Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring deluge

I fondly thought that finishing the Legends book would buy a little breathing space from what has been a constant intensity of work since the beginning of 2012. Not so. Preparations for the Brocéliande trip and making arrangements for a group walking holiday on Belle-Ile in the summer took up quite a time, as well as organising my book launch. Last week we miraculously escaped the terrible weather in the forest of Brocéliande, managing to be inside (e.g. the Arthurian centre at the Chateau de Comper) in the worst storms and enjoying some beautiful walks in varied landscapes.
On return I did a guided tour of Morlaix for a mixed English/French group, which was fun, and then the long awaited moment of bringing the Legends of Brittany into the light of day with a short talk and some readings. Yesterday I was supposed to be all day at the Salon des Légendes in the Monts d'Arrée, which promised to be a major event after its great beginnings last year. Unfortunately the weather was atrocious, and after sitting for nearly six hours in a wet tent, with gale force winds raging and feet reduced to blocks of ice, I gave up. It took several hours at home to thaw my bad foot properly and I wish in a way that I had not risked its condition, despite meeting up with lots of fellow writers I like very much, and even selling a few books. Now apart from a Brittany Walks event tomorrow, I must prepare Saints Shore Way information and questions for a forthcoming meeting in Cornwall with the person in charge of the British Saints Way. I intend to spend the rest of the year working on the development of the SSW here in Brittany, and also a second connected project on a long-distance circuit in the interior, from Roscoff/Morlaix down to the Monts d'Arrée and back up via the Parish Closes. In any left-over time, I'll think about a new direciton for my next book....

Monday, April 09, 2012

Trévarez and Batbox

I've been working on translations for the exhibition Batbox by Erik Samakh which opened at the Chateau de Trévarez on Saturday. First I did the information panels for the exhibition, and now there's a long discussion between the artist and an art historian to complete for the catalogue.
It's been an interesting job, and seeing the whole thing in situ at the weekend was even more so. The Batbox installation is basically a blackout of the huge stables room, with a mulched floor and the sounds of bats, transferred from the chateau itself which is inhabited by a protected colony of Greater horseshoe bats.
What was even more striking than the echoing bat calls and wing-strokes was the reaction of human beings - not to the bats, but to each other in conditions of almost total darkness. It revealed our virtually complete spatial ignorance and a deep rooted fear of moving without seeing. People were bumping into each other, putting out tentative hands to feel rather than sense a clear way ahead, far more aware of other bodily presence to be avoided than the absent presence of the bats themselves.