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  • Writer's pictureWill Topley

21st in France

A trip to France

We had quite a busy Ascot week this year. It started off with a lunch on the Sunday at Paul Cole’s Yard at Whatcombe and was followed by 3 days of racing at Ascot. From Ascot we had to go to Poole harbour to take the Ferry to France where our friends the Pilkingtons were having a party for their daughter Silvy’s 21st. It was obviously an occasion for the motor home, and we had badges for Her Majesty’s Representatives car park so we parked there on the Friday and drive to Poole after racing to sleep the night at the port. Typically the car park was full of new lux cars attended by rather bored chauffeurs and busy car park attendants so the motor home brightened their lives a bit.

Sophy and motor home parked in the HMR Car Park

When we got to the house in France we parked in the orchard overlooking the house. From here I painted a quick sketch of the house to give Silvy.

La Boissais

La Boissais for Silvy w

Painting for Silvy

The party was theme was The French Revolution but we only heard that at the last minute. I could have kept my Ascot clothes on for it but didn’t want to wreck my top hat so took a selection of red white and blue stuff. We went to bed at about 1am, the party went on all night. I slept fitfully and in the morning the music had changed to a sort of Dub step sound. After coffee and a light breakfast I went down with my Pocharde kit to see what was going on. A hard core of about 30 were still at it. Beer instead of wine but much the same. I started painting. Every now and again someone got up and moved somewhere else. Occasionally someone would  leave to sleep in a field. I saw one girl lying still on her side in a beautiful lemon yellow ball gown and started to put her in but decided she would have been better in her own picture so with some regret I painted her out. Instead I concentrated on figures round the bonfire that had been lit in front of the barn where supper was held the night before.

Aftermath of party

The painting of it

The paintings didn’t take much more than a couple of hours each and I found that slapping the paint on quite thick and adjusting it as I went was really liberating. I shall start back on one of my larger more studied interiors this week and I hope to bring some re found freshness to the work.

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