David reveals his new sculpture
I actually met David, 66, in late autumn last year. At that point he'd just started working on a sculpture in my lovely little local park, so obviously I couldn't resist asking what he was doing. As is so often the way with these conversations of discovery, it turned out, his sculpting wasn't the only thing he's passionate about.
"I’m currently carving an oak branch from a tree that’s 200 years old. We cut and moved from about 80 yards away and it weighs three quarters of a ton.
This is the largest thing I've ever done
I don’t know exactly what I’m going to carve it into – it’ll be figuratively abstract or abstractly figurative! I don’t know how long it’ll take me because this is the largest thing I’ve ever done but I’m guessing it’ll be about three months, depending on the weather and how hard the wood is. It’s very hard at the top because its dried out already. It gets harder than steel if you leave it long enough."
And the reason I've waited so long to introduce David to you is that I wanted to show you how his sculpture turned out. And here it is! Is it figuratively abstract or abstractly figurative? You'll have to decide that for yourself. Personally, I think it's rather serene and other-worldly.
As I mentioned, though, sculpting isn't David's only pastime, as he explained to me.
"I swim throughout the year at the open air pond on Hampstead Heath. I don’t wear a wet suit, I’ve got wet gloves and wet socks and I always wear a swimming hat because that keeps your head warm. Otherwise you just glow red in the winter!
We have a little swimming society, a group of men, who meet at a local café before we go for our swim. But when we do trips to do other wild swimming locations ladies are allowed too.
My favourite time of the year to swim is March and April, though it's nice in the summer obviously, provided it doesn't get too hot. When you swim in the winter, you think I must be crazy then you jump in and think I AM crazy! In the winter I do about 9 minutes (my nephew timed me), in the summer I do three laps which is about 1 kilometre and that takes about 40 minutes."
What do you think of David's sculpture? And what's your view of wild swimming. I'm a fairly new, but hugely wholehearted convert (there's sure to be a post about at some point), though I'm definitely a fair-weather swimmer at the moment. I haven't been able to work up the courage to do it when the weather (and the water) is freezing.
Meet some of the other fabulously creative Heydayers: