Pocket of coins

Pocket of coins

My mother fostered a boy who had been neglected, abused and let down by social services. Their verdict was that he was ‘headed for Borstal’.

My mother ignored his petty thefts from the house and when she received a phone call from the police saying they had him at the station with an unusual amount of coins on him, she assured him it was her coin collection she had given him (and not the content of a phone box he had robbed!).



Sat on a train in my early twenties, I chatted to a Hindu gentleman. We chatted about life and religion and he asked me what I thought the most important thing in life was. I was unsure and offered lots of ideas. I never forgot how we shared that ultimately ‘thankfulness’ was the most important thing. I have thought about this often and feel it to be profoundly true. I am thankful that he was kind enough to share this.




I was hitchhiking in Scotland once where I flew in from Morocco from the trip that went wrong. I only had summer clothes and it was raining and getting dark. We lost hope when a guy stopped to pick us up. He was wearing Elvis Presley clothes (as he was going to some Elvis Presley party) and he was specialised in evoking in paranormal activities. He drove us 50 miles and didn’t want to leave us in the dark alone in wet weather. He tried to leave us for the night with his parter (who was a witch hunter) but she refused in the end. He bought us Premier Inn with breakfast!

Norwich, UK

Artist’s response

As soon as I read the letter from Ingrid, I reveled in its narrative potential – Mystery, Supernature, Strange-ness, Quirkiness and of course an icon, the ICON; his voice, his beauty and his ‘otherworldliness’.

Elvis, the King, or in this case, Elvis, the KIND.


The drama and atmosphere of Ingrid’s story unfolded in my mind as clearly as if I were watching a movie.


I explored a few different ways of presenting it so as to capture the imagery, colour, movement, atmosphere, texture, viscerality and temperature that I ‘got’ from it.


I was going to create an abstract Elvis around a tailor’s dummy with angel wings and a steering wheel for a halo but I do not yet have the skills to build that! It might happen, one day!


It has been a joy to dip in and out of the playful messiness of collage; the layering, the writing, the editing, the printing, the cutting and pasting!

I played Elvis songs as I worked and played.


Kentucky Rain played in my head, on a loop!


I took artistic liberties with the lyrics and ingrid’s story in that her experience was set in Scotland but there was no specific place name so I changed Kentucky to Inverallochy.


A friend of mine came to stay with me very recently and saw the picture. She loved the whole idea of the picture and the Museum of Human Kindness project and wanted to contribute with a musical arrangement of Kentucky Rain to go with the musical notes that rain down throughout the picture.


I quickly wrote some lyrics based on Ingrid’s story, emailed them to her and she arranged, sang and recorded it within a day. We hope Ingrid likes it!


(Click here to listen to the song.) 


Verse 1.


Apocalyptic holidays had left us in a haze,

The plane touched down and we were left alone.

The rain was pouring down, deep rivers ran the ground

And there was no juice left in either mobile phone.


Our clothes were wet right through, the rain filled up my shoe,

We looked like luggage left in ‘lost and found’

Shorts and sandals on, we were dressed all wrong,

Darkness was falling all around.




‘verallochy rain kept falling down, down, down,

We looked like rats that just might drown, drown, drown.

A random act of kindness was all we required,

Some good will and some generosity.


Verse 2.


We stepped into the road, with our heavy load,

But hadn’t packed a brolly or a mack.

A long, lonely highway was all we could see,

We prayed to God that he might set us free.


God got right back with a pithy pitch, ‘Keep the Faith and Dare to Hitch!’

We reached right out a thumbin’ for a ride.

Our lives about to end, but just around the bend,

A light appeared and we felt warm inside.




‘verallochy rain kept falling down, down, down,

We looked like rats that might just drown, drown, drown.

A random act of kindness was all we required,

Some good will and some generosity.


Verse 3.


The light grew bright and brighter still and you could never guess the thrill,

When a car drew up with Elvis at the wheel.

He said ‘Uh Huh, Uh Huh, through the rain I saw ya Huh,

Where ya bound on such a frightful night?’


He said ‘Git inside the car, are you goin’ far?’

We said ‘any place is better’n where we are.’

He laughed with us and said, ‘We’ve all been left for dead,

So let’s get down the road and back to life instead!’




‘verallochy rain kept falling down, down, down,

Elvis the king he wore the crown, crown, crown,

A random act of kindness was all we required,

He saved us with his generosity.


Verse 4.


He drove on for 50 miles our faces lit up with wide smiles,

And he said ‘Since my baby left me I could die.

But you’ll see, down this street, you simply cannot beat

a good night’s sleep at Heartbreak Hotel!’


He dropped us off outside, we said, ‘thank you for the ride’,

And he said, ‘Man, it was a pleasure and a treat,

And here’s a roll o’ cash, on food and board to splash’

Then he disappeared for ever from our lives.




‘verallochy rain kept falling down, down, down,

Elvis the king he wore the crown, crown, crown,

A random act of kindness was all we required,

He saved us with his generosity


Lyrics, Rebecca Chapman


Musical Arrangement and Vocals, Jo Collins MBE



As well as engagements with various theatre and dance companies she makes and directs original, ensemble theatre productions.  She is the Artistic Director and Founder of Total Ensemble Theatre Company


Roadside rescue

Roadside rescue

I have a one-year old so I’m sleep deprived a lot of the time. I was driving to meet my mum and suddenly realised I was going the wrong way. Making a terrible judgement call, I went to turn around on the edge of a field and immediately got our empty two-wheel drive sprinter van stuck in the mud. With baby in car seat and my little dog running around, I pulled our mud guards from under our feet under the wheels and began trying to dig out.

The first car to pass stopped straight away and Theo, a stranger, spent half an hour ruining his shoes in the mud, manoeuvring my van and eventually pulled us out with a tiny Pergeot and a strap. Total hero.


Pocket of coins

Student doctor

When I was seriously ill and in hospital, I couldn’t find out my test results for days on end because the doctor was far too busy. A very junior student doctor saw my distress at being left for days without information and wanted to find the results for me. During my many dinners in hospital she always appeared when I felt most alone. She went the extra mile, taking her professional duties to a greater level. That’s kindness.