Checking in.

As those of you that read my blog know, I’ve kind of lost my way since my dad died, but I don’t want to give up just yet.

My trip home was good.

I only had a cry three times, including one where my sister lovingly tossed me a used tissue.

Bless her.

Probably why I’ve got the lurgy now.

I’ve come home with a sore throat, cough and achy parts.

Thank you K.

I ate all of the food on my list except for the pie and mash, fish and chips, and the pint of bitter.

So much food, not enough time.

The flights were awful. The most uncomfortable I’ve flown for a long while and took for ever. We did make it there and back in one piece, however, so I’m grateful for that.

I wasn’t as cold there as I expected, which is unusual for someone who usually curls up in a corner with a blanket and doesn’t come out again until all the heaters are turned up high.

In fact, at times it was just as cold here in Houston as it was in England.

We stayed at my brother-in-law’s house which is an old converted barn.

Actually I think it was the pig sty as the large barn is to one side.

I started a painting of their house before we left, but I just can’t get those pesky oil pastels to dry.

They’ll probably get it two years from now.

Our bedroom was behind the larger window in the roof, above the kitchen door.

The house has the original brick floors and some brick walls, but I really only had to curl up once.

Probably the red wine helped.

I’m thinking of painting the barn opposite also.

But not the big black barn.

It’s just all barn and windows.

Nice, but a bit boring.

This is the entrance coming into the old farm.

Before Christmas I made quite a few pieces which I shared on Instagram, but only got into the studio for the first time yesterday.

A friend wanted a piece with topaz and amethyst, but it was hard for me to find anything that I liked.

In the end I found these.

And this is where K and her used tissue comes in.

Usually I’m pretty good at replicating one of my drawings. In fact it always surprises me, but this time.


Don’t even talk to me about it.

So today I’m off out to get my hair cut, which always makes me feel better, and then I’m boycotting the studio until I feel better.

I’m going to sit on the sofa and switch off BBC and put on some old film.

An old black and white Barbara Stanwyck movie is my preferred choice, but I doubt I’ll be able to find one.

And I might even start back on my embroidery.


I’m off to jolly old England :)

I gave it a smiley face there because I’m really happy that I’m going home to see my family, but even as I write this I can feel the anxiety tingling away in my chest having a party all on its own.

Big chicken when it comes to flying.

Big melodramatic chicken.

I’ve spent this week saying goodbye to all of my stuff. Slowly at first, but with more sadness yesterday and today.

(Did I mention the melodramatic part?)

That said and done I think it will be good for me to get out of dodge for a while. I’m ready for something to break up the vacuum of stuckness this year has hanging over it.

So yah for me.

(Still nervous)

On the upside.

Sausages in a crusty roll with Daddy’s sauce.

Pork Pies


Fish and Chips

Beef Pie

And last, but not least, I’m determined to have a dish from my childhood.

Pie and Mash with lots of liquor – and I don’t mean the alcoholic kind…


All washed down with a pint of bitter.

Hey. If it was good enough for the Queen Mum it’s good enough for me…

So if I don’t come home fatter than I’ve ever been in my whole life, something has gone terribly wrong.

Might have to have the old arteries checked out also.

Best wishes and let it be a really good Happy New Year to everyone.


What’s not been going on.

Getting out of bed for one.

Not cool.

I’m just up and it’s midday. I keep telling myself, don’t think about it girl, just put your feet on the floor and straighten them knees up, but as I always over think everything I’m still waiting for that to work.

And then, when I’m finally up and remarkably find myself in the shower, I’m even more fed up because then I’m all wet and can’t be bothered to get out.

Also what’s not been happening is getting out and about in the real world, although that’s never bothered me much. Once I’m out it’s like, wow, so this is what civilization looks like, but once the initial surprise is over that’s it really.

And the blog.

What can I say, except that’s it exactly.

What can I say?

I’m boring myself to death in a dense pit of gunk so why bring everyone else down?

But every so often I feel that I need to at least write something. It’s like we had this thing going on and I’ve just walked off and not looked back.

I do think about everyone.

As I dragged myself through the post shower drying process this morning I even thought how nice it would be to go to Peru with Gale and eat guinea pigs! But then I thought of poor Guiness and how he’d be turning over in his little grave at the thought and how thankful he must be that he just died of a respiratory infection and not because he had been roasted alive in some charcoal pit in South America.

It’s nice to travel, but I guess you have to think about these things…

And I’m really worried about Cecilia all alone in South Africa going off on those safaris. Haven’t heard from her in ages.

So that’s me.

Still here.

Still crying over dad.

I mean, not always, but just enough sadness to suddenly be brought up short and go through the whole thing again in my head. You know, like how he had just fallen over and wasn’t really dead at all, but then they went ahead and cremated him anyway, even though he had three weeks in between where he could have jumped up and shouted ‘surprise’, so in actual fact the crematorium killed him and it all could have been prevented.

You know, the normal thoughts…

Well normal if you’ve got this low lying depression going on with a touch, just a touch, of psychosis.

I have been getting into the studio as some of you might already know because of Instagram. I’ve also had a few custom orders which always surprises me, and have sold quite a lot really. So that’s nice. It just takes me longer and longer to get in there.

I’m going in there after this although really I just want to sit on the sofa and close my eyes.

Grief is an awful thing, and guilt, because my sister is left in England finishing up all of the paper work and what else is required when someone dies.

And she still has dad under the stairs although she says that’s o.k. as she lets him know the soccer results every time she needs to get the vacuum out.

So just in case I’ve managed to bring anyone down into my gunk pit here’s one of my favourite Christmas jokes to cheer you up.

See you next time.

Strange times.

As I come to think about my blog and all the friends I’ve met through it, I find that I can’t quite ignore the bad feelings that have exploded leading up to this election.

I’m not completely sure what has happened to us all.

I’ve found myself caught up in my own fair share of Facebook propaganda and yet have been surprised when I come across some pretty aggressive comments between people whom I’m sure are strangers to each other and yet believe are otherwise friendly and accepting . One time I even came across a remarkable post linking Clinton to child sacrifice and blood drinking satanic rituals, but as I’m desperately hoping that the people who believe these things are now safely back to their right minds I’m left wondering how it is that we have become so outraged by differences of opinion.

It’s like The Stanford Prison Experiment, but on steroids.

When all is said and done, however, I refuse to lose any of my friends because of the intense negativity of this election.

I’ve decided to remove myself from FB for the time being, except for sharing my jewelry, and I’m also going to try to turn off the news for a while as we seem to be living in a world hell bent on destroying itself and the hatred and anger is becoming overwhelming to me.

You won’t hear my thoughts on the election on this blog, that’s not what I come here for, and I hope that those who have found they differ from my posts on FB will feel safe knowing that I respect their beliefs as much as I do my own.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Here’s a photo of my cats.



After a slow start

I’ve finally picked up the pace again.

I’ve mostly been doing custom orders which is kind of nice in that terrifying kind of way.

First there was this one which I made using the customers own stone.


And then a ring, again using the customers stone


And finally one with yet another customers stone.

Yellow Fire Opal

This last one was hard for me as the stone was huge and very thick and was also bevelled on both sides.

When I took it on I thought it was a regular flat backed cabochon which would have been easier to set, but with the back undercut as well I had to spend a lot of time fiddling around with it to make it sit well in the setting. As a consequence I used a lot more silver than expected. This is actually the second attempt so there was a whole bunch of silver that had to be scraped before I even got to this point.

The lady wanted bees and honeycombs to complement the stone.

To be honest I didn’t like it at all.

Not the stone, nor the design and I know that if I were a better jewelry maker it wouldn’t have been a problem.

When I showed the lady she said that I was close, that if I just took all of the silver off and put a couple of bees in the corner I would have it.

On top of that I had set the stone bottom up as the carving was supposed to be on the underneath.

I felt really awful.


I didn’t blame her as to me it was always a horrible piece, but I just couldn’t bear to do it a third time so I finally apologized to her and returned the stone.

I think perhaps now I can’t do anymore custom orders because I hate disappointing people.

I tried to like the challenge of working through the piece, however, I wasted a hell of a lot of silver which I have since melted down, but it means a lot of work rolling it out again. I did figure out a lot of things through trial and error, but really I didn’t enjoy it at all and think it ended up with all my bad energy in it.

Even looking at its photo gives me a bad feeling so I’m pleased it doesn’t exist anymore.

If the lady is reading this I’m sorry.

I tried.

Then another custom order with a stone I cut myself this time.


Although one of its ball fell off.


After that I gave up jewelry.


Fortunately I forgot that I’d given it up fairly soon and decided to make a couple of pieces with some more stones I’d cut myself.

Gold Sheen Obsidian and Marcasite

I didn’t cut this one below, but it’s definitely one of my favourite stones.

Prudent Man Plume Agate

Nor did I cut these ones, but I am definitely working on never buying another cabochon again.

Ocean Jasper

Yeah, right!

Ocean Jasper

Here are some of the other stones I cut.

Top two left – Indian Black Skin Agate. Bottom two left – Some kind of Jasper. Middle two – Owyhee Picture Jasper. Top right – Graveyard Plume Agate. Bottom right – Gold Sheen Obsidian.

Such a proud stone mamma lol

And here is what I worked on yesterday and which I’m going to have to fix today

Yellow Adventurine

Call it OCD or what you will, but that left hand leaf is just going to have to go which means heating it off and putting a new one on. Which also means that I’ll probably have to reset the prongs again as they’ll most likely come off as well.


Then I think I’m going to try to stick to some simpler things.

Like the bangle below.

Graveyard Plume Agate and Serpentine

Why do I always have to make things so complicated for myself.


One day I’m going to make something that doesn’t have bits falling off it when I do the final polish.

It’s so incredibly annoying.

Fred and Sylv.

My life just slipped into what it is now.

Like just the other day around 55 years ago I was just starting on it, and now I’m still just starting on it.

I have an on again off again relationship with making a go of it.

It being whatever I think I’d like to be when I grow up.

I went to art school after school because a teacher told me I should and I didn’t know what else to do.

Two years foundation course and three years for my degree in Sculpture of all things.

I had a bit of a hard time telling mum about that little chestnut.

She thought I’d signed up for painting and didn’t know what the hell I’d be able to do with a Sculpture degree.

I wondered what she thought I’d do with a painting degree.

Paint houses and garden fences?

After art school I worked in London.

Reality hit me in my last year of school and I spent some evenings copying text from Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake to teach myself how to type on an old manual typewriter that I picked up from somewhere or other.

Not good on the fingers let me tell you.

Anyway, after a few disastrous interviews that the temp agency sent me on, like the one at the Bank of America in London where I not only had to sit in a little room, along with I don’t know how many other applicants for the one job, to do a maths exam, after explicitly telling the temp agency that I did not want a job which had anything remotely, at all, whatsoever to do with numbers of any kind, even my favourite ones, but I also had to go on to name all of the capitals of all of the countries in all of the whole darn world for heaven sakes.


Didn’t get that job by the way.

Canberra tripped me right up.

I then had an interview at a film studio. I think it was Twickenham Film Studios, but I can’t remember because it was a thousand years ago now. They opened a door to let me in and I swear I’ve never walked inside such a rambling confusion of stairways and corridors in my life. The place was so huge that if I actually got the job I didn’t think I’d ever get out alive. They would find my skeletal remains five years after I’d starved to death in some grimy corner of an abandoned stairwell the first time I was sent out to the coffee machine.

Fortunately I didn’t get that job either.

I eventually got a job in a large accountancy firm, (I know. Numbers. That temp woman never did get it right) called Arthur Young McClelland Moore, and although I didn’t last a month upstairs in the pencil ordering department because I was apparently too shy when it came to talking with suppliers, I wheedled my too shy self into a job downstairs in the graphics department where I ended up manually cutting and pasting type for brochures and booklets and the like and even got to draw overhead projection slides.

Go me.

Then we moved to Malaysia, and so, after my two whole years of working in London for a living, I had to quit to follow P into the oil and gas insurance biz.

So that’s me.

After Malaysia came America, where 27 years ago I was assured by the said oil and gas insurance guy we would only live for two years, and then kids. Three of them. All wanting to live in the same house as me.

Somehow my life just drifted by.

I tell you this because I feel I’m in some kind of almost land right now.

I’m almost back to blogging.

I’m almost over crying about dad.

Except yesterday my sister told me that a large old black lady came by dad’s house this weekend when my brother-in-law was there, thankful to be able to tell someone how much she was sorry about the old man who had lived there as he used to always carry her bags for her when he saw her coming down the street.

Strangers strangers everywhere making me cry again.

And laugh because who knew there were so many of them out there. They mostly only knew him as the man with the dog, but still needed to come up to tell us how much they liked him and how sorry they were to hear that he died.

So yesterday I bought a domain name and worked on a new site.

Just for kicks perhaps. But I think because I also liked him.

A lot.

It’s not open yet and perhaps it never will be as I’ve got Cold Feet, but who knows.

Maybe it will remind me that this is all I ever needed to be be when I grow up.

Someone like dad.

If I can get out of almost land that is.



By the way, the first paragraph of Titus Groan is one of my all time favourites.

‘Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls. They sprawled over the sloping earth, each one half way over its neighbour until, held back by the castle ramparts, the innermost of these hovels laid hold on the great walls, clamping themselves thereto like limpets to a rock. These dwellings, by ancient law, were granted this chill intimacy with the stronghold that loomed above them. Over their irregular roofs would fall throughout the seasons, the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.’


I gave it my all

I did.

But now I’m done with the Art Fairs.

I gave it ten years.

I persevered through the Houston heat and that one bizarre time when at the same time of year I nearly froze to death it was that cold.

Honest I did.

But yesterday even the good ol’ Texan boys were complaining.

Grown men moaning about the heat.

And I was with them.

I’ve never been so overheated in my life.

I wasn’t just sweating, it was coming off me in planes.

Sheets of wet sliding off my face.

My face looked like a wet rhubarb and I gave up on trying to keep what little make up I wear on my face.

Just wern’t ‘apning.

I had to go au natural, which actually wasn’t natural at all because no one looks the way I did yesterday.


Oh I checked it out alright.

I looked at every last vendor there and no one looked as much like a wet fish as I did.

And I bet you no one had to change their clothes three times!

It was bad enough at the beginning after setting up, but then it rained. Not a lot, but just enough to make the humidity virtually unbearable in the hour or two afterward.

We can’t have a good old cool down after a sprinkle can we.

No, Houston has to turn into the hothouse of hell.

It did let up later in the afternoon until the thunderclouds decided to roll on in.

Fortunately, (or not), they did seem to pass either side of us. I say not because at that point I was actually praying for a catastrophic storm, or even a small earthquake really, that would mean we’d have to go home.

Not one to abandon ship at an art fair, because that’s just not cricket is it, I was at one point seriously considering emailing the show organizer and telling her that my leg had just fallen off and that I had to leave. Sorry.

I trooped on though and have now vowed that it was my last.

I had four sales including the one from the friend who helped me with the booth.

This morning I still can hardly walk.

I’m telling you.

I almost died out there.

As I was in the shower later that night I tried to turn my misery around and thought about all the people in Syria and Yemen and how they must feel just living day to day in awful conditions with oftentimes no water or food to boot.

It made me feel a little ashamed that I couldn’t make one day without completely falling apart and so I determined to continue to make my jewelry for them  as it’s the least I can do.

Although not at art fairs unless I can find a good one in Houston that’s indoors for heaven’s sake.

For the love of god, are the people who live here even aware that it’s completely abnormal to even consider outside activities in 90 degree heat with 90% humidity!

And I was one of them, but I’ve come to my senses at last and not a minute too soon.

Before yesterday I was even considering applying to the three day Bayou Festival they hold here twice a year.

What drugs was I on…

I am never leaving the house again.