Sunday, 23 November 2014

The discovery part 1


In the last few years landmark moments have been happening to me with almost alarming frequency.
They quite often seem to strike in September, or autumn at least. As this is the season that inspires me the most, I sometimes wonder whether these opportunities are always floating around in the ether, and one only needs to be in a receptive frame of mind to pluck one from the air, and nurture it to a fully fledged plan.
 Last night I stepped into a scene of beauty and decay, delight and despair, inspiration and near desperation.

To begin at the beginning.

My dear friends Dave and Sarah bought a house a couple of years ago, a converted barn in the countryside near to Bodmin.
For what seems like an eternity we have been trying to arrange an evening together, eating- drinking- laughing, as we used to do regularly in the various places we have lived. Dave and Sarah have been busy building and running a very successful art supplies and picture framing business, and I have been working long hours running my sign business, building the workshop to bring the business home while trying not to keep the customers waiting too long. Add into the mix my increasing obsession with making puppets and building my mobile marionette theatre, for all of us it seems, whatever time we have not been working in recent years we have been sleeping.

On a rare family trip out to Boscastle with Emily's dad, Raymond, the 4 of us bumped into Dave and Sarah, and resolved that this intolerable state of affairs must be rectified immediately, and that we must go to visit them in their new home and have some food ,wine and banter as we did in the old days of the "Full Moon Club".
So, about a week later we duly rang up to see how they were fixed, and were invited to the house for dinner.
What a lovely evening we had.
Winding through the country lanes in the wooded valleys just off Bodmin moor, we followed the directions given to us, turned left onto a steep track beside an old chapel, and wound our way up the hill between the hedges, over the cattle grid, and up to the house- a converted barn, surrounded
by gardens and fields to the rear, and a parking area to the front. They showed us around the workshops, stables gardens and fields, stopping to say "hi" to the horses. Freya ran and skipped and talked excitedly..and I felt slight pangs of sadness that we didnt have a garden like this for her to play in at home.
It was a lovely warm evening, late summer/ early autumn in all it's glory, and as the sun lowered in the sky, casting dramatic fingers of shadow across the fields, we went inside. After a quick tour of their lovely home, we went upstairs to the living/ dining room, relaxing with drinks in the charming open plan interior while they prepared dinner.

Over the meal we discussed life, work...and the strange and fascinating story of the family in the caravan next to the very picturesque chapel at the roadside at the end of the lane.
It emerged, almost as a casual comment, that they were in the process of building a puppet theatre when the patriarch of the family was taken ill, and that they had puppets and props and all sorts of wonders behind the modest walls of the chapel, that Dave and Sarah had only briefly glimpsed.

I couldn't believe my ears
Here ?

Barely able to restrain myself, I implored Dave that he request an audience with this mysterious Dutch lady, just so that I could see the puppets ,and how far the theatre had progressed before the works had come to a halt.
They said that they saw her almost every day and would mention me ,and gauge her reaction.
There was even talk of a collapsing grand piano prop among the bits and pieces, so at that point I dared to start hoping that these puppets might be of some quality, and worthy of research.

At the end of the evening we loaded up and went home, my fevered mind twitching with the possibilities that had been born of the evening's conversation.
The very next day, Dave, as good as his word,rang to say that he had really enjoyed the evening, and thanked us for coming, but more importantly that he had spoken to Mrs. S and she would be delighted to show me the puppets on Monday night, between 7 and 7.30, if I was interested.
"Yes ! Brilliant!" I replied, grinning like a bagful of stoned monkeys.

Monday dragged.

Work was difficult, concentration a lost cause. Eventually, after a hurried meal, I jumped in the van and headed off.

It was another lovely evening, just a hint of autumnal chill, but not enough to require coats and jumpers. On the way there I almost found myself hoping to be disappointed, because I am content with my lovely home and workshop, and didn't want to become infatuated with another property.
"Still," I thought, "I expect it won't be that good. Storm in a teacup I expect."

I began to prepare myself for an awkward situation, trying to formulate the words that would be a polite response to the work of an enthusiastic but untalented amateur. I was already suffering under the weight of too much inspiration, more than I had the time to fully explore. With 2 books, a mobile puppet theatre and a business to deal with, let alone having my lovely family to spend time with, I really didn't need something else to light yet another connected fire in me.

Shame that...

The Gods will have their sport........

The Chapel be continued...