A life in Kent

An interview with John Heady about his life and work in Kent

John Heady interview

A changing world

I interviewed my neighbour, John Heady, about his experiences of life in Kent. John has a wonderful Kentish accent of the kind that will no longer be heard when his generation is gone.

We both live on the A2 in Teynham, and our houses back on to an orchard (where we are pictured below). The fruit is no longer picked from the orchard, and the land is now under threat of development, mentioned in the ironically named ‘Bearing Fruits’ document in the Swale Borough Plan. When I talked about this with John, the fact that this beautiful orchard could be replaced by houses, he laughed and said, “Well, I won’t be around to see it.”

John Heady and Maria in the orchard behind their houses
John Heady and Maria in the orchard behind their houses

An exhibition at the village hall

On the map, the orchard is an ochre patch;
the key says Strategic Allocation. 

Planners are given face by a man who translates:
frilled circles, clouded brown, show the trees of now,
to be replaced by a housing estate.

Early evening, rabbits slalom through the trees
where I’ll gorge on plums, come August.

Woodpeckers flash red and green, buzzing
low as though on a bombing raid,

and I want to cling to the branches
like those folk that won’t leave their houses
till the wrecking ball strikes.

The dusk chorus, a pink sundown,
the orchard thrown into shadows.

I capture the picture.

Maria C. McCarthy © 2015