On Tuesday I found myself not having to work all day, so we went out for the afternoon. First, we visited Reeth, a village at the junction of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, in search of a safe home for some hedgehogs, a good distance from the main road. If I were a tourist, of all the villages I know in the Dales, Reeth is the one I'd enjoy visiting the most. It's in the valley, but raised up slightly which, combined with its location at the junction of two Dales, means that the views from its paths and roads -not to mention its graveyard- are spectacular. There is an unusally high density of pubs and teashops, too, without it feeling unduly commercial.
From Reeth, we drove to Richmond and paid a visit to The Station. Richmond's disused railway station has been converted into a cinema-cum-café-cum-art gallery. There's a handful of trendy shops tucked away in it, too. We went to see the exhibition that's on there at the moment: Press Freedom: A Celebration of Printmaking. (I dislike the way people these days use words like celebration -and festival- when what they're really talking about are marketting opportunities - but enough of that).
First we stopped off at the café: 15 minutes sat reading The Guardian, drinking coffee in a condusive atmosphere, thinking, when not reading, that I ought to do this more often. Then on, to the exhibition. If you've not far to travel it's well worth going to see it. This isn't a reflection on the other artists, it's merely a reflection of how receptive I was feeling on the day, but for me one artist stood out and made a deep impression on me. There are a handful of prints by Margaret Ashman, from her flowers and birds and her signdance series. I spent a long time just stood looking at her Sweet Song. (Do click on the link and have a look for yourself). I'm not sure how to put it, but in some uncanny way she creates the impression that she can portray the interior as well as the exterior of her subject.
5 years ago