"Old Mountain" at the rear of Valparaiso
Changeover day and, after a nice conversation with my hostess, I took her advice and caught a taxi to Victoria Station for the Gatwick Expres train. The Cabbie was a retired Social Services worker of Jamaican extraction with an interest in art – so that was pleasant. The next train to Gatwick didn’t leave for 15 minutes, (just missed one) so that meant all the rest of the connections were a bit fraught. The Easy Jet boarding gate at the North Terminal is a long way from the drop off point from Victoria in the South Terminal, so I practically ran all the way to join the queue at gate 105. Luck I did, as there is no reserve seating, but I managed to get an aisle seat with a spare beside me (No one seems to want to sit next to a woman over 50 – what is that? But it worked to my advantage). Yes, even though I weighed and measured everything – Checked luggage at a creditable 19.6kgs (limit 20kgs) I was queried with my Carry on luggage and had to stuff my hand bag into the larger bag before boarding, only to promptly take it out one seated. A ridiculous situation and surely a grab at money by Easy Jet.
The flight was interesting – you can buy Easy jet scratchies for GBP 1 to win some money, and “Gadgets” on board (I felt sorry for the stewards having to be hawkers of junk in order to make a living); and the man in the seat next to the spare snored all the way – giving me and the ostesses more than an occasional giggle.
Transfer was smooth and I have arrived at the residency. The rooms and studio are spare but all you need, the showers good, the kitchen and living rooms magnificent and the staff very helpful and friendly. The food is incredibly frsh – I don’t remember eating an orange that tasted of sunshine – I mean, you can taste its freshness, and the cooking really a high standard (I’ll be dreaming of the garlic Mushrooms and the marinated Swordfish for days to come).
But the best part is the fellow residents – 5 other women, all but one have two children and are strong, opinionated, talented and funny – I feel like home! My artist buddies would love this and simply must apply. A very boozy dinner followed, with guests from New Yprk, Two from France, A Bulgarian Composer, a Berliner, and a Danish Composer and member of the board finding out about what the state of art was in each country and the differences in expression in our various countries, as well as the political situation. Also met the founder, Beatrice, a beautiful stately woman of 82 (but looking about 70) who built this place with her late husband and still is very involved in her work, flying around the globe for her charitable endeavours. I wanna be like that!.