Inside Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews
For the second half of chapter 2 of the Book of Trespass, i went to Sudbury to go inside Gainsborough’s famous portrait of private property.
It was a blazing hot day.
I sat and drew Gainsborough’s famous tree for a while. It’s a tree that reminded me of rob macfarlane’s Heartwood poem: 500 years old, it was ragged and storm ravaged, but “a cathedral of life”, buzzing and hosting a myriad of animals. And then it was time to explore.
This was the most tranquil of sunny days – absolutely perfect with its cooling gentle breeze. Shaded by the willow trees, i was very drowsy and could have fallen asleep quite easily, except for the fear of being shouted at…
There are two absolutely stunning lakes here, the only open water for miles around, unless you count the river Stour. We do have navigation rights to this river, but its only deep enough here to dip yr toes. if you want to swim in a natural space, and you don’t have a car, then this lake is your only option. it’s not fair that it remains empty and unused, especially when the cold water and wildlife have such benefits to our mental health.
so, obviously, i take a dip, swim round the island, cool off and feel deeply embedded in nature. My body feels permeated by the sun, soothed by the water, i have a luxurious feeling in my body and soul of complete relaxation.
As i leave, i pass through the remains of the common land Gainsborough painted so lovingly. Cows munching and drinking, villagers walking and hanging out, a gorgeous dream-come-true feel to the perfect harmony of the place. it seems so perfect that it is hard to imagine we once took this for granted, that this was the norm. Also worth mentioning, not a scrap of litter to be seen anywhere.