Thursday, 23 July 2009

Wet Welsh Weddings

SINCE YOU LAST SAW US parked in East Anglia, our house has made its longest leap so far (apart from the initial flight south from Scotland). We wended our way west across the country a couple of weeks ago now, taking a few days about it and stopping with friends en route. In Cambridge we loitered to see the Folk Museum and a lovely Swedish film, as well as desperately seeking out some Chinese Medicine for a nasty neck-crick of mine which wouldn't go away. Then onwards we drove, noticing the landscape changing subtly. Into Bedfordshire we took our Bedford, and stayed a happy couple of nights in the orchard of friends where their two year old twins ran about clothless in the withering heatwave, and we helped add an undercoat of paint to their house-lorry in the making. They took us to an Emmaus Centre for cake and second-hand rifling, where we found a bike for £20 that now resides on the roofrack, has since been painted olive green with matte emulsion and can take us from parkups to towns that are just a little too far away to walk to. Overnighting by a lake (above), we drove the next day via Ikea to restock our picture frame reserves, and onward into Oxfordshire. Each county we have noticed is just a little different from the last. You cannot always put your finger on the reason, they are all most definitely England, but also unique in their county character. From the flats of East Anglia we were gradually encountering hillier roads, the further westward we drove. The maximum speed of our truck-house hovers around 50mph, and this plummets to about 30mph if there's a slight incline. So on motorways we are hooted as impatient drivers zoom around us and even slow moving vehicles have to overtake. We prefer to wiggle down medium sized roads, at our own pace, and so that the old engine is not screeching so loud that we can't converse. As the map reader I take us on occasion down a road that looks small and picturesque on the map only to find that we are squeezing the hulking house down a single track road with low hanging branches swiping at our chimney and no idea of what claustrophobic peril might be round the corner.

In Oxfordshire we were surprised by a rare sight on the roadside verge as we whizzed past - another Bedford TK house! Parked with a tipi beside, and a man reclining in a deck chair, talking on the phone! We honked and waved but he did not look up.
And then, since we were passing right by her neck of the woods, we pulled into a layby for a cup of tea with my friend Gretel (who many of you may know already in blogland through her brilliant illustration and felt toy sculpture work). Braving the dreadful heat, Gretel and Andy zoomed out on their motorbike to find us. It was a delightful visit, which Gretel told of here.


We were keen to make it to Wales the next day so we plodded on and made it as far as just past Ross-on-Wye where we drove around a fair bit, at the tired end of the day, remembering that frustrating feeling trying to find a suitable place to park overnight that wouldn't be too near the traffic (it's noisy and large passing vehicles rock the truck in their wind-wakes), or bother anyone else living nearby. Eventually we hunkered down at Winter's Cross, knowing we only had a short last leg to go the next day.





We were loving seeing Welsh hills from our windows and following bilingual road signs. The house was even slower up and down the hills, and the air was thankfully cooling.
Do you remember back when we were parked by the sea in Kent? And kind Maria who brought us food and flowers and offered us her sister's address in Wales? Well that is where we are now, parked on the land of kind Mo, sister of kind Maria, next to her rather unusual gypsyish wagon. We overlook a river where we have spent happy hours, and are surrounded by the misty Brecon Beacons.




Not that we have had any chance to go up into them, because since we arrived it has rained every day. Westerly wild weather. Wet winds, weather that reminds us of those endless rainy days in Scotland. Tui has been fighting an ongoing battle with leaks. Armed with his silicone sealant gun, he is daily clambering about on the roof and walls to find and fill the sneaky little cracks that seem to let torrents in. The beauty of an old wooden house vehicle has the downside that the wood moves and swells and shrinks with the heat and damp and even a tiny chink beside a screw can let enough correctly angled rain in to soak through my entire clothes cupboard.
The river below us has been a delight, we have pottered about in it and I even swam an invigorating swim amongst the rocks and green slime in the icy icy water. One night we left our mats in a rushing bit, weighed down by river rocks til the morning, where we found them washed (fairly) clean and harbouring little clinging pincered things.



Another night we had a fire on the flat rock beside the water, which was lovely. Woodsmoke drifted along with the water to wherever it was in such a hurry to go. Out to sea?
There are horses all around us here. This group we met in the field beyond the river, and friendlier horses I've not met. One black fellow with the softest of wrinkly noses became my friend for an hour, and the horses all stood in a kind of horse-trance, gazing into the mid-distance, one hind leg cocked slightly, thinking maybe thoughts of hay and who-knows-what.



The next day we heard shouting from the field which we think was the farmer cajoling the horses into transport for market. We never saw them again.


Tui did manage to get just inches from one horse's eye, since they were so comfortable with us there, and took this exquisite photograph.



And inbetween all the Welsh raindrops I have been busily painting a clock to celebrate the marriage of my younger-yet-6'4"-tall brother Jan to his lovely lady Maria. We travelled by train to the wedding, to see the dear pair make their vows, which were sincere and moving. A beautiful couple they are and right now off in the Pacifics on honeymoon...



The clock is them but not a portrait, riding a tandem of two clocks, one that moves forwards, and one in reverse. They carry a basket each containing things they love to do. Jan is a wizard of mechanical trickery and could easily build a real-life bike powered clock if he wished. Maria is a keen finder of antique things and a crafter of wool and wonder. May they be ever happy on their tandem.



Here too is another thing I gave them, a little cardboard heart box painted by me with treeish things, the day of they marriage and words: Of Leaf And Tree May Your Love Be. Inside was berries from the hornbeam trees in the road where we grew up.



If you look closely at the clock painting, you'll see that the happy cycling couple have mouse tails poking beneath their garments, just to add an edge of Rima-oddness!
We're off tomorrow to the Big Green Gathering and so we had to return from London to wet Wales. We came back to find all in order, the truck having been well watched over by Mo. Though in the food cupboard, the cheese and the chocolate had dear little rodent tooth marks in the corners. Who could have been sneaking up through the clutch pedal holes I wonder?...

39 comments:

Frewen said...

I am trying to find some way of describing how that clock of yours is making me feel without sounding like a sycophant....

...and failing dismally...

*laughs* - I love it!

pRiyA said...

I find I am always waiting for posts from The Hermitage and I am glad to read yet another.
Tui's picture of the horse's eye is truly exquisite as are your faces of the couple on the bike. Their eyes say so much. And Oh, what a beautiful view from your window! So much empty green open space...sigh!

Yoli said...

The clock is stunning as usual, the box however, is so deeply touching and sentimental that I know they will treasure it forever.

Yoli said...

By the way, so good to get an update. I was worried for you guys.

Gen said...

It's so wonderful to read your stories. That clock is magnificent!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such a lovely wedding couple. I can see the happiness on their faces. I love both the clock and the dear heart box filled with meaningful treasures. My husband, a musician and songwriter, has always been besotted with The Beatles. They solidified his life's direction the moment he saw them on the Ed Sullivan show as a little boy. We once visited John Lennons's childhood home, Mendips, and whilst my husband was soaking up the atmosphere inside, I wandered the garden and picked up a beautiful leaf underneath this huge and ancient tree. I placed it between the pages of a fat book to keep it safe and a couple of months later, I framed it for his Christmas present. He loved it in the same way your brother and new sister loved their gift, I'm sure!

I love reading of your adventures out in the world, Rima. Have fun and keep safe!

Love the horse's eye, too!

acornmoon said...

It was so nice to read Gretel's account of your meeting in the real world. Those sunny days seem to have gone forever.

I am sure the happy couple will adore their very unusual presents from you, always so individual and lovely.

I love the photo of the horses eye, it looks so magical!

Graceful Moments said...

It is such pleasure travelling vicariously through the UK by way of your delightful blog.

I suppose you know that you have the envy of those of us who aren't quite as brave as the two of you. Perhaps one day...

Thank you for letting us ride along with you on this fabulous adventure.

The clock is amazing as is all of your wonderful work!

Anaïs Goldemberg said...

The clock is wonderful ! I love the box too, very moving.
Plenty of joy for the happy couple !

Rose said...

Although I live in Cornwall, I come from Bedfordshire and my family is still there. We often go to Emmaus when I go up. I love what they do there plus their lovely cakes. They have many, many treasures....

Heather said...

A wonderful post Rima. I used to travel by coach from Bristol to Worthing and like you, enjoyed noticing the gradual changes from one county to another. Ikea frames are great aren't they? Tui's photo of the horses eye is stunning. Your brother and his wife make a lovely couple and your presents to them will be greatly treasured. Hope Tui has found all the leaks and that the weather gives you a break! Hope your neck is better too.

mama p said...

Your writings leave me with such joy in my heart, and uplift me each time. The clock is WONDERFUL!! Happiness to the newlyweds.

Shelley Noble said...

Fabulous in every detail, Rima. I love the idea of the couple meeting in a realm of eternal here and now between the two differing clocks. Another storybook idea in itself.

May you stay dry and comfortable-necked.

Tess said...

Great to hear your continuing adventures and see the latest gorgeous clock. What a special wedding gift.

Was it the Carlton Village Emmaus you went to? That's quite near me and I got my gorgeous dressing table - 1940s I think - from them for about £30. They serve gorgeous walnut cake!

Melanie said...

Glad you are having a lovely time in the borders. If you've time to go to Hereford, the cathedral is good- mappa mundi and the chained library. It's a beautiful part of the world.

Snippety Giblets said...

Ah, lovely stuff ! The little box brought a tear to my sentimental old eye ! Maria made such a lovely bride. She looks so happy and I love the traditional veil she has. The clock is fab.

Good luck at the Gathering :0)

Lunaea said...

It's all just so lovely, as ever -- thank you, Rima!

Mokihana and Pete said...

Always your journal satisfies the soul in me, and then I read the descript of your navigating the big wheelie house ... and I feel akin to you both. We are making ready for mobility with our big `66 Dodge flatbed hauling the golden vardo. In my heart I long to travel roads on your faer islands ... longing for islands is a thing island women do. If there's a fairy road to transport us from this continent to those isles we'll be there on some small road to enjoy the places you describe.

Malama pono (take care), Mokihana

herhimnbryn said...

Ah your ramblings around the UK are making me homesick indeed ( but in a good way).

Core said...

What lovely views you get to enjoy from your window! Congratulations to your brother and his new bride. You and Jan look so much alike!

Barry said...

What beautiful wedding gifts, Rima! I loved your post and your adventures as usual.

Incidentally my grandmother was a Staines and my grandfather was a blacksmith who used to repair gypsy caravans in Mitcham, back before WWII.

Lynn said...

It always makes me happy when I see a post pop on on your blog. It's so much fun to follow along with your adventures.
Your wedding gifts are truly beautiful and thoughtful.

nina said...

hello, hello, hello beautiful rima...how i wish i could meet you just around the bend, and we would have tea and conversation and perhaps a walk together. it is always a delight to find another posting of your adventures, and i imagine myself traveling along with you, every twist and turn of the way. life is sweet, so sweet; yours is a treasure to be shared by many. do take care - xoxo

miakodo said...

I follow your adventures with bated breath. The Scottish blood in my veins stands on point. Traveling the world is my oldest dream, and since I have yet to get over to Scotland or Wales, your surrogate refuses to let the dream die. Thank you, thank you, for sharing.

Flying Whale said...

there are so many pieces of beautiful in this post. your clock, Tui's horse photo, the hornbeam berries....

i just recently returned from a trip to Italy & Scotland. While in Scotland i visited the Hermitage and fell in love with it. i couldn't stop breathing deep, the scent of the wood. i'm sure i saw a faerie or two disguised in branches. what a gorgeous place.

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

i always love it when a new post appears here!
my friend travelled to the Big Green Gathering last year via his houseboat and then when he ran out of water-way by horse and cart...how perfect is that?

Ciara said...

Oh most wonder-full wonderful!

Happiest of days when two beloveds mark their devotion to one another!

Beautiful pictures, photos and painted clock both.

As always.

FairieMoon said...

I was just reading this post again and I am pretty convinced that anything would look lovely out of that window!

I bought Tui's CD. It arrived while I had houseguests so I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but I am very excited to have it!

Erin :)

Renee said...

Oh how they must have loved your gifts.

What a proud sister you must be.

Love Renee xoxoxo

susan said...

A lovely couple and truly wonderfully magical gifts. I wish them well.

Marie Antionette said...

Your artistry always amazed me,but your travels amaze me even more.I too look forward in all you do.XXOO Marie Antionette

Anthropomorphica said...

Hi Rima, I love your work and it's always a wonderful delight to open up your blog page.
Thank you ;)

Clare W said...

Thank you for another wonderful blog page. Are you going to The One World Festival next week www.macrobios.com or is is .co.uk? Hope to see you there - it's your thing xx

Carolee said...

Always a delight to read of your adventures.

What a beautiful photo of the horse, and also of your brother and his bride. Wishing them a lifetime of happiness!

~ Carolee

Amy Perrotti said...

Love the photos, clock and heart box. What wonders you share!

BT said...

Gorgeous photos and lovely account of your journeying, Rima. Tui's photo of the horse's eye is enchanting. The clock, what can I say? Beautiful.. Your brother and his wife make a lovely couple and they will adore their gifts from you. A terrific post.

Donna said...

Rima, the clock you painted for your brother and sister-in-law blows me away. I cannot believe how gorgeous it is! Actually, I can, because all of your work is so incredible! There is such a depth to it. I want to crawl into some of your paintings and live there! My best wishes for the newlyweds!... Donna

Anonymous said...

Hi All, Love your blog. Happened on it through Blogger. The horse eye and clock are both magnificent in their very own way. Cheers, Mary

lynda Howells said...

l wish too l could just meet the pair of you and sit and share coffee and listen to each others stories of our travels. the image of the horses eye is amazing.your presents as usual are exquisite.......xbit late replying to this entry but have spent all day reading your past blogs...when l should have been working but hey..life is too short to not to do what you feel like on some daysxxlynmda