Saturday, 6 June 2009

Two Cheltenham festivals

This weekend, the high-profile Cheltenham Science Festival draws to a close, and the 2009 Cheltenham Art Festival & Open Studios - a Cinderella in comparison - sparks into life. Yesterday, local MP Martin Horwood (pictured here) nailed his colours to the mast at the Science Festival, in introducing Jonathon Porritt to speak on "The Green Resurgent."

We need a dramatically accelerated change in our lives, Jonathon said in the course of a punchy presentation; that's pretty blindingly bloody obvious. He reported that one of the Nobel prizewinning scientists, who assembled in Britain recently, said 50% of the world's energy needs could come from renewable sources within 10 years if we we were to move onto a war footing: by this, he seemed excited. He also spoke of the Labour Government of the past 12 years as illiberal and authoritarian: this, by contrast, kept him awake at nights. It rather appears that all depends on who the dictator is.

Today, Ann Sohn-Rethel and I opened our joint exhibition of pottery and photography as part of the biennal Cheltenham Art Festival. A respectable number trickled into the house to have a look during the day: one couple were refugees from a rained off bowls match, so perhaps the dismal weather helped. Takings were up on two years ago, when we also combined, but numbers were slightly down.

Cheltenham's new Mayor, Lloyd Surgenor (pictured here with his wife Ann) was able to put in an appearance, amidst a host of other engagements. Sadly it seems that the elegant chain of office was too valuable for him to risk wearing it for a visit to our house. A keen racing fan, he went away having bought a photograph of Kauto Star. The nice bit about being Mayor, he said, was having to do all those things you always wanted to do but could never quite fit in.

Ours is just one of 72 venues, open till 14th June: the Festival website has all the details.

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