Ross was the second stranger I met at the Bikes & Barges event in Maldon this afternoon. He was playing bass with his tribute band The Doll Set Tones, entertaining folks on the quayside with a couple of catchy sets. I made a picture as he was playing – his colourful sunglasses immediately caught my attention. But that image wasn’t great, and at that point, I hadn’t spoken to him, so it was just a candid portrait. Sometime later, I was wandering around making images of the bikes on show and Ross walked towards me and the two friends I was with. I was just about to grab the chance and ask if he would mind me taking his picture, when he suddenly recognised my two companions whom he’s know for about 15 years but hadn’t seen for ages! So of course we got chatting. He started out as an apprentice motorbike mechanic working for my friend Simon, but left a few years ago. The modest rock and roll lifestyle he leads clearly wasn’t sufficient for his wife, who was apparently at a Robbie Williams gig today, rather than listening to hubby play! He also breeds cats as a hobby – Simon and Sue have one of his (now grown) kittens, Sox. It’s a small world really, and although Ross was a stranger to me, he was an old friend to my mates. Great to meet you, Ross.
Tony was attending the Bikes & Barges event in Maldon this afternoon, which I went along to with a couple of friends. There were lots of shiny motorcycles on display which we enjoyed photographing. Tony was admiring a particularly well kept 1959 Harley Davidson and we got chatting. He’s been riding bikes since he was a teenager, but had a break when he discovered girls and decided a car was a much more practical vehicle for taking them out on dates! Having decided he needed to get back on two wheels some years later, he now rides a Kawasaki ZZ1400 which he says can be a bit of a beast to handle, but he enjoys it rather than having a show bike which he would never dare to ride for fear of scratching it! Thanks for agreeing to be Stranger #29, Tony, it was lovely talking to you.
This morning I went to Ingatestone Station to photograph a steam special which was passing through – the lovely Tornado. There were plenty of other steam heads lurking on the platform – I happened to stand next to Brian and we got chatting while waiting for the train to arrive. He has been chasing steam trains since he was a little lad, and had his first train set when he was 8 – a Hornby Dublo set which he still has (much like my Dad’s). His favourite engine is Sir Nigel Gresley, mainly because he has very fond memories of riding behind it nearly 25 years ago on the last railtour he did with his 10 year old son before he died. Today, his wife was keeping him updated of the train’s running times by checking the website at home and sending him text messages. He said he preferred Tornado in its new Blue livery rather than the previous BR Green. Thanks for being my 28th Stranger, Brian, it was great to meet you.