Monday, 18 November 2013

Cherry Blossom and Winter Fayre Cheer

I try to skip my eye from rosehip to holly berry to the herbs flowering valiantly against the grey. I try to accept the freshness of the wind and focus on the gaps between the rain. But perhaps I should just confess that I don't want the darkness to come. Some years the winter solstice is a cave I can crawl into; it is safety and solitude and snuggling warm with a cold nose. This year the darkening feels exhausting. Each week I am more tired and I fear it is because I need the sun. Maybe I need the sun's masculine strength, but that thought is a heavy one and doesn't help me. Maybe I am lonely inside all my many protective layers. That thought neither. Which is possibly why, in my work, I am creating sunshine :o).

This is Cherry Blossom, completed in time for The Chagford Winter Artisan Fayre, of which I am proud to be a part. It promises to be a day of warmth, levity and bright company - just exactly what I need.

And there is fun to be found even on a cold morning. Forest School is the highlight of our week. Here Emily regales us with a story of the wind and the sun while we glug hot chocolate and scoff snacks.

Later we made hogitats (hedgehog homes, for those not in the know). Pickle (whose Forest School name is Earthworm) and her lovely friend Rabbit made one together and it did look very inviting.

And we finally met Thomas's cousin, Naomi, and her dad, Bob. Pickle was impressed with Naomi's Hawkins-style communicator, but more so with Naomi's pirate boots. It was good to spend time together, although Chagford's windy lanes and unconventional shops narrowed the choice of venues. Here we are in The New Forge, Pickle clutching the bubbles set Naomi had given her.

I am not entirely in denial about the season. I have bought a fibre optic tree (don't tell Pickle - it's a surprise) and have made some of my work into seasonal cards which will be at our splendid Fayre and are also in my Etsy shop.

So, okay, although I have my Eeyore moments, I am actually quite excited about Christmas. I know it's cool to be aloof and moral about the consumerism and the excess, and for good reason, but I love finding things of happiness and knowing they're stashed away for my girl or for the other wonders who people my lucky life. For balance of sorts, I have been talking about the Philippines tornado. I told Pickle people from all over the world are sending money to help. She looked a bit sad and said, 'But I haven't got any money.' Then, much brighter, 'I can send them chocolate money for a present!' I am coming to believe that the thought really does count.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

An Exhibition and Talk of Marriage

We have reversed roles. Pickle is now well enough to gambol off to nursery and I am increasingly ragged of nostril and lung - not a pretty sight. A friend has brought a jar of mountain sage to brew on the hob for a few days and hopefully enable me to talk again.

But enough of such gloomy talk. Shall we have a happy post for once? Yes, let's.

Here is a whistlestop tour of the fun we've been having of late:

We've spent time with Pickle's special hound-friend, looking at the world through tinted lenses

playing Red Riding Hood


but we all know how that story ends

and that the danger is really from these beautiful ingrates.

We have been finding secret ways,

managing the elements,

 being amazed by autumn abundance

and wondering why the ponies don't want to talk to our horse, even when he talks to them.

Meanwhile, Pickle's beloved Gappy has been very poorly and my mum has has her double mastectomy. Mum's home after only one night in hospital and doing fine - in fact, she's quite typically mostly concerned about myself and Gappy.

And back at the ranch, I am having a little exhibition in The Courtyard throughout November.

Rex of Barleycorn fame arrived just as I was starting to hang my work (in my straightforward hammer-and-nail style), bearing fancy picture hanging wires, which worked fine on the framed pieces, but the originals (on the right wall) were too light, so I did get to do some banging. And the lovely Rima of Hermitage fame came to lend a hand and assure me it was all fine and I could stop and drink my coffee.

The three larger originals are new, so they warrant a solo moment each.

Large Flower Meadow:

Tulip Field:

Meadow Hill:

There's also the perpetual calendars drawn by the late, great Thomas, all my postcards, unframed versions of the framed prints and some new seasonal cards. The Courtyard is a lovely place to be, but if you find yourself far from Devon, you can hop across to my blossoming Etsy shop, where I may or may not be serving cake.

And if all THAT isn't cheering enough, then let me share an especially happy moment with you.

PICKLE: Mama, when can I get married? [This from nothing - we were reading about a dog!]

ME: Well, you can marry when you're sixteen, but you might want to wait longer or not marry at all. You can only marry one person, so you need to choose very carefully.

PICKLE: I know who I'm going to marry when I'm sixteen.

ME: Who's that? [Connor, Noah, Erick, Reuben?]

PICKLE: I'm going to marry you Mama.

Reader, I cried. And I didn't contradict her. This proposal may only be my second favourite because the first had the advantage of chips. And a cuckoo, who still calls in the long hot days.

But those days are gone, so now for another fat mug of mountain sage and honey - this stuff's good :o).
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