THERE IS A LADDER that climbs up the side of our wheeled home and takes the daring up to the roof where a roof-rack has appeared, all edged in branches from the woods. If you sit up there, high above the goings-on below, ruffled by the chilly winds, you can see treetops and further, and smell woodsmoke from the battered chimney behind you. Up there you can imagine things a little way off, you can look in one direction and imagine what folks are doing over there underneath their roofs, and in another direction to imagine what you might do next. If your vision could fly past the opaqueness of things, you could leap off the rooftop and follow your long-held dreams to a place just over there where they are real.
We have been loving our days here in this beautiful green and windy May. We have worked and pottered and looked and walked and touted our wares. We have talked and been silent, we have looked at insects and met friends. We have planned and sighed and drunk coffee and sat by rivers. It struck me today how happy I am, as I sat outside our back door painting and a weevil with a luminous back crawled over my knuckles. Our days are our days and that makes us smile. We are mostly down to our last £20 but it never seems to matter. Somehow something comes along at the last minute and we sell only the things we create, never the minutes of our lives.
Springtime is wonderful. There are green things birthing themselves all over the place, somehow all hearing that sap-murmur that says 'now's the time'.
We walked down the path alongside the river yesterday and saw life and death. We scrambled through fields yellowed with buttercups, where delicate calf ankles crept amongst the yellow. Growth was in everything. By the water, hidden in the tallnesses of grasses a white swan treasured her nest. And yet by the roadside, a baby deer lay, flung aside by the car bonnet of somebody in a rush, eyes already fly food.
Sitting on the roof again you wonder why someone might have been in such a rush that they did not see the shy trembling thing emerge from the trees. Perhaps they had to get to work. Perhaps they had to get to work to earn money (or rather so that some numbers changed on a computer screen somewhere apparently equaling wealth). Perhaps that money paid for a large house and for materialistic kudos in its myriad forms. But that rushing person did not spend very much time in that large house because they were too busy rushing to a job that made them grey to earn the money to pay for it. And what wealth is that? That you sell your one given life to someone else so that the very life force that keens in you, that makes these daisies turn to the sun, is put on pause until some other time in the future, that never quite arrives.
On Saturdays we have been pushing our excellent old lady shopping trolleys full of pictures through the barley fields to the place where the rather infrequent bus stops, and travelling into Colchester town where we have tried to sell our wares. A new town is always exciting. These are people we've never seen before, nor have they seen us. The first time we tried, we were circled by fat yellow-vested council bouncer types who worked for one of the private companies who seem to have bought sections of the town. Not one of them was brave enough to approach us, but they phoned another company "Street Care" who sent a nervous young chap, newly in the job, to move us. Our usual chat ensued... we had set up outside a boarded up shop, and were bothering noone, except it seemed those who did not want us there. He was kind, but we told him we would not go. And so the police came. And of course unless we want to spend an afternoon arrested and then released chargeless, we have to move for them. These though, were possibly the nicest police we've come across and one of them wanted to (but couldn't) buy a picture. So that day we packed up early and stumbled upon a delightful Clock Museum in a timberframe building which we explored instead. As it turned out the policeman visited us with his wife some days later at our farmland parkup and bought a picture after all.
We got away with it the following Saturday by trying another spot, and hoped the same would occur this week.. but it was not to be. Our day was started by a beggar launching fury at us for saying hello, and our mood continued in a sort of "readiness for battle" as various lurching heroin addicts slurred abuse at us and eventually the same nervous council man from a fortnight before brought with him a council colleague and an army of 2 policeman to move us.
However on that day a chance encounter with a face I had seen in blogland brightened things enormously. We were delighted to meet the Snippety Giblets family and go to theirs for tea after the grand turfing-out. And then a few days later they visited us here and we are happy to say that such friends, intelligent minds and good hearts we are glad indeed to meet.
So here we are almost ready for our next chapter. We'll be happy for the next horizon, and for the feeling you get as your house pulls away, but the leaving will be sad because Sarah and her clan have become good friends and so has the land here. For their stretched out hand of kindness and their hospitality and help and lifts to galleries and address lendings and freshly laid eggs and friendship we thank them. We shall be back again next time round.
The next exciting thing to tell you is that we'll be taking our house and wares to the Weird And Wonderful Wood fair near Stowmarket this weekend. Hopefully unless we are caught in a deluge, I'll be hanging pictures from the side of the truck, and also showing originals (i.e. all my work from the exhibition, minus one - Hark Hark - which very excitingly sold!). If the rains do come, then it'll be a weekend of huddling inside with the kettle on and delighting in the woodturning, musical instrument making, basket making, tree climbing and other spontaneous happenings that are to be found there!
And I have been busy making a sign in a wonky reclaimed-wood-worn-out-folk-art style that will stand outside the truck at the fair and will attach to the back while we go along, so that interested people in traffic jams can find out what it is that we do in here!
So til soon, I wish you all the greenness of May in your hopes and dreams and delight beyond measure in the things that you do.