One of the delights of this experience was the reaction of little children to the music and moving images.
Have any of you seen it yet?
Thank you for all the kind birthday wishes, and Liz, I hope you had as lovely a time as I did!
Thinking about why I enjoyed my shopping spree so very much on Tuesday, I realise that it was fun because it wasn't online. And MaryB hit the nail on the head describing it as spontaneous. (It was. We only stopped for a coffee.) We had a good coffee in attractive surroundings - duck pond, beautiful furniture in a big light space with high celings and interesting rafters. It was quiet and of course would not always be so peaceful. Then the full sensory experience of the shop - touching, lifting, smelling, judging the quality, feeling the weight. I was seduced by the delicacy and subtle colours of the ostrich feathers, impressed by the craftmanship of the brushes, enticed by the thickness of the socks, the memory of the pudding...
The jug below was a £5 purchase from the supermarket and came with miniature iris bulbs. Pretty.
When did you last have a spontaneous shopping spree?
Yesterday I had reason to go to Liverpool (of more anon) and on the way back we stopped at Tebay service station in Cunbria - surely the nicest service station in the country! I bought an ostrich feather duster, two gorgeous pairs of cosy socks, a beard brush shaped like a moustache for my son-in-law, Cartmel sticky toffee puddings and a bag of fudge. I haven't had a splurge like that for ages. The big farm shop is full of lovely things. Great fun!
It was delightful to arrive in the gallery on Saturday and find ten or so young children spread around the floor doing their own snow pictures!
We had a lovely chat, and they were clearly enjoying the exhibition and having fun.
Today I met Sheena whose comments on the blog I have enjoyed for years! It was so good to put a lovely friendly face to the name (we had to remove our masks momentarily - who'd have thought it?) I am so glad she and her friend Lesley got a fine sunny day for their trip to Dunoon.
Yet more fun with my friend Lynne Cameron, a onetime student of my Drawing For Non Artists course at the University of York, now a full time painter. See her vibrant work here.
It's wonderful to be meeting up with people face to face again.
Details of the exhibition here.
My painting clothes are even worse than my gardening clothes! Though you do get away with a lot as an artist. People expect you to look a little bit, shall we say, eccentric? Which can be quite fun.
I lost my shoelaces somehow, and thought I should have my shoes firmly attached to my feet for that little boat ride, and a friend had kindly brought me a lovely box of amaretti biscuits tied up with beautiful yellow string...
It's affogato Sunday again!
What will I wear?
I make no apology for looking for fun and joy and delight and happiness here on the blog.
It keeps me sane, and what use would I be in the world dejected and overcome by its tragedies? In it's miniscule way, it counteracts the angst, fear and aggression out there in the shouty world.
Do check out Rosemary's super list in yesterday's comments and Grace's recommendation in the comments the day before.
Thank you for all the wonderful ideas which just keep coming in your comments. They cheer me on in these hard times, and are evidence, if evidence is needed, that goodness and kindness and love and beauty are still all around us.
I did a little happy dance when I saw the friendly bus go past my house yesterday for the first time since I came home from Venice.
There has been a service, much reduced and not coming as far as my house. It means such a lot to me (my eye condition means I can no longer drive). It's my independence and my link to the rest of the world and the sight of it was a symbol of the return to normal, to being able to go places!
(Recycling bins of course.)
I did appreciate all your suggestions, but after reading a story about someone who hoarded old shoes, I went through the house binning all the things which once sparked joy but were now sparking regret/anxiety/guilt/sadness/nostaliiia/uncertainty and indecision.
Out went the shoes the boots the sandshoes and the slippers. The dying plant. the old breadboard which goes black when I cut fruit on it, the dusty wreath, an old bag with an inkstain on it, the packaging from the new juicer (the old one blew up!), another pair of shoes which I never really liked, some old tired underwear (is there anything sadder than old tired underwear?) and everything in the fridge past its sell by date!!
Something else which feels really good is spending some fun time with Mary from Washinton DC - long time commentator on this blog. Mary blew into uk on storm Brendan and if the next storm allows and the ferries are still running we meet tomorrow for a Scottish cities trip!
Meantime here is my own little bit of cherry blossom. Prunus subhirtella 'autumnalis'. Photographed mid-December and hanging on through the recent gale force winds.
..to make the most of my winter.
Keep garedening. Pruning, tdying, weeding, raking, pottering - not leaving it all till spring.
Keep moving. The gardening eill help. It's all too easy for me to hibernate and barely move!
Travel (big plans afoot!)
Think up a really good word for 2020.
I'm taking a blog break and leaving you with some recent magical Autumn moments. We have had some lovely days....I hope you have too!
When did you last have a fun day out?
I mean a whole day with nothing else to do but enjoy yourself...
We started with coffee on the roof terrace of Harvey Nicols in Edinburgh for the view overlooking St Andrew's Square.
On the way back down through the store we fantasised about glamorous gowns
..and crazy shoes!
We visited three galleries - The Scottish Gallery, Open Eye and the National Portrait Gallery ( where we also had lunch) and took a refreshing late afternoon stroll through the Botanic Gardens.
and finished with an hour's people watching while sipping healthy cocktails!
Where will you go for your fun day out?
I will be back to Edinburgh before The Festival ends... (26 Aug).
If I sit on the edge of the bath with the window ajar I am on a level with the swallows' nest and I've been spending more time than I perhaps should watching the SIX baby birds...I think they may leave the nest tomorrow, and I might get some work done!
I also bought a fun scarf.
It's summer after all.
..at least three books at once! Do you do this?
I'm getting behind with Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life which I said I'd read, and review, one chapter a month, Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before about making and breaking habits has just come through the door and is tempting me away from Michelle Obama's Becoming which I am rushing through for book group which is tomorrow!
I ordered Becoming a bit late (do you find that if you don't pay for Amazon Prime deiiveries take a lot longer than they used to?) so to get a start on the content I started listening to interviews with her about her autobiography.
In this interview (25 mins 36 seconds in) with Oprah they both get very giggly about some major experiences they have had which they found themselves reacting to with an inner Mm,mm,mm! I found it pretty funny and quite endearing and began to think of some things which have happened to me to which I can only respond Mm,mm,mm!
Can you think of any such moments?
Now promise you won't laugh when you look at this link (okI know you will! I laughed too.).
No, I will not be sitting in the snow half naked any time soon, or anytime ever.
How I came across this I have no idea - things often just find me. Intrigued and super-sceptical I watched a few videos and Ted Talks and eventually thought I'd give the breathing a try. Deep breathing is good for you, right? I felt pretty good after just one round and began to do just one round most mornings. It only took a minute or two and I felt energetic and ready to go after it. This was around the same time I began to finish washing my hair with a cold rinse (which I mentioned a few weeks ago). That perked me up a bit further and seemed innocent enough.
Then one morning after my lovely warm shower I turned it to cold and timidly put my hands and feet under it for a few seconds. It took me about three weeks to stand fully under the cold water and ACTUALLY LIKE IT.
I love it.
I joined the free mini class then unsubscribed easily and wasn't bombarded with unwanted emails. I do it on my own in my own time now. A new habit.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)