Despite now living here on Skye, I do still like to keep up with what’s going on back home. I occasionally brave the news but more often listen to the radio in the car. Even better, I like to get my updates via Instagram – a far gentler approach: hints of real life softened by pretty pictures. That and the other usual social media suspects. I'm still a bit rubbish with Twitter though...
There’s no escaping the fact that England’s been basking in sunshine recently. Not so much here. Lots of cloud and rain, and those gales are back in force. Last night was a sleepless one again. The noise keeps us awake as the wind tears at the roof and roars through the eaves. It’s cold, too, both indoors and out. The jumpers are back in circulation after a brief respite at Easter.
Life here is becoming less insular though. I have some friends, lovely creative (and irreverent) types. We get together, do things, plan other stuff yet to do. My little family are going to be moving house very soon and we can’t wait. I’m busy working on projects for the next issue of Creative Countryside as well as preparing for those printmaking workshops I’m running in a week or two.
Last week I attended the monthly printmaking group at the college. It was wet and windy as I carried my big box of supplies into the building, but there’s something very relaxing and peaceful about having the art department to yourself for a day. Five of us each working quietly away on our own things: collographs, lino prints or (me) monotypes. We share techniques and, as the other ladies are far more experienced than me, that knowledge is really valuable.
And there's tea and cake.
I get to use the etching press. I could do that all day, every day. Such a satisfying thing to do – and productive, too. I tried out some new papers and inks, and have been writing down a few ideas in readiness for the next session. The postman's been busy delivering parcels lately: paper, drypoint etching sheets, sketchbooks. My two favourite suppliers right now are Fred Aldous (quick delivery, reasonable postage costs) and Handprinted (ditto).
This isn't a sponsored post, by the way. I just believe in giving credit where it's due :)
I’m also down to my last few pressed plants and flowers so have been replenishing them. Joe and I went back to the Viewfield Collective at the weekend. Despite the gloom and drizzle, it felt good to be in the woods with everything turning green. Bluebells and wood anemones, ferns unfurling, primroses. We also collected some wild garlic as Joe likes to do that every spring. We did have permission, by the way. It’s growing in profusion amongst the trees and along the drive and is just about to flower.
So I have various stems being pressed at the moment in readiness for workshops and my sessions at the college. The ferns, which always work beautifully, aren’t quite ready yet but I do have some forget-me-nots.
We took a walk uphill behind the wooded walk and looked at the lambs, then came back down and explored the garden itself. It really does make me optimistic about what can actually be grown up here. There were lots of old-fashioned garden flowers with fattening buds: peonies and centaurea, and some favourites of mine (Solomon’s seal). Joe found tadpoles and frogspawn in a little pond and there were birds flitting about everywhere.
We’re off to see some open gardens and visit a plant sale tomorrow. Then the packing begins in earnest. I’m hoping it shouldn’t take too long as a lot of our things are still in storage in town. And moving ten miles down the road is preferable to the 419 miles (I just checked on AA Routeplanner) we did to get up here from Lancashire. In the snow. Just before Christmas.
It’s my birthday on Friday. Nothing much planned but I’m going to see The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society at the cinema with a friend sometime next week. I’m looking forward to that. And I’m really hoping we get some sunshine and a drop in the winds, even if it’s just for moving day…