A somewhere project by Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie

I am Ann Guthrie

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 – 4:08 PM
by Karen


Glenn Miller's grandson entertains us
Glenn Miller's grandson entertains us

I was born in 1907.
(this shouldn’t be too hard to remember as its my real D.O.B numbers reshuffled)

I live in the countryside near Coniston in the Lake District.
(true)

I have a smalllholding which I inherited from an Aunt, and it gives me enough vegetables and eggs to eat.
(not true, it’s owned by the Forestry Commission and we only grow a few handfuls of vegetables)

We don’t get reminded of the war too much up there except for the odd bit of ship trialling on the Lakes.
(true of recent events, though maybe I need to know more about what ships)

We have a lot of evacuees locally – I’m sharing our house now with my sister Alison and her 4 children who left Glasgow six months ago. Her husband Joe has stayed behind as he works in the postal service.
(note to self to research wartime Scotland more in order to embroider this family background better)

Since war was declared I joined the WVS and have dedicated myself to helping out as much as I can.
(as someone who didn’t exactly thrive in the Girl Guides this is perhaps my least credible line, though research shows that the WVS was a broad church)

I spend a lot of time growing vegetables and distributing food in the villages nearby, and driving evacuees from Manchester, Liverpool and Yorkshire to their new homes.
(the wartime routes aren’t so different from todays due to Cumbria’s antiquated road network, and I do spend a lot of time driving)

I am stepping out with a chap called Adam, an antiques dealer with a shop in Ambleside.
(living in sin might be a viable proposition if I can build my role up as a bohemian to support it....Adam’s too old to be conscripted and I think he’d like his alterego to be in this line of work)

I studied art with Mary Pope at the Royal College of Art, from 1926 – 1931, and since then I have worked as an artist – teaching, painting murals and doing the occasional private commission.
(That’s Nina, who didn’t study there but otherwise this is pretty close to my real life, though I have never painted a mural nor intend to do so)

Recently I have been teaching students from the Royal College of Art, as the school has been evacuated to near Ambleside because of the war. It’s mostly female students and tutors of course.
(Though I haven’t found any firm research to support this we do know this evacuation to be true. Where did they all stay? What did they do? Who did they meet? Kurth Schwitters was here at the same time, though he doesn’t appear to have had any contact)

Mary and I try and meet as often as we can and decided to make a trip down to Suffolk for this weekend – we used to come here to sketch when we were students – so we have a soft spot for the place.
(Though wartime transport was erratic and crowded I guess I could have got a train down...but who’s looking after my evacuees back home!?)

sometime later