We walk along the tow path for ages, turn round and walk back to a spot we identified earlier. We are 'with the light' so pin up our coats on the thorn bushes behind us to keep the sun off. He opens his pochade box: I open the champagne. Neither of us feels that a masterpiece is necessarily on the way but at least we are out there and the champagne is chilled.
After blocking in my 8x10 I pour Worthington a glass and we wish the passers by a Happy New Year. He looks rather sheepish:
Ninety minutes later and slightly light-headed we decide that the god of plein air has received due obeisance and retreat to the car. I thank Mr W for getting me out on the very first day of the year. 'We return to our places' (apologies to TS Eliot). The plein air rat has been fed; the chicken has been sacrificed and the entrails examined; the omens (albeit seen through all those champagne bubbles) are possibly good but my sketch is not. I am comforted by a quote from David Curtis that old paintings make good fire-lighters. And there is also tomorrow.
Oxford Canal at Enslow