I love those moments when thoughts become reality. Months of head-scratching and planning, days of writing it all down and making “activity plans”, all the brain-locked guessing at how you think things may work – without any real way of testing whether you are barking up the right tree, and having not yet met the people who will give their time and energy to make ‘Imagined Land’ happen in real time. Are they even there? Is this just my idea of a good idea – amounting to no more than a fiction of how one would like things to work, but with no hook in reality.

The huge turnout at our first meeting certainly proved the will and the interest is there in Tasburgh – and that, yes indeed, those people might actually be there. In the last two months, as the news of Imagined Land has spread across the village, the list of contacts on my spreadsheet has grown from about 16 to 166

So it was really great to see 22 people turn up for our follow-up open meeting about the “Imagined” bit – the creative activities that will take place in the school and community in the later spring and summer.

Encouraging people to take part in the test pits and the archive research are easier things to describe and recruit for. Trowels and documents are more graspable concepts than “creative” things. Many don’t see the point . As a working artist I am always conscious that I am always liable to be labelled by some doing “arty-farty” things – and not really “serious work”. Well, I happen to think that getting creative IS serious work. It’s food for the soul, and at least 22 people in Tasburgh think so too.

The meeting on Saturday was a first exploration of the possibilities that the grant allows us. We talked about all sorts – making willow sculptures, supporting the building a labyrinth for the school, rediscovering and adding to the Tasburgh millennium quilt, building a community choir, using and writing folk songs, reinventing Horrible Histories as ‘Terrible Tasburgh’, linking the project with the flower festival, the scouts, the fun day in July, anthologies of home-made poems, making flags and lanterns and things to burn on a big September bonfire; burning things really did seem to appeal! – there was no shortage of ideas.

By the end of the meeting everyone agreed they would get stuck in somehow- with accordions or cameras or paint brushes or whatever they want to bring – lighted matches probably! , when we actually do get underway.

Then nine brave brilliant people – almost the perfect number – also volunteered to go that extra mile and agreed to form the Creative History Planning Group – doing the legwork necessary to create a programme of summer events in the village response to all the research material we will no doubt find in the dusty boxes and the muddy gardens.

Our first meeting is on 27th March at 7 pm at the church rooms. This is what I mean by thoughts turning to reality. When I wrote the words “Creative History Panning Group” into the bid itself – many many more than a dozen times – I had to have faith that such a thing would exist. And now Graham, Lesley, Lottie, Julia, Angela, Lynn, Kate, Caroline and Sue have made it so. Thank you. We will be bringing the great joys of the arty-farty to a village hall near you soon.