wet wet wet

cycle to the shop
in the soft rain
cycle really slowly
looking hard
at the fields
woods and sky
it’s very quiet
still and steady

too dingy and dark
to take photographs
too wet to do much
spend the day
in photoshop
editing photos
making a booklet
testing text against image
making an inside, an outside
overlays of transparent yellow
it sucks up time
like nothing else
conclude that
doing things in the physical world
seems to take a lot less time
than doing things in
the virtual!

another barbecue
and R has made
a regular and neat fire
with stands for the grill
the air is smokey
with burning hedge trimmings
dry bay tree branches
the atmosphere is febrile
with undercurrents
jokes and laughter
wine and rum
prod and poke the sausages
hide wrapped potatoes
under the ashes
talk to H’s husband
also H
about art, poetry
being suspended in making things
making sense of the world
travelling and
his aim
to write about david bowie
then the evening ends
with H’s japanese chocolate cake
pretty with borage flowers
sticky with figs


cool wet and dreary

a slow morning
with lots of tea
but eventually
get out and about
cycle round the villages
stopping to photograph
the sucrerie
where they do processing stuff
to the sugar beet
that grows in all the fields
pale fat cylinders
sit on the dry grass
ladders snake up the sides
rusty hoppers
purple vats
chimneys and stairs
and a conveyor belt
that stretches
from one side of the road
to the other

the afternoon
drifts by
..have been here before
happy to be quiet
and daydreamy
in my room
more bread and cheese
and tea
watching films
making lists
planning for next week
…even do the washing up


cool + dull

the day of the presentation
feeling a little jumpy
spend some time with H
working out
who is speaking
and in which language
then set up in the upper barn
where it’s cool
and super calm
at 4 people arrive
in bunches
french neighbours
friends from Paris
english visitors
and austrian woofers
with help from H
I muddle through
in english,
old school french
a kind of franglais !
it’s informal
….people are kind
offer their opinions
ask questions
demand to know
this or that
chatter and
look a bit bewildered
I invite the audience
to the informal gallery
to see some of the work
a flamenco dance tells me
Ce ne sont pas des sculptures
ce sont des montages

or assemblages
I add
but she is right
they aren’t sculptures

in the evening
we head out
to the brasserie
a micro-brewery
at grandfresnoy
for a tour and supper
the smiling owner
with his smooth grey hair
caught up in a bun behind
(like a woman’s hair in a japanese woodcut)
he talks about his brewery
we listen politely
can’t really understand
shiny cylinders gleam
in the barn
but its crowded
and hard to follow
it feels like a long day
the beer is pleasant though
amber and hoppy
make small talk
with friends of H
down from London
we shiver a bit
in the chilly air
everything is rather slow
we sit waiting waiting
for food
and when it comes
it’s bread, pate, meat
followed by
bread and cheese
and beer

back at the chateau
glad to get
into a warm bed


cloudy and warm

there is much activity
this morning
a kind of spring cleaning
of the chateau
is underway
ready for guests
who arrive later in the day
in the barn
am interviewed
in french …
a bit of a struggle
but she writes things down
so guess
I am communicating
then I bang around
completing work
shifting and sorting
moving things to
the informal gallery
it’s quite pleasing
how it all hangs together

run through presentation
with H
seem to have
how this might work
fret and fiddle
all afternoon
with text, image, language …


warm cloudy hot sunny

all day in the workshop
sawing, measuring
stretching etc
not sure how this
is going to work
but think maybe
trying something new
is better than just
thinking about it !

enjoying the thoughts
swimming in my head
Benjamin’s premise that
19th century coziness
was built on reaffirming
onself in an age of increasing
the need to leave a trace
on velvet or plush
as compensation for
not leaving a trace in the big city
he admired Taut and his call
for glass houses
rational and heroic
no trace could be left
no hiding or secrecy
a chance to live
in cold splendour
Chateau de Sacy
is tactile, sensory
a visual feast
recalling Madame Bovary
and her social aspirations

hmmm now
Pallasmaa has a thing
or two to say about this
contemporary architects
and their ‘autistic’ practices
where people are
not taken into account
at all
and 4 out 5 senses can
be ignoored
he argues for places
spaces where you can
hear footsteps
locate yourself by echos
want to smell, taste, touch
the materials around you
an architecture of the senses …