So how many years ago is this then? It feels like forever ago but today sitting here in Bonnie Scotland in the scorching sun I was reminded of the balmy days in Shelby in North Carolina back at the end of April. So here are the dream team, Ron, Doug and Ang sitting eating (we spent a lot of time eating I think) on Ron and Sarah’s porch. Hazel I still think we should get a porch and rocking chairs, I know we probably only need them for three days a year but can’t you be tempted?
We landed here, our final stop on the jet setting slipware American tour 2011 to spend just over a week with Ron and Sarah. Both Doug and me had met these two sweet and darling and hysterically funny people in Devon the summer before last and we felt like we were going home. Weird to be so comfortable with people when in reality you barely know them.
So we had a day off, a day of resting really and catching up on doing not very much, blimey it gets noticeably hotter the further south we traveled. After a couple of days Ron and Sarah took us up into the hills heading for Ashville. We popped into the clay suppliers and then up to eat a fab breakfast in the town, eating was a strong theme of that day, oh and judging by the next photo so was drinking. Talk about bad influences, these people I was traveling with were just terrible!
So we were here for the last of the demos, and this is the arts centre where it was to be held. Here we met bloggers Gay Judson, John Ferraris and Becky Storey who again it feels like we have known for an age but again have never met in person before. Yet again there wasn’t enough time to be able to really enjoy all these people properly, another theme of the trip, pottery, time, food, drink, fun and friends.
There were many surreal moments on the trip and the following day, Easter sunday brought with it another one. We had been very kindly invited by friends of Ron and Doug (small world) to have lunch with them and their family. After a lovely meal and an Easter egg hunt around their immaculate garden we were taken out on the boat for a tour of the lake that they live on. Honestly it was like walking onto a film set. What a day! Thank you to Rod and Freda for your hospitality there.
Then up into the mountains to visit the area of Penland. First stop, Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalgleish. I can’t really write much about this, it blew me away. I loved where they lived and the way they lived and the pots they made and the people they were. It left me reeling as a result.
Then on to meet again after many years of communication, the marvelous Michael Kline. We found Michael in the middle of preparing for a joint exhibition with his wife and I’d have loved to have seen the place just after he has unpacked a kiln load. We saw the graves out the back, the clay pit, the kiln, the pots, and shared juice and popcorn on the steps out the front of his workshop looking out across the valley.
Michael’s plates that he was using to practice his beautiful brushwork. There’s one in my bedroom now and a lovely wee bowl in the kitchen too and a jar on the mantle piece. The pots of the tour will be a whole other post at some point.
And then as suddenly as it all began here we were at the end. We’d dropped Ang at the airport the previous day and then it was our turn. Here’s the final three fighting back tears yet again as we set off on our journey to the airport.
All that, nearly a month away and there’s so much I haven’t told, so much that will mean nothing to anyone except the small bundle of us that were there when crazy things happened or we saw things that took our breath away or we laughed so much we thought our stomachs were going to split and couldn’t even breath anymore. Or the quiet times when we just sat and watched, the cups of tea and stories we shared, the bees I tried to save from Ron’s badminton racket, the snake we saw on our walk with Sarah, the bull frogs we heard croaking late at night in Virginia, the ospreys we watched in Cape Cod and the bird song we listened to all the way along that is so different from that in Britain. It feels like a dream, but oh what a dream. Thank you all.