As the dawn chorus begins, the early quiet hours are filled with brushstrokes and box opening, cobweb clearing and life laundry.
Having had everything in storage for nine months, space was a strange experience. It was too short a time to forget your old life, but too long to feel like a holiday. Although some things were missed; favourite clothes and books, things to cook with, memories and a larger shoe collection than Clarks; the edges of our world contracted a little; and there was a clearer focus on the mini world created . The house and all of us breathed a little easier in each other’s company, and without too much clobber in the way.
We had no furniture but we had paint!
This would be, the calm before the storm, and after two weeks of relative ease, space and gentle speculation on where things might go, these guys arrived..
(This was a full van !!!)
Oh well, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs! A painting worth painting needs a rainbow. And this old house will be getting a lot of t.l.c.
Slowly unveiling hidden treasures under carpets.
It has been interesting to see what surprises pop up from under the old carpets!
And under the earth.
A beautiful surprise around every garden corner
The garden is on many levels. A cottage garden at the back
And a lovely lawn at the front, which will be landscaped (maybe) one day. The view from the whole building is beautiful in the early morning. (This is not our house in the picture)
There is a lot of painting going on here. Redoing the dated kitchen cupboards in a soft shaker blue.
Funking up the teenage cave. The very pleasant second bedroom is now a chic boudoir with a few vintage touches .
Outside the dining room is the Mopsie garden, named after my grandma, whose herb garden outside her window I loved as a child. This is a lovely sun trap and a little rockery and place for pots and coffee . Still needing a little love, but a wonderful suntrap and place for hostas!
Up the stairs the apple and cherry trees have been well cared for. It has been lovely hanging out laundry, especially after week after week at the laundrette for nine months . Although the steps are steep so I leave that particular task to my minions … 🤗
A variety of different plants have begin to pop up, now that the season has begun. A Pandora’s box of tricks blending wild flowers and perennials, shrubs and alpines.
And the Liz at the beach hut blue pots have survived their journey ..
Last week saw the renovating of a big old shed outside, a dumping ground for half the storage boxes .
Which has been converted to a studio. At least for the warmer months ! A lick of white paint, shelves for Art books and a gazillion boxes of Art supplies have been emptied and organised.
From a spider’s petting zoo, this old hut has become a cosy and functional space.
Perhaps we might end up sleeping out there!
This week’s job is a massive damp proofing, wall bashing type thing..
Whilst making secret plans for paint colours…
However, in other areas progress is slowly being made, with much appreciated support from friends..
While the animals look on and keep everyone calm
Even choosing the odd bit of decor!
Thank you for your comments and likes, for this and our Sea sparkle blog. We look forward to showing you more house progress soon
Never judge a shelf of books,
Their covers bright or worn.,
Never think you know their words
On pages crisp or torn.
Life is unpredictable,
Will catch you unawares.
Life will take your breath away,
Push you down the stairs.
Life will keep you guessing,
Shove you from behind.
Life will show you miracles,
Then fuggle up your mind.
Life will give you lemons,
Tempt you with it's zing.
Bitter, sickly sherbet,
Sharp as diamond ring.
Life will have you laughing,
Deep from in your belly.
Post you news in envelopes,
Turn your legs to jelly.
Friends, they will surround you,
Always will be there,
Blink and life can conjure;
Rooms with empty chairs.
Bodies they will trick you,
Clothes will shrink and grow.
Who you really can be,
-maybe you’ll never know.
One day, is a mountain.
Hidden in the clouds.
High enough to vanish,
Peering down at now.
Everyone is lonely,
Standing in a crowd.
Everyone needs someone,
Just to say they’re proud.
There’s times when it will feel like,
The worst you’ve ever known.
But there are days of wonder
And miracles you’re shown.
In crisis you’ll imagine,
This weight will never pass.
But one day in the mirror,
Your face smiles in the glass.
A path can change so swiftly,
Through illness , loss or means.
But you are still inside you,
Each costume change is seen.
To stand in tumbling chaos,
And hold on to your wings,
Shows bravery you're hiding;
Help others do those things.
You are at once amazing;
Yet hardly here at all.
The universe inside you,
A grain of sand so small.
Your Ark is one of millions,
All bobbing on the sea.
Wave from your deck and reach them,
As close as you and me.
The journey life will take you,
Will pass through many lands.
And what you carry with you,
Is firmly in your hands.
For time is an illusion,
and things don’t make us real.
Be grateful, kind and open
And savour every meal.
x LW x
A year ago we decided to relocate from the Scottish Borders to Devon. Our previous move to the little fishing village of St Abbs, from the outskirts of Edinburgh, had filled five years with an abundance of friends, visitors, art, drama and choir groups and a childhood for my daughter by the sea.
Like the winter waves against the beautiful cliffs, life was colourful and unpredictable .
It was also a little too cold for me, and after finally getting a clearer diagnosis on the rheumatoid and osteoarthritis plaguing my thirties and forties; we made a decision to edge closer to the sun. It wasn’t an easy decision.
There were a lot of faces to leave behind.
And a house of memories, which we created, as a team; she and I.
During lock-down we nested. Safe in our Ark. But pretty much alone apart from a house full of animals and a tiny but mighty rescue team.
Two years later, after a solo exhibition, with a growing Art collection and a growing teenager, the time came to stretch our wings . With the spark of new love, and hopes for a fresh start, we loaded the car full of animals and a capsule wardrobe, and headed for the Devon coast.
The road to England was long , we just had no idea in how many ways that was to be true .
Squeezed into a one bed chalet and sleeping in a kitchen with all the animals
Days turned into weeks and months waiting for everything to align. Seasons changed, and Christmas was enjoyed in the second chalet.
Six months ago we saw a beautiful house. A house found by chance by my daughter. A house we fell in love with. A house with space and potential and that certain something familiar.
We put an offer in. And we waited. And we waited some more . Meanwhile we lived a life in miniature, both with the space we were in, and the things available to pursue in our day to day lives.
Weeks and weeks went by . School terms were completed, time sped up and slowed down at once. In the absence of people friends, animals were therapy. Light changed. Our fingers were crossed.
And without warning, despite being assured we were first in line, we lost the house. The floor slightly fell out of the world.
Weeks of painting and writing followed . Whilst various Scottish details were finalised, the chalet became an Art studio.
As the funds decreased and hope got harder to find. With two homes to make into one we had a deadline which kept getting extended into a fuzzy distant place. Not knowing when you can create a home is tough, especially with work projects to refresh and the itch to be making and teaching .
Ah.. the lure of a fireplace and a proper hearth…. Above Illustration for ‘flame’ week. One of the Online gallery projects.
Although we looked at other houses, nothing quite felt the same. We had to try and fall out of love. To imagine oneself anywhere else was so hard by then.
All good stories have their twists and ours was no exception. We still had a feeling about the house. Thankfully, it turned out to be right.
After months of feeling cooped up and isolated, several hospital emergencies, teenage frustrations, and pets desperate to run free ; having no permanency to begin new projects and social activities, meet new neighbours or really start to explore – our patience was rewarded. Finally, after three months of still hoping, our prayers paid off. Because, suddenly, out of the blue, another viewing was arranged, and the house had become available again.
We made a new offer. And it was accepted. The dream moved up a notch. A further three months of roller-coastering followed while the logistics took shape and formed an orderly queue. As the chalet space shrunk, a bit of hope grew. Not jinxing our luck, we told almost nobody. Nails were being bitten until the very final minutes.
Today however, we are delighted to say we got the key!
At last we can begin this long journey to bring this house and our creative family back to life. Finally we are able to open the door to our new home .
Thank you for your patience while we had nowhere to entertain you…
Thank you to Rob and Lorraine who made it possible with their chalets and their friendship and their impossibly cute dog
The blue gate was broken and gnarly,
Its ivy clad paint chipped and torn.
A keeper of secrets behind there,
Forbidden since first she was born.
She tried to avoid this direction
For fear of what might her, befall.
Inevitably, one rainy morning,
A dog she was with, lost his ball.
Now, if this were a regular story,
A rainbow or two would appear.
But this was a dreich Scottish Friday,
And no meddling unicorns near.
The hall, it had flown quite a distance.
There was nothing else she could do.
So yanking the rusty gate open,
She broke all the rules and curfew.
A path lay within what can only,
Be named as a forest of roots.
A tangle of overgrown bushes,
And mud which leaked into her boots.
So typical, and so annoying,
The dog disappeared out of view.
To grab hold of those thorny bushes,
Was probably all she could do.
A pair of embroidery scissors,
Remained from a felt-making class.
To have such abundant filled pockets.
Was suddenly, useful at last.
She snipped, and gave whack to the branches.
Her boots kicking tangles away.
Her progress, though slow, was unveiling.
A twist, to this strange kind of day.
Old legends of haunted, bad forests,
Had kept many feet from this path.
And parents forbidding their children,
From straying too close after dark.
She noticed a snippit of colour,
A mosaic of bluebells and ferns.
The path began opening wider,
Revealing a copse and a burn.
Now, hidden from all the familiar,
She stood in a moss covered dell.
A circle of ruby red toad stalls,
Inhaling this rich woodland smell.
The path forked in several directions,
Green light from its canopy sparked
And it wasn’t scary or haunted
And it wasn’t lonely or dark
Instead there was no worry lingers,
Instead there was breathing slowed down.
Instead there was crisp air contentment,
A velvet room; green, blue and brown.
A hoot from an owl in the distance,
A rustle as fox sniffs new prey.
A dormouse who scuttles so swiftly,
Chased moths and his brothers away.
As forest sounds turned up their volume,
She noticed how each living thing.
Was moving and breathing together,
How whispering woods really sing.
A bat with long ears swooped beside her
No trace of a vampirish grin.
This soft silky creature emboldened,
By autumn light falling on him.
Her hand brushed the bark of an oak tree
its acorn like cups at her feet,
She lay on the soft green moss carpet,
Sleepily soothed by its heat.
A shriek from away in the distance,
Where are you ? The dinner is cold.
You better not be in the brambles,
You better have done as you’re told !
Turning to step on the pathway,
She noticed familiar sounds.
A curl of smoke rose from the tree tops,
Too close to the secret she’d found.
And suddenly there was her mother,
Wide eyed and in puzzlement stared.
A tear in her eye she remembered,
How as a young girl she’s been there.
She sat down beside her and listened,
To all of the silence and noise.
To all of the melodies playing,
To feeling her fears be destroyed.
The years fell away in an instant,
She let them be gone and be still.
Her daughter re-finding her pathway,
Much further than just down the hill .
A path feared to tread by a mother,
Will feel to the young heavenly.
For when we are caged by another,
Our journey can never be free.
Inside every dark, gloomy forest,
Lies layers of stories and charm.
Each tiny new magical detail,
Will find you the journey to calm.
Together they stepped on the pathway,
A little less sad and alone.
As time bent like rowan around them,
They followed their lost dog back home.
It’ was Lorraine’s fault There I was, minding my own business and the next thing I know, I am dancing in the dark with glow sticks in each hand.
Now; I’m not good with walking these days, as you know. What was I thinking?
Twenty years ago I was a pretty good dancer) I did acrobatics and theatre performance.
Then a serious knee injury, twenty operations and meningitis catapulted a double whammy of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.
Those lovely, huge, sweeping body moves, enjoyed in the disco and often madly accomplished in full costume; well they were a thing of the past. Getting to the supermarket from a disabled space on a cold day is exercise for me.
Yet Faith Ruled Out
As my arms found the beat and the core of me danced, a strange and lovely thing happened. Out of nowhere, my cells woke up, they started to remember stuff. Tiny micro moves began to ping in my veins as my body knew this place.
I found my rhythm and my limit with each track, each set of steps and my brain swiftly doctored it to suit. When it hurt I didn’t do it. Mostly it hurt my legs. So my hips moved instead, and my arms took the lead. The shapes; The moves the other girls made large , I made small inside my body. It felt wonderful, and size folks, really didn’t matter. Nobody sees you in a dark room, in an exercise class where various women of various ages were making shapes with glow sticks to happy songs.
This time of year we find ourselves peeping our heads out of our wintering. It is Imbolc. The time where nature trusts in the rhythm of the weather, the call of Spring and the feeding of hungry birds and animals. Seeds planted last year are germinating below ground, safely harnessing their potential until the sun can shine on their faces.
Trusting that our tiny moves are important is very hard in this changing world. A world where big is better, anything but bold is boring and we want results, instant fixes.
I heard myself saying to my daughter that she needs to value her time. Those little pockets of time which get wasted on gaming or tv, or endless scrolling are just as easily used on something which slowly brings the change we seek. Although I did probably sound like my mother! I realised that I had personally learnt to understand how precious time is, and how much we can stretch it if we give it value.
In times of plenty for a young person, whether it be due to financial stability, or having a loving supportive home, it is impossible to imagine a lack of material things. Or to ever feel ill or simply to not have the world exactly as it is right this minute.
The world makes it easy to believe that the healthiest, most beautiful, most organised, fit and creatively smart people will live the best life. Every magazine prompts us to change and tempts us with freebies to help get us there. Get and be better. How exhausting. And how dull.
Do you want to be a rock star? Well, of course many of us would say we would. The lavish lifestyle, the adoration, the living out of your dream. The fans! But all I think of is how, in the interviews, they all seem to say, how despite arriving at destination after destination, country after country, a lot of tours don’t enable their stars to stop, see the view, see the city even. let alone enjoy the ride and take in where they are.
With every destination, there is a chance of a detour, or a cancellation. learning to stop on the journey, admire the sky, absorb the landscape, enabling us to be aware of each moment for it’s own sake. It was the journey that made us the way we are, in all the ways we like and don’t like about ourselves. The onwards journey therefore should be travelled at our pace, in our style and in our vehicle of choice.
Ironically, we must waste what we will in future appreciate. Be it money and time, or health or familial love. What ultimately makes us value their absence is understanding the weight their presence held. Just don’t expect your average 14 year old to understand their fortune yet.
I have conditioned myself to believe over the years, that I have not achieved my aim, or where I want my Art to be. Even after a big success or exhibition. You might tell me how that is all kinds of wrong , or how parents, partners and teachers plant seeds of doubt in your mind, and the sensible brain knows this. But at the end of the day; it is our voice our doubts get translated into. And self doubt is like an irritating little wasp in your ear.
As I wiggled my glow sticks and whipped through my teeny tiny hip movements to a funky track; I was struck with a sudden realisation. In the dark in the hall we were all making our bodies do something new and useful and healthy, something that our bodies weren’t doing yesterday. We were planting seeds.
I think we are all so very clever at growing things if we stop and look. Perhaps we move on to the next goal without turning around and hearing the applause for the one we scored. There is faith, instinct and knowing in every day we nurture others and feed ourselves. I had been making micro movements in my every day life, for as long as I could remember. My process in my work remained vital, and I fed it even for years when nobody saw my work. In a house where it was impossible to work, I drew and wrote on tiny scraps of paper and fed them into the open mouth of an art bag. When we were able to leave, those ideas began to become real on canvas and in the world, without having lost anything by having to be patient. Even in the tough times, even when it felt like they were for nothing. No micro movement is ever wasted .
Regular patterns make beautiful pictures. A habit seed becomes your garden . One or two micro movements become a wave of change.
In the precious hour I carve out in the morning I get up early, because my mind is awake to create and write, and this is my happy time. There is sometimes five minutes in the bath or the car to write poems and ideas on my phone. I gather notes and photographs wherever we go somewhere lovely. All the tabs I keep open could make me crazy. But I now know, my method is juggling several things at once, in increments, like painting several canvases and watching them evolve to fruition.
Until each of your thought babies is born!!
The pleasure of slow and steady making and creating, means the final outcome hasn’t got teeth and a scary face. So often putting us off before we begin.
I got to thinking how quickly habits become our everyday ways, and we all know how reliant we can become on the positive and negative versions of those. How easy it is to prep dinner first thing so that the hard work is done for later and you can enjoy a day in the sun. Or stretching for ten minutes, reading ten pages of books which improve your learning a day, writing one letter a week to friends or eating one more piece of fruit . All positive micro movements which improve an aspect of living.
But the opposite comes when we get used to our unhealthy habits in the same way . Like never trying that creative thing we crave doing or doing too much of the thing that damages us. Which is a different demon for everyone.
As I danced I thought of each movement , the ones I was doing with my arms and light sticks, wilder, freer, and the almost imperceptible tiny ones in my legs and hips, that only I could see. And I thought of each brush stroke, each new piece of drawing paper, each new morning, each new notes app, each new idea for a post and a poem.
I considered the word document with the inventory of new products on , the hours and hours of downloading and tapping towards making a new shop website, every letter to a friend who, in mutual faith keep their valuable long distance support in plentiful supply. Each new dawn and each cosy evening holding the day at each side like loyal kind parents . Every plaster on every wound- animal, teenage or otherwise.
As you inch towards the things that bring you joy, find the way to inch away from those that do you harm. Have patience, and believe your instincts. In our sister site Let loose ladies we have learned that we are not alone in our baby steps to freedom.
Whatever journey you may be on , emotional or health driven, creative or physical, in a relationship or newly going solo; the important things are the same.
Doing little manageable steps towards accomplishing a goal means;
You don’t get bored
You stay in control
You are more likely to stick to a consistent approach
Small moves can be taken wherever you go
You are less likely to quit
Your achievement will be genuinely your own making
You won’t hurt yourself
If safety ( emotionally, domestically, or in recovery from pain ) are issues, you can move with pace and planning. – rewarding yourself for staying motivated.
You will have space in your day for other things
Ironically we have to learn how to waste time before we can value it.
It’s only when we lose function, we age, we lose a level of mobility, we took for granted, or a familiar support, in our health, the people in our network; that our activity buttons get stuck. The good news is that every day can be a chance to reset them again.
Right now I’m making dinner. Chicken Parmesan. In this tiny chalet kitchen . Writing on my phone and talking to you. It is bliss. Soon my lot will be up and the space and my job sheet will be filled up again, For now, this is a carved out place. This hour steps towards feeding both my family and my passion.
The potatoes are almost done.
The chicken is seasoned
The sun’s light is a little softer, we are heading Springwards.
The dinner is made and the day can begin. It may not be the way of the world , but it is my way of feeling balanced.
Don’t count steps, it’s the direction that counts.
Walls and hedges, floors and edges, markers to our world’s defining spaces. Blanket stitching a creative space for everything to come, and everything to reflect upon; a place to heal within, to plan from.. A place to rest and go from next. A place to call home. A hub to conjure up new ideas and have fun in. A place to nurture old friendships in and grow new ones in.
We make temporary spaces naturally at our desks, in our childhood bedrooms, in our holiday hotel rooms, even it seems, ( from recent Netflix binges) in our prison cells. In the last three months of my pregnancy, when I was kept in more than I was allowed home, (due to a complication;) my corner of the ward very soon held an assortment of personal memorabilia. A cushion, paintbrushes, all the quirks and accoutrements I probably don’t know are me– but everyone else does!
As a child I held family open days to show off my new bedroom layout. Creating different versions of normal and making new from old. Hours of pushing the bed from one side of the room to the other with my legs shoving the base inch by inch across the floor and rearranging my Wham posters !(yes, I was that kid) and on holiday it doesn’t feel the same until the suitcase is unpacked, the toiletries are in the bathroom, and we know what time breakfast is. A little bit of home from home.
Every student flat, every house, every holiday campsite, no matter how temporary is a blank canvas for a new beginning.
Every one a new route to friendships and chance.
Occasionally there must be a inevitable spanner.
The walls are paper thin here,
Each paper rustle heard.
Each line of book surrendered,
T'wards rest like idle birds.
On wings of paper feathers,
Forgotten, inked at last.
Between the paper walls,
Burt embers of the past.
This paper cuts each finger,
A trail of pink and read.
We stitch each words so carefully,
Each hope with paper thread.
A paper trail of bows left,
Tied on the seat of kites.
They dive through days and shady lanes,
And feed on terabytes.
We're papering the cracks now,
To show we're almost real.
A chain of paper dolls stuck fast,
were lined up, toe to heal.
Our supper on our paper plates,
This picnic tastes the same.
And though the walls are made of card,
We're sheltered from this rain.
And while the paper calendar,
Knows not where life will take her,
We stumble through this paper maze,
and sleep on formal papers.
In time we'll empty boxes,
A cardboard overwhelm.
We'll sail on paper aeroplanes,
Exploring new, old realms.
We'll find our lost belongings,
In tissue, and newsprint.
And mark our new tomorrows,
With smudgy fingerprints.
This poem was inspired by life over recent months . A period of beautiful, but, at times; almost unbearable stillness.
Where once was busy routine, noise, people, structure and and planning of things to get through the seasons of the year; the details, the full stops and punctuation, the life chapters, those that will become embarrassing Facebook reminders in a year or two for groaning offspring; days going by in snapshots of celebration and those yet to be experienced.
What was to be a few months of waiting for a house move has stretched to over half a year. Not knowing an outcome for a move or a big life change is a hard thing to cope with, no matter whether you are a small or a bigger, experienced human.
When we make a home, it is the centre of our web. From there we can go places and do things and join things, make things happen. Grow roots.
For various reasons this year, this has been on hold a little while.
It isn’t always easy to stay positive without our p.j.c (personal joy collection. ) How easily our solid house of cards can become paper thin. A home is so vital but even more so, are the friendships we nurture within it. To say I crave the smell of chalk paint and new carpets, even a trip to b and q, would be an understatement.
But, when life gives us lemons..
If you had told me we would be packing for this many months, it would have been impossible to imagine what we needed. We could only take so much with us, most of that was for animals. Some clothes for each season and the basics. Which have been added to, seasonally including a birthday each and Christmas. It feels a little now that what we have here now, in our temporary home, is the sum of our belongings. When someone has a bad day, it is so easy to forget that this isn’t our life now. Or who we will be forever more. That this is who we all are now. And at times when it is hard, that this is the whole picture.
But every day is a new beginning. ( I love mornings) And in between the slow ticking of the clock are revitalising rushes of appreciation for what still is . And what will be.
There are still bookshops and mornings, hugs and sprinkles on your coffee, ideas and paws,
Sunrises, amazing architecture, hugs, tiny cinemas and beautiful views.
Happy memories from Skye Blue House inspiring New ideas for the next Home
In these twixt days and months, in the early hours, these precious daylight hours, when school keeps her busy, or cold winter evenings waiting for news of housey things; much is being created and made.
Soon we will grow flowers. Until then we will just grow more (im)patient and bigger piles of paper…
Sometimes the big picture takes a little longer to materialise !
There was a girl who looked like me
She followed me close by.
If someone hurt or saddened us
She hid away to cry.
She weighed as heavy as a rock
But couldn’t quite be seen,
She sometimes almost went away
But re-appeared in dreams.
She often spoke in voices
Quite like those I knew so well,
The tag team of complicit pain
Who cast their icy spell.
We look inside the mirror
Thinking, I know who is me
But you know you are deeper still,
Than anyone can see.
We see the version of ourselves
That we accept as truth.
Honed out of mixed perspectives,
Thrust on us since our youth.
The saddest waste of life is what
we all can sometimes do.
To trust the doppelganger,
Who pretends that they are you.
Go back and hold your own hand
In the places, times and hours
When your wondrous thoughts and feelings
Were swamped by other’s powers.
Refocus where you stand today
Right now, and ever more,
The person who can walk alone,
A giant through the door.
Without the weight of what was then,
And who you never were.
For all that is ahead of you
For you, but best for HER.
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Christmas smelt of coal when I was very small, Curled beneath the eiderdown, light flickered on the wall. A tealight by the bedside, insurance just in case. On Christmas eve, a certain hope to catch sight of his face.
Christmas smelt of sausage rolls, upon a Christmas Eve. When it was dark and candles lit, their festive scent I’d breathe For that was when the night began, and he’d be here quite soon. A bell, a thump, a cloud of smoke; inside the living room.
I’d picture him amongst the stars, a map within his hands. He’d plan his route and plot the houses chimneys in each land But now I think he may have found a warehouse in each town, And make TV appearances when funds are running down.
His cheeky rounded cheeks and his bristly fluffy beard, His soft and round red tummy, never changing year on year. In my childhood, Santa had no socks from Tk Maxx, He didn’t carry ipads and hair straighteners in his sacks.
He took delight in filling socks with oranges and sweeties. And no-one mentioned tooth decay or early diabetes! He ate enough mince pies to keep weightwatchers very rich, But I could never see, his tummy pop a single stitch.
And if he drank the little whiskey on each little plate Would Santa not be very drunk? Or least of all quite late? Would he not muddle every present on each waiting hearth? Creating chaos in his fluster. That would make me laugh.!
He’d maybe just decide to see the ones who saw him too. For magic only happens if you first believe in you. However, he still does it, whether Amazon or sleigh And even if you’re always grinchy, park it for the day.
Nothing truly wonderful can ever be explained. Santa is who Santa is, and lives in all our brains. Hang your hat on someone good, you might just be surprised, And one day you’ll wake up to find a bite from your mince pie.
I have spent quite a lot of time looking at clouds recently.
Either through a doorway at dawn or at dusk when the spectacular paint box of colours and shapes sploshes across our patch of sky. Or sometimes from the inside of a wheelchair as I get trundled on a too- far- to-walk-path or as passenger in the car, I have been awestruck by the never ending capacity for the fabulousness of clouds.
Fluffy snowy cloud mountains hovering on the rooftops of the town, volcanic explosions backlighting the gloom of greys creating clouds of such density you surely must be able to ride on one. Dramatic inky washes, Turneresque pastel streaks of wonder, explosive fiery bursts splitting their intense vibrant blue canvas. We paint the skies with our eyes.
I’ve always loved skies, like gazing at the sea, their vastness make us feel tiny, our thoughts less important. Ironically being mindfull makes our minds less crammed full of clutter.
Watching the clouds pass through the sky I focused on my breath. It hurt to breathe. The week before quite suddenly I hadn’t been able to. After a week of feeling quite strange, a day in A and E, and an extra unexpected ambulance call out, it turned out there was a problem with my lungs. It looks like it was a blood clot. It was extremely painful and frightening.
Quite literally all there was to do was put one moment in front of the next, trust and focus on my breath. It hurt to laugh, to bend down and especially to breathe in cold air. Several times I almost blacked out going outside. In these moments we cling to those we love and the skills we’ve gathered . And trust that we know it is temporary.
I have been reminded.
As someone who is limited by mobility, I use my time and energy differently to a lot of other people. Rising early, using that burst of energy, keeping extra warm, scouting for disabled parking spaces close to the shops or the beach. But it is the world we are used to. Accepting new levels of limitations is another layer of challenge. Accepting even more help is even harder.
But like the skies that change, so too do our needs and our strengths. When there is no choice but to come fully home to ourselves we find we had been patiently there all along. And no amount of illness changes who we are.
These last few months have been ( again) fairly isolating. In a time where nothing is permanent, it can be tricky to hold onto the walls. Your feet need to be firmly on the ground at least somewhere, even if it is just a springboard to travel from and to return to , Staying true to yourself without any of your belongings, with your normal clothes or reference materials with books or tools and equipment; creates an opportunity to pare back to who and what is most important in your life.
After the start of the year, crammed full of community events and time with friends, choirs and art groups in Scotland, these last six months have felt frustrating; of time moving slowly, or time not being filled with our planned version of events. But when time is standing still second by second, we are offered a revitalised appreciation of having achieved in both large and small ways.
Take a breath
It was a summer of getting to know the area, enjoying the warmth and indulging in the odd treat here and there!
Autumn sauntered in with her rich fruity tones.
The zoo continued their daily antics. Bumble and Bonnie the guinea pigs, Max and Molly the cats and Horace the flat-coat retriever. Bear is now living somewhere new with more space and freedom to be his wild self. We will always love you Bear x
A few months shuffling about in one small chalet….
To a larger one …
The girl grew as they are wont to do…
And much Art and Poetry was made
Keeping up with friends by post has been invaluable. Online classes and weekly galleries can be seen on seasparkle.org.
Once a week office space waiting for the laundry!
Remembering every day what makes us happy, even if we have to wait a while…
Sudden illness, a change of direction, a change of pace throws us, We expect it all to be back how it was. But life can’t ever stay the same.
No matter what that looks like for each of us
It can be cathartic to become unwell somehow. I don’t say that flippantly, and I can only speak from my own experience and those who I have spoken with.. But, occasionally we are blessed with an opportunity to gain insight into what is real and what is snake oil.
Unable to catch that last bit of breath, a series of strange little coincidences balanced the universe again. There was a peaceful inevitablity. I just had to not laugh too much. It hurt.
Maybe, the universe took over?
I can breathe a little easier now. Yesterday my daughter made me a delicious dinner, after my first foray out in town walking a few hundred yards. We shared her cheesy chips. We were simply in the day.
It is time to get cosy
Tomorrow will happen regardless
There will always be clouds.
We must just look up.
Have A Fabulous Christmas, stay warm, stay positive and stay in touch