I am growing old. Despite my best attempts, I am ageing and now, at the age of 66 I am about to retire. And when I retire I shall move house, leave London, where I have lived all my life and move to Wiltshire with Jane.
This is the most significant change in my life since I left work to go to art school, back in 1979. Like then, I intend to focus on painting, an activity I ceased to enjoy many years ago and now feel I have a good basis for resuming with curiosity and with relish, not to mention a certain amount of anxiety. I might make a mess of it and find that my urge to paint is a kind of dying spasm of what was once a passion. I don't know, but I must find out.
I will no longer be earning my living, except for a small amount of teaching for the Open University, which will provide me with some extra income. We shall be living in a cottage in the countryside a short distance from Fonthill Abbey, the home of William Beckford, the author of 'Vathek', possibly a suitable neighbourhood for a surrealist?
We shall have a studio as big as the little flat I currently live in, and a large garden that ends in a winterbourne that, when it flows, flows into Fonthill Lake. Some of our nearest neighbours will be sheep.
I am growing old, and yet I also feel as if I am undergoing a kind of rebirth. I remember when we asked Toni del Renzio, shortly after his 90th birthday, to join the London Surrealist Group and he said "I feel as if I am entering a whole new period of my life". sadly, at that age, it was not to be, and he died about a year later, but as somebody from a long-lived family, I can hop to last, maybe as long as Toni del Renzio, and this can indeed be a kind of spring, a renewal of life and of my vital forces, my creativity. I don't know, maybe it is just my overly optimistic dream? But then don't I owe it to myself to at least try to live that dream to the utmost? Who can stand in my way but myself?