Saturday, 11 July 2015

Coming up for air

The last couple of weeks have been very full. As a result, the blog's taken a bit of a back seat. I haven't been able to read and comment on everyone else's blogs as much as I'd like either. Every spare moment when Joe isn't awake has been spent working on my drawings, both commissions and a range of 'off the shelf' images which I'm hoping to have finished, printed, framed and ready to go within the next month or so. Wish me luck...

We get the keys to the new house on the 31st. I say new, but it's actually rather old and the builders will be in there a couple of days after we complete. That should take 4-6 weeks but during that time we'll be able to work on the garden.

So I'm now officially an artist in the 'professional' sense; two payments were received this past week. And I'm still very excited about my writing projects too. It would seem I've finally got where I wanted to be, and deadlines and big orders inspire rather than scare me. 

Still, working from home around a two-year-old, taking care of family commitments, getting the daily chores done and all the rest of it has left me feeling exhausted. So I've been doing what I always do when feeling a bit frayed around the edges: taking a little bit of time out with my camera.

Joe goes to nursery once a week. Just for three hours. It's all I can afford right now, but every minute of those three hours is precious. It allows me to Get Things Done. And I love taking him there as the little road we drive along has trees meeting overhead, giving it a green tunnel-like feeling. There are fields and woods and a village green with chickens and a river. Often when I collect him we go for a little amble.

On Thursday I dropped him off and decided to take a little time out. The sun was shining and I couldn't quite face going home to the desk straight away. I needed some outdoor therapy. Or what Annie calls 'Photocise' - walking and looking for details and taking pictures. Not marching along, just going slowly and observing.

I walked along the platform at the station. The crickets were chirruping in the long grass, bees were buzzing and I took pictures over garden fences of huge alliums and rambling roses. Twenty five minutes. That's how long it was until the sun disappeared back behind the clouds and I headed home. Just a short gap in my day, enough to hit the 'reset' button, enough to set me up for a couple of hours of work.

We went out walking again that evening. The three of us this time. It felt warmer, the light softer, the colours greens and golds. We went past fields of long grass, along the stream and into the woods.

Or the 'Deep Dark Woods' as Joe calls them.

Jay commutes to Manchester and back each day, so a post-work wander is a great way for him to decompress too. Especially when the barbecue's on the go back at home and the sausages are waiting in the fridge.

The whinberries are coming out now. I know lots of places where they grow. Picking them is a long process as they're so small but it's something I love to do. Another week or so and it'll be time.

These walks, sometimes taken in solitude, more often with Joe, are when I feel most like myself. There's just something magical about being outdoors and surrounded by plants and trees and fields. Finding small treasures, spotting insects and birds. Listening to the wind in the branches and the birdsong, inhaling the scents of pine sap and honeysuckle.

They make you aware of the turning of the wheel of the year. Many flowers are already going to seed. The apples on the trees are appearing. Berries, still hard and green, have replaced blossom.

I think early evening is perhaps my favourite time to go walking. At 'rabbit o'clock', when the bunnies are soaking up the last of the sun and everything appears in a softer focus. Although I prefer autumn to the summer it is wonderful to be out in the warmth when the days are long. All those flowers blooming and insects humming away.

Thank you all for your comments lately. I will be back firing on all four blogging cylinders just as soon as I can. And to the winner of my giveaway: your picture will be on its way to you next week (I had a big problem trying to find a very large 'Do Not Bend' envelope, but that's a whole other story).

There are also exciting things afoot with some of my fellow bloggers, following on from our Manchester meet-up. Lots to plan, lots to do. I'll share a little bit more of that once it starts to take shape.

In the meantime I hope you're having a lovely weekend with equally lovely weather. We're going to another birthday party later and I'm looking forward to a glass or two of fizz and some tasty food.

Thank you again for bearing with me while I do battle with this crazy workload. Normal service will be resumed soon :)


  1. Lovely to come with you on your walk. I too feel most like me when I am outside and walking or pottering in the garden. I am sure that, particularly when you are very busy, using time like this is necessary to protect your sense of self and maintain a degree of calm! Best of luck with the new enterprise. Sounds as if it is going really well.

  2. Lovely to catch up and to hear that things are going so very well for you!!!! It is great that your art business is doing well!!! You are a professional now!!! xx

  3. wishing you a lovely weekend. x I find walking so incredibly therapeutic, and i adore the idea of "photocise" especially at "rabbit o'clock" what a great phrase! xxx

  4. I love the term photocise! Your photos are stunning and it obviously does you good. I can really relate, although my photocise is most often in the garden, at Goldfinch o'clock, or sometimes squirrel o'clock! Thanks for sharing your walk and for putting a smile on my face x

  5. I so thrilled for you being a proper professional artist now, and well done on the writing as well. It's all very exciting at the moment, I think you're on a roll! Nice to take a little time out from time to time though isn't it. I love the photo of Joe having a ride on his dad's shoulders, it's wonderful. Sorry you've been feeling exhausted, but no doubt you're feeling quite inspired as well. Look after yourself, and good luck with the new house. CJ xx

  6. So good to hear that things are going so well with your new profession, it's taken off so fast and I'm very happy for you. Sounds like with moving and parties and drawing and planning and blogging that you have quite the creative influence in your life, always a good thing.
    I'm glad that you had a little photocise, sometimes it's just having a little break before sitting down to work that helps reset the mind. Also it's easy to get drawn in to work (not a pun honest!) and before you know it you haven't left the desk for hours. I love the changes in colour at different times of day at the moment, the light especially. There's many signs of Autumn here this week, little changes in the forest, the beginnings, stirrings. x

    1. I've noticed that too! Much as I love summer, autumn just makes me feel so excited... x

  7. Rabbit o'clock! Perfect. I know exactly what time that is. There is also the Changing of the Guard, when you can't be quite sure if you are seeing swifts or bats speeding past your window.

  8. Just wondering where I can go to see some of your work, you've mentioned Rammy and I'm about 20 miles away from there but not sure if that's where your work is displayed.


  9. I love the idea of Rabbit o clock! And I will never criticise anybody who finds life is taking over their time. Enjoy life; all too soon you will have plenty of time and miss the amble home with a small person!

  10. Great to hear this are moving with the house and your work, beautiful photos taken in your time out...take care
    Amanda xx

  11. Congratulations! So many good things in your life to celebrate with Jay and Joe.

  12. You've an awful lot going on Sarah, so I'm impressed you're finding time to blog at all. Thank you for sharing these really very gorgeous photos. The phrases 'photocise' and 'rabbit-o-clock' are perfect. I find going for a wander and taking photographs highly therapeutic too. Your Joe looks a complete poppet; it's a lovely, if full-on, age. Here's wishing you a smooth-flowing week with time to recharge when you need to. Sam x

  13. So glad that your art work is taking off and very best wishes for the new house - exciting times!

  14. I love the photographs that accompany your post. I was able to come on your photocise with you :-) I'm so pleased that things are coming together on the art and writing front. It's exciting - and moving soon too - very exciting! Here's to a fab summer. xx

  15. Hey Sarah,
    I think early evening is my favorite time to be out walking. I love the golden glow of the sun, the lengthening of shadows and the more relaxed vibe. You have captured some beautiful images. I especially like the feather. I feel excited for you and your burgeoning career as artist and writer. Well deserved. Good for you!
    Leanne x


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