The day started at half past five. Actually, it started five minutes before that. Just before my alarm clock went, I dreamt it was morning, and I was dancing around our kitchen in the brilliant sunshine wearing an English football jersey, singing “Three Lions”.
A good way to start the day. On to Loughborough, for Return of the Ring 2012!
Except for the brilliant sunshine.
Got the train from Aachen at a quarter past eight, travelled through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, all in brilliant sunshine. When the train emerged on the other side of the tunnel, it had started to rain.
Come on, England. Do you really want to be as cliché as that?
Yes, said England happily. See what else I have in store for you!
I met Shaun Gunner, deputy chair of the Tolkien Society, at St Pancras, and we travelled up to Loughborough together, delightfully chatting about all things Tolkien and convincing ourselves that the rain was getting less and the sky was getting brighter.
The sky opened its floodgates as we got off the bus at Loughborough campus.
I hadn’t been prepared for rain. I hadn’t been prepared for being outside. I hadn’t been prepared for a campus that is as large as the village I live in (and then some). And I haven’t been this wet since… oh, actually, half an hour ago.
When I dragged my suitcase (which I deemed the safest way to get my precious – yes, precioussss – prints and watercolours to the art exhibition) across the campus, getting hopelessly lost and running around in circles, Good Old Blighty decided she needed to give me another demonstration of real English weather, and even under the tree where I had sought refuge, soaked me to the skin.
Shaun found me and offered me his coat – which I asked his permission to hang over my suitcase; not keen on watering my watercolours – and we finally made it to the James France building where the art show will be.
It was still in the process of being set up, but I had stepped into Tolkien heaven.
Ted Nasmith’s art was already there and mounted to the walls, and on a stall of new and old books and calendars I found a real treasure – the 1985 Tolkien calendar by Swedish artist Inger Edelfeldt, which influenced my view of Middle-earth far more than anything else ever would. If I can, I somehow need to get hold of this. I need to get a closer look tomorrow. Today, I had to keep my distance as I was dripping all over the place.
So now I’m drying my clothes, cursing the fact that I brought one single pullover and no raincoat – Jenny, you *knew* it was England, August is just no bloody excuse – getting more and more excited by the hour for tomorrow, when I’ll be meeting Anke Eissmann, Ted Nasmith, Cor Blok, and a bunch of other people on whom I’ll keep you posted!