Huntly loop walk with Janice and Robin
Janice and her daughter Robin take Ruby and I on a walk around the loop that’s recently been improved by the Huntly development trust, with the addition of a footpath alongside the road that connects The Castle Hotel back to the town (The Jubilee Path). We set out in bright sunshine, despite threatening clouds on the horizon, and walk down towards the castle. By the time we reach the hotel I’ve taken my coat and scarf off because it’s hot. The rain holds off until we reach the turn onto the B9022, and then buckets down. Luckily we have rain covers for the prams, so the babies are snug and dry, but we both get pretty wet.
As we walk we talk about what a good place Huntly is to have a baby; about Janice’s walking routes through the town; about the narrow pavements and walking in the road; about points that just aren’t passable. We talk about taking babies out for a walk – and whether men and women have different approaches: I recalled friends whose son would only sleep on moving wheels: that his mother would walk round and around a small cluster of streets near their flat while he slept, whereas his father would go as far as he could – walking on a single trajectory for the whole nap. Janice tells me that she thinks she must have walked every street in Huntly with Robin in the pram. We wonder if this has a parallel in walking art practices.
This leads us to talk about walking art, and the work that I used to make before I had children (and how this work has followed on from it); we talk about health visitors; reflux and crying; baby groups; nct and nhs antenatal classes. We talk about contemporary art, feminist art, and art that deals with the personal, the painful and the autobiographical. We talk about the ethics of involving your children in your art/work, and of making work about them. We talk about Mary Kelly’s ‘Post Partum Document’. We talk about linking up contestants from the recent Huntly strong man contest with the Perambulator project, enlisting them to carry prams along otherwise inaccessible paths (like the riverside walk that we pass).
The rain eases off as we come back into town, wending our way through the back streets. Both Robin and Ruby have slept most of the way, but are stirring now. Despite the rain a lovely walk!