Darren Hayman is back, with a second volume of songs resulting from his Thankful Villages project. The eleventh village is Maplebeck, Nottinghamshire.
I have visited Maplebeck four times now. It has become a centrepiece of the project for me, and is the village where I know the most people and have possibly made friends.
On our first trip, we visited Claudine in the Beehive pub, and her 15-year-old cat. We talked for a long time about the history of the pub and the old landlord who used to let his pig drink the last of the beer barrels at the end of the night.
Claudine was a great interviewee but she declined to have her voice on this project. I like that. It’s a pleasant surprise to find people who want to remain private. Claudine doesn’t even have an email address and got her Dad to send me old photos of the pub and its owner.
We also met Judith in the graveyard. She had a plan of all the graves and was cleaning them with a toothbrush, trying to match the fading names to the church records.
I went back to the village about 10 months later to talk to Judith some more. Judith bought along her friend Rachel, who had researched the history of Maplebeck and uncovered many photos in the process.
We talked about children’s graves, the people who had left the village, and the usefulness of history to people.
My third visit to Maplebeck was with my band and we played the Thankful Villages project thus far to the villagers in their hall. It was so important to me to be able to play the project inside one of the villages. I was so grateful.
Derek is a cornerstone of the community and helped gain the funding for the new hall and works tirelessly to book films, plays and acts into the hall. After the show, we went to the Beehive and Claudine remembered my name.
A little after that, Claudine phoned me to say that her cat had died and did I still have photos of her. Maplebeck gave me photos and I gave them photos back.
My fourth visit was another year later. Dan and I played a show in the Beehive and slept on the pub floor.
Thank you Claudine, Judith, Rachel and Derek. Thank you Maplebeck.
Photos courtesy of Rachel Gardner.
Rob Halcrow plays Tenor Horn. Dan Mayfield plays Violin.
Darren appears on the Jane Garvey and Peter Allen show on 5Live tonight, where he will talk about the Thankful Villages project and play some music from it. Programme info here.
Previous Thankful Villages posts on Caught by the River/ Darren Hayman on Twitter