Monday, 2 July 2012

The Stories of Summer


ROSE PETALS AND EAVES drip in the unending rain that falls and falls and falls on us down here in the south-western corner of England. Each morning we wake to rare shafts of sunlight and think today will be a summer day, but by the time we reach the bottom of our first teacup, the skies are weeping, the tree branches are blown roughly against our windowpanes again and we decide to light another out-of-season fire. Everything squelches and chills. Those planting vegetables are beyond frustration, potholes are lakes and sheet lightning accompanies us home from evenings out with friends.


But there was a time a few weeks ago when the the skies were cloudless blue and we basked under trees in the dappled happy light of early summer. In the hopes that brighter stories might conjure back our sun, I shall tell you of our colourful days these past weeks gone, straddling May and June, when wheels rolled, tunes were strung, hands were joined and tales were spun...

(You may want to make a pot or two of tea...)


This sun and moon I painted for the wedding of our dear friends Doug and Cari, who married on May's  Lunar Beltane amongst their families and friends under a granite-held woven green bower on Dartmoor, where the sun hid until festivities began.


We played music for Cari as she made her way between the rocks toward her husband-to-be and again as the whole joyous and colourful entourage meandered away down off the moor toward the party. These evocative photos below were taken by Alex Furtado and are used with kind permission.



We stayed for the weekend in their be-tented wedding wonderland amongst the trees, and danced til dawn, pausing just a little to go and look at the biggest moon I've ever seen rising above the silhouettes of woods.
We wish these tree-loving dears the happiest of partnerships. As well as a gardener, cook and permaculturist, Cari is a wonderful illustrator - do go and have a look at her Harvest Moon blog and etsy shop.

~ ~ ~

Not long after these nuptials, we tessellated a thousand and one Necessary Objects into the back of our little red van and wended our way east to Weird and Wonderful Wood fair and East Anglian family and friends.
The road was beset with rain and we hoped that we'd overtake the clouds and leave them in the west. We parked overnight down a green Wiltshire lane where hares leapt through the quiet fields as dusk fell, and we cooked dinner on the back step.


A damp and dripping morning brought thoughts of the next lap; Macha and I explored the hedges whilst Tom re-jigged the chattels.


Around one overgrown corner we came across a delapidated mossy shed, laced all around with bejewelled forget-me-nots.
And what should we find behind?...


...But two lovely curly-tailed, wise-eyed, mobile-snouted snorters!


A sign with feeding instructions nailed to the shed said they were called Sophie and Pippin.
Macha was not sure...



Eventually we left them (squealing in dismay, as they'd presumed breakfast), and squelched back down the dew-heavy lane to the van where back-step tea was brewed and an early departure beckoned.  


The rain followed us and made us wary for the weekend fair. It's a long way to go and a lot of diesel to buy for a muddy people-less occasion on the other side of the country. 


We crossed our fingers and drove on, listening to the BBC Radio adaptation of Lord of the Rings in 12 long episodes, Mordor coinciding uncannily with Milton Keynes as we zoomed past the hellish airport-sized monstrosities that are retail distribution centres (painted, can you believe it, in variegated pale blues to match the sky!).


But we reached Suffolk and the rain stopped! We were fed and welcomed by Tom's mum, and there we stayed and wandered towns where the houses are all painted in bright colours...


This is Bungay, where the creepers sneak green across the blue and leave behind little footprints, like the tiptoeings of frogs.


Here is the window of the cabin of our dear friends Brenna and Calum and their new baby Ossian, who we met for the first time this May.


We visited St Peter's brewery with its wonderful thatched barn, on our way through the lanes and fields of Tom's childhood.


The skies were huge again, and we were sun-blest.


Then it was time to make our way to the little village of Wetherden and my favourite Weird and Wonderful Wood fair...


I always feel a happy homecoming warmth on arriving on the friday evening, as other folk assemble stalls and tents and we greet, catching up on a whole year's passing.
Soon the warm conviviality turns into exhausted peg-hammering, hungry canvas-fathoming, and somehow turning this sort of pile into a living space and a stall before nightfall...


Soon after dusk has come in, and we have gratefully kicked off our boots and lit a fire in our tent to cook dinner, a wagon rolls past. This little one used to belong to old Bill, who was a friend to many. Nowadays it's owned by Candy Sheridan who was our neighbour again this year.


Our wonderful ex-army 10-man Arctic bell tent is proving an excellent, warm and comfortable temporary home when we're away at fairs. Yet again I have no interior photos to show you, as my camera will not cooperate in the low light the heavy 24-hour-daylight-thwarting Arctic canvas affords us. 


But this tent is joined this year by another, also exchanged for painting (this time, I am painting signs for Dartmoor feltmaker Yuli Somme whose stall tent this was). What an improvement to my ramshackle little stall last year, into which customers were required to duck! Now, my wares can be displayed luxuriously; there's room for a table and a hole for a flue! It stays dry if the clouds open, and steady if the winds blow. Inside, several people can look at my work at once! And it's beautiful too; made to a specific design for Yuli by Albion Canvas, this stall tent pitched in front of our Arctic living-tent makes for a perfect little camp, where we can shuttle the stove between tents as night and day lap each other.


The stove we could've sold a hundred times over. It got as much interest over the weekend as my work! It is certainly one of the most useful things we've bought. For those who are intrigued, it's a Frontier Stove. The legs fold up, the flue stows away inside, and the whole thing can be carried with the handle on the side, weighing no more than a small suitcase. They also do a water heater that wraps round the flue, which I've got my eye on. 


Weird and Wonderful was as delightful as ever. I can't quite put my finger on the rightness of this gathering, but there's something there, perhaps in the people and the crafts it attracts; perhaps in the memory and yearning for a vagabond life which coils over the tents in the woodsmoke and which you can see in the shine in people's eyes; perhaps in the groundedness of loving trees and appreciating tools and all the ways wood can be wrought.


At the beginning of the weekend, the ground was so sodden from previous weeks of rain that the organisers asked us to be extra cautious with the grass. No vehicles could drive on it for fear of the fair not being allowed back to Haughley Park again. But the weather smiled on us brightly, and for the first time ever, not one drop fell all weekend!


This wheelwright had an ingenious fold up canvas bowtop on the back of his car!


I love to take my work out into the world, and to meet and talk with all sorts of folk who are drawn to it. It's a strange thing leaping between my quiet solitary Dartmoor home studio with only the sparrows to disturb me and the bustle and multiplied human energy of a fair, not to mention the raw exposure which both warms and overwhelms me.


Things you see from inside the stall: a huddle of folk peer at my backwards Mad Hatter clock, followed by a young girl, herself handsomely behatted...


Candy and Andy in the pitch next to us sold flowers and antiques and were helped by the smallest companion who attracted more attention even than our stove...


Full to the brim with friends and firelit music, woodsmoke in our hair and grime in our clothes, as the sun fell on the second day we dashed about to look at all the things we'd been too busy to see earlier in the weekend, including an oak that's over 1000 years old, which I'd not seen there before.



And just as it had at the beginning, Bill's old wagon rolled past at the end.


And we turned our little camp once more into a pile...


Heart and pocket-full, we drove away exhausted.

~ ~ ~

And after only one sleep, we headed south a bit to tell stories to children...


Bealings Primary School is nestled in the confusing green lanes between Ipswich and Woodbridge, and we'd been invited there by its energetic headmaster Duncan Bathgate (all of these photos courtesy of him) to tell a story and paint.


At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a Steiner School... 


The front gate is a wonderful artful metal knot of cobwebs, lamp posts, seats and bells, made in collaboration with the artists Hebe Vaisey and Steed Doe.


There's a hand built iron age roundhouse, a yurt, a garden, a cafe, and art by the children all over the walls, inside and out.


I was particularly taken by these horses on the playground wall...


The children don't follow lessons in the usual way, instead the whole school - parents, kids and teachers together - take part in term-long projects, which will encompass the whole curriculum whilst it actually seems more like an adventure than learning. They might be refugees from Poland trying to escape across a border before the outbreak of WWII, or they might be setting up a Safari Park, or studying the legend of the Wild Man of Orford...

But this is a state school; the parents do not have to pay fees to send their children there. The whole energy of the place and its students was wonderful to witness, and the fact that this place exists, thrives and gets away with such wonderful un-schoolish teaching is down to the boldness of its visionary headmaster.


Tom told the 6 and 7 year olds the Russian tale of the Firebird, to my accordion embellishments, and the delight of a boy who happened to share the hero's name - Ivan. And then we all painted an enormous firebird on a big piece of paper on the floor.


Dartmoor called us home the next day, and so we travelled back across the country, overnighting this time high over Wiltshire's yellow patchworks, where flew red kites and scudding white clouds and chalk white horses, and Macha, too, when she could.


~ ~ ~

We had much to return home for, not least our Gypsy storytelling event Tales from the Wagon Steps.


The week or so before the night of our event, we began preparations... 
One of the wagons was brought to the field where the stories would be told, Tom buried himself in Gypsy folk tales from many lands, learning six new stories by heart in almost as few days, and I painted a silhouette backdrop on an old sheet strung between two trees. During this time the sun shone bright and yellow and promising, and everything rang iridescent green: the fervent verdant grass, the shimmering beetles who visited me whilst I painted, the light through glass and cold water laced with mint leaves. Macha lay in the shade and snapped at flies, and the wagon shone in many-coloured beauty.


As the day got closer, our nerves knotted tighter. Lisa and I practised our tunes, and Tom scribbled story-notes. We negotiated numbers, and counted chairs, and perforated tickets. Typically, most people left it til the last day to buy their tickets once they'd seen the sun was shining, which made planning the amount of food rather tricky.

But the day came, as we'd known it would. By now we were quite beside ourselves with barely disguised terror. At this point of a performance, we ask ourselves... why do we do this?! The scene had to be set, too: we carried chairs and hung bunting, dug fire pits and collected wood, as the wagon owners (Derek and Carol Ambridge who restored these vardos so beautifully from collapsed shells) and their friends opened the wagon doors and put up an example of a traditional bender tent. We had a final sunny afternoon run-through, as the nerves crept ever closer.


People started to arrive early to explore Stone Lane Gardens, and slowly the chairs and mats filled with folk old and young and in-between. The canopy of birch and alder leaves echoed with children's squeals, woodsmoke curled through sunlight, the trees and the people alike waited to be told stories...



... And so they were. Tales strange and comic, sad and ridiculous. In between each story, Lisa and I played music on fiddle and accordion. And half way through it all, delicious food was served in the barn. Philippa Burrell was our chef for the night, and she'd made traditional John Doe stew for both meat eaters and vegetarians, home made bread, and a bright green wild garlic sauce for the top (...whizzed up ramsons in olive oil with a pinch of salt, she said; verdant and delicious it was). Here's a little taste from half time, filmed by Peter Redstone, and used with kind permission. The tune we're playing is Imala Majka from Bulgaria...


Dusk began to fall, and children ran about, climbing log piles and chasing each other through the long grass. Our nerves were abating a little now... it was going well, and we were remembering why we do this after all. The tickets had all sold out, there'd been enough food for everyone, and the air of happy enchantment was palpable. Derek and Carol, wagon-restorers, had brought a barrel of home brewed cider; and there were strawberries.

Tom was magnificent in his telling and memory of these six Gypsy tales from Russia, Wales, England, Scotland and Romania. He held the space and wove the magic perfectly. The Romanian tale - The Red King and the Witch - was a wonderfully strange and gruesome story where a baby girl leaps from her crib, her fingernails growing into axe heads and her teeth becoming shovels! (She's the witch of the title in case you hadn't guessed!) Here's some more rare footage of us performing (I attached my camera to a tree branch to catch a piece of the story for those of you who couldn't be there). Tom tells the end of The Red King and The Witch (watch closely how as the wind enters the tale, it becomes manifest around us too), and Lisa and I play the traditional Yiddish tune Papirosen, suitably mournful to match the unhappy ending...


And night joined us eventually, though she was late to the party, I'd been waiting for her. The idea for my silhouette sheet painting was that in the dark with a fire behind it, a flickering eerie scene would be conjured, and so it was, though photographs do not do it justice. The last story ended and we collapsed elated and exhausted with a tankard of sloe cider and the happy stragglers, enjoying the last flickers of firelight and the silhouettes of crows and chicken-legged huts fluttering amber under our deep blue star-flecked Dartmoor sky.


Thank you to all who helped and contributed to such a wonderful evening, including those who were the audience - the other half of the circle, without whom the performance spell cannot be cast. Thanks to Duncan Rice, Peter and Suzanne Redstone, and Derek and Carol Ambridge for their lovely photographs of the evening. 

~ ~ ~

And thanks to you all for patiently joining me on this epic story of our summer doings.

There'll be more storytellings, too. Next weekend we're telling at another wedding of friends on Dartmoor, and then later in July we're heading up north to Scotland, where we'll be telling the Russian folk tale Ivashko Medvedko - or - Little Ivan, Bear-Child, alongside small exhibitions of my paintings.
The first night, Friday 27th July, for which tickets can be bought already will be in Moffat at the Old Well Theatre. Following that we'll be telling and exhibiting in Elshishields Tower in Dumfriesshire and at the wonderful Galgael Trust in Glasgow. I'll post details of those events as I have them. 


In August we'll be telling on Thursday the 9th at Dartmoor's Chi Camp organised by Angus Clarke of Living Movement and then onto the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire for 2012's Uncivilisation festival, from August 17th - 19th, organised by the Dark Mountain Project. This year's gathering is set to be a wilder, more acoustic event, where we'll not only be storytelling and selling wares, but creeping around the wooded edges masked and puppeteering, giving talks and creating land art around the site. But I'll write more about all these things as they approach...



pencil drawing 
© Copyright Rima Staines 2012


Meanwhile, we build our days between the raindrops. I'm painting and writing and reading and drawing and busking and wandering my beloved hedgerows. The honeysuckle is celebrating every chink of sun that comes through, the long dusky mauve grasses shush and wave in ripples over the hills, and I even found a clutch of reddest wild strawberries in the hedge just down our lane; they were succulent and they were good.

I was commissioned by Paul Durrant to create a drawing to celebrate his wedding to Jane, which took place in May in Canada beside a waterfall. The resulting piece feels to me like a slightly Chagallesque reverie of summer where lovers and dragonflies, snakes and rabbits, birds and water droplets float in the heady air of somewhere not quite here and not quite there. Prints of this piece Wedding at the Gate of There are available in my shop.


The wild plants are coping better with this wet season than others. Our verges are shouting green and upwards, and everywhere I look there is minute beauty, sparkling and speaking and telling me the thousand-petalled stories of summer.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
POST SCRIPT: And here's the cloth of this tale woven with Tom's own wonderful storytelling threads: Wagon Steps and Damp Footprints of June
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

51 comments:

Dubh said...

I love your posts, and I hate when they reach the end!

Gerry Snape said...

lovely lovely post!! we did the Kent run this weekend ...but our hearts are often in the Suffolk country even though we live up here in the N.W....wonderful pics...thankyou!

Pattio said...

Another wonderful post. I love the story telling by Tom and your sheet painting. It was so great to see a bit of your evening and hear the sounds of your playing.

Thank you.
:)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Whenever I read a new post from you, the expression on my face resembles those delighted children sitting at your feet at the school. I am enchanted.
And that blue-eyed dog!
xoxo,
pamela

Charlotte said...

Oh you and Tom are a gift and a treasure. Thank you for sharing your enchanting adventures. And THAT SCHOOL! What I would not give to work somewhere like that, it made my heart sing. I would love you to come and story tell for us and our children. May be one day, if I am good and you are free, I may be able to persuade the powers that be.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Oh, just glorious!!! I wish my girls could go to a school like that. And one day, I will get to see you and Tom storytelling...one day. This is a blessed journey and a quest and a storytelling all in itself. Thank you Rima!

Mo Crow said...

gosh Rima, what a feast for the eyes and soul, love all the photos, especially those of your canvas of Baba Yaga's house with crow and all with a taste of summer. They warm the soul as I sit here next to the heater with my fingerless gloves on trying to warm up before heading back to the drawing board!

Sylvia said...

Oh, what a beautiful world you hold around you Rima, like a great patchwork cape, made out of ancient hillsides and gypsy silks, the underbellies of strange trees and skies, the fur of foxes and their pawprints in snow, the wild tunnels made by moles and witches under the earth. It is a true treat to read about your journeys and your creations. I can smell the woodsmoke. Blessings in all your coming summer storytelling events!

Lynn said...

As always, such a joy to romp through these wonderful words and images and videos of yours. Thank you, Rima!

Snippety Giblets said...

Amazing Rima - that school gives me hope for the future; that individuals can make a difference, and things can change from within. What a fantastic learning environment !

Sorry we missed W&W - your new shop looked marvellous and I'm so glad the weather held. Here's hoping for many more sun filled days before the year's out :) xxx

mrsduncanmahogany said...

I brewed a pot, drank it straight through and wished there was more, of story more than of tea! Beautiful words, enchanting stories, lovely pictures!

by Teresa said...

Dear Rima, through the magic of the internet I was able to join in your travels and stories and music from my old farmhouse in the countryside of Oregon in the USA. I'm so glad you added the videos so I could hear your music, the birds, the wind and hear the children melodic voices adding to the scene. Thank you! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Minerva Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

Oh my Rima - this is so lovely! I too brewed a cup of tea, some golden coloured green that warmned me in this rain, like yoour post did. So much here to love, your illustration of the wood, the caravan, the photos are stunning, the videos, the little coloured cottages. Sigh. And I so adore your dog! What character. I love where we live in Wiltshire now, but how I miss Dartmoor. x

Heather said...

Another post full of beauty and many delights. Thankyou for sharing it all with us - I feel as if I had been right there with you. The stunning photos and the two little videos bring it all to life.

anorthcumbriangarden said...

After listening to the clips of the story telling, and as always admiring your work, I was just thinking to myself "I wish they would come slightly further north". I'm so pleased you are! It has cheered me up on a wet grey day. :)

Owen said...

Always pure, magical pleasure to come here, one enters your world, and one doesn't want to leave.

Rarely is such positive, peaceful energy so abundant anywhere but here...

Sue J said...

What a beautiful, harmonious life you have. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed it :)

Ms. said...

Lost in the listening and looking, I'm hardly back home in the same way now that I've been traveling with the three of you. I'll dream in those images tonight!

pRiyA said...

Amazing post. I relished each picture and each word. The different outlets you find for your creativity boggles me....
You are truly inspirational. I raise my mug of coffee to you.

Oya's Daughter said...

That is the sort of school I wish my son could go to - where he'd never be told to always sit down, that he MUST paint between the lines, that he must come down to earth, and be Just Like Everyone Else. One can hope. Thank you for sharing your journey with us - I'm too rickety to camp out in tents these days but at least I can see the photos with a cup of tea at hand.

Ciara said...

Oh my, RIma, I don't know where to begin. I feel like I have just reached the end of a long journey and can scarce remember the beginning! So much magic and wonder and beauty, as always. That school seems like a dream! And although I would give anything to find myself at one of those woodland gatherings with you, I am so grateful to be able to experience your own story through reading it here. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, dear thing. You inspire and reassure me, every time. xxx

Martin said...

To be led, gently, with tales, music and wonderful art, is a joy. Thanks, Rima.

Jess said...

Oh how I wish we could have made it to your Dartmoor storystelling, I do so hope you do another and that fate will allow us to go next time. :) (Hope there is a next one!)Your backdrop painting looks stunning! What an amazing evening it must have been.
Your pictures of your stall at the festival reminds me so much of when we used to have a stall in the early days of Ashton Court Festival in Bristol. That's looks like an amazing festival you were at, I love all those tree related wares!
Jess xx

Rachel said...

I'd love to visit the weird and wonderful wood fair, will have to look at visiting that next year.

Your gypsy storytelling evening looked amazing, I'll certainly be keeping an eye out to see if you ever get to do similar events in the East Midlands!

What an incredible school as well, if I had children that is the kind of place I'd like to send them, the headteacher sounds like he is a wonderful inspiration for the kids.

Lois said...

It will take me many days to wander through this post with all the colours and flavours you gift us with. You inspired me to find a gypsy caravan here in Canada to spend my 50th birthday-weekend in September... A beautiful spot up in the mountains in Quebec.

Melody said...

WOW, looks like a magical world.... just fascinating.
Awesome close up of the dog, what beautiful eyes.

Maggie said...

Thank you Rima for such a wonderful post. Your summer sounds as if it's as wonderful as it could possibly be. I read this before dragging off to the day job; it will keep me going through the slog until I can get home to my own pots of paint and musical instrument.

Folklings said...

Hello Rima, I am a longtime reader-admirer of your blog. This post will live in my imagination for a long time. Through your words and images I could hear the wind in the trees, feel the breath of it on my cheeks, breathe in the aroma of the trees, and I am so delighted to be able to hear the sounds of your music with Tom's storytelling mingled with the sounds of the forest-glade and children playing. Thank you so very much for sharing your world.
-Bree

Janine said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful world and talent!

Victoria said...

I always come here, and can't believe what I read. Your life is just exactly as the lives of people in the tales of my childhood. With every word I imagine and feel that another life is possible. Far from the noisy cities, enjoying the freedom near to anywhere.

And when I have finished your whole post, I feel again like that child who read tales (sometimes Russian ones): full of hope, with an invisible key to a private magical world.

Thank you for sharing all of this Rima. Could I reach your lifestyle someday? I love to dream with the possibility (:

jen said...

what a busy time you've had! thank you so much for sharing, I do enjoy your adventures. I am so sad that i missed Weird and Wonderful this year, I will definately have it on the calendar for next year, it looks like such a wonderful event.
How lovely to be able to see your photos, read your words and listen to you play (I have your video from TftWS playing as I type) many blessings to you both for a sunny summer )o(

Ronnie (RR) said...

It was lovely to meet you and Tom at W&WW, and seeing your photos of the festival. Thank you for adding the videos from the Wagon steps, I so wished to be there and now I feel as if I was. It looked a magikal evening, and I am sure the ones in Scotland will be too. I hope the sun comes out for you. Thank you for sharing all your lovely photos.

elfine said...

c'est tellement beau qu'on ne veut plus quitter la page.

liz said...

We missed the weird and wonderful wood again this year, such a shame, as I would dearly have loved to meet you again and see all your beautiful artwork.
I have fallen completely in love with your backdrop painting! Will you ever be selling a print? Its the kind of painting that inspires story telling, just beautiful!
We are visiting Scotland in October, but I am guessing you will be long gone by then. If you ever come to Suffolk to tell stories, please tell, my children would love to hear you, they have enjoyed your blog post as much as I have!

LittleInsect said...

ah, now I'm sad. We're actually heading up to Moffat from Kent for a few days - but sadly, the week before your story-telling. But one day, I will make it to one of your events............

Raggle Taggle Gypsy Girl said...

Wow, so much to take and all so wonderful, really love the photos and your wonderful words and adventures, very inspirational, what a lovely wedding as well......

Virginia said...

Dear Rima,

I'm SO glad to hear from you again- I understand why it's been a time - you have been very busy.

The growing of the sheet was very exciting to watch! And, as a teacher I was delighted to share your enthusiasm for a school the way they all should be - engaging the whole child.

DO, please, keep telling us how your world is unfolding.

Peace be with you,

Virginia

Amy said...

I must admit I laughed a little at the universal nature of a camp being set up or broken down. Your pile of pillows, bedding and camp goods looks amazingly similar to what stack up when heading out for an event here in the eastern U.S. (down to the plaid plastic tote). Thank you for bringing us along for the ride!

Margaret Johnson said...

What a beautiful heart warming post. Thankyou for for all this loveliness, my Spirit is singing. ox

spiritbear said...

Hello, I don't think I have commented before, I must tell you I always eagerly await your posts.They are always so magical, and your art work somehow cuts right down and tugs at my soul. So beautiful you and your art are. Also thank you for the connection to so many other incredible people's posts. Here in the US magical things are far and few between with story telling almost dead. Your blog and that of your friends really nourish my soul!!!! Much thanks.

Anonymous said...

A lovely, rich post. Full of delight, but also, if I may say so, not without a certain melancholy. The painted sheet is terrific. I hope you'll be able to use it many times. As always, that lurcher of yours looks marvellous. I have always wanted a lurcher and so hold him in special admiration. Thank you.

Gaina said...

Your blog is beautiful, I'm so glad it's in my reader now. :)

Lunaea Weatherstone said...

I am inspired and enchanted, as always! Thank you, Rima.

Michelle Barnett said...

Yes, it's raining everywhere at the moment - which I can't help finding amusing as I do believe we declared a drought in East Anglia only this spring. The last few months are putting pay to that, thank goodness, but I am afraid it's a bit over-damp elsewhere.

I was so pleased to get the chance to meet you and Tom in Suffolk, give you my thanks, and buy a second print which now sits in my room and inspires me (and thank you for putting up graciously with my hesitant babbling. I was a little starstruck, strange as that may seem!) The memory of it is in my blog if you feel like a read: http://worldisoutthere.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/small-magic.html

Gaina said...

Hi Rima :)

I just thought you might want to know that spam comments on your blog are being emailed to me even though they don't show up on your blog. I though you'd want to know in case you'd like to shout at the tech bods at blogspot about it ;).

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

This is the best post EVER. A treasury of the most extraordinary kind. I wanted to be present at all the events described, and indeed felt as though I had been. What a generous sharing! Thank you Rima and Tom.

Linda said...

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this post...from start to finish...magical!!!Just so magical...The fair, the storytelling, the travels, & the school!!!
I would have loved to had my children attend a school like this...that is just how children should learn...

Thank you so much for sharing ALL of this... SO magical!!!

XO

Alive said...

Hello Rumi, I have just dicovered your bountiful blog full of such wonderment. How i would relish the experience of your story telling in the Woodland. I was wondering if you might draw and paint the sun, moon and stars as you did for you friends Wedding, if so what might your expense of time in doing so be?
Warmest Regards
Sally

Maria said...

Hola! Just want to tell you that i adore your world, thank you very much for sharing...
Send you greetings from Argentina. :O)

Introverted Art said...

Your illustrations are amazing. I am in love with them. I am in love with your blog and so happy I found it.

Philippa Burrell said...

Really enjoyed reliving the wagon event - even memories of turning food for 23 into food for 123! A fabulous evening and great to have your recordings of the stories and music I missed on the evening.... brill.
Thomas would have loved the Weird and Wonderful Wood fair! Me too, would like to try and go next year.
Thanks Rima
Phili B xxxx