I’ve visited Olveston several times over the last few years but always as a parent help with school groups and instead of enjoying this magnificent home I’ve been preoccupied with worrisome thoughts like ‘ have we lost anyone?’ and ‘ please will they not knock anything over’ or ask inappropriate questions like ‘when are we getting back on the bus?’
This year when we visited there were no children in the group, just two other Dunedinites and a couple from Scotland. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour, and were able to listen to the guide with our undivided attention. As we left I was already planning a return visit to go on a guided tour of the art works.
One of the advantages of not being a great sleeper is that tremendous ideas arrive in the night. On waking some of them aren’t so wonderful and others wonderful or not just won’t go away. One idea was so persistent I had to follow it up.
So I wrote to Jeremy Smith, Olveston’s manager, and said if he was ever looking for a poet as an artist in residence would he consider me? Whew I thought, he won’t reply, or he’ll say no and at least I can say I tried and move on to another wakeful idea!
But Jeremy said, lets meet. Then after our meeting Jeremy said, send me a proposal. And in response to my proposal Jeremy emailed, FABULOUS IDEA, I love it.
So on my days off over the next few weeks, when I’m not working on the winter edition of the Poems in the Waiting Room card or working on the exhibition, A Palette of Poetry, you’ll find me tucked away upstairs or wandering around the public rooms in Olveston picking up ideas, playing with words and hopefully creating a collection of poems reflecting my thoughts on the treasures.
My intention is to offer the poems to artists to respond to in their chosen medium and then hold an exhibition at Olveston with an evening of poetry readings and music.
Follow me here over the next few weeks as I wander around Olveston and find out whether I stick to my intentions!