All the while I walked I thought, about the work I should be doing and wasn’t because I couldn’t settle to it, about the lovely people I had met recently, about the exhibition at Oriel y Parc, about a new story I had written and an old one I wanted to gather up. The burial stone looked beautiful, and for a while I sheltered beneath it from drizzle, but then walked on in search of harebells, but not before I thought how wonderful it must be to have a tomb with a view. There is a story here. It whispers to me.
The last few months have been busy and sometimes it feels that one painting rolls into another, and exhibition into exhibition and book into book and suddenly I became tired. Tired of it all. I finished East of the Sun, which had been a hard road to walk and then had to pick up Panda’s Child, a very different book. And I couldn’t, and I didn’t. In the shelter of the stone I sat and listened to the sound of rain on heather. We were alone. Over the way ponies also sheltered hard against the rock. It is a long time since I have just sat and watched.
When I first came to Pembrokeshire over 20 years ago I met Jane Bell. We stayed at The Druidstone Hotel which she ran as a family hotel with her husband Rod and team of workers. It was like meeting an old friend, meeting her. Over the years that I have been here Jane became a friend, one of those good ones who will pull you up short when you need to be told. She took care of me at a time when I needed care, of the heart, and her wise words made me so much stronger. In the stillness and the rain I took a little time to remember her, and I could say so much about her strength and kindness and open-hearted generosity, but not now. She died last week, and I know that there are people who loved Druidstone and Jane and who read my blog and I wanted to let them know because they may want to come on Monday and Tuesday ( 12 noon onwards), to the hotel to celebrate her life. And if you are reading this and this is how you find out that she died then I am sorry, but know that she died peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends and I think the sun was shining. And she will be buried on the hillside above Druidstone Hotel, which is good.
When I was told she had died I felt very much that something, someone, very beautiful had gone from the world. I still feel this and I will miss her and regret that I did not take more time to spend with her.
And so it rained, and still we sat, Rosie and I, and watched it falling until I decided I could sit no more, and we walked back through the heather and over the hill through the rain and home, carrying memories and a peaceful heart.