Through a different lens.

Hello again.

Sometime last week when I made my way into the Hidey-Hole, I found that I just didn’t have the urge to do anything particularly arty. I know this is entirely normal and nothing to fret about, but I wondered if there was anything I felt like doing that might be even vaguely art-related.

And suddenly I had the answer – I decided to take a photo of every piece of work in my stash.

Photographing the Stash

The stash is in fact two A3 sized cardboard boxes from Amazon and two A3 sketchbooks, which are where I put the artwork that I deem finished – either because I’ve reached a point that I’m happy with, or at least I don’t feel like taking it any further, or because I have reached the stage of really not liking something and I want to move on with a fresh start.

The stash has been steadily growing over the last two years and in all that time, I’ve almost never been back to look inside and see what I’d been creating. Which to be honest has always been my way of going about things.

It was/is the same with the textile art pieces that I make. The enjoyment is all in the doing, in the stitching, so once it’s completed, I lose interest and just want to move on to the next piece as fast as possible. Off the completed work goes to the stash, totally forgotten.

Anyway, I followed through and duly took each piece from the stash, put it on the kitchen table, and took a picture.

Well, what an eye-opener!

I rather think I could write a book about the revelations that came up while doing it – although you’ll be relieved to know that I’m not going to bore you silly about it all now – but I thought I’d mention a couple of things that really surprised me.

The first thing, is just how different a picture can look in the photo compared with how I think it looks in real life – I’m not talking about the quality of the reproduction or colours, no, what I mean is that in many of the pictures I can see (or not see) aspects of composition, contrast, colour use, focal points and things like that, which aren’t anything like so clear in the flesh.

I’ve heard some other artists say that they take photos of their work whilst working, but this is the first time I’ve really begun to understand why that might be helpful.

One thing that I noticed particularly was that I don’t really achieve enough contrast (for my liking) – and that’s something I hadn’t realised before.

The other thing that really struck me was that in fact there does seem to be an element of style and subject beginning to show itself, despite my concerns that everything is simply random. It may not translate to other viewers, but I begin to see some themes in process, colour and subject that I found oddly reassuring.

As I went through each piece, I tried to decide if they were finished, or whether they might be reusable in some other way. I knew there were several pieces that I had stopped working on without feeling that I’d resolved them. I’ve put those selections into another box, so perhaps the next time I lose the urge to carry on with the current piece, I might dip into the box and see if anything sparks my interest.

It took a couple of hours to take the pictures and I didn’t go back to look at them straight away, but I’m so glad to have taken time to do this. I’ve just been going through some of them again to show you a few, and while doing it I made other discoveries that I’m sure will help me – and who knows, that might carry on.

Somehow the detachment of time and looking at a photo instead of the real thing allows an opportunity to be your own constructive critic. And it certainly helps that when you go back over a lot of work, you begin to see patterns that aren’t otherwise obvious.

(I’ve littered this post with a tiny selection from the photographed stash – it seems that I paint trees far more often than I thought…).

In other news…

I had a lovely afternoon in Worcester on Sunday. A flying trip with the daughters. The river and the cathedral were looking gorgeous. How exciting to see everything beginning to unfurl for spring – hooray!

Until next time.

Anny x

Garden aspirations

Hello again.

It’s that time of year when all sorts of things that have been lying dormant in the garden suddenly start to reappear.

Of course, the main things that reappear in my garden are the bindweed, ground elder, creeping buttercup and green alkanet, but hay-ho, some things are sent to try us.

On the plus side, although I am a very average and intermittently enthusiastic gardener, we do have some extremely talented squirrel gardeners who over the years have managed to plant – in lovely and appropriate locations – an ornamental cherry tree, several horse chestnut trees, a hazel, a most attractive hellebore and a handful of hyacinths.

I like to imagine that it’s their way of thanking me for providing them with so much free food via the birdfeeders – or perhaps they just enjoy the challenge.

Last year, we did manage to make quite a good show with a selection of plants chosen with much care entirely on the basis of having strong slug repellent properties (did I mention that we have slugs here – hoards of them?).

I’ve been poking about in the border, but I’m not sure how many have survived the winter – to be honest, I actually can’t remember where and what I planted. So, it will be exciting to see what comes up.

We have had a couple of early trips to the garden centre to indulge in our fantasies of herbaceous borders and cottage gardens. It’s wonderfully inspiring, but I’m conscious that there’s quite a gulf between my expectations and the reality in our small north-facing plot.

I suspect that my gardening aspirations are deeply coloured by the numerous visits over the years to proper gardens, especially the ones attached to stately homes. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I imagine myself another Miss Jekyll, commanding drifts of white flowers to magically appear and last all through the summer. Ah well.

Since discovering the joys of collage, I’ve been trying out a variety of ideas for pictures. Am I alone in finding that the art techniques and indeed subjects covered, that are most appealing to me as a viewer are rarely those that I seem able to actually create?

For instance, I love to see work in subtle, earthy tones. Moody, ethereal landscapes are often what I enjoy by other artists. But when I try to do something similar, it just doesn’t work. Or perhaps I should say it hasn’t worked yet, who knows what might happen at some time or other.

But for now, when I make art in whatever medium, it seems that I have to use colour. Almost all my stitched art features strong colour, bold yellows, purples, reds and greens. It seems so far at least to be the same with collage – bright colour rules.

I wonder to myself about this. Somewhere inside, I seem to feel that neutral shades, earth tones and textures are – how can I express – more sophisticated?

If pressed, I’d say this is a throw-back to school days when we were told that serious artists use neutral palettes, bright colour is what children play with.

Well, just lately, I’ve realised albeit with a slow dawning, that there’s nothing wrong with bright colours, in fact using colour is a really good way to bring joy into art. I know it’s not for everyone, that’s the way of art, nothing will appeal to everyone and nor should it. But there is a place for bright, colourful artwork in the world and if it so happens that it’s the kind of art I seem to produce, then that’s fine.

And then I thought, well, maybe, as I enjoy looking at gardens probably more than actually making my own, why not try to paint/collage some pictures of gardens. I spent a happy hour or so trawling through old photos that I’ve taken at various stately homes and gardens. Here are just a small selection. They’re my starting point. I’ll see where they take me.

Ascott House
Cawdor Castle
Baddesley Clinton
Chastleton House
Packwood House

I’d like to thank all the people who work in the gardens at these places. I hope they know that the gardens are just as important as the historic houses for many visitors.

Until next time – all best wishes

Anny x

An early Bath…

Hello again.

Spring is in the air – can you feel it? I’m so ready for the turn of the wheel this time. 

A day out in Bath

A couple of weeks ago, I headed off for a day trip to Bath – my first visit there in over two years.

It was wonderful and really did perk me up no end. I was delighted to find that the stall in the covered market ‘Not Cartier’ was still there. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of sparkly bling which speaks directly to the magpie in me. It’s also the best place I know to find interesting broaches. I decided a while ago that I would wage a one-woman campaign to resurrect the wearing of broaches, and so you won’t be surprised to hear that I brought a couple home with me.

I was also incredibly lucky to find that my favourite posh hippy shop had a sale and so having tried on more clothes than I have for years, I also brought a new frock and a tunic top back with me. I live with this vision of becoming someone who usually wears dresses and woollens in a cool and chic way. But somehow when I get up each morning, I seem to reach for the jeans and fleece and stay in them until bedtime. Oh well, who knows, maybe this time…

Anyway, Bath was just what I needed. I didn’t take many photos because it was extremely cold and I didn’t hang about between shops/cafes etc, but I did take this photo of a nonchalant gull. There’s a bit of an issue with gulls in Bath and there are signs all over the place asking people not to feed them. This chap was sitting about four feet from just such a sign – you could see the contempt in his eyes.

Hidey-Hole stuff

Back in the Hidey-Hole and it’s been more collage fun.

I wish I could convey the pure happiness that I feel while I’m cutting and gluing. But it’s even better really, because this process of creating papers, painting backgrounds, sticking paper down, painting again, stitching again – repeat until finished – manages to let me incorporate so many of the techniques I’ve been experimenting with over recent months and gives me a way to bring everything together.

Collage also has the distinct advantage that it seems to have enforced periods of waiting – mostly for glue or paint to dry – which are absolutely perfect for feeding the washing machine or putting the vacuum round. I do enjoy being in the hidey-hole, but the fact that I can have all this fun whilst still keeping most of the other plates spinning seems especially fortunate.

And then there’s the needlepoint.

Yes, I’m still stitching. It is such a perfect form of meditation – for me at least. 

Last night I finished the most recent piece. I’ve tried to take a couple of photos but you know how tricky the light is here. I’d say that one photo slightly underplays the saturation of the colours, whilst the other goes a little far the other way.

A little underplaying the colours.
A little overplaying.

I’m not going to exhibit any of this textile work, but if anyone would like to have it, perhaps to make it into a cushion cover or to frame – or whatever you can think of, please send me a message. I’m open to offers. Bear in mind that it’s just a piece of hessian/burlap approximately 12” square, stitched in a variety of threads – silk, wool, linen. I’ve had my enjoyment in the making, so if it could have another life with someone else, that would be wonderful. 

And so there we are for now. I hope that you’re having fun in whatever way gives you happiness. Until next time,

Anny x

The Secret is Process

Hello again.

This is a fairly long post – but I hope you’ll read it…x

I thought that today I’d talk a little about something that’s sparked a creative leap for me. 

And it’s really so simple, I can’t think how I forgot about it (because I suspect I did already know it, and you do too, I’m pretty sure).

So what’s the revelation? Just this, don’t worry about the end product, concentrate on the process.

I’ve just learnt this lesson the hard-ish way. So I thought I’d write about it here in case it helps anyone who’s in the same predicament, and also so that if/when I forget it again, I can pop back and give myself a poke in the proverbial.

So, a little background.

My art journey really took off when the needlepoint artwork I’d been creating just for the fun of it, came to the attention of some extremely lovely people who encouraged me to make it available for sale.

I was delighted to find that there were indeed people out there who liked it enough to want to own it themselves. This was a massive boost to my self-confidence and I started to think of myself as an artist, rather than just a woman who stitched quite a lot.

This lovely cycle went on and on for a few years. It felt great. I wrote about stitching, I met other artists, I sold some work.

Ah, but you know there’s going to be a but don’t you…

Yep, you’re right.

Creativity, as with so many other things in life, comes in cycles. And just as I’d enjoyed the ride for some time, eventually the enjoyment dwindled. Hand on heart, at some stage, just before the pandemic as it happens, I realised that making stitched art had stopped being really enjoyable. It had become a source of discontent. I still liked the feel of stitching – the process of stabbing cloth with a needle and painting in threads – I just stopped creating anything that I thought was good to look at. Which is not really where you want to be if you see yourself as an artist who sells their work.

I decided to embrace the lockdown and have a break.

Although in fact, I did still stitch because the process kept me calm, I just stopped caring what it looked like.

Instead of giving so much time to threads, I picked up my paints for their first outing in many years. It was fun, but I had a mindset that told me as an artist I should be creating good work, and even to my eyes, it was pretty obviously not all that good at all.

So I went back to pastels. I’d loved them when I was a teenager. And yes, I still loved them, and no, I couldn’t exactly promise you I made anything even vaguely decent.

So I tried a whole raft of other media – and then I mixed a whole load of media together. Result? More mud and dissatisfaction. Although, perversely, also a lot of fun and happiness…go figure.

In mild desperation, I decided that I should go back to basics and draw. I drew. Turns out I can draw, not all that bad at drawing. But the results? Just not inspiring – not for me and I very much doubt for anyone else either. Dead end.

Slightly deeper frustration set in. What was the problem? Why couldn’t I bring anything to the point where I felt it was good art, good enough to share with random strangers? 

More thought and more googling. Of course, the answer was that proper artists are inspired by a topic, a place, a thing, landscapes, still-life, abstract, florals, realism, a message they want to share with the world. In short, they know what they want to paint, they know what they want to communicate. They did the work and developed their style – something unique, some eloquent, recognisable means of artistic communication.

Excellent. Now all I had to do was work out what I wanted to paint, communicate, focus upon.

How? Ummm, maybe by painting the things that inspire me, give me joy, fascinate me, intrigue me. Hooray. I should paint castles, ruined abbeys, hill forts, mountain scenery, stained glass windows, stone circles, standing stones, ancient monuments, Norman church architecture, medieval manuscripts…..argh!

Slight problem here. Over the years, I’ve tried to make work inspired by all these things – the things that actually really do excite and intrigue me – and nothing has ever come off that felt even remotely like good art. Oh yes, I can draw a castle, a standing stone, a hillside. No problem there, it’s just not going to leap out and shout at me, let alone anyone else ‘look at me, I’ve got something to say!’ To be honest, it’s just boring.

A much deeper despondency set in. Face it, I’m not an artist. Stop pretending to be. Give up.

And then, fairly randomly, I was given a Gelli printing plate for Christmas.

I’d never used one before – had no idea what to do with it. But once the Christmas festivities were over, I sloped off to my hidey-hole and started to play.

The hidey-hole.

For the first time in years, since the time when I needlepointed purely for the hell of it, I played with materials with absolutely no expectations, no ideas at all of where I wanted to go. I gave myself over to the process of printing unpredictable and unrepeatable sheets of colour.

And inevitably, there comes a time when you see this rapidly growing pile of coloured papers threatening to topple over and spill into the next room and you think, I really should come up with a way to use these.

What I actually decided to do, was to stick them over a piece of mylar I’d previously painted on. I discovered the welcoming arms of collage.

Suddenly, all the other media I’d spent time experimenting with seemed to find a place within this ‘new to me’ process. The mylar I’d fallen in love with for its ability to stay flat whatever you poured over it, makes an excellent base for the collage. The preparatory scribbles to free your hand and mind suddenly provided an interesting textured background, the acrylics dabbed and scored also made a great background. Pastels it turns out are a great way of planning composition. 

In short, all the aspects of using the various media I’d been playing with that I most enjoyed but couldn’t master singly, seemed to offer themselves as parts of a process that felt exactly right for me. It turns out that I was a collage/mixed media person and I never knew until I let myself go.

Now, here’s the thing.

I was so excited by the process, I didn’t give a thought to the end result. I just cut up little pieces of paper and stuck them down over the painted background. I put things wherever they seemed to want to go. If I didn’t like it, I stuck something else over the top. I carried on. No expectations, no focus, just process.

The first couple of pieces took on quite an organic flavour. I’ve never really had much time for pictures of flowers, but somehow that’s what appeared. And do you know? They felt right to me – they express me. I could never have told you that I was inspired by organic shapes and flower colours, but that’s what I seem to produce.

And that’s where I am as we speak. I gave up totally on trying to paint any particular thing and instead embraced a process, with no expectations, just enjoying the feeling of relaxation as I cut and stuck as the muse decided. I have no idea if any of it is good enough art, the daughters are complimentary, but hardly an unbiased audience. It doesn’t matter. This is the first work I’ve made for ages that pleases me, and that it turns out makes all the difference.

I’m not suggesting that this is a process you should try – you’ll have your own. But what I do think is helpful, is to stop thinking about end results and instead get into the flow of your preferred process. 

I have no idea where I’m going with this, and that’s alright. For now, I’ll just keep playing and seeing what happens. Do I still think of myself as an artist? Actually yes. I make art. That’s all there is to it.

Phew, this has been a long post. Thanks for reading.

One more thing before I go. 

Instagram

Just to say that part of my ‘letting go’ was to stop posting on Dreaminginstitches. I just felt that I’d done all I could there. However, after a couple of months, I missed having somewhere to post my occasional photos other than here and I wondered about beginning a new account, which would have no strict focus – exactly as this blog is intended – just random stuff. And so I created a_mingled-yarn over on Instagram. If you use the platform and would like to find me there, that would be lovely, but please, only if you really want to. 

There, this is definitely the end of the post.

Much love

Anny x

January

Hello and a happy New Year to you.

I always hesitate to ask how people’s Christmas was, and this year – or should that be last year’s – was probably even weirder than the one before for a lot of us, so shall we move swiftly on?

It’s a gradual slide into January and the routine around here. Fortunately we’ve had very little of the weather we normally associate with this time of year, but we have had rain – quite significant amounts – you can see that the water meadows next to the canal have been doing their thing…

I have a childish delight in seeing the ducks and geese floating in the fields when the meadows flood.

I don’t seem to have been out much. More because I enjoy a time of winter hibernation even under normal conditions and I didn’t see any reason why it should be different this year. I find a few weeks of snuggling up on the sofa with a duvet and a good old movie on TV – Death on The Nile, the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, any Jane Austen – with fairy lights twinkling in the sitting room and the kitchen and probably with a glass of whisky to keep out the cold, does a lot to help keep my spirits up.

We did venture out on one afternoon to Stowe gardens for some fresh air and exercise.

A rather bleak kind of day, but there’s always something impressive about the place – perhaps it’s how much interest has been shoe-horned into the space. What were those eighteenth century landscape gardeners on! Imagine anyone creating it today.

News from the Hidey-Hole…

Just to be clear, the Hidey-Hole is my nickname for the tiny room in the corner of the house which I can’t bring myself to call a studio. You’d understand if you saw it. It is still partly the downstairs shower room and I have to vacate when the daughters want to use it, but nevertheless I am extremely pleased to have my own dedicated creative space inside the house – warm and cosy, even if it’s a little on the cramped side.

Well, the news is that Father Christmas brought me a gell printing plate.

And I feel a bit like Mr Toad in The Wind In The Willows.

Suffice to say, I am having a lot of fun.

I’ve been creating a stash of printed papers, creating textures and mixing colours, which I’ve just begun to use as collage over a couple of the paintings I’d made that weren’t really going anywhere.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying the whole process. It feels like being back in primary school – although it was called Infant School in my day – and playing with all the art supplies. Being covered in glue and paint and goodness knows what.

I can’t remember ever doing anything like it since, so I’ve watched a zillion YouTube videos to pick up some techniques and ideas, which is just wonderful!

Anyway, who knows, maybe next time I’ll take some photos and you can see what I’ve been up to.

Right, time to cook the dinner.

Stay warm and happy.

Anny x

In and out in December…

the Grand Union canal.

It’s no secret that I tend to find the low-light days of winter something of a challenge, which is why I’m delighted to say that so far this year, I’m managing to stay pretty buoyant. Maybe it’s the generally mild weather we’ve been having or just a determined effort to stay relaxed. Whichever, all I can say is that we’re now really close to the solstice and so far, so good.

Part of my strategy for staying well is to get outdoors as much as I reasonably can. It used to be easier when the Delinquent Dog insisted on a decent daily walk, but the old chap isn’t up to all that these days and we have to content ourselves with short strolls near to the house. I miss getting out into the woods and countryside so much and try hard to get out when I can.

We’re lucky to live a short hop away from the Grand Union canal, which would have been the perfect place to walk the Delinquent Dog, had he not come hardwired with the urge to attack any other furry creature he might meet. Narrow canal paths do not lend themselves to quick avoidance detours – not without getting very wet at any rate.

I’ve taken to having a quick walk along the tow-path every few days without the boy (you can see how glorious the weather was from the picture at the top of this post on a recent stroll). And there have been occasional walks around the Park at Woburn – always a delight.

There have also been proper days out.

First, a trip to Worcester with both daughters. We were there a few days after Storm Arwen which had brought down one of the stone pinacles from the tower of the cathedral, which crashed through the roof below. If you look carefully you might be able to see where the tarpaulin is now covering the hole. The pincacle came from high up on the tower, so all-in-all I’d say it was lucky not to have been a worse outcome.

the damaged roof at Worcester Cathedral

We happened to be in Worcester on the final day of the Christmas Market, so it was fairly busy, but also rather lovely. Twinkly and smelling of mulled wine – quite put me in the festive spirit.

the Guildhall, Worcester at dusk.
excellent message I thought…x

Later that week, I met up with my brother in Worcestershire and we headed off to Hanbury Hall for tea and cakes and a wander around the house. This year they’ve decorated the house in the style of Christmasses of the 1970s and 1980s and oh my goodness! What a good job they’ve made. I haven’t laughed so much for an age.

We spent our afternoon remembering toys, films, tv, pop music and food from our youth. It was magical! Tacky, but totally magical.

It wasn’t just indoors that had been decorated. Every one of these little trees had a glitter ball on top – over 200 of them, how fabulous!

Meanwhile, back indoors, there has been more needlepoint. I’ve given up trying to think about what I’m doing and instead I’ve fully embraced the stitch to relax vibe that I used to have. For now, that feels absolutely the right thing to do. I’ve always thought that stitching was primarily a meditative practice and so it feels again for me.

this is the current piece – rocking orange…x

There’s something snuggly about sitting on the sofa in the evening, listening to the TV and quietly sewing. Well, it works for me.

It’s a funny old time of year and I hope you’re doing alright. Stitching keeps me relaxed and calm, but do whatever works for you. We’re all different.

Anny x

Making Hay while the sun shines.

Well hello again.

How’s it been? We’re still waiting for the November weather to turn cold. It’s confusing, when I look outside, the light tells me it’s winter, so I find my thick fleece, woolly hat and gloves. Then, suitably togged up, I set off to walk the boy and what do you know? Within minutes I’m melting in the heat. I’m not really complaining, it makes a change to get this far into November and not to be scraping the windscreen in the morning, I’m just finding it a bit weird.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we went off to Hay on Wye to stock up on essentials – books, of course. It was our first visit in eighteen months and I was so happy to be back in my spiritual home.

It felt so good to be slowly scanning the shelves for that book you just had to have. In the end, having given it my best go, I came back with three books. One about the Domesday Book – something that I’ve been becoming more interested in over recent months – more of that perhaps another day. Another about the history of the countryside by Oliver Rackham – it was a punt, but I’m really enjoying it so far. And the third is a book about Celtic and ancient places in the United Kingdom  – which I bought mainly because of the absolutely wonderful black and white photographs by Anthony Gascoigne. 

Now, here’s a request. I’ve scoured Mr. Google for any information about Anthony Gascoigne and I can’t find anything, zilch, nada. Does anyone out there know who he is? I’d just love to see more of his work. I chose the book because I’ve visited most of the sites covered, and I know just how challenging it is to take good photos at those locations. I love standing stones, but they are mightily difficult to capture on film/digitally – they have a personality, and it’s really hard to capture that, and yet somehow, he does it. He creates mood. So, chaps, if anyone can tell me more, I’d be really grateful – he’s a pro!

We pushed the boat out on our trip and stayed overnight in Hereford, which meant that we had a day out in Leominster too. I love this town, it’s got just the right mix of old town charm, and a Wetherspoons. What more could you need? Well, actually it’s much better than that too. We went ringing at the Priory and then went back the next day so that the N1D could be shown the Romanesque carvings in the daylight. ( Our poor children, what have we done to them? They’re so psychologically scarred that they’ve both independently bought themselves membership of the National Trust and English Heritage – and they’re only in their early twenties!)

Leominster Priory is a total mishmash, but nonetheless fascinating for that. It shows you the story of English history in stone. I rather like it there.

All the pictures in this post were taken at Leominster Priory in November 2021. The carvings are over 800 years old. Doesn’t that make you tingle with excitement? Oh…x

In other news…

I’ve been slowly stitching in hessian again, but I haven’t taken any photos yet, so maybe that’s for another day too.

Best wishes, keep smiling.

Anny x

Resurrection

Well hello again!

I doubt if there is anyone reading this who was subscribed to Mostly Motley seven years or more ago, but if you are, then all I can say is Wow! Thanks for your patience.

If you do remember me – or indeed if this is your first visit – you probably want to know what I’m intending for this blog going forward.

So, let me explain.

When I first started this blog, I chose the name, because I wanted people to know that it wouldn’t be a single topic blog – it wouldn’t be focussed on one subject, in fact, it would be a mixed bag – whatever took my fancy when I came to write a post.

The received wisdom then – and quite possibly now too – is that if you’re blogging, you should concentrate on specific niches and not be too random. I see the same thing with social media, which soaked up a huge number of bloggers from way back when.

Anyway. I’ve tried to do it both ways. I’ve tried to maintain several blogs, covering a raft of interests. But in the end, I’m just not that sort of person. I’m interested in lots of things and if I don’t include them in one place, I feel that I’m not really being authentically me.

So, if you’re reading this and wondering if it’s worth subscribing to receive new posts – well, the big passions in my life are.

  • exploring Britain’s old places, and
  • making art, sometimes in threads, but lately also in paint.

But I’m also out there with a camera most days, walking in the countryside and photographing the changing seasons. I also read a lot of books, listen to a range of music, walk up mountains, go charity shopping for bargains, go bell-ringing, cook meals, dig the garden, and about a zillion other things.

And I might write or post photos about any of these topics.

A mixed bag – mostly motley.

Of course, I’d really love it if you wanted to come along for the ride. I’d be even happier if you wanted to leave the occasional comment. But the choice is yours and I’m just going to carry on and be me.

That’s it…x

Concentrating…

IMAG3836

It’s lovely to see that people are still coming over to visit Mostly Motley, but having tried various combinations, I’ve now decided to concentrate my blogging over at Dreaming in Stitches for everything that’s not history related and Mists of Time for fellow history junkies out there.

Please do come over and visit either – or both – of these places and see if it’s for you – you’ll be very welcome.

Events & emotions…

IMAG3252_2

I’ve been a bit quieter than normal around here. Nothing dramatic, just too many events and emotions getting in the way.

The weeks before Christmas are not my favourite. A show-reel of ‘the perfect Christmas’ plays on a loop in my head, with an accompanying voice-over insisting that this is the way it should be, and it is entirely up to me to make it so for my family, with goodness knows what consequences if I fail.

Completely daft, I know that – but I have to keep reminding myself, and I’m not always successful.

So forgive me if I’m even quieter for a while.

There are a couple of bloggers who I follow, who are living through the really difficult time of bereavement at the moment and to them I apologise for not leaving a comment with you, but send you my heartfelt thoughts and very best wishes. 

-)O(-

Out of spirits…

We’ve had an anxious few days – Delinquent Dog has been poorly. Our quiet domestic routine has been disrupted and there haven’t been any woodland walks for a couple of days – funny how quickly that puts me out of balance. The days have felt much longer than they usually do, and by evening I’ve been happy to have a small single malt and early bed.

Hopefully he’s on the mend now and we should be getting back into our flow again soon.

Pictures from the Dallas Dhu Distillery – now a museum, which we visited back in August. I love the colours and textures associated with distilleries, old wood, copper and water – but for the smells, you need to go to a working distillery (naturally we went to a few of those too).

-)O(-

 

 

 

Autumn colours…

I was beginning to feel a bit cheated by Mother Nature this autumn – what had she done with all the traditional colours?

Around here, the reddy-golds have been in very short supply.

But today I realised there were other little gems to discover…

The bracken fronds were dripping with diamonds…

IMAG3832_2Hips were doing an impression of a firework going off…

IMAG3828And hiding among the shiny wet leaves….

IMAG3836were these little chaps – yes, they really are that delicate colour!

IMAG3834Not bad.

 

 

-)O(-