(names and places have been changed to protect the perpetrators of my headache)
I am writing this blog on a Sunday morning. I am hungover. Its sooooo not my fault.
The weather is awful and complements my banging head and slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach. There’s a bit of dirty looking snow left from the unexpected flurry we got yesterday (snow that wasn’t forecast might I add – how much do the weather people on the telly, get paid? It’s too much whatever)
It’s miserably foggy and there’s that relentless drizzle that just soaks you through to the bones and plays havoc with your hairdo. As if waking up in last night’s makeup wasn’t bad enough, I now have hair that would give Crystal tips a run for her money (I am giving my age away now and you are too, if you remember that kid’s show, Crystal tips and Alastair? Well I look like her this morning)
My hubby and I dined last night, with some friends at Litton. We live south of the Peak District and didn’t have that much snow yesterday at all. By the evening it had just about all gone at home but as we climbed higher and higher, driving through Curbar and Calver, the fog got thicker and there appeared more and more of the slushy stuff on the windy roads through Baslow. It was a proper pea souper of an evening (where on earth does that expression come from? Fog is not green or taste of peas). We passed some nutters driving on the wrong side of the road through Stoney Middleton, but luckily we made it in one piece, dumped our bags at the cosy local Peak District pub we were staying at, and headed out into the fog with our trusty torch - to be greeted with HUGE hugs by our lovely friends.
It’s so nice, having had a really hard working week decorating a gallery, to be able to just relax, talk rubbish in comfortable surroundings, compare the merits of your slippers versus posh wellies, listen to Take That 3 times on a loop – which one do you like best and how come they’re nice fellas now and not when we were kids- and have a giggle. This particular splendid evening, also involved some prawns with royal connections, a boiling vat of hot spitting fat, anecdotes from the lady of the house (who also looks like Crystal tips),about a rather rude noise incident in a local Peak District pub and an adventure with some rather disgusting, I thought, Japanese tea. The food was amazing made by a masterchef and we all sampled a great many fine wines from a chap with connections in Hathersage. At the time I didn’t think I’d had that much, but this morning, I can safely tell you, I’d had rather a LOT. But it wasn’t my fault as you can plainly see – they made me do it (mmmm- that’s my story and I’m sticking to it ossifer). At least I can remember how to spell my own name today, unlike someone I could mention.
Unfortunately, I have sort of got into the routine of writing my blogs on a Sunday, but I hadn’t factored in a hangover getting in the way of my creative writing today. Oh well, I’ll soldier on, just for you.
Now what happened last week? Oh yes, last week I hardly painted an animal at all, except to say I did manage to paint my dog, but not in the way you think. She came out of the shop at the end of the day splatted in paint. Having decided to spend most days getting to grips with a huge tub of magnolia paint, I set about putting on the undercoat to the new Villager Gallery at Rowsley . BOR – ING but necessary. Mr Hairy, the huge resident spider, seems to have taken a sabbatical and I’m thanking my lucky stars I haven’t encountered him or his hairy mates for the last week or so. Perhaps he’s been put off with the paint fumes.
It’s still very quiet this week, customer wise, but it’s the calm before the storm. Next week is half term and by about Wednesday I will be wishing it was this quiet again. We get absolutely thousands visiting the craft centre and more often or not they’ll all appear at once, sweep through the place like a tornado and wreak havoc in their path. Because I am one of the first workshops to be visited and am actually sat there painting – “oooh look at ‘er – are you the artist then duck?”, the parents of the most unruly, obnoxious children dump their kids to “Watch the nice lady do her painting and we’ll see you in a bit” and move off to see the other sites, leaving me to entertain their offspring. One day, in the 6 weeks holidays, I had 3 children under the age of 5, who all kept saying “Why?” every 23 seconds, a rather deaf old gentleman in a wheelchair who flatulated constantly and a pair of Chinese people who didn’t speak any English, all staring at me expectantly. I was trying to eat my cheese sandwich at the time.
As you may have deduced ,headache’s make me grumpy. I’ve just started a painting of Villager Jim’s glorious photographs of 2 hares chatting in a field. I’m not sure how much of it I’ll get done next week, trying to valiantly work round the endless visitors and remembering to not let my smile slip, when I get asked for the 42nd time, “Are you the artist then?” and hopefully I can show you the finished article in next week’s blog. .......that’s if I’m not in a padded cell rocking backwards and forwards, with drool dripping down my chin, from all the stress of trying to entertain my bored, near teenage son, for the half term week.
Good luck to all mums and dads out there. Come on – we can get through this.
By Helen Clark , animal artist , Caudwell’s Mill, Rowsley.