One sunny afternoon last autumn I found myself at a table in the yard of the Forget Me Not Inn on the Old North Road near Gwelf. There were several occupied tables nearby which inspired me to take out my sketchbook and make a few notes.
What first caught my attention was a table of very intimidating looking old women who were having a lively meeting at one of the out lying tables near the trees. There seemed to be an unusual number of birds and cats in their general vicinity who were making themselves quite at home on and near their table. The other thing I noticed about them was that there drinking glasses remained full despite the fact that no one seemed to be serving them, and I shouldn't have to tell you that they were working their elbows quite regularly. I couldn't help but start drawing these ladies right away. What a group of terrific old characters they were.
The importance of discretion in a situation such as this cannot be overstated. It's best if you don't get caught drawing in public, especially if alcohol is present or the subjects have spell casting capabilities. You could have your sketchbook torched, your fingers frozen or your eyes crossed for even the mildest misdemeanor, and heaven help you if some more grievous offense, real or imagined, was suspected. I continued on cautiously from a safe distance.
There was also a table of monks close by who seemed to be more than interested in what the old ladies were up to. They were taking notes and whispering intently among themselves as they kept their disapproving eyes on the boisterous ladies across the way. The brothers were all drinking what is locally known as "Tar Ale" which is very similar to Guinness in most respects but somewhat sweeter and a tad thicker. I also was drinking this, although it had not yet started to show in the drawing.
The last of the occupied tables was populated by a group of Foresters who I had seen earlier in the day clearing some recent storm debris from one of the local side roads. Many hours of wood chopping and heavy hauling had led them here for dinner and drinks. They were all wearing their distinctive Forester caps and boots. They were not showing the least bit of interest in either the monks or the ladies. To a man they were interested in only one thing - our joyful and charismatic waitress, Tandy Loomis.
Happy Travels everyone and peace be with you.