Diary of an Artist... / by Jeannine Cook


Sometimes there are amazing obstacles thrown in the way of being an artist, I have decided.  I met one or two of them just recently as I set off on a trip to an art residency at DRAWinternational in Caylus, France.

Bell Tower of Saint Jean Baptiste church and houses in medieval town
I checked in to Vueling airlines for a flight from Palma de Mallorca to Toulouse, via Barcelona.  All went predictably until I reached Barcelona.  There, Vueling had blandly cancelled the flight to Toulouse, a flight for which a boarding pass had been issued to me not two hours previously!  No reason, no apology, no help from the extremely lackadaisical staff in the departure lounges…  Welcome to Vueling, the company that claims, "For us, flying is a true pleasure".
Some four and a half muddled hours later, I am boarding a bus for a nearly six-hour drive from Barcelona to Toulouse, courtesy of Vueling.  The options offered had been a two-day wait for the next flight to Toulouse, or this bus ride – some choice! 
A 3 a.m. arrival at the almost totally deserted and closed Toulouse airport enabled the bus/Vueling simply to dump us on the pavement.  Good luck, passengers, we hope you enjoyed your flight on Vueling.
I revived somewhat after some sleep and some strong coffee, enough then to pick up a delayed car rental and head off for Caylus.  I was perhaps lucky that the obstacles were not worse and that I could forget about the “invraisemblable” (unbelievable) trip as I was greeted at the delightful home of Grete and John McNorton, hosts of DRAWinternational.
The magic of the French countryside, the brilliant sunshine and cascading roses, the eloquent stone walls of a medieval small town that has seen much history in the Lot et Garonne, the indefinable savoir vivre that I so love in France… Despite Vueling’s nonsense and obstacles, I am conscious that it is delicious to be an artist again.