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A Potter's Moll: Two Ethans

… My friend’s grandson came home from playgroup and announced that there were two Ethans in the group, ‘But they’ve got different faces so you know which is which.’…

Liz Robison brings further news of events in a well-filled life.

Do please visit the Web site of Liz's husband, internationally known potter Jim Robison http://www.jimrobison.co.uk/

I’ve heard of two new babies this week, which gladdens the heart, especially as the parents of one of them had given up hope of conceiving. This miracle baby has been given the grand name of Solomon, the second such named baby I’ve heard about this year.

The second baby is to be named Ethan. I had to laugh when the rather shy dad gave us the news: ‘Baby put in an appearance on Monday.’ (Sounded as if it was very temporary.)

My friend’s grandson came home from playgroup and announced that there were two Ethans in the group, ‘But they’ve got different faces so you know which is which.’

Snow and daffodils have made an interesting combination in the last couple of weeks. We had a visit to Lotherton Hall, Leeds on Good Friday, and after exploring the collections in the house, planned to visit the bird walk and the woodland. When we came out of the house it was hailing and the wind was blowing a gale, so no walk.

Incidentally, the Gascoigne family who built Lotherton Hall is yet another one whose fortunes were based on coal, as the Wentworths of Bretton Hall near Wakefield and the owners of Temple Newsam, near Leeds.

A highlight for me this week was a visit from my sister who lives in North London. She had some work in Penistone so was able to spend a night with me. This was especially welcome as the potter has been in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at a ceramics conference.

Margo and I believe we are slightly psychic with each other – one will phone as the other is walking towards the phone to ring her. We walked across the fields as twilight fell and then sat on a bench up by the trees looking down the valley and across to Cartworth Moor as lights began to go on in the scattered houses over there.

Simultaneously we both sang:
When lamps are lighted in the town
The boats sail out to sea….
And laughed. When we were kids we were on holiday in Wales and as we were walking along together an old lady stopped and asked: ‘Sisters?’ in the strongest of strong Welsh accents. It still sends us into fits of giggles when we say it to each other.

We have a course starting in the Pottery studio this weekend for nine students who want to know more about the mysteries of glazing pottery. It is an area not covered by many courses and the scientific aspects of the process frustrate potters.

Sunday night will be a get-to-know-you session over a big vegetable curry, which helps the group to gel ready for the first session on Monday morning. So I shall be chopping and dicing away in the kitchen to feed them all. I love it and so do they.

The Guardian newspaper recently gave away booklets of work by great twentieth century poets. T S Eliot annoys me – so pretentiously erudite. I do not want to have to learn Italian before I can read The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock. Seamus Heaney on the other hand uses his learning with a much lighter touch, by ending a poem with a word that the reader probably has to research. The word is omphalos, and when you discover that it is the Greek word for navel, you realise it is the best possible choice in the context.

I had a meal in an Italian restaurant recently with my daughter-in-law elect. As I was paying the bill, the young Italian waiter said to me: ‘You look like-a my Momma.’ ‘Then you are a very lucky boy,’ I replied.

Finally: how many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: One. But the light bulb has really got to want to change. More from me in a fortnight.


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