Daniel’s birthday present from my parents last March was a weeklong botanical drawing art class at the New York Botanical Garden. Unfortunately for him, though, when he went to register for the class, he was told that all students had to start with the basic level before moving on to intermediate and advanced courses. Being the mild mannered Englishman that he is, he acquiesced and was probably the only person in the class with an MA from an internationally recognized art school – one the teacher, in fact, had not managed to get into. She was flexible, though, and let him work on a separate project: a leaf. An amazingly intricate pencil-drawn leaf that was to take over Daniel’s life for that week and beyond. My entire family was obsessed, and each day we waited for him to return from the Bronx with a leaf that had undergone another five hours of detailed artistry. He gave the original leaf back to the teacher, but kept the drawing for himself. It will reside at my parents for the duration of our roadtrip. (That said, he did try to pack it in the car).
Claire – On maternity leave from career as editor of monthly finance trade magazines, and occasionally a freelance translator. Half-American/half-English, raised in the suburbs of New York, has lived in London for almost nine years.
Daniel – Furniture designer/maker based on London’s Columbia Road flower market, for ten years, also an aspiring painter and DIY supremo. On one-year career break to reconsider options. English by birth, but mother is half-American and spent part of her childhood in Bronxville, New York.
Sophia – 3.5-year old spitfire who loves school, singing, swimming and being a big sister
Lulu – Born May 8 of this year, a model baby who eats, sleeps and gurgles.
Special guests – American, British and international friends and family who drop in along our trip to see whatever part of the country they fancy. They’re welcome to travel in the car with us and sleep in an adjoining tent.