The mountains, hilltowns and towerblocks of boxes and bags have been eroded to small islands and outposts. Tiny specific treasure chests remain unopened, stored up for a treatish moment. The floor can be seen now, and not every journey from room to room has to be negotiated as a sideways shimmy.
Despite the never-having-enough-time side of life the process of packing, particularly wrapping the china, transporting, carrying, and then unpacking is exciting to me. Finding old friends, washing off the newspaper grubbiness, considering new ways to pile up the crockery, stack the dishes – all has its charm. Re-making the studio, trying to find a place for everything, finally matching up errant brushes with pots, designs and their first rough ideas, rounding up the wandering sketchbooks, corralling the HB pencils – all for me holds the promise for fresh ways of looking and working.
And suddenly I’m looking out of a window on the first floor – I have a view, several in fact. Having been at garden level behind protective green hedges for the last few years I could only get hints of street life by the movement of colour through the branches, and noises beyond the gate. Now I can keep a close eye on my neighbours and their dogs – barking and parking habits – the number three bus hurtling on the hill, the TaiChi brigade opposite, the meals on wheels arriving for Mrs Upstairs – though these days they look like snackets in packets (preserve me from these, please). And the sky, sky, sky; leafy branches practically brush the glass, and if I keep still birds come close pecking at the buds and bugs. No wonder this posting has been a little delayed….
In the wider world I’m happily looking forward to talking about the making of this blog – my life and the world as I see it – at Livingstone Studio on the 18th – and then to the talk, now two on the same day actually by ‘popular demand’ (how posh is that?!) at SIT on Saturday 25th May. Last November Mary Schoeser and I had a lively ‘In Conversation’ at The Textile Society‘s AGM. I’m proud and pleased to see the transcript now published in the latest volume of their journal ‘Text’, one amongst many articles worth reading.
Somewhere in the midst of the interruption of removals there were birthdays and babysittings and book-launches too. At Waterstones we were treated to stories of bold plans, hard slog, chutzpah and fortunes made at the launch of ‘Start Your Dream Business’ by Sarah Wade and CarolAnne Rice, a book telling us the secrets of successful and happy entrepreneurs – the message being, in the words of the incomparable Jimmy Cliff – “You can get it if you really want”.
Though some of the cards didn’t get painted or sent on time birthdays were duly remembered and anniversaries marked. One day after an easy sunny lunch at the upcycled containers in the Tate B’s front garden, Kurt Schwitters showed us the art of well-balanced, refined and witty collage – though I found some of the later moaning rather hard to take.
As a preferred performance I enjoyed the Poetry School‘s summer term collaboration readings at the comfortably dishevelled Vauxhall Tea House Theatre where cheese on toast is served as well as poetry.
On the evening of the main move (it was a part-work) I staggered to the National Theatre for the biggest treat – two of my cultural heroes in conversation: Mark Lawson and Peter Brook on the occasion of the publication of his book ‘The Quality of Mercy’. It was indeed an exciting exchange, reminding me of what living theatre is all about; the great director with humour, grace, intelligence, humanity and a lifetime’s experience, commanded the short evening. His fluent hands spoke with him, his demonstration of the dramatic pause was masterful, one could only cheer at his utter condemnation of the barbarity of racists.
And it had particular meaning for me to hear him refer to his famous production of ‘King Lear’ with Paul Scofield (which included my mum as Regan) – a theatrical highpoint of my adolescence. Special moments like that somehow open up the airways, improve the flow of oxygen to the brain!
Here, more modestly, the regular daily recital is care of the birdsong clock and when the woodpecker drills out 4.00pm it’s time for tea. By the door the birdie keyring is safely at home. And now every morning I’m enjoying Radio 4’s Tweet of the Day – are you?
And I’ve found all the different ends for the vacuum cleaner too!