Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A sunny day in Moffat

Renowned garden and parks historian Magda Salvesen Schueler inquires from non-hurricane ridden NYC about Moffat's open spaces. I hope she will visit when she is next visiting her sisters in Scotland, one of whom lives in Symington and who I met at Traquair last weekend. My sister was the administrator at the Richard Demarco gallery in Edinburgh in the heady days of 'Strategy Get Arts', and Joseph Beuys, he of the strips of leather and blobs of tallow. Magda's husband John exhibited at the Demarco Gallery, and she inquires wistfully if I know the fate of one of his watercolours my mother bought fifty years ago. My mother doesn't have it, nor does my sister, nor do I. I suggest Magda tries my brother. Talking of siblings, my half sister Caroline was on Woman's Hour yesterday on the programme devoted to women aviators. Caroline is a champion helicopter pilot and has worked as a commercial airline pilot, although now has returned to her first love (and originally her planned career) of medicine. My daughter Abi called in with her husband on her way back from her run on the Fringe (Abi Roberts Takes You Up the Aisle - and, yes, I'm afraid it is a double entendre). They were both full of beans, but looking forward to getting back to Durham to unpack before setting off for more 'gigs' all round the country, and to touch base with her agents in London (one for standup/cabaret; one for voice overs). She does an eerily accurate Celine Dion as well as Marge Simpson and the dog from Scooby Doo. I am twothirds of the way through Olivia Laing's To the River, glad to be reading it slowly. It is beautifully written, in a good way ie not just endless dragon flies and buttercups and showers of rain, but quite a lot of history (battles), social history, literary history (Virginia Woolf) and meditations on love and loss.

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