By the time you read this, we will be trundling down to the West Country on the Varedero to a small one room barn conversion (with four poster bed) in Parracombe. I don't think I've stopped working since Feb 2008, when my first needle felt kit arrived, wonderously and anonymously through the post. (Thank you, fairy Godmother). It has been an incredible year-and-a-bit, but I am serious need of some non-creative relaxation, (well, just my Moleskine sketchbook...) This will be my first week's holiday since 2005, soon after I started this blog and went totally freelance.
In need of fish&chips&icecream&pinkrock&beer money, I got stuck into my neglected commissions list and fulfilled an order for our lovely neighbour, four Christmas robins.
We are going to see old and much loved friends and paddle in the cold North Devon sea. Hopefully this Saturday we will visit the Devon County Show, which is going to reduce me to happy tears; it was the one big event mum used to save up for, so that we could have a 'rural' day out together and dream of having chickens. I haven't been since I was eleven, when friends of the family had to take me, as mum was too ill from her chemo to come. She was determined that I should not miss it; she knew how much I loved it. It wasn't the same without her, but by the looks of it, I managed to enjoy myself.
Because she shielded me from the worst of her sickness, I had no idea how fatally ill she was, nor that my dad would pass away before her, only a few months after these pictures were taken. Me, in my hand embroidered 'FONZ' flares, and my hippy hat with animal badges on.
I have never felt so close to this little girl as I do now, stood atop the biggest combine harvester at the show. Her life was about to be scattered to the four winds, and yet, she survived. She become lots of different kinds of people over the years and ended up, circle-wise, pretty much the same person as she was then, with similar ambitions as she has now. Country life, smallholding, growing veg, home baking, painting and making things. She thought she would spend all her life in her beloved Devon, but spent most of it trying to get back.
I know that this time round, that young 'me' and the spirit of my mother will be with me, somehow, sizing up pigs, crooning over hens and bustling round the WI tent looking at chutneys. The ultimate aim of our trip is have a look at property prices...let's see if we can't get on the housing ladder this time round, before we reach our dotage. I've been too long away from home.