Updates and inspirations
Good morning all, from a misty morning on the River Deben where I am sitting up in bed, drinking tea and have told myself to stop faffing around and get this blog post finished. Trouble is, the longer I leave it, the more stuff happens and then I don’t know where to start.
So first of all, a few parish notices – or rather, the answers to some of the questions some of you have been asking, both online and in person:
NEXT YEAR WILL HAPPEN….
– Yes, there will be a year planner for 2016 soon. I had almost decided not to do one this time (cashflow problems, short of time etc) but that got resolved (thank you!) so I’m on the case. The website shop is being redesigned at the moment so the year planner and a few other goodies will be back online sometime over the next few weeks.
GET DRAWING – AFLOAT AND ASHORE
– Yes, there are still a few places on the autumn art courses – have a look at the ‘Tuition’ page which is up to date at time of writing. There is a five week run up from mid November until Christmas, then we’ll start again in January or February. Beginners welcome!
– Yes, there will be another art cruise on board ‘Eve of St Mawes’ next year for those who couldn’t get on to this year’s cruise. It will be one day longer this time and run at the same time as Falmouth Classics and Shanty Festival. Plenty to draw, plenty to enjoy! http://www.classic-sailing.co.uk/voyages/cornwall-uk-west-country-cornwall-devon/sailing-and-art-workshop-aboard-eve-during-falmouth
DARE I MENTION WINTER?
– Yes, there will be an autumn exhibition at the studio in November before we clear the shop away for the winter and set up the space for art courses. Call in over the weekend of 14th – 15th November for all kinds of seasonal goodies (private view is on the 13th, 5-7pm)
– Yes, all is well aboard the good ship ‘Else’, the wood burner is stoked and the hot shower works. My seaboots are in the wheelhouse and I’m braced for another winter. She needs to come out of the water next spring for a good seeing too, but I’m hoping that if I spend the whole winter dashing round like a lunatic I’ll be able to afford it!
That’s the practical list…. and now, as a nod to keeping a work/life balance, here’s a list of random things I’ve been inspired by recently. Most of the time, my life feels like a runaway train that won’t slow down, so I treasure the scattered moments that remind me it can be a walk in the park too. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. A group of polish singers
… and others, singing at the Harwich Shanty Festival recently. The Polish group were called Brasy and they sang the kind of close harmonies that make your skin tingle. Even when doing a quiet song in a crowded noisy pub, the first notes commanded everyone’s attention. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgKfCrh4Q3A)
2. Sailing in Holland with a fleet of eccentric small boats
Earlier in October I was invited to Gouda to spend two days sailing on a small boat ‘raid’ with Dutch and English friends. I don’t do racing – far too stressful and shouty – but this was a very different kind of race. Sailing round seven lakes and through five lifting bridges with a fleet of 25 assorted boats was relaxing, challenging, companionable and fascinating. There was the added bonus of light winds and warm sunshine. I’ve not done much sailing this year but it’s all been different and memorable!
Thanks to Rik Homan at http://www.jachtwerfrikhoman.nl/ for his hospitality and beautiful boats!
3. The resilience of friends
I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by some inspiring people (perhaps we all are?) and so I’ll just choose one example: Last time I saw Julia Jones, she was dealing calmly with a sinking houseboat, not missing a day caring for her mum with dementia (who was contentedly sitting on deck in the sunshine drinking tea while Julia was wading in the bilges). Here’s her blog post about the day, and about the power of books to supply a sense of perspective!
4. Evening light on the river ……
I never fail to feel impressed and grateful that the tide still ebbs and flows and lifts thirty tons of boat out of the mud twice a day (with a gentle ‘pop’ that makes the crockery rattle). I love the changing view from my window, from a stretch of mud noisy with curlew, oystercatchers, egrets and ducks to an expanse of water reflecting the colours of the sky.
5. ……and the pleasure of a slow moving boat.
There are very few times when the weather, the tide and free time coincide but when they do there’s nothing nicer than to jump on board my scruffy 12′ dinghy ‘Poppy’ and take a gentle sail on the tide. An hour in a boat balances out 8 hours of being stuck indoors working!
6. Playing music with friends
I’ve had some good times playing music with friends this year – hugely enjoyable for me (though not necessarily for anyone listening!) One of the high points was a musical river cruise I organised for visitors to the Suffolk Autoharp weekend in September, where we were joined on the lovely River Deben by other local folk musicians. Sound quality on the clip is poor, of course, but you get the idea. Everyone was asked to bring a song or tune about the river or the sea. A reminder that most things in life are more satisfying if you can take part rather than just watch, however imperfectly.
7. A glass of wine at the end of a hectic day
Because even a runaway train needs to pause sometimes and I hope you are able to grab some quiet moments too. It’s not always possible to squeeze the things you want to do amongst the things you have to do, but it’s always worth it when you do!
How about you?
And what I meant to add when I first posted (but didn’t because my wits have been severely addled recently) is how about you?I’d love to know what inspirations/calm moments keep you sane in a bonkers world….