Thursday, 8 September 2016

Be like a Swan!

Do you ever have one of those periods of time where it just feels like everything is going wrong?

This Summer has certainly been one of those. Firstly, I lost my beautiful cat Mia to foxes which left me heartbroken and feeling completely uninspired, particularly by the fox I'd only recently painted.

After months of living in a very wrong-feeling house, we decided to adopt three rescue cats, including an only five week old kitten. They are wonderful but two had cat/kitten flu and needed treating for that including some very gunky eyes dripping all over the house. Then somehow they also managed to get fleas despite not going outside yet! 

They have fully infested our bedroom so I can no longer lie on the floor with my yoga mat because they have been crawling out of the floorboards. We've been using every treatment we can find and although we seem to be making a little progress, the little delights just keep coming. 

The poor cats have had to be quarantined in the (thankfully large) bathroom. We chatted to the vets on the phone and found out we're doing everything right by combing them as often as possible and keeping them away from the main infestation in the house. We can't use any other treatment on them yet as they had already been treated. I've become an expert at extracting fleas and drowning them in boiling soapy water. I've never been so well acquainted  with my hoover and I've discovered a strong obsession with steam cleaners.

It's a horrible feeling when you can't relax in your own space or even work productively because you're constantly worried about where the little critters are coming from next although thankfully we haven't had any jumping on our bed recently.

My usual go-to is to have a bath when I feel a little overwhelmed with everything and it really helps me wash everything, mental and physical, away. But I can't do that at the moment and I must admit, it's really getting to me.

Last night, the lovely Whisper decided to completely miss the litter tray and we ended up with cat pee EVERYWHERE including up against the wooden cladding of the bath tub. It's taken a lot of cleaning up (mostly by wonderful Sam because I was teary tired by this point) and the smell is still lingering. Any flea and cat odour tips gratefully appreciated!

The cats are all absolutely gorgeous though and such a great mix of personalities. I cannot wait for the day when we are flea free and able to cuddle them all without immediately washing our clothing and getting into the shower!

I had perfectly timetabled my summer so that I would be well ahead of schedule for the rest of the year and have written so many blog posts, but thanks to this curveball that hasn't really happened. We have two days until one of our busiest weekends of the year. I had my stock all ordered and ready but had some damaged mount boards which were very promptly replaced. I'd kept these safely in the box until today when I discovered that they'd been dropped in transit by the courier and were all unusable. Steve from Cotswold Mounts is fast becoming my hero because he is sending some replacements out to me for tomorrow.

I'm writing this on my lunch break from our final two days of prepping for h.Art. It's been a bit of a rush, and I keep remembering things to add to my to-do list but I'm sure we'll have everything ready in time... I'm channelling my inner swan- serene and graceful above water, but paddling furiously underneath!

Thursday, 1 September 2016


My latest work features an otter, or ‘dratsie’ to use its Scottish name.

Otters usually offer help to humans in folk tales by bringing food so are usually considered to be animals symbolising joyfulness, playfulness and happiness. Their Anglo-Saxon name was the ‘water-snake’ and in Celtic folklore they are referred to as ‘water dogs’.

Irish and Scottish highlanders believed that otters had other-wordly powers and that they secretly lived as part of kingdoms, like humans. Their rulers were called ‘otter kings’ and were thought to be accompanied by seven black otters. It was thought that the Otter king’s skin was magical and could protect an entire household from harm, but this came at a price. The person or beast who killed the otter king would die shortly afterwards. Legend says that the few surviving suporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden were all carrying king otter skin to protect them from harm.

This new design will be available as cards and prints at my open studio as part of h.Art from the 10th-18th September. Please see details below.