Sunday, 8 March 2009

An overflowing of inspiration - and shortage of time

It has been such a hectic few days with insufficient hours in the day to carry through all I have begun, and enough material for a blog-a-day, but without the time to post them. To go back to my short walk on Wednesday - that was intended to be the start of a new regime; a far more healthy lifestyle this year, for the body has got out of hand and it is affecting mobility, and the brain! I had some serious talking to myself to do about a number of things, and began a 'Food Field Guide' last Monday, listing EVERYTHING I eat and drink (Raymond as well). So far I have lost 1.5 kg (just over 3 pounds) and have avoided snacking.

Inspiration has followed me all week - (but I wish I could sort out how to post photos in this blog so that text comes between pics: you are not meant to see the black-and-white pics until the end of this posting !!!)

Five days of interlinked activities that all inter-relate with each other:

  • Worked on my booklet samples (see my other blog) all Wednesday - I now have five almost ready for binding, each of eighteen pages - just covers and embellishments to do; 
  • Managed a significant writing session and a long walk on Thursday; 
  • Cleaned the house - some of it - on Friday and prepared a meal for some of the family; 
  • Enjoyed a day out in Tewkesbury and beyond yesterday (Saturday); 
  • Gardened this morning (Sunday) until it rained, then made sufficient space in the laundry-room-cum-workroom this afternoon so that I can more easily access the tools, equipment and materials needed for a particular project, and can reach the back of the washing machine when it threatens to overflow.
To go back to Thursday and my significant writing session, you first have to understand that I very rarely manage to be totally alone, but on this particular day circumstances were such that I could, without feeling in the slightest bit guilty; and you have no idea what that meant to me. So I took myself off, notebook in hand, specifically to sit and write - and this is what transpired.

"I am sitting in the window of my favourite bookshop, sipping a cup of hot lemon-and-ginger tea. I am not in a hurry, so I can enjoy one of those JC (Julia Cameron) moments – putting pen to page. For this is a bookshop-café and far more inspiring than a pure coffee house where I would be obliged to drink coffee I cannot stomach – or rather it cannot stomach me, screws up my insides! I always find an unusual book whenever I visit Jaffe & Neale. Sometimes I buy one; sometimes, to my shame, I order online at Amazon, at reduced prices. But never have I had the time to sit and write, and drink tea.

Today I buy a book on English customs needed for research, and an art-card, intended to be the catalyst for a ‘warm-up writing exercise’. Why do I need a ‘warm-up’? Like the five-finger practice session of a pianist, my self-imposed writing challenges always precede the serious writing of ‘my book’. Have I mentioned this before? ‘Cotswold Meanderings’ tells the story of our house and reclamation of our garden; how and why we came to buy it, rebuilding it ourselves over the last forty years – we still are. Plus plants and nature notes, excursions around the country and forays to foreign shores; wild places, poetry, history and creative art, and all the things I love and cherish.

Part fact, part diary, I began my book nine years ago, have much already written, shelved it; and decided this time last year that writing a book was my ‘deferred dream’ and I would set-to and DO something about it. Which I did; but as always, other things took over; I was appalled at my lack of guts. But as this year we celebrate forty years of ownership, I am determined to find time between my magazine features to complete this first book; I have sequels outlined on my writing-bulletin-board.

The reason for this morning’s self-imposed writing exercise is to loosen up; to just write – not about what I know, or what is floating around in my head, but because I am stuck on my opening chapter. Starting afresh, as I will with the art-card just purchased as catalyst, will focus me. So, as the sun streams through the window, so warm I remove my coat, I crouch low on the window seat, and begin ….”
(My art-card exercise will appear in my next post.)

(Pics show the bookshop-cafe and photos of our house, taken in 1969).


  1. Before uploading pictures click on the place that says center them.. also either upload them one at a time.. last one first and first one last or bulk upload the same way.
    If their in the center of the page you should have no problems with typing between the pictures and even after the last one if you wish.
    I hope this helps you.

  2. First of all, congratulations on finding some time for just yourself. I'm sure (or fairly sure) it's over by now, so I hope you enjoyed it. I would like some of that myself. I also have been putting off writing "my" book - so many of them, five at least - and know what you mean by an exercise helping to prompt the start of real writing. The cottage in 1969 looks wonderful, but I'm sure it needed the work you gave it. Don't houses always come with their own sorts of problems, just like people? Can't wait to see you art-card. Jeanne

  3. Yes,you do seem to have had a "bit of a week". Glad you managed sometime alone, I enjoy walking alone, I can "see" much more then. Your house looks fabulous, what an undertaking, I'd love to see photos of the work you've accomplished.

  4. I'm happy to have somehow meandered over this blog. Your art and thoughts are inspiring. I wish you the best of escapades away from the day to day, to work on your book.

  5. wow - writing a book - a huge undertaking! love the photos - all of them.

  6. what an adorable bookshop. I'd love to meet you there for tea and book talk and a bit of writing. Good luck with your book. It sounds good. Books do take a lot of time and consideration for sure.

    Post your pictures using center option as your first commenter suggested. Post the pictures on your blog draft FIRST before you write the words. The just go the the picture, drop down a line and write what you want under that picture.

  7. You are just AMAZING Ann !!I'll be back to read again!

  8. What a lovely week Ann. Good luck with the healthy eatng etc - we went swimming at the weekend and I happened to stand on their scales - and then promptly fell off in horror!
    i usually write my post first then upload the photos and drag them into place. xxx

  9. Love the bookshop cafe! So English! And your House!!! Well, I'm just jealous. It looks so quaint and proper. Good luck with the book project. That is a major undertaking. Hope you will still have time to blog.

  10. I enjoyed visiting your blog and seeing a little bit of home (well England, I am a Geordie lass).

    I hear you about the walking :) and the quiet time with a cuppa.

  11. Thank you for the comment about the orchids. We estimate there approx. 93 different wild plants eaten here. It's a lesson passed from granny to granddaughter (at about 12 years old)on how to identify the edible plants....

  12. lovely pictures...I always upload all my pictures...I try to do them in the right order first ones last...then I write in between the pictures...hope that makes is the knitting going? I always think of you when I drive past West Park twice a day on my way to work and on the way back home.....

  13. What a lovely house, love your pictures! You are accomplishing so much, and are inspiring me to pick up on the writing I am doing... good for you taking time out in the tea shop and taking walks. I would love to visit the English countryside.
    For the picture placement - after you upload them, if they are in the wrong place, you can click on one, hold the click down, then drag it down to where you want it under the writing and drop the click and it will move, I found this out by experimenting...

  14. debbiesg@hotmail.com12 March 2009 at 11:43

    Somehow years ago when I first started discovering the wild wonderful world of looking things up via the internet I happened on Nina Bagley and now sitting here years later I continue to discover wonderful people and places and art as I touch down through blogs. So I touched down through Cathy Cullis who I touched down through Nina I believe. I scanned your March 8 entry and thought yes I want to read this women's blog. I'm tinkering with the idea of a blog for myself as I journal daily in a hard book. I'm a 55 year old woman in Ottawa, Canada who lives and breaths to do artful things but find time a little short of course. I help out aging parents, teach art part time to adults with developmental disabilities and do art myself in a variety of mediums and look for inspiration everywhere in everything, everyday.
    So just wanted to say I'm glad I stumbled on to you and look forward to reading and enjoying. One more thing, Wow it's gardening time where you live!!!! Deborah

  15. Thankyou to everyone for all your help with posting pics to my blog, and also for all your kind words. And hello to Debbiesg - go for it with a blog; I only started mine this January; it grows on you, and you 'meet' some lovely people. Suki - you would love this book-shop and it would truly be fun to share tea their, check out the books and do some writing. I will think of you next time I manage a visit; for now, it will have to be all in the mind.

  16. I thought I'd pop in to visit you again. Your house is gorgeous. Isn't it strange how 'old' 1969 looks nowadays?It was the year I went away to college in London and I thought it was great!
    I always upload my pictures with the 'none' layout button selected. You can drag them to where you want but I find it best to make a big space in th etext for them to 'land' when you let go of the button.

  17. Jackie, hello again , and thankyou for becoming a follower of my blog. I hope you enjoy all my postings. And thanks also for the photo posting tips.