I love this time of year - everything goes back to normal and my world can putter on, but with a whole shiny new year to get things done in. We don't really go in for Christmas - Andy has to work (even on Boxing Day this year) and I prefer to work - but we took a couple of days off at New Year and drove out and about in the comfort of The Wheels. Had a quiet lunch at the Farmer's Arms, a great family pub in Guiting Power.
It is a rare thing in the upmarket Cotswolds - a normal, nice pub with a comfy atmosphere. No posh gastro-anything, no minor celeb chef serving pickled pheasant with pineapple. We like it. And it serves great local Donnington beer - for me the passenger that is, the driver had a nice ginger beer. (A tip for tourists in the Cotswolds looking for a traditional pub - find a Donnington Brewery one, all the ones we have been to are excellent)
It's all a bit dull, blustery and rainy here at the moment, so I have been driven around and parked about, so that I could do some (very) rubbishy landscape sketching. Snowshill is a favourite area for big fields and lowering skies.
Despite the gloom, the landscape is still stunning, especially over the Wiltshire Pewsey Downs. Sweeping and mystically atmospheric in all weathers, even on a murky day.
My favourite clump of trees; I can see it from all angles on our summer circular walk.
Spot the Wiltshire White Horse winter sleeping on the hillside.
Silbury Hill manages to camouflage itself very snugly into the surrounding countryside. To get an idea of how big this amazing prehistoric man-made mound is, the tiny little light to the middle left is a car headlight, on the road which runs past it.
As is tradition, I had a big studio tidy, ready for the new year. I have another full order sheet and am ploughing my way through a big list which includes some very remorseful and late emails to friends around the world and explaining why I didn't do a Christmas card this year. I don't deserve you, I really don't.
Updating my website is proving to be several days worth of work in itself; I'd rather be needle felting, but I can't punt for new illustration work without a decent website. Oh dear me, it is a very dull job indeed. By the way, a little tip; if you are like me and have several piles of *stuff* taking up floor space, simply amalgamate them into taller piles! I am quietly proud of this flash of genius.
What isn't dull at all is organising my first needle felting workshop which is happening later this month - two days of private tuition down in Bath with nine people. I have never been to Bath before, so it will be a very big adventure.