Eynsham Image ArchiveLocal Covid ResponseEynsham HeritageMaps & Walks

Working from Home

Sweet SueHere is a picture of Sweet Sue, a carnation named after me by Mr Stroud, a Freeland flower breeder, in the sixties. I’m no longer in the garden catalogues, but there is now a Sweet Sue Fine Art range showing the flower in the USA.

We have got to the 1970s. I am married, changed my name to Sue Chapman and I am living in Millstone Cottage in Mill Street, Eynsham. Because of our two children I have gone back to freelancing. The cottage needed gutting and one of the first things Don did was to create a darkroom for me. I loved my darkroom work. It was often as rewarding as taking the pictures.

I am using him as a model in the first picture in the gallery. I couldn’t take double exposures on my Nikon camera, so once again my old Mamiyaflex came in useful. In the next he is looking more photogenic in Mallorca. Whenever we went on holiday he wrote a piece for the travel section of the Oxford Mail.

As a freelance I am now able to take on various different sorts of work. Shops would ask me to do fashion features, where I had to find different locations and models; the bridge at Langel, Witney, echoes the dress. Also knitting patterns, where I chose local friends like Rory Briggs from Newland Street. Eynsham undertaker Annie Green and her school-friends helped with one of the many illustrations for a series of education books. It was always nice to do a book cover photo. There are two more in the gallery.

I was really excited in 1985 when our next-door neighbour Mollie Harris asked me to do the pictures for her book, Cotswold Privies, which came fourth in the Sunday Times best seller list. I used to drive her all over the country to publicise it. Her talks were hilarious. I laughed every time. The gallery shows her sitting very demurely on the privy at Lord’s Farm in Queen Street.

Travels with Mollie Harris

Our research took a year. We would descend on a village and ask if anyone was still using an outdoor toilet - ‘Oh, Ivy uses one down in the woods,’ we might be told. We then had to find Ivy and wait while she made it tidy before letting me take a picture. I expect they are all just garden sheds now. You can still see our favourite three-seater at Kelmscott. One can just imagine William Morris and his friends reading The Times together.


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Eynsham Image ArchiveLocal Covid ResponseEynsham HeritageMaps & Walks