Introduction and preamble

You join me at the beginning of what may be an epic journey or an overwhelming disaster. Having spent over forty years making pots for a living, on and off, the title of the blog was an easy pun to make. It remains to be seen if being 3000 metres above sea level results in pottering or tottering.

The on and off bit was because I interspersed it with working part-time in a criminal solicitors office as a paralegal. When I retired I determined not to see the inside of a prison ever again so ”plenty polite to the Policia”.

I’m 68 so this may be my last time let out alone. Four weeks spent in Iran in 2015 is now starting to seem very cosy as I look daily at the forecasts for Quito weather – rather a lot of thunder and lightning! The temperatures will range from 35 down to -5 C so clothing is tricky. Pile it on and throw it off. Maybe there is a reason so many wear those flappy hats.

I have planned to spend three weeks in Ecuador and three weeks in Peru, working my way south from Quito via the Amazon to the Peruvian coastal plain and then back up into the Andes via Lake Titicaca and Cuzco. Trains, coaches, planes all lined up in varying degrees of comfort. Some of the routes are supposed to be pretty dramatic. Coming down the mountain into the jungle through cloud forest.

Cotopaxi comes a bit later.

The planes  bit is courtesy of my infinitely helpful and knowledgeable niece who works for Latin Routes in Kingston. I was left with the impression that what they don’t know about S America is written on a postage stamp. She was able to point me in the right direction and all based on personal  experience of the countries. If only we’d had time for some Spanish lessons as well.

Language is going to be interesting. The good thing is not having to do the lithpy bit. But speaking French and Italian is not necessarily going to be such a big advantage. The similarities mean you can easily slip sideways and vocabulary varies quite a lot.

As a potter I have for long been aware of the wonderful anthropomorphic unglazed wares that came out of Central and Southern America. Their quality and confidence in form and decoration appear to be in production even today and I am looking forward to finding contemporary honest makers of pots rather than tourist trinkets.

All the pots I have ever made have been wood-fired – –  and it gives an immediate point of contact  when you meet others firing in a similar traditional way. Bringing examples back is another matter.

Still not been able to locate a decent bird book – but there are so many birds in Ecuador the books are all massive. I’ve worked out that I can use images on google search for Birds of Ecuador and it even gives a filter for colour so maybe that will be more practical.

I also have a theory about how to draw cash out using using your credit card without paying any fees. I’ll let you know if it works.

So  all I need now is a compass in my Christmas cracker and I’m about ready to go. I’m banking on the demonstrations in Peru dying down before I get there. We shall see.

Next stop Heathrow.