You can’t please them all…

As we spent the day painting pebbles for a charity day in St abbs recently, I wandered around chatting to the fellow stall holders  One fabulous lady whom I bought a few beachy bits from, said she had waited years for a beach hut , but it went to her relative and so she was selling her stuff for charity, the lifeboat here in the village., …. Guess who was happy to give the seaside paraphenallia a good home !!!

I got our things and she asked me if she could photograph my garden. She had walked past a few times. she knew it was mine she said  … It had to be !! I was touched and thankful. It was of course, really complimentary. And they were a lovely family. They are in the gang..

Another woman walked up to the stall. I had seen her about in the village.. I knew that perhaps we had a similar taste in planting as both our gardens have thrived in the summer heat. I complimented this lady on her colourful skirt and top saying she looked nice and bright.. Imagine.. the surprise when the reply was.. Well I wish I could say the same about your house.. Ohh!! well, ‘That’s me told…….’. ‘Yes, she said,….. ‘I don’t like your house !!’

OOOOOOOOKAAAAAAY …

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Ok.

It isn’t what everyone has but really? Would you say it out loud!! Image result for say it out loud

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How easy would it be to wipe out that earlier lady’s comment? Or all those other nice comments we hear from people all the time? All the photos we get asked if people can take.. or the joy we can see when people see the achievement , just because of that ONE negative perspective?

BUT we do..

 

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We all do. All the time. The tiny tiny bad bit becomes all we think about in the big scheme of things and it is madness. ( But normal!) We are so much more than the jealous, or sad, or lonely person who chooses to voice their feelings in that way and we happen to get in the way at that  moment, on that day…

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The other 67843 lovely comments are still true.. REALLY. !!! And at the end of the day.. Do I like my garden? Yes.. Does the kid growing up in it feel happy in it .. YES.. !!

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Well then.

Having gone through a long term situation where there was a LOT of negativity.. I try to remember how fleeting these random commentaries are.

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The opinion of those we love.. yes, to a point.. but mostly if we are looking in the mirror and the person staring back is ok with the stuff we are doing/thinking/being… it’s probably enough..Image result for i like me more

Because I just don’t want to be anyone else.. And neither should you . All things which are different  create a reaction..If nobody is harmed, affected or comprimised by your flourishing.. carry on….Be your own reference.

Image result for snails in shellIf you get negative comments….Don’t go back in your shell… Decorate it !!

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Love Liz xx

A Quiet wee village….

Our Little village had visitors in the last week.. Usually so calm and unassuming, contemplative and picturesque.. she has a patient and possibly weary tolerance of film and tv, having practiced her best side many times..

 

As the week wore on.. the house on the hill was transformed day by day by black watery paint making it look mildewy and spookier , and boarded up rotten windows, ivy attached by fairies and ‘dead’ plant props giving an atmosphere of an abandoned old house with a story to tell.

 

Maybe next time they should return in winter,  when this village holds her own in the beauty stakes and braves the elements in a hardy fashion, much like its residents;

 

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If in doubt grab a dog!!

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Which is in fact what the absolutely lovely film crew did.

We had already had an idea of the film from letters that had gone out, asking locals if it would be ok to park in their road. After ( not particularly tricky… detective work) ..

37198819_10156615387331869_7077374765366771712_n ….Was apparently being made on the doggie path…

37393476_10156621665396869_5400133729257521152_nAnd just to prove it !!! 

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The little block became home to a convoy of lorries and tech guys, all of whom told me about their dogs back home, and how much they missed them, as Skye climbed into their vans.. She sat on the camera, barked when they did a take because someone said hello.. And nobody minded. And she was cuddled by everyone.IMG_7677

Skye isn’t very well just now, so it was a special kinda thing for us.

So, from here in St Abbs, to the folk who came that day..

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You were polite, friendly, courteous and helpful, and welcome back any time. It was a pleasure to meet you and glimpse a few scenes..

It was a little too quiet today.. Maybe you could squeeze a dog bed into the premier? xx

 

Thanks from us in St Abbs!

Liz xx37592857_10156623873576869_3073169767394181120_n(1)

 

Homes and Gardens

I believe if you are supposed to be/do/get somewhere.. you will.. if you put in the effort and get out of your own way. ..Sometimes things are worth waiting for..

Somehow the more we stare at something directly, the less likely it is to move.. or boil or in fact perform.. Life is what happens in the margins of your essay.. pay closer attention to your doodles..

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And sometimes you have to make, remake and make something over and over again. You thought it was done and it breaks, or you have to walk away or it burns down ( a friend had this happen recently… a terrible ordeal, but she has told me a little re- modelling isn’t a bad thing, or your dream disappears, or it gets given to a passing traveller ( yes my first caravan literally was sold without my knowing for £100 with all my grandparent’s stuff inside) … ( wierdly as I have written this.. twice I’ve lost all the content and had to re- write…. )

But you start again. …

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I could write an entire blog on the patience needed to create this one… Ten years of trying, multiple broken dreams along the way.. But she has existed now in her own special way for nearly ten years now!! A to B to create the perfect family home is often a circuitous route through the rest of the alphabet…………

 

I made this home twenty years ago. For the family I thought I was making. I was fit, hopeful and full of dreams. I also taught high school full time.

 

It was meant to be the big chapter, the one where it all comes together. But there is only so much fairy dust can do.. and after it not turning out quite as planned,  when we left it, mini and I left with a carrier bag. Hope, trust in a support service and a hotel with a big bed and an extremely  lockable door…. it was the scariest day of my life. My friends told me to leave…. It was just a house.

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But,  a few months on, we created this house. …

And for five years it was our hug house. It built us back up and we evolved together, getting to meet some amazing people on the way. .. Again, personal issues followed us , and the stairs too were also getting tricky on crutches, … so after it was clear we needed to jump again, we decided a dream life by the sea was the only sensible choice.

The house sold in a week of being on the market and we had to find our dream home

( and the cash to buy ) it in twelve weeks..Image result for people in a box

…………we wanted something like this

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And I wrote an awful lot of affirmations….. Kept believing it would be ok and kept an absolute focus on what it would be like…

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But you can give them the occasional kick up the bum…….

We stumbled on this little number last February after driving around the area for a week…. And we saw its heart and potential…….

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The estate agent rang the next day, after we had only seen it for ten minutes. I heard myself saying I would buy it….

 

A year on;  This is our house now.. There are many days I hurt too much to move my hands or, in the winter, most of my limbs.. so when there is some energy, I go for it. Paint, rest stop, paint, plant, rest , stop, paint , put washing on, feed someone, paint, stop, etc ….

Lately as the weather has been kinder to limbs and there has been no school or  homework for small person.. I have mostly been out here… making this kind of thing… We have loved being outside creating,  painting  and planting , from early in the morning to a chorus of chirruping Starlings.. It hurts, but it hurts whether you keep going or whether you give in. Armed with voltarol and pain patches….

And for the beach Hut obsessed of us…

In a few weeks, the exterior makeover should be completed by a local painter too, with a few extra bits I have been painting.  When we moved here, a neighbour asked me why I was doing so much to this little house. It was quite simply meant to look like this. Our things have come home. As have we. And I don’t know when the good days will become less and less often. If you get poorly, better to have flowers to look at than gravel. And if you can’t change the world right now, at least you can paint a pattern on it..

Enjoy the home you make with each and every one of your senses and have a great Summer. Enjoy the sunshine, some things are worth waiting for. xx

Liz xx

 

Belated Happy Retirement

Twenty years ago, in my friend Kate’s house in Granton, we sat on the sofa drinking wine, looking out to sea, and I decided I wanted to teach. I had always taught Summer school classes, adult education groups and worked with children making giant puppets, felt making and mixed media treasures; but this was being a big grown up teacher in big grown up school.

Image result for lonely artist garretBeing a lonely artist wasn’t working for me. I was creating colourful felt products in my ‘Curious Creatures’ Business and exhibiting at craft and trade fairs. I loved making and I realised I loved meeting people and sharing what I knew more.

From a naturally quite shy kid, this was a surprise to me, having not expected to find the guts to face continuous rooms of teenagers, most of whom  looked older than I did! But that firing squad was faced, time and time again.

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Anyone who ever did teacher training knows is not for wimps. Like dogs, Children can smell fear ! And being the new girl in a new school every six weeks, is hard.

The hoop jumping, essay writing, module passing, lesson planning, course writing, behaviour managing, crit enduring…

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But somehow you do it..

And eighteen years of teaching later, before my early retirement, I was still in the heart of of a buzzing and happy classroom so I must have done something right.

I loved my job, and had a great rapport with kids. My every waking moment was spent collecting resources.. from shells to pictures to art

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materials to plastic pots and cardboard, feathers,

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Grades were passed and clubs run, reward ceremonies organised, c.p.d done in everything from hat making to car maintenance, and thousands of children ticked and registered into a room full of colour, plants, masks, pictures, sculptures and ideas.

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It wouldn’t be healthy to be too negative about my journey’s end in teaching. I became disabled through years of surgeries and through falling at work on an operation site on my knee. Another operation didn’t work and I was left on crutches, exacerbating arthritis and causing deterioration elsewhere. It was a battle to continue in so much pain but for a long time, I taught on crutches and managed without any support.

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The last five years have taught me that the journey’s end you seek might not take you on the planned route. As I sat at my desk pre -disability, wishing I was an artist, living by the sea; I could not have imagined the dragons I wouldImage result for working on crutches need to fight on the way to get here. Having already done it once to protect my child, the momentum needed to carry on was huge. With Amazing union support , I emerged from that chapter, having won in one sense, but never having had a real story’s end. When you stand up for yourself, there is no carriage clock. Image result for retirement getting carriage clock

But… that’s ok. It wouldn’t go with the house anyway……… I had experience and a good career which was fulfilling. It made me laugh and cry and at times it was my respite from pain elsewhere. And after all this time, it is now a dim and distant memory, another piece of my jigsaw puzzle and a step into the future which brought us here and now. So, I celebrate my self, as I never heard the words from my friends in the speech I could have had. I was a fabulous, kind teacher and I loved my job! And it was an interesting, challenging and mostly fun 18 years! The other bits.. well. You can keep them. I’ll choose to celebrate the effort it took to get and stay there and the effort it took to get here too. Perhaps I should have been better at feeling proud along the way.. who knows. Age is a great one for giving us tools we could have done with years ago.. But then.. where’s the fun in that? Image result for retirement getting carriage clock

 Happy Retirement to me.

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Thanks kids and the true friends I made. You literally kept me glued together

Now for whatever comes next. See you on the beach .

Liz

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