A dozen of us (Charmian Love, Sam Gray, Martin Hartigan, Pamela Hartigan, Sam Lakha, Mark Lee, Geoff Lye, Astrid Sandoval, Kevin Teo, Sophia Tickell, Elaine and I) spent the day at 2 Bloomsbury Place, our new Volans office, the first of two Away Days. Part way through, Elaine spoke to someone from the Prospect office on the floor below – and discovered that, in addition to the building’s own garden, we have access to a quite extraordinary magic garden at the back, which – among many other delights – contains two elephant sculptures, presumably left by the people who were in our space before us, The Elephant Family.
Among many other memorable aspects of the day, and part from the Magic Garden, three stand out for me: the beautiful ‘stained glass’ version of our flying fish that Kim (Russell) had made for me; the one-candle birthday cake that emerged out of a cupboard late in the day, celebrating my imminent 59th and (in my mind) the birth of Volans Ventures; and the small granddaughter of the people upstairs coming down dressed as Ginger Rogers, one of my all-time favourite screen goddesses. (Flying Down to Rio being one of my Top 16 ‘Desert Island Discs’.)
Oh and then, as Elaine and I walked back home by Barnes Pond, in a setting sun that turned the trees and grass into a a form of sensuround stained glass, a heron (my totemic bird) flew in and and landed in the reed-beds. Apart from one piece of bad family news for one of our number during the day, this was virtual perfection.
Still life Sam, Astrid, Martin Flying fish 2 Flying fish 3 Elaine Garden Further in Elephants – with Sophia, Charmian and Sam Trunk fondling Sam in the belly of the beast Lock Wildflowers Martin emerges Kevin demonstrates Martin, me, Pamela Blowing out the candle Unused to cameras as I am …