St Patrick’s Day. I awake to blue skies with a long list of things to do, not least starting an exciting new body of work, and videoing the production of it for You tube. I check my blog and answer a comment from artist Wayne Ferrebee in Brooklyn. I check out his blog and note the wide range of topics including hellebore, otters and a Brooklyn twister. The hellebore are out in my garden too along with the daffodils and the snowdrops. They look divine. The magnolia will be out next week.
Artist husband suggests daytrip to Ross; not easily distracted I waver a second then am easily distracted; studio can wait. Change out of painters’ rags into best smart tailored trousers, fling on dainty pumps, jewellery and full make-up. I am being taken out for the day. Hurrah! Artist husband retains the ragged creative look and is ready in painter’s garb and walking boots. No comment. Any casual onlooker would be forgiven for thinking we were a miss match.
Arriving in Ross in the St Patrick’s Day spring sunshine we make our way past shops, galleries and delis to a pub above the river for coffee. Pints of Guiness are already on the table. Descend the steps down to the riverbank past the Hope & Anchor pub and spy a sign that says circular walk; in Worcester this means turn left, cross one bridge, follow the bank on the other side, cross second bridge and return to base. We set off. On the far side near Wilton Castle the path at the edge of the field has been ploughed and my smart tailored trousers and neat little pumps hold me back as I trip from tummock to tummock amongst the large size mud clumps. Thank you, farmer. “You look like you’re dressed for the King’s Road,” quips my artist husband; normally I’d take this as a compliment but today he simply means “You’re wearing the wrong clothes.” Ah well. He’s right. We pass one dead swan on the riverbank, then another pair on the river trying to kill each other. Goodeness, such violence. If animals can’t get on what hope do we have?
The second bridge enabling us to return to base is way ahead. But we can hear it. It looks like a motorway and judging by the stream of juggernauts thundering along at 80mph they see it as a motorway too en route from the M5 to Cardiff. I send artist husband over the barbed wire fence and up the embankment to check there is a footpath. There is but this is Bridstow bridge and it is the world’s least pedestrian friendly bridge. The barbed wire covered stile threatens to tear my best tailored trousers so I leap from the top, stumble, climbing the embankment towards the thundering trucks with shaking dog in tow.
There follows a scary, very scary 200m walk across the bridge. Each juggernaut leaves a slip stream that threatens to throw me into the oncoming traffic. It is a bleeding nightmare. The traffic thundering past wonders what the hell we are doing. We must look like two escapees. Artist husband is ahead with dog on shortest lead; I am steadying myself touching the barrier with my right hand, feeling ridiculously over dressed in best coat, best handbag, muddy dainty shoes. I try to concentrate on deep breathing to off set the panic attack that threatens to overwhelm me. On other side of bridge climb over difficult railing down grassy bank past rubbish strewn over brambles back on to river path and breathe again.
Needless to say the pint of Old Empire at the Hope & Anchor is very welcome after our hour and a half trek; it helps erase the bridge incident from my memory. We sit beside the beautiful river Wye and watch a Chenook helicopter take off far in the distance; my thoughts are with our brothers and sisters in Japan.
Lunch over we amble up the hill past stalls of garden plants including double hellebore for sale in the market place; hmm, thinking back to how my day began my plant loving artist friend Wayne Ferrebee in Brooklyn would be sorely tempted by these I’m sure.
sketch book study in medical dictionary: Comrie, J.D 1931 News Chronicle Home Doctor Morrison and Gibb Ltd., London