Two months later…

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Photo by Mille Sanders on Unsplash

I now have a ‘new’ laptop (one of daughter’s old ones), although I still don’t know how to upload photos from my camera (hence use of Unsplash image above). Since my last post, my dear friend died (lung cancer), I led her funeral on 11th December, which was the same day my one-and-only auntie died (motor neuron disease) her funeral was 2nd January, and today is the first anniversary of Lilian’s death (brain tumour)…

We have lost three amazing woman to three horrible deaths, and those who knew and loved them have been changed by their passing. Three sad husbands are trying to navigate the world without their life-partners, women they had known and loved for over 50 years, women who helped them define their place, their role, their direction…

While the internet is full of ‘new year, new you’ fluff, these three men are redefining themselves in ways they didn’t choose – they never wanted to be ‘widowers’, they never wanted to be the ones left behind. And as their friends, as well as processing our own grief, we are walking alongside them, spending time with them, inviting them to events.

I am deeply grateful to my own hubby, who is stepping up, especially when I can’t (whenever I’m physically/emotionally exhausted), and my dad (who in June will have been a widower of 20 years) – these two amazing men are being present and available to these three newly grieving men…

This first post of 2020 is not meant to be morbid or morose, but to uphold a vital truth: death-dailyTo really appreciate and value the joy and possibility each new day holds, we need to remember death is never far away. The created world ‘knows’ each new bud, each new snowdrop contains the beginnings of its own decay – it’s not morbid, it’s the honest reality of the world we inhabit.

I describe myself as a ‘realistic Romantic’, a fan of the English Romantic poets and authors, I ascribe to the wisdom of William Blake’s ‘Auguries of Innocence’ (1863):

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

To be fully alive is to hold joy and sorrow as equally important. The big and the small are two sides of the same coin. annie dillard

 

 

Today

Truly there are no words to describe all that 2019 has dealt… I’m done! I’m ready for a new year… It began with a dear friend’s death in January, progressed to me getting shingles, then tennis elbow, then inflamed arthritis in my one good hand, than on October 5th I fell and broke by pubis rami (a bone in the pelvis), then this past weekend my laptop died…I am typing this on a friend’s iPad. Hence no photos or links – I have no idea how to do such things on this device.

I’ve had to create a new email – if you’d like to know what it is, please contact me via the form above. Facebook has locked me out as I cannot remember my password and honestly I cannot be bothered to create a new FB account…

And to top it all off, today I left the house for the first time in over a month to visit a dear friend in the local hospice… truly I am done! If you’ve read all this, I thank you. I hope to be more positive in any future posts, but this is today, and it’s hard to be positive on a cold, dark-at-4.30pm November day. Sorry.

 

 

 

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desk-001.JPGOn my desk today, lots of pretty cards as I’m busy trying to catch up on penpal letters and a plethera of thank yous. At this time of year, we’re spoiled by neighbours sharing their veggie garden produce (runner beans, squash, courgettes, marrows), and beautiful flowers (mainly dahlias – who knew there were so many varieties??) Also, it’s been a busy week visiting friends for tea, coffee, or lunch, and I do like to send a thank you card afterwards 🙂

Looking forward to visiting desks around the globe. We meet up over at Julia’s.

PS I’m still lagging behind with my 14-day writing challenge, but I’m plugging away over at my other blog.

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Hello again – back after my August blog-break 🙂 I didn’t get half as much done as I hoped (hot weather just exhausts me!) and I watched way too many dvds – mainly this (now I know what all the fuss is about – it really is quite supperb!)

On my desk is the moonboard I made last Friday for the new Hazel Moonmoonboard-001.JPGIt has a definite end of summer, beginning of new school year feel (I really do love September so!) and I can feel my energy rising as the temperatures cool 🙂 Here are close ups of each page:

left then rightleft-001right-001I’ve also been making cards (September is full of birthdays!), but did I think to photograph my creations? They’re now all sealed up ready for posting… And on Monday, I started a 14-day writing challenge over on my other blog, where I’ve been writing directly on the blog and just hitting Publish after my 15-minute free-write. Here’s Day 1, and Day 2. Day 3 hasn’t been done yet as I wanted to get my woyww post up 🙂 Really looking forward to catching up with you all over at Julia’s Stamping Ground

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I couldn’t post last week – the overnight storm last Tuesday took out the village power supply, so no electricity and no computer! Thankfully, this week it’s been a tad cooler and more bearable, both indoors and out. This past week, I’ve been busy testing and recording all my ink pads, sprays and paint-dabbers…desk-001…. and pens and markers – to see what works best with my stamps and what colours I still need to purchase.pageIt’s been a fun, useful exercise 🙂 Sharing with other deskers over here.

PS I’m planning a blog-break throughout August, so if you don’t see me around Blogland, you’ll know why 🙂 I’m hoping to return refreshed and renewed in my favourite month – spectacular September ❤

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The other week, a dear friend took me to Retford (it’s only half an hour up the A1 from us, but I’d never been before). And who knew, one of my all-time favourite art companies is based there?! stamps-001We had a wonderful time perusing all their yummy stock and chatting to Alfie 🙂 He told me all about this – which I’d never seen before…desk-001As you may know, before the stroke I used to stamp A LOT – art journalling, making cards, swapping ATCs – then, when I thought I’d never stamp again, I gave away 100s of clear and rubber stamps and dozens of stamping blocks! I kept a handful of wood-mounted stamps, which I sort of manage to use left-handed (the image is invaribly squiffy, though).

Now, with this wonder-tool, I can stamp to my heart’s content. The clear top is gridded and can be removed – one side is set deeper for rubber stamps, and the shallower side is perfect for silicone/clear stamps – and it’s incredibly easy to wipe clean!

Here is my first attemptpage-001It is just SO wonderful to be stamping again! Now, I just wish I had more stamps to play with… And I need more ink pads – over a decade in storage, many are bone dry 😦

Sharing over at, you’ve guessed it, the Stamping Ground!

PS I found the lovely storage sleeve half-price on ebay 🙂

PPS I’m continuing writing each day in my journal – up to 110 days and counting…

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It’s been a long, hot** week, and I can’t settle to anything :/ At such times, I do what soothes me – scribbling my thoughts, cutting and pasting beautiful images…P1050459.JPGOn the desk from left to right: The Writer’s Life, a wee book full of great advice and quotes; the current Toast catalogue, I’ve read the articles, now I can cut out the pictures; images already clipped from old diaries (the Virginia Woolf cut-out is actually a card – I love that she’s busting her moves :D); my daily diary (cheap and cheerful from Rymans – I like the purple ); and my ultra-bargain – this year’s We’Moon diary (which I got for a £1 from here), always a favourite source for images and poems.

Sharing with the lovely folk at the Stamping Ground (I shall miss next week’s gathering – Dear Daughter is coming home for a couple of days, yay! :D)

** I know we, in the UK, have had it easy compared to the rest of Europe, but as those with health issues know, any change in the weather is difficult – it takes our already-challenged bodies a long while to adjust.

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Today is National Writing Day in the UK (see here), so I’ve been writing…desk2-001.JPGNotice the ‘new’ desk blotter (a canny ebay purchase 🙂 It’s a vintage one and has suede underneath, so no slippage!). I spent the Summer Solstice doing a Mid-Year Review, which I really enjoyed. I wrote more than I thought possible – this lightweight pen with the pen-grip is really helping!desk-001.JPGAlso I’m 90 days into my 100-day challenge (not that I officially joined any of the online groups – this was purely a personal thing to keep my hand working despite the tennis elbow). Answering the daily prompts from here and writing one side of A5 is the perfect daily challenge for me 🙂

Sadly, though, typing and scrolling are proving still very painful, hence I blog just once a week. But I did manage to visit (and usually leave a comment) every desk last week, of which I am very proud 🙂 We’ll see how this week goes – I have physio first thing this morning, so I won’t manage many today.

PS Sorry, but I had to add one more photo from Esther’s graduation – our beautiful, beautiful girl ❤ ❤esther.JPGSharing over at Julia’s.

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Totally missed last week – overwhelmed with things going on every single day – and nothing to show on the desk today (hope that’s allowed)! Too busy being a proud, proud mama 🙂 What a memorable day (Monday, 17 June 2019) and how surreal, remembering my own graduation in the same city 34 years before, oh so vividly (how can it be that long ago? How can this wonderful young woman be my daughter? And why don’t they make the hoods smaller for women’s shoulders? In my graduation photo, my hood’s slipping off my left shoulder exactly like Esther’s! Esther graduated with a truly amazing 1st Class BA (Hons) degree in Architecture from Oxford Brookes.e grad just e-001And a very kind chap took a photo of us all

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(l to r) my dad, Esther, me, hubby Nick

At least now I have a free week to recover, phew!

Sharing over at Stamping Ground.

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Apologies for not visiting many of you last week – typing is still painful, and I have to do as little as possible :/

But throughout this tennis elbow episode, I have been writing a little every day. As of yesterday, when these photos were taken, I have written every day for 67 days. The first photo shows the day I started, March 30th, answering the question: ‘What are your favourite noises? Your least favourite?’desk2-001.JPGAnd this one, June 4th’s entry: ‘What do you think of when you think about love?’desk.JPGI’m using this book on my kindle for daily prompts, and following my physio’s advice, I’m using different pen grips on different pens to minimise the pain caused by holding/using a pen.

Some days I’ve barely managed a couple of sentences, other days, a couple of pages, but I haven’t missed a day, of which I am very proud 🙂 I’m aiming for 100 days, and if I manage that, ultimately, the full 365 days, which may well see me completing this gorgeous journal!

Sharing with other deskers here