This past weekend marked a year since the first night in our new home in Newlands Valley; the anniversary has so many emotions attached to it that it was a roller coaster of feelings and memories . The snow had given way to warm rain and greyness so Sunday’s walk was along the shores of Derwent Water, where this storm damaged jetty appealed to my introspective mood… a metaphor for life with its wild ups and downs, rakish camber and, well … the obvious question where is it heading and where do you go when you reach the end? I lay awake for hours the other night with so much I wanted to say about this year and how I got here but the rapid approach of BCTF and the fact that for the moment this blog serves as my website, not just a confessional, means I’m more aware than ever of the need to keep a stiff upper lip, appear positive and not get on my soap box too often. However, just for today let me remind you of what I had to leave behind…
…not just a house but a home, a garden, a history, a way of life, family, friends and belonging to a landscape. Congratulations to all those involved for living with your consciences for a year and especially Mr Toby Horton who is currently adding to his community spirited portfolio by failing to supply residents of Ingleby Greenhow with reliable running water from the private water supply he owns; some things never change.
And so the only thing to do is keep on looking forwards, treating others with the kindness and compassion you’d hope for yourself and trying to negotiate the slippery pier without falling in too soon.
Last week I received the not unexpected news that the gallery in Keswick were having to make staff cuts following the floods, and so my year in the Lake District ends as it began, with a search for work and security whilst also throwing myself more wholeheartedly than ever into a more professional approach to my artwork. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Northern Lights Gallery and I’m so sad it’s had to end, not to mention a little worried. I think it is important that people realise just how seriously affected many people have been, and will continue to be, by the floods, not just businesses that actually flooded but also those who are suffering from the road closures and drop in visitor numbers. It’s an ongoing thing and sadly so many small galleries and creative businesses in particular seem to have been hit over the important Christmas period. Independent galleries are vital in supporting many other small businesses, providing a shop window for all those artists and makers slaving away in leaky studios and cluttered kitchen tables; they also make our towns more attractive and uplifting. So here is my appeal… if you can, please support small galleries and independent businesses, don’t go in and ask for the artist’s website address so you can try and get it cheaper, don’t pick up a greetings card to jot down a name and then walk out without even having the grace to part with the £3 for the card ( it happens ) and if you have a moment have a look at this from Snug Gallery in Hebbden Bridge.
Well, the kettle on the stove is about to boil so I really need to be brave, make a pot of tea and make a start on cobbling together my stand design; it will involve cutting and measuring and is bound to end in tears which is why I’ve spent all day avoiding it!
Oh my goodness! I nearly deleted this whole post by accident just then, what a fright. Just time to say THANK YOU yet again for reading, commenting and being generally lovely. To celebrate my first year in the Lake District I’m going to do a long overdue giveaway. If you’d like to be entered in the draw to win a pair of mugs, embroidered lavender sachet, bear pincushion and various other design samples, just leave a comment – and share this post on Facebook or Twitter if you can. I’ll pick a winner on February 6th… the last day I spent in North Yorkshire and my parent’s wedding anniversary. Good luck x
Listening to: Kaleidophonica by Spiro ( perfect soundtrack for driving around the mountains )