You may have noticed that the loved one and I get about a bit. “Why?” You may ask. England is very beautiful, especially when the weather is good. However, that has not always been the case. I come from what was once the industrial heartland of the UK, where the air was yellow with sulphur from the coking plants, or grey from steelworks smoke. Men worked in the foundries and rolling mills; the pits or the coking plants; the glassworks or the cutlery factory. A job was for life but life wasn’t always long, with asbestosis, pneumoconiosis, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma or chemical related cancers as a constant and the fear of industrial accidents forever hanging over us. We never wanted to hear the siren from the pithead, it could only have meant one thing.
My dad worked down the pit from being a teenager and hated every minute of it. He wasn’t educated enough to do anything else so it was that or the steelworks and the pit was nearer. So he escaped at every opportunity, through books, through films or through travel. And he infected me too. I read from an early age and there were no restrictions on what I read. I was welcome to try anything in the house and ask questions that always got a considered answer. It did cause a little fuss at school once. I was about 10 and had been reading a novel called “the rainbow” by Wanda Wassilevska. We were asked to bring a book we were reading to school and share it with the class. I started reading aloud a passage where a resistance worker in the Ukraine gave birth to her baby hidden in a barn. As the Gestapo officer took the newborn and threatened to kill it, which I thought was really exciting, my teacher thanked me with a rather fixed smile and someone else got up to read. I can remember being mildly disappointed at having to stop but was completely amazed when school contacted my parents and suggested at least a little censorship might be in order.
I still have a book of his that is a bound volume of Picturegoer magazines from 1937, when he was sixteen. His favourite was Claudette Colbert. So films were his second escape route.
And then, I don’t know exactly when, he started hiking in the Peak District – the world’s first ever National Park, and he never, figuratively speaking, looked back. You can read about one of his adventures on this blog in the section called Le Journal. I know le Journal means newspaper but he didn’t, he thought it meant diary, so that’s what he called it. He loved being out and about and longed for foreign travel, he was just born in the wrong place and time. (This is not a sad story, he may not have got away as far as work was concerned but he certainly did some travelling over the years.)
So getting away was a big deal for my family from as far back as I remember, not to crowded beaches or resorts but up onto the moors and hills and mountains. Freedom and clean air. In the mid 1960’s we finally went to France and from then on he and my mum were off round Europe every year, more than once if they got the chance. And I’ve got the bug. Fortunately for me, so has the loved one and we mix idle poolside life with towns and cities; we love swimming in the sea, me more than him, he likes his water tepid, whereas I just like it wet. (He says I have no feelings.)
So we we’re off to Tenerife again and the WiFi isn’t so good and, although I started writing this in plenty of time, when it failed to load about three times and lost what I’d written, my Mr Hyde side replaced my Dr Jekyll and had to be forcibly restrained from chucking the damn thing out of the window and into the pool, like a 1960’s Keith Moon with a hotel TV.
Anyway, as a result, I did do the Diva Challenge 225, which was a guest challenger (Jen Crutchfield), who asked us to use a limited colour palette and see what we could come up with. I had my Koi water colour pens with me and did, as I thought, quite a nice background, which I then proceeded to pattern. If I turned it yellow/green side down, it looked a bit like a twilight seascape and I was tempted but I resisted and kept it non-representational. Frankly, I’m not convinced the final version is an improvement but you know, no mistakes in Ze….
I had already started a coloured piece, using squares superimposed one on top of the next and I quite like it so far. Clearly, not finished with the patterns yet but I think it will be OK. And then I started another one on the plane coming home, using one of my fall back patterns, Fengle, as the string. I really enjoyed this and am hopeful it will be really pretty when it’s done.
It may find itself coloured but I’m not sure yet. There’s still something very satisfying about the plain black and white, relying on the patterns to have all the impact. Who can say?
Anyway, it’s Thursday and I think it’s a bit late to post this for DC225, so I’ll wait until Monday and see what the next guest challenger has us doing. Looking forward to it, as always.
See you then, world…
And lo, it was the diva Challenge and guest challenger Katie Crommett says keep it simple. Limit patterns to no more than three, give in to white space and breathe…
I can do that, I think.
So my first attempt nearly went in the bin but, following the Diva’s unspoken advice, I didn’t. It’s simple, just two patterns, (Inaura and Riki Tiki) a string based on my initial and minimal shading but, oh I don’t know, it’s just, as my daughter would say with a shrug “meh”.
Second attempt worked a little better and I used Quare, which I don’t remember using before, and Quib, which I love in spite of it never turning out as I expect/hope, and Henna Drum, which I ALWAYS love using.
Simple? Who are you kidding?