Sunday, 28 September 2008

Northern Nomadings


HELLO! We are home again after a good long meander around the north, and itching to be off again already.
Our wheeled home is just so almost there that we now have a proper sense of how it'll be when we're in it for good, and it is wonderful. We've made a beautiful home with a view that is always changing. Of course there are still cupboard doors and plugs and taps and bookshelves and desks and hooks and pictures to go in yet, but it isn't a horsebox anymore!

This last week's travels took us through towns and villages, along bumpy backroads and under chimney-scraping bridges and back again and we met some lovely folk along the way.
We parked in shady forested corners, on tops of moors, beside streams and down little lanes. We sat in the evenings in candle and firelight with the dinner cooking and pigeons cooing overhead.
We had fires in the woods with friends and woke in the mornings to take our wares to sell in town or just to wander about like tourists, drinking coffee and looking at cathedrals.


Up above are some views of our stops and here below are some views from our windows.



And if it's all sounding just a little too romantic, know that we also came across some people who didn't want us there.. which is the inevitable difficult Other Side to the freedom of a nomadic life.

We were delighted however to meet up with some fellow bus-dwellers who despite being parked just a few miles from here, found us in the land of blog. Andy and Mel of the Black Bus Company and their cats and dogs have found a lovely little corner of Scotland to park their wheeled home and we were happy to meet them for tea and talk.
And further along our way we were welcomed warmly by another young creative couple with exciting plans for wheeled journeyings and woodworkings around Ireland.

A day's meander around Durham's little lanes and the whispering Norman arches of Durham Cathedral was a joy (the bronze cathedral door-knocker growls to the right and there's a peep through an arch below); as was my visit to the excellent Seven Stories Children's Book Centre in Newcastle. It is a seven-storied warren in celebration of the supposed mere seven stories in the world and the thousand different ways of telling them. In this child-centered book haven, there are corners with cushions and books to read, and little doors to open, children's artwork, audio books in the arms of chairs and 3-D recreations of tale worlds. There's a wooden-beamed attic with dressing up clothes and a stage, and there are wonderful examples of original illustrations and manuscripts, opening up the worlds inside the creation of books as well as the worlds inside the tales inside them.

I had the place virtually to myself and was able to amble about one of the current exhibitions From Toad Hall to Pooh Corner, which is based around children's stories set in an idyllic and almost lost English countryside. I sat at the hearth in Badger's Kitchen, with birdsong twittering overhead and admired the just exquisite pencil and watercolour illustrations by Australian artist Robert Ingpen (whose work I have long admired) for a new edition of The Wind in the Willows. There were also EH Shepherd originals, and book manuscripts, layout roughs and authors' notes. Seven Stories holds all sorts of story based events and grown-up books are wholly not allowed! I'd thoroughly recommend a visit, especially since I see a new exhibition in the listings of local author David Almond's work Winged Tales of the North.

Our Geordie-land wander took us past Tui's family where we were mobbed by curious local kids on bikes who we let inside the truck to look around and in their bouncy exuberance wanted to look iside all the drawers and come along with us and hounded us with questions like "are you English?" and "where do you wee?".
"In the woods" I whispered to open mouths and raised eyebrows.
Perhaps if the people who see us and wonder but then call the police would remember the boldness of youth and come over to us with their questions ... There they would find a cup of tea and plenty of answers and obligings, instead of the threat of the unknown fear that lurks like a highwayman on the dark roads of their minds.

I know the negative stories of gypsies stealing your lead piping and/or children, and leaving piles of rubbish. But surely there are just as many nasty house-dwellers as there are nice ones... why tar everyone with the same brush? Indeed it is the home-dwellers who come by the green spot where our black bus friends are parked and dump their unwanted rubbish, and it is the bus-dwellers who clear it up.








Well, anyway, we are returned for a while to busy ourselves with finishing the truck, and I'll make a few more clocks. There'll have to be plenty of clearing upping and freecycling, and I even have a passing notion to have a wee sale of my original paintings... because of course they can't all go in the truck. Would anybody be interested in such a thing?

The sun has come back to Scotland with us, as has a flat tyre. We are now on the hunt for a good set of new tyres for the truck before we leave and we seem to have the rarest wheel size in the world. It is nice to be back amongst blog friends ... the doings of blog land can easily whisk out of your grasp when you leave them for a while so I am bumbling to catch up a little. All your kind kind words are appreciated and enjoyed as ever, and it will be incredible when we have our mobile internet and can blog on the hoof. I leave you with an evening scene in the truck, parked somewhere between here and there... outside there are ominous forest rustlings, and inside, a cup of Horlicks.

44 comments:

tut-tut said...

Beautiful sites and links! A very needed cheering up for me this morning.

Though I'm very sorry you've run up against angry prejudice in your travels.

panther said...

How sad that some people's minds are so closed to it all ! But what a wonderful time you had notwithstanding, especially meeting the other nomads.

said...

lush, lush, lush, lush, lush!!! what a wonderful time you must have had for your birthday week! it's nice that you were so friendly with the young kids on their bikes - hopefully they'll grow up more open-minded than some prejudiced folk as a result. your stories reminded me of our camping holiday in scotland and also of an old book i'm reading at the moment called "puppets into scotland" by walter wilkinson, from the 1930s. i think you would like it, i found it in a charity shop.

have fun finishing off your snuggly new home!

ooh, and p.s. - of COURSE we'd love to see a sale of your artwork!!!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

It looks lovely and oh so quiet (well except when fools are hassling you). Good luck with those tyres, guess your truck really is special.....

Robyn said...

Sighhh....yours are the adventures I dreamed of as a little girl. Well done for living your dream.

Nao Sims said...

It is such fun to peer through this window of cyber-space into the magikal world that you inhabit.

The tapestry of you living is truly one of the utmost beauty and enchantment.

Your adventures are a delicious deeeelight to follow, and tis nice to have you back!

Keep shining and dreaming and drawing~
Sunny Sunday Blessings to you!

Bimbimbie said...

Reading your post, especially the curious children brought to mind old Badgers wise words

"The Wild Wood is pretty well populated by now; with all the usual lot, good, bad, and indifferent - I name no names. It takes all sorts to make a world." Badger

I hope the two of you are not going to be too cramped with the rest of us joining you on your travels .... if only from our armchairs. I'm certain you'll meet more good than badly indiferent out there *!*

BT said...

Rima, so good to have you back, you've been missed. I'm glad you've had a great time and sad about the poor fools who tried to spoil it for you.

Your photos through the window are breathtaking. What a wondrous life you lead. I hope you managed to sell some of your work here and there and golly gee, we'd love to see some of the originals for sale and maybe get first pick!!

The final photo of cosiness and horlickity is beautiful.
xxxx

Chris' Shady Grove said...

Seven Stories sounds wonderful. I bet you were in heaven.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh Rima, I smiled all the way through! All this and Horlicks too. Sigh. Such an amazing, free life. Oh, I know it has its trials, but to live under the stars the life that you choose... I applaud you so. And, I know you would have buyers for your paintings! That's not even a question.

Have a happy week! Good wishes from Edward and Me.

Erin Gergen Halls said...

sadly, so many people have wandered so far from where their hearts yearn to be that they are unsettled by those whose souls are happy. i am glad that you and your love are honoring your gypsy spirits and living your lives with truth and purpose. huzzah!
you would most definately be welcomed here should your craft decide to sprout fins and take sail to my neck of the woods. you bring the tales, i'll put on the kettle....

Griffin said...

Bah! There are always those who don't like anything different from what they are used to.

As you say, if they just took the time to get to know you, they'd be as impressed as people here are.

I'd be thrilled if a certain ex-horsebox rolled up in Leicestershire... near Loughborough!

Yes, do sell your original work, but first the buyer should say why they like it... so you know those paintings are going to good homes. If you have any left by mid-December, when I'll have some money to spend, let me know. We art historians love original paintings... and I love pictures with stories whispering in them.

Shelley Noble said...

All the shots are spectacular, Rima. But the ones of what you see through your doors and windows are like a wondrous dream.

I would love to buy a small original painting of yours. Definitely.

Karen said...

I'm glad you had a lovely trip.
The wheeled home is looking enchanting. I want one! :)
Its sad that the world is filled with these rather silly narrow minded people :(
I wish that eveyone had the will to be individuals and follow their dreams.
Hope you find your new tyres soon!

Ciara said...

Welcome back dear Rima! So glad your trip was, on the whole, (mostly) a good one. Nothing like the long-waited-for-dream coming within reach.

And thank for bringing us hobbits a bit of wanderly magic to remind us of the Old Life! I can't wait to follow your trail through the woodlands of blog when you do get on the road at last.

c x

Elizabeth said...

Your photographs through the window are beautiful! Magic...

Your sweet home on wheels looks so cozy. I was sleeping on a boat this weekend and thought about what it would be like to live on board which made me think about you and your moveable home.

I am sorry some people live in fear rather than curiosity.

Thanks too, for your previous visits to my blog. I always appreciate your kind comments.

mariel said...

Enjoy your travels. You have made such a beautiful new home for yourselves, I hope it brings you much joy!

laughingwolf said...

amazing and brilliant, rima :)

Koldo said...

You bring so many memories to me... travelling around Cornwall and seeing old fancy gipsy caravans on the roads, meeting other travellers from anywhere around the world, talking to retired nice old people who also parked their caravans in the campings where we would go for a hot shower, Durhan... and so many other places that I miss...

Thank you once again for sharing all this, I excited to see your new works soon!

failed hermit said...

welcome back


realy nice to have met you both

lots of love xxx

Mermaid Queen said...

Hi! I love your blog, and wish you safe travels. Your photos and writings are inspiring.
Take care,
Martha

Carl V. said...

I am so glad you mentioned the negative reactions that you got because that was the one thing I was wondering about as I started to read this post...I was wondering if the whole 'gypsy' stereotype was still alive and well or only a Hollywood cliche. I am sad that it is alive and well and sincerely hope that wherever your travels take you that you will have more experiences with wonderful, understanding folks and less with fearful people.

I look forward to your sale, if you do indeed have one, and am glad to hear that you will be getting internet-on-the-go so that we can all peak in on your world.

beadbabe49 said...

thank you so much for including us in your world...it's magical so of course there are wicked and sad creatures too as well as the strange and delightful...

Tess said...

Oh, so beautiful and exciting, like living the travelling stories vicariously. More!

johanna said...

i just recently discovered your blog and i must say that i am in awe of your beautiful art. and i find the stories of your wanderings so enchanting. very inspiring

treehousejukebox said...

Beautifully magickal!!

anthromama said...

Seven Stories sounds like a little bit of heaven...I'd love to curl up in Badger's kitchen for a while.

"Where do you wee?"
"In the woods," I whispered....
I can just see them all with mouths in an Oh!

Too bad more people can't just observe whether others are at least harmless, if not actually friendly and kind...but I guess they need to prop up their opinions and assumptions instead. Hopefully on your travels you meet mostly kind souls.

Curious Art said...

Welcome home! I've missed you! So good to hear of your ramblings. I would love to visit Seven Stories, & also Durham, which happens to be the sister city of the town where I grew up, Durham, NC. Sorry you met with suspicion, but closed minds will always find someone to fear, whether at home or abroad. It's sad for them, I feel. I may be an idealist but I really do hope that the world will draw closer together through the amazing new links we can form now, getting to know each other via the blogosphere & such. If any of those folks read your blog, how differently they would feel! Before much longer, nearly everyone will be aware of this ethereal connection... but it's a slow transition.

AT THE PICKLED HUTCH said...

Rina,
I feel like I am on an adventure as I read about your travels. Hopefully you encounter more people with a curious welcoming spirit than otherwise.
Hello, did I just read you might sell some original artwork? Shhhhh, don't tell anyone else so we have a chance to get at your treasure chest first! Yes, we would be interested.
Lisa & Alfie

Tom Coyopa said...

Ahh, your journeys are a delight! My journey is going in the other direction - moving into a new home in the woods south of Edinburgh, making a nest that does *not* move (our flat in Edinburgh was shaking with city-madness and stone-cutters, neighbours' traumas and the constant rumble of buses). It's good to feel solid ground beneath my feet. New addition to the family, one seven-week-old lurcher pup by the name of Macha currently worn out and dreaming after chasing rain in the garden! She is beautiful and we are both utterly in love with her, of course.

Your home is a work of truly wonderful beauty: well done you both! Without wanting to give away the places you've been parking, was Dunkeld on your route, perchance?

Now for fetching wood in the forest where the deer leap and the foxes sing...

Blessings on your days,
Tom

Jess said...

It's great to hear about your adventures on the road! What lovely fellow travellers you met on the way. I'm so glad people still live like this, I can fondly remember the comradery when I lived in a bus, but missed having a fixed home too. The home won in the end but the memories live on!I love that cosy picture at the bottom!x

bindu said...

very interesting blog! I'm going to have fun reading more of your posts!

mister M said...

rima la manouche de l'art ;)

Enelya said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip :) love the photos especially the foresty ones :)

Enelya +++

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

I just discovered your wonderful blog. I look forward to coming here often. Love your artwork and your description of the children's bookstore! Please come to visit me through The Serenity Gate.

littlerobot said...

Oooo Rima, it looks wonderful - The sun has been great hasn't it? Today I actually felt warm for about 10 minutes! Best weather when it's sharp cold but sunny. Perfect!

valonia said...

What a wonderful and adventurous time you both had - and in the north too - my home territory, which I miss on cold winter days when I know there is frost waiting for footprints...

Hope you had a splendid birthday. Much love, V. x

bindu said...

Rima, I am so glad I found your blog! I've been reading more, and am speechless. Your words and art are mesmerizing, and I am reluctant to leave the world you weave with your tales, and return to reality! Beautiful, beautiful work.

Vita said...

everything was already said by the folks above:)
magic it is:)

PS. i have the same green rug:)

acornmoon said...

It's nice to have you back here in blogland. Doesn't your home on wheels look snug?

ArtSparker said...

I always thought the adventures in the caravan part in Wind in the willows ended too soon...are you going to paint doorkeepers on the back of your caravan? If you did, people who read your blog would know who you were when they saw it. But perhaps you want to maintain some privacy.

Lunaea said...

Ah Rima, you set my heart a-dreaming of a life on the road. Thirty years ago I had a period of nomadic bus life with a true love, and your words bring back the best things about it. May you always find a warm welcome wherever you wander!

Michelle said...

Hi Rima

Thank you for popping by my blog... and another thank you for linking to Andy and Mel so that I was able to travel in other ways by visiting their blog too. :-)

I love the photo of your home on wheels at night. It looks like a picture from a fairy tale itself.

martie said...

What a wonderful trip you have had! And homecoming is always special -- even when you travel with your home. I enjoy your stories, looking at the world through your eyes and the photos and artwork here. Who would be interesting in purchasing your paintings? Probably everyone who reads this blog or knows you!