The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sailing to the Scillys

I haven't had the urge to blog about creative stuff here, and am comfortable about that, but we have just had a fantastic (for us) sailing trip to the Isles of Scilly, and I wanted to share it here, mainly for Rob and Cally who we bought the boat from, as I'm sure they will love to see that we are finally doing some fun stuff with her.

It has been on of Vince's dreams to sail to the Scilly Isles, and particularly to be there on his 60th birthday, as he had a birthday party there on his 50th. We missed it by one day, but we decided it was officially his birthday 'week' and so he spent that on the islands.

I made him a cake with a map of the Scillys on it as an aid to navigation. I even put the little boat in the right place, which was complete luck as I had no idea where we would be approaching from!

We were very fortunate that a couple of friends of ours, Paul and Sam, were happy to come along for the ride and help crewing. Paul just happens to be a sailing instructor and has done many yacht deliveries, we couldn't have done it without him!

We had Vince's birthday meal on the boat on Tuesday evening and set off early on Wednesday morning. There wasn't a lot of wind, so we motored with a bit of sailing down to St Mawes, where we picked up a bouy and were treated to a lovely sunset and a visit from a huge jellyfish in the morning.

Setting off again in the early morning and with force3/4 predicted we saw very little wind all the way, but just had enough of a breeze to help us along from time to time. Motoring in a sailing boat is a bit tiresome and slow, but the sun shone and the water was mostly like a millpond so there was no seasickness and several sightings of porpoises, sunfish fins (a new one for me) dolphins and diving gannets. We arrived at the Scillys in the last of the daylight, and were treated to another glorious sun set.

We then had three days of glorious sunshine and the four of us split up to visit various islands and friends during the days.
Hope in St Marys harbour

Agapanthus in full bloom everywhere

Morning mist on St Martins

Such lovely clear water, I did go in twice
tho it was fairly cold!

We set off to catch the tides at silly o'clock on Monday morning (1 a.m.) and had a fabulous (if slightly rough for some of us) sail back all the way to Plymouth.
This was when it had calmed down

 Leaving the Scillys and arriving at Plymouth in the dark was very challenging as Vince and I have done very little night sailing, and it was slightly frightening how different the familiar surroundings of Plymouth sound look at night. We were very glad to have Pauls experience to guide us.
 I really felt safe on our lovely boat in the crashing waves, and also very at home down below in the wood lined cosy interior. After several summers of mostly being cold and wet and not really knowing what I'm doing I finally feel I can imagine a life as a boat gipsy one day.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Goodbye to blogger for a while

I've finally decided to say goodbye to blogger for now. I've read blogs that end suddenly with a final entry years ago and no explanation, and I find that a bit creepy, so this is an explanation of why I'm not posting here at least for a while.
I just haven't had the urge to blog recently. I am doing more and more teaching which I'm really enjoying, also lots of music and morris dancing and creative stuff. I spend my online time answering emails, trying to get my website more together and I have a facebook page where I post images of booky stuff that I do

I may come back here one day, but for now it's goodbye to those of you I've never met, and I look forward to seeing you in person to those who read this and who I see in real life.

Finally a few pictures from the last few months
just to show I've been having a lovely time...
Workshop with my local embroidery group

A dragon skin book!

Binding a commission for a friend

Pollen laden bumble bee

Sorting my button collection

A medieval-inspired book

Coptic binding
Knitted cafetiere cosy for a friend
(vince playing guitar in background)
That's all for now, have lots of fun x

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Creative future

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, I'm sorry I'm so rubbish at replying but I do love it when people make the effort to comment.
I'm no good at those "whatever every day" things …and my retreat was disappointing,
so …… moving on!
I started this post back before Christmas, here's the updated version ..

I ran some informal 'workshops' at home for friends in the autumn. I started with little books and paste papers. I have taught both of these before and chose them because I wanted to break myself in gently.  I had two main aims when I organised these, one was to try out a space to meet up regularly with others who want to dabble in creative things, the other is a place for me to try out new workshop ideas. I love teaching the bookbinding, and I'd like to expand the range of workshops I provide and try to reach a wider audience. I thought they went well, and I then did a few more before Christmas and invited a few more people. This year I have launched a whole load more, doing two hour workshops on the first, second and third Mondays in January, February and March. I'm stretching myself by teaching stuff I haven't taught before, which is scary but really wonderful when it works well and people enjoy themselves. So far I've had between 2 and 5 people turn up each time and it's been so satisfying. I am now charging £5 for the sessions, which means I'm not making a huge profit what with all the preparation, but as I said, I'm hoping this will be a good investment for future workshops. I haven't been blogging or even taking photos, I've just been enjoying life each day as it comes.

I cut down on gardening work so much in the autumn that I pretty well run out of money. It's a bit of a shock as I've been so busy busy for the last few years that money has just flowed in and out and I haven't really thought about it. I am making a big effort to put energy into my creative stuff and I'm very passionate about developing my teaching because I enjoy it, I believe I'm good at it, and I have a desire to help others to bring creativity into their lives.

But, it's not easy. I regularly lose my confidence about whether I can actually earn enough money to survive. I think I have inherited from my family a common belief in our culture that art is something that one does as a hobby, and isn't a proper job. So my inner critic regularly rises to the surface. There is also a rational side to this, because if everyone wanted to be able to swan about being creative there wouldn't be food to eat, houses to live in or fuel to keep us warm (etc) However, although I feel I've 'worked hard' all my life, all I've done is weed peoples flower gardens so I suppose I have, effectively, earned my money doing something creative and enriching peoples lives!

I would also like to acknowledge that one of the reasons I can afford the luxury of spending time playing with creative things right now and trying to develop workshops is that I have a wonderful husband who works jolly hard and pays all the household bills. This is a bit of a novelty for me because from leaving school to the age of 45 I always supported myself or paid half the bills, and sometimes more than half the bills. Much as I appreciate this current luxury I also feel guilty because it is important to me that Vince is also able to enjoy being creative. When he does have time to relax he enjoys playing the guitar, played lots of cricket last summer and has even written some lovely poetry. I also make sure that he comes home every day to a meal, a warm (if untidy!) home and, most importantly he comes home to a happy wife. Ok, so I don't always manage the happy bit, sometimes I'm a bit grumpy or sad, but I always make a point of telling him how much I love him, even if I am feeling grumpy! And I am also very grateful for the fact that he is incredibly supportive of all my creative adventures.

I haven't given up the gardening, it is still my bread and butter money. I went out today weeding, pruning and clearing some brambles, loved it.

Gosh, that was a rambly post, and no photos at all, I think that's a first!

Feels good to be back, now where is that camera?….