A splash of ink

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Have you been whispered about? Have you ever felt the cold prickles of recognition when you realise your name is being said, but not to you.
Have you ever had an opinion about anyone else?
Of course you have.

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Mostly our thoughts and comments of this and that dissipate like the haar on the edge of the sea, while the kettle boils and the next story is brewed.


Some stories however, stick.
And keep on sticking.

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Becoming a little legend, which has its roots in a social group or family, cements itself further in the pub or playground and in the judgement of the gathered groups of ”Aye beens” tutting and huffing like they’re auditioning for ”Are you being served… .”

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This goes on not just for a blether that day, but gathers snowball momentum over weeks, years, generations.

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A while ago I told you a story about an experience we were having.
It was told in a way that was honest but also showed the impact on us and the perpetrators for what they were.
It had remained hidden. For along time, I had heard things like, That’s terrible, but I don’t want to get involved. Almost as if it was contagious. Being Bullied isn’t catching. I said nothing, so nobody knew.

Sometimes you just got to say no.

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Shouting loudly and having a set of rules everyone has to abide by, might be what everyone is used to.

and all that anyone has ever heard.

But not everyone is made that way

When one of my guinea pigs gets a little bit scared, she doesn’t run away. She just shuts her eyes, puts her head down and snuggles in to my arm. I think she’s on to something..

Our move to our cottage was to be our sanctuary.
It was our braver than brave thing. Anything after that was just details.

Just like Bonnie, we keep our head down and assume those in our immediate life must quite like us or they would not be there. A good way to live. And ensures everyone gets a lot of cuddles and regular food.

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For every action, there are consequences which we must be responsible for also. Some are entirely real… whilst some…

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I believe things and people are meant to try us. And teach us.

All of our stories are different . If you ask every one of your friends how they see you it will be slightly different . Trying to hold a picture of who you are is impossible. All you can do is know you do no harm.

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We all show a variation to everyone, and not always intentionally. Our velvet selves stay wrapped in tissue for when we can truly enjoy wearing them again. But we are also patchwork, and denim and an old faded cotton shirt stitched over and over.

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And in the meantime, in this global pause for thought, while we all lounge in pyjamas and forget how to hold a real conversation, .. we are free to imagine and just be.

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You literally can start anywhere ….
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In our isolation because of my illness, I have found an honesty in a way of life .

The irony of the neighbourhood pedant believing they can cut you off; is that we actually end up truly connecting with those we like more than anyone. ever !! Our time and our people are precious. Our days are filled with the wonders of modern technology and archaic methods of keeping in touch with those in our tribe, all over the world.

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I have also found ;
A beautiful place to live in, which; If I could walk further; offers temptation every day.. to look for birds , and wild life and painting inspiration and clouds and just pure fabulousness.

The kindest friends you could ever know, our everyday companions on social media groups, accomplishing my daily Art tasks and keeping us and each other going during these last few months. A few really super immediate neighbours and two minutes down the road an amazing network of folk we could not have got through the pandemic without. Friends who have truly been a lifeline when I am ill , or an animal needs a walk or help.


In every place you go there are a few who think it belongs only to them. There is always a chance at first that unkind people, just like a mistreated animal might be a little coaxing. Getting to know why they are unhappy and defensive is the first step to getting anywhere. Becoming defensive yourself and mimicking them is simply what a lot of angry people want you to do. It proves them right, if gives them a hobby and makes you look as bad, if not worse than them. (Because you then get upset it fuels their game)
There is nothing more annoying than someone smiling, ignoring your taunts or being at ease in their world. And gives them nothing to battle you about.

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I received a message about the village asking if it was a nice place. Of course it is. And there are millions of reasons to move here, visit, get a holiday home or explore the area. I have been involved in many community groups and educational information resources in the few years we have been here.

It is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

At school I was not very sure if my art was any good. I had one art teacher who thought it was fabulous but also wanted to buy all my vintage brooches from me and get a lift for him and us maverick 6fh formers to various exhibitions in London, and another art teacher who hated all of us, had a mewling cat with no fur under her desk and who scribbled on all my drawings.
One day, recounting an extremely upsetting tirade from the second art teacher about colour theory, and moaning about her bitter teaching methods over my herbal tea in the 6th form common room, I looked up, at my friend’s face, sitting opposite. She had stopped replying, and was looking horrified. ”She’s behind me isn’t she?” I said
”Yep,”said Maria.

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That cut short my gossip career. My tiny, horrid teacher had a look I hadn’t seen when she’d shouted at me. It was more human. It was as if my words had made her think. I might have been justified but I didn’t feel good. She looked like she was actually thinking about my feelings, but also had some her own. And she left the room.
Words have power. She wasn’t nice to me, but I still felt bad !

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If we know how it feels to be harmed by words, there has to be ways of protecting ourselves without sinking or losing our selves. We don’t have to become the teacher that persecuted us.

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Think of a little bottle of inky poison. Longing for you to write with it. But as soon as you do it gets on your fingers and stains them, and rubs off on your shirt, you answer the phone and then you doodle on the table with your pen, it is contagious… someone reads your doodle, and takes a photo of it . Your ink is everywhere, on their hands now too and even now on a photo on instagram.

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You don’t need that kind of inky nonsense ruining your life

Our colours are vibrant and unique

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(Be the washable kind)

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And walk away from repeating what other people say

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That isn’t the same as not getting involved. if someone needs genuine help, drop everything.

A place can be tainted by its stories, its newsreels, its few who seek to cause drama for the sake of drama. Unfairly creating an ink blot on a beautiful landscape. But a place is bigger than that. And given time, and new news stories, a place can recover from the stories built in its bricks and paths and pub bar stools.

Sometimes new flowers grow that you haven’t seen before

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and get a whole new heap of fans

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We found this picture of our house on instagram yesterday. Our house pre Covid often got photographed by smiling camera laden tourists hanging over the fence. Seeing a different view.

Everybody has a different way of looking at the world and in order to enjoy ours fully we have to break the cycle of judging others.

I decided to take a few things out from my previous post about the incident here. The story remains the same. But we can chose not to be led by it. The place we live, like everywhere has too many pockets of kindness too, too much rich heritage and beauty and too much potential to be dulled down by decades of frustration . Because keeping those attributes of a place alive, even by reporting it, continues its legacy and keeps new vibrant people away.. and guess who would love that?!

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Places grow, evolve and change. Or at least they should to stay healthy

So we must celebrate the new and wonderful as well as the old and cherished, just like any family..

And If all else fails, you can always just stay hidden in a cardboard tube.

Be kind but be and enjoy yourself

With love

Liz at the Beach Hut xxx

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Mulling it over

At this time of year we usually start gathering up memories of all the adventures we’ve had, the travels we have been on and the places we have explored. Scrolling through our face book feeds , we get used to being taken from country to country and restaurant to restaurant.

Science has worked out why you just can't stop scrolling through Facebook –  The National Student

This year we were more likely to have been transported into the living rooms and opinions of celebrities, old box sets and adverts for things which we might get back to, dreams to purchase or get a buzz from .. one day… one day …… Our t.v and actual diets have had to adapt, due to the limitations of the pandemic.

Happiness Boost - Hygge - Beverly Hills Therapy Group

My art group and plenty of organisations supporting those with mental health issues or, indeed, having mobility problems themselves; are pretty used to this need for acceptance and flow. In our conversations on the phone or during online get togethers every week for this entire year : although there have been a myriad of concerns, feeling isolated, having to be patient, waiting longer for someone to help because the usual support network isn’t there…. the skills gained from long term health conditions have primed many people for further isolation with a spirit of making do.

How To Design a Strong Week for Better Energy | by JD Meier | The Startup |  Medium
I know a lot of superheroes

Throughout the year, numerous artworks have been achieved by you, from everyday drawings in lockdown which you used as inspiration and which generated a wonderful community group, to the Artist’s collaboration with my poet friend Ruth which rippled out across several regions and included both written and painted work. Even a little science.

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The Facebook page for the Strawberry Juice project has this lovely photo by Carey Douglas- Carnegie on the profile, if you feel like a squiz..

Please visit our site SeaSparkle. Org to see all the artwork achieved by Artists, friends, clients, and groups this year.

In a year which created bubbles out of our houses and complicated rules for how to tango around a friend in the street with a mask on, one constant was our furry friends for company and good hugs. We lost two of the best you could ever hope to love , and still miss Skye and Pumpkin dearly. (see earlier posts) But these three cheeky faces have been a distraction and very welcome company, especially during these months stranded with no family on a clifftop!

We had a recent scare with Bear having a serious injury on Sunday , and cutting an artery in his foot. He needed emergency surgery on a Sunday no less.. An expensive fright. It has been incredible to receive all your support and we are very grateful.

He has made a good recovery and is milking the cuddles for all they are worth. Max and Molly the cats, and Sugar the chicken have accepted the newbies, and the evening love-ins on the sofa are a welcome end to the day, especially after yet another teenage bedroom battle.. and once I figure out how to dog proof my flower beds from the Bear, and my builder finishes the decking, (only ten months Dave) !!!! life and the garden will resume some kind of normal, in an un-normal time.

No tree is safe….

Scrolling through the ipad, we read another post on self improvement..

Pros and Cons of a good friend — Steemit

It makes us think of so many people in charities, groups, churches, food banks, community groups and neighbourhoods, working silently with no recognition or gold stars, no clapping or extra pay. Or even pay at all. The thing is, that people are actually doing incredible things everywhere and have either no time or no inclination to tell the world about it.. Thankyou for the kindnesses we have received throughout the year and for the people who have swept into our lives just as we’ve needed help most.

Antique Christmas postcard -Girl child, woman mother daughter, shopping presents  parcels, roa… | Christmas postcard, Antique christmas, Christmas tree with  presents

It is the loveliest feeling in the world when children start mimicking the positive things that adults do, and can still feel empathy when they have been let down. In a world that can seem hard to understand, lets hope they come through this being a little more patient and kind to their neighbours. They will certainly have gained endurance skills we can only marvel at, in this adapted world.

12 Intentional Acts of Kindness for Random Acts of Kindness Day ~ Vintage  Unscripted

The two of us have had a busy few weeks, making art for the local notice boards, putting together cushions from scraps sewn by a friend with dementia, helping a friend to still have Christmas when her festive things were in boxes from a house move, and surprising her with a secret tree, food and decoration delivery, and keeping up community art zooms and daily whatsapp chats. recording an online zoom nativity, and finishing off small bits of art for friends. If a few small acts of kindness became second nature even between teenage meltdowns, (one of which left a crack in the back door) something is going in!! ..

This year has seen a deterioration in my personal bone health with less hospital and go access than ever. It has now taken two years to get treatment. I’ll spare you the details but instead, focus on the lockdown art and what we’ve made from it. It makes me proud to show you the outcome of those months, time spent every day super early drawing so that other people could later join in too. Banking a range of pictures and paintings which have now become prints and cards.

It has not been an easy year. Several times our only plans have been cancelled. We were meant to travel three times abroad and couldn’t, have guests to stay, and couldn’t, go away for birthdays and couldn’t. As a young carer the events and groups were cancelled for her and replaced with a noisy but fun sounding trumpet lesson! We know and trust change is coming. The faith in ourselves and our stamina, our plans and what comes next.. have kept us warm and moving forward for many months. I feel certain you like us have felt a rainbow of emotions this year. Patience has been hard to come by when the timescale is a moving target.

I found a glove

We are all learning how resourceful we are and finding joy in the details of life

Land girls with veg baskets - Reaseheath College

Making and appreciating new friends has been a great benefit of this year. Sadly not every friendship we have will go the distance especially in a changing world as we evolve and grow into ourselves. And actually that is healthy. If being around a person in particular makes you feel flustered, sad, anxious, or scared; Take steps to remove yourself from that relationship. Even a regular friendship can lose its way sometimes, leaving the door open for new conversations. Making space will always create opportunity.

there's no time like the past | Henri cartier bresson, Bresson, Photo

We were extremely fortunate to meet a great group of women in the Cedar programme this Autumn. Our lives can always squeeze in a supportive circle of folk who truly get what you experienced. I have learnt that by being open, we enable this process in others and this gift can come when someone least expects, but really needs it. Please do reach out and speak to someone if you or they are struggling.

We all live our lives in our little houses. our little universe… but those friends that you meet along the way, that you bond with; especially now, hold on to them. They showed up .

THE SCHOOL FRIEND Annual 1945 HB - £7.99 | PicClick UK

In the next year, we will pursue plans to extend sea sparkle art and wellbeing classes whether that continues to be online or together.

and who knows what else might be up our sleeves

In the coming weeks of excess, and hope, colours, and expectation, take a minute to soak up a small miracle and the sound of laughter
Spiderweb Photo by Jim Lyle , laughing kids, mums own and one borrowed …

As we move into the next chunk of time anticipating or dreading Christmas, depending on our health, tier, situation, or circumstance we can reflect on one or two fundamentals….

Nobody ever got richer or cleverer sending mass messages to everyone on their friends list that need ten replies before sundown. Choose your scrolling wisely.

Unordered List Adventures: List: Charming Vintage Web Ads

Charity shops can no longer shift your stuff, so there is no point clearing out everything you own because a minimalist Japanese lady tells you to. Although, there is sense in a calm space.

At Overloaded Thrift Shops, Coronavirus Is Wreaking Havoc - Bloomberg

You already know what food makes you sick so stop eating it and wasting time going to appointments relearning the obvious. There are no g.p.s so use them wisely. Your stomach does not know its Christmas.

Transforming your leaky gut to a happy gut — Charlotte Hill Chill + Nourish

Not everybody will approve of your taste, style, decisions or way of life. So do stop trying to please them all. This pandemic gives us a global and a personal amnesty on all previous self sabotage. Check into a tribal bubble that has your back.

Safe In My Bubble – Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Your glove will find you. Your calling will come. The tiny beautiful things you do today will move mountains tomorrow

And a typewriter, to write heartfelt letters to friends and family. |  Vintage ads, Vintage advertising signs, Vintage artwork

Eat slowly, light nice candles, hug something, read all the things you always meant to, remember most things we need don’t cost much , see the top half of the glass, breathe slowly , write or share your thoughts, and remember to laugh. Wishing you the festive season you want and need , whatever that looks like. Thank-you for being a support for Lizatthebeachhut and Seasparkle this strangely shaped year.

We wish you the Happiest of Christmas wishes

Vintage Christmas Images and Illustrations Free CC0 Public Domain | rawpixel

love from Liz and the zoo xxx

February Flowers

Twice in the last week I have been told to smile. Both times I emphatically believed I was smiling already. And what was wierd was one person could hardly see me on the phone, and the other had their back to me when they said it.

Thing was, I was in big pain. And it was possibly harder to hide than I thought . Even though my facial muscles were doing their hardest to fool everyone…

The people who know us know US. We are far more than a couple of facial muscles. What we emanante, even if we are miles away is an invisible but powerful combination of ingredients which make us up, and are ever fluid. We are made up of things ‘we portray, things we don’t realise we show, the things we do, the things we say, what we wear, and how we interact with the world.

Every time we try to revamp our style, all this does is brush on a fresh coat of paint on a well loved home. The home you personally inhabit is deeper than that. My pain was showing and I didnt realise. But even without looking, it was felt by those who cared. Sensed.

WE are the sum of more than just our own truths. Whether we like it or not.. and this is where you better make sure your’e on Santa’s good list.. someone somewhere can pick up on your hidden depths, your fears, dreams and gorgeously different ability to navigate life’s journey.

In our way is fear of success, fear of showing off, perhaps a life of crippling comments from a family member. Thankfully, if you ask those that truly love you who you are…. you’ll find out that you are not just your doubts, your pain or your insecurities..

Your fabulous personality is a coat of many colours. We recently asked our group to write down words to describe each other and put them together as a gift for each person. It is a tough thing for many people to read, let alone re-write nice things about themselves!! Most wouldn’t have dared to say those things in the mirror. Me included. !! But it was a very worthwhile exercise in cheering up a gloomy February Monday.

Kind of lovely…

If you don’t believe in your own particular style of magic who else will?

We have to trust that from tiny seeds planted when we can only dream ideas up, when we are sore or tired or alone: crumbling a handful of earth between our fingers….. that great blooms will eventually grow.

In between the grey skies and the routines, the heating breaking down (oh yes.. thankfully all pets at once sit on you in this house… )

A few things got printed… Completed and will add to the stock created by Liz at the Beach Hut to fund plans or our community enterprise Sea Sparkle…..

Thank you Serendipity for putting us in the window last week! We are hoping to build on our efforts to create a permanent disabled friendly space to host our Art group. As well as fund a travelling Art-Mobile to take our accessible art to as many people as we can.

We have been a little restricted with the weather lately but occasionally pop our head out of the window….

So in the meantime just pose in the odd cafe…..

Oh ok. Ill keep her.

Exhibition

This month saw the fruits of the Art group’s hard work come together in an exhibition, entitled Art for Health’s Sake. One of a few not for profit supportive and creative gatherings of individulas, coming together in creativity through ill health, mental health issues or through dementia. I can’t tell you how incredible it was to see our artists at their own private view, enjoying the compliments for their work and for their attitude to life and one another. Pride doesn’t come close. My heart is still bursting.

Go to Sea Sparkle on Facebook to see the exhibition video and Sea Sparkle.org on wordpress to see more great examples of the Artist’s work.

Our Coast is cornucopia of beautiful views, oddities, cultural sites and old world charms; backdropped against a wild and wonderful sea with big dramatic skies. As a member of the Eyemouth Art Trail, we spent an afternoon working out the accessibility of the route we plan to highlight in future maps. I am always delighted to show off the town and its cultural hotspots. Especially with a bouncy assistant in tow..

And then the best part… to hibernate afterwards, as it is still freeeezing. Thank goodness for this little baby and the other furry ones. Who understand the need for huddling in extreme situations!!

There is no escape…

Projects have continued by the fire. This is Lulu Hope. She is a little bit of all of us. Inspiration from my girlfriends and what they are achieving against the odds , and certainly gone to the best home of all , a friend I am in awe of.

How lovely to have some artwork in this gorgeous building. Marshall Meadows. A hotel and permanent Art Exhibition hosting several local artists within beautiful grounds. You can find it just before Berwick and the exhibition is coordinated by a friend of mine Dorothy. She helped hang several of my pieces and we will have a private view later in the year .

This was a secret present for a couple of my pals…

Happy Birthday lovely

We currently have no permanent venue for our groups. So once a week, we take our pjs and a trolley to the home of one maker. Everyone is welcome and we bring food to share. Winter can be incredibly isolating. And especially in areas where there is no central hub. For now, this is a wonderful and warm place to eat, make and gather.

The house is getting a lick of paint… Odd things are getting revamped, re-tweaked, repainted….

Even the bath panels didn’t escape a spot of decoupage…

because when Spring comes.. just try and stop my hands being in that earth….

And even a couple of paws…

Keep cooking up a storm…..

xxxxxx

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January 2020

Pumpkin tastic. Well, he has now had his modelling debut, having been a life model at our Coldingham Art class, delighting everyone with his ability to be hypnotised whilst lying on his back with his feet in the air. Yep, who knew ? … He has been my pet therapy whilst waiting for treatment.. oh did I forget to check that I moved to 1940 where the idea that health conditions are swiftly and painlessly fixed ?…. and he is my best pal when my 11 year old isn’t speaking to me.. (every other ten minutes… What’s that I hear you say…. expect that to last for the next ten years….. ) A guinea pig has pools for eyes , a devotion unsurpassed and a craving only for snuggles, a carrot chunk and fresh hay.. if ONLY men were that easy…

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‘Pumpkin’ by Alan Simmons

Pumpkin has decided he wants to comment on the recent portraits of him…

By eating them…

Last year I spent more time making original artwork than I had in years. Partly because I was stuck at home, or in hospital, but also because the time was more mine again, with a slightly bigger small person, and the inspiration flowed.

I was delighted to be asked to be included as one of the artists at Artisans at serendipity in Berwick. The range of my artwork is now being made as cards, and there are selected posters and art prints. I also have beach bags and little treasure boxes for your beach finds. We are using funds from Art sales to fund our Sea Sparkle enterprise. Which in the first instance needs to be a van. To carry equipment to venues with access and also because it is harder and harder to lift and carry all the stuff .

Oh yes.. we plan to do this in style.. If anyone has a spare camper lurking anywhere?

Currently .. this is the problem!!!

Without help both ends, and storage at venues, we are pretty stuck…

Pop into the shop, over the next two months to see Artwork, or contact me by email for any details of things going on lizatthebeachhut@yahoo.co.uk

Unfortunately our last art class space, which was perfect for disabled access, and had storage is no longer in existence! Thankyou to Fiona and Susan the Splash team for hosting us last year. It was a great venue while it lasted x

Cosy Craft Club

It was important to keep a link through winter, available and organic for makers to access. gathering around the fire, amongst friends, is a lovely way to enrich your skills, keep sane in the months where some folk can become a little isolated, and share nice food.

Thanks Sarah.. this kept her quiet for a whole ten minutes!!

We are always richer than we think when surrounded by good friends.

Below are more detailed pics of the stock made throughout the last year

And a little of the mess it takes to create it!! Sometimes the belief that something beautiful will come from a pile of bits of paper being sat on by animals has to be pretty strong. ….

Meanwhile during the day the day the fight continues to stay afloat and keep Skye Blue house, five animals, and us healthy.

If I never have to waste my sore hand on a complaint ever again it will be too soon..But someone has to stand up. A year has gone by and we are now back to a different health board..

Good job prescriptions are free…..

Happy Imbolc dear ones. Join us in our group or stop by to say hello

There have been a few signs of life in the garden, a couple of snowdrops, Christmas roses and the bulbs are starting to shoot. Even being outside for ten minutes and smelling the earth makes you feel connected . ( And gathering the furniture upended against the studio door with the howling winds hurling them around at night.) Good job the chicken hutch is heavy. !

We are busy rehearsing for Eyemouth Variety Performance of Wizard of Oz in March. Tickets go on SAle very soon. Occasions in Eyemouth.

Find a friend and snuggle. Good things will grow.

Lots of love

Liz and the zoo xxx

Invisible stitching

When I thought about how to neatly wrap up this year in vintage Christmas paper…

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I found that this memory quilt of a year was made up of precious stitches, invisibly binding each remnant in place to create its magical warmth.

A patchwork quilt of a year

Simple joyous friendships, and perfect moments wove like glittery threads through the last twelve months, sprinkling their sequins on frayed patches of imperfection, and stitching together the best of the treasure from grandma’s button box.

I have great faith in the way of things. Just don’t ask me to name what, why and what the rules are. I believe it comes down to the same things, kindness, patience, tolerance and trust. The closer we are to the way of things, to let go of questioning , ( no matter how bizarre or tough that can be sometimes,) the more returns in just the right way.

People, things and experiences; sometimes we have less, sometimes more…… It can be so hard to know what the plan is sometimes. Letting go of the worry about what will happen next, where money will come from and if our seeds of dreams will ever grow to fruition takes a lot of finger ( and) leg) (and toe) crossing…

Between you and me, nobody would blame you for a few moments of doubt sometimes …

Perhaps we might unlisten

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Or choose a better soundtrack

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Trusting that we have all we need is the hardest of skills. Especially if you live near a good charity shop…
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When we moved here, we were told that if we didn’t tell the entire village our life story. they would make it up. Turns out there is some truth in that. But also, turns out , you get a little distance from your earthly self if you genuinely stop worrying .

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If I had a £1 for every time, I heard a rumour about either one of us, I could replace these old windows by now. The roof tiles I heard falling off last night would be magicked back on. Hilariously, the more proving you do to dissuade what anyone thinks, the more likely you are to underline their ideas. For two years my healthcare has been compromised because I wear bright colours and have stripy sticks. G.p.s see but dont hear what you say. A final funded opinion in a different region has finally hoisted us out of the quagmire of misdiagnosis. Having been pretty poorly for months, Someone listened.

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Sometimes we need to run out of words and block out the noise. Pick out the single voice that makes the most sense. Listen to the inner voice we had with us all along. The Robin on your windowsill isn’t bothered what the neighbours think and sings loudly anyway.

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Sometimes we need to unhear what the voices around us are saying. Take a moment and know things rather than aggravate and pick away at a worry.

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Listen. to the wisdom of the people put on our path. Someone and their wisdom will pop up when we least expect it.

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My family weren’t particularly religious. But I found over the years of my life that I knew a truth about things. At five I sat in a tree talking to the angels. . I truly believed there was someone there. There is a truth and an energy to a way of living life honestly, a way of treating each other, being in the moment, especially given how precious that can feel sometimes, Our connection to the local community in Coldingham has given us a sense of belonging I never had as a child and is creating a sense of family for many of the kids involved in activities in the village.

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Amazing groups of people nurturing each other with gentle humour and humble but heartfelt and genuine support; we feel blessed and included. I understand why my daughter loves Sunday school so much.

People will think what people will think. One day none of this will matter, why not make that day today.? Trying to teach our children not to mind what people think isn’t that easy. Your heart breaks for the loves and losses they feel on a daily basis. But it is a part of life’s emotional journey to learn through experience and feel every last detail. . Learning the skills of resilience is so hard but so crucial. That’s why; if you find a place to feel calm, centered, grounded and truly at home. Go there. Don’t question why. Breathe in. Be thankful. And listen to the one voice that makes the most sense to you. Unhear the noise that breaks in from everywhere else

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.

It might be birdsong. It might be a wise person delivering a speech, it might be your guru or your best friend. You might hear it in your own voice.It will make sense when you need to hear it. If you can blot out the rest of the noise.

 

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This year for me has been made up of millions of tiny perfect moments. Made more poignant by their size and calibre. From the glistening sparkles on the surface on the water on the pool in Spain, inspiring my new enterprise; to the profound pride in a class member for winning an award for endurance and growth , the changes in my ever blossoming wonder child and our hilarious and ever evolving menagerie. Each scrap reminds me that there is more than the sum of this moment. That it stretches beyond time and space and is bigger than pain and being human.

When you produce a baby in hospital, there is this thing that happens to your pride.. you leave it at the door…people poke and prod you. You are so delirious, excited, in ecstatic delirious trauma you forget to care. In a way, it a bit like that having a long term condition or illness. You become a walking episode of eastenders. Complete strangers discuss intimate bits of you they heard about in the playground. Breathing becomes something you have to remind yourself to do sometimes!!

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You listen to the soundtrack playing around you,. The big stories, the snack sized morsels of concern and guesswork; and you have to decide not to worry about it. The easy lifestyle you once had.. well that’s on holiday. for now your patchwork might be fraying, and your pocket has a hole in it, but your seams are as straight as ever and every stitch is in tact.

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Granny chic is all the rage anyway.

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Your style right now is in the smallest mother of pearl buttons and a hand painted vintage brooch

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Just before I had Leah I revamped my old doll martha. Martha was made by Mopsie, my lovely grandma. Martha was looking a bit shabby, and thinking a baby might like a fresher toy, I embarked on unpicking her insides with a view to re-stuffing her. Heavily pregnant me was therefore slightly horrified and also laughing deliriously to find; pulling out from Marthas tummy, like a string of sausages .. Grandmas old long johns and her post war liberty bodices… A time capsule continuing to make us laugh

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Sometimes the unexpected fabric of life is the most supportive.

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My inspiration this year has been in the detail and in you. Amazing things you all do, the attitudes of perseverance, keeping the fires burning with a touch of flamboyance. From Running an unruly choir despite your own pain, braving the fear of strangers to try new activities, giving things a go, just in case it turns out a bit less less scary than you thought. Carers and relatives of loved ones consistently trying to make life fun for you both, another couple who keep going despite the unfairness of it all but make it look so simple. Friends going through their own worries and offering lifts to hospital or just a hand to hold. You in turn enable the wheel to turn, for an unwell person to continue to have value for others. Amazing.

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The hugs and camaraderie that you might give so freely can occasionally be an answered prayer for someone in desperation. Never undersestimate the power of an act of kindness

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Like Martha, we repaint on our faces, refresh our dress and hair ribbons..

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But its the inside stuff that really shows what were made of. Ethnes hilarious ‘getting dressed backstage stories ‘ from her dance days ; told in the car on the way to choir; warmed up four strangers on a cold night and will keep her forever young and cheeky. Sharing a moment or two is a priceless currency.

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Thankyou to my artists. loyal and funny.. always finding new ways to bring out the best in each other I can’t tell you how proud I am of you all. Your amazing artwork and growing confidence is an inspiration. Teaching each other new skills learnt at the art table. we may have had a quiet year in some respects, but you are officially family now … sorry !!

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And of course my biggest inspiration is my darling diva. A tough year for her in some ways, she has thrived in so many others, with huge community support in doing her panto performances and singing firstly in the adult choir and now solos ( at any opportunity). I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming, and the achievements she has under her belt. She has a kind heart and a cracking sense of humour.

Quite like this wee chap too. I think I’m in love..

We at Skye Blue House hope you have a really happy Christmas with your loved ones and we look forward to sharing many more adventures with you next year.

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Much love Liz and Leah xx

And Pumpkin xxx

Harvests and Hijinx

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A little light on lobster soup.

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Ever feel you might be cooking yourself in slowly boiling water without realising you left the cooker on? You shout for help but the people you call can’t hear.?

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A hand reaches in. It isn’t who you shouted for, but you feel this pure and honest friendship from someone you least expected. Up you come for air, and the world makes sense again. You just needed somebody to hear you, to matter enough to be rescued.

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Because you do matter. We all do. But being your own advocate is so often the hardest job. Often we are so busy hearing our own negative thoughts and conditioned responses in our self deprecating belief system, we forget we might be wrong. Actually, what if, all around you, there are real people bigging you up, believing in you and willing you to succeed?

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I often get asked why I don’t just do my art work and have a simpler life, not traipse about with bags of brushes and paint. Simple. How would I ever spend time with the most amazing people if I did that? And how, would inspiration and ideas flow between us all? The gorgeously creative people I meet, inspire me as much as I hope they are inspired; and we are growing a community of friendships as well as creating confident artists. And that is how and why we all keep each other afloat, in our pot of lobster soup, bubbling away and hanging onto the croutons..

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But , we all feel abandoned by something sometimes.

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Especially when we feel nobody is properly listening.

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Especially when our life map has turned into a soap opera.

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For ten months my battle with the nhs has raged on, causing much travelling to hospital ( an hour away) over ten times in one month, three stays this year alone and an operation which has taken five yrs. too long. And still it continues. But, as you know, it’s part of our story, and our journey here by the sea. What has been the hardest part of this recent chapter is being heard. New gp’s, a different area, fewer coffee pals! And the sinking feeling of going nowhere with ever decreasing energy.

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We all need to be heard, no matter how hard the conversation is. And it might be the most unlikely ally that becomes your rescuer, your friend or your spirit hoist. The big old hand that plucks you from your despair, smashes your boredom or challenges your bravery can be from the most unlikely source and to not feel gratitude would be pretty mad. I am blessed with a cornucopia of fabulous friends, most of whom live nowhere near us. But often the true hero is someone we might never even meet.

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One message in particular lifted me at just the right moment with a kind thought or two. True friends are simply people who get what it is you need and give you unconditional love at the exact moment you are breaking into pieces. If you live every contact that way you build your reserves of self worth brick by brick until you feel whole again.

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In a world where everyone wants to find a blemish and create the perfect background, why not pause and consider. how one small message or conversation you make time for, can make so much difference to another’s life. Imparting a sense of warmth and belief can then spread to all the people that that person comes into contact with, and that renewed grounding, calms and strengthens others. The butterfly affect. Cheers D.G

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As you know, this place, Skye blue house is an ever-changing Ark, on this clifftop and our latest little addition is taking our minds off things somewhat, with his ridiculously cute nature and doe eyes. His name is pumpkin. I might actually be a bit in love.

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He is however, making it very difficult to get any work done! Yet another creature to distract in the house of pets and panto rehearsing, paint and peculiarity…But…a very wise friend of mine, Phil said to me once that some of the best artwork created, can be in the cracks between the real things that happen in our lives. When we aren’t looking. The inbetweenie times, when you might be walking through a room and stop for five minutes, while the kettle boils, or scribbling on your napkin in the cafe while you wait for a friend. We can take the pressure off our bossy brains and let the flow back in, if we make every moment an open opportunity rather than a tedious task. These seedlings can turn into great forests. So between clinic appointments and trips to referrals I’ve done some artwork that finally got finished and set up a few new meetings for the community interest company I am building. Letting go of expectation and the imagined voice of criticism, or comparison has paid off.

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The forest is growing

If things are going pear shaped and the wolf is at the door, prowling and growling we can also allow the energy of the pain we are in, to fuel our creativity in a constructive way.  Keeping your hands busy and your heart occupied soothes your mind and gives you your voice. In turn you are a stronger you, ready to take on the world.

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Ten minutes here and there, half an hour in front of EastEnders, and lifting the pressure off one perfect piece at once, changes the dynamic of your endeavours to play at your own volume.

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There is always something you can do

And It is never going to be quiet enough

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So make the most of every opportunity

What you can achieve in short bursts is sometimes an accumulation far greater than one great big plan.

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I’m not alone. Women Artists throughout history have struggled with their combined roles as artists and mothers, wives and home makers. Often, we wait until the chores are done and the dinner is made, the kids are clean and in bed, or in school, the real stuff is done, before we allow ourselves the freedom of creating. Because, and I know this because I brought up two stepsons before Leah, made the perfect home, survived a rollercoaster marriage and held a teaching post at the same time; all the while I kept feeding my art in my sketchbooks and journals, on paper and in presents I gave away. I spent a huge chunk of my life, and still do, thinking and caring about other people. (sorry guys, I know there’s a few of you too)

Creating in the zone and turning off the time, the shoulds, the agendas, is utterly liberating and terrifying and wonderful. ( But when fully immersed, one never thinks about the ironing of school shirts or buying chicken feed…)

These pieces have all been completed over the last few weeks, bit by bit in the evenings between cooking tea and bedtime

So we have to learn to grab our tween times with a much passion.. Waiting for the perfect studio, unlimited blank paper and no annoying interruptions.. well, highly unlikely .. ever. But your art and dream can still breathe, grow and find its way, in the gaps of your real life, not instead of it.

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It, I, my drawings still existed. The living breathing artwork in you always matters no matter when you let it out, what route you take and how old you are when you finally fold your last pile of laundry

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It takes faith in yourself, your abilities here on the planet and the bigger picture you fit into, to jump. from feeding your dream to letting it loose…

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It is never going to be better than everyone else. Let it go. let it go.

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From here on in we are going to do a monthly diary on this blog page as well as our new seaside community art page blog Sea Sparkle. We hope you can sign into both and spread our ideas and joy!

So, we are now on Instagram as well if you want to say hello on there. Liz at the beach hut. And you can see our groups or Artwork on facebook- Liz at the beach Hut or Sea Sparkle.

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Right now I have a panto to help with…. Oh yes I have….

Lots of love and keep creating. Love Liz at the beach Hut. xx

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Bad Hair day

Ever have one of those? Ever have a grooming decision turn into another decision, until you find yourself back where you started.. or worse..

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….in a state of hair hell.? Because what you thought was going to be what you wanted, was actually somebody else’s idea of what suited you?.

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And you naively assumed your instinct button must have gone on the blink. It hasn’t.. you heard it all right.. you just chose to ignore it!! Nobody knows you better than you, so why do you keep ignoring your instincts?

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Do not get me started on my hair. In this instance, we’re talking one night of attempting blonde (ish). Four hours it took by a well-meaning hairdresser.

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This is not me

Only it turns out you can’t do it all at once and so I ended up stripey. And a bit orange.

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Bad hair moments, days, years.. woah!!! karma kryptonite . When your hair feels wrong, everything feels wrong.

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The next day, before my coffee had cooled, I had slathered on fiery red once more, and my head was once more mine. Too hard to explain why this is soooo important, because actually as my friend pointed out, I do cover most of it up with a massive scarf.

But I was back to where I started. My… me place. My comfortable spot. My – only- I -can- explain- why- this- is- ok- place.

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Again..

And now I’m waiting for it to grow……

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Again…….

Life has felt in the last two years like we were running to keep still. When your health isn’t playing nice and your mobility deteriorates, even the basic achievements often become horribly unmanageable . The last six months have been trickier than usual and our travel, adventures and plans curtailed.

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My head does big thinking, thank goodness, dreaming up schemes, tinkering at plans and knowing we have each other and our spirits to keep going. Leah and I are proud of our achievements at Skye blue House . And we love your comments over the fence! Curtailed by much movement this summer didn’t stop the fun .

When life gets a bit crap, it can give you the impetus to decide who you really are, what your passions are and what you want to say. If your audience isn’t listening, don’t stop talking, find another audience.

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Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.

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Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.

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The more people I come across and the more stories I hear, I realise that we’ve always known the things we wanted to say and do.. we just didn’t have the skills to communicate them. So we learn to make things, play games, sing, create and mould the world we know we should live in. As children all the ingredients are there to protect us from the future world we will live in.

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And then we unlearn it all for the next eight decades. We can all be our own tough crowd sometimes..

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If only we could take our small selves by the hand and urge them not to waste a moment worrying about the big bully in the year above, who kicked us for looking different, or from agonising over the meaning of a painting in Art college .

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When our choices are taken away in one sense, because we can’t do something it enables freedom of a different sort. Let yourself go with the new plan, no matter how temporary your illness is and work with the rhythms of the day or seasons too.

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This year began with drawing in a hospital bed, sketching in a village community class, and putting together these designs which then became prints. On other days photography was more immediate and I loved the immediacy of creating abstract snapshots from well known parts of the village. I was delighted to exhibit both types of artwork in a local art exhibition a few weeks ago.

In winter when the weather impacts on everything, fireside felting compliments the painterly work and a new cycle of creating more tactile work will begin.

Nobody will like everything you do, big and little kids can be critical. I realised one one of the reasons I had a desire not to be a red head which I’ve always been since the first forays into the henna gloop in the eighties, was a comment made an elderly neighbour of my parents . It was just Too much for the suburbs of Bognor. But when I look back at my photographs however, it was fabulous. All our younger, vibrant, freewheeling selves , no matter what colour our hair was , were wonderful.

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So life is going to be a roller coaster.

We had better enjoy the journey

Getting on the ride, any ride is going to cause some turbulence. But the thing with a roller-coaster is, you might get flung about, soaking wet, turned upside down, throw up, and lose the contents of your stomach, but then.. you arrive back.. where you started.. Because a roller coaster goes in a circle. You can get off when you like and the choice is yours whether to get back on again, or ..

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Do something a little more relaxing…

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Either way you’ll still be you

Today I went for a walk with two dogs, on crutches. Big deal. Right? As I noticed these Autumn shapes and the light playing on the sparkling sea, I realised something else. As many of you know, (because a lot of you have been providing us lovely soup in the last week) !! I haven’t been at all well of late. And there are things still to be done, diagnosed and mended. But …… I had been listening to a screaming noisy soundtrack for as long as I could remember and suddenly it was wasn’t there….. well, it was now quiet enough to hear the birds singing anyway. That extreme pain which blurred everything pre- surgery on my knee last week.. was at last significantly quietened. How fabulous to see the Autumn changes in such crystal clear brilliance without anything else in the way. You only notice how heavy something has been after it has been lifted.

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Six years of staying positive have enabled a trip back to where I began, almost like being a child again, having to relearn how to walk and use the limbs we all take for granted. This disability stole much of Leah’s active childhood, this daft crumpled knee, and my hard won teaching career- impacting on my other joints and causing further health conditions.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. This is just a celebration of a moment and a reminder that at any point something can fail, break or become loose in any of our well seasoned bodies! Getting back to a place that we started from, before we struggled is a bonus. And feeling grateful is important.

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Joy can last for a lifetime or lift us in a moment of reprieve. Somewhere long ago we knew the answers to what would feed our souls, no matter what outside factors tripped us up. That child in us still understands who we are and what we need.

My six year old self knew

and is Still rooting around in button boxes wearing a vintage hat..

Listen well to your small you .

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Unless they persuade you to dye your hair. Then I suggest you phone a friend.

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Don’t be too good, Much love, Liz at the beach hut xx

Baby steps

This year has floored me, and thankfully after months of persistence and perseverance things are starting to happen now on the medical front, although, they are far from resolved. Tomorrow a knee operation will start things off and then hopefully the long-awaited tests and mri’s we are waiting for will get organised. It has been much harder being on crutches when another area of disease attacking the upper body has spread.

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However, dwelling on the pain and things we can’t do isn’t what we are about around here, and helping each other out; making activities possible is not only what we do, but what we want to continue to build for lots of other people. Right now my gratitude overfloweth..

We have some amazing people in our lives, some who we see once a year, appearing with beach hut goodies to build our vision, others who donate lovely art materials for classes to use, others who collect stuff to draw, or help set up tables and carry bags and others who just are kinder than kind with their offers to be available to help.

Post op, we are pulling together our plans under a second blog- a seaside vintage community arts page which will celebrate your achievements, show our progress and tell people our ideas.

We would really love your help. If you would like to be a trustee right at the start of this exciting project, please contact me on lizatthebeachhut@yahoo.co.uk. We need people who have experience in funding applications!! And generally nice folk who want to help people less able to be creative at the coast.

The project is called Sea Sparkle and if you click on the link you’ll see why. Hope you like it. x https://seasparkle.org/2017/09/25/what-is-the-beach-hut/

We are on facebook-

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*Sea sparkle

*Liz at the beach hut

*Liz Walker (request) picture of me and Leah

Your donations, your beach hut additions, your offers of lifts and volunteering, make activities possible. You rock xxx

But first.. Off to get a bit better…

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Better pack a bag and dream up new plans. More bits to follow, but for now, sending you all Much love,

Liz and the gang at the Beach Hut