I had three lovely days with friends up in Aberdeenshire, but there was no way I could get my laptop to recognize their network, so no ability to post my doings to the journal. So here is the short version of my time there. No writing, of course. we were so busy. . .
First the usual 2-3 hour drive there stretched to four and a half, due to the closure of the main street from Dundee to the north. I had to wiggle around and find the diversion roads, and the Dundee roadworks crew seemed to delight in sending drivers into smaller and crabbier streets with no signage to tell them how to get out again. I was wandering in the armpit of Dundee for 3/4 of an hour trying to find my way to the Arbroath road, a part of the trip that normally takes about 4 minutes once one turns off the Tay Bridge. Arrrrgh. And then again, the road tto Fettercairn which has always been on my route was also closed for road works, and it took another fifteen minute fiddle to find my way through it, after which I got turned around several times more. And–as always–I became weepy in the Highlands, that being a favorite place of David’s and mine, and so had to pull over, drink some tea from my thermos, and indulge in memory.
But never mind. I got there, just a bit late for lunch/ However, they’d waited for me. They being Susan and Mike, my friends who own the Syllavethy gallery. And since it was Open Studios week in Aberdeenshire, we were going to have a very art-filled few days.
First I pottered about their gallery, especially taken with their friend Annie’s artwork. And in the evening the three of us went to the local community center where a traveling children’s theater group–Wee Stories Theater–was doing a play based on the Russian folktale “The Devil’s Three Golden Hairs” (a particular favorite of mine) which they titled, “The Sun and the Moon and a Boy Called River.” Spectacular–and if I ever hear that they are playing near me, I will go and see them with or without a child to hand.
Next morning Mike and I took a long walk down by the Don River. The morning was brisk, and therefore so was our walk. Then we returned and drove off to see a young woman who is making a spectacular living painting animals. Though her work was too sentimental for the most part for my taste, she has considerable talent. I especially liked her closeups of prize bulls, heads only, the snot running out of their not inconsiderable noses. (Try saying THAT ten times quickly.) And she does quite a business selling giclee prints of all her paintings. Especially the dogs and horses.We talked about licensing and such.
After that Susan and I went into Aberdeen for lunch with a fascinating theater director, Wilma, who is putting on FIDDLER ON THE ROOF with the Aberdeen Opera Company at the big theater. She wanted to talk to me about some of her ideas and we got along like a house afire. The three things I think she liked most were my suggestion of a klezmer band, spitting through one’s finger to ward off evil, and telling her to check with a rabbi when I couldn’t answer ritual or cultural questions. Then Susan and I wended our way back to the house, taking in another gallery on the way. One of the artists had work that made me think she might make a wonderful children’s illustrator so I gave her the names of several London editors. It will be interesting to see if she follows through.
That evening I took Mike and Susan out for dinner.
In the morning, we went to visit an astonishingly good sculptor named Helen Denerley who has done work for major buildings as well as smaller pieces and lives at the foot of a spectacular river/hill view. (She has a website–do go and visit!) We walked around her place looking at pieces and in her workshop where, accompanied by a delicious tabby cat, we saw even more. I wish I had the money to buy her stuff but we are talking Laird of the Land pieces for Laird of the Land prices. She and I talked about about George MacKay Brown, for she knew him and did some sculptures based on his poems and I had a correspondence with him when I published one of his pieces in a XANADU anthology. Wish I had gotten to meet him (up in Orkney where he lived) before he died.
Then tea with an Internet gentleman before I came home to have dinner with friends Marianna and Pete.
At home I found news of a possible new picture book deal which I will relate if it goes through. And a rejection of three poems from Goblin Market. Otherwise little to tell viz work.