Recollections of Pat MoodyBy Julie Deller
The first time I saw Pat. Moody was in the mid 1940's. She was walking her dog along the seafront towards her mother's cottage in Middle Street. At that time she had left the Army service and was recovering from chest surgery. I knew none of this then, but I was to hear about it 45 years later when Pat kindly invited me to call on her.
Knowing of Pat's sketches of Deal buildings I had written a book to ask if she would consider illustrating an article I was writing on the composer John Ireland who had lived, for a while, next to my High Street home. He had a great affection for the town and enjoyed the company of the interesting customers at the 'Kings Head'. The licensee, Miss Nora Miles, encouraged a regular group to discuss (and argue) on literature, politics and music. A fine musician herself, Miss Miles had her own baby grand piano in the Bar, her playing after hours created an atmosphere which captured Ireland's imagination.
Imagine my delight to find that Pat had known John Ireland well. He became a dear friend of her mother and wrote letters on returning from Deal to his Chelsea studio. No 9, Middle Street became his refuge in times of trouble, particularly when he swayed across from the 'Kings Head' to almost fall in Mrs. Thompson's ancient doorway. When she thought about selling her cottage Ireland begged for first refusal. Of course she didn't sell and Pat lived there until she left this world in 20002.
On that first visit, 1990, Pat opened a little door, which led to the winding stairway to her room above. She returned with a battered suitcase filled with her sketches of Deal beach. Boats and the old boatmen. She loved them all. There were old brownie Box camera photographs of John Ireland on the seafront and one with Pat's brother Billie and the Great Dog Chummie, in 1939. All were generously lent to me, plus her very clever drawing of Ireland at the King's head' piano, a copy of which is attached. All illustrations in the 'Bygone Kent' article were credited to Pat. Moody and she was so pleased to see them reproduced and just as generous in her praise for the whole article. Pat had an interest in local history' In fact she seemed interested in pretty well everything. Her husband, Lynch-White, was a photographer and I was told about the time she accompanied him on a 'shoot' at Oxney; reputed to be haunted. He took many photographs of the chapel and ruined mansion. On developing his film he was quite unnerved to find that every frame was showing exposed, but blank. Pat enjoyed a good story.
In a later meeting pat told me about working on the cross channel boats and regaled me with her parody on Masefield's 'Sea fever', which John Ireland famously set to music. It was rather rude! The last verse of the original poem seems opposite for Pat.
Julie Deller Sholden Hall Retreat, London Road Deal, Kent,CT14 OAB.
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a Laughing fellow rover. And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the Long trick's over."