Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Maytime miscellany

Told you I was going for grey, didn't I? Here's how it's looking so far as the dye grows out. I'm torn between worry that it'll make me look ancient and unkempt, and a sense of rebellion now I'm no longer a slave to colouring it. 

Here's a closer look. I have no idea how it's going to end up. Will there be a lot of grey or just some? Whatever. I'm sticking to my guns. 

May's been an incredibly busy month so far. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen my dining table full of drying prints, made in readiness for last weekend's handmade market. Which turned out to be a total waste of time if I'm honest: the glorious weather kept people away, no doubt headed for the coast or the back garden. A lot of work and travelling for  very little return.

I think I'll stick to selling through galleries. And I'd better get everything photographed for my online shop too. This whole working for yourself thing has presented me with an incredibly steep learning curve.

Of course, most of my time's spent with Joe. We head out for a little daily amble to the churchyard across the road. He runs about up and down the paths and presents me with dandelion posies.

I read the inscriptions on the headstones and photograph the flowers which grow there. Right now the magnolia trees are in full bloom; primroses are growing amongst the graves under the trees and in marshy spots there are cuckoo flowers. We also make daisy chains and collect grasses for pressing and printmaking. He's my little assistant.

The garden has recovered after a fast thaw and is no longer waterlogged. We have tulips and rhubarb and bluebells. 

Jay put a shed up on Sunday whilst I was at the handmade market. It meant he had to cut back the beech tree, so I've got armfuls of trimmings in the house. They look quite spectacular actually - a jugful on the table spans a good couple of feet across.

Of course, there are walks near the railway line so Joe gets his locomotive fix.

And he isn't one for staying clean either. 

I have so many photographs of bluebells. And the trip to the West Lancashire plains for the market was beautiful. Spring seems to be a bit further along over there - cow parsley and blossom everywhere. I do love May, even though I'm an autumn girl at heart. It's my birthday next week too so I'm crossing my fingers for nice weather.

On Saturday we took Joe to Helmshore Mills. It's an old textile mill, a museum which is sadly on the brink of closing down due to funding issues. They've been given a reprieve until September.

It's very close to my old primary school and I have fond memories of us walking down there to learn all about our Lancashire textile heritage. I knew Joe would like the waterwheel and the frightening machinery. He did.

No. we don't dress him in a flat cap. He wore it as part of the 'experience'. The outdoor area is where we teenagers used to gather on summer evenings and drink cider and pretend to be drunk. It's now closed at night and they grow flowers and edibles instead.

A much better use of the space.

We heard some great stories about the mills and the working conditions there. I also liked looking around the mill manager's office with its books and old typewriter and general antiquey things.

And after that, a walk to Musbury: scene of many childhood picnics.

Joe managed to get creosote all over his hands after playing on an old telegraph pole. It smelt rather nice but necessitated an early bath.

So, in between printing and selling, playing with Joe and doing housework, it's been a busy time indeed. We've visited friends and half-stained the new shed, dried lots of washing on the line and befriended the lambs (who are actually quite bold and come to the gate looking for treats).

The holiday is approaching and I can't wait. As some of you will know, our family has had a tough couple of years and although I don't really blog about it in detail, it can be very draining. There are ongoing issues and the prospect of escaping to that little crofter's cottage on Skye is so appealing. 

Finally, thank you for your words of encouragement after my last post. I'm hoping to negotiate the technological maze that is putting a new website together, and to do all the other stuff that entails: new social media accounts, archiving old stuff and making sure people can actually find me out there. It's a long, frustrating process but if nothing else I'm a typical stubborn Taurean and will not give up.

I'm hoping to write a post with some lovely floral photographs, perhaps in time for the weekend. In the meantime  - enjoy the gloriousness that is May!


  1. Phew, you have been busy. Sorry the fair wasn't a great success. I think they can be mixed. I was talking to someone the other day who said that Christmas ones are always good. Anyway, I hope everything goes well with your online shop and new website. I know how much work that sort of thing entails. You're doing a great job though, and obviously still having fun with Joe. How little boys do love to get mucky. Gorgeous photos of the spring countryside. Suddenly it's all exploded into life hasn't it. CJ xx

  2. I went grey some time ago, when I decided I no longer wanted to pour chemicals over my head and down the sink. I've never looked back. Have you heard Mary Beard on the subject? Worth it if you can track her down.

  3. Happy Birthday in advance, Sarah! I hope they are able to save the mill. My father worked in a woolen mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, nearly a hundred years ago, managing a drum carder...interesting but dangerous! Still cheering on your techie efforts, and dare I ask, "What gray?" You are an excellent photographer, but I did not note any gray in your hair, and strongly suspect you will be thought gorgeous even with a lot of gray! xx

  4. Ancient and unkempt... I don't think so! My first thought as I opened your post was how beautiful you look. Naturally beautiful!

  5. Ditto what Gina says. No-one will notice your hair :-)

  6. Great selfie! You look lovely. Hope you have a very happy birthday with a bit of time to relax with all the busyness. And lambs at the bottom of the garden - so envious!

  7. You look fine to me, and only worry when you have as many grey hairs as me!! Beautiful photos as always and I hope the Mill says open as it would be a shame if it has to close.
    Amanda xx

  8. You have indeed been busy! You look lovely, grey hair or not. Wishing you a lovely holiday, you deserve it. x

  9. a crofter's cottage on Skye sounds utterly delightful!

  10. hope it's a wonderful holiday, I'm sure it will be amazingly inspiring for your work x


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