Sunday 16 May At the airport (Stansted)

Security checked, breakfasted, and texted to next of kin. On finishing my breakfast (in Frankie and Bennie’s) the Italian waiter commented “It’s good you are flying this morning; the airport is due to close again at 5o’clock today (due to more volcanic ash from Iceland). My luck seems to have been like that for some time; I feel blessed in the decisions I have made, and how they have somehow worked out for me. “There but for the grace of God” as the saying goes. And feeling ‘blessed’ is perhaps appropriate as I head fro the hills of ‘Umbria Mystica” as it is sometimes known.

But why Umbria? Edward Hutton brought with him a wealth of knowledge concerning Renaissance Art and history. He visited when the Grand Tour was still alive in Europe and was most interested in the ‘Lucas’ and Peruginos’ in all the churches and cathedrals he visited. I have no such education nor academic interest in old paintings, frescoes or altarpieces. The baggage with which I travel is more personal. Not being a good tourist, I have to bring my sketchbook and watercolour pads along in order to feel ‘connected’ to my surroundings. It is of course the architecture of the old cities, the landscape as a setting, and atmosphere of the whole region that I shall be seeking out, and of which hopefully, (Deo Volente) I shall be recording my ‘impressions’.

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