Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

 Most of the time I enjoy visiting different artists, it gives me the opportunity to choose the pieces of work that I feel are most suited to our gallery, but more importantly it gives me a little
insight into the world of that maker / creator.
It enables me to have a greater understanding of why they create what they do,
plus also on many occasions I get to see their source of inspiration.
I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities and it really helps when talking with prospective 
purchasers who have not been as fortunate, but who still desire to have first hand knowledge
of the artist.

 So my many trips around the country are usually something that I enjoy, plus the solitude
of a long drive gives me the opportunity to think through problems.
Believe me there are many when running a gallery.
My journeys take me to many places around our island and as a result I have come to regard many places as "home", or at least I feel comfortable in that region, town or even hotel.
But there are occasional exceptions.

 About three weeks ago I experienced one of these.
I wanted to visit various sculptors who happened to be showing together in Herefordshire,
it was a good idea to visit as I could reduce three trips down to one.

Unfortunately, but as usual for me I left all of my travel arrangements until the evening before I left.
Never again, this time I have learnt my lesson and I will try never, ever to repeat it.
I booked a room at a hotel in the town Leominster which was the closest location that I could find to my destination as I had left it so late.
The pictures on the "hotel" web site looked pretty good, and I admit that I did pat myself on the back and thought "well done John, you know how to find them".

Trouble was when I arrived on a cold foggy night at 10.00pm I couldn't find the hotel.
I have come to really trust my 'satnav' but this time it let me down
as it brought me to an 'Indian takeaway' restaurant which was situated next to a very "sleazy" pub.

I parked the car and wandered the streets trying to find the hotel,
I confess I didn't wander far as the area that I was situated in seemed "slightly" dangerous,
it felt like there was violence [and a kebab shop] at every corner so I decided to take 'satnav'
on trust and walked back to the 'takeaway'.
There I explained that I was looking for a certain hotel [no names mentioned].
I was told by two people that there was no such place, then a young woman of ethnic origin called out "yes, yes sir this is us".
Oh shit.

It turns out that the website photographs were images of various hotels,
none of them being the "doss" hole that I was to stay in.

 I have never slept above an Indian takeaway before and please God I never stay above this one again.
This was "the" most frightening night of my life.

I was given a key and directed up many stairways and corridors which brought me to a plywood door.
Inside was my "apartment".
I have no pictures to show as I left my camera, cloths and everything dear to me in the car
as I didn't want anything tainted by this place.
Filthy, frightening and vile would be the nicest thing that I can say about this room.
The windows were broken and covered with tape, the bed was stained
[I don't even want to think with what]
and the "bathroom" had blood splashed up the wall.
Why did I stay you may ask?
I don't know myself, but it was too late at night to find an alternative, I should have slept in the car
I now know, so I can only plead stupidity.

The door had no lock so I wedged a chair against it and lay on the bed fully clothed,
then prayed for sleep.

Of course I survived as I am here to tell the abbreviated story.
But never again, in future I will plan ahead [at least a day] and I hope that a night like that 
never happens to me [or you] again.

Was it worth it?
Some of it was some of it wasn't.

Above are a few of the reasons that made it so [there are others but I lack the pictures].

The porcelain work by Tony Laverick really is sensational, it really is translucent,
when a light shines inside it just glows.
He really is an excellent craftsman, plus one of the nicest, honest gentleman I have dealings with, 
I would like him even if I didn't love his "wafer" thin porcelain.

The smoke fired ceramics by Christine Gittins were also a good reason for the journey.

But of course not all good work requires a "night from Hell".
Jan Mayle [a very old friend] brings her ceramic figures here to the gallery for me to choose from.
This year she has excelled with her gentle [old looking] winter pieces.
Just what was needed for our ice cold December.

There have been other visits, some good some not,
I might tell you, might not,
but at least with them I was able to sleep in a bed not on it.

I must go now, for some reason I have the urge to have a bath.

Oh! The things I do for art.


  1. oh Yikes, the things we do for art's sake but it was worth these ceramics are truly sublime!

    1. I think it was worth it Mo.
      It would have been better if I had slept in the car, or had I known it I could have slept in the workshop of a sculpture that I haven't mentioned.
      We live and learn.

      In case I don't speak to you before Christmas, I hope you have a nice one and a really good new year.

  2. The ceramics are very well worth it. I sympathize with your night of hell. One worth while tip, if they question you wanting a room for the whole night, read between the lines. I once booked into a hotel in Salford (who reacted this way to the booking) it turned out to be a not so special brothel.

    1. We must have stayed at similar places Charlotte.

      They offered to bring an "Indian" to my room, I assumed they meant a takeaway but I'm not too sure.
      The place was how I imagined a brothel would be like and I'm sure the rooms were used as such, it made me feel very sad to think of how desperate some people must be, or the circumstances they are in.

      But at least I lived though it, and to be honest with the things that happened that I have left out I wasn't sure I would.
      I was hoping that being an "older" gentleman might work in my favour.
      It did [if only they knew that inside I am only eighteen].

      I think that for both of us if we should happen to stay in a brothel again we should at least make sure that it is "upmarket".

  3. Yes, I'd say "upmarket" would be the way to go. Makes for a great story, though, John. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Correct Hollis, only 'upmarket' brothels in the future.
    After all I have a reputation to uphold.

    I just know that if the English potters read this they will think, "it sounds like John has already moved upmarket".

  5. Sorry you had a bad experience. The art is good though. Thanks for showing it.

    When I go to textile shows at the NEC near Birmingham, I stay in a hotel above an Indian Restaurant. It is Great! The photos are exactly like what you get inside. They are very friendly and very helpful. Breakfast is good,too. http://www.gableshotelsolihull.co.uk/ You do have to ring up though because the website form doesn't necessarily work.
    you have to go around to Damson lane to get in because it is on the A45. The prices are quite reasonable,too.
    All the best for the Holiday Season.
    Sandy in Bracknell

    1. Thank you Sandy
      It is good to know where there is somewhere that is OK to stay.
      I must admit that I did become bothered that I was putting down Indian Restaurants.
      Far from it as this is where I usually eat when away.
      I think that my problem was that this wasn't a restaurant or hotel or even a B+B, I just got carried away with how good the offer was compared with the pictures shown of the "hotel".
      It was just too good to be true.
      I don't know how to avoid the same mistake if false pictures are displayed but I will be very wary in future and will look for reviews, but a recommendation is always better,
      so yours is going into my notebook.

      I hope you enjoy your Christmas.

  6. Hi John, yep sound like you have moved up market, I hope you got a complimentary Kebab and stole the Towels, Bath robe and shower cap.
    And I hope you wiped your feet on the way out. you should write a fly on the wall documentary.
    any way glad to hear you got out Alive. all the best for 2013, from Paul & Marion

  7. Happy New Year Paul

    I have only just seen your comment [7th Jan].
    I am hoping to call in and see you this month as I have something I want to discuss with you.
    Make sure there is cider available.

  8. Brilliant anecdote about the 'hotel' - love stuff like that (last time I had similar experiences was in Nairobi about ten years ago) - shame you didn't have your camera! Just came across this site through typical internet serendipity (was glancing at Terry Pastor's work etc) and oddly enough I live in LM too.