I travelled from my home in Galway to Dublin last week for a 30-year school reunion. A lot of organisation went into getting 40 women together for dinner in Dublin on 14th May. Women flew in from Vienna, London, Scotland, France and I don't know where else, to be there. I took a Citylink bus from Galway which is somewhat less glamorous but no less comfortable than any of the airplanes or motor cars that carried my erstwhile classmates to Dublin.
I was parched when I got on the bus. In the past, complimentary bottles of water have been handed out as you board the bus, so when I saw the driver carrying two bottles I asked him if there were any going around. "Not on this service," he said, then gave me one of his anyway.
This is what it looked like:
I love Payne's Grey and I love Indigo in my tiny watercolour paintbox and I can't remember which I used, but I was happy as a sandboy - messing about with a sketch is my kind of bus journey.
I hadn't seen any of the girls I'd spent five formative years with since 1985, when everywhere you looked were bad perms, legwarmers and blue mascara - and that was just the boys' schools. Only joking, but I'm not exaggerating when I say the passage of time has only improved the girls I went to school with. I walked into the Cliff Townhouse on St. Stephen's Green (that's the posh end of Grafton St., which is the poshest street in Dublin) in my new dress, feeling far less nervous than I might have, which is a good sign, I think. I was determined to make a sketch while I was there, and I did manage a very quick one -
I had only had one small glass of wine by then, or maybe two, but the act of sketching banished cobwebs and I was suddenly stone-cold sober, which may not have been appropriate for a party which was getting decidedly animated but was okay because I had a very early start in the morning. The decibels and the pitch rose as the levels of wine went down and lots of group photos were taken. I'm not sure if a homemade sketch bag, a pair of jeans in a previous life, was quite the accessory for a sparkly red dress but getting my priorities right has never come naturally to me.
There were two more tables to the left behind a wall. The photos of the evening are doing the rounds now but I think a sketch adds considerably to the general feeling...I mean to add a bit of colour to the ladies' skin tones, and a touch of ruby for the wine, and then I'll pass it around to the ladies too.
The 8.45am Citylink back to Galway the following morning was every bit as comfortable as the way over. The lady in the seat next to me evidently felt the same as she had a nice snooze, and kept very still. I'm far too chicken to look at an awake person and draw them (unless they are distracted in some way), but full of courage when a person is out for the count.
Me and the ladies have planned to meet up again in five years' time. Perhaps I'll leave my sketching stuff at home next time...or make a nice gold-sequined sketch bag.