In the transitional period between seasons, I quite often have to remind myself which season is coming next - particularly if I get up in the morning to see a thick mist as has been around this area for the last three days, and the temperature is just above freezing.
H.I. has just walked into the room - having been listening to the radio next door - and asked me if I knew that Winston Churchill had red hair (when he had any at all). 'So did Hitler', I reminded her.
Anyway, I have been half awake during the last few days, and found myself looking forward to the Autumn, which is not a good state of mind to be in. We have a whole summer of love to go through before I can tog myself up for a mushroom hunt, and a hose-pipe ban has already been imposed on the East of England.
My patron has asked me to wait a few months before he allows me to carry out the dream commission I have tried to foist upon him, so I am trying to imagine how I will spend the coming summer without starving to death before it finishes, and the mellow fruitfulness allows me to live off the land. Something always turns up - or at least it has done for the last 35 years or so. It's quite difficult to starve to death these days - other people tend to hold you down and pour gruel down your neck through a funnel, whether you have asked for it or not.
I have about £10,000 worth of work to complete before then, but I am so bloody useless with 'business', that those sort of sums have usually been spent before I get paid, and the periods between payments are usually quite long.
I was only saying (droning on, actually) last night that stone takes so bloody long to fashion. I once had to make a full-sized model of a grotesque head for a new grotto at Leeds Castle (confusingly named - it is in Kent) out of polystyrene and plaster. I started at around 9.00 in the morning, and had it finished by 5.00 in the afternoon. The real thing (made of very soft, young 'Tufa' stone from Wales) took about three months to complete.
I also droned on about Rodin last night, and wished I could work like he did.
Rodin never touched a piece of stone or marble in his life, and left all the carving work to his brilliant assistant, Bourdelle. The master would fashion a piece from nice, soft clay, then hand it over to Bourdelle who would spend the following weeks and months busting his guts, carving it into the amazing works we see on show today.
If you can model, then you can carve - but that doesn't mean that you have to. The same works in reverse. Bourdelle used to carve his own work too when not making Rodin's and, although it is technically brilliant, the subject matter itself was mediocre in the extreme. You can have the vision but not the will - and that works in reverse too.
Oh well, I had better go and bust my guts out at the workshop.