Sunday, June 12, 2011

Open studios, have a go and everything stops for tea.

1. After Nick commented last Sunday that our days were slipping away, I made a concerted effort to plan and do something this weekend. We set out on a mission to look at some of South East Open Studios in Tunbridge Wells. We took the train to High Brooms and visited a gallery in a shed, where Clare Kelly was working on her paper cuts. Then we walked home the long way via a painter's turpentine-scented living room and a ceramics studio. In the damp garden, among the fantastical hanging planters, artists' spouses were waiting to be let back into the house and a guitarist was moodling around. He suddenly came out with Help by the Beatles, and everyone joined in.

2. "...And these are some pots made by visitors today," says Brigitt Head. "Would you like a go?" Would I? I've never tried making a pot, so I suppose I'd better say yes. And before I know it, I'm sat at a potter's wheel with a slippery, cat's tongue rough bowl forming under my hands.

3. Alec makes it clear that he has had enough of us talking art. We race homewards, but it's clear that he is very unhappy indeed. We decide to stop in town for late tea so I can feed him. I'm thinking Starbucks or Costa -- I know they are open until six. But we pass The Black Dog Cafe, which is now open during the evening. I know the cakes are excellent, so we turn in there. Alec is very quickly mollified, and I relax and enjoy my raspberry cheesecake cupcake. "We used to do this all the time," says Nick. I'm glad Alec reminded us that it's important to stop for tea.