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Sunday, 3 February 2013

A little nostalgia, and my sketch for the day.

A bit out of Puff
I stood there in the doorway, the frame of which was obscured, covered in ivy. A dog rose was trying to compete and little white petals peeped through the mass of green foliage, . . . . the door opened.
Her hand was outstretched to me.
“You are Stanley’s friend, Alan I presume” I just stared!
“You would do well to learn to relax and leave all your hang-ups at the door my friend” she carried on. Closing my mouth I followed her into the front reception hall.
“I am Trish, we are all in the lounge, come on in.”
As we passed down the hallway the walls had been painted by the likes of Quentin Bell or even perhaps Duncan Grants who had invaded the cottage up on the hill.
Either the Bloomsbury Set had been revived in some form or another or this enchanting place had been preserved from those times. It all reminded me of the Arts and Craft Movement.
Trish walked ahead of me, the sun was bursting through the large windows to my left of the passage, the strong rays of light shone on her long golden hair that reached to the base of her trunk, her young body was covered only by a thin chiffon smock that reached right down to her ankles, you could see right through it to a figure that could only be described as a beautiful female form.
The late fifties and early sixties was a time of flower power, of love, of concerts on the fells that went on through the night till breakfast time. We didn’t sleep, there wasn’t time and anyway we might miss something if your eyes were closed. Listening to one of us reading or reciting poetry, painting outlandish canvases, drawing what we saw and surrounded by copies that hung on the walls of the lounge of the likes of Turner, Ruskin and Millet giving inspiration and a thrill of the life we had been born into.
I had found the next stage of my life purely by accident, answering an advertisement for help at ‘Brantwood’ in the heart of the Lake District. This beautiful property, high up on the hill overlooking the banks of Coniston Water with Old Man Coniston in the background (that is a high fell or small mountain for those that are not aware) had once been the home of John Ruskin, I had never heard of him until that day, but as the weeks went on turning into months my inquisitive mind couldn’t get enough of what he had written. Turner originals were all round the lounge on the walls, and in the hallway hung a portrait of a group by Millet. Original manuscripts in Ruskin’s exquisite handwriting, hundreds of sketches and drawings from his travels were there to leaf through with gloved hands in the library that he had sat and worked in all those years previous.
The intellect that reverberated round the rooms from the many students that visited encouraged a learning process that had lain dormant in me from birth. This was a heaven I didn’t know existed, and it wasn’t long before I was accepted into the set of young people in a little Hawkshead cottage not far from Brantwood, knocking on the door that day to see the vision of Aphrodite in front of me.
I felt then ‘I had arrived at my Mecca.’ What followed was an understanding of this life in all its forms, I realised quite early on, my education had been severely lacking in a lot of respects and there was so much more to this existence than purely self.
So this is probably the reason I get so much enjoyment out of sketching, and a lot of other things that I do as well, a spark that was first ignited all those years ago in the beautiful county of Cumbria, it gave me so much that I have been grateful for over the years, I only wish I could in some small way enlighten the youngsters of today, of the beauty of it all, but sadly, I don’t think they would listen.
Thanks for stopping by.

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