Monday, 20 August 2012
Two days out!
Another anniversary week-end day out - this time without the farmer as it was his walking day.
A friend and I went to Shandy Hall at Coxwold - once the home of Laurence Sterne the writer of Tristram Shandy - the novel which is widely thought to be the progenitor of the stream of consciousness novels of the twentieth century.
Sterne lived from 1713 to 1768 and did not have an altogether happy life. His marriage was not happy and apart from one daughter all his children were stillborn. This indirectly resulted in his wife having a major breakdown in mental health.
Shandy Hall in Coxwold stands next to the church and has tremendous atmosphere, particularly in the garden where one really feels one is walking in Sterne's footsteps. There is a peace and tranquility to it and the ancient house in the background adds to this.
We looked round the garden but our real reason for going was the exhibition in one of the barns of the lithographs of Carry Akroyd (go to her website to see her superb work), all of them linked to the poetry of John Clare and also owing a lot to the writing of Ronald Blythe. All three live or lived in the same area - that fenland corner of Suffolk/Essex/Northamptonshire. Her work is both inspired and inspiring.
I was prompted into buying John Clare's 'Shepherd's Calendar' in the latest edition. We emerged from Shandy Hall punch drunk with the effects of the exhibition and sat in a forested area with a cup of tea and a piece of cake for an hour (until it started to rain) just discussing the lithographs and the writing. Today I am still on a high as a result - long may it last. I find that rarely do exhibitions move me as much as this one did - and coupled with that wonderful feeling of walking in Sterne's footsteps it was a day to remember.
##Akroyd's website is www.carryakroyd.co.uk