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 :)