February Paris

Paris trip with students

A year after retiring I have forgotten how exhausting being with sixth formers can be. The lows – the highs – its a roller coaster of a ride through the emotions. They inspire you and leave you in despair. But they were a credit to their school – my old school. I loved their humour and silliness, their flashes of maturity and their willingness, tempered with moaning about their feet!

What did we do –
* the sights – roaming around Paris on the metro – why are there so many steps?
* being inspired by the amazing art in the Pompidour Centre.
* drawing with oil pastels in front of Monets in L’Orangerie – like swimming in the sea.
* lying on the floor drawing in the Opera House with bemused guided tourists watching us. One little boy joined in and drew too.
* the accidents – mostly me falling up steps and into pavement bollards that sprang up in front of me.
* making a silent sci-fi movie in front of the Louvre and at Place De Concorde
* wandering around the Galleries Lafayette and tasting Kusmi tea
discovering the Passage Jouffrey and a wonderful jewellery shop……
* sleeping in when we got home and a long, long bath.
* looking at my sketchbook and seeing my surprising inspiration from a green chair I sat in.

Whilst in Paris I was informed of my new official status – as a Solo New Volunteer Listening Samaritan. I’m just starting my second stint of training and I still feel so NEW. The weight of the responsibility of getting it right is huge. Much bigger than I thought. Self doubt is OK they all say but I don’t like it. Yet it still feels the right thing to do. I know it is.

Watched some old home videos transferred on to DVDs – had mixed reaction seeing so many people who have passed away – my grandparents, my dad. I miss my dad every day. I watched him playing table tennis in the garden before his stroke. Also my children when they were 2 and 5. Wow that was weird and sad too. They were so lovely, so innocent, so beautiful. They were enchanting when they opened Christmas presents. My husband looking very young and handsome. So much has happened. Went into a low place for awhile. That wasn’t suppose to happen. Memories can be positive and negative I suppose.

Helped with school art trip to Bristol – great gallery – enjoyed inspiring others and being inspired. Finished with a crazy photoshoot outside the gallery : I asked the 9 students to lie on the ground holding a steel bollard each as if they were hanging from it like a photo one of the sixth formers found on the internet. We caused quite a stir – passing cars slowed down, a crowd gathered, others photographed us and the gallery curator came out and asked if she could have a copy of the photo. She was particularly pleased that we were from Wales as she was born in Pembrokeshire! We all laughed far too much……..

Thursday 26th February
Finally finished my red landscape for the Women’s Festival Exhibition – scary that other people will be seeing it! Felt so creative after Paris trip I continued to start a large abstract Paris Chair on watercolour paper.