Waiting Rooms

Who lives in a house like this?

No matter what your background, culture or situation, you might respond with an impact filled emotion to these amazing buildings, which could go one of two ways! Certainly, you would imagine that anyone creative enough to build their life outside of the flatpack universe, must have a certain amount of strength, energy and help to achieve such a lot of work.

If you wear bright colours, you paint your face, your sticks, your house, ..or around here …your path; you may find that you are seen as not really being that unwell . Can you hear your own doubting public !! ? You hear many things when you don’t always look unwell. That’s ok.. It is a choice to make. to not look ill. When a condition begins to darken the edges of your ability to manage normally, you either give in, or you let yourself be the real you. Trying to repeatedly prove to anyone you are actually unwell, is another level of frustration you don’t need. Wear a badge, hold up a placard but find the bit inside that still exists as the rainbow you.

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Some people choose to wear their faces like this… let them…

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Even medical professionals struggle to understand how someone can really be in pain, but still move enough to do positive things for themselves, and especially continue to do things for other people. In fact, often serious conditions are masked and overlooked when you have another chronic one that you are coping with over a long period of time. It used to make me sad, or angry or frustrated. Now I realise, that they are all part of a big wheel of never ending paperwork, and you aren’t that important, unless you make it your business to be. Quietly, calmly and consistently. And continuing to feel valued and worthwhile helps stop you sinking into that feeling of non existence !!

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The reality is, you can get more done when you ARE feeling worse sometimes; especially if you know you won’t always be able to .  You get things done despite your pain, not because you don’t actually have pain. You have no choice. For short bursts you can achieve amazing things.

  • A knowledge of your limitations creates a determination to push them further. Eek out a tiny bit more energy and drive until the job is done, even if it takes all night, or ten minutes every day. You tell yourself you can do it.
  • You stop thinking one negative opinion matters, you remember all the people cheering you on and offering their stories and admiration in return, or telling you how you inspired them to do similar.
  • You figure out and stick to the things you need to make life work- warmth, adapting your environment, lots of light, human touch, avoiding toxic people and food and spending time with delicious versions of both.
  • You keep your vision clear in your mind and don’t waver.
  • You stop telling yourself you are a fraud for being wonderful with a disability, a mental health issue, being in a wheelchair blah blah. And worrying that someone will catch you enjoying yourself and tip you out into the gutter.
  • You take up the offers of help you felt too proud to take up, and realise you would do the same for your friends in a heartbeat. And definitely will again one day.
  • You look around and ask yourself whether you are 100 % in this version of you, even if it isn’t gong to be permanent. Which means having only the clothes and things around you that you can wear, bear, or that make you feel like you aren’t waiting for another life to begin. Who knows what shape you might be in future?  Who knows what you’ll be in to? But if things make you sad, or make you perpetually feel like you’re waiting for a train to come for a station to the future. Tumbleweeds will knock you off your bench. And you might miss the great town you’re already in.
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I say this as someone who, currently can’t bend one arm, walk or wear my vintage dresses because they get tangled in my crutches. But. I am still me. I’m not chucking them out. (sorry!) They are mostly stored on a rail in the attic where if medical science catches up with my head and super vet takes on humans, I will shimmy down my ladder in my retro polka dots one day. or… my daughter may wear them to the prom. Either way. It’s ok. They aren’t taunting me when I open my wardrobe (s) ! I like my linen floaty stuff just as much.

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Resting up in hospital gave me time to get creative. I recycled all the medicine tubs on the ward to paint watercolours in, and spent a lovely time chatting to a wonderful lady next to me whilst tinkering away at these posters.

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These few months have been many things. I thought they were simply slow and painful at times, too cold to be in my beloved garden and to feel sun on my bones instead of these sticky pain patches! But on reflection each step has been plentiful, gathering momentum towards projects all over the place.

Flags for the village Green all now re-stencilled and painted!

Research for The Eyemouth Art Trail has created new friendships, unearthed a host of local information of local artists in the area, which I will chat to you about another time, and Artwork made which will be used for various things related to the campaign.


My community Art group have worked away at various projects over the winter, despite their own challenges, and we are developing a new relationship with a partner community group, who are lovely; and understand our needs as an entity! This is so exciting. People who can adapt when the teacher for the first children’s class ends up in hospital instead….. well they are more than ok in my book.

Winter has been drawn on and written on, when the joints have allowed, before spring comes and more time can be spent outside. Almost every weekend plan that was made was changed by various friends, they themselves having different complications, and that was ok too. So, this inside- the- house bit of time  for us was two months of preparation and of making new connections, facing the realities of what this new set of adaptions all means. But also enjoying the freedom of not caring what the imaginary little judge on my shoulder thinks.

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Kicked that little monster to touch.

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Taking on the bears

We gather habits, patterns of behaviour like we gather clothes and books. Thinking we will get the same from them as we always did. And they sit there in our lives staring at us, taunting us with their lack of commitment to the actual person we need too be now.

Sometimes the accumulation can be too overwhelming….
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Time to go easy on ourselves for a while..

Perhaps, without actually getting rid of anybody, it is time to ask who, in your current version of your self is bringing you a squeaky tea trolley of tea and biscuits? Or wine? Or who you feel like sharing your leftover Christmas stash with! x What things do you do that make you happy? If you are unwell now or if you were to be in the future, what would give you most pleasure to have around you?

Keep what and who you love close by and be grateful for what you can do, what you can achieve in a day and what your influence does still bring. Shove everything else in the attic. Keep smiling. Spring is coming xx

Or you’ll have hermione to deal with… xxx

Your Rainbow friends,

L and Lxxx

Abundance

On Boxing day, this was the outfit of choice.. and, if we were all really honest with ourselves we probably all wish we could wear every Christmas presents…. at once….

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Abundance. The realm of the child, the lucky, or the wise….?

For a fraction of a second my daughter questioned the potential reaction of others, in the small village where we live. But this was swiftly replaced with a glorious freedom of spirit and self judgement.  The vivid flourish of feathers, stripy wellies and clashing colours drew many compliments, smiles and probable envy, of being ten-ness from every grown-up on her travels during the doggie walk that afternoon…

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I felt incredibly proud of her joie-de-vivre, and of how far our journey has taken us both; away from so many constrictions, and which, if you might have followed our story from the start, you’ll know , has been hard won …… Good for her.. but can it be good for all of us, to be a little more tutu?

It seems we operate as humans in most things we do,  from either love or fear. At the extreme contours of our comfort zones

We don’t have a responsibility to carry the fears of anyone else. But we can encourage those around us to find a way to stick their fingers up at some of their conditioned responses to the rules. As long as we are kind, we can be colourful.

Having courage could never be more important:

How often do we slightly recoil at generosity of spirit in some way? Perhaps you have been fortunate to have been shrouded in compliments but have told yourself they are ill deserved, gifts you feel are only given in anticipation of another in return. ? Of course, nobody can be that kind and want nothing back? Nobody can be that friendly and be trustworthy.. We are taught to be wary of change, differences and wonkiness of thought.

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If you look for reasons to criticise… up they pop like weeds. But, if we look at say, a gossip mag, full of critiques, comments, comparisons and criticisms… we could be forgiven for believing we read the same one a year ago. It is all the same.. ‘This person doesn’t fit the mould, that person doesn’t meet our popular mass expectation, since they became; (pick one)- divorced/fat/poor/lonely/ill/uncool/no-as-on-trend..Very rarely do these publications value the integrity  of the person or their actual reality.

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And under all the stuff, all the things we move about every year, all the new things grabbed off sale rails, the virtuous bags of old clothes we shed to make way for a new version of ourselves.. we only ever have us.

We have arms, legs, eyes and a heart that sees, feels, reads , and loves with abandon. This is the part of our wardrobe worth holding onto and placing on the softest of padded hangers.

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Push away kindness, push away the good stuff and keep up the cycle of mistrusting anything which questions what HAS ALWAYS BEEN,  is like buying the same jumper that you just gave to a charity shop…

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Or…

Take a new path

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Sometimes, people do actually mean the compliments they give you, and sometimes, the invitations they make are because they want to share something amazing or they see something amazing in you . Choosing to focus on what is actually ok can make you feel richer and more complete, rather than trying to prove yourself right.

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It is at this time of year that we all feel like getting rid of things. Eating less, chiselling away at bits of our bodies and sculpting a better version of ourselves. Chucking out the old clothes we don’t wear, and revamping everything from scratch.

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It is well trodden path.. a seasonal rollercoaster

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Nothing wrong with a good clear out, but what if your focus is at looking at how much you already have?

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How does it make you feel?

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What if you decide to make your resolution (your revolution according to the monkey..) to banish complete and utter abandonment of what anyone else thinks.

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Because they will think what they think anyway!

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On Christmas day, It is our thing, to wrap up pretty much everything we can find all year for next to nothing and spend a day feeling like we are Royalty.. Things in vintage shops, things we forget about, little bits of treasure and surprises. An abundance of little wonders and sparkly things. But if you look at one photo of our Christmas day, perhaps we look like spoilt rich folk. Hilarious. If only……

My daughter says her favourite part is watching me open my gifts and mine is seeing her face as she unearths a present I forgot I’d wrapped. Prolonging the joy is a lovely thing and it is valued by us both because we know how much it takes to make it happen..

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Living as we do, is a mystery to some. And because of that.. will incur the odd question … Ooh you must be rich to have such a lovely garden/so many shoes/so many options of a flavoured tea bag….. No, I just go out on crutches and feed the plants every day March to October, cherish what is donated to the cause and treasure what is important  .. and our classes are fired by pixie dust..( and willing and able helpers) … so that’s that taken care of…

WE are taught to reach for the stars.. to aim high.. to visualise our desires.. but people often don’t like to see abundance. The scales of normality can seem out of kilter with a balance of circumstances we don’t understand. If we see a person with colours, with happiness, with an abundance of spark and joy we feel that something isn’t right and we must crush it before it gets out of hand..

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We can’t possibly understand everyone.. So let’s just concentrate on our own potential…

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What if we let it be our inspiration? What if we see a lovely thing, and just let it be absorbed? Take from it what makes us happy, and let it float on past?

712ryq2h1ql._sy450_Having a lot of something isn’t something to be freaked out by. If you want it too.. work towards it. If it isn’t what is part of your plan, let the person enjoy their creation. Don’t belittle, demolish, crush, be jealous of or question what they are doing. Just ask them about it or walk on by!

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I truly hope your New year’s Revolution is completely bonkers, and not to just be a bit skinnier. I also hope that some of you will be joining us in classes and at various events this year.

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We are abundantly yours in technicolour.. to take into your next adventure.

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I love this.. 

Let’s all be purple at least once a week

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This is for G. You know why. x

Stay Warm and Bright, All my lopsided love, Liz xxx

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For Z

november 018 039The last few weeks, a procedure on my hand has meant a  rest from all things requiring fingers and thumbs…which has limited my writing. Thankfully it is the singing and eating season so other bits of you get to be spoilt .The Christmas roller-coaster has begun in a joyful way with old and new friendships, very high notes thanks to the organist’s tendency to go up each verse.. as a wee joke… and a general spike of conviviality in the air.. Having joined the wonderful Echo Choir in Eyemouth  a few months ago, my new bunch of  ‘Leah’s  Aunties and I  popped up in many churches, priories and village halls – all of us a bit more hobbly than the next.. But helping each other on and off a variety of stages and podiums in our adopted new family..

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We were also special guests for the day at our previous group at Newbattle Abbey….The Rough and Ready choir. We were welcomed with a fantastic queue of hugs, many folk we hadn’t seem for a long time. It was really special, beginning the season with the assurance that true connections don’t break and it was a generous Christmas gesture which meant an awful lot. Thank you Marion!!

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Preparing for the entire Christmas magic and Santa as a single mum in a bungalow (with no spare storage!!) on crutches… And my handyman checking I’m not going up ladders…is not an easy task!

So my Christmas fairy magic has been set to highImage result for magic glitter

We have had a brilliant variety of meet -ups  with all the community groups we work with, or who share their time with us, for final pre-Christmas Art group lunches and sparkly glittery sessions..

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And it was all going so well…….

Whilst quietly, happily, juggling hospital treatments, school plays and life…From nowhere both of us found ourselves fielding off not one but two unwanted pests

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The festive melting pot had decided to add resilience, patience and (a certain amount of) tolerance to the festive the mix……

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But…Our ethos is simple. We have time for everyone.  Life has served us a few bruised old lemons and we have made limoncello..

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Most people don’t mean to be grumpy. It can be a cry for help, a conditioned response that someone is actually being kind to them, that they deserve attention or love, or they might be simply having an off day……

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However. Repeatedly being unkind and scary for no reason is not ok. Being bullied is never ok.

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And we all deserve to walk away from people who bring a suitcase of dog poo to our door.

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Big scary days will come..

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And go again…….

And before you know it the sun comes out ..

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It would be so easy to lose hope or faith..

But

How would that help?

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Our bodies, our finances, our ideas, our tastes in clothes, our children’s opinions of us, and all these things change

But our real friendships don’t

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In my strange week of joy, fear, worry, and also a weary, poorly wee one (who still got through her exciting and very well done school show with aplomb….)Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses and closeup

A couple of unbelievably magical things happenedbook_letter_by_atilazz-d2zf8s41

Kindnesses from a couple of people believing in us and the Art hub we are trying to get started, invitations of friendship, offers of future support and a very very kind gesture of goodwill from a big heart who has made a huge difference. Because of you, we can make plans for after Christmas to help other people. You gave us validation and a sprinkling of magic. Thank you so very very much.

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Oh… and also someone gave us some chickens!!!!!

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A member of my group took the time to write a piece about our class. It was four pages long and utterly honest and heartfelt. In it she described her journey and first day, through to how much she loves the atmosphere and safe space in the room.

It was written from a true place of honesty and friendship… Z: I am in awe of your bravery. You voiced what many of our group want to say and can’t. You should feel so proud.

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You are an angel.

I came home, and stood in my kitchen and I wrote a poem thinking about you and all the amazing people we know..

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Because of brave people like you, like the amazing artists who come to the classes, or read our scribbles… our fears, whatever size they are, are lessened in company.

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Strong

On this day I would like to say 
That many people come our way , 
Some are amazing , fill us with joy
Lavish their time and their hearts employ 
Some inspire us , some make us calm , some are like blankets, our slippers, our arm … 
some will be there when the chips get all soggy 
Some will be there when the weather gets foggy 
But some try and scare us , or squash us right down, 
Some are so sad that they can’t help their frown
They won’t let you help them , you’re worn out just trying, 
Instead of your living your watching them dying 
It isn’t your fault , you only have you 
Make it your mission to make yourself true 
Stand in the mirror and tell those who scare you
I’m keeping my good friends 
Bully my tribe … how dare you ? 

To the very few determined to stay stormy….

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The rest of us;

Are, People believing in people.

You matter.

If you are in, or want to be in a group of like-minded humans.. You will find them.

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We are all about creating on a Monday to pay for people to create on a Tuesday, We smile through the down days because when we do, sometimes we realise the day isn’t as bad as we thought it was, and someone else is looking up at you for inspiration… You know who you can give your time to..

Z .You asked me who you can trust.  Now that’s a million dollar question. But stop panicking and feel. What are you seeing in a person’s eyes? Are they listening to you? Do they want to know what you feel, need, do, dream of ? If it is only on their own good days, it isn’t friendship.

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There are really people in the world that will ALWAYS have your back, even on their down days. They put them to one side for you. They half their meal and slide it onto your plate. Choose people who eyes you look into and see kindness.

 You have a million colours and there are people who want you to be a rainbow.

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Our ever growing family of friends, artists and makers are fabulous. We are growing strong roots from our hardy beans and I can’t wait to see what we all get up to next.

Until then, thank you from the bottom of my duct taped crutches for believing in Liz at The beach Hut, coming to our groups and classes, being so inspiring and kind to both me and mini and for reading our blog all year .Image result for christmas heart

There are new projects in the planning and we always need helpers!46960651_10156949153086869_5739689381208260608_n

Have a brilliant Christmas and we wish even the grumpiest of humbugs a sparkly festive time.

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Love and Hugs, Liz, Leah, Skye, Max, Molly, and now Sugar and Spice!!

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

Rain

 

Sometimes even the sunniest day has a rain-cloud. Having weathered many a storm, I had considered myself fairly immune to those pesky clouds… Well, life doles out surprises when we least expect it and the smallest detail going wrong can be the breaking of us occasionally…

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I really don’t mump a lot. But we all need to sometimes, and when you feel the scales of pain or unfairness outweigh your sparkle,  it is alright to smudge your freshly swiped eyeliner. People make choices in their communication and perception of others, and twice I recently encountered a drama storm without wearing my rain coat . I have seen that destruction before and witnessed the fallout by hurt people creating more of the same.   Image result for no thank you

I just felt too tired to get through the imminent events about to unfurl..  It was  experience and instinct. Having the last word is so rarely a gift you need to keep, and  I walked away. The effect was relief and utter exhaustion.

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It wasn’t just one thing though, and that is key. Generally we can deal with one or two muppets, disappointments, pain, and grief. But not all at once. Endless circles chasing  operations, being told to get a treatment, only to arrive and be turned away on the advice of someone else, having to got to a point where even my lovely physio can’t justify the little he is able to do to help. I felt my hope slipping…..

Now… my glass is usually not only half full, but full of sparkly bubbles..

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My path is usually strewn with sparkly stuff

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But, here I was in a feeling I didn’t recognise. I had crumpled inside when I least expected it. Trying to be ok lasted two days. I knew I wasn’t ok and so did my lovely tribe.

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The wierd thing was, that somewhere right down deep inside myself, I knew I was fine. I scanned the desire to run to Spain (no pun intended) or eat my bodyweight in custard creams, and riding it out seemed the only option. My face just needed to implode.

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So without thinking too hard about it, I told my friends on my personal Facebook page. I knew that they knew, it was unusual. It wasn’t awful, but it was a painful, black inky blip and I knew I didn’t want it to spread.Image result for vintage hand writing

Within a few seconds someone had replied. In fact, someone I know less well than some of my other friends, but her kind words and immediacy were so gratefully received. And the words kept coming, trickling in like a hand squeeze or an extra pillow.. My face leaked, my limbs ached, my head thumped and my eyes went very small . My sofa was delighted and so was were my animals who used my body as extra heating.. And the pain started to ease a bit.. I have suggested to one of my friends, that ordering hugs by courier ( just a hug! )  Might be a new business for them…

Thank you brilliant friends and neighbours for the time taken to give me support that day. The words you gave me were like little precious diamonds. I was asked by someone else why tell Facebook? Aren’t you just telling the world your business? My answer is no. When we can bear to speak about the demons, they start to shrivel away, and already this brief little bleuughhhhh.. became a positive conversation in another forum helping other people. You choose how and what and with who to share and only when you feel it is safe.

 

Opening up, rather than either taking it out on anyone else or internalizing has to be a good thing. Crawling further inside a body playing tricks on me, analysing and finding emotional pathways which weren’t there in the first place, was not necessary. I quite like my head clear enough to be of some use in the world. I watched as the weather came and the heavens opened……

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Once in a while, a day comes along which like a huge gust of wind literally knocks you off your legs… or in my case crutches… The usual techniques which work on cementing the stiff upper lip in place aren’t working, and the floodgates have weirdly not only opened but disappeared entirely… it was literally like drowning in your entire wardrobe..Image result for drowning in clothes

The mechanical workings you normally see in the mirror safely ticking along, easing each micro movement need oiling and you can hear some vital parts grinding together where once there was an easy flow..

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…All you want to do is sleep.  Sadness is so heavy …

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So let the monsoon come..

 

Because, after you tell someone it’s outside of you again… you start answering your own questions… it is the start of unbreaking.

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I am lucky to have some kind of unwavering determination to stay on this planet to keep being inspired by those amazing and brave souls I come into contact with every day.

For that, I thank whichever Gods are with me…

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Today I thank my neighbour for the surprise flask of hot water in the middle of a very long power cut . I literally can’t see without caffeine ! She is worth keeping positive for. And the surprise bunch of flowers from another neighbour who read my post. As he apologised for their store-bought origins, I want to tell him that a bunch of daisies from a grass verge would still mean as much.

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We shouldn’t apologise for ourselves. Or our own personal weather patterns. Our big, emotional, colourful, strange, indescribably, wonderful selves… who will have some days sunnier than others.

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Create, scream, plant, share, paint, stitch, listen, draw and see which doors begin to open on your path..

 

 

Crap days will come.. They just prove how normal the other ones are.

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If someone you know is having a day like this… just tell them its ok. Don’t judge, question, fix,  micro manage, and offer endless avenues of helpful possibilities and comfort, unless they ask you to. You’ll know if they need something. Just be around.

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It’s not about you.

Not today anyway. They will be back. And that’s the thing I have learnt, that the folk who help each other are the ones that just let you play it out, without always having to bring their stuff to the table. Because the real you just needed a break to let rip for a bit… you can’t get through understanding your stuff whilst simultaneously explaining it to someone else.Image result for exploding brain

Your brain, like your energy can only cope with so much…

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The next day they/you/we will be back in step again…

Sometimes we wonder why our children are acting out and riding unimaginably bumpy emotional rollercoasters . All this drama and frustration and anger at the world not quite being as they think it should be..

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How can our  funny, loving and confident young person, having coped with a lot already and thriving regardless be so utterly woebegone and angry?

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Because they are human. And its a hard hard thing to be, Some find it much harder than others and actually the ones that shout loudest are usually the ones who need most comfort. However, as a very wise friend told me, sadly showing scars on his back from his own childhood, keeping it all in is worse. Inverting the pain and not letting someone show their feelings will only ever end up backfiring.

We can’t go back to childhood but we can be inspired by it and its lack of emotional rules.

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My first feeling as an adult when I felt a bit rubbish, was guilt. What if I let someone down? What if I couldn’t fulfill all my roles that day? What if  not doing what I usually did and losing my brave face melted the world and everyone in it? What if .. what if…???

Do you know what happened?.. Nothing. Today’s power cut was a bit like that. All the electricity and noise went off. There was very little I could do, no way of communicating, no internet and not many jobs I could do but basic ones and some drawing. Bliss.

Headspace.

Every now and again a meltdown is just a appetizer to a better version of peace. and will free you. Your real mates will get it.

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We all have an enormous bag of gifts to offer. I lived a long time with my best ones under wrap, like brightly coloured parcels. Art, music, being allowed to dance and perform and the honest joyous conversations you can only have when you live without fear.Image result for looking in mirror

 

What I know now is that, I may have lost dancing (for now) but the Rocky Mountains climbed over to claim back all the other wonders were not hopeless. It took my inner tiger to get here and she’s still purring. I wear my heart openly in all weathers because these stories aren’t just mine. They are in all of us. In our Art group we share stories and we trust. Seeing other’s fall and not smash ourselves wide open without a safety net. If you feel safe to talk to someone when you are tumbling down, they won’t judge you. Saying it outwardly stops your thoughts turning to negative self spiralling spaghetti.. and worse.

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I wish I could turn back the clock and put my arm around the young woman coping,  patching over the cracks, and slowly vanishing.

She deserved to feel like a whole person. She might have run a long time sooner!

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A friend of mine told me she thinks we are all a bit flakey. We are. We have our coping methods and the right people in your life will understand them. Be sad, but be joyous too. “God mum you are so embarrassing” mini tells me last night as I hugged the car mechanic who delivered my car home.

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Quite right..! She didn’t know why. So I told her.

My car is my lifeline. Without it I can’t go anywhere. Disabled spaces are like jigsaw pieces around cities and map out our adventures together.. My car was making a dreadful crunching noise. The man in the garage I nipped into for advice, told me he couldn’t fix it. He has cancer. But his son was up from England, helping with the business and could look at the car later. On a day when the lad was already snowed under, probably worried about his poor Dad, he ordered the parts, drove us home, did the work and delivered the car back, getting a lift from someone else so we didn’t have to go back out. That kind of kindness should be shouted from the rooftops.

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It is ok to feel . Sometimes when life gives you lemons, a bit of juice gets in your eye and stings like hell.. All the cold grey mornings, art that won’t work, flopped cakes, screaming children, sore bodies, hurtful comments or worrying thoughts…..Most of us, like another good friend said, hold the wound until a clot forms.Image result for vintage strong

Being strong is admirable…

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But it’s always better in company…

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For the days when you feel bleuuuuuugh………………………………..Image result for old phone

For the moments when you feel like you are leaking……….Image result for umbrella

For the rude people who should know better…   Image result for vintage hug

and for everything  else…. Image result for vintage chocolate

Stay Dry. Love and Hugs

Liz xxx

Reading between the lines

What do you remember about yesterday?

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It’s hard to describe in words what and why our favourite memories are so important.

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Every story begins with a single moment in time..

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Every night my daughter and I write her diary… If it was up to her we would write the repeated sentence, “We did maths”……..

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But what if she peeked a bit further into her memory lunch box?

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So instead, as she comes in the door, I make a mental note of the trials and tribulations of her day… the playground dramas, the hay bale climbing, the secret societies being made and broken over a packet of crisps, and the shyly given piece of information of a boy smiling who smiled at her…. Next year these things will make her laugh and capture the essence of this day… far better than if it was listed or written by a well meaning but unobservant adult.

Last week it was my birthday, we ate amazing food and stayed in our favourite hotel. I had wrapped up gifts I had bought over the months leading up to the day itself… and the ironing was done well in advance… But what I remember most about the day was the silly moments, the spontaneous stuff and the effort made by other people to show their kindness- the candle lit cupcakes brought out by the kitchen at breakfast and the spontaneous happy birthday song from the rest of the guests, and the handmade frame lovingly glued together over several nights by the monkey in our neighbour’s shed .

To begin the week we had gone to a quiz night at the local community centre. I had naively thought this was an easy-ozey fun affair, where locals caught up on the week. Ha,… On stepping into the room at the exact moment of the arranged start time, pens were poised and papers grasped in the ‘ team-captain’s hand and tumble weeds slowly ambled past, as us two -and- a -half -humans appeared in the doorway looking for spare table room…oops.

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We were seated with three serious looking folk who for a long time wouldn’t let us answer many questions in case we were in fact as daft as we looked. Hilarious.

But as the evening, and rounds wore on, and the drinks in paper cups were downed, the table softened and we began to see between the lines on the paper… to the people who were there…stories unfurled and lives were glimpsed. We dug a bit deeper and realised it mattered so much more that you could catch the wave of this strange combination of people, mid mad discussion, sharing old and possibly half invented tales… than it did to know the answers to the questions… Thankfully!!

Look closer

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Memories- elusive little creatures.. what makes them park up and stay?

I’ve stayed in many countries on holiday in my previous life, enjoying the generic pleasures of hotels by the sea, but truth be told… I get them muddled up in my memory banks, because many places are awfully similar, catering for what us humans believe we need on our wish list, to make the perfect setting for a perfect break. Although grateful to have travelled, and having had the means to, if I had the chance to tell my more agile self anything, it would be this; get off the beach and do yoga up a mountain. There are only so many plates of all inclusive combo you can eat after a night watching parrots in national dress…

And all these things makes me realise that the key to memories that matter isn’t where you are, it’s how you are when you’re get there… What you let in. The truth is all in the details. Illness or disability might try and take something away; but, if you let it, it can be the beginning of delving deeper into life’s potential.  And I have decided if.. sorry.. when they give my wonky bones an oil change… when my hair is blue and I am in motorbike leathers, then I will not be on a cruise, I’ll be doing yoga up a mountain.

Sometimes the magic of adventure can literally take your breath away. Twenty years ago I stepped off an Italian bus one early misty morning and turned down an alleyway into a cobbled and arched Venetian street. It was a faded sparkly quitely lapping wonder. I Stepped through a cobweb of treasured stories read in adolescent novels, and inspirations hungrily devoured at college. It was real. I was finally there, breathing it in. It was all my senses at once. A perfect moment.  And like a camera click it is still there caught in my memory bubbles where I shall feast on it always. It made me cry. As did the moment my daughter was placed in my arms after ten long years of not succeeding in that particular quest.Image may contain: one or more people and baby

Roll on plenty more road trip adventures of all shapes and sizes please. x

( But one drama queen is quite enough…….!!!!

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Memories are bubbles of fabulous experiences that matter. They don’t need to be cost dependent but they should definitely be valued and treasured. For those of you not exhibiting in the Tate gallery.. Making Art or a craft are valuable ways of capturing something you want to remember through your own unique vision. The simple act of looking in more detail without judgement or filter encourages a better connection, whether you are drawing your favourite surroundings, your aged pet or your dreams..

Image may contain: drawingSt. Abbs Harbour Sketch from a moment on the way home from Brownies!

…..Make something… Anything…Or help someone else to..

True love and friendship.., your forever home, the perfect moment, a deep connection… none of these can exist without the ability to appreciate or stop long enough to look a little closer…

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We had entered the quiz hall feeling that we were outsiders in the big scheme of general knowledge and random clever-clog-ness and realised that the emotional intelligence it takes to connect with your immediate tribe is far greater and richer. Shaking that need to win, find reason, meaning which determines our greatness sometimes gets in the way of good old-fashioned joy. ( And despite the hysteria, we did still manage to get second place!

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So do what kids do…

I get told off by everyone I know for having too much stuff in my car, but being unable to dash off and quickly gather a deck chair/dog blanket/set of paint brushes or emergency outfit for a mucky kid has its disadvantages…

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I pack them just in case. And for the many, times now that we have surprised, comforted, calmed and quietened the folk we have met up with, I know we do the right thing..

And I do so with no shame anymore….

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Because, my picnics are legendary, I can always provide an activity for a hyper child and if you got stuck in traffic,  you could at least eat your limp sandwiches on an M and S retro plate. And these things make certain happenings…. into magic moments. Trust me.

Image result for smoked salmon bagel You do what YOU can. Someone else can run to the shops for the prosecco. I will be on the beach with the cosy blanket and salmon bagels…hoping I get into my small person’s diary once in a while…Ooh pick me!!!!

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Love and fabulous precious moments dear ones,

Liz xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach Hut Lady

I have finished the beach hut.

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My friend Margaret came the other day and helped with the high bits. Other friends have also helped me make furniture, paint windows and do the stripey bits. I do sections, stop when my hands hurt too badly, and begin the next day again.

This is the room I always wanted, but I didn’t have the time, the freedom,the confidence or the separation from my small child I needed to create it.

There were no gardens in the place we escaped to!!

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Its lovely. And its mine.  ( ours!!) Now I’m going to make Art in it. The leftover teaching supplies I no longer need are gone, the rest are boxed up in the shed with wonky labels on . The things I want to use in the community art groups get slung in the wheeley bags my lovely group help pull about and there are no to do lists left…I’m on the home front…’

As the final brush strokes were completed there was a call from over the fence.

That lady I told you about in the gala day blog, the one who had spoken to me at her charity lifeboat stall last week.. she was there calling over the sunflowers…..

‘I wondered if you would like my collection of beach hut memorabilia?’ she said.

Ermmm……

‘I  love your house, you were really nice and you said I could take photos of your house. ‘The beach hut girl’ ..I tried to look you up, but I decided to just come by instead. The beach hut I was going to have, never materialised and these things should go somewhere to someone  who will appreciate them…’…

Bunting, tapestry, tins and wooden huts….

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So they did.. they went straight into the newly completed perfectly ready beach hut studio. They fitted perfectly. Like they were made for it.

Cool huh…!!

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It was a lovely and generous surprise. She will of course become a friend. She has to! We Seem to collect cool people around here. Holiday makers and stall holders, artists and neighbours… The melting pot of open, friendly, creative people, willing to share.. in whatever way that will be..As time has gone by, and life has become more distilled.. the people we spend time with, however fleetingly, become more and more important, and valued. I liked her immediately because this lady wore her huge heart on her sleeve and valued friendship over profit. That’s who we want in our corner and in our beach huts.

A few Summer visitors

There is still magic out there . There are still undiscovered treasures. Friendships and connections waiting to grow and flourish if we look under the rocks and between the  lines… and not always who we imagine. It’s fun,  wondering who might pop up and surprise you. Age, country, job, it isn’t important. Leave your armour at the door and your heart open….

And I might never have known so many amazing people.  I might never have got here to our forever home. The studio might never have built.. the friendships never seeded…

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A couple of years ago something happened which could have blown the whole thing out the water.. Nobody knows when these things will strike… mine struck when my cat knocked over all my tablets…

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A combination of stupidity and time short muminess meant not checking what was now in the tub of tablets, I then scooped up in haste…
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I took what I thought was the usual combination and ended up in an ambulance. The mix of meds was not good for me, and I had a really bad reaction .

I was really unwell and it could have been the end of me. I called my best friend. Devastated, I told her the saddest thing I felt was that I had lived for sooooooooo many years already but that I  hadn’t even started to live yet. I had so much more to do. I realised, that if life was snatched now, I wouldn’t be ready. I had things to do and a child to love.

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As I wondered what damage the medication was silently and corrosively doing, I thought of the krypton factor which my life had recently become, the massive mountain we had literally just climbed off, and the dreams I still hadn’t un-boxed.  The reasons I still had to get out of that hospital in one piece.. We had come such a long way and I was not giving up . How anyone could intentionally inhale a box of paracetamol was completely beyond me……..Image result for dont give up

 

It was a close call and a reminder of how fragile life can be. I was dangerously allergic to the combination, and I had half an hour to fix it……

From that moment on.. I knew that if I was ok, I would take the cards dealt with my health and double what was possible to do in my life.

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Not many people knew that story at the time.

I felt a bit stupid….. 

Image result for onwards and upwardsIf it had worked out differently, Nothing that followed would have ever begun. Our friends, our home, and our beautiful, creative journey.

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We are all fallible, and stupid sometimes. We all make mistakes. Some worse than others. Some thankfully, enable the gratitude we feel to be sweeter and more poignant. And the colours we paint to be that little bit brighter..

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Thank you to the beach hut lady, thank you to my daughter who called the ambulance that day, and thank you in advance for the strange and wonderful life we made.

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Much of our dulling down comes from the belief that other people’s perception of us is true. It can be a choice to believe otherwise. Everyone messes up. Humans need to.  Learning from what happens next is to value ourselves a bit more. Give yourself a break. If we can still believe in a sprinkling of magic to chase the past away, who knows who might be leaning over your fence soon, and what they might bring with them.. and what colour you’ll ultimately decide your fence will become.

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Here at Skye Blue House ..We choose rainbow.xx

Image result for heartLove and hugs, 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

xx