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

Blue and Green

Or – what a difference two weeks can make….

After such a long winter, the richness of the spring is making my senses tingle. A couple of weeks ago, there wasn’t much green…

IMAG1197Now, it’s bursting out all over…

IMAG1449_2IMAG1451 IMAG1455And the bluebells are so gorgeous, I couldn’t resist taking more pictures…

IMAG1380 IMAG1457 IMAG1454 IMAG1464A spring carpet.

A touch of printing…

Scan 2I’ve finished cutting the lino I mentioned in Symmetry. This is how it looked at the first printing.

Both daughters want to colour it in, and I admit, I do too, so there might be more to see another day. I get enormous enjoyment from doing these linocuts. Anything that forces you to go slowly and take your time, is probably a perfect way to meditate.


I’ve been working on a new linocut today. As with the needlepoint, I find the process becomes meditative as you get involved – it’s huge fun – just like being a child again, approaching a technique just for the hell of it, not expecting anything.

I must have been designed for repetitive tasks – something in them carries me off in my imagination.

Anyway, I digress….

In case you were wondering, this is the piece I was sketching out.


When it was sitting on my desk with the copy sheet flipped to the side, I was suddenly struck by the symmetry it created.

I don’t normally ‘do’ symmetry – even when I try it never works, but here it is without any input at all (well if you ignore the piece of Sellotape that was holding them together).

And I rather like it.



Strange how things sometimes work out…

Three Part Woman…

It occurred to me recently, that in order to be happy, there are three things I need to be and do every day.

The three parts are


By which I mean doing the run of the mill jobs that keep the family engine running; feeding the family reasonably healthy food at appropriate times; keeping the house clean enough so that if the Vicar should spring a surprise visit, you wouldn’t have to hide behind the net curtains and pretend to be out; and of course ensuring that the shrill call ‘where’s my PE shirt?’ is answered more often with ‘in your drawer’, than ‘wherever you last left it’


For me this looks like a woman sitting (or lying) on the sofa, with a large piece of tapestry canvas in one hand and a chunky tapestry needle in the other. Now I accept that as I haven’t actually ever sold any of these pieces, it might be stretching the point to call it work. But it’s the one thing in my  life I have always felt most at home doing, and although I admit it has practically no usefulness to anyone else, it does seem to be the one gift or talent that I came here programmed to use. So I think of it as work – done with love, as an expression of something which is essentially me.


You might want to substitute meditating for contemplating – but it seems to me that there are numerous ways to get into the flow – and it’s that flow I seek to find. I’ve dabbled with the concept of meditation for years, like many people I intellectually understood the potential benefits, but hadn’t made it a practice. That has changed, and so although I’m only skiing down the baby slopes of contemplation, it is a vital part to my daily happiness.

Now being me, I’ve tried many ways to avoid doing the housekeeping part. Days spent meditating and/or sewing are delicious and should be the epitome of delight. But what I’ve found, is that in fact leaving the housekeeping tasks undone, reduces my overall happiness at the end of the day.

Why I should feel that this is my role and not one to share with the rest of the family, probably has a lot to do with my upbringing. I do get resentful when the house is trashed minutes after the girls get home, I could happily spit feathers when a meal lovingly cooked is eaten without a word of thanks, and quite frankly I will never understand why The Other Half thinks that putting dirty mugs on the work-surface on TOP of the dishwasher, constitutes putting it IN the dishwasher. But all that said, no alternative way of organising ourselves has lasted or indeed made me happy, so I’ve now come to believe that simply doing this role – not necessarily to the most exacting standards, but at least well enough for us all to function, is something valuable, not only to the others, but also – and perhaps crucially , valuable primarily to me.

Oddly enough, once I thought about this triple aspect to achieving happiness, it occurred that this is very similar to the balance lived in monastic institutions. Monks and nuns spend parts of their days doing mundane tasks, working at the things in which they are talented, and of course in contemplation.

This thought of the parallels between my daily life and that of religious orders, has I confess brought a few wry smiles to my face. A less nun-like woman than me, you couldn’t hope to meet. But ultimately, I suppose it is the human condition to seek happiness or serenity and there are undoubtedly many roads to take us there.

Walking Meditations & Whiplash

Ever since the girls got too big to want me to walk to school with them, I’ve found myself spending more and more time indoors, when what I really need, is to get out into the fresh air and go for a walk.

The canal banks are bursting into life

Now I know it really isn’t difficult to put your shoes on and head off into the country, especially as we live on the edge of the Grand Union Canal, but I’ve struggled with doing it regularly. Until now, because as of last week, we have a dog!

I have now been out for at least four miles a day, every day for a week and I love it.

I’m not sure that I’m much fitter yet, and if he decides to jerk the lead as hard as he did this morning (well he had just spotted his new best friend across the field), I might need a neck brace – talk about whiplash, if I’d been in the car, I could probably have made a mint.

But the very act of getting into the fresh air is doing wonders.

Knowing that he needs a good walk, I’m scheduling my time to fit everything in – that helps me feel purposeful.

Every day, I’m meeting new people, and it’s true that more people speak to you when you have a dog with you.

And perhaps, for me, best of all, is that I can now tune back in to the rhythms of nature. I’ve understood for ages, that I respond closely to the changing seasons, but walking outdoors every day, even for such a short time, is already reminding me, how much happens in nature while we get on with out daily lives.

This morning’s highlights were the moorhen with her chicks, and the yellow irises, beginning to bloom at the edge of the canal.

ALmost everything I’ve read over recent years about meditation, mentions walking meditation. Well, this might not be a true walking meditation, but it is certainly spiritually uplifting and I’m delighted to embrace the effect.