Monday, July 31, 2006
Verdi’s (a lovely little Italian Restaurant converted from, believe it or not, a public lavatory) in Clarence Park, with Patrick’s family. I walked and the others drove there. Hugo and Xavier were too busy playing to be caught in these thumbnail sketches.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Walk Ninety-seven – Sun setting over the woodland park
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Walk Ninety-six – Walking at home
Friday, July 28, 2006
Walk Ninety-five – Last day in Ireland – ever!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Walk Ninety-four – Free at last
Yesterday, my uncle as executor, reluctantly permitted us three children to view the contents of my mother’s house, under his supervision, to point out the few sentimental but valueless items we would like to have. In the house there was a picture frame that had always contained a photo of me at the age of eighteen. My mother had replaced it with one of herself – in fact there were many pictures of her around the house but none of me. I found a notebook where she specified that she did not want her body laid out at a funeral home, nor did she want a religious funeral service – just her ashes scattered on the river Barrow. So all that effort to arrange precisely what she didn’t want. Maybe that’s what hell is — watching as your relatives well-meaningly completely fail to carry out your wishes.
Today we had a very long day sometimes emotional, sometimes funny. We drove from Limerick to Dublin to collect Mummy’s ashes. We then drove down to her childhood home stopping at Carlow to have lunch. All three of us ate boiled bacon, cabbage and potatoes (my mother’s favourite meal). We arrived in Borris, met up with the others and reminisced about childhood holidays. Patrick bought Rachel a Fry’s Peppermint Cream chocolate bar, reminding us of the time, in Borris, at the ages of eight and six, that Rachel had pretended to finish her chocolate and had then tortured him by lingering over every mouthful after he had finished his. We set off for the river, which was just as beautiful and unspoiled as I remembered it.
After wandering up and down the banks and across the lock we eventually chose a spot.
Rachel read one of Mummy’s favourite WB Yeats’ poems and I read a poem called ‘Be Calmed’ a friend had written and sent to me. Patrick poured the ashes into the river, we threw in red and white roses and we played a recording of Isa Lei, the Fijian farewell song. After a little weep we took some photographs to remind us of the spot (which we are unlikely to ever visit again) and I did this illustration. We then walked up the hill to see if we could find the fresh-water spring where we used to collect drinking water, before my Granny had water piped to the house. We bumped into a couple of local women and in chatting to them, probably gave them enough gossip to make them the centre of village life for the next five years.
We then set off on the long drive back to Limerick. Patrick, having checked that Rachel had finished her chocolate bar, brought out another bar and tortured her by lingering over every mouthful…
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Walk Ninety-three – The banks of the Shannon
We were up early this morning to attend the 10 o’clock funeral service at St John’s Cathedral for my mother. I had spent days meticulously planning everything, so I was disappointed that my uncle — who had been given the honour of giving the eulogy — was only preparing his speech from all the stories we had sent him at this late stage. He seemed to be shocked to discover that his fulsome eulogy was going to be put into a loving but nevertheless truthful context by my introduction to his eulogy. However, I had given him the information days in advance, both my siblings and the priest were aware of and supportive of what I had written, and if he chose to leave it to the last minute to read the text I had supplied to him, then he only had himself to blame. As it says in 1 Corinthians 13 — Love is always truthful. The service was wonderful despite his lack of preparation. Father Liam had a marvellous Irish tenor voice and led all of the singing. At the beginning Rachel placed photographs of Mummy and our family on the altar. Every single hymn and reading had been selected for its beauty and appropriateness and all of the readings apart from the Gospel were read by people who knew Mummy. At the sign of peace we all placed white roses on her coffin as a sign of making our peace with her. We all sobbed at various points during the service.
After the service I walked along the river frontage and did this drawing
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Walk Ninety-two – Stab city
Monday, July 24, 2006
Walk Ninety-one – The bluebell wood
No time to post
I did walk and draw today, but with all the last minute arrangements I need to make and sort out before we go to Ireland, I won’t be posting until I get back. So catch up time will be in about a week.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Walk Ninety – My chatty Dad
I drew Daddy and Sally from the other side of the now very dried up pond. Rufus did his hippopotamus impression and came home covered in a layer of evil-smelling mud.
I know I’m going to be like this when I’m old – my Dad is instigating a conversation with dog-walking Rosemary who he’s never met before.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Walk Eighty-nine – Xavier on Grace’s bench
A quick walk to the bluebell woods after an exhausting day. My daughter Flo was back from her tall ships’ race, but only had a few hours at home to catch up on sleep while I laundered all her clothes and got her packed and off to the train station for a week’s summer camp. Robin and the boys are away and I have a lot on. However I received a very funny blackly comic e-mail from a friend which has kept me bouyed up for the last couple of days, and no, I’m sorry I can’t share it with you because you just wouldn’t appreciate it unless your mother is like her’s and mine.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Walk Eighty-seven – Dawn
‘glory’ but with vague undefined edges.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Walk Eighty-six – Ireland – the new silicon valley – ha!
Oh and this was an early morning walk before the funeral arranging grindstone!
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Walk Eighty-five – Now then, now then
Monday, July 17, 2006
Walk Eighty-four – Hugo and Rufus
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Walk Eighty-three – Tom and rusting gate
‘O’ - for ORANGE, ‘L’ for LIMA etc. At no point did he consider that as the children are going to have to sort things out, it might be considerate to support whatever we want. You have to see the black humour in the situation (and take notes on what not to do when you reach their age).
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Walk Eighty-two – Tom
borderline personality disorder will know, my feelings are very ambivalent. A great deal of sadness because I have lost my mother and because of the unhappiness of the emotional roller-coaster of her life. But also some relief. She can no longer hurt the people who care for her and her own pain is over.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Walk Eighty – Wheatfields
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Walk Seventy-nine – Sucker for a bargain
I only intended to buy six graphitint pencils, just to have a dissolvable line when doing watercolours. However in the art shop they only had the twelve pack which was reduced in price so I decided to buy that. However, when I went to pay for it the assistant pointed out that the twenty-four pack with roll-up pencil holder was on special offer and only a couple of pounds more than the twelve pack. So now I have the full set and I really can’t see me using them. Dry, they’re just a collection of sludgy colours. When you wet them, it’s like one one of those books you had as a kid, where all sorts of unexpected (but nevertheless still sludgy) colours appear when you wet the page. In any case I just don’t get this water soluble pencil lark. I like watercolours, I like coloured pencils – are water soluble pencils for people who are a bit nervous of paints?
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Walk Seventy-eight – Round the pond
Monday, July 10, 2006
Walk Seventy-seven – The track in the rain
This was knocked out very quickly in the drizzle. I had used most of my available time peering at a tiny screen showing the start of the Tall Ships’ Race from Torbay to Lisbon which my sixteen year old daughter, Flo, is participating in. The boats were mainly shadows in the sea mist so I didn’t see much of them, though when I could, it was quite a romantic scene.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Walk Seventy-six – Windy triptych
Jersey Farm Woodland Park, because there are lots of benches and after yesterday’s accident I wanted to be as comfortable as possible. One of the benches I sat on had a memorial to councillor Bill Morris who worked very hard to ensure that the park was created. I’m so glad Bill worked so hard because the park creates a green space between the Jersey Farm housing and Sandridge village and thus prevents our village being absorbed into suburban sprawl.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Walk Seventy-five – Sports injury
I did one drawing – which was rubbish, then I did a sort of repeat pattern using leaves as masks, which was also rubbish, and then the gods intervened and said ‘let’s find her something worth drawing!’ and this is what happened. This was some sort of spike that seemed to be part of the bridge and I ended up flat on my face with grazes on palms and elbows. I’m not going to bother with a map as I want to soak that foot instead of sitting in front of the computer. But if you want to see where it happened look at walk twenty-five in the May archive.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Walk Seventy-four – Xavier’s dress sense
Oh the joy of wearing a tub on your head, or wearing an ensemble that consists of wellington boots, swimming trunks, elbow pads and a reflective cycling vest. Luckily Mummy really doesn’t seem to mind. An evening walk round Langley Wood after a few minutes sketching in front of the nearby wheatfield.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Walk Seventy-three – Poppies in the pea field
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Walk Seventy-two – Water colour moleskine
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Walk Seventy-one – Morning walk
I’m not much of a morning person, but I really should make the effort to become one. During these hot, summer days it’s so pleasant with the cooler air and the morning mist. The last time I walked regularly in the early morning was the summer I was pregnant with Xavier. I would wake up at four or five in the morning and think ‘Oh my God, I’m forty-four and I’m going to have another baby!’ I just couldn’t get back to sleep. The shock and excitement continued throughout the pregnancy, so with no-one else awake I would drag Rufus out and walk miles so that I could at least get fit for the challenge ahead.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Walk Seventy – More clouds
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Walk Sixty-nine – Clouds
Robin has recently bought me a wonderful book called ‘The Cloudspotter’s Guide’ by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of ‘The Cloud Appreciation Society’. I’ve always thought that the sky is God’s way to play at abstract painting. I would like to be able to identify clouds more accurately, however almost all of the books on the matter are as dull as ditchwater to read – apart from this one, which combines fact, science, history, literature, poetry and anecdote. If you buy it, don’t, however, get rid of any dull books you might have, as this one is a bit short on decent photographs.
Anyway no false modesty, I’m rather pleased with this watercolour (though if anyone has any tips on how to use masking fluid without damaging the paper I’d appreciate them). The clump on the left is Langley Wood (also known as the Bluebell Wood), and having walked everywhere in this scene I know that all the fields you can see are wheatfields apart from the thin slice on the top right which is a pea crop.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Walk Sixty-eight –Lying down on Grace’s bench
This was in the cool of Langley Wood, lying down on the bench. I had intended to walk a huge circuit today (with several drawings) as my own little contribution to the 10th world sketchcrawl. However Robin rang me and reminded me about the church summer fair, so I thought a circuit around the church grounds would provide better material for a sketchcrawl. The pictures from that will be posted on my other blog.