Saturday, 16 April 2016

Art and Kites in the Chilterns

Not much of a slope but with special, super-lube mud
it was too much of a challenge for our 4x4 Kuga.
Each year we help with the set-up for Sarah's SBA Botanical Art exhibition, and we’re always on the hunt for a new base away from the noise and rush of London, somewhere to relax and wind-down after all the noise and rush of the capital. This time we stayed in the Chilterns, at the lovely Cholsey Grange CL site.

The drive down was easy. Glorious sunshine all the way. As we neared the Chilterns the clouds began to gather.

We arrived in the rain.

Ted, the site owner, warned us the field might be muddy, and he was waiting to help us onto the pitch. A good thing, too. My attempts at using the motor mover for the last bit of fine tuning to our position, failed when all it achieved was to drive the jockey wheel deep into the mud and to scoop out two neat holes for the ‘van's wheels, all ready for more fun when the time came to pack away a few days later.
Red Kite. Small image to conceal
fuzzy focussing
An exciting start to our visit.

The views from the site are lovely. There are Red Kites flying overhead. The only time they disappeared was when I took my camera out. I’ve included one fuzzy picture just to prove that I at least tried. The site offers free WiFi, which was much appreciated and something I've never come across on a CL before.

Lovely sunrise on Monday

There were plenty of walks around the site, and we did have some time to explore on the first day, but not enough, because we were here on a mission. Our trips into London involved early starts on both days, but at least we were able to enjoy some impressive dawn colours while munching our breakfasts.
A misty start to Tuesday morning

We’re still trying to figure out a way of getting into London itself without having to sell the house and indenture the children into the chimney sweep profession to afford it. (The kids are in their thirties, now, so they'd probably put up an argument, anyway.) This year we elected to drive to Amersham, park at the station then use the Oysters to travel in. Here’s what I learned: Peak hour ends at 9.30 am, and then runs 4.30 until 7.00 pm. Outside these times the costs are manageable. Travel during these hours, as we did in error, and yes, you do need to sell the house and if you have young children they need to adopt a fake, Dick van Dyke cockney accent and learn the words to a few songs, like Chim-chiminee, chim-chiminee, Chim-chim-cheree.

Another thing I learned this week: I found out how much work is involved behind the scenes of a big art exhibition. I always thought it was just hanging pictures on a wall, but no, they have to be numbered to match the catalogue. They have to be arranged so they look good on a wall. They have to be carried.
This is how the exhibition room looked before we started.
By the time we left the walls were full of exquisite
paintings and soon the room will be packed with visitors.
There are stickers with bits of information, and these have to be stuck on the wall next to the correct painting, and they have to be straight. The glass on the paintings has to be polished to get rid of all our finger prints. Polishing 600 plus paintings is no picnic, believe me.  There’s also a shop to be created from nothing, and the extra heap of work involved in doing that job is another thing I'd never appreciated before. I’m only mentioning the things I know about. While we were working a whole army of helpers were doing other things to make it all come together. Next time you visit an art exhibition take a look at the number stickers and ask yourself who stuck them all on, and don’t be too harsh if some of them are a bit wonky.
Even better, visit this one. The SBA exhibition,  Shape Pattern, Structure.  It's on now until 23rd April at Central Hall, Westminster. If you spot any misaligned info stickers next to any of the paintings they're not mine.

As hinted. The pack away was not good. It has been a long wet winter. Lots of rain equals lots of mud. Our trusty 4x4 Kuga didn't have the grip to reverse up to the towing hitch. It is hard to line up the approach when you're car is skating around like Torvill and Dean having an off day. We did Ted a favour, though. We took some of his mud home with us - on my jeans, on my wellies, in my wellies, all over the car, all over the front of the caravan...  that we'd polished and cleaned just five days earlier!

A good few days away but right now I need another caravan holiday for some rest and recovery. But I have to get the hose pipe out first.

Travelling in a Box, the book, available on Kindle and paperback.

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