Thursday, 10 October 2013

Drumming up support

A love of writing which began in childhood
is just as strong today
I am overwhelmed as I was told this afternoon that out of 130 entrants, I have been selected as one of ten finalists in the first RHS Blog Writing Competition. (RHS = Royal Horticultural Society)

IT'S NOW DOWN TO A PUBLIC VOTE. The entry gaining the highest number of votes will win and I am drumming up support. If you haven't seen my 'Falling in Love' story on one of my other blogs (Grandma's Gardening Notes), do please take a look as it is my personal story, as related to plants and gardens, and a whole lot more. Here's the link: - if you like it, please,  please vote for me. And please share it with your friends and family if you think they would like it too; it was written from the heart. xx

P.S. Instructions for voting are given at the end of the 'Falling in Love'  post.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Wabi-Sabi moment

My newly created page, which I hope is self-explanatory;
it follows my note in Facebook to 'watch this space'
-and then I could not find a way to add a link.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Resurrection ...

In my element: on my travels with time to write and sketch
I last posted on this, the most personal of my blogs, seven months ago - on 14th February. Since then, a whole Spring and Summer have somehow passed me by. It has been a fraught time, a life I have not felt able to share though alluded to occasionally elsewhere. Where did the wild child go? 

Dancing in  my mind ...
She struggled; events became overwhelming, tumbling one over another in a frightening whirlwind. Even breathing seemed impossible. Well, hopefully she now has  it cracked. I am not ashamed to outline the solution. For 'WSC' is of course ME., and always has been.

Feeling spiky !

The cause of my inability to function: three years of RQ's health problems led to those of my own and a summer when I became increasingly unwell. Nothing physical it transpired after tests and repeated visits to our excellent doctor. In the end, she referred me to a consultant to sort my mental state. There, I've said it. Mental. Had it affected my professional commissions I would have been hesitant to comment; it didn't - everything just took me longer, and with a heavy heart.

Sitting on my consultant's table was a perfect starry allium seed head,
just like this which I grew in my potager.
The consultant was brilliant and set me on a road to recovery in just six weeks. I will never forget the sessions sitting in her beautiful consulting room, talking, as she gently released me from my fears and worries. There have been setbacks, as long ago as last week in Brittany; but at least I now know how to cope. And how to pace myself. The consultant's aim was to make herself redundant, allowing me to sort the problem in my own mind. A mind which is functioning clearly again.

Eight months on and the kitchen is gradually returning to normal
(and the painting was gifted to us by the artist, a fellow aviator at
Blackbushe where RQ and I learned to fly in the mid-'70s on this aircraft)
Strangely, the creative muse never left me which was such a relief, though everything else has suffered. But today I began the reclamation of the kitchen. RQ still on his knees polishing the floor, whilst I washed glass and crockery and started to put the larder back together. The forgotten garden is another matter; brambles have rampaged through all my overgrown beds, and vegetables sown in March have gone the way of all neglected produce.

One of the slides I have prepared for my forthcoming presentation
I have new goals, and further directions to explore. Not all will be achieved and plans will surely change. But I truly hope that others who may feel they have somehow reached the end of the road and strangulation point can take heart from my experience, and the good fortune to encounter a consultant as helpful as I had. Updates on my activities will appear on my various blogs, according to the topic. Right now, I have a month to prepare a public slide presentation on 'My Stitching Story' - a new challenge; I have never done this before and haven't even yet switched on my new projector !!

In the garden today:
a rain-drop bejewelled spider's web
See you next time - here, or on one of my other Blogs. (And it's Friday 13th ... I don't think I am superstitious, but am now not sure whether I should be posting this 'confession'.)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Today ...Tonight

Neither Cava, nor Champagne
So I open a bottle of Cava (can't afford Champagne) and my dear husband, who has been moody for days, asks me why I should be doing this. "Three reasons," I say: 1. To thank him for all his hard work on renovating the kitchen ...

"No," he says - "1. because we have it." 

"O.K" I reply, "four reasons." 

1. We have it, waiting to be opened; 2. all his hard work on the kitchen, which seems to be extending beyond all reason (with a new fashion for speckled everything where paint has descended as in an unseen atomic cloud and shelves, pans, cooker, surfaces, even his specs,  are as you would not wish to see - keep calm, Ann, it doesn't matter); 3. my long stint of work deadlines, complicated features on a divers range of topics, is completed ahead of schedule (I can take a deep breath); and 4. it is ST.VALENTINE'S DAY.

"What's that?" he asks. Oh oh oh oh - the romantic in me feels a shrivelling of the heart. But somehow, and I do not understand why, for my turbulent self will normally vent aloud feelings that are not worthy of who I believe I am, I feel this inner calm. I cannot berate, or retaliate, or do other than just be so very relieved that he is coping with his 80-years-plus 'old age' and whatever he does is better than not attempting to get out of bed in the morning.

'Wild Somerset Child'
I cannot explain my change from normal explosion and former descent into a black abyss. But one thing I realise, is that my heart is his, and that is all that matters. And within that premise, I can survive. Though I do need a quiet time everyday to be myself, to write and create, and to remind myself that no matter what, I am still a somewhat selfish being. This feeling of calm does not sit easily. He sleeps, and I will read late into the night; too tired to do anything else. Tomorrow is another day, and we never know what bombshell will fall; what new problem will surface.

Friday, 8 February 2013


So long ago ....
Words are not needed I think to describe today, or this pictured of 55 years ago. But if you want to find out about why I am posting them, please visit my new 'Spilling Word' blog where I now post my poetic offerings.

Tightly holding my arm, back in 1958 as we began
our married life together.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

So long since I posted

It's been over to months since I wrote anything on this blog, though I haven't been idle, but ill for most of the time, and struggling to complete tasks and assignments that needed, and still need, attention - even so, not all have got done. And even today, I am working in bed on my laptop. Those of you who kindly follow me on Facebook will have heard much of the story. Only those to whom Raymond and I send our four-page Xmas newsletter ill have more detail than has been posted already. So to update you (and my apologies for my absence, and not even following blogs I love, here are the first paragraphs from the printed version.

Truly showing its age - cracks appearing everywhere
"It has been a frenetic and fractious year, almost an ‘annus horribilis’ for us both in different ways, or as Charles Dickens wrote, “It has been the best of times, it has been the worst of times”.  Glancing through my daily journal, written each morning in bed whilst drinking a hot mug of tea, I discovered both – for Raymond had just reminded me that it was time for our usual Christmas newsletter. At which point I inconveniently had one of those ‘senior moments’ and could only remember that we seem to be continually busy without achieving anything memorable! Two hours and reading the journal from cover to cover, and I had re-acquainted myself with what we have actually accomplished. Certainly a lot of problem-solving.

Raymond tackles one of the first leaking roof
The house is now truly showing it’s age – beyond its years! Continual heavy traffic is causing cracking and subsidence, and so many of the materials that we have used over the years in the conversion of what was once a derelict 16thC farmhouse are now showing signs of wear and tear. Flat roofs (our additions) are bad news. Both developed serious leaks; one over the kitchen, the other over the hall, with the ceiling collapsing one day onto Raymond’s beloved (open) piano; plasterboard everywhere and water in it and all over the floor. The repairs are still ongoing; temporary roof covers are in place, but it’s not as easy for him to be clambering up ladders lifting heavy stones as it was years ago when we bought the place. The piano still needs some t.l.c.

Poor old greenhouse, too - such neglect (I have actually started to clear the mess
Advancing years do not make it any easier – we both celebrated special birthdays this year – Raymond was 80 in August and I reached 75 in October. In January and not having been too well for a while, Raymond was diagnosed with type-two diabetes, and I seem to have been checking my blood pressure for most of the year, and spent a day in hospital. Coming to terms with a total change in lifestyle has not been trouble-free for either of us; but the good news is that we are both now ‘signed off’ for twelve months and can concentrate on progress in the house and garden." And so were were, and then after writing that I took sick again and was told to stay in bed and rest.

In the caravan (studio) for Warwickshire Art Week
It isn't all gloom and darkness however, and I have found time (or made it) to progress my sketching and mixed-media paper and textile creations. I was pleasantly surprised at the reception to my work when I exhibited in my caravan studio in July (Raymond's suggestion to use it) and want to participate again this year. So I need to create lots of new stuff to show and sell and started yesterday, spending a full day on the first pages of a 'Quilted Garden' textile book. My sketchbook notes are already scanned but the journal notes await paint; and whilst I can laptap in bed, jars of water and coloured inks are not quite so easy. When ready, I'll update my Journaling blog, and I plan (hope?) to keep all of my blogs updated at least once a month. Happy New Year and here's to good times in 2013.