Thursday, 29 July 2010

Help for Heroes

Sheppard's Flock, the opposition team.  Spot the celebs!
My cartoon: "Hope you don't mind, Sheppard, but I've brought a runner!"
 Tonight we've been at a charity cricket match in which Pat was playing, in aid of 'Help for Heroes'.  It was a great match in aid of a great cause.  One of the charity's patrons in General Sir Richard Dannatt, former chief of the British Armed Forces, who agreed to take part, as did former Norwich City goalkeeper, Bryan Gunn.  I was asked to make a cartoon to present to the General to commemorate his visit, so I have spent a lot of this week staring at pictures of him from the internet, trying to draw his nose of his chin right!  It turned out to have been time well spent because he really liked the picture, and I got a kiss for my efforts!  Bryan Gunn was game enough to auction off some lovely paintings donated by our friend, painter Martin Battye.  Organiser Tim Sheppard, the former physio to Norwich City, thinks we should have raised about £500, but you can get a more accurate total when its all totted up from the Saxlingham Gents website.  I've talked myself hoarse and had a great time, and its late, but I thought I'd put up some pics to share what was a lovely evening with you.

Bryan Gunn hamming it up as auctioneer.

General Sir Richard Dannatt and the proud artist. 

Getting a snog from a military icon (yes, I am such a tart for a man in uniform!)


Pat and I at Somerleyton Hall at the weekend

It's been such a busy week, and more to come.  The weekend was filled with our friends Sara and Richard from Sussex, who came to stay.  Followed quickly by my cousin Margaret who came for lunch.  Now I am busy preparing for the 'Help for Heroes' charity cricket match tonight, and then off on hols briefly tomorrow.  No idea how I am going to get everything done...

Me and my pal, Sara.

With my cousin Margaret - I'm starting to look pretty frazzled at this point!
(In case you are wondering, that's not the same t-shirt worn several days in a row.  I like red so I have several.)  Wish me luck as I try to get everything done in time!

Thursday, 22 July 2010


So here  she is, the birthday girl, and she doesn't look like 50 years, does she?
Birthday girl and her mum.  Well if you can't have silly sunglasses on your birthday, when can you?

 Enjoying the party on the stern.  Yes, that's me on the left. Great dress, isn't it?
Lavinia, Nina and Sue enjoying the sunshine outside the boatshed before we set off.
Sue in the sun.
 Nina and Lavinia.
Nina and her big sister Sally.
Saturday evening's entertainment - specially rewritten version of 'The Drunken Sailor's song by Lavinia and Richard.  Top marks for inventiveness and costume, especially the glow-in-the-dark bear tooth necklace.
Comedy moment of the trip.  The handle came off the teapot as Lavinia was carrying it out of the galley, and she and I both got scalded legs.  She had the sense to retreat to the shower to cool hers, while I ended up standing in a bucket of broads water!
The wherry - White Moth of the Norfolk Yachting Company.  White Moth and her skipper Kim come highly recommended.  Kim's endless patience and good humour were a delight, as were his huge store of stories and Broads information and history.
Sailing home....

Monday, 19 July 2010


The garden at Charleston, Sussex, a place that makes me very happy.

I was looking at a great website today called the Happiness Project, basically because I am feeling stressed, and I came across this quote:

"To live in perpetual want of little things is a state, not indeed of torture, but of constant vexation."  Samuel Johnson.

So I thought about the little things that make me happy:

  • the sound of rain on the roof
  • the way Pat makes me laugh (His excuse this morning for stealing all the duvet in the night was that it wasn't him, it was the Duvet Troll.  Well, it was funny at the time...)
  • cake
  • pink peonies
  • giving myself a pedicure, and the resulting painted toenails (bright red today)
  • the sea
  • Terry Pratchett's books
  • our huge, comfy bed.
There are lots of other things too, but these are just the ones that come to mind.  What is making you happy today?

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Today I am busy cooking and sorting things out in preparation for our wherry trip.  We are very excited to be sailing on the Norfolk Broads for three days, but I have plenty of munchies to cook up to take with us.  The weather looks promising, but I'm not banking on it, because its always colder on the water than you think it's going to be (I know this of old!). So I hope I shall come home with lots of lovely pictures of our gorgeous Broads to share with you, if the weather is fine.  If not, well, as my niece said  to me this morning, you can only get so wet!

Friday, 16 July 2010


Every now and again, we all have a bit of a bumpy ride.  I am having one at the moment.  My mood is very low, and I have a swollen, infected eyelid.  It's hard to keep positive when I am feeling so raw and paranoid.  I am proud that I haven't fallen back into my old, self-harming ways yet, but its been a near thing.  Maybe its just the windy weather we are having.  My grandmother always used to get crabby when it was windy, and Pat does too.  I quite like it, though.  It's always been 'school trip' weather to me, because whenever I went on a school trip as a child, it always seemed to be on a blustery day.  I've got a holiday and an exciting adventure to look forward to in the coming weeks, and I am going out with friends this afternoon.  I just have to keep going, and hang onto the phrase that has been floating around my head for weeks now:

This too shall pass.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Danger - Unexploded OUGHTS!

The enforced rest day yesterday has helped.  Now I am in that weird place between feeling well enough to get on with life, and not being ill enough to give in and lie in bed and stare at the ceiling.  This is the part where I get frustrated and crabby.  My eyes are still too blurry to draw or write much, and with no ability to concentrate, beguiling the hours with a good book is out of the question.  That is if I had the ability to decide what to read, but when I'm like this, I can't settle on anything for very long without getting bored and grumpy.

This a danger zone for me.  I made a list of how I was feeling in my journal, and it was full of angry, judgmental adjectives.  Any moment now, I am going to pick up a self-help book and start constructing a new list of goals - for which, read OUGHTS!!!  It was OUGHTS that got me in this mess, but my reflex response is to pile a few shiny new ones on the heap that is crushing the life and energy out of me. 

My life would be so much better if I could only:  be more disciplined/ do an hour of yoga and mediation every day/ write morning pages/ join a life drawing class/ get thinner/ go swimming/ have a twice-weekly face-pack/ learn to dance the salsa/ get 'The Seventh' published/ spend a week in a luxury Greek hideaway with Neil Oliver etc etc etc.

You've been there too, I know. (Well maybe not the Greek Neil Oliver fantasy, but you know what I mean.)

Right now, what I really need is to give myself a break.  Be nice to myself.  A little loving-kindness, forgiveness, acceptance would go a long way.  But doing that goes against 40 years of habit.  And it's a hard habit to break.  And just now, I can't think how to start.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Oh dear...

I've fallen into a bit of a hole.  Did too much.  Nearly passed out yesterday in public.  A 42 year old woman lying on her back on a sofa in the student's union at UEA isn't what you'd usually expect to see. (Interesting that nobody came up to me to see if I was okay, though.) Never mind.   Pat brought me home and shovelled me into bed, where I have been ever since.  Getting up and down the stairs to the loo is as much as I can manage.  I may not even manage to get washed and dressed today.

And I never saw it coming.  I had several days rest after our trip to the Royal Norfolk Show last Thursday, knowing I would need it.  But I was feeling a lot better.  This is what ME is like.  You think you are okay,but there it is, lurking under the shadows, waiting to jump out on you.  I've used up all my energy typing this now, and my vision has gone all blurry again.  Back to sleep, I suppose.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


A coda to the Grumpy Bear story.  I always have to find a way to feel better. iTunes has become a very efficient answer.  Play a little music, boogie round the kitchen, let the pictures come in my head, and somehow the grump wears off.  So next time, I have to remember this:

Rotring Artpen with Derwent Masterchoice coloured pencils in my journal.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


I slept late today and it's left me feeling like a grumpy toddler. I've been drifting around the house, all twitchy, not knowing what to do with myself.  As usual, I ended up in the study, trying to write it out, but couldn't seem to get it off my chest.  I remembered my counsellor had set me some homework this week, which is to draw my hidden rebellious side. Turns out, I keep it so well hidden, even I don't know what it looks like.  So I ended up with this, a little scribble in my diary of my Grumpy Bear, which is how I feel today.  Don't talk to me or I'll claw your eyes out. Grrrrr.

Rotring Artpen with Derwent Master Choice coloured pencils in my journal.