How do people find their inspiration? Characters? Places? Images? Events?
I'm just home from London, where we were fortunate enough to be at the Olympic Stadium on Super Saturday. Now that's inspiration. We'd been looking forward to going since last summer and when we finally stepped off the train in Stratford, along with several tens of thousands of other people, the buzz was palpable. I dislike crowds, so the thought of getting to and from the Games had been depressing, but I needn't have worried. There were dozens of cheerful volunteers, all helpful, all friendly, all eager to keep us on the right path. There were even occasional crowd warm-up volunteers, perched atop tall chairs with megaphones, all doing a jolly good job of engaging us and making us laugh. Even the soldiers directing us through security looked and behaved as if they were actors in a Fringe show.
Everyone was cheerful. Everyone was happy to chat, tell you about what they'd seen, what their experiences were, how long you'd have to wait in this queue, where they'd come from, how lucky they'd been with tickets. Everyone was happy! And that was before the remarkable GB medals.
Inspiration? Of course. Provided in abundance by the athletes, who have worked not just for four years but for a good part of their lives to do themselves and all of us proud. Provided by the organisers, who have mounted an event on such a colossal scale it's barely conceivable. Provided by the incredible landscaping - the meadows of wild flowers were magnificent. Provided by the occasion itself, from silliness (those thrones Bradley Wiggins had to sit on outside Hampton Court?) to the sublime (who will ever forget the Olympic 'cauldron' rising up at the end of the opening ceremony, lit by seven young athletes of the future and with a flame for every participating country. I'd love to know who the inspiration behind that was.
We thought that experience would be impossible to follow. Not so. Our kind hosts took us to Glyndebourne on Monday. For those who haven't heard of Glyndebourne, it's a terribly English kind of institution, an opera house in rolling English countryside, where you dress in dinner suits and evening dresses and picnic on the lawn before listening to opera. I'm not really an opera fan, to be honest, but the invitation was irresistible. The lawns and gardens were sublime, the picnic perfect and the Ravel double bill was a delight.
For those of you who've read my blog posts before, you'll know I'm hot on visual images. These two Glyndebourne productions provided me such rich pickings I barely know where to start. Try two dozen shepherds and shepherdesses tumbling out of toile-de-jouy wallpaper (ripped off the wall by the nasty little boy who has destroyed their idyll). Or twenty trees taking a bow at the end. A teapot having extremely suggestive relations with a cup of tea (really). It goes on. And on.
I'm home now, and sated. Characters? Places? Images? Events? I've enough in my head to feast on for many months.
Oh - and by the way, what are the odds of three random strangers on one small picnic table all celebrating their birthday that day? My husband was one of them. And a crowd of red-caped, moustachioed, scarlet swim-hatted youngsters sang them all happy birthday.