Monday, 23 April 2012

aldermaston, stories, lustre, nano-tech, quince

Had lunch with Alan and Charlotte at near Aldermaston yesterday.

Fantastic drive between Wantage and the A34, cross-country, particularly on the way back when the view from Farnborough was even more dramatic than usual, April showers swinging over the Thames Valley like chain curtains.

Farnborough is the highest point on the Berkshire Downs and the view is said to be the one Hardy had in mind when, in Jude the Obscure, Jude sees Christminster, shimmering in the valley, for the first time.

Alan was at school with Dad. He founded the wonderful Aldermaston Pottery, a fictional version of which features in Invisible.

The pace of our time at Alan and Charlotte's home was gentle and relaxing and the conversation stimulating and fun. Lots of wonderful stories about people and trips to different parts of the world with exhibitions of lustre pottery.

Loved hearing about the three Umbrian lustre towns and Alan and Charlotte's trip to one of them for a recent lecture. (The importance of the ancient lustre technique to current nano-technology research was a revelation.)

At one point talk turned to the subject of theatre critics. Alan told us about a friend, one of whose plays had been savaged. The friend had lamented, 'Don't they understand how hard it is to write even a bad play.'

Before leaving with a dozen bantam eggs, we went into Alan and Charlotte's garden and looked at the old apple trees and the quince that was coming into blossom and is shown above.

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