I'm back this evening from a fun few days at Missenden Abbey for the last summer school with Adult Learning. I've been going to the Abbey for about 17 years as both a student and a tutor and have stayed in many of their study bedrooms... all perfectly comfortable and functional, even if the bathrooms tend to be a bit snug. So imagine my surprise when I was given the "Abbey Suite" on Sunday evening. I had a huge bedroom with a bed that was wider than it was long, a very roomy bathroom along my own corridor...
and a living room with a second TV. I felt like royalty!
I was teaching a Stitched Graffiti Art class to a small group of only six ladies and on the first day we had a bit of a warm up by using the machine as a painting tool and they produced this wonderful selection of little brooches.
As well as enjoying the teaching and the wonderful surroundings of Missenden Abbey itself, one of the other things I love is being able to walk in the surrounding countryside when I am there, something I've not been able to do on my last couple of visits due to being on crutches. So I was looking forward to some nice walks this week but unfortunately it has been a bit wet and drizzly for the past few days. However this morning the sun made an appearance so I had a stroll up to the parish church after breakfast and before class started.
The views over the valley are beautiful and I took a few moments to take it in and watch a pair of Red Kites hovering and soaring over the churchyard before heading back past the Roald Dahl memorial bench... I've written more about it here.
Back in the classroom, each student worked on their own designs for a "Graffiti" piece and although they need finishing off at home, these are the wonderful results:
"Create" by Sue in a fabulous font
"One in a Million" by Barbara... a special gift for her husband
"Cheers" by Valerie... very cheerful!
"Not One Hectare More" by Wendy... a comment on the destruction of the forests of Borneo
"Perspective" by Janet. I think this says much about me that my eye picks out the P and R and I see "Prosecco". Once Janet has finished the outline there won't be any confusion about what it says!
"Cats Rule" by Pasqua in a lovely crisp font.
And so it many ways it has felt like an ending but the atmosphere at the Abbey this week hasn't been down beat bacause as one door has closed another has opened. Although this is the end of Missenden Abbey Adult Learning in its present form, two of the adult learning staff have started a new company that will be running creative courses over weekends in the coming year.
The website of Missenden School of Creative Arts will be live very soon but you can go there now and register an interest, which means you will be the first to hear about new courses as they are added. And with a bit of luck I'll be back in Great Missenden next spring!