**Note I'm now calling these travel posts updates as my desire to post daily doesn't seem to match the amount of hours I actually have in the day! Enjoy and big hugs from Dublin!
After a fabulous weekend in Brighton with 24 beautiful creatives, a catch up with my amazing friend Erin Faith Allen who came to paint and film moi for her documentary series on women artists, and a perfect home stay with the amazing Tamara Laporte and family, it was time for mi amor and I to head off to the Welsh countryside for three days of rest and respite before my upcoming five day retreat in West Cork Ireland.
the lovely Clare Campbell founder of Big Love Sista lost in splendiferous colour!
the irrepressible Tam and I- so excited to announce that I will be teaching in Life Book again in 2016!
We arrived at our Airbnb studio in the Welsh countryside and settled in before enjoying this magnificent sunset, looking forward to days ahead of rambling through fields and exploring castles.....early the next day we set off with vague but friendly directions from our host to look for the walking path signs that would take us across the lush verdant landscape to the historic ruins of Raglan castle, a ruin dating back to the Norman Conquest.........
We begin by roaming through the church graveyard with tombstones dating back to the 1600's, and happen upon another rambler who tells us the footpath begins several houses down....don't be put off by wandering across private farmland he says. Its pretty well marked.
across undulating daisy covered meadows we stride, breathing in the fine Welsh air, feeling free and adventurous!
We enter a field and these gorgeous horses come running over to check us out. They are curious but seem friendly. Still, I'm a little nervous being the uninvited guest on their home turf and not really knowing much about horses.
We spy some cows and bulls in the distance and laughingly discuss what we would do if a bull came running towards us aggressively.
Mi amor tells me we would have to throw ourselves over the 6 foot high, thorn covered, barbed wire bound hedges into the next field to safety.
I wonder out loud if I could actually do that and he says he would throw me over himself if I hesitated.
Ah my Prince Charming!
We stroll the castle grounds for a couple of hours, our minds filled with history, take in some lunch at the castle cafe and head back out across the fields confident that we will remember the way back.
Then the real adventure begins.
At some point we realise that perhaps we are in the wrong field. It feels unfamiliar and we look around to see if we can find our bearings. On higher ground about 100metres from us we spy a herd of cows and young bulls.
They see us too and some of them stand and turn our way. They look at us intently and.... I cant help it, my imagination begins to go a little crazy. I feel uneasy. Their gaze feels more malevolent than benign and I tell mi amor I'm going to skirt the lower hedge looking for a way out rather than cross
the field towards them.
We edge our way around the bottom of the field, me making nervous jokes about their alert gaze and then, in an instant, they start to charge, en masse, TOWARDS US!!!!!
We bolt!!! Knees lifted high, backpack bouncing..........I am not reassured to see Marco sprinting too.......AHEAD of me!!!
We run towards a corner of the field straight into a bog of mud and cow manure and one shoe sinks deep into the mud and stays there when I lift my foot.
We hide in the hedge and the cattle lose interest and head in another direction out of sight.
We both start to laugh, a kind of hysterical laughter on my part as my fleetfooted hero digs my shoe out of the mire with a stick and helps me to clean it on a tree,
just enough to enable me stick my foot back into it!
Not finding a way out we skirt the hedge again, this time heading in the general right direction and hoping, praying that the beasts have run off to another field.
A few minutes later, at the top of a rise, Marco looks back at me and mouths the words, "they're just over the rise"
I mouth back a string of colourful language and we decide, on the spot, to scale the hedge........
THE THORN COVERED, BARBED WIRE COATED HEDGE!
We find a section with a slight clearing and mi amor shows me how its done. With great ease he pushes back a thorny branch, climbs atop a post, skilfully avoiding all things spiky and leaps to the other side. It looks easy enough.....
I follow, doing pretty well with just a couple of small snags and find myself balancing precariously and inelegantly atop the same post looking down at what looks to me, like an ankle snapping jump to the other side.
That is to say, most of me freezes. My legs however, turn into wobbly jelly sticks and I cling delicately to a thorny bush, contemplating my options.
"Jump!" says my prince. "I'll catch you!"
"I'll bowl you over!" I say,
"It doesn't matter!" he replies
and I do it.
I jump and we are free from the ravaging cows....we trudge the next field nonchalantly and actually find them at the top of the field but now they are on the other side of a wooden gate and we are safe. They are frisky and jostling and I am sooooo glad there is a barrier between us.
I pose for a silly pic with my muddy shoe.....I might have even pulled a face or two at them and shouted "hasta la vista baby" as we strode in the opposite direction around another corner
AND straight towards another freakin' herd!!!!
We backtrack quickly knowing that we are going to have to face them and I swear they all have an evil glint in their eye as we head back towards them. They are pushing up against the metal gate which is adjacent to the actual walkers gate that we need to go through. We literally have to find a way to get through the seething mass of cattle to safety.
Marco tells me he is just going to have to divert them and before I know it he leaps over the fence towards them, yelling madly, jumping wildly and waving his arms. This confuses them for a moment and they back off a couple of feet which gives me a chance to climb the fence and straddle the next one before jumping down to safety on the other side.
We head back to our accommodation, crack open a bottle of vino and count our blessings. Next day I spend the day painting, surprisingly no cows appear;p
Since then we've crossed the ferry to Ireland and had lots more adventure...
I even braved the castle tower stairs and kissed the Blarney stone, but that's a story for another day...
hasta la vista baby!!
yeah I'm tough like that...... ;p
lots of love Tracy xox
Don't forget that earlybird registration opens July 22 for the next session of Paint Mojo the ecourse!
if you don't have a copy yet my book is back in stock after selling out when the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert raved a little about it.
You never know, it might just open up a whole world of possibility for you :)