Whilst waiting for the heavy influx of people wanting to ring up to sign up to my art classes – so far the grand total is….er….. two, but one of those doesn’t count cos he ran the following day to tell me that he’d decided to paint at home on his own instead! I had a well earned day off in one of my favourite places…..
I think I love it for its quirkiness (I’m a big fan of quirkiness!) and photogenic prettiness, and golden stones, and the fact there doesn’t seem to be a straight line in any of the architecture there. From bowed roofs to staggering walls,wonky windows and faded beams, the ancient buildings lean on each other for mutual support.
The weather was bad, but what do you expect for June in England. Well, we EXPECT good weather, and sunshine, and clear skies, and warmth, but we never seem to get much of it! Although we do seem to be in a bad patch at the moment – the worse wet June since 1910, I heard today, because the jet stream is stuck, so we’re stuck with it too! No wonder the English talk about the weather so much!
Anyway, the grey-dayness didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the beautiful town of Stamford, in Lincolnshire. And the fact I was taken out to lunch at one of my favourite places also enhanced the day totally – The George at Stamford, is a most delightful coaching inn with dark wood-panelled walls, uneven stone flooring, wide shallow staircases, and the most delightful coachyard to sit and have a long and leisurely lunch. Even in this weather, but at least they had an awning to keep the spitting rain off (it was needed), and ample garden heaters to keep the diners warm (and they were needed too!) but other than that we sat open to the elements, surrounded by flowers and foliage, a delightful setting and a gorgeous lunch. I had chicken liver pate with apricot chutney, followed by lobster in hollandaise sauce with rocket and avocado, and a sherry trifle to follow, and a fresh and fruity rose wine to accompany it. But, I digress, the food is not what I am really meaning to talk about, nor the illustrious company also eating there – this time it was a famous crime author who I recognised as he walked past me, no, its the inspiration of being in such a place. It’s elegant, and very English, its quaint and calm, peaceful but has a quiet air of money about it. And after we’d eaten our fill, we had a happy wander around the town, quietly soaking up the sophisticated energies resounding there, and of course taking photos as I went. It’s rare for me to not take photos, I do it as naturally as anything else when I’m in a pretty place, wanting to capture the sights, the memories, the ambiance and take it home with me, to use, at some point in the future, for reference for a painting, ideas whizzing around my head for ways to use them, and wonder what they will go towards in some future piece of artwork of mine.
We left the town, having felt that we’d had a pleasant few hours there, satiated in mind, spirit, and stomach. And headed home, but a different way from the way we’d arrived, my fella making a point of ignoring the sat-nav as she tried unsuccessfully to get us to head towards the sprawling metropolis of Leicester, orÂ dual-carriageways of her favoured choice. And, both of usÂ smiling, as he overode her firm instructions, we ventured home a different route, and found two absolute gems of places on the way. The first was just at the side of the road, and was similar to the sort of place I’ve seen in rural France, but never in England. Because, it was pointless, but someone had gone to a lot of trouble to make a point of it in a very contrived way. It stood at the corner of a very sharp right angled curve in a country road, a wall toÂ functionalÂ farm buildings, and yet at the very angle, someone had made a turret, the sort you get in fairy tale castles, except this one stood all on its own, not a castle to be seen, nor even a building attached to it. It was small and totally round, with a curved pointed roof, and a full sized door, for no apparent reason than, to just *be*. Quaint, and quintessentially quirky! and I had to leap out of the carÂ (well, not whilst it wasÂ moving, I wasn’t in that much of a hurry!) to take photos. And as far as I could tell, it had no purpose, whatsoever.Â The only use I could possibly imagine was that it was a dovecote of someÂ kind, either that or aÂ doorway down to a hidden kingdom of dwarfs andÂ dragons and fairy folk.Â Â It made me smile though, I liked it very much!
I returned to the car, grinning at my strange find, and not three miles further on, came to an equally strange rounded tower in the middle of no-where, also without rhyme or apparent reason for its creation! What is it about this area?! This one, on further inspection, was an ivyÂ coveredÂ castelleted rounded tower with apertures for doorways and windows built into it, and was situated by the side of a man made steep sidedÂ lake, surrounded by rocks and overgrown trees, it had had to have been a quarry at some time, but now was romantically overgrown with lichens and mosses, small seedlings,a and ancient oaks. Not a house to be seen nor any sign of life attached to it. Another gem of a find! Camera out and at the ready, although difficult to capture the essence of the place as there were so many trees it was difficult to get any clear pictures.Â But, its faded romance was clearly planted in my mind, a formula for a painting starting to grow…….
And so home, a good day out, even on my day off, I’m working on exciting new ideas…….