On our visit to the Kettles earlier in the week, Pa Kettle had something special to show me.
As I may have mentioned before, Pa Kettle’s Mother (my Gran) was born in Cornwall, in the UK, and came out to Australia at the end of WW1 after meeting and falling in love with an Aussie “Digger”. Pa Kettle’s Dad, the Aussie Digger, (my Papa) was granted a Soldier Settlement in Victoria’s Mallee region, a dry, dusty, hot, flat, barren landscape; a far cry from Cornwall’s lush green, rolling hills. I guess Gran knew it would be a long time before she saw “home” again, if ever, (she had a trip back with her youngest daughter, and Gran and Papa visited in their retirement), so she visited friends before leaving, many of them signing her autograph book, with messages like this…
Gran also asked a family friend to paint a scene from her favourite walk in an area called Yes Tor. The painter was apparently a well known artist who reluctantly painted the scene in Gran’s autograph book, complaining that the paper wasn’t nearly good enough for him to do a worthy painting. I think he did a brilliant job! (Regrettably the painter’s name has come away from the bottom of the picture. Pa Kettle thinks he knows who it might be, recalling Gran talking about the chap in question.)
Looking into the painting, I feel that I can walk along the path on the left hand side; it looks 3D and ready to step onto, and I can hear the babbling brook on the right hand side, and smell the heather on the hillsides. I would love to find this place – ooh, that would mean a trip back to the UK!!
Pa and I worked out that this painting is nearly 100 years old (probably 96, 97 years old!) and consequently has become a little brittle; the top right hand corner has broken away and we tried a
not very successful repair job.
I love this painting and hope that it can last at least another 100 years.