Colour

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During the cull of the never ending debris of my life I’ve found time to paint a few things that were heading to the burn pile, and reuse a couple of old things in new ways. I didn’t really need to paint this shelf as these inks were housed in a drawer minding their own business, but sometimes a splash of colour can really lift the spirits can’t it?

It may still end up on the burn pile, but for now I’m enjoying a little what-not to house my art supplies.

Operation Garden

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The clearout here has been EPIC and still not complete. The outside room is being stripped down to the bare bones in anticipation of possible moving (and moving on) – lots of books and homeschool resources have been rehoused; lots of rubbish binned; lots of pre-loved, unwanted things donated to charity. Time soon to get those seeds started and turn this room into a greenhouse for a little while.

A healthy dose of burning gardening rubbish and leaves and branches and old garden furniture has left a decent space ready to be filled with raised beds in the next month or so. I’m keen to get out there and enjoy the garden, to sit and stare at things growing.

In the meantime, I’ll keep clearing out!

London Shooting

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Horrified to hear the news of the attack on pedestrians and a police man at Westminster today. My children and I have stood in that very same place.

My brother was walking distance to the last terrorist attack on 7/7; had he been a minute earlier he would have been on the train, and had he walked quicker to the bus stop once the station was evacuated, the bus.

I remember too the terrorist attacks in my childhood from the IRA; going into London was always a tense affair, it was always in the back of your mind. And with a father in the army who lost friends to the IRA these incidents were very real to us.

What a world we live in when one of our worries isn’t just about crossing busy roads, but being aware of cars travelling towards us on pavements. Trying explain the ‘why’ to children when madness just doesn’t make sense.

What a convoluted utter mess.

Spring Springing and All That

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Today is the first day all the windows in the house are open out of necessity – getting a bit warm in here! I’ve celebrated the start to outdoor weather (please, God!) by tackling the Outside Room of ours – bit like an overgrown lean-to or glorified shed tacked onto the house. Conservatory would be a stretch of the imagination, but it has a lot of space that houses our homeschool resources and library.

But, as happens every winter, because it’s cold out there, it becomes a bit of a mouldy dump – kids run in and throw coats haphazardly, shoes go missing into the ether, books get left where cold bodies can be bothered to dump them and come March is resembles a skip. And I’m not providing photographic evidence to back that up, because, well, it’s horrendous. This year we had the added bonus of having workmen debris leftover from a bathroom refit and floors are all caked in mud. It’s such a mood lifter!

Warm enough to work out there without sweater meant the Clean Up can now commence – I have piles for charity, land fill and recycling, the floor will need hosing down at some point, but I have plans for that space so I can’t put it off any longer. Seeds need starting! The garden makeover to urban farm means that room will need to be part greenhouse for a while, and thereafter I aim to turn part of it into a studio for my first delve into oil painting! A lot of solvent use means you need good ventilation, and this room will be perfect.

Talking of garden, would you like to see how the boys have destroyed my lawn for me? Yes you would:

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Not one blade left.

I’ve been cleaning continuously over winter too, in the house, paring back clothes, craft supplies, ornaments etc – a continuous letting go; I’ve got the fabric and yarn stash down to the bare essentials (but could still sink a battleship), and I aim at using as much of it up as I can. I have ear-marked several knitting projects, and the yarn that doesn’t have a job has been sold!

I’m in the process of doing another ripple blanket, and there is a scrap bin of yarn being turned into another scrap log cabin affair.

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All this means I have more space! But also more desire to make things. Goodness, I’m a craft hoarder, and it is a little silly about how many hobbies I was collecting along the way – I’ve had to let some go – I’m admitting I’ll never be a weaver so the looms have gone; I’ll never make jewellery so the beads have been sold; I’m not really a dressmaker so a tonne of patterns and notions have been cleared out, and what I’m left with is my art supplies, a little fabric, some notions and trim and a few good patterns.

I’ve cleared the studio space and shifted things around – my new chest of drawers is so useful, but rearranging the printer storage has meant I can now use my desk as a desk! Crazy times.

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And now it’s time to get back out there and move mountains.

A New Year, A New Garden

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What a weird few years it has been; I can barely believe it is 2017 and have to keep adding my children’s ages up to make sure it’s right when they tell me they’re 15 and almost 12! Where did my babies go?? I don’t remember when I took my eye off the ball but I feel as though I’m missing something…

We let the allotment go a few years back – Ramadan fell in the hottest months, just when the garden needed our full attention, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to do whilst not eating or drinking for 18 hours is breaking rocks in the hot sun. It was a drive there, we had to cart tools with us, and the soil was pure evil. So, that’s that.

But goodness I miss watching things grow. And after a couple years of not knowing whether we would be in this house much longer I’ve decided I can’t live with a foot in each camp and I’m throwing my lot in with the garden; if we move we move, and if we don’t then, I’ll have a garden!

The boys have very helpfully irradicated the lawn for us by playing none-stop football in the mud months. And when I say ‘lawn’ I do in fact mean, ‘wasteland outside the back door’. Slightly bigger than two postage stamps, but still enough for a determined urban gardener to make a dent on.

Today my seed order from the Real Seed Company landed on my doorstep and it’s all systems go to get a lot of back breaking work done before I can even consider planting these babies into trays. I’m not too frantic about getting it all done ‘right’, I aim to get out and enjoy the garden, and if we get some fresh greens out of it then, well, that’s a bonus.

Roll on spring!

Finding Balance

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Between being a mother, and being a person; between doing for others and doing for self; between educating the babes to finding time to nourish my self; between house work and art work; between inside and outside. Walking that fine line between too much and too little. It’s all about balance. The work on the Self never ends.

Sometimes I forget

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Sometimes, oh who am I kidding, most times, I am so caught up in noticing what I don’t have, that I forget to remember the things that I do have. Do you ever do that? I mean, I know I’m grateful and blessed, but some days that’s more of an intellectual reality rather than an immediate one.

But today, as I sat surrounded by blankets, in a warm house, chicken stock on the stove, clean (ish) house, babes by my side as I knit I truly felt blessed. I’m done with winter, but one wicked cold day pushing us all closer together was a reminder about just how lucky I am.

Remind me of that if I ever forget?

Craving Simplicity

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Just a random scatter-graph of images that I found on my phone. I’ve barely picked up my camera in over a month or so; I’ve kind of lost my ‘eye’ as it were. Take these as you find them – all over the place and indicative of a lot of same old same old going on.

Ever since I entered this city I’ve always had one foot out of it; I landed here by ‘accident’ and swore to myself that very evening that the first chance I had I was out of this dump. Seems the universe had other plans, because not only did I stay, I got married and had two kids! It seems as though being here was what was needed, but I’ve never really accepted this with good grace; I cannot hide my dislike of the town that trapped me.

In a sense then, I’ve never felt settled here. As much as I’ve tried to forge a home and a way of life, there has been that other persistent side of myself that was always planning for a getaway and a different life. The thought of getting out is possibly the only thing that kept me sane, but also became a means of my entanglement – I planned not for the life I was living but the one I was dreaming.

I’ve accrued a lot of clutter and baggage with that.

Recently I’ve been having dream after dream that I need to get on a train, or leave a place of danger in a hurry, but I stop to pack my bags which leaves me the last one straggling behind, and once I’ve packed up the bag is too heavy to carry. Hmm, yeah no therapist needed. I needed to let go if I wanted to get on that train.

So. I’ve given up on certain ideas, certain wishful thinkings, and I’m letting go more and more, being as an observer in my own life. And that manifesting itself as a need to let go of material things too. I’ve ransacked the house and sold or discarded anything that doesn’t either sing to my soul with its beauty, or have some use. And it’s shameful really how much that was. And a funny thing happens when you let go of things – they let go of you too, and it’s almost as though instead of owning, you’ve been owned.

I’m craving simplicity, and white walls! I’m craving the need for living according to need, and not want or greed.

The shroud, as the saying goes, has no pockets.