Back to the Drawing Board….

Literally….

Because I am. Back at the drawing board I mean.

I thought I was done with all of that stuff. Wind back a couple of months and there you have me shutting the door on my little office in the garden and vowing never to go back in there again. I packed up the drawing board, put away the pens and the layout pads and all the stuff that goes with trying to be a garden designer, cleared up and threw sackloads of rubbish away. My unfinished novel was calling to me.

But the moral of this particular story is never say never….

The unfinished novel is still calling. But it will have to wait a little longer. My final term at KLC, which should have started last September and finished in December, commences on January 15th. It’s an odd feeling – going back after a few months off, to the same place but to different people. My fellow students from Diploma 6 are all done and dusted, embarking on their careers as…. well as whatever they are embarking on. And here’s me going back to school again.

I did have a moment’s…. well actually several moments’…. panic last week when I went to dig out all the work I did in the summer for the dreaded Crane Park Project which has to be presented on the first day back. And couldn’t find it. Had I thrown it all away? Please, please, please don’t say I had….

Well thank goodness I found it. Because if I hadn’t the thought of doing it all again was enough to make me…. well who knows what I would have done. Best not to go there….

Now you have me shut away in my office, discovering that all my pens have run out of ink, remembering what a nightmare it is trying to draw measured perspective sketches, struggling with the challenge of mastering the computer aided design programmes which still baffle me. With the wind and the rain howling outside my window. Was going to back to all of this really such a good idea?

Well you know what…. it was. Because it’s great to get the old grey cells working again, great to be scared, great to face new challenges. With more time and less panic (and Sketchup for Dummies!) I’ve actually managed to master (to a very basic extent) the art of drawing a 3d model of my design for the area round the Shot Tower in Crane Park. People who are comfortable with designing with computers would probably laugh at my pathetic attempts. But I feel like a million dollars.

So I’m presenting my work on the first day of term to a new cast – the students of Diploma 7. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s a bit daunting. But I’m determined to be more relaxed and less anxious about this last term of mine. I got so tired and emotional by the end of the summer that I had stopped enjoying myself. So I’m going to try and take it a bit easier, be kinder to myself. And we’ll see how it goes.

Ever increasing circles…..

This blog is taking on a life of its own. It’s expanding.

It started out as a way of recording my experiences as a trainee garden designer at KLC. But along the way other things have crept in. And recently they’ve been threatening to take over.

But I don’t want you to think that, just because it’s the summer holidays, the course work is taking a break as well. Oh no….

Because there’s the dreaded Construction File to complete, which I’ve been working on since term ended. I’ve still got 11 CAD drawings to do – which I keep putting off, because CAD and me are not exactly what you could call the best of friends… and I know it’s going to be painful.

Then there’s the work experience. Regular readers of this blog may remember that I was supposed to be going to Great Dixter for two weeks. I had to pull out of this because my father in law died, but I did get to spend a wonderful week at Long Barn, Vita Sackville West’s first garden after she left Knole. Of which more to come in later posts….

And running alongside everything else this summer is the project that we have to be ready to present on our first day back in September. Which is no small ask….

This week I’ve been working on the 3D model we have to make as part the project. And it’s been a tortuous experience. There are people out there who are good at this sort of thing. I’m not one of them. I went out last weekend and spent my life savings on tissue paper and plasticine, and anything else that looked like it might help me to build my dream garden in miniature. On Monday morning I went to the little shed in the garden where I work feeling quite excited. The excitement lasted about five minutes.

By Wednesday morning I was on the verge of packing the whole course in. You should have seen the state of my shed. There were bits of torn up tissue paper, drinking straws cut into pieces, broken cocktail sticks, lumps of plasticine, cardboard. It was like the scene of an explosion in the Blue Peter studio.

Which is ironic. Because explosions are what my project is all about.

Crane Park in Twickenham, the location of Project Number 4, is the site of a gunpowder mill which closed down in the early 1900’s. Making gunpowder is a dangerous business. While the mill was in operation there were numerous explosions, some of which could be heard as far away as Heathrow. And over the lifetime of the mill seven workers died.

It was this aspect of the site that caught my attention. So, at the start of the holidays, I began to research explosions. And while I was away in Majorca I spent many happy hours on the internet (feeling uncomfortably aware that some big brother somewhere was aware of the person in Puerto Pollenca typing ‘gunpowder’ and ‘the aftereffects of explosions’ into Google). And this was how shock waves became the theme of my summer.

There was one picture in particular that caught my attention. Not because it was useful for the Crane Park concept –

shock waves but because it made me smile.

And I got this idea in my head that while we were in Scotland I should try and persuade the rest of the group to re-enact a ‘shock waves’ moment on the beach up there.

Which is how it came to pass that, if you had been on the Achnahaird beach near Alchiltibuie on a particularly blustery day a couple of weeks ago, you might have been a little surprised to see ten fifty somethings drawing circles in the sand and leaping into the air.

First draw your circles....
First draw your circles….

Practice your jumping,,,,
Then practice your jumping,,,,

Now altogether....
Now altogether….

I said all together.....
I said all together…..

Don't think the dogs quite get it....
Don’t think the dogs quite get it….

Ok so maybe the jumping isn’t quite as accomplished as the original….

But if anyone else happens to find themselves on a beach with nothing better to do….

Just remember you don’t have to be young to have a laugh.