To negotiate the steep cobbled streets of St Ives, on the west coast of Cornwall, you have to be steady on your pins, unlike me who is more flat than fleet of foot. Never was this more apparent than when we scaled the acute angled street leading to The Barbara Hepworth Gallery. There was no way I was going to miss seeing the gallery in the home where this amazing sculptor lived and worked. Even when we arrived to find steep steps into the foyer, and the prospect of a dozen more steps to the gallery, my determination never wavered.
When I finally reached base camp one, frost bitten, hallucinating with provisions low, I was met by an art gallery sherpa. A middle aged woman wearing interesting jewellery, smiled and beckoned me forward.
"There is another way," she whispered. "Follow me; this passage has no steps, it is a place no others are allowed to pass."
And so we followed, along a side street and through side doors, into Ms Hepworth's studio, untouched since the day she died in 1975. Here we met sherpa, Ben, who pointed out unfinished works by the artist, tools, fragments of discarded stone and chisels. It is hard to explain the feeling that washes over you when you pause to contemplate a 'still life' redolent with the artist's energy.
Sadly Ben ushered us on through another door into the garden and gallery. "You are lucky to have seen that up close," he said. And so we were.