Thursday, 22 April 2010

A gift

I can hardly believe it, it's a week already since Lisa's visit, where did the time go?

My life has been a blur this last week was continuing the work to mount up pictures for my forthcoming exhibition and more than usual number of social events. This full calendar has had us living a fairly regular life getting up early for appointments and falling asleep not long after midnight, I can't remember the last time we lived in this time zone!

The spring is really late this year and so is my preparation for it. The days are really sunny but with a cold biting wind and shrubs are starting to show real signs of life and a few flowers, perhaps I'll post a blog with a few pictures one of these days! A few mornings this week I've been digging over the vegetable patch with my garden help who is still resisting turning into a typical teenager, she is having a big internal debate about using some weedkiller on a stubborn area of the garden versus the toil involved in digging out the weeds by hand and it needs to be cleared in the next week or so if we are to get anything planted there this season, and leaving the decision to her I don't want to appear to be an ogre.

She did get one of are morning off when a huge rose hedge fell onto the driveway blocking our exit. It had been an amazing plant often in the past climbing 30 feet up through the old Laburnum tree which recently was blown down in the wind and once the tree was gone was a freestanding hedge 3 feet deep and 12 feet high. Unfortunately I discovered that it had become 3 feet high and 12 feet wide just as we were about to leave and collect two other people to go to an evening of art charity events, luckily we were able to quickly reverse the arrangements and be taken ourselves.

There is no getting out of some of these events since Julie is on some of the committees. I enjoy many of the events but under no circumstances would you say that I blend in. This was made fairly clear on Tuesday evening while I was getting my fill of smoked salmon nibbles washed down with a glass of white wine and chatting to a couple of university academics when they were suddenly confronted by a woman with a strong Scandinavian accent to declared that she just had to take me away from them because I looked like the most interesting person in the room and she just had to talk to me! It's a long time since somebody has shown that amount of interest in me more is the pity. She was a Norwegian psychologist and soon declared that I must be something like a photographer! I had to admit that that's what I used to call myself. We have both been in and around this area for 30 years and somehow never bumped into each other at any of these events, we were getting on great when it was announced that the first part of the evening, a lecture, was about to begin and she went back to join her friends. I assumed she would be going to the dinner afterwards and we would be able to continue our conversation in a better acoustic environment, the modern new build art centre had typical architect designed atrocious acoustic so I was never able to clearly pick up her name. Sadly we never saw each other again.

The dinner was in the 18th century house of someone with have known for a longtime, perhaps the only one now in original condition and with its original mediaeval long narrow garden behind. It seemed like every room in the house had sprouted dining tables and each room has its own dinner party in progress and somehow it seemed strange to be in the actual dining room! At these things you never know who you will end up sitting next to so I thought I'd draw the long straw and won this time they're being for strong and independent minded women and one guy who I already knew who is a professor of theology and aesthetics! One of the women was also a theologian who had coached ballet, one was an art lecturer at the University who I'd worked with before and a really interesting character who was running three nearby National trust properties, sadly this was the last event she was going to attend before leaving parties. Just my luck, she could have been good fun to get to know.

There was little competition for the wine with so many drivers at the table, seem to have drunk the whole bottle that was at my end of the table just sipping away through the meal. I'm not really used to this any more and found myself lacking in energy the next day when I tackled the job of chopping up the Rose, the stem at the base was more like a tree trunk, as thick as my leg is just above the knee! I had been wondering how to reach the top of this hedge to cut it down in height so as not to catch the wind just a bit too late. It was going to have to be sacrificed to allow the builders to get in to repair the wall. After years of having a secluded garden, almost cut off from prying eyes in the summer months once the leaves come out on trees, I now feel quite exposed and certainly will find it very difficult to maintain an allover tan this summer!

Lunch is one of the things we do now so I was up early to work in the garden than a quick change to pick up friends from the railway station. We had run out of time last time they were in town for them to get a good look at the renovated art gallery and museum, they wanted private conducted tour from Julie so we met up in the museum cafe with a few others for lunch. Why they don't have an audio guide with someone like Julie leading you around and enthusing over the works I don't know, they enjoyed it immensely hearing all the background stories behind many of the items.

Mid-afternoon one of our friends headed off shopping and then took an early train home whilst we took Elspeth to visit a friend who has a business of craft made knitting. She had bought something many years before which is still adored so we took her to see if she could find something new. Elspeth had spent most of her career teaching German diplomats to speak English, she especially enjoyed teaching them to use the phrase " I am afraid"! Our knitting friend is German but gets little chance to practice, I suggested they change language and left them to it to help with the coffee, our friend Elspeth is nothing if not decisive and had found something she adored which suited her figure and fitted perfectly before we could get the coffee to the table. We didn't stay long since goods were being loaded up another epic sales trip to the south of England.

Final destination was to abandon I guest to visit Julie's cousin and uncle who is on his last legs sadly and had wanted the final visit from Elspeth. We went in just to say hello and while they were chatting Julie's cousin took me aside and asked if I was interested in one of her old jumpers, she said it had stretched in the wash and would only be able to wear it has a very short dress! She knows me well, I exist on other people's castoffs so we went upstairs to see what was on offer, I get a tunic length silky soft blue velour top with a slightly scooped neck, this is my lucky day and hers because now she can go and buy a new one.

When we get home we have already discussed the idea of inviting a few people on a Sunday lunch, a few hours off watching over her old father will be a relief so I give a call and say thanks again for the gift them pass the phone over to Julie. She is asked if it was all right to give me something so obviously girly, her reply, of course not, C loves that kind of thing! Osmosis is a wonderful thing!


  1. Wow the week has gone quick. Mind you that means the weeks coming up to France will also.

  2. Time does fly when you're having fun. And you are having fun, aren't you? I have an artist friend who is getting ready for her first show of the year and she is frantically glazing and painting her pottery. As most of her shows are outdoors ones I have always thought that having none over the winter she would have a lot of stock ready for her first spring one, but that is never the case.

  3. What an interesting life you live! It sounds like you are beginning to attract the right kind of attention from other women. Funny how the psychologist knew you must have been a photographer. That was very sweet of Julie's cousin to give you her jumper. It's such a good feeling when your true gender identity is acknowledged by a natal women.

    Hurry up and get that wall back up, so you can go au naturel in the garden again this summer!

    Melissa XX

  4. I'm exhausted after reading all of that. No wonder the time flies for you. What an interesting mix of people in your entourage. We just have Doctors and school teachers in our village.

  5. The time is flying by. I still seem to be on schedule for the exhibition work. Still can't resist organising meals and visits with my interesting crowd of friends. Anji, they have loads of doctors and teachers round here too, most of them also count as interesting!

  6. You paint such nice pictures with your writing, Caroline. I can just picture that English garden. Wish I was there.

    Calie xxx


Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

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