Thursday, 20 June 2013

Alysn is back in town.

21 June
The longest day, mid-summers eve? Alternatively – the shortest day, Matariki?  Already! 
That means I have lived in New Zealand for over six months. The time has flown by and though I have lots of making friends and learning to do yet, progress is being made including exhibitions organised, a textile group formed, a new house, a new studio, teaching and speaking engagements made and completed. 
Domestic life and events seem to have filled much of my time. Moving to a new house involved also unpacking all of the boxes and parcels from the container, then repacking a good proportion of them as there is either not yet room or they are the memorabilia or camping gear etc. which belongs in storage anyway.
Here are few pictures of our new home, imagine a combination of a Swiss chalet, a hobbit hole and a bit of shabby Austin Powers thrown in for good measure!

Is this more like a mountain chalet or a hobbit hole?

From the back. Work to do in the garden yet, but we have a compost bin, and will soon have the raised beds and chickens installed.

Whatever it's idiosyncracies (and there are many) we are even nearer to the sea than our previous house, Waiake beach, Torbay, Winstones Cove and Long Bay are all easily within reach for dog walks and beach combing.

Long 'Long Bay'

The Tor of Torbay

Winstones Cove at dusk

That skytower gets everywhere!

In the spirit of the recycling age I scooped up all of the family and attended a fashion show displaying the creations of a selection of designers whose work ‘upcycled’ the original fabrics or clothes. Sounded good – but was a major disappointment. Notwithstanding whether the clothes were good or not (there was a mixture), the show itself was an embarrassingly unprofessional display. A shame as I had hoped to be impressed and to support a shop which was trying to do something different.  The event shall remain nameless!

I returned to the UK yesterday for a 7 week teaching and speaking stint. I landed in the sunshine, had my half day of British summer and then woke this morning to rain. Who ordered that?!
Whilst I am in the UK I will be spending plenty of time at the Beetroot Tree catching up with Paul the (not so new) partner.
I quietly entered the back door this morning and had a big hug from Hannah and Stevie, said hello to new team members who have joined recently and sat in the garden (which is looking pretty and lush and full of life right now) for a coffee and a contemplate.
I wondered what it would feel like coming back to a place I have been immersed in for 13 years and then handed over to the safe keeping of a new pair of hands. As yet I am not sure of the answer.  It is both familiar and strange. Primarily I am very pleased that Paul has been such a good businessman and manager, he works 7 days a week and has had a lot to learn about in a short time. It was such a boost to hear him say that he enjoys every day at the gallery, even the challenging ones.
I have seen the exhibition programme he is developing and Hannah is in charge of the workshops to come. As usual I wish there were two of me so that I could be both in my new home in the UK as both have lots to offer.

As I have a background in science, I like to go to any lectures by scientists, almost whatever the subject. Last Monday there was a fantastic lecture given by Prof. Terry Speed for the Royal Society of NewZealand at the Auckland Museum. It was held in the swanky events room and was about epigenetics. If it is not something that you have heard about, you will soon – it is a fascinating and developing branch of genetics and concerns understanding the nature/nurture debate. 
And tonight I managed to catch a lecture at Nottingham University hosted by the Nottinghamshire Branch of the British Science Association. I started going to these to encourage my daughters to understand science in a broader context and still go along when I can. This weeks was delivered by Catarina Lani, a PhD student and was called ‘The Cosmic Web and its inhabitants. This is part of an ongoing (free) public lecture series, anyone can go, you should look them up!
More news from me whilst I am the Beetroot Tree coming soon, including new artists, taking the gallery to the Derbyshire County Show and parties for you to get along to.

Bye for now.

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