Two and a half months ...
Two and a half months is a long time to be away from home. Teaching has of course, made my time away easier and pass sweetly. There has been a lot of water under the (Golden Gate) bridge since I taught at the Sonoma State University in California for the Passionate Pen. Weblog posts have been quiet since this time as I have been happily busy in a frenetic sort of way.
San Jose was my next workshop with twenty participants from the Pacific Scribes group. It was interesting having twenty participants in an "L" shaped chapel come community room. I could see everyone but not everyone could see each other. It was almost like two classes of ten. The first thing they gave me was a microphone so I could be heard by everyone all of the time. I enjoyed my time with this group who were keen to learn. The police even turned up to my lecture just to make sure I was in good hands. Anna Lum was responsible for organising this visit and I enjoyed her company very much and the beautiful Ellie Green was a most gracious and kind host. The tree of us had fun going out to Dim Sum, Country Gourmet and Mexican. We laughed a lot and we cried when we said goodbye.
It was a disastrous start leaving the US for the UK with United Airlines where I had to pay US$200.00 before they would allow me to drop my bag. My travel agent Flight Centre, had let me down badly. With an international baggage allowance of thirty kilos (I took 28kg), I started my trip from Tasmania completely unaware I would have to pay approximately two hundred pound ... two hundred Euro ... and two hundred US dollars on all my flights that were not to and from Australia. These flights only have a twenty three kilo limit even though they were all international flights. Some airlines let me through no problem but United Airlines stood their ground. I am not going to risk having to pay excess on my Italian leg so I have sent all my books home and have given many of my clothes away to a charity shop.
I have complained to Flight Centre but the lass there became defensive and basically told me I should read the small print. My question is, why have an international baggage allowance if you can't use it on other international flights. Of course I am carrying everything I need to teach. For this little calligrapher it is quite a lot. All I am trying to do is make a small contribution to the household income. If the Flight Centre staff had have told me I would have limited myself to twenty-three kilos.
Weary as I was, I was delighted to see Tony Woodhams at Heathrow airport. Then I knew I was in excellent hands. Tony and Matt looked after me very well at Riverhill Cottage and I had a great time teaching Fraktur for the group, Cinque Ports Scribes. A lovely and very responsive group.
Then it was the train again from Sevenoaks to Euston to take the twelve-forty pm to Wilmslow in the north. Here I taught in the most beautiful cabin in the most beautiful woods in Moss House to the Cabin Group. My hosts were Sue and John Goldstone. I was unusually ill on the first morning of teaching. It was strange and unusual for me to be sick for no reason but I taught on regardless. By the end of the day I was feeling one hundred percent better. Well enough to enjoy a pub meal Mobersley with a few of the group.
The next adventure was to drive to the Malvern Hills with Hilary Lewis to prepare for the CLAS Festival of Calligraphy. Expertly run by Helen Scholes and Andi Bennett at the Elim Conference Centre. Not only was the scenery breathtaking the class participants were very responsive and I feel enjoyed the two workshop I had arranged to teach. The first being two and a half days of Biting the Bows and the second of the same duration Versals.
There are many very special collections that I have been very fortunate to see and study on this northern summer tour such as the Klingspor Museum, St Pauls Cathedral Library and Hereford Cathedral, these will all be written about when I don't have to rush. There will also be photos of these visits and all my ports of call.
I feel privileged to have been invited to so many places to work. I have met some really wonderful people, had tremendous hosts, many of whom shall remain firm friends. After all, to me what I do is about sharing, leaving some goodwill and hopefully some good lettering behind before I leave.
Next stop Venezia ... I have never been.