Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The wrong kind of mud

As summers go, this one has been a stinker, it has rained and it has rained and all three recent events have been very windy, wet and windy or in the case of Art in Clay at Hatfield House, torrential rain with showers in-between. We set up with the imminent threat of rain, tried to sell pots in the rain, so heavy it streamed under the marquees and finally we travelled back in the rain. Trying to sleep in a tent has never been such fun and jokes about having Trench Foot occupied most peoples conversations. Festival spirit engulfed Hatfield, wellies and rain gear were the required form of dress and the mud at the entrance to the campsite and marquees had to be negotiated with due care. Stirling work by the organisers and crew meant that the show would go on, with tons of wood chips and plastic weather matting placed at strategic points. A modern addition to the estate of the four hundred year old Jacobean house still owned by the Cecil family.

Andy McInnes suitably dressed.

The present house was built by Robert Cecil in 1611 in the grounds of the deer park and old house owned by King Henry VIII and in 1558 it was here that Elizabeth I learned of her accession to the throne. Camping amongst the old oaks where Henry and his court gave chase to stags held none of the former majesty. A motley collection of tents, yurts, tee pees and camper vans perched upon a grassy knoll, with the itinerant company of potters sheltering under makeshift awnings, preparing for the coming battle.
A temporary respite from rain allowed a short sortie and an opportunity to capture the gnarled oaks and enjoy the beautiful parkland before returning to the sea of mud that was Hatfield 2012.

There was one ray of sunshine when Pinny Lady presented Richard Ballantyne with his special apron that he had commissioned. He wore it all day much to the amusement of everyone, the appliqu├ęd cup cakes on the back giving it that special touch, and with his furled umbrella he was last seen disappearing into the visitors car park.

And that was Art in Clay, so now dry out the tent, make some wooden lids and my competition piece ready for Potfest in the Park held in Cumbria, the wettest part of England... Can't wait.

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