landed not grounded


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. 

Screen shot 2013-05-10 at 12.26.00

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”.

2imageThough 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. 

Screen shot 2013-05-10 at 10.40.30

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!

hooverThanks to Alan and Molly, to Vera Chok for the picture of Sophie‘s little cut-out man ‘en main’, Fred for the all-round help and Louise for the lovely Lilies of the Valley.


21 thoughts on “landed not grounded

  1. I love your blog! Both the images and the writing are so neat and interesting to read/explore. I can’t wait to see more!

  2. Lovely to meet you Sarah at SIT and a wonderful talk, really moving I really feel for you, I am a Textile Lover as you wrote in Your Book and I submitted some designs to Caroline Charles but they were not selected, I have met Zandra Rhodes twice and I am very fascinated by the connection with Peter Brook as I have recently qualified in Dramatherapy.
    Much Love

  3. Just back from Spain and glad to hear you have moved in to your new abode. We enjoyed our visit but parts of it remind me of the reply the grandmother gave when asked by her grandchild, what did she think of Spain and she said ” It will be nice dear, when its finished”! And no doubt you will feel the same when you have truly moved in and sorted out all your stuff. Bags be one of the first to come and visit in the summertime sometime but if you want to get away come and visit jolly old Royal Leamington Spa. Love Dave xxx

  4. Happy days in your new home Sarah, hope you get lots of inspiration from your rooms with a view! Much love, Barbara. X

  5. Hey Sarah…. how lovely and happy it all sounds…. AND I shall see you at Livingstone Studio next Sat, after grandchildren party somewhere not so far away, and much looking forward to it…. and shall bring more lavender for your new home! Veronicaxxx

    • Thanks, Tessa – yes I’ve been working at home for a couple of years now so it’s great to have a little bit more space – and the boys won’t have to be quite so sardine-y when they all come to stay!

  6. What a happy post, Sarah – you’re in your new home! Very pleased for you. The view, the birds, the sky . . . yes, there’s a whole world outside your window now. Congratulations. Please email your new address to me when you have a moment. By the way, I recognized Sophie’s hand in the post before I noticed the cut-out man! That’s the sign of real friendship, eh?
    Much love,

Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s