A somewhere project by Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie

WVS life

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 – 7:08 PM
by Mary

Dear Ann - how nice to see you in Suffolk at the weekend, I'm already looking forward to our next visit in October. We met so many new people I've found it hard to remember the names of our fellow WVS workers, never mind all the other local characters.

I hope your return journey to the lakes wasn't too fraught, travelling with so much luggage can be frustrating at the best of times. Life back in London hardly seems to have calmed down, there had been a leek somewhere in the shop on my return and sadly I didn't spot it immediately - I only noticed when I realised the boxes containing some of our precious films were damp ... I removed them immediately but I think sadly a couple maybe irrecobably damaged. We should maybe consider relocating them with you in the North as soon as we can.

I've been thinking how interesting the different 'other' lives of our fellow WVS workers are. Within even that small group in Suffolk there seemed to be a huge diversity of ages and attitudes. Penny (if I'm remembering correctly) seemed almost a natural host for the evacuees she's taken on, but I found myself wondering what she did before the war. Mrs Depp was obviously also from London but I didn't get to find out where,
she seemed to feel the war was providing her with a chance to spend time with her children in a way that just wouldn't have been possible in her 'normal' life (which incidentally I suspect would share little in common with our 'London Lives') Amy seems charming and a very capable woman to be fronting their WVS efforts. I didn't get to meet her husband, although I understand he's in the local homeguard.

I really liked the land girls we met and felt almost sorry not to have signed up myself. I'm sure digging up the lawns at Kentwell in the sun is very different to slogging away in the freezing cold and dealing with all the animals there during the winter. Our WVS work is unpredictable but when we're not needed it does at least allow some time to still make work.

Incidentally I wondered if you would be interested in trying to see some work when you next have an excuse to visit London. As we don't know any of the women who've signed up as 'official' war artists I thought it would be good to try and make appointments to meet some of them and see what they've been producing. Perhaps you could tempt them up to the lakes then, at a later date, to work with your students?

Must go now ... I look forward to your next visit


ps. How are the American visitors I hear have been with you?

sometime later