ANTONIA ROLLS ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE NEWS. An account of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis. Worthwhile, but exhausting, so pour the tea and make yourself comfortable...(this painting is a family portrait, about 2'x 3', oil on wood. It is the Ross Family, each family member with items that describe them best. And at the front, on the grass on the right hand side, is a photo of Grandma, sadly missed.)
Monday, 30 May 2011
Dancing for the Guiness Book of Records In A Field In Co. Kildare
Of course sending a text saying "Am in a field in Co. Kildare breaking a record for the Guiness Book of Records" to Furiously Independent Son in London was up on his facebook page in no time as something like "Just had a text from my mum who is dancing in a field in Kildare for some Guiness". It got quite a few ha ha it's in the genes comments. Interesting, everyone knows I don't drink alcohol at all, that I have very wittily been labelled teatotal for all the tea that I do drink. I expect I am good for Furious Independent Son's reputation there.
I am in Dublin again, in the bosom of the family of my Darling Dublin Friend. Eileen, Photographer Extraordinaire and I came out last week and have settled with purrs of pleasure into the life of this lovely family here. One of the items on the list for our stay was to go with DDF's children to a field in Co Kildare with nearly 500 other jolly folk, and do the biggest rain dance ever to break the current record in the Guiness Book of Records. Naturally, we broke the world record, despite about 40 people being disqualified for putting their arms down too soon, and I left the field with a teeshirt and a wee certificate. Lovely. I like to break the odd world record if I can, during my stays with friends.
Eileen and I met when we were 19 years old in Aberdeen, during the first week of University there. Two such unlikely people as Eileen and I would never have been a dead cert to meet and be pals for life by the bookies before that first week in Aberdeen. And yet, we sat next to each other for our first lecture in History of Art, looked at each other, were astonished and curious, and have not left each other's side since. I remember Eileen had such white white hands, and she remembers that I had very whacky red clothes. I asked Eileen if she powdered her hands, and she was intrigued enough by such a strange question, that we carried on from there. A little later DDF came on the scene. It is funny to think how affected we were at the sight of someone at University who seemed so together, so Arty and so In The Crowd. DDF belonged to the Drama Society. She did the costumes, and wore black with style. And she made her own clothes - I thought she was wonderful. My first meeting with DDF was on a coach from Aberdeen to some London Demo. DDF wore a woollen jumper of multi coloured stripes, in such wonderful shades of yellow, red, green, orange, blue that I was unable to stop looking at her. And them, in her gentle Yorkshire voice, she mentioned that she had knitted it herself. In the presence of genuis, I thought, bow low. Well, 31 years later we are still happy together and having a gentle holiday to celebrate Eileen's birthday in DDF's home in Dublin with her Husband, the Nicest Man in Ireland and his family, and the children.
DDF is very creative. She can make something out of anything, so to speak. She can sew, design, create and make it all look as if she did it when she had a few moments to spare in between answering the telephone and picking up the kiddies. She is great to go to the shops with, as her eye for quality and potential is extraordinary. And Eileen, who is such a fabulous photographer and I, love to browse and meander in shops and markets, feeling the cloth and dreaming of buying chandeliers (that is me, I want chandeliers). Eileen carries her very state of the art photographic equipment with her and takes shots of people and items and scenes that catch her fancy. I went to a large public garden in West Sussex with my old friend Michael and Eileen, once. Michael and I wandered around the garden, Eileen wanted to go off on her own. Michael and I kept hearing rustles in the shrubbery and flower beds as we walked. Fear not, we said to each other. It is not lions and tigers and bears, it is probably Eileen settling in for a fabulous close up shot of a teeny weeny rare flower. And so it probably was. DDF, Eileen and I make a wonderful trio, we all look very different and we all come from different parts of the UK - Eileen from Norther Ireland, DDF from Scotland and me from Petworth in the posh South of England. We have different lives and different creative directions but we all speak the same language. We share a history, a past, and know how we all think. In short, we are good for each other and love spending time together. We clear our minds for each other, talk things over about what to do next in our artistic lives and understand exactly how difficult things can be.
Last evening, we sat around DDF's kitchen table, in the house she and her husband designed and had made in the grounds of the In Law's house, and chatted late and drank tea. I can't even remember what we said but today I know I am OK, DDF is OK and Eileen is OK. We can all do our Artistic Stuff, we can all take the next step, we are all fine.
Of course, soon as I get home I will be struck by how dirty my windows are and how shabby the paint work is. I will wonder how on earth I can be nice to all three of my kids all of the time while trying to rock the world with my art. I will long for Alan to come and whisk me away to Greece or France on a holiday but fret about spending the time away and I will have to buy a new hoover as my old one broke before I came here. Goddam.
But Peace! I have been to Dublin and all is right with the world! I am safe in the arms of my friends and so I can do my thing.
I am coming back with Furiously Independent Son next month too, to celebrate his birthday. That blog will be utterly different. It will be "Goodness me, how did this happen? Goodness me, I didn't know my son did that. Heavens - I used to pick that child up with one hand and now look at him! No, he suits a beard. Perhaps we should put the Guiness away..."