Sunday, 31 January 2021

Sunday, 31st January 2021 - Big Garden Birdwatch

Hetty and Bella counted the birds in the garden for an hour.  I had fun painting their results.

For a second day I have not left the house. I have been in my studio making thumbnail sketches for my evening art class homework. Then I travelled to the kitchen and baked sour dough loaves and sticky toffee pudding. It has been a good day to eat comforting food.

Big Garden Birdwatch
Pen and Watercolour

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Saturday, January 30th 2021 - Foraged by Bella and Herbie

It has been one of those revolting days. Wet, drizzy, windy and grey. I watched the grand children play in the garden from the window. They picked me flowers.

The woodburner it lit and we are back to the comforts of All Creatures Great and Small this evening. Full of emotion. I love it.

Foraged by Bella and Herbie

Friday, 29 January 2021

Friday, 29th January 2021 - Stone Quarry Wood

 We had a busy morning with Herbie. He helped Tim fix Harriet's Roomba. Now it cleans the floor without squealing. He helped me make a seed cake. We wrote a card to Great Grandma as we are missing our visits. 

A rain heavy day turned into a delightful afternoon for a walk with Sarah and her impressively well behaved dog. 

Back home I checked on my sweet pea seedlings. There is no sign of germination. I ate two slices of seed cake while trawling the internet for arty inspiration.

We have started watching Lupin. It seems excellent so far.

Stone Quarry Wood
Charcoal and Watercolour

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Thursday, 28th January 2021 - One Pound a Bunch

Adriene showed me how mountain, cow, cat, chair, aeroplane, cobra, dog, warrior II and peaceful, child, one-legged pigeon and cobbler helped me unlock my artist within, in in 40 minutes. I now need to get into my studio to let out what is within. So many ideas.

As I was returning of packages at our local Post Office I could not resist buying a couple of bunches of daffodils. Harriet, Hetty and Bella have been watching the progress of theirs from tight bud to a burst of colour. We need some colour to brighten these grey days.

One Pound a Bunch
Pen and Watercolour

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Wednesday, 27th January 2021 - Marmalade Sandwiches

I took my allowance of meeting one person for exercise. Alli accompanied me through the muddy fields of Benenden. It was such a therapy to chat with a friend. Thank you Alli for making a dull and dreary afternoon delightful.

Grandad and Herbie enjoyed some downtime after a busy day.

Marmalade Sandwiches
Pen and Watercolour

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Tuesday, 26th January 2021 - Water Play

It is my gorgeous friend Pippa's birthday today. This time last year we were celebrating by dancing and drinking with many friends with less than two metres between us. We would not have imagined the state of our world a year later. Next year Pippa. We will dance. We will drink. We will sing.

Herbie and I made moon and star shaped cheese biscuits. They are delicious. I have had to seal them in a box to stop myself eating them.

I cleared a mass of rotting ferns from the garden. It was revolting out there.

Bridgerton has been entertaining me in the evenings. Set in 1813 it was a surprise to see them dancing to a Billie Eilish song. Very clever. The plot is simple but I love the costumes. I need a deep orange hooded velvet cape.

Water Play
Pen and Watercolour

Monday, 25 January 2021

Monday, 25th January 2021 - Exploring and a Button

The internet has been buzzing today with meetings. This afternoon I got together for intellectual discussions that regressed into lively chatter. Thank you June for organising us.

This afternoon Tim and I went on a cold, muddy walk that was reinvigorated by three lively grandchildren. Their joy and energy is better than any medicine.

Pen and Watercolour

It was an evening of a zoom art class. The exercise is to paint something small then abstract it. Here is stage one.

Green Button

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Sunday, 24th January 2021 - Bare

Wow. That was a magnificent sunrise. I woke a sleeping husband to share my joy. 

My plan today was to build a snowman with a carrot nose with the grandchildren. The promised snow never arrived.  I took to the sofa with my book and read about Cromwell and monks. I am so disappointed.

Charcoal and Watercolour

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Saturday 23rd January 2021 - Sheep near Tinker Wood

It is comforting to know that I am not alone when I am awake in the middle of the night engulfed by a hot flush. I have friends out there flushing too. Welcome to the menopause.

I ticked off three things on my list then headed out into the sun. Our exploration of the local footpaths continue. The yellow footpath markers disappeared. Using my sense of direction we lost our way. Tim was well equipped with a map on paper and a map on his phone to lead up back onto footpath 349. 

I have it on the authority of a farmer that we are going to have snow tomorrow. The anticipation of something different is rather exciting. To stay grounded through this lockdown ,take each day in small steps, is the mantra of many a phycologist ( I have just checked my spelling. This means the study of seaweed.) psychologist - that's the one. My steps are getting smaller.

Sheep near Tinker Wood

Friday, 22 January 2021

Friday, 22nd January 2021 - Tim and The Pink Barn

Going for a walk was not on the top things I wanted to do this afternoon. But as I hadn't left the house for two days it seemed a necessary activity for my physical and mental wellbeing. We ventured along new paths. Two hours later we returned home revitalised and covered in mud. 

Tim and The Pink Barn

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Thursday, 21st January 2021 - Snowdrops

I find myself worrying about my children however old they are. They are beautiful grown adults but they will always be my children. I will always be their mother. With that comes something deep rooted that I will carry with me always. I am so proud of them. 

Dinner was a recipe from Hugh's book. Loads of oven baked vegetable and chickpeas with walnuts. It tasted much better than it sounds. It tasted much better than it looked.

There are some snowdrops coming up. Now I would like some snow.


Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Wednesday, 20th January 2021 - Lobster Plant

Blue Monday hit me today. A headache descended upon me. Paracetamol and bed removed it.

This afternoon I tackled my tax return to pass onto my accountant.

This evening I was comforted by All Creatures Great and Small.

Lobster Plant
Pen and Watercolour

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Tuesday, 19th January 2021 - A Onesie

I needed to take a break from Adriene's month of Breathing. I am enjoying it but needed something with a bit more stretch. We did Morning Yoga together that got me nice and bendy ready for the day.

Spam emails are irritating. I used to complain about ones that could correct my erectile dysfunction. Now they are about ear wax removal. Somehow that is worse.

Herbie and I made pizzas. I asked what shape he would like. Thomas, Annie, Clarabel and Gordon were fashioned out of dough. Clarabel has been eaten.

Hetty, Bella, Tim, Herbie and I went for a wet and windy walk. Herbie was on my back. I am feeling very strong. It was bracing and wet. Hetty and Bella are like little gazelles. I was very cautious picking my way through the mud. We stopped under an oak tree for chocolate coins and jelly beans. Gordon was eaten when we got home.

We finished watching Traces. Very enjoyable. I like a mystery. Actually the ending was a disappointment.

Tim asked me what I was going to paint this evening. "Is it going to be the onesie we took on our walk?"

A Onesie
Pen and Watercolour

Monday, 18 January 2021

Monday, 18th January 2021 - Banana Chutney

We made popcorn with Herbie. I think I was more excited by the process than he was. A little bit of corn makes a huge amount of popped corn.

This afternoon I had a zoom meeting. I so miss the face to face ones. And the cake and coffee. I would like to be out of lockdown now.

We had a surfeit of bananas. I put them in the freezer until I had bought four green peppers. We now have ten jars of chutney to be matured in a dark cupboard for three months. The cooking of the cutney caused our air quality monitor warn us that our chemical levels were high. Open windows soon brought us breathing perfect air again.

Banana Chutney
Pen and Watercolour

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Sunday, 17th January 2021 - A Memory Aid

 I do dirty fasting. I always thought I was quite clean person.

Sarah Raven told me now it is time to plant sweetpeas to be guaranteed a glorious floriferous summer display. They are now tucked into pots in the greenhouse.

I have been busy soaking up artistic talent and inspiration with The Great Pottery Throw Down followed by Landscape Artist of the Year. Fantastic evening.

A Memory Aid
Pen and Watercolor

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Saturday, 16th January 2021 - Module 1

I got up at 3am to check on the progress of the snow. The lack of promised snow has disappointed many a family member. The weather this morning was again disgusting. On an afternoon walk with Harriet and Herbie we found sun and blue skies. 

For the New Year I signed up for an online portrait course Let's Face It. This is my first piece of coursework set by Jenny Manno. It was a follow along video so I cannot claim any of the inspiration of my own. I thoroughly enjoyed being totally out of my comfort zone. 

Module 1
Mixed Media

Friday, 15 January 2021

Friday, 15th January 2021 - Striped Landscape Over Ninevah

We pottered out for a stroll. There were new footpaths that needed exploring. We returned 2 hours and 20 minutes later. Our new route was beautiful but I am knackered. Tony's duck breast will surely restore my energy ready for the weekend.

I drank pink prosecco while we zoomed with friends this evening. I am missing going to the pub, friends homes, hugs and general contact. My friends. Be brave. Be strong. A gin and tonic at the bar can't be far away.

Striped Landscape Over Ninevah

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Thursday, 14th January 2021 - Keeping Warm

I only left the house to post a letter and put out the compost. That's ok for today. It was revolting outside and I don't plan to make it routine. I console myself with having done a session with Adriene followed by Zoe on my yoga mat this morning.

Keeping Warm
Ink and Watercolour

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Wednesday, 13th January 2021 - Home Schooling

Herbie and I made pizzas and bread. There was lots of spreading of tomato and sprinkling of cheese. Mostly on the pizza. Hetty and Bella came and joined him for lunch. Harriet was sent on a walk for some much needed fresh air after a morning of getting the girls to work and then started again this afternoon.

I am a bit obsessed with my weather app. It keeps promising me snow then taking it away again. I am not so keen on this drizzle. It seems to seep into my being and affects my mood. Give me some proper weather.

A set of CDs arrived in the post. We are now the proud owners of 89 episodes of All Creatures Great and Small. We watched the first two this evening. They are wonderful. They don't take much concentration so I can paint or sew buttons on Tom's tea cosy at the same time.

Home Schooling
Pen and Watercolour

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Tuesday, 12th January 2021 - Near Home

I thought I had had very little sleep due to hot flushes. Tim told me I was deeply asleep when he woke in the night. I still woke up feeling tired and groggy. Herbie helped me take my mind of my sluggy mood by letting me play trains.

Tim encouraged me to leave the house for my daily exercise. I felt so much better on my return or it might have been the mug of tea.

Near Home

Monday, 11 January 2021

Monday, 11th January 2021 - New Book

I gave Tim a new book. It is Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's Eat Better Forever. I borrowed it to read whilst eating my lunch. His writing is a pleasure to read but I had to get up and check on the ingredients in my salad cream that was draped over my vegetable sticks. 18 ingredients. Hmmmm that is not what Hugh recommends I eat. But I like it. I will read his advice but will never ever stop eating salad cream. The rest of my family can't understand my liking. They don't like pickled walnuts either!!!

Herbie has a new book too.

New Book 
Pen and Watercolour

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Sunday, 10th January 2021 - Walk No 333

Wow what amazing beauty in our landscape today. Facebook has been flooded with beautiful frosty photos. We need to celebrate something and today's weather was perfect. It was a long walk we needed to appreciate the gloriousness of today. Ice on the ground and hoar frost hanging in the trees and hedgerows. Just stunning. Damn chilly though.

The sofa was so comfortable this afternoon I laid down with my Kindle and fell asleep. I eventually had to get up and make cheese scones. I love cheese scones and seem to have eaten rather a lot this evening.

The Great Pottery Throwdown has me in tears. I just love this programme.

Walk No 333
Watercolour and Ink

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Saturday, 9th January 2021 - Foggy with Light Winds

Blimey it's cold out there.

Happy Birthday to Sarah. It is sad we cannot meet in Arthur's and gossip over coffee, or wander in and out the shops or have dinner in a pub by a roaring fire where you can have two starters and drink prosecco. Hopefully your next birthday we can do it all.

Months ago I ordered some bargain perennials to fill our garden full of colour. They arrived a couple of weeks ago for immediate planting. They are bare rooted red hot pokers, delphiniums, hollyhocks, gypsophila, eryngium, chinese lanterns, aquilegia, and echinacea. Now they are tucked up in compost and in the green house. I hope I have planted them the right way up. Some of them were mere sticks. 

Foggy with Light Winds

Friday, 8 January 2021

Friday, 8th January 2021 - A Commotion of Grandchildren

I have updated The Weald of Kent Art Societies website with the members latest collection of artistic challenges. It took me a couple of hours of cropping, uploading and connecting the right painting with the correct artist. I always feel satisfied when the task is complete.

There was a box of After Eights in our spare room. They are gin and tonic flavoured. One is 33 calories. I ate one and only one. I think I have a months worth of delight little chocolates in little paper bags.

Commotion is the collective noun for grandchildren. Yes, I can agree with that. But it is a 'nag' of grandparents. Surely not?!?

A Commotion of Grandchildren
Pen and Watercolour

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Thursday, 7th January 2021 - Grandad's Hat

I am testing our particulates. The woodburner is fired up. After a couple of hours there is nothing worrying to report. The only thing that puts the particulates up is my cooking!! 

Herbie and I played with diggers in the gravel. I moved him into the sun for a dose of vitamin D. 

It started as a glorious walk back and forth over bridges with an unnamed stream running under our feet. We are searching for new footpaths. My phone recorded 12424 steps. I was exhausted. I really needed a large mug of tea when I got home. Tim was the first one to the sofa damn it.

I have nearly eaten all the Christmas chocolate. I found Rudolph's nose lurking on a windowsill. Milk chocolate with honeycomb pieces. Gone. I always knew I was a tidy person.

Grandad's Hat
Pen and Watercolour

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Wednesday, 6th January 2021 - Goddards Apple Tree

Adriene has been teaching me Ujjayi breathing. It is meant to sound like the ocean. Tim must wonder what or who I have on the mat with me.

Tim and I walked past an orchard that hasn't had its apples harvested. It smells like cider lollies I used to have as a child.

I have had a few days without sprouts. I am missing that little green vegetable. So I dived into my fridge drawer to retrieve soft, yellow disappointment. What?!? Do not worry. My good friend Pippa had given me a stalk of sprouts as a Christmas present. I had kept it safely in the cool of the dining room. I have sprouts to go with last nights dhal for dinner. 

Goddards Apple Tree
Charcoal and Watercolour

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Tuesday, 5th January 2021 - Outside When I Wish I Was Inside

My grandchildren have been the best medicine today. They are such positive little bundles of joy it is impossible to feel glum about not being able to go to the pub.

Tim and I took a much needed walk. The weather was really quite revolting. It was getting dark and I could see the houses with their lights on. Sensible people tucked up inside out of the rain drinking tea and eating Christmas cake. 

Back home I made lentil dhal and drank a glass of Chapel Down rose. Food and drink can be such a comfort.

Our air quality meter is proving to be entertaining. I am keeping the rooms better ventilated to keep our carbon dioxide levels down. It sends data to Tim's phone. We were dangerously high with carbon dioxide. A red light came on and alerted Tim's phone. Bella had breathed into the meter. The power of breath!!!

Outside When I Wish I Was Inside

Monday, 4 January 2021

Monday, 4th January 2021 - Reindeer Slippers

We are now back in full lockdown as of tomorrow until mid February. My grandchildren's school is shut and they are being excellently homeschooled by their incredible mother. What chaos for those children who have just been back for one day.

Herbie comes to play with us for an hour or so in the mornings while Harriet helps Hetty and Bella with schoolwork. It is the best excuse to read a Moomintroll book and play with rice which is great for diggers. We are so fortunate that they are still living with us. We get to share these tumultuous times.

I have signed up for Let's Face It 2021. There is a project once a week. Yep, all to do with portraits. This week it is an abstract portrait. That will be interesting. I will keep you posted.

We have a woodburner. Harriet sent us an article raising health concerns. I was concerned. I asked Tim about measuring the particulates in our home. We now have snazzy indoor air meter. It told us our particulates are low but we don't have the woodburner alight. Our CO2 was a bit high. No wonder I was feeling sleepy so I opened the window and we are perfect now. I think this is going to be a very interesting tool to keep me entertained during lockdown.

Reindeer Slippers
Pen and Watercolour

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Sunday, 3rd January 2021 - Hellebores

I have been packing up my Christmas decorations. Finding the boxes with my Mum's writing on was hard. She loved Christmas so much. My brother rang today. He must have known my heart was sore.

I am really missing meeting in the pub. We zoomed with friends this evening. It is the next best thing. Well not it's not but has to do. I love hearing everyone's stories. It is amazing how much we have to talk about considering we aren't going anywhere.

There is life again in the garden. I have picked some hellebores. They are droopy flowers.

I found some milk chocolate Father Christmases while tidying. I have eaten them. 


Saturday, 2 January 2021

Saturday, 2nd January 2021 - Changing Skies Over Tenterden, Kent

Adriene the yoga wonder told me that if I was shaking I should welcome it!!! Along with the heat. Jane Fonda called it 'burn'. Feels more like burn to me. The best way to start the day.

Our sprout pile is receding. Tonight we had them with mushrooms, cream, stilton topped with breadcrumbs. This maybe a test on the health of our hearts.

I am tempted to buy the new Hugh F-W book after listening to him beguiling me on the radio this morning. I was hovering over the 'Buy Now' button but the reviews are mixed. Half the book tells us how to live a healthy life, leaving the remaining pages recipes. Not sure now. I have left it in the basket at the checkout.

While I am typing and painting Tim is watching a Scandinavian murder. I can usually get a hint of what is going on by listening. This has subtitles so I have no chance. There is lots of dramatic music and shouting so I guess it is good.

Changing Skies Over Tenterden, Kent

Friday, 1 January 2021

Friday, 1st January 2021 - A Colony of Seagulls

Our first meal of the new year was breakfast with Harriet, Brett, Hetty, Bella and Herbie. Tim cooked eggs two ways with toast and smoked salmon. Great way to kill a hangover.

I have started removing our shriveled greenery and ribbons. I love decorating the house for Christmas but get nearly as much pleasure taking them down.

Our walk took us past this house in Benenden where the seagulls had decided to congregate on the roof. I love this house. It is for sale. Who knows?

A Colony of Seagulls
Indian Ink and Watercolour