Down by the river
Back in March, I met Twitter and Facebook friend Dean Harkness (@Deanus on twitter) for the first time in Peterborough… we had a fab time! One of the wonderful things about Twitter – that you can make such fab friends as a result of it! At that time, we did a writing challenge, much to Dean’s surprise (I know, I’m mean) which I blogged about on 30th March, and we kind of promised ourselves that we’d do something similar the next time we met.
Last Friday, we met up again, again in Peterborough. Strangely, the weather when we’d met in March was amazing, like a Summer’s day, and we had sat outside Peterborough Cathedral on the grass and eaten lunch and wrote our cathedral pieces. This time, on what should have been a Summer’s day, guess what? You guessed it – it was like March! A shower greeted us at the station, and it was chilly and pretty windy for most of the day. Did it spoil it? Did it ‘eck! It was fab! We spent ages chatting in a cafe and eating paninis (nom nom) then wandered and chatted even more. Then we sat by the fountains with a hot chocolate… and chatted a bit more. We met a man selling the Big Issue who had the most gorgeous dog called Willow, who was cuddled up in a sleeping bag and wearing a rather striking hat. She was 14 and apparently still loved to run around. She clearly wasn’t in the mood for running around when we saw her! After that, we had a wander down to the river.
We hadn’t discovered the river on our last trip and were both really pleasantly surprised. What a stunning place. The trees that bordered it – clipped willows – were amazing. They reminded us of the Ents in Lord of the Rings – they really did look as if they might stride out to meet us and shake our hands. We met a gorgeous black staffie, tied up to a boat, who was so friendly and boisterous that he knocked Dean’s glasses off at one point! (I only laughed a bit, honest.) And we saw a rather bizarre site, a dead pike laid beside a boat ring. A sad site really… made an interesting pic though!
We both picked our sketching spots. There was an area across the river of fencing and different wooden structures, with warehouse type buildings set back beyond greenery. The contrasts struck me, so I decided to hone in on this. I’d taken a few lead pencils but chose just to use black pen. On a recent sketching trip with Angie Shawcroft (@AngieShawcroft on Twitter) I had sketched from a cafe just using black pen, something I hadn’t done before, and had really enjoyed it. There’s a different feel to it. It feels more fluid and spontaneous somehow. So I did the same with this sketch. I added the colour in with Inktense pencils (which are brilliant by the way) when I got home later. The end result…
Dean sat a few feet back from me to take in the scene from a distance, incorporating some lovely trees, a boat, and me on the bench sketching. He said, after, that he likes to incorporate people into his pictures. Dean also drew in a passing swan. I love this idea of injecting life into an otherwise still scene. I also like that Dean’s picture is so different to mine in technique, much softer and more subtle. Dean chose to do his sketch in pencil, building up the shades of grey afterwards. Neither of us had time to add colour at the time, but I know Dean intends to. Dean’s lovely picture…
Our intention, after the sketching, was to head back to the station… but, we had one or two, what you might call, diversions! One was a shop, where we bought fab and funky fridge magnets after spending 20 minutes deciding which ones we loved the most. The next diversion was back on the river. We discovered the most amazing bridge. It was incredibly stunning, and what made it even more so, was that the sun had decided to make an appearance and lit up the structure, as you can see from the pic!
It occurred to us then that we might be a tad, errm, lost… and late! We ended up legging it across Peterborough like a couple of crooks and getting befuddled by the railway signposts, according to which, there are half a dozen stations in Peterborough! But we made it, with a few mins to spare, both sweating buckets, gasping for breath and laughing our socks off. It was a top day with a top bloke! Thanks Dean 😉
In a week’s time, I shall be visiting the lovely Jane Howard (@JaneHoward on twitter) Who knows what we may have in store for you (sniggers).