Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Older women, younger men

I found the story about Colin Farrell's 'romance' with Elizabeth Taylor quite fascinating. The fact that it wasn't consummated (his words), only lends more interest and charm to the whole story.  His confessions came out during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres, if you haven't caught up yet here's the piece:


He was 34 and she was 75, she died a couple of years later and he's saying that he would have liked to have been husband number 8 but that they 'ran out of road'.  

This whole story has made me smile, put a spring in my step and given me a huge lift.  I don't care if it may have been a tongue-in-cheek irreverent reminiscence on his part, he clearly says that he knows she wouldn't have minded him talking about it.   The wonderful thing, for me, is it kind of validates several 'romantic relationships' I've had throughout my life with men who were much younger than me but who, given the chance (from me), would have had a go at making the thing more physical, concrete or even permanent.   I made a point of putting them off and consistently refused any heavy sexual moves.  I think this was because I was terrified of being dumped for a girl a quarter of my age - I can't imagein anything more soul destroying (other than, perhaps being dumped for a bloke!).

The reality for most older women/much younger men relationships is that in 99% of the cases, young man dumps older lady eventually for a much younger, sportier model. It takes a special kind of chutzpah on the part of the older woman to 'go with the flow' as it were and not hold back.  I don't think older men find this a problem and society still doesn't frown upon a man in his Seventies marrying a girl of 25.  Why is that, in this so-called enlightened age of ours?  There is still a massive social stigma attached to a women who is in her Fifties, Sixties or beyond having a relationship with a much younger beau.     

The best relationships I've had in my life were with men who were, on average, 15 to 20 years younger than me. I can't relate to men my own age at all.  My best friend in all the world is almost thirty years younger than me.  He's married and there definitely was never any romantic liaisons between us but I relate to him on a much deeper level than I have with any other human being.  He has an almost sacred intuition and can tell just from one or two words from me in an email, for example, exactly how I'm feeling.  I absolutely adore him and find it so special that I know he has the same attitude towards me - otherwise he wouldn't have put up with my crap for all these years!  

I always fall for actors who are younger than me - look at Rory McCann.  Oh God, LOOK at Rory.  Ahem.  Calm down, get a grip.  He's almost twenty years younger than me but if he bumped into me on a dark wintry night, I'd do my best to sort him out (or climb him like a tree, as one fan said once upon a time). 

One of my bestest loves in all the world is also about 20 years younger than me - he knows who he is, although I don't think he is visiting these climes as regularly as he once was.  I think I'll always keep a candle burning for him (no, I'm not talking about Seattle, that's over and done with long ago).  So, G, if you are around, like I said many times, 'come up and see me some time' ....  (winks)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ho ho ho ...

To all my friends over there in the US of A and elsewhere on the planet, I hope you have a groovy holiday season and that Santa is good to you.    Thanks for popping by and checking out what I've been ranting about over this past year - lots of changes have happened in my life and I think that I'm only coming to terms with some of them now.   Life is good, I have nothing to complain about.  Although I do.

This time last year, I was just getting settled into life in the UK and figuring out how to get into Norwich on the bus.  So much has happened since then, all of it good I think (at least for me and us in the UK).   We seem to have been the catalyst for change in our family dynamics, as now my eldest son is going to be moving from Johannesburg to Durban (about a 6 hour drive from Jo'burg).   I don't think that this is such a train smash for him, he is looking forward to taking up his new role and making the most of the opportunity that's been given to him.  Of course, it will mean that his siblings who are still living in Jo'burg won't be seeing him as often and by extension, won't be around to see their nephew - my son's new baby - grow up.  I think that's causing my youngest daughter quite a bit of stress at the moment.  At least my eldest son isn't moving to the Cape - I remember when my mother moved down to Hermanus, I only saw her once a year.  Durban is do-able for a long-weekend short break, so I'm sure the family over there will still see each other fairly regularly.  They will just have to learn to make the effort.  

My youngest son is now making all sorts of noises about upcoming nuptials - possibly next year.  That's a bit of a disaster for us, as we definitely won't be able to afford to go over to South Africa twice in 2014. I doubt that we will get there for at least another two or three years.  Anyway, we will have to discuss that when we get over there in February.  Sometimes I get the impression that he only mentions a wedding when his fiance is around, to keep her happy.

I am considering making sweeping changes soon to the way I earn my living because at the moment, it's a bit of a non-starter.  I have 3, with the potential of four, clients who are supposed to be supplying me with regular transcription work.  At the moment, the bottom seems to have fallen out of this market as there is very little work available.  It may just be the time of year and things will start to change dramatically in January.  I can't compare this with any data, as I only began working for myself with any degree of regularity in the UK during March/April this year.  I have looked, though, at the amount of effort that goes into this type of work and for what I get out, it's not worth it at all.  I can only ever consider it as pocket-money, it's definitely not the money earner that I thought it would be.  So I came to the conclusion that I would rather expend the energy knowing that my returns, at the end of the month are at least above starvation level (income wise).   So in the next weeks, I'm going to be brain-storming new ideas and ways to shake this money-earning mutha up.

If I don't post again before the end of this year, have yourself a truly great time and all the very best for 2014 - I hope your dreams come to fruition and that the New Year is one of excitement, prosperity, joy, happiness, health and enlightenment for all of us!

Love to you all, but especially to you.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lost, the secret is.

Despite all my best efforts, positive outlook, soul-searching and insisting on staying in a strong frame of mind, it seems that I am not getting anywhere at all. the universe just isn't playing ball with me at the moment. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Can't believe it's the 1st December tomorrow - next weekend marks the anniversary of our first year in the UK, who wudda thunk it?  So how do I feel, really?

Yes, I miss family - this is a big issue but not insurmountable.  The fact that we are going to SA in February is a plus and something to look forward to, even though it will be over so quickly - we are only going for just under two weeks, no time at all really.  It will be extremely hard to say goodbye to people again when we leave, even harder for me because I will have spent some time with my new grandson and gotten to know him a little bit (I hope).   

I think I've also come to the realisation that it won't be any time soon for the rest of my family to join us here in Blightey.  My ideal about that was unrealistic, thinking back and I was somewhat naive to think that my sons and daughter would follow us to the UK once we were 'settled'.  Even though they all said that this would happen, I don't think it's going to be.  It's painful to think about this, so both H and I don't - as much as possible.  Maybe we are wrong (but I doubt it) and they all say in February how they are planning to get over to the UK.  I hope that is the case but I'm not holding my breath.

So what does that mean?  Well it means that we are really on our own here in the UK and have to get on with life to the best of our ability.  We are making plans for next year and changes that we want to make - like perhaps getting better paid jobs and even looking at buying our own property.  Purchasing your own place definitely helps you put down roots, psychologically and physically and it's something that both H, K and I want to do - although K is still (I suppose rightly) cautious. It's good to have a cautious person in our midst, makes us do our homework. 

The kids are settling into school life here and we all believe that they are doing better than they would be if they'd remained in SA.  E, for definite, wouldn't be progressing at the rate he is doing now - he wouldn't even be at school yet for another year I think if we'd stayed in SA!   F is doing really well, she's making friends and joining in social activities, like Brownies, roller-skating, after school clubs - we need to fill up her days a little more and will work on this in the New Year, especially her desire to go to Drama school.

The impenetrable Norfolk womenfolk are starting to warm up to me and K remarked the other day, when he was off work waiting for his car to be serviced and we'd spent some time in the Co-op getting lunch, that I seemed to know everybody in Long Stratton!   This doesn't happen in South Africa.  Even though you meet other mummies at school every day, you very rarely bump into them during your daily routines.  Whenever H and I went shopping, we never spoke to anyone - not neighbours, nobody.   But here in this little village, you can walk down the road at any time of the day or night and there's sure to be some face that you recognise, or some person who will say hello in passing.  I already know about five mums quite well, we've been invited to a couple of social events at different venues by the mums I know. F has already been invited for tea or lunch at different kids' places - people are actually very kind here, it just takes time to get into the swing of it and understand how the Brits do stuff.

I am working on improving my art all the time (something I wasn't really getting the chance to do in SA), even though I haven't found a place to market it, I will do, I know I will.  My writing is coming along and I'm working on several projects on that front also, that I WILL publish in 2014.  I have had a good long talk to myself about the transcript typing work - it's got four more months to ship up, if it hasn't doubled in turnover by then, it's going in the dumpster and I'm having a go at something else.  My new mantra in life is 'believe in yourself' and 'have confidence'.  I'm tired of being a slave to negative thoughts.

Untitled Abstract - Water Soluble Oils. Medium sized stretched canvas.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Finished on a high

Yep, got to 50,200 words  ... I'm a weener. So I suppose that's good (or not, depending which side of the fence you are sitting on).  I finished the bit I was writing tonight and it's pretty appropriate, I think, that it was about YOU.  Of course, you haven't posted anything on yer blog for a couple of years, doesn't matter, I feel like I came full circle.   Thank you, my friend.

So onward and upward - at least now I know what 50K+ words looks like, feels like - it's no big deal, honestly.  No blisters here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

You made a pigs ear ...

So I'm up to 30,000 words on the Nanowrimo thingie - going strong. Still got a shirt load more stuff to get off my chest but I'm quite proud of myself, pretty sure I'll finish and this thing will form the basis of an actual book.

Yes, I know this is old. I know it's been heard before. I know I'm a fool for Radiohead and not everybody else is.  But god, this is the best song Thom Yorke has ever made - the chord change at about 1.38 in, is just complete and utter genius.  This is what sets this band apart from everyone else on the planet, they do things with chord, rhythm structure that hasn't been done since the great classical composers of yore. Oh I love Thom Yorke to bits - pity he sounds like such a miserable git, most of the time hey? :) 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

stuff and rubbish

Well so far I'm up to 11,000 words or thereabouts.  I've got as far as the start of my life in South Africa, so not bad going I suppose.   Some things are easy to write about but I know that later on, it's going to get tough.

The weather is a bit glum and I seem to have some kind of bug that's gnawing at my throat and upper chest, so am going to see the good NHS doctor tomorrow - he's an Indian fellow, don't particularly like him as he's one of these guys who just gives a perfunctory inspection of your ears, throat and chest, then prescribes some god awful, completely useless pain killer and maybe an antibiotic.  I suppose that's all I need hey? but I do so long for over-medication!   Har har.  We are going back to SA in February, have booked our tickets on trusty old BA and whilst there I have started a bit of a shopping list of things I need to bring back:

1. Myprodol - about 60 or if possible two packs of 60.
2. MedLemon - also quite a few sachets, or boxes would be good.
3. Fat clothes - duh - well blouses that actually fit me - from the place I always go to in Boksburg.  UK clothing is a bit weird, most of it's for teensy weensy little Chinese chicks and everything's 'CLINGY'.  The Brits love their skin tight jersey/lycra dresses and tops, with the fat rolls oozing out in all directions.

Speaking of clothes in the UK, I wonder if tights are just a UK phenomenon, or if they are as prevalent in other parts of the world?  Every chick here (almost - generalisation in this case is justified) wears fucking tights.  Doesn't matter what size their arses/thighs are, or how much camel toi they have to thrust out.  We see some real beauts here.  It's bloody disgusting, I think.  Most of the time, the tights that these chicks wear are old, so they are worn and stretched out of shape, which means that you can see through them.  99 per cent of the time, they don't bother to wear underwear, or if they do, you can clearly see the G-string creeping up their backside. Seas of rumpling cellulite waddling down the road are the norm.  There are major elephants living in our area, rolling down the road with their tights and skinny tops on that don't cover the bum hole and camel toe, bulges bursting out of the bulges.  Yuch!   They should fuckin' ban tights on women. Even skinny chicks can look god awful wearing them, TIGHTS DO NOT FLATTER the female body, people!

As you were.

Friday, November 1, 2013


I decided the easiest thing for me to write for Nanowrimo at the moment, is a memoir.  It just pours out anyway, so not much work to do.  What I can't remember, tough shit.  What I remember wrong, ditto - it's my memoir, so if anyone in my family can remember it better, then they can write their own version, yes?
Sat down, stared at a blank white MS Word screen, got an attack of the jitters. Looked out the window and just started to type stuff.  Remembered stuff.  And it now appears that the memoir, as it is, has decided that I am writing this for my mother - which isn't such a bad thing, I suppose. 3 thousand words in - 47,000 to go.

No problem.  Piece of old takkie

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nanowrimo here i come ... or maybe not.

To kind of get my creative juices flowing a bit better, I am trying to get into as many writerly type things as possible.  I am suspicious about fanfaring my writerly intentions on this 'ere blog, as nine times out of ten, I don't actually ever get the project started (par for the course with me).   Anyway, I suppose the best thing to do is just do it and then write about it afterwards, hey? So shut up.
Yes, I do sound like a person with a mental disorder in that there paragraph up there.
It's the kids.

They're on holiday, so I am in 'kiddie-entertainer/teacher' mode for the rest of this week.  At the moment, they are jumping about in one of the bedrooms trying to kill each other, pack away Lego, role play and get dressed - all at the same time.   We made pirate maps, pirate treasure chests, gold dabloons and then I got stuck in and made three sets of Halloween pumpkin earrings.  Somehow my crafty side didn't want to go to sleep, so last night, I quickly crocheted up a string bag for my grand-daughter, from a ball of string I had lying about the place (as you do).    Today, we're supposed to be going to book creative activities for the kiddywinkies to do on Thursday morning down at the Leisure Centre, although if they don't quit the stomping about in the room next door, I might end up burying them both in the back garden.

Speaking of winkies - I did manage to get a bit of a laugh out of my grandson yesterday though.  He was getting dressed before we went out to the library, I am typing away on my laptop doing wurk ... i peep over my shoulder to see how he's getting on (cos I can see his room from my bedroom door) and he's standing there hanging on to winkie, which has er grown a bit.   'Nana, my winkie is exciting cos we made pirate things and now we're going to the liberry' ... I had to keep a straight face, cough and tell him, 'That's nice dear, now get dressed.' However, inside I was laughing so hard, it hurt.   Little boys are just the best.

We've booked our holiday over to SA for February next year. I didn't think I was going to be able to do this, to be honest and actually can't.   Anyway, the South African credit card still works, so if a thing's worth doing, it's worth over-doing is what I always say. 

Still no work on the transcript front - but I'm trying my best not to clench my jaw, or bang my head against the wall. 

I've decided that I don't like the word, BUT
but besides that, everything's peachy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Travels with my Aunt.

Well first of all, the one glaring fact that emerged during my trip to the Highlands of Scotland with my Auntie, was that THURSO - the place where I had set my ... er ... story (you know, the book that I've been writing since I was in South Africa) - is NOT remote at all.   Yes, it's stuck up there on the edge of Scotland but it's by no means a remote little place - all windswept, lonely crofters cottages perched on the top of the cliffs (as I had imagined).   So the story, such as it is, will have to be set somewhere quite a bit further South.  The areas around Aviemore and Blair Atholl for instance, are very remote, true Highland vistas.

Scotland is magnificent.  I believe we went at the right time, all the trees were wearing Autumn dresses and the colours were quite breathtaking in many places. 

 Dunrobin Castle ...
Well honestly, there's nothing bad you can say about the home base of the Dukes of Sutherland.  Magical place, hardly worried by tourism.    

I took reams and reams of photos, which I will probably dig into and put on here in coming months as they speak to me. 

I've already started planning a possible camping trip up to the areas around Pitlochry ... just the place I'd like to spend a couple of weeks in a tent. 

Queen's View - Pitlochry - not my image.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Back from the land of the Noo

Yes, I managed it, all by myself.  Drove the hundreds of miles to Wales and back again, with no problems. Did the trip up North on the train for four days ... photos and some comment will follow.  I've posted the whole epitaph over on our family blog, a bit tired to do it again on here.  So bear with me.
No, I didn't meet Rory McCann.  But I tried hey.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One more sleep ...

Test Satnav - Check
Pack clothes - Check
Sort out/find chargers/plugs/adaptors for tablet, camera, phone, hairdryer etc.- Check
Download 2 hours worth of new (ish) music from YouTube and put on Tablet, to go with the rest
         of the old shite I've already got on it - Check
Do the trip on Google Maps - Check
Print out directions in case Satnav fucks out - Check
Fill up car - Check
Check oil and water and tyre pressure - Not checked (doing tonight)
Figure out which shoes I'm taking with - Check
Put highlights in hair  - Not checked (doing tonight)
Load airtime onto ye olde trusty Samsung Android - Check 

Stuff not to forget to put in bag tomorrow morning:
In-ear teensy weensy headphones for Asus (tablet)
Brown camisole (that my daughter's currently wearing today - which I have to wash and tumble dry tonight)

Then it's off at about 930am to the wet, wintry, wastes of Wales, hopefully to arrive 4 and a half to 5 hours later.  (it's 220 miles or therabouts from where I live to Knighton).

Following morning (Friday) we leave my aunts house at 6 to go to the train station (about 30 mins drive from her house) to board our train, which will eventually take us up to Inverness.

Och aye and awa' we go, laddie.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Altered Booking

I've started an 'altered book' ... it's er basically preparing an old book for art journalling.  Art journalling, I hear you shout, are you fucking losing it woman?
Well the more I trawled around on YouTube trying to understand why people are doing this art journalling stuff, the more I ended up listening to a whole bunch of women (mainly American) wax lyrical (and God do some of these women like to talk to themselves!) about WHY they decided to do this and what they've gotten out of it.  Yes, it's therapeutic kids.
Anyway, I wasn't interested in going out and buying tons of fancy stamp pads, inks, transfers, stencils, stickon embellishments etc. etc., that kinda defeats the object, in my mind.  I've always been happy to turn something old into a new item - tinting my hair, creating new clothing out of old, I'm a dab hand at doing that.  So why not take one of my really old diaries (1993 to be exact) and have a go at turning it into something a bit better.

I started on Wednesday morning and the bug has bitten.  The outside covers are almost done, I've ripped out tons of pages, glued three pages together at a time, to make the more sturdier pages required for artworks and doodly doodles.  I've gesso-ed the pages, I've even started with the background colours on three pages already.  It's addictive, you don't realise how much time has gone by.  You become engrossed in it and you can't rush the process (because the glue that you're sniffing ... har har ... has to dry, the paint has to dry ... yawn).  But the mere fact that you can't rush it, means that you just have to sit back and chill a bit.  So your mind starts to wander, you start feeling guilty (for about 8 nanoseconds), then you do the mental grocery list shopping and tidying up the house (all in your head).   Before long, you're thinking about much deeper things, like how you're going to cook two chickens together in the oven tonight and why Supernovas don't make more of a bang.

I'm actually liking this altered book stuff, I feel like I'm reducing my carbon footprint.  And all the other green bollox that people waffle on about these days.
I'll post pictures of the finished thing. Eventually. No rush.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Not more bloody sunflowers

There is this adage that goes around whenever 'artists' bemoan the fact that they haven't sold anything lately ... 'Oh well, Vincent [Van Gogh] only ever sold one painting in his entire life! So I guess I shouldn't complain just yet'  (or words to that effect).

It's common knowledge that Vincent only really got going as an artist round about 1884/1885, although he'd been drawing and painting since his boyhood.  He died in 1890 and in that short period he managed to paint over 850 oil paintings (not cheap stuff oil paint, specially in those days). In addition to the oil paintings, he drew hundreds and hundreds of sketches, created magical prints and watercolours etc. etc.

Vincent 'sold' most of his output to his brother, who was his regular patron.  His brother (Theo), was supposed to on-sell the paintings to friends, or other patrons of the arts but this never happened (to the best of my knowledge).  It was a kind of gentleman's agreement, I guess, to make Vincent feel emasculated and not a 'soak' on his brother's finances.  He sold the paintings to his brother and used the money to buy more art materials and a bit of food and absinthe.  (I'm over-generalising here but you get the picture ... cough). 

It's hard enough, in today's economic climate when art supplies are actually muck cheap, to sell paintings but people do and most artists sell regularly to varied clientele.   How utterly demotivating it must have been though, to plough such huge sums of money into your materials, as well as time and physical effort ... only to never manage a sale to anyone other than a family member. Let's be honest, most artists would pack it in if they didn't get any recognition after creating such a vast output.  860 oil paintings!  That’s a huge amount of work.     I seem to remember someone once saying if you keep at something, eventually you'll become famous.  Sadly in Vincent's case he wasn't famous (in his lifetime) but he still kept at it.  There's an alternative view to this as well, if you work at something for a couple of years and don't get any recognition, perhaps it's not for you?  Perhaps, just maybe, you're actually quite shite as an artist.
Thankfully, it doesn't look like Vincent had those kind of thoughts but it's hard to imagine how a person could work for so many years and be largely ignored.

I can’t actually imagine how much space those paintings would have taken up.  I know that Theo didn't keep all the paintings with him but I'm not sure where they ended up, they must have been stored somewhere. 860 oil paintings!  That’s a hell of a lot of work.

How could an artist work for 5 to 10 years amassing all those canvasses and not shifting any of them to buyers?  How depressing is that?  And wouldn't you think, as an artist, that if you hadn't sold a painting legitimately to someone other than a family member, in your ENTIRE career, that maybe it was time to re-evaluate your career.  Maybe you just don't 'cut it' as an artist?  It's incongruous to think that Vincent battled along all alone, working at his genius.   It's amazing that he continued to produce such awesome work and so miserably sad that he wasn't alive to witness the upswell of interest in his paintings much later on.   Despite severe mental issues, getting scant recognition for what he was trying to achieve, he soldiered on, often battling with the paint, his inner turmoils, lack of money - it must have been soul-destroying and no bloody wonder he offed himself.  

It's impossible to speculate 'what if he hadn't died prematurely and had continued to paint' ... he was taken from the world, I think, at the height of his creative surge as an artist.  This is my favourite piece ('scuse the watermarking):


Monday, September 30, 2013

Miranda with a capital K

Started off today feeling mega-anxious about work prospecting and trying my very best to focus on other stuff, to take my mind off the constant naggling going on in my head.   Anyway, after doing all sorts of stuff today on the interwebmachine, I managed to secure some work paying reasonably well for today and tomorrow and things are looking up a bit, starting to see more things being uploaded by the company I 'work for'. I actually work for myself but you get the drift, or do you? Oh well, keep up.

H and I watched an episode of the British soap 'Miranda' over the weekend.  I am now a bit of a fan of Miranda Hart  she's me but younger.  What a Klutz she is but you can't help admire her klutziness.  It's refreshing to watch someone who isn't botoxed up to the armpits, bleached blonde and orange from too much spray tan. She's intelligent, even if is she is a klutz.  Her klutziness only seems to underscore how ridiculously pompous and anal, the so-called 'together' people are in each episode. I am definitely going to be watching more Miranda, she's a girl after my own heart.   Oh God, I unintentionally made a pun.  oops.

I've managed to get my account sorted out with Art and am now waiting for those lofty personages to decide whether the images and text I sent to them for my profile and picture descriptions is good enough for their auspicious site.   More on that soon, I hope.

The blog to book or book to blog (I can't remember) I am in the process of ... er, writing, is coming along, need to get stuck in before Friday (which is my personal deadline to have most of it written). Then I'm going to be asking for advice, so all you critics out there better start girding up your loins.  Or whatever it is that critics do before they critique.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

got sick

Little man has had a bit of a bad cough most of this week, so of course yours truly has ended up with it as well. Yucks.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Peace out

I'm wondering today whether it's worthwhile continuing LAAC.  I have deleted blogs in the past (the very first LAAC actually back in the early 2000's and I regretted doing so ever since).  I am getting on average 60 to 130 hits/views a day but not much in the way of comments/feedback. Most of my audience is UK, USA or Indonesian in source but I am also getting regular visits from China, Australia, France, Russia and the Ukraine.  I suppose most of these visitors are 'bots but not all of them are. I've had over 8,000 visitors since I started this blog (nowhere near as many as LAAC, the original).  What's flummoxing me is why people are reticent to say 'Hi' or maybe even to tell me to shut up.  

From my Stats (I use other tracking programmes, not just Blogger statistics), there are a lot of return visitors.  These people are not coming to me from an internet search result, or from another page, they are coming here as a direct link, which means they have bookmarked this site. Or they are using a site feeder but generally, from what I can see, they are using a direct link.  So hello, again, to you, if you are popping in to see what shite I've been writing about recently.  Next time, can you say hello?  Or 'eff off.  It would be quite cool, either way. Or not.

Of course, these comments don't apply to persons who do decide to comment here with frequency (you know who you are) and I really do appreciate the input.  It makes you feel as though you aren't just sitting in a corner, talking to yourself (which is almost the title of another Blog I've got running at the moment over on Wordpress).

Cheerio and have a goodly weekend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

There's always Bonnie Scotland ...

I had a chat with my aunt yesterday morning on the phone, can't believe it's only a few more weeks and then I'll be driving myself off to Wales.  The day after we'll getting on the train for our holiday up to Scotland.  I am so looking forward to this chance to be on my own with ... erm ... adult company for what is tantamount* to a long weekend.  Hopefully this is the first of many more to come. I seriously dig Scotland.

This morning when I got back from dropping the kiddies off at school, I had a weird type of déjà vu experience in the kitchen.  Just for a nano-second, it seemed like I'd just come back into the kitchen of our home back in South Africa and my son was calling to me.  I almost half-turned around expecting him to be standing there.  So for just a split second: 

1.  I felt deliriously excited and happy.
2.  Then somewhat stupid and glad I was on my own, so nobody else could have witnessed it.
3.  Next, I was angry that my mind had decided to play such a cruel little re-wind trick.
4.  Ultimately, though, I was left feeling desolate, depressed and wanting to cry because I miss him so much.
All in the space of about 1/1,000th of a second.  

Otherwise, it's a misty, semi-foggy morning. Will be warming up to sunshine and a warm day later on. I've got to find something to do now to earn some money because the transcript company I've been 'working' for since February seem to be drying up on the work front.  Ho hum.

*Hardly anyone uses that word 'tantamount' anymore.  Maybe I should do a post a week featuring an obscure word, that's always a fun project.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Take a pill ... it'll go away.

I started reading through piles and piles of journals and diaries that I have brought with me from SA over this past weekend.  They start at 1983 – when my twins were born – although I know that I had many more at one time, dating back to 1968 when I first emigrated from UK to SA.  I must have chucked them away. 
I have been trying to read through all entries I’ve made concerning my daughter and events in her life that could have brought about schizophrenia.     I’ve found quite a few things that may have had a direct bearing, or could have even caused it. 

However, that’s not what this post is about.

In reading through the journals I became increasingly aware that there was a continuous pattern in the entries related to how I felt about MY life and psychological state.  It came as a bit of a shock when I realised that for perhaps the larger portion of my adult life I would appear to have been exhibiting the signs of someone who was (and maybe still is) clinically depressed.   The diary entries (and there are thousands) speak for themselves (no, I'm not going to drive you all nuts posting excerpts) and the more I read them, the more depressed I became!

So I had a look on Google today to see what the professionally-observed signs of clinical depression actually are, to see if this is really what’s been going on in my head since oh, well 1969 or thereabouts.   I went to the NHS website here.  The list of symptoms is as per below and I’ve put my comment alongside in capitals (and seriously, I haven't exaggerated). 

Psychological symptoms include:
  • continuous low mood or sadness YES, VERY OFTEN
  • feeling hopeless and helpless YES, VERY OFTEN
  • having low self-esteem  YES, ALL THE TIME
  • feeling tearful YES, VERY OFTEN
  • feeling guilt-ridden YES, VERY OFTEN
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others YES, VERY OFTEN 
  • having no motivation or interest in things NOT OFTEN, COMES AND GOS IN STAGES
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life OFTEN, YES
  • feeling anxious or worried  ALL THE TIME
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself  I’VE HAD SUICIDAL THOUGHTS MANY TIMES – not self-harm though.
Physical symptoms include:
  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual  DON'T THINK SO.
  • change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased) ALL THE TIME – my weight swings about like a yoyo  
  •  constipation OCCASIONALLY. 
  • unexplained aches and pains QUITE FREQUENT.
  • lack of energy or lack of interest in sex (loss of libido) BIG YES TO THAT
  • changes to your menstrual cycle NOT APPLICABLE BUT WAS AN ISSUE AT ONE STAGE
  • disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning)  ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY.  
Social symptoms include:
  • not doing well at work  NOT APPLICABLE – I don't believe this applies to me at all.  If anything, it's the opposite. 
  • taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends  VERY OFTEN, in fact let me rephrase that ALL THE TIME.
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests  SOMETIMES but not very often - they are, after all, the things that keep me 'sane'.
  • having difficulties in your home and family life ONE LONG BATTLE basically from 1969 to 2012 (i.e. all the time I lived in SA)     

So if you were a psychiatrist, what would you say?  Am I clinically depressed? Should I go see someone?  Then what?  I’m not interested in going onto anti-depressants, specifically because I know I have had the above feelings for the better part of my adult life, which would mean that I would need to be on anti-depressants for the rest of it.  Not interested in that. What’s the alternative?  Carry on, don’t dwell on it?  Get over yourself (as everyone always says).  Am I a write off?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why am I such a lazy old biyatch?

I’m battling inertia again.  Now that the kiddies are at school almost full day (well up until 3pm most days), I have a lot of time on my hands and things aren’t panning out the way I was thinking they would.  I guess I’m going through a period of adjustment, or I’m just a lazy old cow but whatever is going on, I’m not happy with it.  I can’t seem to get myself into gear to do much at all – and I have so many things to do!

I  keep telling myself that I’m a selfish, spoilt brat and why the fuck am I whining, millions of people would cut out their eye out with a spoon for a chance to be able to ‘work at home’ and potter about doing their other side projects whenever they pleased.

Why do I feel so guilty?
Why can’t I get stuff done?

I made all these plans to do transript work on X,Y, Z days, writing on W days, Paintings on P days … and so on and so on … and so far this week :

1. Monday I seemed to do nothing except wait around for transcript audios that never came; stare at kiddies empty rooms; fold up kiddies clothes (twice).  Then got all energetic and actually did some research into the structure of my blog-to-book that I've started about schizophrenia.  Wrote lots of shite down in the car whilst waiting outside school for kiddies to finish.

2. Tuesday – farted about tidying up, doing washing, fixing a lot of South African business cock ups (that, to be fair, actually took most of the day). Tried in vain to get some work out of the transcript company but it looks like that's dried up at the moment. Got depressed about that, so coloured my hair natural honey blonde).  Posted letter to my Aunt in Wales, bought Digestive biscuits (big mistake). Sat in car again for ten minutes waiting for one of the kiddies to finish her activities, took other kiddy to toilet at school, came home, stopped wars.  Wnt to library with kiddies - exchanged gazillion books, read stories, did more washing, didn't make dinner cos I ran out of momentum.

3. Wednesday got off my arse, after doing a bit of ‘writing’ (cough) on my blog-to-book, as well as some research.  Did some painting- actually er I finished a painting (of sorts) and worked on another one.  Spent the afternoon at school supporting other child doing martial arts for the first time. Came home, caught up on more SA business work, cleaned up a bit, read stories, made dinner.

4.  Today, spent the whole of the morning, sorting out SA business stuff and couriers. Tidied up kitchen and stared at this bloody laptop. Had two cups of coffee and six Digestive biscuits.

I started the blog-to-book on Blogger but everytime I log out of my current profile and into the blog-to-book profile, everything goes all weird and I can’t check my regular email from the same machine.  Bloody hell.  So I am now going to write the notes in my notebook, long hand and when I think they are enough for a ‘post’, then I’ll log out of my Gmail profile that I use for everything and back into the other one for the blog-to-book.  Yes, I know there are ways you can have multiple sign-ins but it’s not working for me, for some reason.  Oh the joys of internet / IT crap.

Blah blah.
Shoots self in head.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I can hear a pin drop ...

So quiet.
Little man started full day school this morning (well they finish at 3pm but it's technically considered full day).  And I'm lost!

I've been wandering around the house, doing odd jobs, sorting stuff out, making his bed, tidying his clothes, sorting out his toys and books.  I've done my real day job work already. Looked at canvasses that are prepared and ready for paint but don't have the inclination to even get the paints out. Stared at my sewing machine and the material I bought about four weeks ago to make myself a top and again, can't be arsed with that.   Had a cursory scan over my 'notes' for the book ... oh fuck it, I'm not interested in that for sure at the moment.

I'm consumed, wondering how he's doing, if he's getting on okay with all of the kids. If he's not too overwhelmed by it all.  I know he isn't.  But ...

I was NOT like this when my own sons started school, I was actually so bloody relieved, couldn't wait for them to be out of my hair. But it's not the same with your grandson and especially this grandson. My daughter was only saying the other day when we were driving back from the shops, how attached I am to him, how he's completely filled my heart!   It's true, I really do 'only have eyes for you' when it comes to him.

So I guess I have 'empty nest syndrome' hey? ... oh well, I'm just going to enjoy (?) it for today, tomorrow I can get stuck into all the other things that I'm supposed to be doing with my time.  Roll on quarter to 3. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Learning as you go along.

I spent much of my free time yesterday preparing two canvasses for paint that I will be chucking on them during the course of this week.  

When I have a few minutes to spare, usually in the evening before I go to sleep, I spend a lot of it dabbling about on YouTube.  I have found so many artists and other people there who give of their time freely, helping a person become more proficient and skilled in what they do (artwise).  There is a plethora of experts just on the topic of marketing art, for example and I've learnt a lot from these people already  - it's not all bollox and worthless pre-ambles to them trying to sell you their book on selling art.   There are many people who spend a lot of time and take great care in giving tips and hints that would actually take years to learn on your own. It takes a lot of the guess work out of the whole exercise.

I found a chap last night who gave very clear instructions about how to best photograph art and what not to do.  He was from Saatchi, so I guess I should take note, you don't really get better experts than perps from those hallowed halls.  My initial reservations about photographing my art as it hung above an expensive leather lounge suite were correct. There should be no distractions, no peripheral stuff to dress the photo with.  Just the piece of art, cropped and well photographed in natural light - just as I've been doing all along.  It's gratifying to know that I'm kinda on the right track. 

It's also depressing, sometimes, trawling through YouTube and watching other Youber Artists display their body of work, or show you around their studio.  One chap, who I admire quite a lot as an artist, doesn't have a studio per se but he has his art stacked up all over his house.  And his website is full of images of completed pieces.  I feel very sad, when I see that because I've dumped or destroyed a huge bulk of my artistic output over the years.  I can only imagine how different it would have been for me, if there'd been YouTube when I was in my Twenties.  I've also realised the importance of getting organised, even for part-time artists like me, organisation of the workplace is fundamental to producing good quality work in a reasonable timeframe.  So I have to go out this weekend and get better lights and a few large plastic outdoor tables (the kind that usually come with an Umbrella and 4 garden chairs).  I had these tables when we were in South Africa - large ones, as well as a big wooden bench and I'm starting to get into a right muddle when it comes to finding my materials! The garage where I'm working looks like a bomb site.

It's also surprising to me how many artists are reluctant to sell their work, or have ethical issues about it. Why?  It's selfish to hang onto the stuff, specially if it's not on display in your home but stacked up in a dusty corner of your studio, or worse, in the attic or cellar.   If you've spent time creating something, set it free, let someone else enjoy it and allow them to explore what you were trying to achieve when you put the piece into conceptualisation. I don't have any qualms about selling my work. I just hope that I can do the right research into the pricing and make sure that I don't sell myself cheap.  I suppose that's a mistake that most artists make, or anyone starting out selling their own products ... then again, starting low you can always increase your prices.  If you start too high, it's very bad business practice to reduce the price immediately afterwards.  I understood that with the online adult toy shop that I ran back in South Africa. If a person really wants the product, the price is right and they have confidence in the company or individual selling it, then you've got a sale. It's not really magic, it's straight forward common sense.  I always ask myself, would I pay that much for this thing?  And if I wouldn't, then I'm pretty sure many other people wouldn't either. 

I will have about 10 new pieces ready by the end of this month (or sooner, if I have my way).  So it's going to be very interesting to see what I can sell on my first outing.  I am aiming to have several 'price points' and see what does best. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Coming soon to a car boot sale near you ...

From next week Monday, I will have the house to myself for the whole day - well at least up until 3pm!  I'm so looking forward to that.   At the moment, little man is at home in the mornings - he goes to school from 1pm to 3pm every afternoon until Wednesday this week and then he will be going for a bit longer.  It seems quite ridiculous that they have to 'baby' the kids into going to school and stagger the amount of hours they spend there until they are up to full day.  Little man is used to going to school and when we were in SA he was at creche full day anyway - in fact he was away from his parents (and me) from 730am until 5pm each day, so much longer separation and it didn't bother him at all.

I'm excited that I am actually getting work together sufficient for a mini-exhibition.  I am quite pleased with the things that I've managed to salvage and prepare for a 'show'.  Even though I'm going to start tentatively selling art at car boot stalls, it gives me something to prepare for and if nothing else, I might manage to meet people who know where to market semi-professional art properly. I would be so cool if I could actually sell some of my latest work.

 Norfolk has a huge art community, there are numerous flyers, brochures and posters from various organisations and studios, put out for free and readily available in the information displays at your local Tescos, or the Co-op.   I picked a brochure booklet up last week and it was quite an eye-opener to see just how many galleries and associations there are that concentrate on promoting emerging artists in this part of the world.  Hope I can find someone who likes my work, enough to give me a commission, then I'll be well and truly happy. 

Anyway, once I have gathered the pieces together, I'm going to try and take half-decent photos in relevant settings, that actually do the work justice.   I've noticed a lot of online artists like to 'pose' their paintings in some minimalist Bauhaus styled interior, hanging pompously above expensive looking leather couches and what not ... I think that's lank pretentious but if it works for the 'pros', then I suppose I shouldn't knock it.   I will actually use a tripod to take the photos this time, so they're not blurred :)  Being professional is such hard work. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bloody 'ell ... 2 posts in one day.

Zen and the art of communication. 

I don't know.  I'm just wanting to waffle away textually.  (Have to be careful how you type that).

So for the past couple of weeks, I keep thinking about someone who's name starts with a G.  He knows who he is. Kinda hoping that he will pop me an email. 
Out of the blue.
Just to say hello.
I'd be happy, even if he used one of his famous aliases.   

Psychobabbling again.

There are so many logical theories about so-called 'psychic' awareness/ability in humans.  Mainly centering around the fact that it is a load of old bollocks and not possible etc. etc.  

I don't consider myself a gullible person, or someone prone to herd mentality, or following the cliche but as I get older, I've come to recognise certain things that happen physiologically to me have a direct bearing on what's going to happen very soon.   And usually bad stuff.   I begin to feel an overwhelming sense of dread, it permeates every fibre of my being, I go to sleep feeling sick and anxious, I can't sleep.  When I wake up, I'm completely jittery and prone to jump at the slightest thing.  I want to burst into tears. 

As the day progresses, it's like I'm just waiting for the proverbial Sword of Damocles to fall on my head at any given moment. There's no rational reason why I would feel like this. 

Yes, I'm still working in the immigration business (part of my multi-tasking during the day) and by extension, one has to be constantly ready for a disaster.  But that side of my business life is nowhere near as stressful as it was when we were in South Africa. 

I wish I could figure out where these feelings come from, so I could send them back.   But I guess they are a kind of early warning system, so I can in some way steel myself for the crap that's gonna fall on my head in a few minutes' time. 

I had these feelings of complete dread all weekend, even though it was a lovely couple of days off and I did lots of things that nurtured my creative soul, I still could not sleep and woke up this morning ready for Armageddon.  And for the past couple of hours I've done nothing but fight with clients about stuff that's completely out of my control.   Not normal Monday morning blues at all, real Wrath of Titan battling type of stuff.   I want to go home.

Oh I am home.

Well then I'll hide in a cupboard, maybe they'll go away. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer days

I've put some new abstract work over on my other art blog here (opens in a new window).
I've done quite a bit of art recently and am pleased with the results.  I'm looking forward to when the kiddies are back at school, so that I can devote at least one day a week to serious development of large canvasses, as I think I'm now ready to start building up a collection sufficient to put on display and sell. I'm not doing an online selling exercise, I've decided to look at marketing the work out in the open - there are a couple of places that I've earmarked for this purpose  - but want to have sufficient stuff to put out that will attract punters.   And not small stuff, the larger the better. 

We all went to the beach yesterday, as it was a Bank Hooligan day here, so we figured as the weather was lovely and sunny, not much of a chilly breeze that it might be a nice change and of course, kinda free.    We went to Caister on Sea to the Caister Point beach, which is a lovely stretch of golden sand winding up the coast as far as the eye can see.  It was a lovely day and great for the kiddies.  Caister dates back to Roman times (or before then) and there are remains of a Roman fort in the town - we didn't go to have a look but it seems rather incongruous and matter of fact that these ruins are surrounded by semi-detached houses and urbanity.  (from the pictures on Wikipedia at least)

Wikipedia image - not mine

The beach looking up the coast

The kiddies have been reasonably well behaved throughout most of the summer holidays, although there are some days when I want to drown both of them - you can't have it all ways, I guess.  I am also feeling much more confident about driving around with them in the car now. 

It's hard not being able to hold my new baby grandson, he's such a cutie pie and so tiny!  I get to see him on Skype every now and then, although the signal is not very good most of the time and there's a lot of pixilation with the images.  My son sends me small audio/video files from time to time of baby burping, or making little noises - just breaks my heart.   Oh well, soon come we can go over in February next year (I hope) and I'll be able to play with baby and get to know him a little bit - he'll also be more responsive then because at the moment all he really does is eat, poop and sleep.

Friday, August 16, 2013

for LiVEwiRe

Reading what you said, in the response to my condolences on the loss of your grandmother, about how you opened the fridge door, saw 'her' food and started crying; and when you received her post and started crying ... that really struck a chord.  I couldn't face looking at my mother's things for a very long time.  It was really hard when we were packing and going through things to 'chuck away' leading up to us moving from South Africa. Even though I had a lot of time to do it in stages, I put it off until the last minute.  And when I did start going through her things, I realised that it was 2 years since she'd died.

I had a storage unit (the size of a single garage) a few kilometres from where I lived that I was paying rental on each month and it was filled, for the most part, with my mum's furniture and belongings.  Boxes and boxes of all the little things and big things that were the stuff of her life.  These things she'd collected and moved from house to house in over 80 years on this planet.  Things that I helped her pack in a huge hurry back in the early part of 2010 when we made the decision that she had to move from Hermanus to be closer to me. 

Her furniture and boxes were brought up from the Cape in a large removal van and arrived a few days after she came to live with us in Gauteng.  She came with me the day the stuff arrived to oversee some of the precious expensive furniture pieces being installed in the storage unit.   I had every belief, at that stage, that she would live for at least another 5 or 10 years and that all of her items would eventually be re-housed in a new place of her own up in Gauteng ... of course that wasn't to be.  Within 3 months of arriving from Hermanus to live with us in Jo'burg (Edenvale) she was gone from this earth.

The clothes that I took to the hospital for her, were placed in a bag and given back to me when we went back to the hospital to collect her death certificate.  I only discovered those things when we were going through the boxes about a month before we left South Africa. They still had her scent on them!  I remember standing in our garage at home, after opening the box (which we'd now moved from the storage unit to our house) and holding those clothes and crying my eyes out for a very long time.  It seemed a sacrilege to me when one of my daughter's suggested that we threw the things away or put it with jumble.  Some irrational part of my mind just closed off to that idea, I couldn't bear the thought of someone else having those clothes.  So I took them with me to my room and they stayed in the corner, until the day we left and only then was I able to put them in the rubbish bin (I still wasn't prepared to let anyone else have them).  If I could have had my way, I probably would have brought them with me in my case because they still had a faint residue of her scent on them.  How ridiculous is that? 

Most of my mother's things have been distributed to other members of the family, sold or simply thrown away ... like broken old kitchen bins, containers for potted plants, bits and scraps of material or wools.  Sometimes I would drive out to the storage unit with the best of intentions, grim with determination, only to get to the first box open it up and burst into tears.  That happened a lot of times.  With each thing that was thrown away, I felt an enormous sense of guilt, like I was deliberately throwing away a part of her that I would never get back ... it was such a crazy, unrealistic feeling but so primal and strong. 

The things that I've managed to hang onto that belonged to my mother, are not really heirlooms or things of great value, they were just things that for some reason didn't end up being sold. Some of the things that really remind me of my mother I no longer have, they have been sold or given away and I'm sad about that but you just can't hang on to everything.   And one of the most precious things that I have is worthless to anyone else - it's handwritten (in pen ink, using a nib pen) cookery/domestic science book that my mother wrote when she was at school, with recipes in and drawings - so it was 'composed' during the 1930's.  The front cover has come off and it's covered in grease, flour, egg stains ... but I wouldn't part with it for the world, it speaks to me, it takes me back to a time when I was a little girl and she was baking cakes, covered in flour and smelling of hot pastry.  

It takes a very long time, I've come to realise, to get back to any degree of 'normal' and be in a position to move the grieving into a place where it's manageable.  So you take your time, girl. Don't feel in any way pushed into sorting yourself out ... allow yourself as much time as you want. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

No art journal here ...

I feel compelled to say something about 'art journaling' ... this is a phenomenon all of its own that seems to have spread out across all corners of the globe, generating billions of profits for stamp and ink manufacturers, as well as other side industries that supply all the goodies to turn a piece of paper in a diary into something 'arty'.

I have watched hundreds of demos on YouTube lately, lovingly made by ladies (for the most part), of various ages, professions and cultures.   Some of the videos are 20 minutes or so long, showing the minute detail that goes into crafting the personally designed pages of the person's art journal.  Some ladies do a series - an art journal a day.  The products that are used and the variety of treatments that can be put onto a page (collage effects, embossing, punching, image transfer to name a few) is immense, depending on how sophisticated and knowledgeable the art journalist is.  Many millions are spent worldwide on this hobby ... because that's what it is.  It's crafting but taken to another level.  The amount of money that some of the ladies spend on their products is astounding.  I've seen some women with studios of equipment and exhaustive supplies, all neatly lined up ready to start another page.   Whatever colour of ink or paint or gadget they want, they have to hand.  Stencils, special glitter effect paints, etc. etc. ....

I can't fathom it.  I don't get it.  Although I like watching them make their pages - it's better than staring at the TV.

But for me, who isn't capable of working 'small' - I can't imagine anything more frustrating than spending hours and hours, glueing and stamping, painting and rubbing onto a piece of paper to make it look steam punk or cafe pretty ... stencilling cliches like "love is all around"  or "today is the first day of the rest of your life" crap onto the page.

The time and effort that some of these chicks spend on art journaling could be used to create a lasting, permanent piece of art -  many of the gals I have been watching are no slouch in the creativity department, many of them are perfectly good and capable artists.  So why waste time fiddling about for hours on end, making videos about it, spending hundreds and thousands of pounds/dollars on equipment, tools, materials, just to create little collages that mean absolutely nothing to anyone else?

I suppose it's for the same reason that any 'artist' attempts to create things - for the sheer joy, spiritual development and introspection.  Just wish they'd stop flooding YouTube!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

something so precious

My new grandson ... born yesterdy at 11.34am South African time ... what a cutie.

So I decided to enter the Lotto and the EuroMillions today ... I'm not greedy, I don't need to win millions, just a couple of thousand would be greatly appreciated Mrs. Karma, so that I can have enough dosh to pay for the air tickets and spend Christmas with this little monkey ... whadyasay?   aw pweeze.

Monday, July 29, 2013


New poured acrylic experiments, using my own pouring medium.

Post script
Since doing this video and these pieces, I've now realised that the 'fissure' effect I was interested in, is actually a process called 'CRAZING' and a big no-no.  (Smacks hand very hard)
Crazing can be stopped by applying a clear gel (like the one I used for finishing the pieces without Liquitex Pouring Medium in) in thin coats, layer upon layer.  The only big problemo that I can see with that technique is that brush/tool marks are going to be left behind on the surface and it will look uggerly.  So ... back to the drawing board.  I am determined to come up with my own recipe for a gloss finished pouring medium that I can combine successfully with acrylic paints, it can't be THAT hard can it?