"As we are a doomed race, chained to a sinking ship, as the whole thing is a bad joke, let us, at any rate, do our part; mitigate the sufferings of our fellow-prisoners; decorate the dungeon with flowers and air-cushions; be as decent as we possibly can." - Virginia Woolf in Mrs. Dalloway
The world stopped spinning for a moment and I saw a line of aspiring food photographers waiting their turn to climb up on a box to take an aerial shot of a cheese and charcuterie spread on a zinc table top plonked on the ground in a woolshed far from home and I thought why are we doing this? To upload the image onto our various instagram accounts, some with tens of followers other with tens of thousands, and then .... what.
And then everything started moving again and I was up on the box, clicking away, oohing and ahing over the zinc and the light and the marbled wagu bresaola happy to be with a tribe of women with shared interests and different backgrounds, busy trying to jam as much new knowledge in my head as possible.
The course was amazing. Organised by Sophie Hansen of the Local is Lovely blog fame, who I met and adored immediately, it was two days of photography, styling, flower arranging, vegetable picking and pickling, drawing, eating and chit chatting at the rambling country house of Sophie's parents in the Blue Mountains, bursting with giant roses and vine covered verandahs with that cosy sprawling feeling that only buildings which have been renovated and added to over time can have. It was a total triumph. One student travelled from Townsville. Another from Hong Kong. Luisa Brimble has to be the most joyful, kindest photography teacher out there and Stephanie Somebody (Stamatis) just oozes style. Amelia showed us how to arrange the most beautiful flopsy, romantic flowers and Sophie and her friend Willa cooked up amazing food for us to eat and shoot. The other students, all women which seems to be the case at this sort of a thing, were such a pleasure to meet.
But now I am home and the why? why? keeps resurfacing. Why am I doing this.
And for once I actually feel sure I know the answer (my friend Fiona's daughter regularly laments "Mum I wish you were more sure" - I often think of that when my own kids are drilling me for some hard and fast answers and laugh. Ps Feef thanks for the Mrs Dalloway tip off). I am doing this blog thing simply because I want to.
I don't like playing golf, or tennis or much sport at all really. I enjoy a lunch with the girls, but more than one or two a week and I start going bonkers. I like cooking. I like making things look beautiful. I like writing and above all I like this new challenge of bringing them all together within the structure of a blog. It gives me a reason to actually make time to do the things I enjoy doing, rather than letting the whoosh of life as Nikki Gemmell calls it completely takeover. (Nothing like a deadline, even a self-imposed vague one that is certainly not daily. Perhaps I should rename the blog The Almost Fortnightlies). These are ordinary things I like to do, but things that feel worthwhile to me.
And to spend two days with a group of women learning and making a version of art important to me is just the sort of intimate and joyful human activity I would like to occupy my time on this sinking ship of life. So in the spirit of Virgina Woolf, may we continue to decorate the dungeon with flowers and food and blog on.