Belle vita said Uldis just now. Beautiful life.
I’m overlooking the water and there is a group of ash trees in front, the sun has just gone down but it is still warm. The leaves are just coming out of their delicate buds and the ducks are quacking the last of the daylight away in a lasting attempt to attract some attention. It is the beginning of spring and one of my favourite times of the year; the joy that is life all springing forward anew. Maybe I like this period of the year in particular as I am also a spring baby. The bull.
This lovely spot is the outskirts of Roermond, Holland. I’m lucky to be here as the ash plume from the volcano that erupted in Iceland was only three hours behind my flight; one of the last from the UK to Europe. It is incredible that all the planes are now grounded. The earth makes a little burp and everything stops. Great.
I am enjoying the fact that there are no planes in the sky at the moment, no vapour trails or hum of jet engines. I’ve even taken to not wearing my earphones all day as the air is somehow clearer of sound and filled with the melody of bird song. There are now some Coots on the water doing their mating dance, bobbing their heads from side to side and cooting a lot.
On the downside there are only half the carvers here for the project. There should be 30 and there are only 15, but still 8,000 tonnes of sand looms before us unrelenting which means that we have to all carve like crazy for two weeks to finish the project on time. Hopefully, our colleagues will join us soon if the volcano has a rest. Some sculptors have driven here, Uldis has just finished a 36 hour bus ride from Riga, Latvia to get here. He has gone to the bar to find his sanity, he just spoke to me for 15 minutes on the cons of polarised glasses; the poor lad is delirious. Some other chaps drove all the way from Prague, Czech Republic to get here, others all the way from Spain; the troops are mobilising and reinforcements have been called upon. The great Henry arrived today who I have not seen for five years.
My task is to make a mountain scene. On this mountain are some mountain goats and to the side a Yak. A chap from Russia called Ilya who is a sculpting god was supposed to do the mountain with me helping. The volcano in Iceland has said otherwise as he’s not here. I’m not sure when Ilya is going to turn up; if at all. I may have to do this mountain myself which is quite daunting as mountains are typically rather large. But then what has to be done has to be done. If Ilya does turn up I think he will have a mental breakdown if he sees that I have already started. There is something entirely de-motivating about finishing or helping to finish someone else’s work. Perhaps it is because you had no say in the creative idea and composition. I do not envy him. For the moment I’m just finishing my Yak. I have made it with two calves or ‘mini cows’ as Anique calls them, because it’s cute and serves the practical purpose of holding up the Yaks head, it would fall off otherwise. I was a little worried earlier as one of the calf’s began to look like a Rottweiler mauling my Yaks throat. It now just looks like a ‘mini cow Rottweiler cross’.
Am I going to be able to get home to England? I like Holland, but it is a little flat. Bring on the rolling hills of Yorkshire.
What? There is a plane in the sky! I feel like a child again.