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When I Took Flight with the Swallows

  When I took flight with the swallows (an illustration of a treasured memory) 2020, watercolour and ink sketch, 260mm x 360mm  "On the first day of my bike ride to Italy, I encountered a spectacle that is now a treasured memory. I had set off in the heavy rain, and within the first hour, I was soaked. I laboured up the long climb through Hope Valley, south of Shrewsbury, feeling gravity and the weight of my loaded bike gang-up against me. As I was descending the other side, heading towards Bishops Castle, I was shivered by the freshness of an autumnal morning. It caused me an intense bout of self-doubt. I felt like an elastic cord was tugging me back towards home; each pedal stoke becoming less a push, more a kick. And I already felt alone. Very alone. The enormity of the challenge ahead was overwhelming. Then, somewhere over the rolling hills of mid-Wales, the clouds stopped behind me like they couldn't keep up. The sun warmed me and brightened the horizon I was heading to.

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