And people ask me “Did you have a nice time on your holiday?” and I smile and say, “yes thank you.”
No, I don’t. I say, ‘it wasn’t a holiday, but thank you, yes, I had a lovely time’ and this is mostly because I go back to people I really enjoy working with.
So, we dropped off paintings for exhibition in Cirencester and drove on down to Mounsey where Jan and Davina had cooked us supper and Chris joined us and we drank wine and talked. The next day I met Satish Kumar in Number Seven and handed over a painting for auction, to raise money for Resurgence Magazine. Amazing man. Wonderful human.
Two days of peace and drawing followed and then I worked in Number Seven, signing books, meeting people, painting, while Robin went off with the golden dog child and wore her out. The gallery as always was dressed to perfection and I had THE most ornate vase to hold my paint water.
I love working with Jan and Davina. Ivy slept, quiet and unobtrusive under the table. Hoping she can teach the π to do this as she grows. Now Davina has new paintings and prints in the gallery including The Unquiet Dreams of Swift Running Longdogs. In the evening we walked by the river and in the river and took fish and chips home to our house in the woods. A family of deer were grazing in the field beside the house. Later owls set up a chorus. Tawny owls.
On Thursday I returned to sign the huge stock of books that Davina keeps in store, so there are signed copies of most of my books there now. Eleanor arrived with a circle of foxes. Just so beautiful. Davina has blogged about the day too and her photos are gorgeous. I love seeing through her eyes in this way.
Then on to Cirencester via Judy Dyble. On the way to Judy’s we saw a great hare in a field with crows. Beautiful. Very near Stonehenge.
The Quiet Music is dedicated to Judy Dyble and to Anji who introduced us. So it was wonderful to have Judy with us for the afternoon. I painted and directed people to places, and sat quietly in the exhibition while some people walked in and then out again and others wandered around. And some said it reminded them of Christmas cards they had sent, which made me smile.
Nicola Davies came, with her guitar and that evening we talked and I read some from the book, and Nicola sang and for some reason I was extraordinarily nervous. First time out with a book maybe. Who knows. But the audience were lovely. The paintings were displayed with beautiful elegance by Tracey. I loved the space she gave each piece. It did look quiet, with places of focus, and beautifully crafted instruments. The show is on until 30th October, so do go if you can. New Brewery Arts is a fantastic gallery, with excellent cafe and brilliant makers’ workshops and Cirencester is a lovely town.
Next day we waved goodbye to the wonderful Judy and set off for Blue Ginger via my parents, after a walk in the woods with Judy and Betty the longdog of great elegance.
At Blue Ginger I painted for a while, a piece that when finished will be auctioned for a local hospice, so keep an eye on Blue Ginger for details, then had a rest in Tamsin and Mike’s garden, in sunshine with the scent of ripe damsons heavy in the air, before heading back to Blue Ginger for a talk and a Singapore Supper. Now, the gallery is lovely, and the art is great, but what takes me back time and again is Sue, who runs the gallery and cooks so very beautifully.
I talked, and you can listen to all that I said here:
Then we all went out into the garden for supper, and back for wonderful singing.
The next day I signed 261 books for Otter-Barry Books, to be distributed around indie bookshops who want them, so, bookshops, if you want signed copies of One Cheetah, Newborn Child and The Seal Children contact Bounce. They have some wonderful publishers on their books including Flying Eye.
That was a day off, signing 261 books. And for the most part it was very restful. Breakfast, followed by second breakfast in the garden with Tamsin and Mike, then down to the gallery as I had forgotten to deliver paintings.
Mike had a course starting the next day so we headed home. Mike teaches people to make chairs. Well, that’s a simplification of the skills he teaches people. He can change lives also with his teaching. One of those wonderful people who empowers others. We have a good deal in common, Mike and I, including grumpy dispositions and a love of porridge, made just right.
So, that’s what I did on my holiday. And the two days when I did nothing but walk and draw and dream and read I need to repeat. Perhaps next time I might just have a holiday. But in the meantime, thanks Jan, Chis and Davina for having us again, Judy for putting us all up including the golden puppy of much mischief, Tracey and all at New Brewery for making my work look so elegant, Sue at Blue Ginger for everything, and Tamsin and Mike and Janetta too, of Otter-Barry Books. π loved Lottie, the crazy dog. And thanks Nicola for coming all that way to join your very beautiful voice with mine.
Next stop CricLitFest. Come and see me and Nicola and Karin Celestine. I will be painting and reading and talking about work and if asked nicely might share some of the Lost Words, which hasn’t yet been seen in public. These are what I began painting at Cirencester and Dulverton. The first is a dreamcatcher, Walking in the Light of the Full Moon: £975
The second is being sent back to Dulverton to Number Seven for framing before being offered for sale. Ivy, the Deerhound, on her Magic Carpet.