Here I am back in the USA, sketch book almost completely empty, but head completely full of ideas inspirations and possible directions. "Leaf of the Day" may have to become "Thing of the Day".. or even just "Thing of the Month".
Most of the trip seemed to be spent in the hire car, trying to keep to the correct side of the road and admiring the beautiful May countryside through sheets of driving rain, while visiting old friends and relatives.
I learnt many things on this trip:
*The origin of the Chelsea Physic Garden.
*The use of chicken's feet skin in bookbinding with very beautiful results.
*Quite a bit about charcoal burning and 'chicken in the woods'.
*Huge Indian mice and Ganesh.
*The problems of sourcing real English apples for a farm shop in Lincs.
*More about the far from grim, Grimsthorpe Castle.
I so enjoyed these things, (in no particular order);
*The warm and welcoming company of old friends and family.
*The joy of a real prize winning Pork Pie from Mr Thorpe, real Lincolnshire Sausages and fish and chips.
*The snowy beauty of the hedges white with May blossom, Horse chestnuts blossom and kecksey ( cow parsley)
*Regent's Park on a beautiful summer day with my good friends Dorothy and Jill.
*London for all its wonderful treasures, specialist shops, great pubs and cafes.
*Catching up with my friend Dy over soup and a roll in Bloomsbury.
*The privilege of visiting London's stunningly wonderful Museums for free.
*My sister's hidden treasure of a sheet music shop, Counterpoint, in Lincoln, (although found and much appreciated by Louis de Bernier.)
*My friend Kate's really excellent, specialist and aclaimed cheese shop "The Cheese Society" also in Lincoln.
*Seeing the Bookbinders exhibition at the Flow Gallery...more of this later.
*The big skies and tiny distant church spires of Lincolnshire.
*Huddling on Big Stone in High Bentham with my friend Gill, in borrowed anorak and wellies, in the chilly darkening evening, while clutching a beer, listening to curlews and peewits crying out over the moor.
*Meeting up with my wonderful dog sitters of ten years ago, Stan and Barbara.
*Sitting in a tiny old Derbyshire cottage and having tea with an old friend at a local Church Flower Festival.
*Listening to my Dad (91) admitting he had a friend with a gorgeous red sports car ( Jaguar ss 100) in the late 1930's with whom he used to go to Blackpool from Leeds on weekends when they were flush!
I failed to do these things:
*Get to Scotland
In between I did some heavy duty gardening for my Father. It was sheer joy for me to be out in those cool mornings..light at 3.30.. accompanied by the singing birds, biting east wind and fine drizzle. Best activity? ... digging. To be precise, digging out one of Dad's excellent compost heaps, more of that later.
I have actually been back for 2 weeks but due to pressing economic necessity we have been trying to find a cheaper apartment. We are moving from shoe box to matchbox. The next step will be the cardboard box on the street corner or the workhouse, but we remain optimistic. It is at this point in my life that I realise the mistakes I made of; A, not training to be a nurse, they seem to be able to work anywhere and; B, not marrying a very rich man.
Creatively things are just on hold while I regroup..
"Hiatus" is the best word for this little break and has some interesting definitions ie:
"Suspension: an interruption in the intensity or amount of something"
or "Latin = a gap, (like that between some people's ears)" or the gap between the covers of my sketchbook!
Back soon with some fond discoveries in the attic, regarding scarecrows....