I’m Only Half Here

Ellie Kennard 2016, photo by Steven Kennard
Ellie Kennard 2016, photo by Steven Kennard

I have the most wonderful husband in the world. And I miss him a lot! He is in New Zealand, 10,000 miles from me, but before he left he posted this.

Originally shared by +Steven Kennard

“Portrait of Ellie”

“As I get ready to go to New Zealand I thought I would post a photograph I took of my beautiful wife, Ellie (photo above), who won’t be able to go with me on my trip. It’s a long journey, but I won’t be away for many days, so this image of her will come with me. By chance, when I saw it, it reminded me a lot of a photograph taken of her when she was 18 (photo below taken by Pete Erskine). When I saw that, I thought I would like to try to reproduce it. I’ll have to wait for when I get back for that. We got a Russian vintage lens, the Helios 44-2 with adapter and this was taken with that lens.”

Thinking of you, Steve. I’m only half here.

The original image, taken by Pete Erskine can be seen here:

Ellie Wornell (Kennard) - 1968. Photo taken by Peter Erskine
Ellie Wornell (Kennard) – 1968. Photo taken by Peter Erskine

Ellie Wornell – portrait from the past.

Photograph of myself that I have just restored. It was taken when I was about 18 or so, by an adopted brother of mine, Pete (Bamford) Erskine who died very young, many years ago, as a result of drug addiction. I was asked what I was thinking when this was taken and here is my response:
Strangely enough I remember the moment the photograph was taken, though it was so long ago. The photographer was a boy my age, Peter Erskine. I had not long ago arrived in England, meeting my mother for the first time in many years as she had left us as children. She had remarried and adopted a boy, Pete, who was roughly my own age (11 at the time of the adoption I think), whose alcoholic parents had more or less abandoned him and his little sister. Sad story. In any case, he was happy with my mother and stepfather and when I arrived he was welcoming and such an affectionate person and we got along really well. He was a brilliant writer, went on to write for the New Musical Express in the UK and some of his pieces are preserved on the websites of the musicians he was reviewing or interviewing. He unfortunately got into drugs in his early 20’s as did so many in that environment (and in the NME) and soft turned to hard and he became a heroin addict. I pretty much lost track of him for many years but I did hear that he had kicked heroin and was on methadone trying to clean up his life. He died at that point, aged around 30. What a sad waste of a human life.
When he took that photograph I was standing at the sink, having just washed my hair, getting ready to go out, as that was a new dress, I remember. I was probably thinking of the evening ahead, a young Canadian girl enjoying the swinging 60’s in England. Pete was standing wedged in the corner of the tiny bathroom, balanced on the edge of the bath to try to get the angle he wanted. Ah Pete. I miss him still.
One of his articles preserved online though there are many more to be found. I loved his style of writing, remember well his wry humour and caustic wit:

and this one: – Pete Erskine | My Things


New: Another Tell Me A Story Audio Release

Audio version of this “Does Your Chicken Have a Pépie” story now available as part of the extended content feature and on the Tell Me a Story page.

Let me read you this story here or on the linked page using the audio player while you browse the images, or you can subscribe to the podcasts as I will be recording my stories in that form.


…I leaned on the fence feeling utterly defeated. The factory hum of bees in the Linden blossoms, the loudest interruption of the peaceful afternoon, went completely unnoticed. I wasn’t taking in any of the pastoral beauty spread out before me, as I watched my little flock of hens in the yard, lying in the shade …

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I have a confession to make: 

I Cook. Every Meal. Every Day. From Scratch. And I Love it.And I have to confess that of all household tasks, cooking is the one I enjoy most. So it turns out that I am in the minority. Please watch this if you have 20 minutes. The last 5 or so are questions from the audience, also interesting, but the meat of the presentation is covered in about 15 minutes.

*”From Scratch” means:  I prepare enough for two days of meals, when it comes to the main meal. My bread is (sourdough) baked in advance and usually frozen. A big (very big) bowl of homemade hummus – now I give it a smoky twist by adding a bit of cumin and smoked paprika as well – does for lunches along with raw sauerkraut (not made myself but made locally and bought in a farmers market stand) and any salad vegetables we have (tomatoes, cucumber etc.). The breakfasts are very easy, just toast made from my bread and peanut butter (only containing peanuts, bought in bulk, made locally) and local honey.
Supper is some meal made with beans, rice and vegetables with spices, peppers, onions, garlic and herbs in different recipes. Or risottos with nuts etc. (We are vegetarian, so those meals give us the nutrients we need to keep healthy.)