I haven't yet met Barry Herniman, but he's a friend of some good friends of ours here, and he's spent getting on for a couple of years preparing an exhibition of what promise to be truly gorgeous watercolours, which will take place over the next three days - Friday 17th to Sunday 19th April. In fact even if you're nowhere near this neck of the woods or ever likely to be, I would still recommend visiting his website , or his blog, even, (which I didn't know he had...), and spend some time just basking in his luminous and evocative paintings, land- and seascapes, which seem to me to do everything that watercolours should do.
Moncontour is an unfeasibly picturesque place, which I've never really posted about because I don't quite know how to photograph it without producing a series of picture postcards, and then I might be tempted to completely debase myself by rendering them in sepia or something. I keep saying to myself that I will park the car at the top of the hill and risk my neck walking down the narrow and vergeless hairpin bend to take the shot of the ramparts which Barry has shown in the poster, since just at this moment the big magnolia tree is in bloom up there, but the period of flowering is short, and I probably won't get around to it. His dedication to his art is very clearly much greater than mine.
There's also going on at the same moment a tasting of Cornish pasties and curry at the Frog and Rosbeef, the town's amusingly named Anglo-French culinary establishment (she's English, he's French), which I understand has been well taken-up by hungry expats suffering from gastronomic nostalgie de pays (yes, it does happen... I wonder if they'll have any ginger beer?), so if you're there for that, don't hesitate to go along to the expo during the morning too.
Blowing my own trumpet now, I've posted my response to Joe's question 'Qui custodiet ipsos custodes? ' which is to say, who will police the policemen? over at Compasses.
We have been talking about how we have both expressed a degree of unease, a sense of fear or constraint, about merriment, smiling laughter. Joe has a gaoler in his head, I find a figure pops up in my mind who seems to represent something murderous and diabolic, if entertaining. Yet we are not like this, are we? I ask. It's rather interesting what comes up. To put it a little glibly, the human condition being what it is, joy cannot be unbridled. 'Smile,' says Joe 'but not without the reflex of a distant sadness.'
In response to one or two queries. The 'who said what?' element, is we think, adequately supplied by the 'posted by' label at the bottom of each post. Can we show the workings? Nah, probably not. Joe thinks it's like letting your guests into the kitchen when you're cooking. I have an open plan kitchen diner arrangement; it's nice, but sometimes I wish I didn't. Also, in the Google document we use, unless one makes an effort to keep everything, it's fugitive; we simply erase and overwrite. The rest of the collaboration is by e-mail, and we'd have to sift out anything that might be of interest from the inevitable chitchat about planting lettuce seeds and what we had for lunch. But thanks, so much, for the interest and support. It would have been worth doing if no one had read it, but there's nothing like a bit of positive interest and praise to lift one up!