Friday, 12 June 2009

In the woods

SOMEWHERE IN SUFFOLK live kind Mr and Mrs G. They share their 160 acres of beautiful wooded farmland with sheep and dogs and moorhens and geese and chickens and bees and for a short while, us too. They came across us at Weird and Wonderful Wood and were amongst the numerous generous folk to read our "park-up request sign" and respond with their contact details for if ever we passed by. And so we did.


Last Sunday was Strawberry Fair - the wildest yet of this summer's fairs, though only a day, so grittable-throughable for the mountains of pennies that we made! An estimated 30 thousand bodies pass through this annual event on Cambridge's Midsummer Common, and I think most of them were drunk. Our neighbour - a carnivorous plant seller - warned us that gaps between vehicles would become loos as the day wore on, and he was right. We packed up when the staggering got too much, and attempted to chase away many weeing men from the sides of our house, but gave up in fear of retributive smashed windows, wandered off into the strange sea of humanity and bought a hat, some incense and what I think is an antique Indian holy ash holder.


Whilst in Cambridge we were able to feast our eyes on the delights in the marvellous Fitzwilliam Museum (such as incredible Medieval Miniatures, Breughel's Village Festival (below) and Gwen John's The Convalescent); and accidentally stumbled past the Corpus Clock & Chronophage which I blogged about a while back. Sadly rain and time prevented us from visiting the Cambridge Folk Museum... but maybe on the way back past.


So from there we headed to this leafy Suffolk nest... and our wheeled house can now be found parked at the end of a pathway into young woodland, where a circular glade houses a beautiful copper beech tree at its centre, and a log bench cut by Mr G for Mrs G on their wedding anniversary. We keep marvelling at the kindness of people and how things have changed for us, once hanging on in the park and ride with endless engine trouble, or being checked up on by the council. It is amazing, as 'grubby travellers', to be welcomed so warmly to a grand estate! It proves again for me the importance of seeing people for the people they are, rather than by any label or received idea; and it is lovely to be seen that way too. I hope that folk invite us onto their spot of land because they get a sense that we'll be a delight to have!
I am very happy to say that we are meeting people who show us England's hospitality, warmth and intelligence, which is easy to forget when you're being shouted at in the street or clipboarded by council men.


This is a real haven of peace, and we have loved being in the woods. Though interestingly we've rather missed the view. Because this little glade is enclosed all around by trees, we feel sort of "muffled" and wonder what is beyond. We have walked, though, and enjoyed this land in its patchwork of light rains and sunshine-afters, which have soggied the ground and dappled nearly-warm sun into our morning doorway.



And all the while there have been woods in my drawings. Or rather I have been into the woods in my drawings. For a long time the old woman who lives in a hut in the woods in folk tales has fascinated and drawn me. So now I am drawing her! In three guises - Baba Yaga, Hansel and Gretel's Witch, and Red Riding Hood's Grandmother. These drawings I have made in charcoal and pencil and for the blackest of black forest, compressed carbon, which gets up your nose, and makes you look like a coal miner. The three drawings, along with a piece of (still to be finished) writing are for an edition of Marvels & Tales - A Journal of Fairytale Studies - to be published next year... so I will show you these progress snippets for now, and more when I can.


Making these drawings whilst reading the well-loved (and enormously recommended) Women Who Run With The Wolves by Jungian Analyst and Storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estes is very apt indeed, exploring as it does that inner yearning for wildness and following of true intuitive paths through the woods...


We're invited to tea this evening with Mr & Mrs G and then we're off again - this time to a wildlife and nature reserve open day at The Sinfield Trust near Woodbridge in Suffolk, where there'll be nature trails, wood crafts, traditional firelighting workshops, barn owl and wild herb walks, turf labyrinths, Swedish folk music, and us selling pictures!!

55 comments:

Kari Lønning said...

It's interesting to read that you feel enclosed and wonder about the outside world. I live in the middle of green, with only one slightly open view to the "outside." I wonder what traveling the way you do and how having open vistas would change me ..... I hope you find all the right people to buy your work . Kari

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

what a lovely little woody secret hide-away to recover in~i have had the 'weeing-man' experience while alone in 'pippin' one night-not very nice at all.

Alice said...

Beautiful and so lovely to hear about the kindness of strangers ... It's so much more rewarding to see people for the people they are and be open to the possibility that all of us are wonderful despite what we might look like and where we might live ... have a wonderful time :-)

Heather said...

It must be lovely to wake up in the woods. The best I can do is enjoy the dawn chorus by leaving the bedroom window open! Lovely pics on your post - Breughel's Village Festival is fascinating and I would love to see the Medieval Miniatures. Hope you find more lovely people like Mr. and Mrs G., and sell lots more pictures at the Sinfield Trust.

nadia said...

all so lovely! i'm really please to hear that your travelling experiences are now presenting you with nicer people!
the drawings are, as ever, remarkably breathtaking in their description and beauty.
thanks for sharing them with us
nadia
(shadowsandclouds.blogspot.com / betweeneachblink.blogspot.com)

Vicki's Bit-o-earth said...

Rima Dear, Your posts are absolutely fascinating and beautiful. I enjoy them so much, and am sorry for the close minded people you must deal with.

Having seen your photos, particularly the three of your lovely home on wheels, as well as your words about Marvels & Tales, I must ask you... (I don't know if you have any way to view DVDs/movies)or not, but...

have you ever seen the movie title "Legend" made years ago by the very talented British film director Ridley Scott? Its a in the genre of the classic fairy tale ... the ancient battles between light and dark, and good and evil in the times of the faeries and the Dark Lord.

Seeing the photos of your place takes me directly to the home of Nell, who lives in the woods where Lily goes to to find the forest child, Jack.

Unfortunately I don't believe this was ever in novel form. The script was intended for film, and written as a classic fairy tale by William Hjortsberg.

If you've seen it, I'd love to know what you thought of it. If you haven't seen it, It may be of interest.

Amazon has inexpensive used copies...
http://www.amazon.com/Legend-Ultimate-Tom-Cruise/dp/B000063UR2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1244829452&sr=1-1

~
Vicki

Jessie said...

Hi Rima, I was very excited to read this post, firstly because we stood in the very same spot that you did in front of that Breughel painting just a couple of weeks ago. (My first ever venture to Cambridge!)and admired it for a good while. Secondly, I too am reading the same book, I re-read it from time to time and enjoy it again and again and thirdly, many congratulations for having an article in Marvels and Tales! Let me also say I lOve those drawings of old ladies you're doing, they're so full of spirit and life. :))Jess xx

fairiemoon said...

Rima,
Such a lovely spot! What a respite! And it is ever so nice to meet kind people!
Erin :)

Arija said...

I am so glad you have found a place where you are truly welcome.
Having chaps marking territory around your home is not a desirable occurence, so this stay in the woods must feel like a heavenly respite from (un)civilization.
So nice that the woods inspired you to draw the three women mostly associated with them.
Beautifu views of and from your home and the copper beech leaves are a delight. Gook luck for your next settling point.

Syren said...

Your blog is truly enchanting.
The photos are lovely. Your home on wheels looks such a peaceful comfortable haven. The pictures of the old women have been timed well for it is winter here and somehow they go together in my mind. I love Women Who Run With the Wolves - I've read it a couple of times and enjoy opening it radomly and letting the library fairy find a story relevant for the day. I think it a must read for all women. Also Moon Rites by Spiraldancer.
The world seems to be full of disrespectful, 2 dimensional thinking people at times - grey people who are blind to what they really are. When I start to feel they are getting to me I remember that I am a multidimensional being that is energetically and materially connected to the stars and nebulae. It's a beautiful awefilled joyous feeling and in that space I can cope with all the grey.
Blessings to Mr and Mrs G for the lovely green space you're in - here's wishing you find many more generous souls along your travels.
Can't wait for your next post. :)

Snippety Giblets said...

Lovely drawings !! Just the kind of old woman I hope to grow up to become :0)Glad your takings at the fair made the experience worth while. Drunkenness bemuses me - so much of folk history revolves around brewing and consuming yet I can't get to grips with the behaviour...and believe me, in my youth I gave it a good go !! As an aside Tal announced the other day that Tui "eats flowers and catfood for dinner" - he was half right :0) Love to you as always :0)

Clay Perry said...

wonderful work...

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

Adventures, adventures. The really strange thing is that we have that exact same string of birds that is in your doorway hanging in our kitchen.......

Sonia ;) said...

How beautiful the pictures are. I am glad you are meeting kind ppl to rest your weary heads...Look forward to ur next post Rima and Tui...Safe Blessings..

Smiles,
Sonia ;)

Dina said...

Shalom to you. Your blog title pulled me Into the Hermitage today for the first time. What a wondrous place, this blog!
I've been reading back, back in the posts and now look forward to tomorrow's.
Blessings to you from Jerusalem.

Melanie said...

What a lovely place to retreat to. In Wales we had friends who lived by the river at the bottom of the valley, who found the mountains and lack of view almost claustrophobic, so eventually sold up and moved to a place with a mountain view.

Oooo yes I love the Women Who Run With Wolves book- I found it in a charity shop.

Good luck at the Nature Reserve, sorry you had the wee brigade at the fair to deal with.

Aurea Dama said...

I love and adore your blog and a way of life. So I chose The Hermitage to be one of those to whom I gave "Love Badge"-award. You may get it from my blog if you like.

Though I rarely comment, I can't describe well enough how much your blog inspires me. You are a magnificent artist and very intriguing person.

Love,
AD

Rusted Wings said...

I am always drawn in to your wondrous journey and cross-section of humanity and the world beyond...
someday i hope to read a book of yours laced with your lovely drawings!!
blessings~
abigail

femminismo said...

So glad you've found a place to stay for a while. The Strawberry Festival looks like fun, but jostling amongst drunken folk doesn't rank high on my list of things to do all day long. Sounds like you found fun "other" things to do. Have a joyous time at the nature park. - Jeanne in Oregon

Night Owl said...

What a wonderful spot to park and rest. It's great to know there are such welcomming folk out there.
I do love your travelling home. I hope you'll wander up north at some point :-)

joanne May said...

Hi Rima,
I have just found your blog and I love it!:)
I hope you don't mind but I have just put you on my blogroll with your Hermitage image as a link. If you do not want me to have it on my site please let me know?
Best wishes Jo May.x

Amber said...

I am so very happy I have discovered your blog. It is so very beautiful and engrossing and amazing. Your life sounds like a magical one indeed.

Amanda said...

I will be buying Women Who Run with the Wolves the first chance I get. I always meant to read it in college and never got around to it. Haven't thought about it in years. Thanks for the reminder (and the hearty recommendation).

ruthie said...

how heartwarming to hear that there are gentle folks down there in england that make you adventurers so very welcome. sounds as though you have visited some enchanting places too

Carolee said...

What a beautiful place to stay for a bit, and how wonderful to find such kind, generous people!

Beautiful drawings, too. :)

Enjoy your adventures....

~ Carolee

Ande said...

Hello Rima,

I spent quite some time here, when I found this blog today. What a treasure I found! I see some resemblance between the style of your art work and illustrations in old fairy tales of my homeland, Sweden.

Ciara said...

So lovely to see you able to unfurl your petals in the warmth of friendly folks generosity!

Sunshine and dappled light. Perfect.

And I LOVE your old woman drawings!

Jenny said...

Best Rima,

What a beautiful blog you have! Your drawings and photographs are lovely and I appreciate the folkloristic style.

Brilig said...

This Breughel picture adorned the living room wall of my childhood home and held a strange fascination for me with its many scenes within scenes - I think its called Flemish Fair ? Very strange to see it again and interesting to discover it is displayed in Cambridge. Have a good Summer - Briligs

Nao said...

Such an enchanted place you have here. Every time I come I get inspired. Your fairy-tale book sounds wonderful. These latest images of the BabaYaga are brilliant. You work sings of another time.

Magic, Magic, Magic~

Summer Blessings to you and Tui.

Michelle said...

Lovely as always, Rima.

I'm thinking of the triple goddess - maid-matron-crone. These are all such wonderful crone women you've done. You could do a set of each. :-)

Michelle said...

PS...

I have three women I'd love you to draw - from a short story I wrote a while back. One day when I have the money I'll be back! :-D

Michelle said...

These three women... :-)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16547215/Dark-Boar-Power-Point

Caio Fernandes said...

hi beautiful lady fron distant lands . i am bringing my spirit just to say helo . your lovely life and soul reachs me here and i am pleased.

martie said...

Rima - I love your blog and your work. You are one of the most creative people I've "met". I've listed you as a recipient of the "Kreative Blog" awad.

acornmoon said...

I am so pleased that you are meeting some kind people who allow you to park in peace.

Cynthia said...

It's my first visit to your interesting and folk-romance filled blog. Your drawings create a sensation of mystery... a world unknown to others and yet alive. Thanks for sharing. <3

Anonymous said...

stumbled upon this blog by chance and glad that i did. quite a wonderland here, enjoying your scraps et al. will ritualistically follow now.

Robinn said...

Thanks for sharing your journey and your art! Thanks again for a lovely respite from the rocks, sand, and idiocy of everyday life! I'm glad that you made some money and survived the weeing men. Makes one appreciate more the wonderful green places in the world, doesn't it?

Farfán said...

Hi Rima!
Just say hello! and that I've add your blog to my blogroll (with your permission ;)

Really great work!
Greetings from Spain! :D

Sara Morante said...

Rima, everything seems so nice and charm and warm and homely and wonderful throught your eyes... Your life seems to be so idilic!
Everytime I visit your blog I yearn to have a caravan like yours and to have all my stuff in it (well, not all, indeed).

But, trully now: Is it Wifi or Mobile Internet??? ;))

Lovely pics and artworks and
your inner world, as usual...
LoL
sara

mademoiselle G said...

Oh didn't knew your blog yet! So much fun to read! Must put it in my faves :)

Spiral Dancer said...

I just love this blog...your art and your life are one in the same..Do you come to Scotland at all ?? you can come and park your home on my front lawn any time !! And wake up and look at the sea ( well its the river Clyde but its a great view) x Will be back for many visits...you really should come up here LOl

tracy said...

Hi you two
You are surviving the new age festivals well. The crafty ones are a bit more peaceful, and those are the ones I hope to get Troy to. I think the reasons you state are why I steer clear with him still young.
You have found some beautiful places to be though and as ever your words and art inspire.
I miss not seeing you, but am glad you are finally enjoying the journey.
Your are always in our thoughts.
Bright blessings to you both
Tracy and Troy

laughingwolf said...

hi rima... great stuff as always... not been around for a while due to eye surgery and now have a new pup who takes up most of my day

but i send new folk here when i can :)

poet said...

This is such an amazingly individualist and artistic blog that I simply had to tag you! The rules are on my blog: thegirlinthebaytree.blogspot.com. Hope you have a look, and have fun answering!

Greetings,
poet

mama p said...

Rima-- 'tis always such a treat to visit the Hermitage, which is feeling so much like a fair stall these days! The warm season has brought about so many changes and I can really see it in your artwork. You really can tell that you're living there. :) I am happy for you!

mixdbrew said...

I'm entering The Hermitage for the first time and I don't want to leave. I want to stick around in your fairy tale and wander about aimlessly. I want to listen to your stories, see you work, sitting cross-legged on the grass chewing elder flower fritters :) I just don't want to go back!

ambermoggie said...

Fabulous journeying:) If you ever fancy the north west coast come and stay by the seaside with us

Sue said...

Hello to you, I have discovered your blog via Gretel and have loved reading through your posts. I really love your words and all you have to say about ownership of land and how our spirits are affected by various things - you make sense of a lot of random thoughts I have but never piece together. Love how you write about beautiful England. Wishing you all blessings and happiness :-)

Frances said...

Hello to you from another who traveled here via PG.

I do admire your artwork and the way in which you are exploring life.

Best wishes!

Sofisan said...

I love your blog and the travel-living you do. I am a bit envieuos even though my life is picking upp after having been "foreced" to live in a small apartment and have a normal job for almost a year now I am moving! finally! up to the northenest of sweden (not my first choice) and I will force my music making other half to read about you so he sees it is not just me making it up there are still some nomads out there! makes me very happy!

BT said...

I love Suffolk, I'm not surprised the people were more friendly towards you there! Awful experience at Cambridge though. I hate drunk people, especially when they think they can pee everywhere. Yuk. I hope the next venue is as good and calming as the last. Lovely drawings, a bit scary though!

heidiburton said...

Ahh good old Strawberry Fair, I was there too (I live in Cambridge) apologies for our ill-mannered Cam-folk for urinating publically, and for all the drunken behaviour. Hope it proved worthwhile for you.
Fitzwilliam is great, though always seem to get there when it's just closing... downside of being nocturnal!

pixie said...

LOVE Estes/Jung and the crone archetypes you're working with! I am so in love with your stories and your doll and the sea story. We were riveted and agog watching last night. THANK YOU.