I am halfway through participating in Surrey Artists’ Open Studios. This annual event offers the public an opportunity to meet artists in their studios scattered across the county ‘and to admire their work’. Buy some, too, I hope.
When I told the The Aged P about my venture back in the spring, she thought I was completely mad.
‘It will be terribly depressing’ she predicted. ‘It might not be,’ I said uncertainly. The Aged P has a lifelong distrust of organised activity, reserving particular contempt for self-improvement courses. In her opinion, all courses are ‘a complete and utter waste of time and money’ (excluding the ATS Morse code one she went on during the war). The notion that they may also be a good way of meeting like-minded friends is an extra reason not to go on any: ‘They’ll latch on and you’ll never get rid of them!’
Consequently, I always rather dread telling the Aged P about any creative activity I’ve signed up to.
‘Oh no, Alice!’ she’ll say in a tumble of distress, as though I have confessed to a murder or become a Scientologist. The last time this happened was when, a few years back, I told her I had signed up to a short playwriting course.
‘Noël Coward didn’t go on a playwriting course!’
‘But he was a genius – he didn’t need to.’
The following week, having been bullied into telling fellow attendees Poppy and Scarlet a secret about myself as part of a group-bonding exercise, I couldn’t help but think the Aged P had a point.