Only Numbers


I got a notification yesterday from WordPress congratulating me on NINE years of blogging! Today my writing desk is the bench behind the house where I’m baring my pasty limbs for the first time this year and dazzling the birds with their alabaster hue. Its not peaceful out here, it’s a riot of activity and sensations – blazing sunshine, blustery wind battering the trees and blowing sycamore flowers on to my keyboard, birds seeing who can sing the loudest and the scent of bluebells, sappy green ferns and azaleas.There is a squeaky branch somewhere that sounds like the horn on a clown car and a helicopter circling the fell; I know I’d be more comfortable inside but it’s dark in there and we people of Northern Britain tend to panic that the sun will never shine quite like this again and so across the land pale people are turning rapidly pink ( “like Strawberry Mivi’s”  Rupert likes to say).

Since I last wrote I have become 50. It was all pretty traumatic because I haven’t really accepted adulthood yet and milestone birthdays are an introspective time for everyone aren’t they… am I where I expected/hoped/planned to be in my life, what does the future hold, unhealthy comparisons with others and of course a dose of guilt for good measure because I’m here and others are not. Not for the first time I realised that what miss more than anything is friendship and most vitally the friendship other women who have known me as a young woman as I enter a new phase in my life- our lives. Anyway, some pretty lovely things happened too and once I’d stopped sulking like a baby it all seemed like a fuss over nothing.

My parents had arranged for us to meet them in Morecambe so that we could stay in the Midland Hotel, an amazing Art Deco building that I last saw when it was a derelict ruin in the 90’s (when I went to a WOMAD festival in the town). I thought they were mad. Morcambe is not the Riviera of the North but maybe it should be… the views across the bay to the Mountains were breathtaking and the hotel had been beautifully restored so that it felt like being in an ocean liner. Lying in bed I could only see the sea and sky (and Poirot which we had to watch because an episode was filmed there). A favourite detail was the Eric Gill map mural which is really very special and made me feel very sentimental about the Lake District. We watched a film of the town in it’s heyday and in particular it’s huge open air pool which has since been filled in: it seemed like such an innocent time, before I suppose air travel made holidays abroad more appealing and the idea of sunbathing on the North West coast less so. The legacy of our night at the Midland has been that this song, from the vintage film, has been stuck in our heads to the point of madness… listen at your peril!

Back home it feels as though the year is on fast forward and while I’ve completed all the wholesale orders from BCTF I’ve now got to start working on some new pieces for the exhibitions I’ll be sending work to later in the year as well as Art in the Pen which is in July and August. I bought myself an A3 printer so I can now make some small affordable prints as well as making digital transparencies for my cyanotypes. Lots of fun and experimenting and hopefully some sales to keep the wolf from the door.

This birdhouse design started out as a big A1 size sketch I did of the nest box outside the window. I taped the paper to the glass and forced myself to draw even though I kept having to walk away and drink coffee and have words with myself about motivation and self confidence, I think it shows that despite feeling at the time as though the drawing was rubbish and that I was useless and stuck in a rut, the end result was really satisfying. I know I need to learn from this and the lesson is “draw more and don’t be so mean to yourself”.

Here is the original sketch and my attempts to make a garden …

Well now the sun has moved around the house and the goose pimples are making me look like an anaemic hedgehog so it’s time to go inside and make some coffee… or maybe I just need to go and admire the way the light is filtering through those ferns up the lane…

May is such a beautiful month.

Reading: ” The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” by Phaedra Patrick ( a lovely surprise random act of kindness from my friend Leti) and a book about th Midland Hotel.

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6 responses to “Only Numbers

  1. Firstly a very happy belated birthday Kim.
    I have followed your blog for some years now and can see you are now going from strength to strength in your work and life. As hard as it’s been I think the Lake District agrees with you.
    Each time I hit a big birthday and I’ve had a few, nownhitting my 62nd year, I find it so funny and it makes me chuckle because I’m sure I’m only 22 or 32.
    Long may your blog and lovely work contInue
    Lynn xx

  2. Chris Newsam

    Beautiful as always Kim – thank you

  3. And a belated happy birthday from us and Merv! Sounds like it was a good one. We had lunch at the Midland a few years ago, lovely meal and place.
    Hopefully see you at Jane’s again this summer.
    Lots of love, Sue & Richard xxx

  4. Oh goodness…….thank you so much for sharing The Continental…….I haven’t heard that song for a lifetime……and I know all the words, so yes, I’ll probably be singing it a lot around here………lovely photos, lovely words, lovely thoughts………thanks Kim xoxo

  5. Opps forgot AGAIN………Happy Belated Birthday…….you are just a chick…….I’m 19 years older!!! It’s going to get easier, the aging thing…..I promise.
    xoxo Kat

  6. Annie Macmillan

    Thank you for this, my first blog read with you…a belated happy birthday with all the trimmings of Morcombe, Eric Gill mural…and…oh…o…o…a reminder of ‘The Continental’ and Maureen McGivern’s super-sensual rusty voice!. I have just passed the link on to my family! (Bless me)
    And I love your bird house ?beginnings? Looking forward to further stages…

    Annie

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