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.


  1. Glad to see you back. I hope this new year is a good one.--Hart (a frequent reader and rare poster)

  2. Happy New Year Ann :) You are always inspiring despite it all. Wishing you and Raymond health and strength x

  3. Happy New Year Ann and just hoping Annus Horribilis is over!
    Wishing you and hubby a healthy 2013,

  4. Ann you are amazing and I'm sorry you have been so poorly -confronting the digital age in our latter years is a great achievement don't you think?

  5. Wishing you renewed health and all the best throughout the year

  6. Wishing you good health, and hope your recovery is soon, and complete.

  7. Happy New Year Ann; a clean page a new script yet to be sculpted, words to form pictures to create. At least whilst you have been confined to bed you have been able to do some of your creative stuff even if water pots and paints do not mix happily with the bed linen.

    Hugs Ann to you and Raymond. I hope you both feel a lot better in the near future I think you are both incredible.

    Take care and hope this year is a better year for you both. By the way you have a lovely house even if it does need patching up. Take care Nil Desperandum and all that jazz.


  8. Good to see you. Nice to see other people living on the other side of the world. Your buildings are pretty.

  9. What a year you've had! Hopefully the worst is now far behind you. I love the idea of using your caravan as a studio to display and sell out of. Right now we are looking for either an old caravan (trailer in Canada) or even the base of one to build a portable studio out of recycled materials for me.

    Have you come across the water pens? Apologies if you already have, but just in case you haven't... these are pens that are actual paintbrushes, which hold water in the handles. The water feeds through automatically or you can squeeze the handle for more if needed. They come in different sizes and quality. One of those with an old sock cuff on the wrist and you are all set to paint in bed! Let me know if you don't know about these and I will send you more info. If they are hard to find over there I can always pop on in the mail to you.
    Rest as best can and hope you feel better very soon.

  10. Dear Ann; I should take a leaf from your book (and dutifully add a stone!) Even when you are unwell and have lots to do, you still find the time to post. I need to get myself in a better headspace before I add to my blog.
    I hope you and Raymond had a wonderful Christmas, and I trust that 2013 will prove to be a better year for you. I really draw encouragement and strength from your posts and love all of your artwork! Love to you both and take care

  11. Happy New Year, Ann! Be that as it may, everything, even a very sturdy and well maintained roof will always give way to age -- no matter how well you take care of it. Are you having your roof completely replaced, or are you only doing a small patch up job? If I may suggest, I think it’d be better if you had it replaced, though it may be expensive. I wish you and Raymond the best of health and of the new year!

    Sasha Herrick

  12. How are you doing, Ann? How’s the new roof been doing? I hope the new year has been kind to you. I really admire that you still find the strength to post on your blog even if you feel really unwell. It’s times like these when we really need to dig deep and find the strength within us to push on. More power to you and Raymond!