..snowdrops usually appear beside this bridge, photographed earlier this month. I hope to go and look tomorrow but the forecast is for sleet and snow so....maybe I'll stay by the fire as I seem to have been doing for most of January apart from a weekly journey to the city. Feeling very lazy but enjoying it, and giving myself perhaps 6 out of 10 for my health and fitness efforts :-(
What mark would you give yourself?
There's a poster that says
That made me laugh out loud, and it also reminded me of a Calman cartoon - A woman is holding a placard which says Free Women Now! and a little man is standing in front of her meekly asking Can I have one?
What makes you laugh?
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don't hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway that's often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don't be aftaid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Isn't that a wonderful expression? Used by filmaker Margaret Tait (borrowed from Lorca). It was this expression and her own phrase stalking the image that led me in to take a look at the exhibition in GoMA today, but what I most enjoyed was experiencing the space blacked out - almost the only light coming from the screens on which two films were being projected. It is a beautiful, classically proprtioned space and I just loved being in it. I don't know if you can get something of the feeling from my photographs....
..the only reality. I have to remind myself of this when I start thinking, as I did yesterday, What does it matter what colour my kitchen is when the world is going to hell in a handcart?
I like to think I am politically aware and reasonably well informed, but my job is also to stay sane and I don't need an hourly, or even daily, update on shutdowns and exits. I need a part of my life where I have some control and that is in my own head, and in my own home, where I can create a clear, efficient, healthy and beautiful functioning environment as an antidote to all the madness, if only to prove that I can run my life and home better than some governments can run their countries!
From a calm functioning place I can better decide how to manage the input from the outer world. I can decide how to vote when the opportunity arises, whether to get more involved and campaign for what I believe in, or I can decide how I might support victims of the political fallout....
The way I see it someone's got to stay sane, and it might as well be me. :-)
Enjoy this thoughtful article by Hans Rosling if you have not read it already. I especially like what he says about understanding as a source of mental peace. Perhaps finding mental peace needn't mean disengaging from the outer world (tempting) but listening intelligently, and learning.
And adding some joyful colour to my kitchen.
A free makeover for your kitchen?
Next time you bring your shopping home put everything that is green out on display and everything else in the cupboards.
So you have green apples, green veg, green washing up liquid, green carrier bag, and if you can add a green towel or teatowel and a green plant or two and any dishes with green on them you have a new look and a colour co-ordinated kitchen for no cost....and the next time you are shopping for washing up cloths or sponges buy green, and green soap etc etc. Fun and free. If you have a pinboard a few postcards or greeting cards in green, or pictures cut from magazines will add to the gorgeous effect.
You can of course do it with any colour, and in any toom - I do it with red in the kitchen at Christmas) and am about to try it with yellow and grey in the sitting room for spring.
Colour, as Cath noted in yesterday's comments, can really lift your mood.
i'll be moving this little painting from the hall. It's by Christine McArthur and has the delightful title 'Where There's A Fish There's A Lemon.
That grey and yellow thing....A revival of 1950's styles in recent years first brought the grey and yellow combination to my notice, but not being a fan of that period I ignored it for a while. But I began to notice a rather lovely vibration between the two colours, especially if the grey was not a neutral grey - one made of adding white to black - but a grey with some colour in it, in watercolour paint Davy's Grey (yellowish) or Payne's Grey (bluish) and in fabric the colour known as French Grey (also bluish, sometimes purple-ish). With a very clear yellow as in daffodil yellow beside the pale grey kitchen tiles here it really works for me.
I went around the house today and see that I have quite a lot of grey and yellow things so I think I will gather them together and make it a new colour scheme for the sitting room for spring!
Michael Barclay's guest Sigrid Rausing brought a smile to my face and put the current political situation in a different perspective in her introduction to Ella Fitzgerald singing Anything Goes. (This week's edition of my favourite programme Private Passions, around 12 mins 47 in on BBC Radio 3 - though I found the whole one hour programme well worth listening to. Fascinating woman.)
Still very much cosy-by-the-woodburner-listening-to-the-wind here.
And there seems to be a grey and yellow theme appearing through the house...
We stopped in amazement that there was a whole bed of roses in flower in the street outside the University and as my friend touched this one in disbelief - it literally fell off into her hand (much to her embarassment!).
The menu is as old fashioned as the decor. I have to go back to this cafe to try their ice cream one day...
I am happy to adopt Jordan Peterson's Rule One Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back (See yesterday's post)
I do indeed feel stronger and happier when I do (I pretend I am the lovely Darcey Bussell), and also find people respond more positively towards me when I do. More serotonin apparently! And a great deal to do with hierarchies in all species including humans, status and society, territory, conflict and dominance and the brutal principle of unequal distribution...there is a lot in Chapter One.
(Rule Two is Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping - will read this chapter in February.)
I heard Scottish Opera emerging artists in a concert at the Unversity of Glasgow today - wonderful, and I also loved the transformation of what I usually find to be a gloomy part of the building...
Food for thought aplenty In Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules For Life!
Have you come across him yet?
I am reading one chapter a month this year (not a light read) and the first rule Stand Up Straight With Your Shoulders Back reminds me very much of this.
More - lots and lots more - here.
Meanwhile new leaves sprout on the honeysuckle all along the fence. Nice.
I've just watched a programme called The Truth About Getting Fit in which Dr Michael Mosley describes how to get maximum results with minimum effort.
Along with your encouraging words just what I needed to know! (BBC4 iPlayer and parts can be seen on YouTube.)
Apart from going out to fetch wood I've been lucky enough to have a cosy day reading by the fire. It's been blowing a gale all day and the noise of the north westerly wind coming down the glen is still very loud although it was forecast to subside by now. I have however done a little bit of (effective) exercise.
Must exercise more, walk more, drink more water.... am finding it very hard to put it into action for more than the odd half day or day,
How do you motivate yourself at this time of year?
I struggle with it every time! I looked over my own Simply Fitter posts and see from this one that this will never be my strong point! And yet, though the changes I have made are minimal and have taken years to become habits I am fitter than I used to be. Just acknowledging this to myself actually motivates me.
..we had a family meal and took down the tree and decorations and as I always do, I observed how badly this room needs decorated (never do it though! Maybe this year...).
I'll still have candles - but with fresh fruit rather than tinsel.
Have you cleared away Christmas?
My word for 2019.
I'm still trying to work out what I mean by it!
I know what I don't mean. For me it has nothing to do with wizards, fantasy and fairytales, legends and mythology. No casting of spells. No crystals. It's not even about magic.
It's more about wonder.
Wonder at real things in nature, like snow falling down, or a meadow of wild flowers, or just the way a shaft of sunlight strikes the water. Or at a live performance of dance or music by real people that is so good you are transported, or amazement at the skill of an artist or filmaker so dedicated and patient, the infectious giggles of two tiny children being a little cheeky and testing their harassed father's patience on the ferry.....it is everywhere if I am open to it.
Even today in Glasgow - a really dirty grey day, crowds of busy shoppers returning Christmas presents that were wrong, that slightly aggressive atmosphere around serious bargain seekers, traffic fumes and noise as I waited at the bus stop in the gathering gloom when the fumes seemed smellier and the lights seemed harsher and I was getting tired of waiting. But much amplified above the hubbub floated the voice of a young street musician singing Hallelujah and it was suddenly beautiful - all of it. That someone would even do such a thing. That human beings sing in streets. A new atmosphere was created in that moment. Enchantment can send a delightful shiver up your spine!
Do you remember this?
I am going to love this word.
How fast a year can fly by!
I am filled with gratitude for my wonderful year and have really enjoyed looking back over it here in the blog.
As ever I resisted the approach of winter, breakfasting outside in October as often as I could but gradually accepting the pleasures of candles and wintry food. Quiet atarts to my day have become a regular thing and unless I have to be elsewhere, mornings are for study.
November found me still clearing (this was the year!) and savouring home rime.
My favourite post in December was undoubtedly the one in which so many of you from all around the world said Hello. I was so touched by that and it was great fun!
If you would like to share your guiding word(s) for 2019 that would also be fun - we already have why not from Mike, and joie de vivre from Cath, simplify from Damsonlily, and content is Cathy's choice..while Julia is considering what is enough.
(I forgot to create the link for June on yesterday's post. Sorry - I have done it now!)
A beautiful summer and no midgies! The weather was amazing for a Midsummer Beach Party but unfortunately not on Garden Open Days!
In June, I considered some of the ways I've simplified daily life, cut costs and reduced my impact on the environment (especially the waters of the loch) by just a little.
July was a very intense month - clearing out my studio became a review of my career as a painter and I wrote about dealing with my eye condition too, but towards the end of the month I had a particularly idyllic visit to Yorkshire.
I enjoyed the fruits of my labours in the garden in August and another idyll - this time with an eight year old. Pure joy.
The clearing of things continued in September - but I also acknowledged the importance of things and more than ever appreciated those that sparked joy!
All in all it was a rich and intense period for me, the summer of 2018.
Have you chosen a word for this year yet?
I think I've found mine...
of a very real kind.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! (That was a Brandy Alexander Julia.) Now for a super-healthy January though I am still reviewing my year....
It seems I covered all my themes in March 2018 - music, art fashion, food, gardening, self-care, death cleaning and funerals (not that I would call funerals a 'theme' but there are two posts about them!) but under this post called Simply Celebratiing in Breaking News at the end was something that gave me great hope for my sight. (Which remains stable I am very happy to say.)
Forget Aptil in Paris. April in Venice was the highlight of my year, and the highlight of the trip was a visit to La Fenice to see Madame Butterfly. It thrills me still to think of it.
My garden is a lot of work but looking through May's posts I am reminded how much joy and fun it can be - see here - it's good to be reminded as I look out at the soggy mess it is at the moment!.
I am still considering my word for 2019/ Susannah Conway's good advice is to choose one which feels like a delicious gift to yourself....
..and death. In February 2018 I was considering Life's Bigger Questions.
I'm also considering my word for 2019 with the help of Susannah Conway's free five day course. My word for 2018 was Gently and it served me well on many occasions.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)