It’s a bit hard seeing a whole stadium full of football fans shouting for their teams on the television yet you can’t leave the house because there’s been a positive Covid case in your year at school.
Last week of school before the summer and it’s back to online learning with the cats.
There are drop in clinics running this weekend for currently the youngest portion of the national Covid vaccination program, the eighteen year olds.
Millie had her text through a few days ago notifying her she could attend one of these clinics.
She had to take a photographic identification so we dug out her passport.
I drove down with her to the enormous film studios on the outskirts of the city, it was quite something driving into it, lots of run down industrial units colonised by flocks of noisy seagulls.
We parked up and she put a mask on and joined the queue with lots of other young people. Red stripy tape and orange bollards, they all stood apart without being asked. Some on their own, some with mates, some with parents, most on their phones probably checking in with a nice selfie and a hashtag #gotstabbed
Our children have had many vaccines in their lives already, this one felt different. Probably because of it’s newness and it’s immediacy. The other vaccines as babies you knew there was a slim chance of them getting the said diseases. This one is different isn’t it?
I waited an hour in the car watching other parents in their cars, watching the shuttle bus pull up bringing more young people. It was busy.
Millie texted me while inside, in her words:
There was no daylight inside, the building was really big but the ceilings were low and everywhere was white..
Corridors were white too with small windows in where I could see people sat inside. Lots nurses and doctors walking around in their uniforms often wheeling trolleys with large computers on and stacked up carts with the medical supplies on.
I sat in a waiting area next to another girl (well 2 metres next to her) and we chatted about stuff. When it was my turn, I was taken through to a station and they asked me some questions about if I was well. Then I received the injection and waited for a few minutes to make sure I was feeling fine.
And then out she came, clutching an information sheet and asking for lunch.
I’ve decided that being the looney, grinning, woman I am is quite enough for planet earth to deal with. Be your own person and like yourself for all it’s weirdness and goofiness as that’s what keeps the world interesting and colourful. So massive bollocks to ordinary and hurray to extraordinary. Now go get your shine on (or tea on). Never be afraid to be different, I tell my daughters every day how fabtastic they are for just being themselves and to never apologise for that
Gumball decided she was off to bigger pastures this morning. Never nice when they go.
Miya was allowed out for the first time today She took approximately twenty seconds to decipher the cat flap and flew out all guns blazing.
She then flew back in again, and out again, and in again. I have been listening to the sound of my spinning cat flap all afternoon.
Big giant clucky birds are amazing, just, amazing.
Enjoy these videos, my hens were clucking so much I went out and filmed afterwards as I thought you might enjoy meeting Miya.
Oh and by the way, I’ve spoiled us and paid to remove the advertising. Enjoy.
We go way back the moon and me. I’ve walked many times in the dark over the years when the moon has been high and bright in the sky.
One night, I walked up the garden in my pyjamas, clutching a howling newborn. The moonlight was a welcome distraction whilst I soothed my little bundle of noise.
Some nights, the sky has been filled with the noise of drunks singing, some nights have been filled with barking dogs and other nights, there was simply the whisper of trees and wind.
One full moon, I heard the shrieks of a tawny owl over a floodlit valley.
I’ve huddled under a bridge while the moon shone, hoping my problems would melt away but it just shone as close as it could to my crouching figure in the shadows.
And one time, I walked in despair, neither caring nor looking and the moon continued to shine.
Last night I walked in the cold, solstice, moonshine and it shone right through me and dog for our whole walk.
I was taking a walk with an old friend you see.
I’m sure there are many people taking a walk tonight to escape this time of year and I hope they find their answers under the moon or at least know they are not alone.
Wishing you all a peaceful time at mid winter. To moonlit nights.
New cat, how will this one fare with a nice, sparkly tree?
Answers on a postcard…
This one’s for the mums. We are all bonkers and amazing. Love to all mums doing their best to just get through the day in the hope that tomorrow they will find the floor free of toys and lego. Hold fast.
I’ve been looking at all my drawings of Bonnie and thought you might enjoy this little selection of her best moments.
Bonnie, the hurricane, the bottomless pit, the legend, my girl. Still ever the wiggle machine and all round stinkpot of love.
Evie is writing a list of things she might like for her birthday.
Gruff is making helpful suggestions.
Wondering if shell get a nice, shiny sword is something Gruff might wait a long time to see…
Explosive start to Monday with a vacuum rammed washing basket. You can imagine my sheer joy at working through that. Isn’t this fun? Bet Snow White held those animals at gunpoint to get them to tidy up her bloody cottage.
Our new puss has quite a penchant for little toys. She has already amassed an impressive collection of little fabric mice, stars and patchwork, catnip hearts.
They are stored in a little plastic tub every night and every night, when everyone is asleep, Renee starts her fun.
One by one, each little toy is carefully removed and starts it’s journey through the kitchen, into the lounge and up the stairs…so that in the morning we are greeted by a scattering of little soggy presents on the landing.
Even Bonnie is not forgotten, she normally gets a nice feather in her water bowl
And so, every morning, I bring down the little collection back to its box so Renee can do it all again.
Stretching out forever. Summer holidays have arrived for my lot. No school for six weeks and the sun is shining.
Breathe the free air Evie. Breathe it in.
First summer in decades. Yellow grass, blue skies and screaming swifts in the sky. It’s utterly wonderful. Feel like an ice cube thawing out.
I’ve found solace in my sketchbook throughout my life. In my childhood a means of play and expression. In my teens, a bolt hole from reality into which I would have most readily jumped in feet first and not looked back.
I rekindled my sketchbook habit back in 2010 when I was in my familiar black hole and needed to escape.
This comfort and silence. A non judging welcoming page, the smell and touch of crisp paoer. The sound of pen gently scratching lines that fill and dance through endless space.
I draw through line, space filled with cluttered thoughts and ideas. I am a drawer.
Be brave, come dream and make marks.
Lovely to see Gruff with his newest playmate outside together chasing grass blades and toy mice.
To think she was unwanted when you see her play with such joy.
Two gentle friends enjoying just being free.
I’m busy. Filling up the paddling pool and various inflatable animals for the after school paddle club.
Think there may be other little paws wanting to cool down today.
Renee loves her toys so much. She picks them up and carries them around and if you’re lucky, she’ll bring one to you accompanied by an awful lot of yowling. She hasn’t been outside yet as I want her to feel settled before I let her out in the garden.
She is a very talkative cat and will have small yowling dialogues with herself while prowling around the house. Little panther on an adventure. Black cats are so beautiful when they move, from head to toe a fluid tip toe of paws and haughty tail. Her eyes are bright green and go as big as saucers when something grabs her attention.
The kids are so happy that she loves to play with them. She and Bonnie are getting along with a healthy disregard of each other. There is no fear on Renee’s part and there is the endless need to sniff a cat’s behind from Bonnie.
Anyone who’s ever brought home a rescue cat knows that they will have their peculiarities. Renee is no different to the collective. So far she has insisted that she sleeps in my utility room sink. She has however, taken a preference to sleeping under the bath by squeezing through a small hole but she comes out for her grub so there is no stuck kitty.
She has learnt already that the sound of the fridge door opening means there’s food on the menu.
Bonnie is still too much for her but she has shown her inner panther by roaring with that mighty pair of lungs she has. Bonnie is being very patient and an utter angel with her new kitty friend when I know all she secretly wants is a sniff at that swishing tail. Good luck there Bonnie with that.
So far so good.
Tomorrow is a big day. We are missing Arnie terribly and although no cat could ever fill his paws, we have a home that’s missing a certain something. That something is a cat.
I’m happy to say that a cat answered our job application and interviewed flawlessly.
Renee is three years old and was found abandoned in an empty house, pregnant and very dirty. She was rescued by the Friends of Animals Wales who cared for her when she had her two kittens. Please have a look at the amazing work they do and if you’re looking for a animal to re-home, please think of them.
She has been in foster care with a very lovely lady and is now ready for her new beginning so she will be coming home tomorrow to meet everybody.
And yes she currently rules over a dog so Bonnie will be happy about that I’m sure.
Just look at that tail!
1. Where’s my peg basket?
2. Who put tissues in their pocket?
3. That tree looks beautiful.
4. I’m tired.
5. Are star shorts appropriate?
Cat shaped hole isn’t going away. I’ve been looking around in various homes and catteries for a little furry reject that would like to come and live with us. I don’t want a kitten but a cat that needs a fresh start with a warm sofa to spread out on and some nice wallpaper on the walls to shred.
I’m putting a shout out to any cat who would like to take up residence with a bonkers lady artist and her tribe of cat mad children and a nice big dog that needs a small furry boss.
Please come and find us, we’ll take you in and you will be so loved.
This is the lovely shop assistant that I tolerated today. I had the misfortune of having to pay for a tee shirt and she had to press some buttons on her till. She was not enjoying her day in the shop, I think the combination of the blaring thump of the techno and my face was interrupting her daydream of a red carpet appearance.
In spite of her sulking I kept my cheery demeanour and all was going well until I focused on her eyebrows.
I couldn’t even do them justice in my drawing. I think her real ones were in there somewhere screaming to be released.
She draws, she loves jaffa cakes and has the biggest heart going. Happy birthday Millie, I think we need more room for all our sketchbooks.
Can’t be shown, won’t be shown. Has to learn it himself. Can’t think who on earth he gets that from.
Brought Arnie’s ashes home today. We’re going to buy a plant and put him in the garden where he liked to sit in the sun and watch the sparrows chirp.
Spring is coming.
Here is a life lived in washing piles and fluffy toys. A life that padded out gently last week but never ever will be forgotten. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed drawing them. Break the internet with cat drawings and purry love.
Got chased by ferel children in the woods. Jumped over fallen trees, scrambled through branches, hauled myself through mud. Their cries of “feed me Macdonalds ” grew more desparate the more I ran.
My breath grew heavy as I clawed my way up the mossy bank, rain drenching my clothes and hair, my Boots make up freshly applied that morning smearing my mud streaked cheeks.
I threw the dog in the car and screeched out of the car park desparate to escape.
As I drew up to the traffic lights, a small, bony hand grasped my shoulder and hissed, “There is no escape”.
The struggle is real this Easter. Send wine, send gin, I am hunted by children on holiday.
Arnie is still hanging on in there. We have to do twice daily injections of insulin at food times and he’s taken to this really well.
His behaviour however, is rather strange. He has now taken to falling asleep at his water bowl or even worse, in the dog’s crate.
Bonnie is made up with this as she finally gets to sniff and fuss Mr elusive after all this time. Arnie is just happy to have a warm body to curl up next to.
Arnie has been unwell for a week or so but he went downhill quite rapidly over the last few days.
I’ve just driven thirty miles to a veterinary hospital to see if they can bring our poorly cat back from the brink. Looks like we have a diabetic in our house.
Not yet Arnie, we’re not ready for this, you’ve sprung this on us and we’re holding on tight to you.
At the checkout queue in Morrisons. Old dude behind me keeps bumping and shoving into me in an effort to make me move forward but as there is a lady in front of me, I have nowhere to go.
Old dude is now getting tetchy as his frozen pilchards or whatever are melting, he continues to bump into me and starts tutting. So I take a nice step backwards as I’m not yet feeling the urge to turn around and clobber him with my thick sliced farmhouse.
Me being the manners queen is waiting for an “excuse me”, I do not hear an “excuse me” but I get more bumping and now vegetables are being passive aggressively thrown onto the conveyor belt along with his frozen pilchards and fixodent.
His wife is there too (or maybe his mistress, I won’t digress).
Nice lady cashier takes payment off lady in front of me and starts to help me with my shopping.
Old dude is now a funny shade of purple and is hopping from one foot to the other while throwing Mr Kipling mini battenburgs and garibaldi biscuits into his frozen pilchards conveyor belt collection. Wife/ mistress anxiously clutches her copy of Radio Times and a box of tic tacs (fruity flavour ones).
Cashier tells me that her daughter is being bullied so I listen and I tell her my experience of bullying taking as long as I possibly can and drawing on every minute detail I can remember, for as long as I can while watching Old dude’s eyeballs do strange twitchy things.
By the time I’ve packed and paid he completely erupts spectacularly. (due to the melting pilchards situation I’m presuming).
I may have had a little word with security on the way out about the aggressive man in aisle 10 towards a member of staff. 🙂
Have a nice day.
It’s international Woman’s day and I’m taking part in an exhibition at Cinema and Co in Swansea organised by Rose Davies. It’s a great way to celebrate female creativity and empowerment so do join us if you’re in Swansea this evening.
I’ve put in one of my early blog drawings as it holds so much relevance to me still now. It started my journey out of depression and towards so many things I never dreamed I could achieve. One thing I have learned is that Motherhood was only the very beginning for me and created so many obstacles but conversely opportunities I could never have imagined before having my children.
I continue to remind myself of this fact when I see the state of this world and worry for the future for my own children. If they have good role models and great support, they can achieve great things. Without that network, we are alone.
Happy Woman’s day.
Keep female and carry on.
Stupidly cold here at the moment. We have Siberian winds and snow heralding our St David’s day and first day of spring with a wind chill factor of minus seven.
The hens’ water is freezing so my axe is coming in handy although once the water is frozen solid I’ll switch to plastic tubs as you can top them up throughout the day.
The entire infrastructure of the country has ground to a halt and the Welsh have come out in force to panic buy entire stocks of sliced white bread to live off. The shelves are bare in our local shops.
If you have a loaf of white bread, you will survive the storm, maybe the stuff mops up snow or something. It’s a very bizarre tradition but it keeps us Welsh secure knowing we have our trusty loaf by our side.
The roads are quiet and all the schools have shut early. We’re waiting for the worse of the weather to come in tonight.
Grab your loaf and stay warm.
Bonnie has made a friend recently, a ten year old Jack Russel who we will call Sid (as I can’t remember his name and Bonnie doesn’t care what he’s called anyway).
Sid loves Bonnie and Bonnie loves Sid. They spend their time sniffing,weeing, finding crisp packets and chasing cats together on various happy adventures.
Today was joyous as they found some cooked potato.
There was much celebrating between the two of them and much screaming from me as they were far too away for me to stop them eating it.
Girls can lift and girls can be strong, including Millie who goes weightlifting every week.
Tonight she came home very happy with her new deadlift personal best, 65 kg.
One very mighty girl. I’m that proud of her, I even let her pick me up (63kg).
There’s a human on the floor! Downward dog has become down dog lick face.
I took my dog into a lovely cafe, a dog friendly one. What a great idea, walking the dog and relaxing with a hot cup of coffee afterwards.
Not with this diva of a dog. She insisted on standing at the counter with her paws up and placing her own order.
She then complained very loudly when she didn’t get a biscuit and howled at the schnauzer at the next table.
All was finally going well until she waltzed off to say hello to a staffy (taking my table with me and my coffee).
We get a lot of rain in Wales, an awful lot. In fact it’s pretty much chucked it down all January and we’re all sick of it.
My poor chickens are wading in mud again so I’ve spent today shovelling in wheel barrows full of sand to absorb it.
I also use wooden planks and plant pots to create little perches so they can preen themselves when the sun dares to show itself.
I’m hoping February will be kinder and the sun will show itself a bit more!
A good friend of mine had to say goodbye to his dear friend this week. This post is for you and your beautiful dog Rufus who will forever have the wind in his fur and your love in his heart.
Evie has been asking me for a while now that she would like to donate her very long hair to the Little Princess Trust a charity that takes donated hair and transforms them into wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.
On Saturday she had all her locks chopped off and has been guarding her precious plaits ready for me to post them off.
I’m very proud of her for wanting to donate her hair, it’s a lovely, kind thing to do. She’s looking very grown up with her new hair do. I thinks it looks lovely.
Hello, welcome back, did you survive Christmas? Did you manage a sprout or two? Good job, now rejoice in the fact that it’s January, it’s cold (if you are Northern Hemisphere) and I’m sat in a shed at the top of my garden wearing a woolly hat, a scarf and wrapped in a great big wool blanket.
I have a studio, it’s here, it’s built and it sits a soggy trudge up the garden right by the chickens. I’m currently listening to cluck ‘o clock right now. There’s a raucous coming from the hen- pen which means someone’s laid an egg. Hens do like to tell you when they’ve laid an egg, it’s a thing they do. They emerge from their hen house triumphant. (I do wonder if they compare egg sizes like we do babies birth weights).
So yes, I have a shed, a space of my own, away from the house and requiring mum -head to be left at the door and me-head replaced once I enter. I’m ready surrounded by tea, pens, radio and dog and I haven’t the foggiest what to do. I’ve fought for years for space and time to do what I want and now I have it, I’m devoid of thought and my pen have been rearranged numerous times and are now in a neat little line which really isn’t me at all.
I’m sure something will come along soon.
While we’re all waiting for me to get my act together, here’s eleven ceramic owls that have found their way from the house to my shed and are sitting staring at me.
They are strangely hypnotic and I can’t help but wonder if there’s a hidden camera checking that I’m actually doing some work and not just nodding off in my chair against the little oil heater which is oh so warm.
Signing off for time with my tribe. Have a peaceful Christmas and please give a sprout a chance.
I just pulled this out of my plug hole tonight. It just kept on coming. Obviously I wasn’t going to keep this to myself so I went and traumatised the family with the pileous beastie. Much screaming ensued.
When I brought Bonnie home, Arnie left the house for three days.
When he finally returned, I had to train Bonnie not to chase after him and after a few months, we made great progress.
What has not changed from the start is that they both share the same drinking bowl. I’m always surprised at this as Arnie has a particular look he reserves for “his” dog and that is one of utter disgust. They are not friends but they tolerate each other’s existence.
Bonnie drinks like she’s had a mouthful of anaesthetic injections with plenty of dribble and slobber. As though she has never drunk water before and she’s trying it for the first time. It’s spectacular and very, very noisy.
Now this is where it gets strange. Arnie will simply not have his own bowl and wherever Bonnie’s water bowl is placed in the house, you will find Arnie waiting for his turn after the tidal wave of doggy drinking has finished. He will then stoop in a neat arrangement of paws and and lap quietly.
Dogs are strange but cats are just unexplainable.
Christmas wrapping paper, present buying, panic, panic, panic. I am not ready for Christmas, I haven’t even got the decorations out of the loft yet. The whole street is lit up like an airport landing strip and our house sits in darkness.
Hang on a minute, it’s only the 5th of December.
When did Christmas start this early?
Santa gets Elves, I want an elf, an organised one please.
Both Millie and Evie read to themselves these days, Evie is following her sister and sneaks up to her room on a regular basis to borrow and replace her books.
I am read to by Gruff these days, I have insisted that I get to read a story too so we both benefit, (and the cat does too of course).
Gruff worries, his big worries all seem to pile in at bedtime when he’s tired. The cat helps out with furry cuddles which seems to make things better.
Worries are worries no matter how small you are.
We’ve been pumpkin carving and dress altering today in preparation for the sweetgorge fest that is Halloween tomorrow. Here’s day thirty of Inktober and a little ghost for you.
Snow White’s step mother had some funny ideas about healthy eating. Having a bit of fun with a witchy theme for Halloween and day twenty eight of Inktober.
Day twenty seven of Inktober and we’re nearly there. Had fun tonight with taking the line for a walk. Try leaving your pen on the page for as long as you can bare, make your line dance.
This is Orville, she hatched back in May from a very tiny egg. She’s a lovely friendly hen but terribly scared of everything. She is my most prolific escape artist and has escaped over ten times now.
The last time she escaped we found her furiously scratching for bugs on top of the privet hedge.
Being a blue haired smurf like takes work and the dye washes out fairly quickly with each wash so I have come to appreciate the joys of dry shampoo. Probably a bit too much but I do notice that the more I use the thicker my hair gets. Now that’s not a problem unless you have a thatch of hair like me.
*Since this post has gone to print, I have now washed my hair.
Enjoy day twenty of Inktober.
I amuse my cat. I am a particularly clumsy and annoying human.
He hears my chatter like a whining bluebottle. I do bring food and herb enhancing joy (in the form of cat nip) so I’m not all bad.
This particular brain to pen splurge was inspired by the large chunk of a cat that waits outside my children’s school for cuddles each morning.
I have a little shed at the top of the garden now, right by the chickens. It’s out the way of the housework and Bonnie curls up with me. Sometimes Arnie might grace me with five seconds of his time before insisting the door gets left open for him to come and go.
Anyhow, here’s day eighteen of Inktober brain to pen splurge.
Day fourteen of Inktober, Happy Birthday Evie my beautiful girl, born on this day ten years ago into swirling waters complete in your caul. I love you my little mermaid.
It’s International day of the girl so here’s to girl power all over the world.
Day five of Inktober. Some of Bonnie’s best friends are scruffy little dogs who love nothing more than tearing around the park after my long legged gangling of a dog.
So you’ll be bombarded with drawings everyday this October, everything that comes out of my head and into my sketchbook gets put on here, warts and all and all that jazz.
Here’s day one, I’ll post days two and three today as well so I’ve caught up.
Enjoy and let’s get drawing!
The sun finally dragged itself from behind the Swansea perma-cloud this weekend for a brief, glimpse of warmth before the next rainy deluge.
It was what the wildlife in our garden was waiting for. All the bugs, bees, butterflies and other pollen loving beasties made their annual pilgrimage to our flowering ivy.
Evie was the first to immerse herself in fluttering red admirals. She dipped apple slices in sugar water and stood by the ivy waiting for one of them to sample some sugary loveliness.
There are two mornings in the year that are terrible. They are so very terrible because there is nothing you can do to hide from the fact that there is school that day.
The first terrible morning is the morning after the summer holidays. Like a dark shadow cast over the summer that went on forever, the morning marks the death knell of a season of bare feet and adventures.
The second terrible morning is the morning after the Christmas holidays, the decorations look stale, the tree flops to one side and it isn’t even daylight yet.
That moment looms before you have to wake them up and bring in the morning. I’m a mum alarm clock. I try to be cheery but I think that makes it even worse.
I’ve tried matter of fact but that just makes me sound cold.
I’ve tried distraction, “oh look it’s sunny” but that deepens the despair.
It’s like ripping off a plaster, make it quick, make it over with as soon as possible.
I’m not an amazing knitter but I find it very relaxing and I enjoy making toys for my lot.
That is until the knitting monster arrives.
The knitting monster will has a few lines of attack.
The first is to stalk you silently, slowly, crawling on silent paws until the final burst of claws and fluff descend.
The second is through masquerade. Knitting monster will curl up beside you and pretend to fall asleep but do not be fooled! Oh no, knitting monster is merely biding his time until lots of lovely wool unravels itself all around him and he engages all four paws in attack and shred.
What do you when you see a couple having an argument in public?
You say nothing, you presume it’s a disagreement that will end with a laugh or a hug.
What do you do when the man turns to face the woman and grabs her by the shoulders?
You presume he’s reassuring her and that everything will be fine and they will walk off agreeing to disagree.
What do you do when his hands shake her hard, wrenches her arms towards his, pressing his face into hers?
You yell very loudly to take his hands off her. You make sure every single
person around you turns to see this man and what he is doing. You yell so loud that your children freeze and your teenager momentarily dies of embarrassment.
The man then shouts at me that this is his wife so that makes it alright.
I yell back that wives don’t come sale or return to be abused like that and I’m still calling the police.
The woman’s eyes are as wide as saucers by now and she waves an apology to me. The pair scarper into the market place and I’m left standing with Gruff asking me very gently to release the tight grip on his hand as he’d like to feel his fingers again.
I apologise for making my children jump but I couldn’t stand by and watch that.
I also apologise to the woman, I probably made things worse for you, I’m sorry but I couldn’t stand by and watch you be shaken like that.
I am aghast.
An artist’s dog should know that there are many things you may chew but pencils, pencils are utterly unforgivable.
What were you thinking Bonnie?
Still I found a new one to draw about it tonight.