La Bella Toscana


I’m on residency in deepest Tuscany at the moment, far from the madding crowds, residing in a rustic Room with a View (see below). I spent 6 months in Florence and surrounding area back in 1998 on an RSA scholarship in a riotous and heady cocktail of Italia, youth and bad behaviour and have only been back once since. Very little has changed (apart from me) but Tuscany still has a special place in my heart.

This time round I can honestly say that the only thing I’m gorging on is an endless supply of wild porcini mushrooms from the forest. Granted, I’m at the end of the road (track), beyond Balbano (back of beyond), without transport and I’m spending some quality time with myself after a very stressful year.

Drunk on mosquito venom is as wild as it gets, although I’m thoroughly enjoying the odd earthquake tremor. When the sun strikes my bed (see below) like a heat-seeking missile at 6am in The Room with The View, it can only be described as a biblical experience (and I’ve never used that term before and don’t use it lightly..) Needless to say, more work is being made than in ’98. There’s a rather splendid pool here, made of marble, which my fabulous model, international artiste, Caroline Walker, has been splashing about in – under my instruction – so underwater work season commences – yeeha…