Where to Spend the Winter


Today I got up for work in the dark and ate my Marmite toast and green tea while reading a three day old newspaper. In the review section was a piece by Esther Freud about Tove Jansson’s first Moomin book “The Moomins and the Great Flood”. The piece was called “Where to Spend the Winter” and it made me even more nostalgic for the winters when being snowed-in filled me with energy and inspiration rather than the dread of trying to drive to work on icy roads. It’s snowing as I write and I have just spent a weeks wages on winter tyres.The car is stocked with blankets,shovel,ice scrapers,wellies and even a box with flapjack and nuts… I love working at the gallery but goodness I really wish I had been able to make working from home a success !


I haven’t written for ages because I had no new work to share and it was almost always dark so no photographs of outdoors were possible either.Then last week it snowed and the sun shone and everything on Witchmountain was magical.


The kind of winter sunshine that makes you want to clean all the windows. The kind of days that make you want to bring home branches to paint white and hang up pine cones and fill the house with spicy, boozy smells and brew coffee on the stove while listening to The Count of Monte Cristo on the radio.


Somewhere in the middle of this I was taken to Salt’s Mill in Saltaire, near Bradford where there was a fabulous bookshop and then,through a door we weren’t going to open, a huge room which smelled of linseed oil and vetiver,pencils and print. I bought myself the promised sketchbook and some ink…hoping something good would come of it. So far just an angry fox and the realisation that my handwriting is ambiguous…I had written “Orange” but to me it now reads “Change”


Things have been listed on Etsy as planned and Lindsey and I took part in the most godawful craft fair on the planet which seemed to involve a few people eating bacon sandwiches and drinking tea in a freezing cold village hall, whilst keeping a safe distance from the five sorry and dejected stalls. The whole proceedings were watched over by a selection of five (one for each stall holder) depressed or insane looking ,stuffed wildebeest/antelope/deer creatures whose antlers were draped in tinsel. All in all, it is a relief to know that I am not relying on sales to feed me this winter , it is so much easier to enthusiastically sell other people’s work; I’m just regretting not signing up for the Sketchbook Project again  as it has become a bit of a Winter tradition.


Now I must go and tend to my raspberry vinegar, put the kettle on and spend a moment with that ink and a clean page.

Reading :- Last weeks papers  Listening To :- Beth Orton “Call me the Breeze”

One response to “Where to Spend the Winter

  1. I love your ambiguous angry fox. I miss snow. And that song is so beautiful….

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