We celebrated five years in Skye Blue house recently. Five years in St Abbs. Five years of watching my daughter turn from a child into a beautiful young woman.
Five years of furry feet, blue paint, furry feet in blue paint, and repainting blue paint before furry feet go back outside and make blue paw prints .
Five years of weathering the storms. All kinds of storms.
Five years of isolation. In the cave on the cliff in the wind, five years of intense Artwork and writing.
Five years of healing. Five years of waiting for the wind to drop. Five years of waiting to hear from rheumatologists what the body knew already; that this climate often makes your condition more painful. But five years of the best tonics, moments lost in singing, laughing, planting and growing and creating with, and for others.
All journeys create possibilities, for friendships, opportunities, detours and adventures. On ours here, many have been shared in stories online, and turned into poems and illustrations. Best of all has been the friendships grown through teaching and sharing in Art, with our choir buddies and drama buddies , friends who will now last a lifetime. Friends who leave precious memories.
Our home has undergone a radical transformation from it’s old self. A Fireplace was put in, thank goodness, as it saved us when storm Arwen hit. Although not much else was saved. A caravan upturned, blew its windows, took its contents and spewed them back out, Christmas gifts, vintage china and sewing supplies landed all over the garden whilst two shed roofs were ripped off and trees disappeared. A home here, was going to be interesting, little did we know it would involve a brand new skillset.
Walls have held murals, garden stones have become colourful pathways, fairies hid in corners, flowers bloomed and Art was made in one of three stripy beach huts. Very few months, even in Summer, stay warm consistently, so when it was good weather- all outside jobs had to get done at once!
It may sound far-fetched, but the climate impacts hugely on joint pain and arthritis. Something happens inside the bones, inflaming the pain, pressurising nerves, slowing blood flow. When temperatures drop even a little, when air pressure changes, when it is both damp and cold there is a shift inside, almost like the body knows it must protect itself from unnecessary movement. Walking, bending and getting out of bed becomes harder, fatigue (annoyingly) wins out just when you’re having fun. After about August, there are less and less usable hours of the day (in the North!), and this means that from late Summer onwards, a more insular lifestyle once again looms because you feel cold. Needing more rest, (no matter how much you do to combat symptoms) , winter becomes a necessary retreat.
Positivity becomes a necessary armour, a way of life to balance the enormity of this struggle. Certainly some days are easier than other days, but the common link for most sufferer’s wellbeing is warmth.
Every year, in this cycle, there is a time portal where new ideas can become new realities. Those – keep – you-awake-at-night- ideas that might, seed and grow into real flourishing, exciting, life enhancing adventures. Activities that if you try really really hard can be organised and achieved whilst the sun is out and the bones are a bit less creaky. This is, on average, for us here, three or four months. ( I know this because it is how long the heating isn’t on full) Perhaps only a few days of that time are really warm.
This time pressure is both exciting and utterly crazy. It makes it impossible to plan things around the year, because there is no pacing. Adrenalin works all the harder for completing projects in warmer times, ( think what you’re doing right now, what your days are like in this sun.) For most its a time to lie on a deckchair with a good book, or avoid the heat altogether. If cold is the enemy, precious hot days can cause an ironic over exertion and subsequent fatigue. (This can also appear that you have no mobility problems, and impact on the support you need) If only that were true, as you crawl into your bed while the day is still light and the birds chirp happily; but at least the chair is painted and the pots are de-weeded.
Nature’s paint box on a sunny Day
Last Summer we considered a move to a warmer climate. Our road trip adventures were planned for months, and we manged two long, long journeys to the South of England and back again with carloads of belongings, and an assortment of animals of all shapes and sizes. In case you missed it, here is a link to come back to.
We needed a lot of belief in what we had planned. The countdown began, the boxes packed, the maps unfolded. Post Covid, we were all stepping gingerly into the unknown.
But, the best laid plans…. Just when you think life is going in one direction…
For reasons best left to history, and after a lot of deep breathing, praying and motivational speaking by a too-wise-for-her-years young companion…….
Our journey then, ended where it began, back home . (which now, thanks universe, we appreciate!)
We squashed back into the car, all seven of us, two car loads in one, all the paws and madness, and drove back to Scotland after arriving the night before. With no school clothes organised, she started back the next day, and we crash landed into life as we knew it . I set about unpacking the house again, repainting the walls, throwing energy into teaching my lovely Art classes and spending time with those we love. We were and are seasoned pros at getting on with life.
In these last couple of years, we have had the fortune to know and care about such lovely people.
So much artwork has been created, shared, and inspired us all to keep going. And we will continue to do this remotely and together online throughout the Summer and beyond.
These memories and connections are a part of something very special, and sharing artwork on our seasparkle site has created an ever expanding exhibition, no matter the experience or theme.
This little village holds its magic if you know where to look.
A bounty of ideas for any creative
During this last year, we have all learnt so much about our own resilience and ability to just cope. In life, it is often very difficult to gain approval from everyone, or move forward without having a consistent network to support you.
But the greatest thief of living life is fear, even if it comes from a place of love. Often we are numbed into a paralysis not only by our caution, but from those around us. And sometimes, we just got to trust those instincts. And the ones who have been there all along.
This time we are feeling the fear and doing it anyway. It has been a long time coming, this journey of ours. Freedom to seek out the sun and find our true colours. Freedom to explore and take what we need to where we choose to go.
And after months of planning, this is Our Big Adventure – part two..
In a few moments time, we are going on another road trip.
For weeks we have been living like students surrounded by bags and boxes, with ever shrinking space inbetween.
The juggling of Life and Art was a bit of a challenge! Making stuff takes… well a lot of stuff….
As well as the concert, there was a fashion show
A Craft Fair
Three Art Workshops,
A Book Illustration
And a holiday to Turkey
All in the middle of the chaos.
For the zoo, as long as there was cuddles and food, life remained the same in the nest. The house might have been a Rubik’s cube of boxes and huge bags, and the space between shrinking, but food and love still got delivered.
The future is an exciting blank canvas, thoroughly primed, brushes at the ready…
The caravan left yesterday to its new home…
We are getting the maps out..
The excitement is mounting…
Books and Art and all that “crap you’ll have trouble ever shifting ” is safely sorted, and in storage thanks to months of hard work, patience and help from one or two angels😇
Six months ago all of the above were just ideas, conversations, which became plans. A lot can happen if you believe it can !
Every scrap of kindness will be with us always.
A few goodbyes with our favourite people before our journey begins.
And now.. before the next chapter starts all that’s left is to sprinkle a little glitter
and thank the universe for all that it has given …
See you on the other side!! All our love, Liz and the zoo xx
3 thoughts on “Moving on”
I was moved by this one, you are so eloquent, I’m sure you have a self illustrated book in you (at least one) perhaps you could write about your last 5 years in the Borders once things have settled down. I have been thinking for some time that a move South would at the very least help with your condition, ideally a move to a drier climate would be best, but I know that is not always possible. One thing your latest blog has taught me is seize the day, I never did make time to meet up with you when wee Skye was still around and recently I thought many times that I must pop over and see Liz’s exhibition in Coldingham, but as usual with me work always got in the way. Well its too late now, which makes me a little sad; but then I’m lifted by the thought that you are both moving forward with courage and love. I often visit the South these days to carryout surveys etc, so perhaps all is not lost and we maybe we will be able to meet up for a coffee at some time in the future, for that chat we never had when you were local. I wish you both much happiness and I for one are glad you have moved on with hope in your hearts and you continue bringing joy to those around you. David
Dear David. And, just like you, I was waiting until the right moment to reply when I could give your lovely words the thankyou they required. How magical to read and also, bittersweet. Because, the positives of the wider network of friends and experiences definitely outweighed the immediate issues we faced daily. Which, have no place on a positive blog. Patience though is its own reward. Without seeing past the temporary state of rooms, things in a guddle, routines out of sync with the bigger picture, one would simply stew in the same juice. And change is always possible with a kernel of something vital only you know. Telling everyone plans is often exciting but a little like discussing a pregnancy too early. There is a time, and it has to feel like your choice. I am sad that we hadn’t met your family, but I have a feeling this next zoo park of ours might have a permanent open sign on the door. And you, and our friends old and new will always be welcome. Take care, Love Liz x
Thankyou Liz, that was a fabbo read and beautiful pictures. Good luck for your journey towards warmth and more sunshine…just not too much warmth I hope in the form of heat waves…lots of love spritely spirits xxxx