30 June 2009

More News from England; week #2

The Milway's are off to Tewkesbury to get their final shots before departing for Uganda (lot's of malaria in that part of the world and plenty of other strange infectious beasties!), so I have a rare quiet moment to myself.
After our exhibition here last week we put the pottery back together, moved the sheep back into the apple orchard and drew a quick breath before driving down to Oxford to pick up Milway daughter Elizabeth's worldly possessions as she has just finished her three year course in Bio-chemistry. Plenty of stair climbing to keep the legs in shape. I love the city of Oxford and plan to revisit on my own before I return. I also find it thrilling any time I visit a college campus. Although my own college days were somewhat erratic (3 different ones over the course of 5 years with no degree) I continue to be moved by the life of the student, who's main job it is to LEARN and expand the mine. Sometimes, like so much of life, it is wasted on the young. We met some of Bizzie's friends who were delightful and for dinner that evening I chose artichoke ravioli with watercress pesto...who says English food isn't good?! oh, and I had a lovely Hook Norton beer with my meal...and another for dessert (all desserts are called pudding over here).
Upon returning we packed up the camper van and drove off to Rufford Park in the East Midlands for the annual pottery show there. There are so many things we potters share across the Atlantic and so much that is different. Only in a country this small can the very best makers get together to sell their work in a most dramatic and beautiful setting. The site is a ruined Abbey and to see exhibitors tents lined up within the roofless walls and the courtyard is quite breathtaking for an American boy, even one so familiar with this place.
Many shows here exhibit only pots and I really like the concept. 90 exhibitors means it is very manageable and collectors find it very focused for their particular interests. And it really did have many of England's best, including our blogging cousins (as Michael calls 'em) Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew. I met or reconnected with many fine folks and I'm happy to say that most seemed to be doing very good business. In spite of weird economic times, I'm convinced that quality and integrity will survive just fine and I believe that we who make a living as potters represent that idea in a big way.
There's much more to tell and I'll try to get back to the keyboard soon. But, Hughie and I are off to a big cricket match soon and there is the wood fired pizza oven to rebuild for the party on Saturday and dinner at David and Bridget's and on and on.
Oh, dinner on Friday night was in the beautiful town of Lincoln with the spires of the cathedral out the window and Sherwood Forest down the road. Dinner was Risotto with Stilton cheese and peas...and a good local beer for dessert. Best of all was the adorable waitress Emily who would make any man's heart skip a few beats. A rare girl!
That's it for now...tea and cake await.

1 comment:

Hollis Engley said...

Nice travelog, Dan. The artichoke ravioli sound great, as does that Stilton thing. The idea of Rufford, gathering all those potters in one place for a single market ... I'd love to see that happen in the States, but we don't seem to be those kind of people, do we?