First, a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who rallied round and ordered cards after my little winge...I was overwhelmed by your kindness, and especially from other artists who I know are in the same leaky old freelance boat as myself. Thanks to you all, I will be able to get a new range of cards printed next year, hopefully without any silly mistakes. Nelliephant arrived and I have re-ordered a couple of designs which to my utter amazement sold out. I am now re-stocked and having a final push, capturing unwary friends and villagers with the cry 'have you bought your Christmas cards yet??"
I've been bunkered down, sorting out dreary admin-thingys and sorting out the small stuff of life. Waiting, like Billy Bunter, for a mythical publishing cheque (or in his case, a postal order) which only arrived last Friday. Thankfully we were given a generous load of wood by some kindly souls, who heard we were rummaging about in the forest for wood ends. A couple of weeks ago they turned up with smiling faces and a few sackloads of logs, leaving me quite speechless and on the verge of tears at such generosity.
After being given two brace of pheasant (shot this time, not roadkill) we were able to repay the good turn. We made them casserole ready - plucked, drawn, quartered and cleaned. Imagine us on a darkening, chilly November evening, reverting to caveman regime - Andy doing the macho, yukky business in the yard, me at the sink doing the womanly titivating and cleaning and Clover hovering in the dark, yellow owl eyes aglow, waiting for the main organs to be tossed her way, like a true cave-clan cat. So I was able to take a box of jointed pheasant and a jar of chutney to our good neighbours.
Eventually and in the nick of time, another illustration job has come in which will tide me over Christmas. Drawing is like any activity, if you don't do it for a while, you get rusty. For the last 3 weeks I have been sorting out Red Flannel Elephant amongst other things, and very little art work has been done. Getting going again, especially with a tight deadline, was like exercising lazy muscles. The first day I was in despair, convinced that I'd lost it forever. The next day I hid myself in research, always a good way to procrastinate with a clear conscience. I was getting a bit down in the dumps at my feebleness, and in the end, I bit the bullet, scribbled rubbish for a day and dragged my inner draughtsman out kicking and screaming. It's going ok so far.
My unexpected reward for perseverance was darling Andy buying me the dvd set of 'Planet Earth'. - he'd noticed my glumness and thought it would inspire me. Not having a television, we had no idea of what to expect, and I sat throught the first episode with my mouth literally open, stunned at the sheer magnificent glory of it all. I adore nature programmes, and it is the only drawback to not having a 'gogglebox' as my old dad used to call them. I am indeed inspired, and how lucky I am to have such a kind partner who notices when the grey clouds set in.
Tomorrow I am being visited by a fellow blogger, so I will have to fish out my best corduroys, brush my hair and try to remember the art of civilised conversation. We may go to the woods and there might be cake...