The years slip through your hands….

This time last year I was trying to pack an impossible amount of stuff into a suitcase and getting ready for my two month sailing trip. It’s hard to believe that a year has flown by since then and what a strange year it has been. I can’t believe how lucky I was with my timing. Tecla’s owners had to cancel the rest of her year’s schedule and have no way of knowing when they can resume.

Sketching in the Galapagos, up close to the wildlife
Heading south for the Horn…..

My book about the trip – Sketchbook Sailor – is due to be ready in time for Christmas unless current events cause more delays. Let’s hope not. Every page of my sketchbook journal is there, along with the narrative, so you’ll get a flavour of what it was like to sketch my way across the Pacific Ocean and round Cape Horn.

When this one is finally in print it means I managed two books during lockdown (two and a half if you count my little ‘Suffolk Coast Colouring Book’). Well, there was plenty of time during this strange year and I don’t have a tv! There were no excuses not to get on with it.

What some people have done during this sad year is far more noteworthy, so a mention here for Julia Jones of Golden Duck Publishing who as well getting my books to print is deeply immersed in the far more important issue of taking the government to task over visiting rules in care homes. You may well have seen her on recent national news programmes. As co-founder of Johns Campaign along with Nicci Gerrard she is an articulate and compassionate champion of those who are being denied access to loved ones and primary carers. Many are literally dying of loneliness, not understanding why they have been abandoned. Hop across and have a look at the website for the full story (

Meanwhile, for those of us fortunate enough to have choices about how we live, I’ve tried this year to focus on what I can do, not on what I can’t and remind myself that even during the most isolating times of lockdown there is always plenty to keep my hands busy (note to self: most of them far more life-enhancing that playing endless games of spider solitaire, browsing youtube and drinking too much wine… oh yes!)

This lockdown my evenings will be mostly spent in this little space, in the company of several bottles of white wine and my many-stringed friends!

Creativity, whether through art, music, knitting, baking – whatever is your thing – is part of what makes us human. It connects hands, head and heart, anchors us to the present moment, makes thoughts visible. It’s just as important in bad times as good times.

autumn leaves in watercolour, just for fun and to slow down, find trees with colour and rummage amongst the leaves

In this results-driven world, it’s easy to forget the enjoyment of doing for the sake of it, regardless of how ‘good’ you are. I go on about this a great deal, I know, but I believe it’s helps to stay sane in a mad world if we ditch the myth that you have to be good at something to gain value from doing it. Being ‘good at’ something is a happy side effect of sticking with something you love to spend time with, rather than the reason for doing it. The reason I’m reasonably ‘good at’ art is because I’ve been happily jumping into this creative puddle for most days of my life for the past 30 years or so. I’m a beginner at music which I do just for the sheer pleasure of it, and oh, what a mix of joy and frustration that learning process is! This lockdown we won’t have the gift of outdoor space – this little clip shows a practice session with guitarist Tony Watts at our local bandstand on one of the last days of summer. It’s going to be a long winter.

Onto more practical matters – November is traditionally my open studio time but obviously it can’t happen this month. If possible, I’ll plan some dates to be open to visitors in December. In the meantime I’m adding new products to the website for online shoppers or, if you’re local, browse online and let me know what you’d like, so we can do ‘click and collect’ by appointment. The new ‘paddlers’ buff’ is going down a storm, and I’m asking all those lovely kayakers from the USA and Canada to bear with me whilst I research the best way to get orders across the pond – some carriers are less reliable than others I’m told, and don’t want anything to go astray.

That’s enough for now, stay sane, keep on doing whatever it is you love to do.

When did the tide turn and start to run so fast?

When did my future get smaller than my past?

When did the ebb tide start its journey to the sea?

Time waits for no-one and the tide won’t wait for me

8 thoughts on “The years slip through your hands….”

  1. Teresa Trout Tobin says:

    Would love to get 2 paddlers buffs!

  2. Alan Coy says:

    Put me down for two copies of your book please Claudia! And did you write the ‘when did the tide turn etc’? Is it set to music and how many verses?

  3. Claudia says:

    well spotted, Alan – it is a song called Time and Tide, written this year… I’ll send you the full version x

  4. Claudia says:

    thanks Teresa, will keep you posted when overseas shipping is available – glad you like it!

  5. Anne Oliver says:

    I always enjoy your blogs Claudia and I’ve just copied the lines from your new song into my sketchbook as additional inspiration to keep me drawing. Along with the wonderful ‘One Line at a Time!’ Looking forward to reading your new book when it’s available too.

  6. Colin GEORGE says:

    Another great blogg Claudia. I’ve long admired the way you combine your uncluttered and simple style
    with well observed and accurate drawing.

    It’s Crimbo present time and I’ve a friend in Bovey Tracey who I ithink, would benefit from a copy of your One Line At a Time, she, having just caught the drawing bug. So can you post me a copy, please & if you could inscribe it “to SUE” I’de appreciate it.
    Email me the price and your address I’ll put a cheque in the post .Stay clear , Colin.
    Colin George
    15 Smeeton Rd, Lee 0n Solent, Hants, PO13 8LH

  7. Claudia says:

    Thanks Colin – appreciate your comments. Your book will be in the post tomorrow and I’ll email you – thanks! c

  8. That’s really nice post. I appreciate your skills. Thanks for sharing.

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