Catch Up Time Again – April 2015

Since March 2nd I seem to have been more away that at home.

First of all there was another trip to Windermere Centre for a painting holiday. This time we were learning about painting portraits. I had been practising beforehand, just trying to get a likeness of faces downloaded from the internet. However there were lots of things that I/we hadn’t really taken into consideration.

There was also the use of other media than paint. Oh deary me I’m a bit useless with pastels.  I tried, but need to practise a great deal more. Messy job it is. Now, a pencil, I’m definitely improving with that. Had to be making progress with something. It was fun, though. My shocking moment was when we were all stuck in front of mirrors, doing self portraits. I was part way through, had crept downwards from my head and had reached the point under my nose when all I saw was my dad looking back at me. I knew I resembled him more than my mother but that was scary, especially when I catch glimpses of  my mouth and chin which  are my mum and her mother.

We then had to draw or paint a portrait of a volunteer. I did a not too bad head of the female model then we had to do a full portrait of her husband lounging languidly on a sofa. I thought that that was it,no chance of any sort of success…..however, I didn’t do too bad a job of it. By the way…no nudity was required, thank goodness.

To retrace, the journey down to Windermere on Monday 9th March was a nightmare. From Cumbernauld to the M73 was OK but then the rain started. It was torrential from Hamilton and there was a dreadful head wind. My wee car was really finding it hard going. Stopped at Annandale Services for a coffee and a breather before bearding the lion again. There was a tiny improvement just as I crossed the Border but it was a brief respite. By the time I got to Shap the wind was a crosswind and the heavy goods were throwing sheets of water over me. It was a case of hold on, don’t panic, keep looking for the side of the road. Then there were some road works which confused me, taking me off the motorway a junction too early. Turned went back on again and came off at the next exit. The rain was still not taking time to fall but I drove like a wee old grannie until I got to Winderemere. I was so glad to get parked at the front door of the Centre. I wasn’t back in the car until the Friday which was a lovely day and a pleasant drive home…wearing my red nose day tee-shirt.

On the Sunday after we were out for lunch with friends and had a lovely meal, nice wine and got the world put to rights.

Ahah. That’s not all. The next Friday, the day of the eclipse D and I set off down the M74 again. We grabbed a weekend away and stayed at our favourite Premier Inn at Lancaster. We took ourselves out for a walk before dinner and sussed out a certain outlet I’d been directed to by one of out Windermere group. It just happened to be right beside the Shell petrol station a short walk from the Inn. Saturday morning, breakfast, gird up the loins and head for the said outlet.  Expensive and beautiful curtain fabrics at affordable prices (well some were) John Lewis, Harlequin, Sanderson and others. One high-end designer fabric was absolutely fabulously beautiful but even at outlet prices was £50 a metre. I came back with quite a bit (well D carried it, too heavy for me.) Went back on the Monday morning and got some more. There were ends of rolls and oddments of 2 metre  lengths for £7.  That is fine for small windows. I  do have lovely John Lewis fabric curtains on our bedroom. Not quite finished. Still to be hemmed and linings to be done.

After depositing the fabric in our room, we set of to walk along the River Lune. It’s called the Millennium Walk and goes on forever. It was a lovely day for walking and pretty warm. We had got to the bridge which shows one of the views of the Lune which Turner painted. It is all very English countryside there; green fields, placid river. The area was a favourite place for artists at the time. I was looking out over the river when an aroma crept subtly into my nose, bacon cooking. Just out of sight at the Crook O’Lune there is a tiny cafe. Bacon in a large bun, one cup of excellent tea and I could have painted the world. There is a place called Grey’s Seat, a vantage point from where Grey, Turner and others sat to sketch or  paint. The path is narrow, filled with fallen leaves, moss and general detritus found near trees but not too steep. D was a bit in front of me and nearly had a coronary when he was buzzed by a sparrowhawk. To our delight…NOT.. we found that the painters would be very disappointed should they be able to see it now. There is a lovely open area with stone benches with the artists names carved on them but  trees have grown up and all but totally obscure any view. D found it impossible to take a decent photo from there and artists would have needed to do the equivalent of photoshop to the view. Sad for such an iconic place.

We made our usual pilgrimage to Wensleydale Creamery on the Sunday.( Grand bit of cheese cake Gromit.) There was a craft fayre in Hawes Village which we went into. Immediately my eyes lit up when I saw an artist at work in the corner. He was drawing with pencil and the subject was a running hare. Wonderful work Stood and watched him for ages. Chatted a little, came away with postcard of his work and a book! Name Nolon Stacey. Google him if you’re interested.

From there went on to Aysgarth Falls for more photographic opportunities for D. It was a glorious day. This time I did not slip and fall but I have to say that all this time I was slightly on edge. Grandson Kyle was grading at his Taekwon do at four o’clock. Normally I’d have been taking him and being there for the results. He achieved his green stripe and trophy for best stance.

That might seem to be the end of my wanderings but I had been asked to a conference at Pitlochry the following weekend. It meant going up on the Friday afternoon and home on the Sunday after lunch. It was an interesting weekend all round despite the booked speaker turning ill and having to call off the day before. I managed to cadge a lift to The House of Bruar on the Saturday afternoon. Joy and Rapture!! Treated myself to the biggest ice-cream cone I’ve had in years. It was divine, set me up nicely for doing the communion next day.

Then last weekend, 3rd April was our wedding anniversary. When we got married 39 years ago we went to Chollerford near Hexham on honeymoon. 24 hours after the wedding we were out in the wind and rain on Hadrian’s Wall. I suggested we go back this year, so we did. This time the weather was great. We had a lovely day, stopped in Jedburgh for something to eat, and then headed home.

Then Derek had a birthday this week and that’s me up to date!


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