Boats, books, films and failings

The older you get, the more robust your inner critic becomes – you’d think it would back off a little by the time you have chugged through a few more decades with a reasonable amount of competence, but no, it learns as many new tricks as you do. The latest is that nagging feeling that however you run your life, someone else would do it a lot better.

With a more competent person at the helm of my life, we would not have run onto the financial rocks quite so frequently. They would have been far more assertive during Crisis A and much more efficient in the matter of putting a roof over my head during Crisis B. They would not have missed so many opportunities through through lack of confidence or sheer forgetfulness. The novel in my drawer would be finished. They would remember friends’ birthdays. They would be disciplined in the daily practice of both art and music so that I would be more competent at both, and they most definitely not put up with my phone phobia that has me hiding behind a thread of emails and failing to keep in touch with people I care for.

A more efficient person running this life would write more frequent blog posts, of course. They would never idle away spare scraps of time by scrolling facebook or even (admit it!) playing solitaire. Finally they would never, ever dance in pubs, drink too much then wake up in the morning with howling vertigo and a soggy head. Dear me no.

I do wonder how on earth it’s possible to feel a sense of achievement along with falling short all at the same time, but somehow it is, and that’s just life. Success and failure are entwined.

Boat news

‘Else’ – looking for a new owner

I’ve moved home, to a more modern, slightly larger boat. She’s not a beauty like my dear tug Else but after ten happy years it’s time to move on, make the compromise for a bit more space. I bought in a hurry because the new boat was a good price – she needs work doing (I can’t bear to look at the rust!). But inside she just needs a bit of fresh paint and a few visits from plumbers and electricians to make the living space work. The outside work will be done when Else is sold. So I now have two boats on the river, two lots of mooring fees (hence my inner critic saying ‘have you lost your mind? What were you thinking!’) and Else needs a new owner. She’s a perfect little home for one, or possibly a weekend retreat, with the best views on the river overlooking Sutton Hoo. I’ll miss the easy access to the slipway for kayaking and the convenience of keeping Poppy alongside for a quick sail, as the berth for my new boat is tucked away in the saltings between a few barges, but I’ll get used to it and the oystercatchers still call in the mud close by.

‘Else’s main cabin – cosy!

Memories of Antarctica – the film of the book!

Last year I had a visit from the team at Home Stage (, the online arts platform. Maddie Leedham, Florrie Crass and Mark Fawcett came to make a film about my Antarctic sketchbooks and we spent an enjoyable day together in my studio and then at home. They made the film as part of their initiative to promote music, poetry and art about environmental issues (pfite – ‘poetry and folk music in the environment) and here’s the link – I hope you enjoy it.

Antarctic Sketchbook – the book of the film!

The mythical efficient person running my life would have finished and published their Antarctic Sketchbooks by now, wouldn’t they…. But since it’s me, it’s still in progress. The excellent Julia Jones at Golden Duck Publishing has given me a stern talking to along with some generous help in the editing of my first draft and we plan to have the book ready sometime in August. It’s going to be worth the wait!

New jewellery designs

Last year I had a few problems with my sublimation printing press, but now this has been fixed and I’ve been able to start making my earrings and pendants again. It was a good opportunity to play around with some new designs. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get going again and I hope you like them! Each design starts as a small watercolour like this one that I was happy with on the third attempt (success needs failure). The printing process intensifies the colours. Again, some designs work and some end up in the bin, it’s all part of the creative process.

Here’s the link for the earrings if you’d like to buy –

Thanks as ever for your support, those of you who keep me going during the wobbles! Do keep in touch via email or instagram (myattclaudia) or fb (Claudia Myatt Illustration)

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