A week in July

A week in July

High summer is upon us. I'm actually wearing a diaphanous kimono, Bloomsbury Set-like, as I type this in the usually chilly workroom. For perhaps ten months of the year I'll sit here in my chair wearing upwards of three layers. But not today.

It's been one of those patchwork kind of weeks. Admin, correspondence, errands. My work diary (where I always try to plan my week ahead) is full of plans for printmaking, photo editing, writing... some of which I've managed, some of which I haven't.

I also came to the decision that it was time to give up my old blog. I started it back in 2012, when Joe was just a few months old, I think because I was craving some kind of creative outlet. And as a new mother you can feel quite cut-off (particularly as we were living in a place where I hadn't yet made any new friends). I needed to open a channel of communication with the outside world during those long days.

Writing that blog quickly became part of my life. I joined a supportive and inspiring online community. I met up with some of my fellow bloggers in real life, too. And opportunities started to come my way. For four and a half years I chronicled our lives as a family. The little details, the big events. I shared my thoughts and ideas, kept a photographic record of goings-on. 

But it was time to put the whole thing into a box, metaphorically speaking. I've been struggling to stay on top of two blogs, two sets of social media accounts. And the thing which really decided it for me: I was starting to feel obligated rather than motivated. So I said goodbye, thanked all those people who've read and commented, and put the lid on the box labelled Mitenska.

The following morning I went for a walk alone in the sunshine. Through the fields, the trees and along the river. I know that mindfulness is very 'now', but it was good to get out and just notice my surroundings. No thoughts about to-do lists (or should-have-done-by-now lists). And I knew that moving on was the right thing to do.


On a slightly less reflective note, we've been enjoying the garden and there are beautiful big cut flowers in the house. Yesterday evening we went picking wild raspberries. And collecting nettle stings too. They do seem to enjoy growing in close proximity.

The brambles are flowering and there are tight little green knots, blackberries, waiting to swell and colour. We went to one of our bilberry-picking spots too, and they're ripe and ready. A Saturday morning expedition, perhaps (although the forecast promises rain).

I've picked up some pretty secondhand books over the course of the week: The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim (Elizabeth and Her German Garden is one of my all-time favourites), The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley and A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. The book pile on my bedside table - actually an old painted bentwood chair - grows ever higher.

This morning I bought an old poetry book for the princely sum of £1.50. I'm terrible for collecting them, particularly anthologies. This one is The Albatross Book of Living Verse, bound in a red cloth cover and previously the property of an R.A. Sayer. The pages are tissue-thin and it contains hundreds of poems and ballads. If we're talking mindfulness, then this is where I truly find mine.

So, what plans for the remainder of the week? 

More writing. Perhaps some printmaking too; those drawerfuls of dried flowers and stems must hold some potential for a fruitful morning. It's always interesting to experiment with new specimens and see how they lend themselves to the process, if at all. I have my trusty favourites but it's as much about making new discoveries as sticking with the tried and tested.

It's Joe's fifth birthday at the end of August. As he's sharing his party with two other boys from his class, I offered to do the invitations. Cue much (happy) playing with graphics and fonts. I'd forgotten how much I like doing that kind of thing. And I'm thinking maybe I'll find some inspiring quotes online then fancy them up a bit and print them out for my workroom walls.

The long holidays beckon. I haven't started my list of things I'd like to do with Joe yet. But I will. Next week.