From Touko’s letter to Kaija, 14 February 1987

14 February ‘87

Thanks for your letter.

I was enjoying a cup of coffee in the pleasant Saturday morning sunshine when the postman arrived. Our letterbox is out beside the veranda, inside the fence, and sometimes when the dog is out doing her job, i.e. barking, the postman is too scared to step inside the fence and takes our letters back to the post office. He knows very well that the dog won’t bite him, but I guess he’s intimidated by her size. The dog is quite old and frail and will probably have to be put down soon. Sometimes she can’t get up and then walks with her legs bent.

It’s a good day to reply to your letter immediately. The house is relatively quiet on Saturdays, and I don’t have too much work on either. It’ll get busy again in a week’s time. I went out for dinner with the other illustrator, and we went for a few drinks in a couple of bars afterwards. It was almost half past two in the morning when we finished, so that’s another reason I can’t be bothered to work today.

The weather has been quite nice. Yesterday we had heavy rain for a change, which cleaned the landscape. Plants have not opened their buds yet, but once they get started it’ll only be a matter of days until they are in full leaf. Citrus fruit are at their best at the moment. Tangerines are fantastically sweet, and the lemon tree is producing a huge harvest this year. Normand has already picked basketfuls of them. The avocados are as big as coconuts.

I was at the California Institute of the Arts yesterday. It’s an hour from the city in a place called Valencia. One of the teachers asked me to give a lecture on graphic design in Europe. Of course I explained to him that I’m not an expert or a lecturer, but he just pushed me and said that I’d only need to talk about my job. I finally agreed out of curiosity, and they also paid me 200 dollars for it, which is almost a thousand marks. There were about 50 students, and we mostly just talked about things. They told me afterwards that they found the event very rewarding, though I didn’t have anything terribly interesting to say. The institution is swanky, something that only a huge amount of money can buy. In addition to visual arts, they also teach theatre and dance programmes. There was an exhibition of student work in the large gallery, and while I’m not – as I’ve said – an expert, I think the level was outrageously poor. They don’t offer any actual classes, but anyone who has passed the admissions exam is allowed to do whatever they like. It’s a very modern policy, and they want to avoid any resemblance to stuffy schools. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a good policy, but like I said, I didn’t think the results were in any way dazzling. However, the facilities are ideal, and the students are very friendly. It was quite a nice experience.