Well, what a summer. I was really thrilled to be in Worcester Cathedral to see the Queen in July. The cathedral was packed with well wishers including 340 school children representing all the county’s primary schools. I chatted to one young pair sitting in front of me only to find that they were from my very own primary school- St Andrews, Barnt Green- where I had once won the slow bicycle race ( just think if it had been an Olympic sport…….) The familiar green school uniform hadn’t changed in forty years.
We enjoyed two red hot magical weeks in St Ives later where I enjoyed being tossed around in the surf as I failed miserably at body boarding on Porthmeor beach (not for want of trying). The Alex Katz exhibition at Tate St Ives won us over because of his great selection of works on display by artists he admired. We particularly liked the Franz Kline and a large scale dymnamic Howard Hodgkin, and listening to the video of Alex Katz talk about the works. A small intimate selection of letters and paintings by Ben Nicholson, Alfred Wallis and Winifred Nicholson was also inspiring particularly since Ernie Rowe, the 86 year old Cornish owner of the kennels where our dog was staying, regaled us with revealing stories about Alfred, a distant relative of his.
Right now I am having a bit of a clear out. I’ve just come across my Royal College of Art ID from 1986 and that of Paul for an international driving licence from the year I met him – 1982. Needless to say we’ve both changed to look at somewhat but to have been together for 30 years, more than half my life, and married for 24, feels pretty amazing.
I bumped into Simon Packard recently – he has a great exhibition of prints in the Chapter House at Worcester Cathedral at the moment. He barely recognised me from our time at the RCA and I’d have to say ditto ( he’s a whole lot hairier) but it was great to catch up again after 25 years and meet his two young children, Macey and Blythe.
We were down in Portsmouth recently and down an alley (long story) stumbled across the studio, a blacksmith studio, of Peter Clutterbuck who was a third year sculpture student when Paul was in the first year of his fine art degree at Portsmouth. He was amazed to find a blacksmith’s yard right in the centre of Portsmouth and left his calling card so hopefully the two will be in touch again.
Whilst we were having a coffee in the Hot Walls cafe in Old Portsmouth we were photographed by the Portsmouth News photographer Mick Young and appeared in the local paper. The cafe had opened that day and were offering delicious free pastries to all the customers. We chatted at length to Mick because he too had studied fine art (at Manchester) and was interested to hear about Paul’s experiences of his time in Portsmouth.