October tales

October tales

How can it be mid October already? 

We've had so much going on lately, what with the house and all those little bits of everyday things: school homework, my car slowly giving up the ghost (apt considering the time of year), posting out artwork, errands...

I've been busy writing too, both for the Creative Countryside online journal and for the next printed issue. It's actually quite varied as I'm asked to write content on a specific subject sometimes, and other times I can put a piece together on whatever takes my fancy (as long as it fits in with the themes and philosophy behind Creative Countryside). 

The research aspect is both challenging and inspiring; I learn new things - often about old beliefs and traditions - and gather as much information as I can before presenting it in a readable way.

I went to Hebden Bridge yesterday with a few friends, and saw the magazine for sale in the Heart Gallery. It was lovely to speak to Alison, the gallery owner, who informed me that she'd already sold half the copies in a week. It looks as though we're off to a great start.

In other news, I'm helping a friend to style a festive photo shoot next week. She's a wedding and portrait photographer and we're going for a more natural, subtle set-up rather than full-on candy canes and Santa hats. I'm pretty excited about that - it's always good to try something new.

Speaking of photography, I'm planning on spending the winter months concentrating on that and a few other things. I'll be honest - our new camera scares me a bit as I'm a Nikon girl and this one's a Canon. It was also expensive (Jay received it as a gift from his dad) but I'm determined to get my head around using it and to become more confident.

I'll be taking a break from printmaking in a few weeks - more about that in a future post - and getting my sketchbooks back out. Also: writing. Lots of writing. And, of course, blogging.

The change of seasons has inspired a change in my priorities and how I spend my time. Maybe it's because the days are getting shorter. Perhaps it's because I'm actually busier now than I've been in a long while. And we're preparing for a very different way of life. That requires lists and ideas and plans.

But some things stay the same. Getting outdoors and walking and exploring. Meeting up with friends. Noticing the slow autumnal decay and the beauty of the trees - particularly before the winds came and tore so many leaves and branches down. Luckily, I don't think we're far enough into the season yet for everything to have turned red and yellow and brown so much of the spectacle remains and there's more to come.

There are garden fires and leaves being raked, pumpkins and toffee apples in the shops. We have Halloween parties on the calendar and a bonfire to attend.

Of course, a great cold weather comfort (and it was cold this morning; cold and clear and, thankfully, still) is the reading pile. I've just finished a fairly frothy detective novel. Not really my thing but it was one of those 'I've started so I'll finish' - in the knowledge it won't take very long - kind of books. 

I've now moved on to 'The Summer of the Bear' by Bella Pollen, along with a collection of ghost stories. I rarely practice literary monogamy unless I happen to be lost in one of those rare can't-put-it-down reads. The Bella Pollen may well turn out to be just that. I've read her other novels and loved them.

This afternoon I'm off to the solicitor's office again with yet more paperwork. It's a bit of a trek so I'm thinking I'll park the car halfway there and walk the rest. This being the Pennines, I'll have quite the uphill slog coming back so that should make me feel reasonably virtuous.

I've been indulging in chocolate lately. Not ideal - for the first time in my life I'm actually finding it quite addictive. The answer is not to have it in the house I suppose, or at least not all the time. And I'm too lazy to raid the cupboard and make cocoa on a regular basis.

Still, this is the season for all the beautiful (and more nutritious) foods: figs, pomegranates, mushrooms, nuts. There's an Incredible Edible garden on my route later. It's a community initiative where people are encouraged to pick and eat what's growing. Round and about we have herbs and edible flowers, brassicas and berries. There are also a few artichokes. Past their best but I'm thinking of cutting one purely to look at and perhaps draw. I often drive past but today's the day I'll actually be passing on foot, so maybe I'll take my secateurs with me.

And so the day has begun. Joe safely delivered to school, this little journal written, my to-do list ready to be tackled. The simple action of marking something with a tick is something I derive a lot of pleasure from!