Do you remember this?
I printed it out some time ago and have just put it on a wall in a more prominent place. It speaks (in my favourite Quaker phrase) to my condition....
Grilled halloumi, with watermelon, blueberries and spinach - eating a rainbow. Yum.
The anniversary of Barry's death was a day of sunshine and rainbows. I spent it quietly with family and searched out a few happy photos and letters and cards to share.
There were tears, of course.
Yet there was also a change in me.
I felt, and still feel, more peaceful about it, and found myself doing some of the (many) things I have been procrastinating about, and finding to my surprise that they were not as onerous, difficult, time consuming or as expensive as I had imagined them to be.
And here come the daffodils...
Do you find too, when you finally get around to something you have been putting off for ages, that it is not as bad as you thought and that you wonder why you didn't just do it sooner?
PS I have framed the picture of the resolute child (yesterday's post) and hung it in the hall to inspire me. Thank you Lynne.
I was thrilled to receive these narcissus from the Scilly Isles today.
They are scenting the whole house with their perfume of springtime.
I am signing off for a week or so. Perhaps you would enjoy a browse through Simply Beautiful? Or Simply Inspirational?
I wonder if any signs of spring will have reached you when I return..
Thankfully not everything was closed for refurbishment in Glasgow, and the Public Art Trail leaflet to the Merchant City and the Italian Centre was good and showed me things I didn't know. There are plenty of good cafes and restaurants in the area too.
We visited the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and enjoyed the architecture and stained glass.
Rogano's Fish Restaurant with it's original are deco interior is a Glasgow institution (and with a deal from Itison is affordable now and then). They serve excellent coffee and ice cream too. If you should need a hotel in the very centre of the city Grasshoppers is delighful. A room on the station side, 6 floors above the largest glass roof in Europe, was spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated, quiet and friendly with treats and a great breakfast (deals available here too).
The Mackintosh House at the Hunterian is beautiful, guided tours in the morning, self guided in the afternoons. Kember and Jones, the Botanic Gardens and Hoos my favourite little shop are all within easy walking distance of each other at this end of town.
If you know of any other special places in Glasgow I'd love to hear about them..
When a friend said she wanted me to show her 'my Glasgow' I thought first, of course, of the Glasgow School of Art but it is covered in scaffolding after the disastrous fire in 2014. The nearby Willow Tea Rooms also by Mackintosh have a beautiful facade, but it too is currently covered in scaffolding for a two year refurbishment. The Burrell Collection? Closed for four years. The great little cafe in the art deco Glasgow Film Theatre surely. No, the cafe no longer exists, replaced by a bar on the first floor minus the decor which was a big part of the attraction. The National Trust for Scotland own a typically Glaswegian tenement house. Closed for the winter!
The Duke of Wellington is still there though with a new view (but the same hat!) since this shot in 2013.
The authorities eventually gave up on removing the traffic cone hat put there and loved by irreverent Glaswegians. The image now appears on postcards and T-shirts...
..when did I last feel, if not exuberant, then enthusiastic? (See 4 Feb.)
The answer is quite recently when I went to see the excellent Joan Eardley exhibition in Edinburgh. She lived to paint - there were few distractions from painting in her life.
I have been having difficulty painting myself, and think that perhaps I might sustain myself on other artists' creativity for a time, until my own impulse to create returns. My paintings, I have realised, come from the joyous part of me and from a surplus of energy I used to have in abundance. This quotation from Picasso has always made sense to me - that idea of a surplus of energy overflowing onto the canvas..
I go for a walk in the forest of Fontainebleau. I get 'green' indigestion.I must get rid of this sensation into a picture. Green rules it. A painter paints to unload himself of feelings and visions.
Both my joy and my energy have been subdued by grief this past year, and I think I must seek out and treasure all the things that create a little spark until, hopefully, the spark becomes a flame.
I have accepted that it can't be forced.
A visit to Glasgow with a friend created several little sparks of enthusiasm...
Do we all do this do you think? Say I'm not superstitious but... I don't walk under ladders, or like Friday 13th, or put up an umbrella indoors.
Well I'm not superstitious but... over the past year, starting at the crematorium at a friend's funeral last January, I have on seven or eight occasions seen a single magpie (we say 'one for sorrow, two for joy' when we see a magpie). I always look for the second one, saying - sometimes out loud (!) Where's your mate? We've had enough sorrow, where's the joy?
Of course I know it's nonsense (a bit like yesterday's quiz!) but all the same my heart leapt when two flew past the window the other day and I smile each time I think of it.
No photograph today but there are some wonderful ones to be seen here.
A lighthearted quiz
Are you a secret minimalist?
I got fairly, which is fairly correct...
What will you get?
I am enjoying dipping into The Idea of North by Peter Davidson.
The short epilogue called Keeping the Twilight is a delightful read and sent me out with the camera at dusk..
Alone in the winter afternoon, suddenly you notice the light fading. The inevitable moment of loneliness.
He regrets for a moment leaving his friends in the south. Describes the ritual of lighting the fire.
He imagines night descending in Norway and Sweden.
the grey painted rooms of Stockholm have been dim with evening for over an hour....Night has moved down island by island, Faroes, Shetlands Orkneys..Stromness is dark now....the light is going fast even in the cities of the south. The Edinburgh shore recedes. Newcastle is dim with mists from the river...wet cobbles reflect shop lights in Alston and Appleby...on the western slopes of the Pennines red sun flashes a moment in Black Moss then sinks in cold above Manchester.
Here in my village on the shores of Loch Long the melancholy cry of a lone oystercatcher, the deepening cold, and the 'Card Full' symbol on my camera had me hurrying gratefully home.
I just love that phrase from Chris Baty (see yesterday's link_.)
I am encouraged in my endeavours by Barry who sent me this card once.
It says Reach For The Stars and inside he wrote
'A woman's reach should exceed her grasp'. Keep reaching. (he underlined Keep reaching)
How could I not keep trying, however imperfectly?
(I can do the imperfect, but the exuberance eludes me at present. Does anyone know how you get it back?)
This is your month perhaps?
February and I have a history! (See Februaries on sidebar)
From being my least favourite month, to becoming my most favourite month, to a bittersweet mix of a month I am finding it hard to ride the emotional rollercoaster effect this year, so plan to keep things simple with short snippets of this and that from Februaries past.
In January 2011 I decided to make Februaries less miserable with a rather crazy idea. I had great fun with it, finding nice places to write and finding tips from writers to help me along. I am about to take the advice of this one and get out my novel and remind myself where I am at with it.
First step? Get the vacuum cleaner out and get rid of the layer of dust on the briefcase!
Do you have a month that is best for you, or hard for you?
I do particularly like the month of May..
On February first, a grey dreich day (there is no English equivalent for that Scottish word), I was about to settle down by the fire with a book when the sky brightened and I thought there must be a good photograph out there somewhere...
Here it is.
Not brilliant, but it got me up and out of the door. One of the things I love about sharing on the blog is that it does just that - makes me look beyond the end of my nose for things worth sharing. Something beautiful/simple/funny/interesting/moving - it reminds me that there are good things in my life every single day and makes me grateful and happier.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)