykhaylo said it would like hard Ukrainian rock and this taxi driver was smoking a cigabe better to walk back to Evolution Media and alot quicker rette and he wasn’t bothered about us inhaling his fumes to than using Metro because it was rush hour and there was too the extent that Mykhaylo had to wind down his window to let many people. But we walked for a short way and Mykhaylo the fumes out and we drove very fast to Evolution Media. Not then decided it would be better to take a taxi, which amused dangerously, but very fast. So it was probably one of my most me somewhat. I was taking photographs of a wall, which had exciting or different taxi rides ever, basically a sort of heavy lots of paper notices stuck to it and the remains of old posters rock, smoking, fingerless glove wearing taxi driver, which is pretwere still behind the new ones and I rather liked the effect of it ty laid back. Anyway we got to Evolution Media and Mykhaylo and then Mischa at that point probably released that I was go- took me upstairs. I asked Mykhaylo who had paid for the taxi. ing to take too long stopping every few moments to take pho- Sorry, Mykhaylo had paid for the taxi fair which was thirty grostographs of everything. So he spoke to a taxi driver and said: venor and I said: “This is your own money” and he said “yes”

226

i’m attracted to the multitude of old paper posters/flyers stuck to the edge of a bridge wall but my camera won’t autofocus in this light and no time to focus manually


and I said: “Well I will get the money back for you from Evolution Media.” I had fifty grosvenor on me but it’s got to the point where I feel like I shouldn’t have to pay. As I am a guest, I suppose of Evolution Media, but I’m also taking photographs for them about Donetsk. So I said I would talk to Elena about it. Mykhaylo took me upstairs to Evolution Media, by this point it is about five thirty or closer to 6pm. I’m extremely tired, but Mykhaylo takes me upstairs to a girl called I think it is, Natalie or Natarlia and she’s been working at Evolution Media for one month and she has a good figure, she wears glasses, she’s not unattractive, but she’s not pretty. She has a very nice manner, she is very, very shy and she speaks English and you can talk and at some point she won’t reply, but then all of sudden you’ll say something and she will reply with a great answer. So you wonder exactly how much English she does really know. I think she understands and is able to speak a lot more than she makes out. I think she’s just very humble. Anyway she said to me that she would take me out to take photographs when actually all I wanted to do was sit down and relax. I said to her: “Can Mykhaylo get refunded for the taxi fair” and she said: “Yes, whatever” and I think Mykhaylo was embarrassed because he had to translate this to this girl.

Mykhaylo left and this girl explained to me, well she asked me she said: “Where have you photographed and where else would you like to photograph?” I felt rather put on the spot that I was being asked. It was almost like I was having to remember where I’d been to prove that I was, I had a good brain I suppose. But I think I have a good memory, that I’m on the ball. But we explained where we had been ok and she suggested that we go to the Catholic Church. So we walked it, it wasn’t too far, we spoke about various things, about what jobs she had had and what she qualified in. I asked her if her mother had encouraged her or her parents and she said ‘her mother had encouraged her to play the violin from seven years old’ and she studied that for seven years to a very high standard and also she went to University. I can’t remember what she said she studied that might come to me, but she’s interested in being a journalist, but a political journalist. I asked her if she had any friends in Politics and she said ‘no, all her friends are journalists.’ But she took me to the Catholic Church and we were told that we had to come back at a certain time to go inside. So instead I asked her if there was a Crypt underground and she said “yes”, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. There was another church underground. So I took photographs down there with low curved ceilings. I really wanted to see more of a Crypt where they might have old coffins or burial chambers. a crypt under St. nicholas roman catholic cathedral in kiev. constructed 1899 - 1909

228


But I don’t think this church is old enough to have that kind of thing. I asked her how old the church was and she said ‘initially it was about sixteenth century’ and then she changed her mind and said it was about, I don’t know, about forty years old, sixty years old, maybe it was a hundred years old. I have to find that out. But she said ‘look, I will leave you to take photographs underground and I will go back upstairs and I will be back in a minute.’ She was probably speaking to somebody on the telephone or sending text messages or going for a pee or something. But she came back down and she said ‘now we have about an hour to kill before we come back, because there is a music concert upstairs in the church and I’ve bought tickets for it. So the tickets will allow hours to look around the church and take photographs. But we won’t have time to listen to the music, but now we will go for a coffee before it opens.’

we’re going to go and get a coffee, which I’m looking forward to but we walked past a school and she points out and this is right next to the church, the Catholic Church she points out that it’s a music school for children. So I said: “Oh that would be interesting.” So she said: “would you like to go in?” and I said: “yes.” So we spoke to the director and I took various photographs of various children and it reminded me of the fact that gymnasts in the Ukraine and Russia get taught, they’re incredibly disciplined and the teaching is really tough it’s not as easy going or as laid back in Britain.

So first of all we saw a man teaching two girls a guitar and then a boy was learning a piano but he looked really upset like his teacher was quite strict with him, very strict and she was really pushing him not to make mistakes and he looked really, not like he was being bullied but he looked like he was really stressed. So we walked out of the building and it was getting very cold. The look on his face, it was interesting though, when I was talkIt had been very cold at the Steel Lady earlier in the afternoon. ing via Natalie to the female piano teacher he continued to It would have been about zero degrees and my hands where play and when the female piano teacher wasn’t paying any really getting cold despite the fact I was wearing these gloves. attention he was actually playing a lot better by himself. But Mind you three fingers were exposed and I have got to say it I think her pressure next to him because she kept on pressing was pretty uncomfortable and I think the wind didn’t help the piano keys that he should have been pressing himself and either. But anyway this is night time and this about seven so moving her hand in such a way that it was putting him off o’clock, seven pm so I’m walking with Natalia or Natalie and and I think he felt really pressured by that and it reminded me

230


of when I was at prep school that I had a piano teacher who upset me so much with her constant pushing that I actually quit eventually. Simply because she was annoying basically, so I believe you shouldn’t push children too much. They are too young and the boy looked incredibly tired like he was just ready to go to sleep basically because she was pushing him and he was playing the same bit of music over and over again. It was a piece of about a minute I think, but he was playing it constantly and it was quite difficult I’ve got to say for a boy of that age. He was very talented however and I’m sure he will be very good.

talie said: “Oh look it’s eight o clock. Now it’s exactly the time to go back to the church.” So we went in, she produced two tickets for her and I, which is very kind of her. I photographed inside with a tripod and I was very happy with the result. Afterwards I explained to Natalie that I had to cross the road. It took about three attempts to make her understand that I had to do this. She said: Ed, you have to be really careful, there’s not a pedestrian crossing here. So you have to be really careful. The cars wont stop for you” and she was holding me by my arm, by my sleeve actually pulling on the material and she’d done so before when we were crossing as well and she looked really petrified and I said: “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you”, which Then we photographed a room full of students playing guitars she laughed to. I’ve never worried about crossing the road at and then we left. That reminds me and then Natalie, I caught all. But it was about three or four lanes in one direction I think. It her eye when I’d finished taking photographs and she was smil- seemed to be; well, yes the cars were driving very, very fast. ing at me - she’d been amused by the way I was taking photographs and Vova this morning for the first time said he was ‘very Anyway I took a photograph it was for twenty seconds, only interested in watching me work and see how I work’, which I’ve once because it was cold and I think Natalie was getting impanever thought about how I work. I’ve never really seen myself tient, although she wasn’t saying anything. I took a photograph work or thought until I was filmed before I went to Afghanistan outside the church as well. Later when Elena was reviewing my and I could see how I hold camera and approach my subject work that I’ve taken over the past four days, she said: ‘this is imeven though I was having to photograph my landlords dog possible you have done something that people would not think George. So we photographed in the school and as we were possible, taking the photograph of the exterior of a church becoming down the stairs from photographing the students Nacause it’s so tall and so dark and so old and not dirty but grey.’

232


People don’t often look at the outside I don’t think. It’s one of those cases where people don’t look up at a Cathedral so much because you’re quite close to the exterior so you don’t have a chance to look at it in one go, unless you really strain you neck upwards and who’s going to bother doing that? So I took a photograph across the road for twenty seconds. I was using the K10 D, which I’m much preferring to use at the moment. Getting much nicer results I think that the K7, although the K7 might not be set up properly. But I prefer the feel of the K10 it’s much more organic and ergonomic to me. So I took a photograph and you’ve got some streaks of red from the brake lights and streaks of white from headlights and I was happy with that. But due to the weight of the extra handgrip on the K10 D, the tripod was unable to cope, because really it’s a tripod for compact cameras. But I adore it, it’s brilliant for travelling with - it’s so small and practical. I like the way that you can lock the camera into position with a very simple trigger mechanism on the handgrip of the tripod. I was taking a vertical shot and I actually had to support, to hold onto part of the tripod and support one side of the camera. The outside edge of the camera, where it was heaviest with my thumb and just made sure I didn’t move my hand for twenty seconds, which is quite hard. I was imagining while I was doing it that I wasn’t actually moving my hand but my thumb slightly so that the photograph

234

would be blurred. But it seems to have come out ok considering. Anyway this morning I found that the contacts going between the hand grip and the main camera body aren’t working properly. So there’s no point in using it anyway, because the idea is when the battery in you camera goes flat you can switch over to the battery being housed in the handgrip. But this wasn’t the case yesterday, it wasn’t working properly. It will also mean that there isn’t much of a strain being put on the tripod head when I’m using it with a handgrip because it puts extra weight and extra strain onto the tripod head. So I’m not going to use the handgrip anymore. I shouldn’t have brought it with me really. Anyway, Natalie then took me walking to a street corner where the Vitali picked us up and I got into the car and saw that Vova was in the car. But, we’d only dropped him off this morning. Actually he was flying to Geneva and I said: “What are you doing here?” and he was laughing because his plane had been cancelled this morning to go to Geneva, the Ukrainian airline flight. So he decided to come back and presumably he was working in the city back at work. So Vitali picked me up, I said goodbye to Natalie. I have to find out her proper name, how it is spelt,


pronounced and we drove out of Kiev back to Elana’s. Vitali was driving quite slowly. But at least with constant speed, unlike the way Vova drives. We got back, we came inside, it was very nice to be back at Elena’s, because I knew that I would be able to sleep longer today. I basically opened up my laptop and I was going to organise all my photographs from the last four days to make a slide show to show Vova because he was interested in seeing my work. I knew Elena would be as well and they said: “would you like to go out for a meal?” and I said: “well yes, if you would like to, that would be very nice. But you don’t have to take me if you don’t want to.” We ended up driving for maybe ten or fifteen minutes, through the countryside to a very, very nice Georgian restaurant. I didn’t think to take photographs of the interior, which was really beautiful. It had stuffed eagles in the ceiling and stuffed stoats or marmots or pine martins and various stuffed animals as well as beautiful chandelier type lighting things. There was a wedding going on and Vova and I tried to photograph it and we were thrown out. We weren’t allowed in, rather to the dining area, where the couple were having some amazing lavish wedding and they were kissing a lot - that’s one of the traditional things, to kiss alot. But it was an amazing meal certainly the best meal I’ve had since I left Patagonia in 2009. It was ab-

236

solutely delicious. The nice thing about it is you were brought food constantly, small bits of food with different flavours, different types of dish. Obviously you don’t have one large, main plate. But you take a long time to eat. You are constantly eating different bits and it was a case of eating to start of with a type of spicy soup, which had some meat in and also we were brought a drink made from berries, which is very popular here. The most popular drink in the Ukraine made from berries and it tastes very smokey. The main dish, sorry it wasn’t the main dish it was a starter, was a very popular type of soup and also we were brought a very tall glass of a very thick yogurt drink, which was or just, because I love yoghurt drink and it’s not as refined as a British yoghurt drink. You realise that in Britain a lot of things are very sugary and sweet and Yop for example is very artificial. But this was very plain, a very natural yoghurt drink and tasted so. I loved the contrast of eating this type of delicious food and also having a sour, bitter yoghurt drink, which was like to me such a treat. It was like drinking cream, very thick cream and also when various items arrived I didn’t have any chance to, I wasn’t asked what I would like to eat. It was all discussed in Russian and Ukrainian between Elena and Vova. Yes, it was discussed in this way, they discussed it for maybe ten minutes with the waiter and then the waiter went away the two 60 meter high towers of gothic type construction ‘st. nicholas roman catholic church’. in 1980 turned into the national house of organ and chamber music of ukraine


and he prepared all the food. He got all the food prepared. It’s amazing, actually in the amount of time that they had in ordering in the food. A lot more food arrived than I thought they had ordered, because there wasn’t that much discussion really. But it was like a big beautiful pastry, with very thick melted cheese on the top inside, which is incredible. Also, some meat was brought to the table. I can’t remember what type of meat. I think it must have been mutton, which is very delicious. Not much meat and at the end I thought we had finished and I was given a coffee and this amazing green drink with fizzy water in and it was like a menthol drink but with a very strange aftertaste, almost like brake fluid actually if I have to be fair. Vova said: “this is a drink that children would drink, traditionally”, but I didn’t understand what it was called or why people would drink it. It made me feel very heavy, it really finished the meal off. All of a sudden somebody mentioned that it’s possible to have another meal. I really thought they were joking, but they were like ‘the way that you would present pasta in Argentina they would have filling inside so it was the same kind of wheat based pastry that you would make pasta from. But inside was poppy seeds, many, many thousands of poppy seeds in a little parcel of pastry with a sweet cherry jam sauce to be eaten

238

with it. That was unbelievably good; I’ve never had anything like that. One of the starters at the beginning as well after the soup were fig leaves, no I beg your pardon, grape leaves , vine leaves, wrapped with, I think it was some meat inside or cheese and a yoghurt sauce over these vine leaves. These are ‘grape leaves’ as Elena described them. Later in the evening as well there was a television going in the restaurant, which seemed to work, it wasn’t as horrible as you can imagine. It was a football match between Ukraine and Germany and at one point Ukraine was leading and Vova was making a joke because Elena was supporting Germany and she was rooting for Germany and Germany was losing up until we actually got back to the house after this amazing meal and a match was still being played and they drew 3-3. So Elena wasn’t too despondent about that but she was really getting into it she was cheering and shouting and she was having a good time last night. I really felt like sleeping, but the company was very relaxed and it was lovely. At one point it was funny because Vova told me the words in Russian and Ukrainian for thank you, which are really different. I cant remember them now but he said ‘you say both words for “good” in Russian and then in Ukrainian you sound like a cleric, you sound like a very orderly who might say that for real, both words in both languages at ELO - A band i listened to in the early 1980s is still going strong with former members and tours in the ukraine along with many other groups like ‘whitesnake’ and ‘roxette’


the same time, one after the other.’ Then immediately afterwards his phone rang and he was on the phone and then a very pretty blonde girl came up who was working there as a waitress and asked me if everything was ok and I said the two words in Russian and Ukrainian and Vova hit me really hard in the arm and he was laughing as if to say that was really funny. The waitress looked really shocked, because I obviously sound like a nerd and she probably thought I was taking the piss. Elena said to the waitress in English “he is learning” and the waitress nodded as if to say she understood. You know, because most young people know English.

I actually had pain from the amount that I ate, because I’m not used to that.

Eventually, I think at about half past midnight or one I had to make my excuses and leave. But having come back from the restaurant I had prepared a slide show of about forty five images from the previous four days of photography and sat down and showed them to firstly Elena. Elena said that: “every image was perfect that I’d taken in Kiev” and she was blown away by some of them, especially one of me ascending in some escalators from the Metro. Basically going upwards and it’s very dark and you have these illuminated signs in between escalators as Then we left the restaurant and we saw a car outside it was a you’re going up and she liked that. So I feel like I’m improving big Toyota four by four. The number plate said ‘FAMOUS’ and my photography all the time. I’m really looking and making the Elena said this type of number plate is very expensive to buy, most of every opportunity to take photographs and doing it this private number plate. Then we went back to Elena’s. Elena my way which is underexposing sometimes, overexposing other wanted to eat and drink some more, which was just phenomtimes. enal. But I couldn’t, I can’t remember if I had anything to eat or drink again. I don’t think so. Lana did offer me a chocolate I’m actually surprised by how well the K10 is performing. Some from her box of Lindt chocolates and she said “look, I’m reof the images that I’ve brought up on my laptop, I mean I ally worried about your heart” and I said: “you mustn’t, there’s know the laptop screen is very high quality, but I mean they nothing wrong with me, it’s just that one day I might need a look really astounding. Some of the ones at the old school, new valve and one day I might not.” But she said: “you need which was never completed, with Mykhaylo are incredibly some sweet energy”, basically. I said ‘no’ I declined it because sharp. But obviously for most shots if I can get away with it, I’ll

240

outside a georgian restaurant on the outskirts of kiev a personalized number plate exemplifies the wealth which exists in ukraine


always try and use F8 just to pull it in and make it even sharper. I think Vova liked the images as well. I showed them a slide show that I’d put together for Alexey of my Patagonia work and some of my Afghanistan work. So they looked at that as well I think they appreciated it. Then I went to bed and made this recording, that’s when I fell asleep.

been thirty eight minutes now I’ve been sitting here talking. There’s an electric fan on in the background which I hope doesn’t detract from this recording. Vova has left now. Elena left first, she has a meeting in Kiev where I think she will give Mykhaylo a briefing about Donetsk. I’ve been told that I will leave at 7pm tomorrow, which will be a Sunday and we will fly to Donetsk together, me and Mykhaylo. So, Elena left with Natalie who was driving her and then originally I was going to go for a swim with Vova this morning to the swimming pool and then we would go together to his mother’s village, but instead he received a phone call or made a phone call where now he will go swimming with his wife and his daughter.

This morning I woke up and I made myself two coffees. I made Vova a coffee, black with a slice of lemon and two sugars and we were given a pot of cottage cheese each by Elena, which was very, very nice. I have come to really look forward to that breakfast, it’s much better than having porridge or a flap jack. Certainly I might look into seeing if I can get pots of cottage cheese in Britain when I go back. I think that it’s a novelty to be He will meet them, so I will go with him to his mother’s village, here, but I wouldn’t like to live here I guess. which is about one hundred and twenty kilometres I think out of Kiev which would be interesting. He said: ‘it’s very old fashioned The only reason I would like to live here is the fact that artists and I will be able to see the buildings and the church, that kind are very well respected and very well received. Also, the girls of thing if I would like to’ and obviously I would. He is interested are absolutely stunning and I would say that ninety percent of in how I learnt to weld, he would like to see how I take photothem are really good looking. That doesn’t mean that the other graphs, how I work. He’s also obviously interested in what Faisal ten percent are ugly. But I would say in Britain maybe thirty per- wrote to him. We’ve discussed at great length this morning how cent of women are good looking. I will help him build a faraday cage before I leave to stop these radio waves from affecting him so much. So, we’ll have to find What else, I’m still bare chested and I’m still on the toilet - it’s out and then I will have to help him buy the material and

242

a chance opportunity to take a photograph of a national tv programme which is talking about john hughes, at left. i find it incredible that this is a welshman now famous in the ukraine


construct it for him. So, he has left now, he was wearing salopettes when he left and a thick winter jacket. I took a self portrait of me in front of a mirror this morning in the house, while he was using the bathroom and Elena had already left but I was happy with it so I went outside wearing my boots, but no socks and I didn’t lace up my boots I just wore them I slipped them on and I took my big green Snugpak Blizzard jacket with me, which I wore over my bare chest and I went down into the garden and I took two self portraits and at that point it started to snow. Very, very slightly, but enough to make the inside of my jacket, which I threw on the ground slightly damp from the snowflakes. You cant see the snow in the photograph, I don’t think, but nonetheless it’s getting to the stage where its cold enough now and that’s it really. Obviously I’ve had many other discussions and words with Vova over breakfast, which I could talk about. But the main just of it is now is I’m ‘home alone’ as it were. I will have a shower. I will wear my other clean underpants; I have two pairs of underpants one I’ve been wearing since last Sunday I think. So I’ve been wearing the same pair for about a week. Elena has said that I can wash my clothes before I go to Donetsk. So I will have a shower and then I will tidy up the kitchen a bit and I will take lots of photographs of interiors. I suppose Elena will be back fairly soon and I told Vova not to hurry as well. He will go swimming instead of me with his wife

244

and child and I will see them both later on. Saturday 12th November 2011 - 23:39 I’m in bed, I was downstairs with Elena and Vova and I was falling asleep. I’m so tired. I haven’t done a recording, I don’t think since earlier this morning. Since then I had a shower and then I did the washing up and then I proceeded to take photographs around the house of interiors before leaving Elena’s. This is after Elena left and then Vova left. But before Vova left I took some photographs of myself in the garden, some self portraits. It started to snow ever so slightly and I took some photographs of different rooms. Lots of E.V. shots, exposure value shots, under and over exposing so I could make some HDR’s when I get back home to Britain, which would be good. Then eventually when I was taking some photographs half way up the stairs looking downwards Elena came back, knocked on the outside door and I let her in. She was worried because she thought maybe the door was locked and they would be unable to get in because nobody was home. But I was, she was surprised that Vova wasn’t back yet so she prepared me some food and gave me some white bread, some salami sausage, an hdr photograph of the bedroom elena allows me to use in her ‘dacha’ house on the outskirts of kiev. this was her famous grandfather’s house - a doctor who pioneered research for the deaf


some Camembert, some blue stilton cheese, a tomato and some olive oil dressing which was a really nice snack. I really don’t want to eat too much. I don’t need to. I’m terrified about putting on weight even if I’ve been here for one week. I do feel like I’m certainly overeating compared to the miniscule amounts I’ve been eating back in Britain all year.

the swimming pool. The girl behind the desk kind of gave me a funny look, I don’t know why. Actually it was a look that she fancied me actually I realised afterwards, but anyway we walked to the swimming pool which was a big building and it was immaculate, absolutely immaculate. There was a sportsman working there wearing a tracksuit top, tracksuit bottoms. No doubt in charge of the gym and the sports areas and Vova Then Vova came back and said we would be going to go for a showed the ticket to him. swim. So Elena made sure that she had fed me to give me energy. Then we went for a very nice swim Vova and myself. We I went into the male changing room which was incredibly went for a swim at an amazing hotel in the middle of nowhere. smart and we put our clothes into the lockers. Vova produced Very interesting building, quite strange looking all by itself in the a clean blue towel for me and also swimming trunks. I can’t countryside. I mean the weird thing is I really like architecture remember where he was given the towel but anyway we got like that. But I never seem to have enough time to stop and changed and we went into the swimming pool and his wife look at it properly and explore the various ways I could take a was there with her daughter. Kat, Katrina, can’t remember the good photograph of it. At the end of the day though there’s name of his wife. Something like Cecilia, I can’t remember. But no point getting caught up - it’s only a building and there is she’s a nice blonde woman* (asterisk this point for later) only a certain amount of ways you can take a photograph. It’s not really that interesting. But I enjoyed nonetheless walking in Katrina and her mum were in the swimming pool already it’s the grounds around it. quite incredible actually, it was a Jacuzzi and a swimming pool and a smaller swimming pool for warmer water and an amazWe went into the hotel Vova and I and he very kindly paid. We ing slide that goes whizzing around about two times, one and went into the foyer, which was empty save for a guy standhalf times. It’s a waterslide. I’ve never been on one but it was ing over with a pretty girl and she sold Vova two tickets to use a lot of fun. As soon as I dived in I swam the entire length of an exclusive sports complex and hotel located on the outskirts of kiev where vova takes me to swim with his family 246


the pool underwater, which I feel quite surprised by. We had a very nice time, we were there for a good hour if not more and eventually we got out. His wife got out first then the daughter. I did say through the course of the conversation with the wife that I would be happy to go anywhere in the world for them to take photographs for a story for a magazine. They said: ‘yes they would do that, they would pay for my flight and it’s not expensive to send somebody on a story, because most places abroad are cheap or cheaper than the Ukraine.’

don’t seem to offer any conversation. They don’t ask many questions, their very shy or well-mannered. I’ve found that with every girl actually, it’s very strange compared to Britain. Women are normally very rude and loud and a bit arrogant and cheeky and indifferent and sort of ‘slapperish’ but here you don’t get any of that actually I feel like I’m the cheap one. You’re supposed to be thinking that about English people back at home but there was a point during the course of the dinner when we were talking about Britain being Britain and that Vova’s wife would like to go to Britain to visit. She did say though Anyway, we got out the pool after the wife and the daughter however that they did send a journalist to Britain and over the and got changed. We both had a shower each and then got course of spending a whole year on an assignment in Britain changed and went out to mother and her daughter outside he only made one friend and that friend wasn’t even English. the changing room and we walked to the car, we got in the I was laughing and they were wondering why I was laughing car. In the swimming pool the wife had suggested we go for a so much and I said well that’s how I feel about Britain the fact meal in Kiev and asked me if I liked Turkish food, I said: “Yes very that it’s so hard to make friends and I said that I always felt like much” and we then drove all the way from the swimming pool I had a problem. But it was my problem the fact that Britain felt to Kiev, went for a very nice meal there’s a Turkish restaurant so odd. I never felt very comfortable there. I don’t feel comfortcalled Tika and the daughter drew lots of drawings of dinosaurs able there and then the wife asked me ‘why I don’t think it’s a and dragons, which was really good fun, that was quite enter- good country’ and I told her that ‘young people don’t want taining. to work and they all think that they can be a celebrity.’ They see ordinary people on the TV becoming celebrities and they We had some nice Turkish food, got talking to the wife, she all want to be the same. They all want to drink; they all want didn’t say very much. I’ve found this with the girls here; they to take drugs. I didn’t say that they all want to have sex. But I kreshchatyk street closed off to traffic at night for pedestrians to use 248


think Vova understood what I meant because I kind of said you know other things. I think that upset Vova’s wife because she said: ‘typically people who have had a lot of hardship and difficulty in their lives often don’t appreciate what they have,’ and she was basically meaning that I’ve come from a country that has never had any real problems and has always had a fairly good way of life, without any troubles. But obviously she was referring to herself or people living in the Ukraine, which were ruled by Russia at one time and have known real hardship and would love Britain. Nevertheless Britain is still not a very nice place and afterwards I thought that I could have given them a comparison. Although if you end up talking about things like this for quite a long time it does upset, for example you go to Afghanistan within half an hour of setting foot there, I’ve been invited by some translators into a tent to sit down for nothing more than a conversation and a cup of tea and some handfuls of dried fruit and nuts to eat. Whereas in Britain it’s hard to even get a cup of tea out of somebody that you know if you call round to see them. Let alone being invited in to somebody’s house for a refreshment. It is hard to describe but I noticed that around her sort of lower neck area it was going bright red, which is often a sign of

250

arousal. Not necessarily sexual but just sort of higher pulse I guess. Anyway I think I upset her because she obviously disagreed. But after that we left and I think Vova was slightly uncomfortable. I really don’t know but sometimes I wonder how I get myself into conversations like that, because I have a very strong opinion about certain things. But you know when you’re abroad for somewhere like five weeks only you want to be as happy as you can and you want to make as light a conversation as possible and joke and be very relaxed. But I guess you can’t always think along those lines and in that direction because tiredness can catch up with you. Anyway we walked back to the car and drove for a bit parked up where Vova works and he said: “Would you like to go for a walk,” I said: “Yes.” We went for a very nice walk down what would have been a very busy street, but it had been blockaded off for cars. So it was basically a proper road but it had been pedestrianised for tonight, which was quite nice. Lot’s of couples were walking up and down it and taking photographs of each other. I like that. You don’t see that so much in Britain. People stopping in the street, having a photograph taken, posing for the camera, I think it’s really; people really do pose, traditionally posing, like for fun in a nice way. Rather than just having a snapshot taken and all that, when really being bothered, katrina tries to grab the hat off a monument to vladislav gorodetskiy, a well known kiev architect in kiev passage. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ vladislav_gorodetsky


or sitting doing something rude or stupid. It’s all very pleasant and there were lot’s of lights up above the street.

‘how I did that’ and I said: “I just had to stay very still”, I pressed my body against the gate so that I wouldn’t wobble around I took the photograph [Yawning] This building was right next One apparently it’s a chestnut, represents the city of Kiev, to a Presidential, the Presidents Office basically, a huge buildwhich is green and white, Vova pointed out and anyway even- ing. Vova used to work in there as a, he used to write all the tually he said we will go and see a building which was built by speeches for the President, which is quite incredible and at somebody at the beginning of the 19th century or the 20th this stage his wife is not talking to me very much. We’re getting century I can’t remember. About 1903 I think or maybe before along ok, but everything I say to Vova she is interested to know, who was trying to encourage use of cement or concrete in a what I’ve said. I explained that my father used to be very high building and had made this amazing building with lots of inter- up in Shell Oil finance and if anybody wanted something built esting animals all over it, sculptures of animals, snakes and frogs he would fly there and sometimes in a private jet to say ‘yes or and rhinoceros’ which was good fun. So, we ended up walking no’ and she was quite surprised about that. to this building and there was a fence and I wanted to get a better view to take a photograph. So I climbed up and sort of We then walked back from the Presidents building and this stood on top of a wall, which had a fence on top of that. But amazing concrete structure, whose name I have to get and a policeman saw me and told me to get down off of the wall, also before then we had walked up the street, which had had so I told Vova to tell him that I was just going to take a photosome very smart shops like Armani and Bvlgari and all sorts of graph and he said: “I don’t care; you’ve got to get down.” So, international names. There were some sculptures on the road I didn’t go to take that photograph but I did take one. Simply like a park bench and some chairs on top of it which were all through a gate or a fenced gate, that came out alright. sort of very surrealist all daliesque and her daughter Kat was sitting on them and having a good time. I was taking photoVova was saying ‘there wasn’t enough light’, but I know there graphs and there was a sculpture of a man at a table drinking definitely was. You know, I made quite a nice photograph. I a coffee and she was sitting next to him playing with a sculpguess it was about one second exposure and he asked me ture trying to get the cup out of his hand. It was funny so I took

252

architect horodetskyi’s ‘beast house’ at 10 bankova street, kiev. built in the ‘modernist style’ from 1902 - 1903. this was to convince everybody that cement is more reliable than lime


some photographs and when we parted apparently Ele had telephoned and sent a message to Vova saying she was offended that we hadn’t told her what we were doing. I never stopped to think, so Vova drove me and himself back to Elena’s and we said goodbye to his wife and daughter. They went back to their apartment.

lisp. So, I gave him an example of Jonathan Ross and I mimicked his voice which had him laughing.

We came back to Elena’s. Now Elena hadn’t really cooked anything. But we pretended we hadn’t eaten, she knew we had and we said that we had, but it wasn’t very much and we were looking forward to eating with her and she hadn’t So, it’s basically Vova’s wife that runs the magazine ‘Mandry eaten very much during the day. So, we sat down for another Travel magazine’ and I don’t know whether I blew my chances meal, which comprised of raw pig fat, with salt, which is really this evening of doing any work for them in the future. The first delicious, it kind of dissolves in your mouth. I’ve never thought thing that she said to me in the swimming pool was that Vova about eating it before but it really is tasty. We had some trout, liked my work very much. But I didn’t allow myself to look excit- some herring, with some onion chopped up and some brown ed or happy by that. I said: “Aw, I’m very glad to hear it.” bread. Some pickled tomatoes and pickled gherkins. Yes, it was really nice. We had a chat and they were very concerned So Vova and I drove back in the car to Elena’s and he didn’t about my heart again. So I did them a diagram and explained say anything the entire journey. I said that I could see by some what the problem was and I don’t think that Elena understood road signs that the price of fuel was going up even since I’ve exactly. She said that ‘the heart has four chambers’ and she got here and I asked him a few more questions I think. Again, drew a hole in the side of my heart. I said I don’t have a hole in Vova asked me tonight why I can’t pronounce my ‘th’s’, which my heart, so I had to explain again, because obviously I know. is quite interesting. I said initially that I was lazy but then I said I’ve been told many times by the doctors and eventually they actually I’m not lazy, it’s just that I never bothered when I was sort of understood. But anyway I’ve gone to bed and tomoryoung to learn how to pronounce my th’s, it was too much of row I will go at midday, with Elena to a next door neighbour a hassle. But he asked me if it’s some kind of a problem I have to meet them because they are basically typical local people and I said no. It’s only a problem if you have something like a apparently - peasants. Although they have done very well for

254

the presidential administration building in central kiev which provides advisory, analytical and legal assistance to the president


themselves, they know how to make money. Apparently there is a saying in Ukrainian, which is all about how Ukrainian people know how to take money and put it away for themselves. So that will be interesting to see some local people and they will invite us for some food apparently, which is something really nice to look forward to. At six pm I will fly to Donestk with Mykhaylo that’s something to look forward to. I will be away for a whole month working taking photographs and I’m going to work very hard. As long as Mykhaylo can keep up. I will do my utmost and I think Vova will come and see me half way through. While Elena will come especially to see me no doubt to review my photography and see how I’m getting on. But I’m going to need to take all of my experience from photographing in North Wales, Patagonia, Alaska and Afghanistan and use every ounce of energy and experience that I have and photograph as much as I can over four weeks. It will basically need a lot of planning. Anyway I will go through a huge cardboard box of A4 paper tomorrow with Elena, which is all about Donestk and we will go through it and make a very thorough list of all the things that I need to photograph, which I’m looking forward to. We will probably look at the documentary film that she’s made already about Donestk as well. So, I’ve said goodnight to them.

256

Elena’s very kindly washed some of my clothes and I took my jeans off earlier, which she’s going to wash as well ready for tomorrow. So I’ll have to get packed up ready to fly. So, I’m happy with every photograph I’ve taken and I’m happy with all the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve made the most of all of them. The room I’m lying in is phenomenal it has an incredible lampshade that really doesn’t fit the house. It’s so unusual it’s red and white stripes. I don’t know what the design is, I don’t know what era or what country it comes from but it’s quite good fun, it’s very good fun. I’m going to do an HDR of this room, because I took many exposures and I’m looking forward to doing that. I wish I had Photomatix here with me but I don’t. I will just have to be patient. I also spoke to Vova tonight about getting some land and building a community of yurts and actually hiring them out to people to come and stay in. I said also for next year if EU does collapse then people might be without fuel for their vehicles or without food. So, I said we could try to actually get really well organised. He said: “Well soil in the Ukraine is the best in Europe. Its black soil and it’s very good for growing vegetables in.” I’m really mad about growing veg to be totally self-sufficient. Vegetables taste so good and it’s just a way of surviving that’s all vova tries out my camera by taking a photo of me. vova hears i am having problems with my kit and urges me to use his ‘canon’. i decline. i’m exhausted having worked non-stop


you need. Somewhere to live so I said I will build lots of yurts and he shook my hand as if it was a deal. He said he would give me free publicity, advertising for this yurt community and he said he might have some land but he is encouraging me to come back and document the Carpathian Mountain’s next year. I hope that they like me enough by the time I leave to document a project. Certainly I will ask Vova and his wife again before I leave. He doesn’t know what I’m doing as well he said. When I come back from Donestk it’s certainly a possibility, a very strong possibility that I can stay here longer. All I need to do his pay fifty pounds and I can extend my flight for up to about six months I think. But I will see. All I want to do when I go back to Wales is to finish my Parachute Regiment book and put a book together of photographs from this journey. I also want to sort out a motorbike sponsorship. Ill either go for a sponsorship with Husqvarna or I’ll just spend more money myself on a motorbike and not be sponsored by anybody. Certainly Carpathian Mountains I need to Google for images there to see what it looks like. Apparently in winter it has lots of snow and you get cut off from the outside world because of the snow. So an off road would be useful or I could just get another ZR1100 cheap or buy a new ZZR1400 or a Hayabusa 1300 and use that to get about on if I came over here. I’ve also got to work out the price of fuel as well to see if I really need a good cost

effective bike here or if the fuel is cheaper it doesn’t matter if I get a big Superbike. Anyway I’m bloody knackered. I’ve been speaking for almost half an hour now so I must get some sleep. Sunday 13th November 2011 - 08:09 I’ve just woken up, It’s Sunday I just remembered when I was in the University the other day with Mykhaylo and we both sat down to drink coffee and eat and after that the nice girl with black hair and the red necklace and made us some food to eat, I drank my coffee and the way people make coffee here is Turkish style even though it’s not Turkish coffee it just grounds grinds of coffee in the bottom of the cup so you have to make sure you don’t swallow them but normally you don’t because they just sink and stick to the bottom of the cup. When I drank every single bit of coffee out, I left the grounds behind, I looked down and there was a perfect heart from the coffee grinds in the bottom of the cup, And as I tipped it horizontal again it changed shape so it was a very temporary thing but if I had frozen, and not moved it would have stayed like that and I told Mykhaylo and he laughed but I wasn’t able to show him because it kind of washed itself away as I moved the mug back and picked it up, it was kind of weird. The Indian man that I met earlier in that office is a Buddhist and he speaks three an hdr of the front room of elena’s dacha.

258


dialects in India as well as Ukrainian and English and he told me that Buddhism for him is all about loving other people and compassion. I kind of hoped that a heart symobilised something to do with that girl with the black hair but in fact to tell the truth as soon as I saw it I felt she actually put it there, she’d made a heart somehow and left it on the bottom of the cup, I’m such a dumbo because people do say that you can read things in the coffee grinds, can’t you, so that’s interesting. I believe in signs like that. It’s the 13th November, It’s 06:34 in the evening, I’ve just got to Borispol airport with Mykhaylo, we were dropped off by Vitali, we met Mykhaylo at Lochelle petrol station, its night time and Vitali bought me a coffee and then the phone rang and Mykhaylo’s Dad turned up in an Audi A6 with Mykhaylo in it and I guess his brother as well. It’s been a hell of a day again, I was meant to have a lie-in but I can’t have a lie-in as I’ve always got something to do so I got out of bed at about eight but I was awake before then. I woke up, Vova was still here, he said he was leaving early but he was still asleep so I made myself a coffee, I thought about helping myself to a cottage cheese out of the fridge but I decided not to as it was rude so I just made myself a coffee with my own coffee maker and my own coffee. And then I set about making sure all my photo-

graphs were in order on my laptop backing them all up correctly because I know I saved a lot of my photographs four or five times, the same photographs from the same memory cards, so I had to go through them all and make sure that none were overlapping as it is a waste of memory otherwise and it looks untidy. I’m absolutely exhausted, I really just want to sleep, It’s slightly mad and if I hadn’t been invited here I’d be able to work at my own speed and I always manage to do a lot of work obviously myself but in this case I’ve got to do really what other people want me to do, to a certain extent, if I was keeping up this pace for any longer then I’d put my foot down and refuse to do what other people want me to do but the thing is I’ve been passed around between different people and what they don’t understand is that somebody might translate for me for three hours and then leave me with someone else but I for one am having to keep up constantly so everybody is doing their own small piece. But I’m having to be there constantly going from pillar to post. The flight is at 19:50 so we have an hour and fourteen minutes in which to kill, we’ve already checked in, gone through customs, departures, now waiting in departures lounge its very tidy as you’d expect, very clean and modern. So this morning I set about tidying up my hard drive and all my photographs heading out onto the dnieper river

260


and then I set about writing a 3000 word essay on my first impressions of Kiev and I decided to do it now, Elena wanted me to do it when I got back from Donetsk but Kiev will be very distant in my mind when I get back from Donetsk so I’d rather do it today while it’s all still fresh so I wrote a piece, I don’t know how long it is, maybe a thousand words it’s probably good enough, I could probably write more but those are my honest initial impressions.

We were invited to lunch at the neighbours house from Elena which is very nice, it was a case of waiting to get the phone call from them. Elena took a bottle of Port with her I think it was a British make of Port. It was quite a large, well ok, it was less than half a litre bottle which Elena drank completely, no, it would have been half a litre of Port that Elena drank for lunch, the other two were drinking hardcore spirits. It was a really good lunch, it was pork and some salad started off with some soup and literally as soon as I ate my last mouthful of food, feelBy the time I’d finished writing that Elena and Vova had got ing very tired and very full, the man who is a builder by trade, up and we set about sitting down together at the kitchen tawho has built this incredibly tall house, I said it was a mixture ble and talking and Vova ,as always, was asking me questions between a hotel and an English castle, he took great delight about Wales and the Welsh and Patagonia and he wanted to in showing me around it before we ate. He took us out in a litfind a map so I could show him where I was living, he’s very in- tle speed boat only 30 horsepower engine but we went out trigued. Anyway I’m hoping that I can get work from him and onto the Dnieper river and then through an area of marshes his wife’s travel magazine when I come back from Donetsk and rushes and it was good fun, I took lots of photographs of but it might be tomorrow, sorry, what am I talking about, I’m so him and his son and a little Dachshund dog that insisted on tired, it might be when I come back to the Ukraine next year standing on the bow of the boat which was quite amusing, it when I do that I’m not sure. After that Vova left the house and I wasn’t scared at all which is interesting but I took lots of photos, think I did some more work on my computer, I tried backing up came back and just as we got back we crossed some waves my photographs from Kiev onto my external hard drive but for from another boat and got sprayed with water which we all some reason its stopped half way through saving over 12GB so I laughed at and then no sooner had we got off the boat we had to cancel the whole thing and start again later. were rushed into some underground buildings where the man showed me, no, I beg your pardon, before we went on the reedy backwaters make for alot of fun in a small boat on the dnieper river 262


boat he showed me essentially an underground brick larder where he keeps all his cucumbers, gherkins and tomatoes in jars which is very smart and when we got back in he took me to a cupboard or shed just outside the house which contained hundreds of bottles of alcohol, home made and boxed which he is very proud of and very excited by.

really comment. It’s really strange, they were, I said to them look, I will come and photograph, they have two sons who are getting married next year, both at the same time on the same day, and I said I would come and photograph for free as a way of saying thank you for the meal and they were like wooo Michael Jackson type superstar is coming to our wedding and I just don’t get it I keep on thinking that people are taking the Then no sooner had we got back in, I warmed up next to a piss out of me as this much kind of praise for my work and fire, I was given a chair to sit next to the fire with, because my calling me a professional all the time, it just doesn’t happen in hands were blue with cold I couldn’t hold them near the fire Britain which makes me feel quite angry towards Britain because it was giving me more pain than without heat, had because I’m doing something which isn’t appreciated in two cups of tea, tea is not drunk here with milk, it’s very unuBritain, but is here. Anyway, I mentioned to them that the Daily sual apparently but that’s what they made me which was nice Telegraph recommended that I go to Afghanistan but didn’t and I had some chocolate and then some more meat and use my work when I came back and they keep on repeating cheese. I showed him photos from Afghanistan, they wanted the fact that I was asked by the Daily Telegraph so in some to see more than what I showed them initially so I showed them respects its actually helped me get to where I am now by part of a presentation I showed everything at the master class mentioning that and I think they’ve understood that the including some bloody ones and luckily the mans wife was Telegraph didn’t want to do a story with my work when I came out of the room, he really cringed, even though he was a reback but its like if that story helps to get me to where I am now ally big man, really into bodybuilding, he really cringed at the then I’m just laughing at the Daily Telegraph, the fact that they photographs of the guy with his face blown off in the operathaven’t been taking me seriously but in effect its helped for this ing theatre in Camp Bastian and the leg in the bin, all that kind Ukrainian thing. of thing anyway they were very impressed and really seemed to be blown away by my work whereas people in Britain don’t Anyway, I’m waiting here, it’s an internal domestic flight, secu-

264

dredging barges on the edge of the dnieper river which flows from russia, through the ukraine and out to the black sea


rity is fairly stringent, its a case of taking your belt off and they wanted me to drink some of the liquid from my water bottle to prove that it wasn’t an explosive or something, the departure lounge is filling up, its 6:43, an hour and seven minutes to go, we will go to the hotel tonight apparently. I was asking and Elena said to me that Mykhaylo has been given money for both of us for food, but Mykhaylo said he’d only been given money for himself which is a hundred grovna a day. I keep on getting the impression that he’s holding back on me and he’s taking the piss a little bit like he’s getting paid and he’s getting money for both of us but he’s making out its actually for himself and he’s getting every penny for himself. I don’t know if this is the case or not but I’ve told him I don’t need to eat much during the day, he said he’ll see what he can do, I’m not really bothered, I can always end up paying for myself but we’ll see whatever happens, hopefully we‘ll have enough money for about two weeks, we might be in Donetsk for about three weeks, no more than three weeks in that time we are going to work very hard, sleep well, eat reasonably well but more importantly go through a list that Elena made today which will point us both in the right direction as to who to be approaching for help. The man I did see at lunch today had a driver in that area of Donetsk in that area of the Donbass region and said that he might be able to help us as he’s from that area and also a

266

driver so if we get hold of his number it might mean that we get a driver and we get access to more people in the region which would be really, really good. So to this point having spent 6 days here I’m really happy with my work so far, I’ve worked incredibly hard already. I’m taking vitamin C tablets, I’ve already given one to Mykhaylo and one to Vova today as everybody seems to be suffering since I got here, everybody seems to be pushing themselves to the limit although I went to bed early again last night and (11:59) ended up staying up late and so did Elena as well. Elena was quite forward today, she said she wants my body and she also said that I could come back next April to help plant her vegetable garden and also I could stay until, well, in the Autumn I have to photograph a wedding and I said to her it sounds like she has plans for me for quite a few years and she said yes, I could put my yurt up in her garden which I would like to do actually, she said she would have my body first then I can find myself a girl and get married because there’s still time for me to have children. Which I’ve got to say is quite an idea actually if I can find the right one, at the moment I’m thinking whether or not I’m going to buy the Husqvarna T630 or if I’m going to buy myself another motor bike, I would like to have my own transport especially here because I would like to continue on to Mongolia. Maybe I can come back to Ukraine for a month next April and then continue to alot of wealth can be seen in the form of expensive houses lining the dnieper river outside kiev. this transylvania mansion is one of many styles of architecture


Mongolia and then come back in time for Autumn and then maybe spend next winter here, I really don’t know what the plan is yet. See what happens. I haven’t been able to speak much to the voice recorder today and I’m missing a few things that are niggling me, stuff I wish I’d said.

listening to you Elena because we went out on this boat and not only was I freezing but my fingers were freezing I needed my gloves and I’m going to take whatever I want in the way of clothing in the future.

So all is pretty good as long as I can get enough sleep and as I’m feeling pretty good I guess I am very tired though, I don’t long as Mykhaylo and I can organise some agenda. The film have any cold sores yet but I would have if I wasn’t taking Elena made, she made me see it again today in full. vitamin C. I’ve bit the inside of my lip twice when I‘ve been The original title was ‘something leaks and vodka’ (Coal, Leeks eating as well both in the same place so I’ve got a bit of an and Vodka), can’t remember the first word but they decided ulcer. With any luck Mykhaylo, well he’s young - with any luck to call it ‘Hughesovka, Stalino and Donetsk.’ It’s a film about we’ll work together ok and when I ask him if we can go places the town, the city and the Welsh people there. So we got ideas that will be, I mean hopefully he’ll realise that it’s important to from watching a film and she’s given me a list of all the people do this job. Elena keeps worrying about my heart so I tell her she filmed and also the phone numbers so all we have to do is about my bicuspid aortic stenosis and she’s worried, I mean it contact those people and we would definitely get somewhere, was a joke today as she was worried when I was leaning forwe need to go down the coal mines, we need to get some ward, I was bending down to do up my shoelaces and she panoramas of the town, the city and hopefully three weeks is said could you sit down please because my face was going long enough, it should be I reckon, its probably just about right red and she keeps on talking about a butterfly mark on my to start off with but if I need any more photographs I’ll have to face like on both cheeks spreading across my face which is a come back next year. I’ve only been able to check my emails sign of heart disease she said, but I said look I really don’t have once, I’m hoping that the email that I have sent to Gomer will heart disease, I’m incredibly fit. Then I went out on the boat but shake them up a bit because I know I don’t think they realise before we left her house she said you won’t need any more how official this all is about how Evolution Media have given clothes than just the black top but I said that’s the last time I’m money for a translator and myself to go and stay in an hotel

268

an ‘hdr’ photo taken of the couple who live next door to elena. they kindly gave elena and i lunch and took me out on the dnieper river in speedboat. this is the day i leave for donetsk


and document this city and I hope that Gomer are grateful for all of this - after all this is in the interest of Wales and her history and this is what I do, you know, if I make any money from this, if I get another three grand probably from doing another book if I’ve got enough photographs, I’m going to have to wait and see. Ok there is an hour to go I’ve got to go and take a pee, there is a film that Elena would like to me to show Mykhaylo which is the one that she made and also I think she lent me a book by Colin Thomas, who made the book with Y Lolfa which is all about Donetsk so I’m going to have to watch her film too. I told Elena that I’d written to Colin Thomas and he had replied to me and all he had seemed concerned about was me buying his book that he has made about Donetsk and Elena said I suppose he’s quite old and also I suppose he’s quite mad as well. So this is Ed Gold this time going to Donetsk to document it, not Colin Thomas or anybody else, we’ll see what we get. I’m only using a K10D at the moment, I’m fed up with the K7, I can’t seem to get the settings right on it, I haven’t even tried really it’s a bit boring for me, the tones are all wrong, the white balance is all wrong, I’ve never been taught how to adjust those settings and I really can’t be bothered, it seems like you’ve got infinite possibilities, I just want something that does the job. I’m just concerned about getting the right exposure and also being in focus and composing composition.

270

Sunday 13th November 2011 - 21:25 I am just walking through the doors of arrivals and I think this deserves some kind of mention. I’ve just landed at Donetsk Airport, it’s kind of weird, arrivals, you get out of a bus from the plane and there are people waiting right outside literally on the runway for their families. My mind was playing tricks on me on the aeroplane, I’m sure I heard someone say ‘bore da’ and then on the coach from the plane to the arrivals somebody said ‘da iawn’ I mean its just so weird. I just spotted three men in the seats behind me that looked Welsh and I was trying to tune it to see what language they were speaking, but they were aware I was listening so they shut up. So we’ve just been greeted by a man and a woman in the airport and we’re walking out through the doors and it’s minus one and there was snow in places on the runway, on the side of the runway and it’s pretty nippy. Sunday 13th November 2011 - 22:07 We are in a supermarket with a chap that greeted us at the airport. Yeah, and his name is Jeana and his girlfriend is called Jeana, both called the same name, and he’s kindly helping us choose some shopping right now. He’s driven us around town hotel room in donetsk. Mykhaylo, at right, watches elena’s film ‘coal, leeks and vodka’ to get inspiration and ideas prior to starting the project.


a little bit, round the city to show us the John Hughes statue. I’ve asked if he knows about the history, he said yes he was taught it at school but its not something that’s mentioned so everything to do with John Hughes Welsh heritage isn’t really apparent in this place but he showed us some old buildings where the original workers houses are and they look fantastic just something like from Patagonia. Elena was saying that there isn’t much here at all and I’ll soon see what Donetsk is like and she started laughing as if she was putting it down but actually I think it’s going to be ok just from the few houses that we’ve seen that used to be the workers houses. Breakfast isn’t laid on at the hotel apparently so Mischa is buying some food. We’ll have to find out if there is a fridge at all, obviously I don’t eat very much so we’ll see how far the money goes. The supermarket is very well stocked. It’s got everything just the same as British supermarket, but a lot more meat produce, alot more salami sausages, shelves and shelves of salami. The driver has also advised us to be careful as it’s quite a rough place, apparently the city, so don’t get into trouble he said. It’s funny because I can see packets of noodles for 0.95 grovna however much that is, probably not very much can’t be many more than in Britain at 11p a pack. Mykhaylo is pushing the trolley round buying some food, I’m not really too worried, you know, as long as there is something to eat, and we’ll get all kinds for

tomorrow. Ok, It’s 22:34 and we’ve just left the supermarket, we’ve got some food and we’ve been driving around trying to find the hotel and we just stopped a taxi driver to ask him for directions and he seems to think this is a brothel that we are going to but we are just walking up to the door of a building and we’ll see what is going on. “Near my house is a hotel, not bad and is the centre and the same price, price like here, but in the centre” (Jeana) “Well much easier, ok if the price is the same as here in the centre, we go to the centre I guess” (Me) “I’m here first time but, er, er er...(Jeana continues in Russian) Ok, Its 23:03 on 13th November. We arrived at Donetsk at about 21:00 and it’s taken us 2 hours to get to a hotel. The second one we tried we’ve gone for as its more in the centre of town its 270 a night as opposed to 300 a night in the brothel that we went to, to start off with, so it’s apparently, Mykhaylo who checked out the room, said that the second hotel is three times bigger with two single beds, shower, bog, wardrobe; its all pretty good, I think Mischa is going to see if there is any wi-fi, no kettle unfortunately which is a real shame otherwise it shouldn’t what looks like the word ‘porn’ caught my eye but it is in fact an advertisement for macdonalds

272


be a problem so I’m pretty sure I saw some Welsh built houses down the street at the first hotel, if you can call it that, but no doubt we’ll come across many old buildings. Monday 14th November 2011 - 09:03 I’ve been up since about eight. Mykhaylo has just got out of bed, he’s in the bathroom, having a wash I think. I’m boiling the kettle for the second time today. I’m about to make myself a second coffee. The hotel room is pretty basic. Mykhaylo went out and got a kettle last night from the front desk at the reception, after I asked him to organise that. He got a pretty blunt knife as well, to cut some sandwiches with. We sat down last night, had two sandwiches each and a chocolate wafer bar. Mykhaylo looked at the film last night that Elena had asked me to show to him, which is the Coal, Leaks and Vodka film, and I’ve been making notes from Colin Thomas’ book. I’m just looking out the window now, a gorgeous girl just walked past. There are some signs of snow, a very thin smattering of it on some bare earth that’s been piled up. Everybody’s walking past in very thick coats and hats and it’s about minus one. Obviously I’m itching to go - I’ve been dreaming about this for years, just as I dreamed about Patagonia. I have to be patient; no doubt we will get out there by about eleven this

274

morning. We need to go through the lists that I’ve got and the list that Elena’s written for Mykhaylo, and we need to start telephoning people like the regional museum who I have an invitation from, and let them know that we are actually here now, and we would really like to meet up and we would like their help. Hopefully people will be obliging, if not I will just have to keep on pushing like I did in Patagonia. Certainly there will be buildings that where built by the Welsh, which is a start but there are many other things to photograph as well. I’m just making myself a second coffee. There are no mugs in the room, only two thin glasses, probably about two hundred and fifty millilitres. So it’s just a case of putting some ground coffee into the bottom of the glass and adding water and some milk and waiting for the coffee grinds to drop to the bottom of the glass. I’ve had one of those already this morning, there’s nothing wrong with that. You get a couple of grinds, it’s a bit sort of dusty drinking it that way but it is how the local people drink it, Turkish style. Hopefully we will have another sandwich for breakfast. I’d like Mykhaylo to telephone Elena as well to let her know that were ok and that were going to start work soon. Tomorrow I would hope to get up earlier and to leave the hotel, if you could call it that, by nine o’clock. It’s better to work during daylight hours and get everything done during the day. Obviously there are susan edwards and colin thomas’s books about hughesovka can be seen next to me as i take breakfast before heading out to photograph. Mykhaylo borrowed the kettle from a staff room next door


photographs I can take at night - cityscapes at night but obviously once it gets to five everybody wants to start to finish work. It’s better to knock it on the head and chill out a bit. By all accounts Elena said to me that Mykhaylo has been given food money for both of us but Mykhaylo said that he’s only been given food money for him. But I think he’s going to, I don’t know what is true but hopefully by all accounts he will share that money that he’s been given. I don’t need to eat much I just need my coffee in the morning, one packet of Lavazza I gave to Elena so I’ve got a packet for myself which is about half full at the moment. I’ve noticed that they sell Lavazza in a supermarket nearby. Well one that we stopped at on the way here, and it was forty-five hryvnia which is half the price of what Lavazza was near Kiev. So it seems Kiev is a very expensive city. I actually hope one thing though that Mykhaylo manages to get out of bed every morning, on time because he was awake...One point I would like to make is that Donetsk is home to over one million people, so it’s a big city. On the other hand the biggest city in comparison to Donetsk, couldn’t be another city I don’t think apart from Buenos Aires because Trelew only has two hundred thousand people, I believe. So Donetsk is five times bigger if not more, maybe six times bigger and Trelew is quite a big town, I’m not sure how big Comodoro Rivadavia is in the south of Patagonia but I don’t think there is any city this

276

size apart from Buenos Aires. Obviously you have got Cordoba and other cities like that but it would take some time to get my head around the size of the city and a map would be very useful as well to see where we have been and the location of all the old Welsh buildings. Obviously we need to find other places, perhaps in fire stations, hospitals, schools that kind of thing. They might not be in the old part of town, we have to see but I need to represent, I need to show what represents the city in its totality. Monday 14th November 2011 - 09:30 Mykhaylo and I are sitting down on a bed in the hotel room going through a list that I have made of things that we have to think about, photographing, so we are just going through it to get our heads around it. I have made a list of about fifty things and I have started off by talking about John Hughes’s house and the blacksmith that made the palm tree and the man that made the sculpture of John Hughes. I will photograph these lists and include them in the diary at the end of this. At the moment Mykhaylo is looking through the Hughesovka book made by Susan Edwards and I have ‘Dreaming a city’ here by Colin Thomas which is both useful and interesting.

the metal palm tree stands as an emblem of donetsk. in 1895 aleksei mertsalov produced a hammered palm tree which exemplified to the russian government the quality of john hughes’s steelworks


Monday 14th November 2011 - 09:53 Mykhaylo has just left the hotel to try and find out the telephone code for Donetsk from somebody working at the Reception. We need to phone a museum first of all, what we have done is we have discussed the list that I have made about what to photograph, that I have gleaned from watching the film and also my general ideas from reading the book as well, the different books. It is mainly the Colin Thomas book that I have read so far, I have read about twenty-nine pages and we are going to phone the museum and that will be a good starting place. I have just turned on my laptop to plug the dongle in, the 3G dongle that I have, I have put £10 worth of credit from when I was in Britain so hopefully I can use this abroad. Apparently it is very expensive, but we will see.

spelling to Mykhaylo my translator]. Okay searching for signal, I am just going to see what happens.10.02. I have just turned on my laptop and plugged in my 3G mobile broadband to try and pick up a local provider which is called B-line, but there is no signal. I just wanted to get on-line to look at my e-mails so that I could find Mykhailo who works at the museum’s mobile phone number so we could phone him and ask him if we could come around to the museum. It is snowing, it is a very thin layer of like icing sugar of snow, that adds to the feeling I think, it is incredibly cold looking outside.

Mykhaylo is in the bog, we will get ready to go out, we decided that we would go out and try to ask people for the code because basically Mykhaylo is trying to phone the other Mykhailo but cannot even find the code for Donetsk, which is We cannot find the code for Donetsk so I am going to look on kind of weird. I have a letter of invitation, but it is not on the my e-mail if it will connect and find the mobile number which letter by all accounts. So it is just these small things that can I should have written down, I intended to use Wi-Fi in Kiev, but really slow you down. It seems that we are going to be here for I just never got the chance. If we can get Mykhailo’s number, three weeks and if this takes a few hours in the morning just to Mykhailo is the name of a son of the Vice-President of a person even do a small thing like this, then God help us, but I am sure that works at the regional museum at Donetsk. If we can get his the ball will start to roll soon. mobile number then we can phone him that should not be a problem. [Note that Mykhailo who works at Museum is different

278

hotel ‘great britain’ in donetsk is one of the oldest buildings in the city from 1883. built in the english style of the 19th century


Monday 14th November 2011 - 10:19

Post which would be a good photograph to send if we can get Wi-Fi. At this stage in the game you want to sink your teeth into Mykhaylo and I are walking along a pavement, it is snowing the project as soon as you can otherwise you can end up ever so slightly and it is settling, but it is just a very fine coating. walking around in circles, so obviously I am itching to start It is cold; I do not want to make recordings every two seconds taking photographs. We have a list, it is just a case of getting about what we are doing even though it is very exciting to be to the museum first otherwise it is a case of going through the here. list, getting in a taxi and endlessly paying the driver to take you to various places which could prove expensive. We will see Initially we saw two large brick chimneys on their own, we had how we get on. Actually I do remember what I was up against a look at them, but they looked quite young, they did not look when I went to Patagonia because Fabio proved to be very old enough to be Welsh. Okay, so one thing leads to another, helpful eventually, but initially he did not know me and was not we are walking to try and find Wi-Fi so that we can find the that helpful in the Welsh museum in Gaiman and I Donetsk museum mobile phone number so that we can phone remember writing in my diary in the first few days how I really this guy. I should have done it when I was in Kiev, but I just needed to take more photographs and how I was fretting have not been allowed the opportunity to have time off to do because I was only there for one month and it actually ended these kinds of things. Perhaps I will have to come back here up being a year. So hopefully with Mykhaylo’s help, because next year anyway by motorbike and be my own boss and do he speaks the language, we should be able to do more work in more work, but this is a trip being paid for by Evolution Media so this time instead. I have got to come up with the goods this time around. I have got two 9-Bars left which I have brought with me and I want to Mykhaylo asked the guy on Reception and she has pointed get a photograph using one of those to send to Mark Gould us down a street. Also Jeana who works for Evolution Media in at Wholebake Limited in Corwen and also I want Mykhaylo to Donetsk has telephoned back because Mykhaylo got in touch take a photograph of me, Mykhaylo the translator that is, with with him to ask them for the code for Donetsk and he has told the John Hughes statue to send to Owen Hughes at The Daily us where we can find the museum. Anyway it will be useful to

280

people working in ‘hotel great britain’ refused point blank to allow me to take any photos inside so i took this secretly at the reception


get Wi-Fi to get Mykhaylo, we will call the museum Mykhailo, so I do not get it muddled up with the translator Mykhaylo. So we just need to get Wi-Fi, I should have done this in Kiev, but it was rushing from pillar to post. So we just need to get museum Mykhailo’s mobile and also get to the museum.

Monday 14th November 2011 - 11:54

We are just walking out of a museum, not the regional museum, initially we went in and asked for the Director if there was any art from the John Hughes time in there and they said no. We pushed him a bit further and he said that they would Impressions are, walking down the street, it is a two-way street, not go into their archives and get anything for us because we it is going uphill, there is a faint smattering of powdered snow. just turned up on the spot. ‘Why should they?’ After a bit of Lots of apartment blocks and old buildings, personally, for me, pushing, we got permission to take photographs inside the I think it is very picturesque, there are lots of tall poplar trees on museum. There are no Welsh artists, but there is art from either side, just like in Patagonia which I find quite ironic. For Ukrainian painters, I took two photographs and we had to pay breakfast this morning I had a bread roll with pork, cheese and 10 hryvnia for each photo, so I took two and I flattered the lady cheese spread, which funnily enough is identical to what I used wearing purple, she loved it. She was quite sweet actually in to feed myself in my first mornings in Patagonia. Mykhaylo is an old way. So I am reasonably happy, we have made a start, laughing. I just need to photograph all aspects of Donetsk even if it is not related directly to John Hughes, this city is here because of him, Mykhaylo had an Earl Grey tea and I had a coffee, so I feel at so everything that exists here now is because of him. home here with the poplar trees and a breakfast already. The There was some clothing in the second photograph and some apartment blocks are looking very old and decaying. I have costumes from typical Ukrainian female dress, so I not taken any photographs yet, Mykhaylo has already started photographed the woman wearing purple up against those and yeah. costumes, slightly over-exposed, but I can make it darker if I want to. So it is almost midday of the first day here, we are still working our way slowly to the regional museum, but first we want to get Wi-Fi. donetsk regional museum of art on pushkin street shows traditional costume as well as alot of paintings 282


We are outside a large building. “Some people are coming out Mykhaylo”. We are still looking for Wi-Fi, okay about those last two photographs, I am happy with both of them, however, I am starting to think that all of my portraits inside should be in very low light using a torch to paint with, which is what I did with Alexie’s wife in Kiev for that sort of Gothic mysterious effect, I could do that with almost every photograph. Having said that, it is hit or miss a lot of the time and I could end up taking many more photographs than I should do and when you end up paying for each shot, it gets expensive so for now I am going to have to go with what I have got.

Jeana has just stopped in his car to pick us up which is good, so hopefully we will be going off to take some photographs seriously from now on. Okay so it is 12.36. We went into a restaurant to sit down and get Wi-Fi and get a coffee and Jeana left his work quickly to give us a lift to the museum because we were walking around in circles basically. So he dropped us off, they greeted us, Mykhailo, museum Mykhailo’s Mum greeted us, she looks quite young, so he must be very young, greeted us and said that we should come back on Wednesday where we will have a meeting and various people would be there from the archives, etc, etc. So we walked out.

Well eventually at midday we found Wi-Fi, we went downstairs, sat down and as soon as we sat down we have to get up and get out because we have to go and get a lift now from Jeana, There is some Skiffs sculptures which I have taken photographs the guy that works for Evolution Media in Donetsk. He is of and now we are trying to find a map so we can work out coming to meet us in a car, which is good. where we can go in the town and what areas we can cover, so the next case is getting a coffee, getting Wi-Fi, getting a So I am starting to see that the culture here is people map and it is just that everything is rather slow. It seems to be a generally do not do anything for a long time and then all of bit of a job to do anything at the moment. a sudden you have to jump. I am walking up the street; I am walking down the street. Mykhaylo is having lots of All of the old people just do not want to be photographed, we conversations on his mobile phone and we do not seem to are walking past a statue now of somebody. Who is this? There be doing too much. Obviously this is still the first half day, but are lots of statues everywhere.

284

all around donetsk there are signs of its formative years and here the larger image shows a street view from John hughes’s days (pictured as statue and in the oval photograph)


Monday 14th November 2011 - 13:35 Mykhaylo and I have just been through a park with lots of wrought ironworks, a lot of them celebrating 2012 and the football that will be here in the Ukraine. It is getting cold; it is snowing ever so slightly. We ate some cottage cheese earlier and had an espresso and we are walking down towards the statue of John Hughes. We have both just been taking lots of photographs of the statue and Mykhaylo is just asking for directions and a man is pointing across the street. I am confident now after the past couple of hours that we are going to do okay, it feels like we have already taken a lot of photographs, or rather I should say I have, Mykhaylo is taking photographs simply, well I asked him why and he said ‘why not?’, which is fair enough. He is using quite a nice Canon camera. There are lots of people everywhere. Municipal workers planting trees, I saw lots of women raking up leaves and putting them into the back of a trailer on a tractor much like women working for the council in Argentina as well.

286

a statue of john hughes in donetsk located in front of donetsk national technical university honours the city founder whose steel plant gives donetsk its industrial history


Welsh To be continued (if The Arts Council of Wales grows up)...


Ukraine

on our first day in donetsk, after a week in kiev, Mykhaylo and i visit the john hughes statue and begin to document the welsh link to this city


an exhibition has been booked for this work by merthyr tyrdfil borough council but the arts council of wales won’t fund me - so it’s cancelled. the end of my photography about the welsh & wales


The transcripted audio files you have just read are the first 464 minutes out of a total of 1,588 minutes (26+ hours) I recorded from my 3 week project photographing the Welsh link to the Ukraine in late 2011. Please keep returning to this eBook which will be completed as and when I have the available funds to finish having all the audio transcribed.

Obviously the purpose of this diary is to document my project in Donetsk, the city started by the Welshman John Hughes, but the audio I have transcribed so far (ÂŁ288.60 worth) only just gets me there! When this work is complete I hope it will be enough to capture the attention and imagination of a publisher who can either make a book from what I have photographed so far or commission me to go back to Donetsk to continue this project.

Ed Gold - 22 October 2012

291


The Steel City By A. Gwen Jones   (BBC Radio Broadcast) December 15, 1943, 5.05p.m - 5.2O p.m. - Cardiff, UK When I hear on the radio the names Kief, Charkov, Krivoi-rog and especially Stalino, the steel city, and the news of the Russian success there, my mind would go back to over fifty years, and living images would appear in front of my eyes.  When I heard that Stalino had been retaken by the Russians, I would think of the Stalino I knew so well, for I had been living there as a young girl for three years, but the place had another name then, that is Hughesovka, the town was named as a form of honour its founder, a Welshman from Merthyr (Tydfil) named John Hughes.  John Hughes was an engineer who caught the attention of the Tzar Alexander, the second and the Russian Government, through his technical skill when he was a superintendent at Millwall Docks, London.  The Russian Government was keen to expand its railways and to develop its steel and coal works in their own country.  I remember hearing often how Mr. Hughes was invited to establish works in Russia; truly I remember well the silver plaque the Tzar gave him as a present.  Mr Hughes accepted the invitation and he went around the country, he chose a place on the lonely- planes of the Steppes, where only a shepherd and his dog could be seen.  But this place was rich in coal and iron, and not far from Taganrog and Mariupol docks on the Azov Sea. The iron mine at Krivoi-Rog was not far away and they also became the property of the New Russian Company, The Novorossiskoe-Rog, founded in 1869.  I remember us visit Krivoi-Rog in 1892. 

(where I lost my way and found myself in the [pencilled in “Jewish” Ghetto), then Kieff and Charkovliving pictures of Kieff ,this Holy and ancient town would appear in front of my eyes; crossing the wide Dnieper river, and admire the great tide of churches with their golden turrets and domes shining in the blue sky.  There I saw a crowd of pilgrims that had walked along the road from far Siberia.  Then Charkov, with its wonderful university and its world famous fairs.  At last reaching the station at Charsisky completely exhausted.  There were vehicles to greet us and take us to Hughesovka.  I will never forget the feeling of overwhelming loneliness that filled me whilst travelling over the drab, tree-less, never ending Steppes; it wasn’t any wonder that the longing (hiraeth) for Wales almost totally conquered me.   But the interest in the unfamiliar life around me and the natural eagerness to see everything new helped me feel at home in Hughesovka.  I was living in a large house, in the centre of a large garden surrounded by a high wall for safety, and there would be a night watchman to look after the place overnight, but you couldn’t always depend on them.   Life there was not uninteresting and not without variety.  Letters and paper from home would take eleven days to arrive and often they were censored.  Some books were not permitted to enter the country.  Visitors of all countries and languages would come, engineers and students from Moscow and Petersburg (now Leningrad) and even from far Siberia.  One time the Province Governor of Ekaterinislav, Dnepropetrovsk as it is now, called, to stay with us.  He arrived at the house with great ceremony having been escorted by a company of Cossacks on horseback.  Some of the visitors had stories which were interesting and exciting to a young girl like myself.  This was the time the revolutionists were called Nihilists.  I was told that I knew a few of them and I remember well being warned for innocently talking carelessly, as I was unaware of who would be amongst the visitors to the house. The police were watching and were looking into everything in great detail; and we had to be careful. They were very strict in looking at our passports.  I have kept my old passport which had been signed by Lord Salisbury - the Prime Minister of the time.  We were able to enjoy ourselves in many ways.  You knew that the Russians were excellent musicians and singers.  Once every week I would hear music of a very high standard and often I would have the honour of hearing the Polish Lady, Madame Yancharski playing the piano.  She had been a student of the Rubenstein and Paderewski and was one of her friends. 

When I arrived in Hughesovka in 1889 the population had increased from zero to fifty thousand, with the mine and steel works full of work. Stalino is now one of the main railway centres of the Donetz Valley, but in 1869 the only railway to the south was Taganrog and Mariupol.  The nearest station to the line to the north through Charkov was Charsisky.  We were a group of many countries and languages- (Russian, Polish,?Ellmyn, Belgium, Jewish, Tartars and Georgians from Tiflis in the Caucasus – Stalin’s home.) and in their midst a small company of English and Welsh, John Hughes brought the experienced workers with him from the Dowlais, Merthyr and the Rhymney.  At that time there were about seventy Welsh there, but I heard there was more there at one time.  I remember some of them, - Mr. Watkins who married Miss Curtis from Rhymney, Mr Holland who had been a chemist in the works at Dowlais, the James family and others.  But the man I remember best was John John from Dowlais.  A Welshman of the best kind, a man you could thoroughly trust.  I would enjoy talking to him in Welsh.  At that time the workers were only paid once a month and the money from the wages would come (pencil addition “on the train”) under guard from Taganrog.  John Hughes died in June 1889, a few months before I arrived in Hughesovka as a teacher to Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hughes two young girls.  Arthur Hughes was the second of John Hughes’ four young sons; and his wife was Miss Augusta James from Lanover, Sir Fynwy.  Interest- I never forgot the excellent singing at the Greek Church in Hughesovka.  The recent news that Stalin ing to many Welshmen is the fact that it was the bard IsIwyn who married them.  By the way, indirectly had recognised the patriarch of the Church in Russia brought reminders of many of the services I atthrough another great preacher, the Rev. Dr. Saunders, Swansea, I received the chance to go to Russia.   tended, especially the service on the eve of Easter.  At this service, with its ceremony and the musical excellence of the choir, especially the deep voices of the bass, made a great impression on me.  The I remember the slow long journey through Europe with the family, staying a few days in Berlin, Warsaw scene inside the Church would fill one with a spirit of worship.  The Church was overflowing, everyone

292


was standing with candles in their hands, there aren’t any seats in a Greek Church. At midnight, the Church’s clock would strike, and the priests would arrive in their beautiful robes and singing “Christ has arisen”. All of the congregation would be kneeling.  They would cross themselves and answer, “It’s true He has arisen!”; then the choir would sing a special hymn for Easter; all the bells would ring and all the Church would be shinning in beautiful light.  There would be united rejoicing, where everybody would greet each other with three kisses and they would shout merrily “Christ’s arisen.”  It was hard not to admire the strictness in which they kept the fast of Lent, but as soon as the Easter festival was over they would devote themselves to feasting to excess and the hospitals would be full.   One of my prime pleasures was hunting - of foxes and hares, there were as many as you could ever wish for, only us girls were not permitted to join in the hunt for wolves due to the danger involved.  The Officers of the Cossacks would often come out with us and they were such wonderful horsemen.  The hunting dogs had come from the Court Estate, Merthyr Tydfil, and since I had been a pupil in the Court school, Merthyr, under the three Mrs Edwards’, I felt I had an interest in the dogs.   Neither will I forget skating on the works lake, and a sledge journeys over the glittering snow, with the troika bells, the three horses ringing melodiously in the clear air.  There was a small taste of adventure in sledding over the Steppes, as we would sometimes be followed by a number of dogs, half-wolves, and it would be up to Ivan, our driver, to use his whip to keep them back.   When I was living in Russia there were only two classes of people.  I was in a position to see the great differences between the two.  The standard of living around the Mujiks - the common people, was very low and they weren’t unfamiliar with hunger /famine in some regions.  They lived in poor small houses of wood, of only one floor.  They had no conveniences to provide comfort and health, only a large stove which almost filled the room.  Often they would sleep on it at night.  Of course the workers houses in Hughesovka were far better.  In every house you would see an “Icon”, that is, a sacred picture and there is not one house without its Samovar, a vessel for making tea.  I used to like the Mujikas, they were kind, unaffected, truly religious in a simple and innocent way.  They would face misfortune without grumbling -“Nitchevo” they’d say shrugging their shoulders.  They are patient and wise, full of common sense and humour. But like all Russians they were very superstitious.  On evenings when the weather was fine, they would meet each other outside the village, they would then rock on swings and sing and clap hands, and almost always eating sunflower seeds. They were very fond of dancing and enjoyed the social life with each other.  I must say that everyone was fond of the local drink “Kvass” and if they could get it the even stronger drink “vodka”.  

On special holidays it was a pleasure to look at the girls in their beautiful dresses, the embroidery on them would be skilful and pretty, their hair would be beautifully platted with ribbons and beads of all colours around their necks. I especially remember one time we were crossing over the planes of the Steppes in a sledge we heard some sorrowful singing in the distance breaking the silence - it was the people from the village about their fathers’ exploits.  I could never forget the spell/charm for a long time and my mind would fly back to Wales with their minor/plaintive tones and again longing would rise in my breast.  At the time, this class were unable to read or write.  One of the many things that struck me the first time in the towns was the “signs “on all the shops; they were pictures and not words, for example, on the butchers shops you would see a picture of a cow or a sheep, and likewise on all the shops. - The reason of course they were unable to read.  A great change has come over the country for one thing.  On Sunday morning there would be a market, and one could see the square surrounding the church, from six o’clock in the morning, full of the country people with their produce.  The prices for things were very cheap, goose or turkey for a shilling and a chicken for sixpence.  We’d pay for them in Kopecks and Roubles of course.   In contrast the other class were exceptionally cultured.  They would live in their large houses on their estates with a great number of workers and maids.  They could speak many languages and their reading immense.  I was surprised more than once that they knew so much about the prime English writers of the time.  The Russian author they mentioned the most was Pushkin, I heard only a little from them about Tolstoy.  French was their second language and I heard almost more French than Russian.  Russian was a hard language to learn.  As I’ve mentioned, they were very fond of music and dancing and they were very fond of playing cards. They were careless and ________? people, but yet extremely kind and a great deal of charm related to them.   Time does not allow me to mention the many other interesting customs of the country; or the extreme weather - the overpowering/ oppressive heat of the summer, the severe cold and the deep snows of their winters.  I heard a young man from Rhymney lost his life in a sudden perilous snowstorm.  The fiery heat of summer would bring with it many diseases like dysentery.  I nearly died from this disease but for the care of an American doctor who was one of the doctors at the works hospital.   In 1892 cholera came to the town and we, the family had to flee the place because of the riots which was caused by peoples fear and ignorance.  The riots were important enough to be chronicled by the London papers.  But even having to leave Russia like this, in haste, I felt extremely sad in singing farewell to many friends there.  I had a wonderful kindness from many especially Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hughes; and I had come to love the country and its people, and in these later days in rejoicing the Russians exceptional success.

293


FIRST IMPRESSIONS - Ed Gold Certainly my impressions of Kiev, from the air, were stereo-typical of what 1st time tourists would expect from an ex soviet era country. I spoke into my voice recorder about chimneys and smoke, rows of communal apartments, barren land and drab colours... but it was dusk so I couldn’t ascertain a truthful likeness until morning. Also I was landing at Borispol which is outside the city so my initial assumptions couldn’t have been further from the truth. It is easy to get caught up romanticising a place you have never been to with the euphoria that travel brings but Kiev could not have been more different from what I was expecting. I had read about other peoples journeys into the Ukraine from Europe and that the roads instantly worsen as you cross the border but I was struck by how good the highway was and also how many good cars there were. Apart from the cryllic writing at petrol stations I could have taken off from Amsterdam, circled around for 2+ hours and landed at the Schipol airport again! I eagerly anticipated the journey from the dachka into the city and enjoyed firstly seeing the roadside advertisements for rock groups which were big in the UK 20 years ago and whom I still like. Suits, wine, cars and bras all entertained my vision. I had to ask who the large houses with long security fences belonged to, in awe of the obvious riches abounding in this place. The tree’s of the forest we drove through reminded me of Canada’s expanse. The city was lower in height that I expected, despite many new buildings being erected. I later learned that the city initially had a law which stipulated that no building could be higher than the bell tower [name?] as there had to be respect for God. After 5 days here I am still searching for my first sign of litter and am thinking of dropping my own just so I can believe that this isn’t the cleanest city I have ever been to! I would say that 90% of the women are the prettiest and well dressed I have seen ever and that doesn’t mean the other 10% are unattractive either! That compares favourably to Argentine women who I give a respectful 60% but Britain gets only an honest 20%. Maybe it is because my ego has been stroked by the invitation to visit that I wish to reciprocate the respect I am feeling from being here as us photographers could not get treated better when we are at home. I feel that Britain no longer

294

appreciates artists thus I am instantly attracted to Kiev where it seems I can serve a purpose. In a nutshell, it is obvious that money is ‘key’ to living in the city. I have never seen so many Mercedes and Porsches, in the same day, in London or being driven with such confidence. People are quieter here and hold an air of humbleness. I am struck by how intelligent the Ukrainian young are with their mastery of English, Russian and some French too and their zest for acquiring knowledge. Books are still appreciated as the 1st world expels knowledge by playing video games. What strikes me most is how welcoming and courteous the people are, the intensity of talent from artists to musicians to writers and the prevailing energy to succeed. Perhaps this is how a country caught within a regime and now free shows itself to actually be and it is only because people know how hard the life is that they appreciate what they have and what is possible. A large downside to this is that nearly all people will not be photographed and that is the hardest part as I am a ‘social documentary’ photographer. Kiev architecture makes me excited, despite its relative youthfulness and I appreciate that much was destroyed in the second world war. However ‘down’ I can get I think that seeing the golden church domes would always lift my spirits and I consciously smile whenever I see them - it is a heartening and reassuring sight with a feeling of Christmas everyday. I appreciate being able to speak openly with monks at ‘larva’ and that they are at hand to seek advice and blessings from. I could feel the surety of their knowledge down in their caves and could easily have spent several days studying more of their art and forefathers who lie at rest. Prices are high, a sign of the economic times, and I would struggle to afford to live here. Here you can buy 5 packets of cigarettes for 1 coffee, the reverse in Britain and I don’t smoke! In my 1st week in Ukraine Evolution Media told me they would make a story about me and my work for their magazine ‘Weekly UA’ and asked me to write down my first impressions of Kiev. These words was never published but the magazine’s editor did use my photos of hunger striking pensioners for an article.


welsh ukraine


www.edgold.co.uk

Welsh Ukraine  

A diary transcribed from my audio voice recordings over the 3 weeks I documented the Welsh link to the Ukrainian town of Donetsk. WORK IN PR...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you