On meeting him for the first time I was pleasantly surprised. I think I had set myself up to expect him to be somewhat arrogant and worldly, but the man who answered my knock on his door was gentle, unassuming and infinitely patient. He made me feel completely at home and relaxed, making the three days I spent with him very pleasant.
I could go on and on with blow by blow accounts of how exactly we achieved these amazing flowers and the sheer effort (for me) to make them. There was so much to absorb in each day that I was literally too exhausted to do anything in the evenings. To be sure, good technique (and a steady hand) are essential for making good sugar flowers, but at the end of it all I don't think that was the biggest lesson I learned with Alan. He never actually came out and said it, but listening to him, observing him in the garden during our lunch breaks, watching him demonstrate how to create a certain kind of petal, it dawned on me that how one actually sees a flower is what really counts.