Date Posted: 3rd February 2020

Every day books are arriving by post; books about art, cycling, biography and novels by some of our leading writers. I love this time of year when I can curl up and read whatever the time of day (or night) and not feel guilty. I will be meeting and introducing some of the people who wrote these beautiful books in a few weeks when the Words by the Water team will roll in from Dartington in Devon, set up camp in Theatre by the Lake and Keswick will come alive with chatter, debate, ideas and inspiration. Cars and drivers will shuttle between Keswick and Penrith picking writers up at the station. There is something very special about meeting the writer of a book. It will have taken time, patience, hard work and probably tears.  Priority booking for friends of the festival and friends of the theatre opened last week and I am told it has been brisk with some events already sold out.  Public booking begins today so don’t delay. You can see the programme on line www.wayswithwords.co.uk , book on line at   www.theatrebythelake.com or telephone the box office 01768774411

I’m looking forward to telling you about Harmony in Red, an oil painting (1957) by Anne Redpath OBE;RSA, LLB, ARA which has spent over 40 years in a tiny barn in Borrowdale and 20 years in the storeroom of Keswick Museum (and a brief sojourn in Hawick and Glasgow!).  It has an interesting story to tell and the plot thickens every passing day.  Just yesterday morning the present owners of the barn rang and invited me over to meet them. I haven’t been inside that barn since 1999 just before my friend Rosalie died aged 97. That was also my last look at Harmony in Red in situ above her fireplace.  A lot has happened in the .intervening 20 years. I’ll tell you more on Monday 9th March at 6.00 pm. . I am putting together lots of images to illustrate the talk.

I’m a bit concerned because the talk lends itself to the intimacy of The Studio but it is in the Main House at the theatre and I’m having nightmares that the audience will be in single figures spread out over that vast space!  Please book up and tell your friends to come as well.  It’s always lovely to meet old and new friends.  See you there.

A 16 page booklet telling the story of the painting is at the printers’ at the moment and will be available to purchase at the theatre and on line with proceeds going to Keswick Museum who are always short of funding and have been very helpful in my researches