Friday 4 June 2021

Well Hello!

 I never intended to be away so long but I don't really think I have been missed over the past five months. I don't blame you, because to be quite honest I don't think I have really missed this blog very much either! I have missed the blogs I used to read and the people I have got to 'know' but without actually writing posts of my own I have drifted out of the habit of reading blogs too. And very gradually, other things seem to have filled my time and I no longer know how I ever found the time to keep this blog going for so long. It feels sad, but I think the time has come to draw a line under Fan my Flame... after all it has been slowly fading away over the past year or so.

I'm sure it has something to do with the crazy year and a half we have just been through, because it has certainly made me reassess what is important and what I really want to be doing. I'm still doing many of the things I have always blogged about... I knit, I read, I walk etc but I no longer feel I need to write about it, because after all I have done it all for so long that writing about it just makes it seem rather repetitive and boring, whereas just doing the things and enjoying them, without the need to report on them suddenly feels more important. Does that make sense? I'm not sure I'm being terribly eloquent but it's definitely time for me to move on and say goodbye.

I'm spending more time painting

I'm still teaching art and embroidery but almost exclusively online now. It suits me better and seems to suit more of my students too, allowing me to reach a wider audience. I'm spending far more time painting, which I love as well as seeing more of our grandchildren (as and when we are allowed)... there is a fifth one due to arrive in the next few weeks. I'm walking more (definitely a result of our various lockdowns) and as of last week I think I am going to be outside more than ever as I have just taken on an allotment. As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done, but I have made a start and hope to make some progress this coming weekend. 

My allotment! A work in progress

Time with youngest granddaughter

The podcast I started with Izzy Moore last November is still going strong and we seem to have gathered quite a following. We are still enjoying our fortnightly chats too which is the important thing. Two years ago I would never imagined doing such a thing!

So as I said, much is the same... but different too! I'm sure I will miss this occasionally but I can still be found regularly on Instagram or on Facebook. And I am still writing a blog but with a more art/professional basis... you can find that on my website should you be interested. And you can always sign up for my newsletter (just click the link  on the sidebar)I hope to see you some of these other places but for now... I'm going, going... gone! 

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Just Another Lockdown Day

Gosh, it's been a while (again!)

I almost didn't come back, I wasn't really sure I had anything to write about... I'm still not sure I have anything much to write about to be honest. I think that maybe this has something to do with our current situation and the fact that the days seem to blend into each other with very little variety, so I feel there's nothing new to say.

We are back in lockdown in the UK and are only supposed to leave the house for essential shopping or exercise within our own neighbourhood. I'm not bored, in fact, if anything the opposite is true in that I have so much to keep me occupied I sometimes wonder how I get it all done. But maybe it's the same repetitive nature of the days and the lack of spontaneity that I'm struggling with at the moment? I have no desire to jet off to somewhere exotic, or indulge in any particularly exciting adventure, but it would be so good just to meet a friend for a coffee occasionally, or get on a train and go and see an exhibition. Maybe go for a long walk and finish up with a pub lunch, or visit family members and have cuddles with the grandchildren. Just those small things that bring variety to our lives. Of course I know that I'm not alone in feeling this way and in fact I have much to be appreciative and grateful for so I'm not complaining, merely pondering why I feel so restless and why there seems to be nothing new. 

As a lifetime early riser, it has come as a bit of a shock that suddenly an extra half hour in bed seems preferable to getting up but there doesn't seem to be much rush to get going in the morning lately. When I do haul myself out of bed it's a case of throwing on whatever old clothes I can lay my hands on and getting out with the dog. If I'm lucky it won't be wet, although the mud is pretty horrendous at the moment. With my track record I'm convinced I'm going to end up flat on my back one of these mornings. It's probably my favourite part of the day though,  time on my own to contemplate the day ahead... or if I'm completely honest contemplating the prospect of breakfast and a cuppa on my return home. Meals seem to be a welcome punctuation to the day and something I really look forward to at the moment! Although in truth they are pretty repetitive too. In my attempt to make shopping as quick and painless as possible we are stitcking to old favourites week in, week out.

There has been the launch of another online course, one that I am running over the next six months so it requires much filming, editing, note writing and sample making, which frankly has turned into a full time job. Fortunately it is a full time job that I am really enjoying, especially as it's all about taking inspiration from the work of some of my favourite artists. The filming I try to get done in the morning out in my studio... but it's bloody freezing out there even with a heater. So afternoons are spent inside, wrapped up in lots of layers until I start to feel warm again, but at least I can get the editing done whilst wrapped in blankets on the sofa.

Work inspired by Matisse

Once every couple of weeks Izzy and I record the podcast and already we are up to episode 5 which will be released this Thursday. (I talk about the blogging among other things)  I look forward to our hour chatting and catching up. We both rather like the way it makes us accountable to each other. In the weeks in between I write a newsletter to go out to my subscribers. I should be doing that now rather than writing a blogpost! 

Some days there are extra walks when I might meet a friend or occasionally join Stewart for the afternoon dog walk. There's not a huge variety as to where we can walk at the moment (the mud being a limiting factor) but it's still good to get out. And then in the evenings I might read. I seem to be getting through a lot of books and I'm already on my fifth novel this year, which I'm sure must be something of a record. I'm currently reading The Snow and the Works on the Northern Line by Ruth Thomas ,which is fabulous. It has been serialised on the radio but after listening to just the first episode I knew I wanted to read it. I have also enjoyed I am, I am, I am by Maggie O'Farrell, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, a couple of Ian Rankin Rebus novels and an Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway story. Next on my reading pile is The Confession by Jessie Burton 

On the rare occasion there is something worth watching on TV (I'm loving the behind the scenes look at the V & A in The Secrets of the Museum and have only just discovered the programmes about the  Sky Portrait artist and Landscape artist of the year , but I digress) then I'm getting some knitting done too. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I have four projects on the go at the moment and all for me! I have one sock finished but need to cast on the second, I'm half way up the first mitten of a pair, I have almost finished a shawl but I'm desperately trying to finish this cardigan below which is The Bees Knees by Thea Coleman in a gorgeous hand dyed Cheviot marsh Aran from Whistlebare.  I obviously need some more good TV recommendations to get these projects finished.

So as you can see, I don't have any reason to complain or feel restless as life is as full and as busy as ever... but sometimes it would be rather lovely to be spontaneous and do something a little bit different, just once in a while. And at least then I could write a blogpost about it! How are you coping with these Lockdown days? Do leave me a comment and tell me so I know I'm not alone.