Friday, 22 June 2007

A time in France remembered

Nearly two weeks since my show at Stansted and I've caught up with all my outstanding work, neglected house, garden and allotment. I had a wonderful time, the weather was gloriously hot, the venue dreamy and the atmosphere in our marquee was great, I met a lot of extremely talented and interesting people and . . . I sold a lot of my work - nearly all my jewellery, quite a few framed prints and cards and most of my bowls.

The most popular prints were based on two photographs I took in France when visiting the unusual garden show at Chaumont. I say unusual as the theme that year was erotica; there was a rubber garden; lots of very tactile gardens; a garden which featured a huge pair of bosoms - they had a ladder at the back which you could climb and have your photograh taken between them (it goes without saying - a lot of men were doing this) and the funniest of all - a garden shed with a spy hole drilled in - when you looked through the hole you could see garden gnomes in compromising positions. Only the French could manage to put on a show like this with such style.

© Nicky Linzey 2002

Strangely enough the show at Stansted and the one at Chaumont had exactly the same atmosphere, probably because of the blisteringly hot weather and the imposing buildings in dreamy gardens and this transported me back to the most wonderful holiday in France. It was very nearly a disaster as we had not pre-booked any hotels and after spending the first two nights on the Ile de Ré in a lovely hotel that had had a last minute cancellation, we drove around the Charente unable to book in anywhere. A lot of the hotels we tried were full so we ended up three nights in a row in some particularly awful ones. Gray suddenly had a brainwave - to ring the Cheval Blanc in Bléré where we had stayed several years ago - I phoned and reserved their last free room. What a relief! The drive there took us about 2 hours during which time the weather got hotter and sunnier. We booked in and found that the Chaumont Garden Festival was on - something I had wanted to visit but had always missed and the hotel had a new swimming pool installed. We headed straight to the pool and shared it with diving swallows dipping into the glistening water. It was magical as was our visit to Chaumont - also a reminder that often the best times are not planned.

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