It’s not easy being green

Summers end, new school year, pencils in a row.

Children reinvent themselves, some refuse to go.

Autumn hides the cobwebs just as spring brushes them clean;

Subscription to the promise of a new you yet unseen.

Starting fresh sounds simple, leave the ghosts behind.

Clear the debts from credit cards, from lovers, heart and mind.

Open up the blinds again, paint the rolling view,

Truly understanding what it feels to know your you.

Hold your nerve a little longer, time is still at play

You got through the hardest part, first few steps, first day.

All the courage you require is curled up in your heart,

Every move in this game now awaits your hand to start.

Who could squeeze their life inside a tiny little room?
Make their food with dolls house plates, a bucket and a broom?
Trust in friendships lasting from another place inland
Feel that even far away, their hands are in your hands?

 

Looking past the clutter, seeing what’s beyond.
Pushing through the brambles to the lilies in the pond.
There’s a view beyond the spot we stand on in the rain.
There’s another path beside this bumpy, strange terrain.

Keeping safe your mindset when the noise is getting loud,
Standing still and centered in the roaring gush of crowd.
Slowing down each racing breath, finding space inside,
Moving air to crushing lungs where fear is trying to hide.

Starting life in places new, without an anchor firm,
Centres you from deep directions, ones you’ve yet to learn.

Sometimes taking one more step beyond our comfort zone
Further than we ever dared, far away from home;

Distils every drop of courage, cleaning jewels of fate
Suddenly where once were walls, there’s an open gate.
Suddenly where once was distant; brush it in your hand.
Suddenly no longer dreaming, walk on soft green land.

Take this moment look around, all the steps so far,
Nothing vital left behind, perfect as you are.
Friendships travelled with you, words and thoughts and line,
Breathing slowly when you feel, nowhere close to fine.

Every gloomy hurdle, every battle won,
Finds your light the brighter, closer to the sun.
For every moment conquered, everything you feel

Shapes the life you’re made for, every dream made real.

LW

For my Treasure xxx

Skye Blue House

This little house will be loved by someone new soon.

Skye blue House or whatever it becomes will soon belong to a new family who will print their chapters into its story.

This house has served us well, a solid and warm place to be and feel, creative, a home by the sea with lots of potential and bags of charm. In five minutes you can walk to the beach, three minutes you can enjoy St Abbs harbour and a mile and a half walk to Coldingham, where a variety of community groups and activities await.

Iconic beach huts at Coldingham Bay
Daily stunning skies
Every cloud becomes a painting
A beautiful morning
Light on a cottage wall
A sunrise in the harbour
Dog paradise
Filmic scenery
Wild swimming
Early morning colour

This little house served us well.

A lot of charm, a lot of memories

Nestled in a village of dramatic and beautiful landscapes

Thankyou house, and thankyou to those who made it feel like home.

When we have a door, it will always be a jar for all our friends…

All our love from the road, Liz and the zoo at the Beach Hut xxx

Moving on

We celebrated five years in Skye Blue house recently. Five years in St Abbs. Five years of watching my daughter turn from a child into a beautiful young woman.

Five years of furry feet, blue paint, furry feet in blue paint, and repainting blue paint before furry feet go back outside and make blue paw prints .

Five years of weathering the storms. All kinds of storms.

Five years of isolation. In the cave on the cliff in the wind, five years of intense Artwork and writing.

Five years of healing. Five years of waiting for the wind to drop. Five years of waiting to hear from rheumatologists what the body knew already; that this climate often makes your condition more painful. But five years of the best tonics, moments lost in singing, laughing, planting and growing and creating with, and for others.

All journeys create possibilities, for friendships, opportunities, detours and adventures. On ours here, many have been shared in stories online, and turned into poems and illustrations. Best of all has been the friendships grown through teaching and sharing in Art, with our choir buddies and drama buddies , friends who will now last a lifetime. Friends who leave precious memories.

Singing with the Echo Choir for the Queen’s Jubilee

Our home has undergone  a radical transformation from it’s old self. A Fireplace was put in, thank goodness, as it saved us when storm Arwen hit. Although not much else was saved. A caravan upturned, blew its windows,  took its contents and spewed them back out, Christmas gifts, vintage china and sewing supplies landed all over the garden whilst two shed roofs were ripped off and trees disappeared. A home here, was going to be interesting, little did we know it would involve a brand new skillset.

Cooking for a week on the hearth

Walls have held murals, garden stones have become colourful pathways, fairies hid in corners, flowers bloomed and Art was made in one of three stripy beach huts. Very few months, even in Summer, stay warm consistently, so when it was good weather- all outside jobs had to get done at once!

It may sound far-fetched, but the climate impacts hugely on joint pain and arthritis. Something happens inside the bones, inflaming the pain, pressurising nerves, slowing blood flow. When temperatures drop even a little, when air pressure changes, when it is both damp and cold there is a shift inside, almost like the body knows it must protect itself from unnecessary movement. Walking, bending and getting out of bed becomes harder, fatigue (annoyingly) wins out just when you’re having fun. After about August, there are less and less usable hours of the day (in the North!), and this means that from late Summer onwards, a more insular lifestyle once again looms because you feel cold. Needing more rest, (no matter how much you do to combat symptoms) , winter becomes a necessary retreat.

Positivity becomes a necessary armour, a way of life to balance the enormity of this struggle. Certainly some days are easier than other days, but the common link for most sufferer’s wellbeing is warmth.

Every year, in this cycle, there is a time portal where new ideas can become new realities. Those – keep – you-awake-at-night- ideas that might, seed and grow into real flourishing, exciting, life enhancing adventures. Activities that if you try really really hard can be organised and achieved whilst the sun is out and the bones are a bit less creaky. This is, on average, for us here, three or four months. ( I know this because it is how long the heating isn’t on full) Perhaps only a few days of that time are really warm.

When you finally feel like you.

This time pressure is both exciting and utterly crazy. It makes it impossible to plan things around the year, because there is no pacing. Adrenalin works all the harder for completing projects in warmer times, ( think what you’re doing right now, what your days are like in this sun.) For most its a time to lie on a deckchair with a good book, or avoid the heat altogether. If cold is the enemy, precious hot days can cause an ironic over exertion and subsequent fatigue. (This can also appear that you have no mobility problems, and impact on the support you need) If only that were true, as you crawl into your bed while the day is still light and the birds chirp happily; but at least the chair is painted and the pots are de-weeded.

Nature’s paint box on a sunny Day

 Last Summer we considered a move to a warmer climate. Our road trip adventures were planned for months, and we manged two long, long journeys to the South of England and back again with carloads of belongings, and an assortment of animals of all shapes and sizes. In case you missed it, here is a link to come back to.

We needed a lot of belief in what we had planned. The countdown began, the boxes packed, the maps unfolded. Post Covid, we were all stepping gingerly into the unknown.

But, the best laid plans…. Just when you think life is going in one direction…

For reasons best left to history, and after a lot of deep breathing, praying and motivational speaking by a too-wise-for-her-years young companion…….

Our journey then, ended where it began, back home . (which now, thanks universe, we appreciate!)

Skye Blue House had a little more work to do..

We squashed back into the car, all seven of us, two car loads in one, all the paws and madness, and drove back to Scotland after arriving the night before. With no school clothes organised, she started back the next day, and we crash landed into life as we knew it . I set about unpacking the house again, repainting the walls, throwing energy into teaching my lovely Art classes and spending time with those we love. We were and are seasoned pros at getting on with life.

In these last couple of years, we have had the fortune to know and care about such lovely people.

So much artwork has been created, shared, and inspired us all to keep going. And we will continue to do this remotely and together online throughout the Summer and beyond.  

These memories and connections are a part of something very special, and sharing artwork on our seasparkle site has created an ever expanding exhibition, no matter the experience or theme.

This little village holds its magic if you know where to look.

A bounty of ideas for any creative

During this last year, we have all learnt so much about our own resilience and ability to just cope. In life, it is often very difficult to gain approval from everyone, or move forward without having a consistent network to support you.

But the greatest thief of living life is fear, even if it comes from a place of love. Often we are numbed into a paralysis not only by our caution, but from those around us. And sometimes, we just got to trust those instincts. And the ones who have been there all along.

I know … she’s taller than me now!…..

This time we are feeling the fear and doing it anyway. It has been a long time coming, this journey of ours. Freedom to seek out the sun and find our true colours. Freedom to explore and take what we need to where we choose to go.

Everyone is ready…

And after months of planning, this is Our Big Adventure – part two..

In a few moments time, we are going on another road trip.

For weeks we have been living like students surrounded by bags and boxes, with ever shrinking space inbetween.

The juggling of Life and Art was a bit of a challenge! Making stuff takes… well a lot of stuff….

As well as the concert, there was a fashion show

An Exhibition

Art classes

A Craft Fair

Three Art Workshops,

A Drama

A Book Illustration

And a holiday to Turkey


All in the middle of the chaos.

For the zoo, as long as there was cuddles and food, life remained the same in the nest. The house might have been a Rubik’s cube of boxes and huge bags, and the space between shrinking, but food and love still got delivered.

The future is an exciting blank canvas, thoroughly primed, brushes at the ready…

The caravan left yesterday to its new home…

We are getting the maps out..

The excitement is mounting…

Books and Art and all that “crap you’ll have trouble ever shifting ” is safely sorted, and in storage thanks to months of hard work, patience and help from one or two angels😇

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Six months ago all of the above were just ideas, conversations, which became plans. A lot can happen if you believe it can !

Every scrap of kindness will be with us always.

My driftwood gate made by my late friend Donnie.
Paint may fade but memories won’t

A few goodbyes with our favourite people before our journey begins.

And now.. before the next chapter starts all that’s left is to sprinkle a little glitter

and thank the universe for all that it has given …

See you on the other side!! All our love, Liz and the zoo xx

Limbo

There’s a place called land of Limbo
On the outskirts of the town,
A place where friends are seldom made,
In case you let them down.

In case the big black dog returns
Claws sharpened on your door.
And all the bags stored under beds
Are hurled in cars once more.

In case the roots you want to grow
Entangle up your heart;
And all the dreams they cut from you,
Will never get to start.

In Limbo, safely nurturing,
Your life behind the hedge
A world away from breathing deep,
And stepping from the edge.

A world away from what you were,
The girl whose almost gone.
Before the tiniest of smiles,
Was painted daily on.

Cross the tracks to Limbo land
The hardest place to find
Routes are snared and treacherous,
Especially in the mind.

Limbo isn’t on the map,
Or on the subway line
Destination, final stop; keeps
Changing all the time.

In real world , time is still sometimes;
A breath deep, drawing, peace.
Surrounded by the simple pleasures,
Books and flower and leaf.

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Feet are anchored, roots are long;
Earth’s rich, musty loam,
Precious heady, springtime mornings
Finding our way home.

There comes a moment when we turn

to see our shadow roam,

when all the holding fast is done,

and we can feel we’re home.

One day the door of limbo land
Is left wedged open wide,
And finally the everywhere
Comes tumbling in outside.

In Seeking , travel is a choice;
To step along each track.
And find exciting different routes,
When its time to go back.

No need to drag out dusty cases
Hidden under beds.
You’re here already,  listen , hear
What all your friends have said.

A spell in Limbo is essential
Patch up broken wings,
But wings and meant for flying
And your soul now needs to sing.

And if we see as wise ones do,
Life not in black and white.
The jewel colours swirl freely,

On the silky tails of kites

For all the beasts who gave you strength

showed what was never you,

And made a life outside of Limbo

feel so fresh and new.

Take respite under limbo ‘s spell
A warm , soft, heavy blanket
Then, Hear your instincts loud and clear
Trust what you love and thank it.

And where you land, the route you take,

hold onto all you’ve learned.

Your self respect and courage now,

is well and truly earned.

LW

Patience


When I was little sweets were banned,

and only for rare treats.
There’s plenty fruit and bread for toast,
You don’t need these to eat!


But shops had jars all glistening,

and sparkling sugar beckoned.
And being young,  the thought of waiting: even for a second,
Was torture for my little head,
And I became adept,

At savouring each morsel as the pleasure long, I kept.


When others scoffed their chocolate bars,

in one enormous bite,
I’d wrap each piece and have a store,

for secret stash at night.


It’s true to say if you can handle, 

hurdles from above
Boom ! down they come, like rain from Heaven ,
wrapped in bows with’ love.’


‘Cause ; you can wait a little more,

for life to be complete,
You proved that , when you nibbled chocolate
underneath the sheet!


But now I’m 50, It is time,
to raid the corner shop.
To stock up on Lindt chocolate
until my Jeans go pop.


If sugar is a metaphor
for all good life can bring,
Then now I want to paint and love
and laugh and eat and sing.

And never wait a moment,
for a sugar laden pleasure,
I’ll be a mad old blue haired woman,
taking things at leisure.


Patience is a lesson,
which has kept life at the door.
So now I’m off for doughnuts
and a travellers explore.


To places dreamed, while under covers
on those torchlight nights.
Patience has paid off,
and the vista is in sight.


The dream is always there,

waiting for your chance to take it.
And nobody can make your Patience
worth it ’til you make it .


I’ve been like marmite to the ones
who couldn’t work out why,
That one so cheery was not simply.

watching time go by.


You must have faith that there are flavours,

morsels still to find,
For time and days are side-lines

if you sweeten hands and mind.

The rainbow jars of favourites,

will be waiting on the shelf.
All their colours shiny, urging
Us to treat ourselves.

And when the day will come at last
The first foot out the door.
That first breath, first step,
A new world we’ll explore.

Like popping candy covering
an ice cream rich and sweet.
New flavours will explode and burst
And joy will be complete.

Never underestimate
how lovely it can be,
To savour favourite dishes
when the fridge has been empty.

Or feel the breeze in windswept hair
Too long indoors and dry.
And gazing at the lucky Robin
Wishing you could fly.

Look at the woman standing there,

with wisdom pure as taste.

Who cares what others think of her

There’s no more time to waste.

Time will Swerve back round again
Just like she never left,
A few more wrinkles , wisdom deeper,

Our souls endure no theft.

If you are waiting for a taste
Of something you remember,
As time speeds up, and tries to win
Don’t let yourself surrender.

For at that point,  the pinnacle
Is nearly in your sight,
The hilltop peak, the ocean floor,
The will to win the fight.

And that’s the sweetest taste of all.
When patience can be savoured.
When all your courage, strength and love
Comes back in rainbow flavours.

LW

❤🧡💚💚💙💜

Thankyou

As we look past the storm damage and the winter garden, bereft of it’s colours and usually dug up by four giant paws …

We could be sad and ponder all that was lost, and is gone: lament the landscape of change.

Or we could take a moment to celebrate all that has been and the journey through this last year, the people we met on the way, the new friends, the furry feet, the help we prayed for and received miraculously.

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The beach hut is a movable feast. It goes where we go, for as long as it needs to be there. We all have a beach hut spot in our hearts. Who knows where ours will go next.

Skye Blue house was named after our beautiful Skye and the Blue of the sea and my daughter’s eyes, of all things sacred and beautiful in nature and in art.

Latterly life might have thrown a few curve balls, with health and weather, goblins and ghouls; but in our time here; we made fairy gardens, and a pond, had chickens that laid blue eggs, had garden parties, grew lettuces and fruit, painted a lot of furniture and made a lot of art.

Life is a series of moments strung together with spiderwebs of time. Every day adding brushstrokes to the painting of our life. The point isn’t to finish the picture, but to keep painting.

Take a moment to guinea Hygge from time to time
Notice wonderful things
Celebrate and dance whenever possible
And keep a chair ready and the kettle on for your next best friend to appear.

Happy New Year wherever you are, and love and blessings from all of us here ❤

Love, liz at the beach hut 🧚‍♂️🎄xx

Storm

This is bonnie. When something isn’t right she stands very still and shuts her eyes . When she is scared she freezes.

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Until the storm passes.

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Often this becomes our default. Things get pushed aside to deal with later, lists are made and lost, promises made and broken. Mañana Mañana..

A happy medium between awareness and being able to just be in the moment. A recipe this lot have nailed.

There are jobs that simply have to be done like tiny claws that need clipping.

And preparations for events which will not be repeated, no matter the weather or budget

Just when, the Christmas food was safely stored in the bulging freezer, the presents wrapped and stored in the vintage caravan, which doubles as a place to stay in Summer. Just when the the Art studio was packed away for winter and paintings stored in Leah’s old Summerhouse. A storm blew in. Storm Arwen

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⁹Thinking we were being burgled I headed out at two in the morning to find the contents of St Abbs and our garden flying mid air. Roof tiles, chairs, guttering, bins, pots and trees, whipping the walls and smashing everywhere. I frantically looked for something to wedge the windows shut and stop any more breaking glass. There wasn’t time to be scared though, it all happened too quickly !

We had already had the beginnings of a blackout, the night before so there was no hot water or electricity, and the storm raged on. The next day and the coming days, what happened was a kind of auto pilot for most. You Just got on with the immediacy of rescue, saving what could be saved and surveying the damage. When you have no choice but to boil water for a wash or lukewarm tea in a pot on the coal fire, there is nothing to butt against. Nobody to waste time arguing the pros and cons with in your head. Nothing to bury your head for. Real life decrees action.


The storm blew half of what we had away. It was the same and worse everywhere here, and I know that insurance companies are not picking up their phones still so the task continues . The caravan was hit hard with windows smashed and contents broken,  including many Christmas presents which got wet in the rain or sucked out and broken on the ground. My Art studio roof tarp came off and water damaged the mattress, bedding, floor, artwork and sketchbooks, fabrics, and materials. Fences came down, were wrenched up by rope and wishful thinking; and then; went down again, the fridge and freezer contents were lost including seasonal food ; and any garden furniture and contents are now broken. 

Pre storm….
After…


But thankfully, nobody was hurt. The damage to Skye blue house was minimal. A drastic cull of possessions wasn’t in the plan, but with little to be done, it was a done deal. The blackout lasted last for next 5 days.

Thankfully, we have a coal fire. A very precious commodity that week! So much so that half a pile of our logs were pinched ! And they just had to ask ! We were so grateful for the ability to boil the water, and cook french toast, to take flasks round to our neighbours, and for it to heat us ( at least in one room). We all stayed in there, guinea pigs, cats and all, and by candle light played cards and monopoly. It was a weirdly calm time, wearing all our clothes in bed, the smell of hot water bottle childhoods and the weight of twenty eiderdowns. My daughter was hilariously entertaining with her stand up comedy routine. I had no idea how funny she was, away from her phone! .


When we dared to look again, when the lights came on, it showed how much had to be done and what would have to be thrown away  .
Shed by shed the realization was clear. The storm was a gift that kept on giving as more soggy or smashed things were found.  The full Christmas food stuffed freezer, the fridge just having been filled, Christmas presents soggy from storage in the caravan. Vintage China and bedding smashed, ripped, and mouldy. Pools of water on paintings.

All the artwork had to be rewrapped and dried off, brought inside and re-catalogued, the emergency boxing up of possessions will need to be redone but, as all the fabric casualties have been rescued and washed, paper and card objects fanned on radiators for weeks and bubble wrap is Bear’s new favourite thing; I think we might get through Christmas before tackling anything else.
In an emergency you rescue what you can, without thinking. Grabbing the most vital, the irreplaceable,  in a supermarket sweep of mad energy . The first morning post storm, the wind was still howling, and there was no choice but to keep going . Some kind of otherness forced me on. Grabbing armfuls, boxfuls, and  bag fulls and piling them into the biggest hut, my studio. Two days later the rain went through the roof in there too. So, they got moved again.
There was no choice but to make some serious snap decisions about what to keep. I found I didn’t mind. Our perspectives change in stormy weather.

In the worst of times a quiet knowing un-freezes you and gives you fight or flight to cope. The last few years have not been easy, but knowing how futile worry is, gives us power over the immediacy of today.
Life can challenge us with hurdles, biblical in their trails.  One by one testing areas of faith and resilience, emotionally, financially, with relationships, health conditions and work and lifestyle choices. To tell you not to worry isn’t dismissing your anxieties, but perspective can become clearer when things get shaken up.

Smiling is still thankfully free

A massive amount of support and help has come from outside of the village. We have been so lucky to have friends in our Art group, and a resilience team who have gone above and beyond to help patch us back together. Below are a few of the drawings by my group . Head to seasparkle.org for weekly gallery updates 💙🧚‍♂️

This is an ode to my Star helper. You Know who you are K.P.

Knowing that while things may come and go, and others might challenge our perceptions, beliefs, things; we can weather the storm, however, whatever and whoever we chose to live as or with.

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As I unearthed the boxes of paintings in the shed, hardly daring to see the storm damage, Artwork hastily packed in during lockdown, I realised how much has been created here. How the insular life through circumstances out of our control, has fuelled a chunk of creativity I had never been able to access before. When neighbours were cruel, I worked on art, and wrote blogs in the bath, when pandemics were rife, we made bags and jewellery and Art every day with other people, and turned it into prints and cards, and did Zooms to keep spirits up and WhatsApp classes to connect with friends. When pain was at its height I drew in bed, or in hospital. My daughter said that the pandemic was one of her happiest times, with a bubble of positivity and making, and everyone else staying home like we often do.

Sometimes in life all that we show to the world is our bottom sticking out of our hutch.

When actually the solitude is the space we’ve needed to heal

And get back out again with a whole new set of super powers we never knew we had.

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When the Gods force a storm upon us, we have less time to overthink what is collateral damage and just resign stuff to the box marked ‘chuck’. We can also see clearly who and how to treasure. To appreciate who we have and to stand in the now with them, in an authentic life we choose.

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Tomorrow’s tide will change again

The zoo will get fed

This world is changing and will continue to do so. Changing weather patterns show us just how adaptable we still need to be. Despite technology trying to disconnect us with virtual communication and cyber shopping, we still need to know how to cope using core skills, to be part of a community. Adapting and honouring your personal skillset, and knowing how unique you are, no matter your age and mobility, gives you purpose and belonging.

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There is always a friend at the beach hut. You can come out now!

See you soon

Love Liz at the Beach Hut xx

Soup

As the temperature changes and jumpers are sought

We get to discover the sale stuff we bought

 Last winter from Next where we queued like grey dominoes

To purchase more clothes, where straight under the bed they go.

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And finding soft clothes fitting dark cooler days ,

Is akin to the lure of the slow cooker haze.

 And the scent of the fireplace of wood burning smoke ,

Follows fresh pairs of socks when your feet have got soaked

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In Autumn the promise of capturing friends,

 To nurture hot drinks and then start one again .

  Some bodies do well in the rain and the cold,

 Preferring to ski and go swimming -so bold

,

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On the beach, are the wild ones, I watch and admire

Whilst swathed in a blanket inside my armchair

For some, it’s a seasonal obstacle course to get through

When everyday life leaves your hands white and blue .

Image result for cold hands

Because your immunity loses all reason

And messes your energy most of the season.

This isn’t a tale about how to get fixed

 If this is reality, you’re expert in this .

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This is a hug for all those who dream

And whilst loving Autumn; still silently scream

 A hug for the days where the damp makes you weep

From moving the route you could do in your sleep.

May be an image of nature

In Summer your joints hurt but pain you just bear

When sun on the skin in the flip-flops you wear

And breezes that brush you like kisses from fairies

Don’t punch like six boxers in pub crawls gone lary.

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On wet days as two eyes gaze at leads by the door

And despite doggie patience, can’t cross one more paw

You battle the elements for today’s mini drama

Ignoring the pain in invisible armour.

Attempting the route which is suddenly hard

And crying a little while hips feel like shards

Of glass and things spiky : and push their  way in

And you must just make it to put out the bin.

And friends say how are you? And what do you say?

You’re fine on the outside, you say I’m ok

But all that has happened with wind, chill or rain

Has stolen your energy ,swapped it for pain.

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Immunity plummeting, temperature cool,

You’re a blood boiling, bone aching ,gland swelling fool

 Fit for your duvet and slippers and tea

Not out in the world where the others can see.

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 Except life can’t give us a six month reprieve

 From autumn and winter and all that she breathes

We battle on each of us: through knowing eyes

 Determined to catch at least one bright sunrise .

May be an image of twilight, sky and nature

We all know someone who can relate

To managing what life has plopped on their plate

But sometimes a gentle reminder or two

Shows us just how to walk in their old winter shoes.

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Is not such a bad thing For those you hold dear

Who bounce round in summer, but have now disappeared

 Know that seasonal changes, the glory of Fall

Can come with a minefield, not welcomed  by all .

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Like dormice, exhausted, curled in Autumn dens

 sometimes we exist to let friends down again

There’s is no timetable, days plunge into gloom

 And Covid was quite normal, spending months in your room.

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 If you know someone precious, and you care they stay yours

Their needs will be be different behind their front door

They might need more sleep at wierd times of the day

Or struggle to move in their usual way.

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Or feel guilty because they can’t be that friend yesterday

Who left you with this face, gone lifeless and grey

Social media will not show the fog Winter brings

The lonely months of time, before warmth of Spring.

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 Be kind, patient, knowing, we aren’t all made the same

For we all wish we could leap puddles in the same rain

Tomorrow will be better after rest, Netflix and soup

And soon we will feel human and be back in the loop.

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A thousand thanks for all the eyes that make my path more clear

 For dancing leaves and Autumn light which decorates my year

Our bodies aren’t so easy to decipher from outside

They don’t have labels telling us the things we often hide.

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 This season as the lights go down and you chop up for soup

 Extend a hand for quiet ones and keep them in the loop

 For as you’ll know they may not ask for extra love they need

So lay a spoon , a bowl and crust and give their soul a feed.

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From our hearth to yours, Liz at the Beach Hut xxxxxxx

Chance

Nobody knows what the road ahead will bring.

From an early age my philosophy has always been to prepare the way ahead, just in case tomorrow sends you a curve ball. Which we all know is exactly what life does in the most spectacular, ridiculous, heart-breaking or just plain annoying ways. Following on from our last post may we present the Art of recycling- what-was-either- being- sold- or-moved and the power of intention to flip the map upside down, and reroute the bus down a more scenic route.

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Life gives us lemon groves sometimes.

Deconstructed rooms, zoo on a road trip, painted garden bits flaking under constant scrutiny and rain, upended blue paint tin tipped over mural by designer dog who himself, having timed his burgeoning adolescence with the upheaval of travel; very nearly became one of the must-go pile!!!!..

Its easy to give up when things look like they are all going wrong . Understandable that what doesn’t look like its easy to fix gets abandoned. Easier to give up and have an simpler life.

But where’s the fun in that?

This is Skye Blue House. Nothing gets us down for long.  The mural needed a repaint anyway, work was then started on the rest of the path with masonry paint and blue shed paint, very early in the morning, section by section to avoid giant paw prints across the living room carpet. A ton of Scottish cobbles created a beach effect where a patch of grass was previously dug up by Bear under the old trampoline circle. This became a border housing the pot bound plants gasping for breath over Summer months with the addition of some perennials . Leah’s old wardrobe became a bespoke garden tool store, far sturdier than similar ones in the garden centre.

Since the surgery a few months ago to remove a bone in my hand, I am delighted to be able to paint things again without wincing. Arthritis creeps back and in my case it is sneaky and persistent.  So making hay while the sun shines is vital, before winter creeps up again making outdoor work too painful. And to re-claim the home we thought we would be leaving, two rooms were given a face-lift to satisfy that New -House itch and to let this house know we do love it it still !

Houses, like us, love to be loved and seep their pride into your (much anticipated and welcome) winter guests .Home ; a perfect blend of comfort, colour, you and spontaneous tea and cake. Disclaimers will include here the many blobs of paint on carpets, hastily cleaned up, ruined glasses I accidentally use for paint water, muddy dog paws on new Indian bedspreads, non compliant teenagers, weather, the bank balance …….

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This was an especially driven project for many reasons. Not least a big birthday. Which was date to have things finished by, and free up other head space to focus on bigger Art projects, pursue health options and enjoy the season with at least a few ticks on the list.

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Autumn will come with its own surprises so for today there is a calm quiet comfort in home . Which you and I know is in us all along

Thankyou for the Facebook compliments and the requests for outsourcing the old decorating skills… I think other than in advisory capacity over dinner, its back to words and watercolours for a while. One of the reasons to have moved was longer seasons, in a warmer climate which you’ll know yourselves makes a huge difference to the mobility. …

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And well; if we can’t have sun all year round, we’ll keep warm with quality friendship and cake xx

Love and positivity, Liz at the Beach Hut xxxx

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Baby bird

How old were you when you found your wings ? When did you first feel in control of your choices? Or grounded enough to let go of your fear? Whose fear was it anyway ?

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Did you climb a mountain in a sweltering landscape and peek at your new perspective through the gap in the clouds?

Did you find God one day while eating your toast?

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 Did you reach Nirvana whilst touching the high notes with your choir or dancing with your tribe around a flaming bonfire?

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Or understand fully one sunrise your need for grounding in earth, as you smelled the air and witnessed your hard labour flourish?

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Or maybe a little of all of these?

Did you then forget your epiphany as soon as you landed back on planet earth with a plop when someone needed you or worse, wiped your seed of new hope away ? Did the technicolour get switched back off ?

Did a voice in your head tell you how unrealistic your positivity was?

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When the clear glistening ideas in your mind unfurl, new and shiny and exciting, like a glossy tropical flower You just know that someone will come and cut your petals off. Often someone who in theory should have your back.

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This is the vulnerable point where many fledgling dreams die. Trying to push against the system which surrounds anything different, whether at home or work is often too difficult. It is easier to drift back and become engulfed in the ‘way it has always been’

Most people know who they are. What brings them joy and a sense of pure satisfaction. But we are fed so many alternatives to this core knowledge, and are often hungry for a little more validation. Sometimes these vital gaps in our unconscious self worth came from feelings we have when we are little and can’t yet fly.

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A Baby seagull made its home on top of our caravan this Summer. Nesting in our rooftop chimney, a fluffy little chick was waited on by a village of seagull parents; decorating its roof with hard to clean graffiti. Baby seagulls are very demanding. Screeching their needs very vocally for not only their parents but all adult birds within a two mile radius. Relentlessly they deliver takeaway delights to their offspring with their gruesome picnics, and swoop low and hard on any unexpecting human passers by.

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While we travelled this Summer, she stayed still and grew fat, filling out her fluffy edges with spotty brown feathers. And on our return, she was almost as big as her mum, and still, she cried and cried for food. Once fed, the crying started again with the rapidly less patient mum nudging her baby to move .

These seagull parents were getting fed up now.

Over the next few days, the crying continued. But nobody came. She knew she could fly. They knew she could fly. She realised food was going to be slightly harder to come by. So she cried harder. Her feathers were turning a lighter shade of grey. She walked to the edge and back again, and sat down. Her cries became more plaintive and although beady eyes watched from nearby rooftops, nobody came to deliver dinner. Until. there was nothing more for it. It was time….

After several short trips to nearby treetops and a couple of shed roofs soon all that remained on the caravan roof was the Jackson Pollock masterpiece.

There is a time, when nobody comes. Sometimes we wait a lifetime for that reassurance and feed, and believe we cannot function without it. We have a core belief that we can’t. … (fill in the blank) That a teacher, a parent, a partner, or any person we give permission to have (or had ) power over us, and once that is delivered ; we will then be whole.

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All living creatures have a right to love and nourishment but we know this is seldom true for everyone.

If we are fortunate, we are fed the morsels we need to build our strength, courage and resistance, to build healthy bones, lives, relationships and feel loved.

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It takes courage to say, thank you for feeding me, but I can take it from here. That I have enough belief in my self to choose whom to take advice from . It takes courage from those who love you to also let you go, make mistakes and come back, bruised but more wise. And when there is no Big seagull watching you must hear your own voice.

You’ll hear other squawks and caws, creating more choices, more distractions.  Jostling for attention and swaying your resolutions and ideas with promises. A person who fears change will fear yours. “Stay safely in your comfort zone that matches ours, think these thought because they match the system we created.”

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And on a superficial level we get thrown life changing ‘temptations’ “Be the best version of yourself with our new products. Buy a whole new set of clothes, get a better job, a shiny new car, and always a new sofa… THEN you will be the perfect person you always knew you could be! Hurry while stocks last. On sale now. a new improved you. No mess, no clutter, just competition ready human.”

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When it still doesn’t feel better, when we are still hungry for something else; that’s the gift of looking deeper into our own needs.

This Summer has given us a new perspective. One which we hadn’t planned, but clearly it was in the plan all along.

As an art teacher I have spent my life collecting resources for others to use, from shells to old objects, books, materials, plants, metal things, glass things, fabric things, beautiful shiny objects and tiny things that fit into the palm of your hand. A classroom was packed with labelled boxes and lovely stuff to draw from.

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When I left my teaching post through ill health, my huge supply of resources was lugged from house to house, into storage facilities and a basement, back to the shed and back to another art room. It was whittled down and down but at each stage of the life of the stuff, people were using it and creating beautiful artwork. It has been my nemesis for as long as I can remember. Collecting things for people to use makes so many people happy; it was never a question of not keeping things

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People donate art materials to you which is amazing and for classes an Aladin’s cave of colourful ephemera grows. Easily the bags and boxes also grow in quantity, and without adequate permanent storage- one becomes a permanent bag lady. This state relies on meticulous organisation, warm weather for easier mobility, an army of volunteers to help lift from the car and bend to the floor for any stray tissue paper and stray clutter, not to mention the energy needed to create in the first place.  The reality of wheeling bags of art materials in a force ten gale while a rainbow of pens skittles off down the road is highly likely.

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There is a time for everything

And a place too.

Yesterday, after making a decision to start focusing on a bigger project of my own, my remaining boxes were returned from the community centre where I was teaching . Oh no, boxes of stuff again.!

After spending a Summer literally throwing out everything I own and starting a home renovation now we are remaking our own home with less clutter, I could have wept! But I asked for these things back. Why on earth did I do that? Things just keep coming back, growing in volume.. again! .

In amongst the detritus of making equipment, there were sketchbooks and memories, boxes of collected resources, things donated and found. Things which will give pleasure again. Working in the art field always comes with a running commentary of ‘funny’ labels. Junk, clutter, crap, stuff or worse. But look back. Look at how that plastic became a dragon sculpture. Look at how that ink was layered in rich textures over all that scrap and made this fantastic collage.  

Our things, the ‘stuff’ we collate and have an affinity with, create a thread with others. When someone else decides to throw away, comment about, or sabotage our things without our permission, it makes decisions about what we need, and for some precious objects leaves a physical loss. In all of the Art spaces I have run, we have kept a wide and varied selection of materials for every project one could think of. Even though the hoard was very organised, being forced to cull occasionally is healthy! The eye of a non interested observer however will only ever see this, (below) and make that the excuse for treating stuff-which-doesn’t-slot-into-a-neat-category badly.

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Until someone tells them its ART , and then they pay ££££££££

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Indestructible Object Man Ray

Then, a week later, it happened again. More things were going to be travelling to us. Do you think the universe was trying to tell us something? This was the first time ever that everything I owned would be in one place. After my first reaction of horror, dread and wondering if I could crawl under the covers with a sketchbook and Netflix, this stuff was being given its own second chance, to fit, or not fit, for where we are now. Just like we decided to give this home a chance, despite a few crows pecking at our corn. For the first time, there was nobody telling us it had to go somewhere else.

The value we place on objects is so unique to us, an extension of our selves through our space and our clothes, our belongings and our creativity. If we don’t care about these things, or let others mock, its personal . Allow a child to love a rock collection and a row of conkers. There will be a time when we are gone and none of these things we own matter. But we do, and we live on in the worth we allow others to enjoy in us.

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I had been buying things for years and giving them away. Then, weirdly, a delivery of almost the same thing would come from somewhere else, it would come back to me in a different way, for example as a gift or a donation. Without realising it, I had been viewing my things through the eyes of my critics, slightly judgingly and disposing of them often because I could hear the voice..

There were sketchbooks or materials we could use with other classes. And although most of it went into the recycling. I enjoyed the little pocket of time carved out to really appreciate and look at how it got here. And what we need now. And what we don’t. Placing value on each item , purely based on my own voice, I have to admit was a lovely feeling. When we realise why we carry a weight of doubt, and for how long, it is a profound gift to let it go.

Looking through boxes of old teaching resources I was blasted back to that time, those energies and passions. Not just the resources used to teach Art lessons and critical work, but the drive to focus on particular artists, Frida Kahlo, Pierre Bonnard, John Piper, The Pre Raphaelites. The design lessons of masks for a Midsummer Night’s Dream, of world festivals, of Alice in Wonderland and natural form. A whole bank of ideas, images, interests and inspirations.  I still love all those artists. Drawn to since childhood, many Artists still resonate, and I find synchronicities and parallels with how I like to work.

Pierre Bonnard: At home with Marthe, 1937-1943


 In gaining the ability to throw away , we must trust the ability to keep. This pertains to any area of our lives- clothing, activities, foods that make us unwell. Whatever pops into your mind as you read this. What will come again easily is what you need and what is precious.  I should have asked myself at five or ten to tell myself now what I would like. Most of it would still be true.

Sometimes a journey can be much more than you imagine. The 3000 miles we drove to find a potential new home ended up with an appreciation of where we are now. Waiting for my seagull family to land with dinner was a red herring.

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There was however, a whole aviary of supporters in the nest

Whatever you might be not doing because you are waiting for permission; just do it. People can and do wait a lifetime for a morsel that never comes, a crumb for their inner baby bird. Approval is overrated. Do no harm to others and strive to enlighten your self.

Trying to apply your hearts desire against a soundtrack of criticism, whether ‘kindly’ unprompted advice or hostile, fear addled barbs; is like flying in a tornado.

We gave away all our food, drove 3000 miles, took five animals around the country, packed up our house and unpacked it again, closed off every avenue, and in coming home; found that all the people and paths that were meant to be for us, were still here, quietly giving us the thumbs up. Those who believe in you will do so no matter how you take flight.

Our Summer wasn’t what we expected but it truly was what we needed. We found strength and courage, and a bigger picture. . Despite the madness, I would do ( most of it ) over again. We could have chosen a whole new place but got to unwrap the gift of life here again. Much has been happening at Skye Blue house since we returned, with an almost constant paintbrush in hand. The next post will unveil all the hard work!

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Travelling helps root us back home and get perspective on the life and accomplishments we have achieved so far , with or without a team in the pits

So, replace that fear in your chest with a few helpful butterflies…Then Spread your wings and leap off the caravan roof.. You might not get where you thought you were going. … .but there is a big horizon waiting.

Tell your seagull self;

To live a life you’ve never lived; you must do what you’ve never done

Take one step towards the edge and the rest will follow

Tune in and keep your frequency high

Feel the breeze and soar

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See you soon, Love, Liz at the Beach Hut xx