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Antonia Antonia Don't You Stop
Just Let Your Feet Go Clippity Clop
Your Tail Goes Swish And The Wheels Go Round,
Giddy Up We're Homeward Bound.
I went to Birmingham. I was described as the Artist In Residence. Oh Heavens I have always wanted to be an Artist in Residence. Oh my. I am now an Artist Out Of Residence if one means Birmingham (I am back in the Studio at Home) or I am an Artist in Residence and we don't specify which residence.
I went to Birmingham on Sunday to set up "A Graceful Death". The venue is the most wonderful Queens Foundation, a Theological College which seems to specialise in ecumenical and inclusive Christian thinking. Everyone I met there was a credit to the college. They were so welcoming and kind. On Monday I addressed the college in the morning and had a launch and another little speech in the evening. I stayed as a guest of the college and I was thoroughly looked after. Here are the details if you are in Birmingham looking for a fun but powerful exhibition to while away your free time.
The Queens Foundation
Birmingham B15 2QH
runs until Sunday 28 March 2010
To make an appointment to go and visit, email the university to find times the room is not in teaching use -
So. The experience began with me being very wimpish indeed about driving through Birmingham to find Queens. But, with the aid of a map and Google and my glasses, I got there with no trouble at all. The lesson there is Don't Make A Fuss, Other People Manage And So Can You. Besides You Have A Big Map. The room the exhibition is set up in is a very large teaching room and so in use all the time every day. It was decided that the exhibition would be best staged in two rooms, so that people could concentrate more on what they were being taught rather than seeing large images of me in triptychs feeling lonely, and the smiling face of Hiram Burnett and the poignant but beautiful face of Steve as he looks out at them. We also put the paintings only at the back of the room so that as one walks in they command full attention but as you sit down to concentrate on your Old Testament Today lecture, you face the lecturer and make academic and spiritual progress. Those wanting to look at the paintings during the sessions will be obvious as they will be swivelling round in their chairs. It will be difficult to Peek During Class.
My contact at Queens is the Glorious Dr Nicola Slee. She is a Feminist Theologian and I am so proud to know her. Not only is she dead clever but she writes poetry that will astound you. So far I have found Nicola writes poetry as I want to paint, and Olivia Fane the novelist (who has featured in these blogs as a Cheerer Upper) writes like I want to paint.
Nicola set up the whole event for me. She introduced me to the college, made sure I was taken care of and then went on holiday for the weekend I arrived. Ha! But Nicola works, as do they all there, a 40 hour day and a 25 day week. She and her writer and teacher extraordinaire partner Rosie went on a weekend away to try and catch their breath after much hard work, Rosie's illness last year, and a Special Anniversary. I will detail the event in the other blog about A Graceful Death, http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ so you can understand how very powerful the time spent at Queens was.
I had dinner on Sunday night with the Principal, David Hewlett and his wife Penny. If ever I have the choice to take one food item to a Desert Island I would take Penny's Sticky Date Cake. No, I would not just take one. I would take all the Sticky Date Cakes Penny could make before my plane took off and I was dropped onto my Desert Island (Ha - Dessert Island). I found the gentle clever perceptive David had as a wife a tall, strikingly attractive, creative and extrovert lady who wrote poetry. Nicola told me she wrote well, and it is true. I was very kindly given 3 excellent poems by Penny, all of which I want to include in the exhibition. They are all very good indeed, just as Nicola predicted. And there is the Sticky Date Cake. Did I mention how good that was??
Now I am back. I left early this morning and am back in my Bognor House. I got into a hot bath at 1.30 and realised at 3.30 I had to leave at 4.00 to pick up 13 Year Old Son who, to the best of my knowledge, has been boarding at school.
So here I am, clean, wrinkly like a prune after 2 hours in a hot bath, and happy to be home. I will return to Queens on the 28 March to take down the exhibition with Costya, my Other Son. 28 March was Steve's birthday. He would have been 54.
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