An overwhelming panic and lingering sadness are my most vivid memories from the last days of March. Not only had the world at large turned upside-down but so too had my own. My beloved Rita, the German Shorthaired Pointer, was hit by a car and broke a leg.
With the world grounded, gone were the plans for Easter in Portugal, and tending to lovely Rita was now my main priority. Routine redeveloped in a smaller, slower, stranger scale.
Slowly, outside, the sun filled everything with its light and I was overcome by this urge for nature; a hankering for tending and nurturing the natural world. My weekly shopping trips turned into these long slow urban walks, the quietness and the peacefulness cleared my mind. I found myself doing guerrilla gardening, tending and carrying out some much-needed pruning on the neglected trees and shrubs I would come across. These entrancing bits of discarded nature ended up filling the house and as colour begets colour, instinctively, I arranged them into my collection of ceramic vases and antique glass bottles. I felt blessed - the time of the year, the spring blossoms, the fine weather, the yellow sunlight were all now filling my home.
In my mind, the next stage was adding some new brightly coloured plants to my garden which had become a big focus of daily life as I, finally, had time on my hands to carry out the work that had long been planned. And one cannot, of course, add colour to one’s garden without reviving some of the colours created long ago for the house. So, I proceeded to repaint parts of the house that had been somewhat forgotten, buried deep on my to-do list.
I was now in my sixty square metre Whitechapel garden coordinating from afar my eight hundred thousand square metres Herdade back in Portugal, continuing my lifelong physical and spiritual hopping between my two halves: the British and the Portuguese. Now trying to bring to fruition these dreams of a new adventure, a new environment, reviving local materials and age-old techniques, planting eighteen thousand oak trees that shall mature by the time I’m 150…
On the subject of lifetimes, the lockdown gave me the opportunity, at last after 12 years of living in it, to fully appreciate my house. To be with it, to commune with it. I was so grateful to have my small garden and so happy at my improvised small home studio, it truly felt like the perfect way to stop and take stock of my 30 years in London. And opening up the next 30 years even if those won’t be enough to get to see my little oak trees fully grown.
As with the slow spring awakening all around us, so too, the panic and sadness gave way to much needed rebirth; full of confidence and optimism for a coming future filled with nature inspired commissions.
Pedro da Costa Felgueiras, Historic Paint and Lacquer Expert
London, 21 June 2020
Reason for Being
Explore the ‘Reason For Being’ Pedro da Costa Felgueiras Edit here.