Finished my coffee (it only took 4 days!). Portavadie is remote, wild and beautiful and I felt very much at home. Elpies' family are developing a marina with a restaurant and accomodation and have a farm on the beach called Craig Lodge where I stayed. Stone everywhere and no stone cutting tools of course but managed a sculpture I was happy with and worked around the house building a path and filling the potholes in the road. The area is hilly with tiny one way roads and quaint villages of old whitewashed houses, deep sea lochs and solid Scots citizenry.
Down to Ayre to visit Elpies' parents at Monkwood an old estate with with a three storied 1620 house where they have created a huge pond area with all types of waterfowl and Sandy grows a vast array of fruit and vegetables which Elsie converts into jams and pickles and juices and lovely homegrown meals.
Visited Castle Calzean and Robbie Burns house and museum and just enjoyed their warm hospitality.
Fond farewells then off down that long and lonely road 9 hours to the home of Billie Mallet friend and painter of large, bold landscape figures in Exeter, Devon. Billie has visited me in NZ and used my studio to paint so it's great to be here and see her studio and all her paintings. I love her work which is very spontaneous and full of volume and colour (picture above)but like a lot of us she is discouraged because she rarely sells anything so I'm helping her put a catalogue together and search out places to hold exhibitions. It's funny that it's easier when you believe in somebody elses work rather than your own.
Been up on Dartmoor and again tiny roads and villages with history, history, history
Now off to the allottment to do some gardening