Now that April's here
The rain has been coming not so much in showers but more like downpours and we seem to have spent the last few days doing our best to stay dry.
I found it amusing then, on one of the driest mornings last week, to spot a stranger enjoying our pond. Surely, there can hardly be enough room for him in that tiny little patch of water?
Perhaps that’s what she was trying to say? Sure enough, after five minutes or so the pair of them waddled off down the path to who knows where, leaving smiles on our faces. What a fun way to start the day.
We celebrated Bettine’s 94th birthday with lunch at The Ivy in Cheltenham, wondering if it was really true that she had never been inside the Montpellier Rotunda before today. Never mind - we had a lovely lunch and the staff spoiled her with a little birthday cake and a candle without making too much fuss. Just right.
The flowers in my gin and tonic (above) were nicely tuned into the two colourful planters we’d had put together for her birthday by Dundry Nurseries, a local firm who listened carefully and created something perfectly suited to someone with limited vision.
One day last week was focused on photographs, tables full of them. In the shadow of the three lovely Dorset smocks and the panel of knitted teaspoons (they were knitted and then dipped in porcelain as part of a project with the title “A Stirring Tale”) two of us worked our way through more than a hundred entries for a competition to illustrate a year in the life of a WI. I was working with professional photographer Simon and between us - his technical skills and my judging experience - we identified a short list and eventually the winner. It was one of those tasks which was a real privilege to undertake - having an inside view of a competition such as this is fascinating and every single entry captured our attention.
It was a timely conversation about photography as I’d just signed up for an online course, hopefully inspiring me to turn off “automatic” on my camera and use the manual settings instead. Email #1 arrived on Thursday morning with the first challenge: take two straight, flat photographs; one of a white sheet of paper and one of a black sheet. The idea was to illustrate the automatic setting defaulting to 18% grey and the photographs above show the results. Hard to believe - but true! Fascinating.
We rounded off the week at the Opera, changing our usual habits and instead of going to watch it live from the Met from New York on Saturday night in Cheltenham, we went to watch live from the Royal Opera House, London on Sunday afternoon in Stroud! Very different and too many variables to be able to identify the key factors we particularly appreciate. Was it the different cinema that didn’t provide that immersive experience or the production? Was it the Stroud Sunday afternoon crowd that were not quite as easy-going as the Saturday night Cheltenham bunch? Or was it simply that we were in unfamiliar surroundings watching a somewhat static and very long opera? None of that mattered, for whilst my favourite Hunkentenor was on stage - or for that matter, my Hero’s favourite Anna, we were just fine, thank you!
With the days flying, I feel as though we are rolling downhill to the next adventure. I was at the college yesterday getting this year’s group of trainee Craft Judges underway with their introductory workshop and having launched them into their next module to gather experience and keep track of it all throughout the Summer, I feel that I’m checking my way through my list of responsibilities one by one.
With the lighter evenings and the brighter days - in between the showers - there’s a feeling of renewed energy around here. Just one or two more things to tick off and the trip for which we’ve waited so long will be upon us. Ooooo!