1st August. Too many days of rain but this morning, blue sky and sun warmth. Walking dogs along the path by Porthlliski we met Welsh Black cows, curious. The fields were full of green gold, but today I am thinking of things that are red.
Ruby red shoes that glitter and shine, cherries, so sweet, so juicy, and the wings of a dragon.
Some days a so full of distractions that it takes all day to get to work, and when I look back on what it is that has ept me away from my studio, from my painting, I can find nothing of any substance.
6th August. Yesterday I spent a day driving to Bath with Hannah to go shopping and wander the streets in an aimless fashion. Mr B's was as ever an Emporium of Reading Delights and once again the lightened my wallet and burdened me with bags of books. I now have Wolf Hall, and uncharacteristically started reading it. Wonderful. We met Joanna Nadin for lunch and she is lovely, and has two books out this week. Good to get together to talk about work. I learnt some very useful things. Home again to sunshine and a day in the studio finishing off a piece for The Ice Bear. And Tell Me a Dragon has arrived. They have some in Mr B's in Bath and I will be stocking the shops in St Davids with signed copies.
8th August. Moth filled evenings give way to butterfly dancing days and finally feels like summer has forgiven us and come back to play. Could this be because I almost have a full complement of slates on my roof ? Almost, but not quite.
10th August. Seals gather. Overhead ravens fly. Buzzard circle and mew. Small flocks of bell voiced linnets flit and flicker through the bracken. Dragonflies rattle wings. Already the nights begin to draw in and moths dance in the twilight. So far the nights have not been clear enough for star watching. Clouds blanket the night, soften the milky moonlight. I should be close to finishing the Ice Bear now but am barely half way through.
The house seems as if it will never be finished.
14th August. Walking yesterday in sunshine and bluesky and the air smelled of honeyed heather and meadowsweet, and was filled with the brush of butterfly wings. Finding all the chaos of building too much and the demands of signing books and delivering breaks up the day too much and so I cannot settle to work. As a result not at all happy with the new spread from The Ice Bear, of the raven with the amber bead.
Meanwhile I have most of a roof and something of rooms inside but all seems so far away from ever being finished.
Tell Me a Dragon is selling well in the shops locally. The woolen Mill at Middlemill near Solva are happy to supply signed copies. The books are full price and postage will be added, but they do have most of the titles in print. The photograph below shows the kind of thing I do when I sign a book. You can contact the mill by email or through their website.The one below that is Heddle, half of the cat duo that run the mill, Heddle and Bobbin, posing for a photo for the cat blog. Minutes prior to this Heddle was snacking on a small mouse.
Distracted when delivering books in the Pebbles Bookshop, St Davids, I bought David Wilson's new and very beautiful book, with a very familiar photograph on the cover.
17th August. Over the weekend the cats made an appearance in The Financial Times colour supplement, and wish to give their thanks to Tom Cox for a wonderful article.
Madness fell in as the building work suddenly became too much for me. On Saturday I took time out to go and sort out some of the things that needed doing, but found that the shop where I had bought my flooring from was closed, and anyway I had forgotten to bring the details with me, hat I hadn't measured either the bathroom for the tiling, or the kitchen for the table, but bought a table anyway and hoped it would fit, and that I had forgotten to bring the camera, which needs cleaning and a new lens cap and just about every other thing that would have been useful. Frustrating!
Back home I found myself putting vases of flowers amongst the rubble.
At the moment the kitchen looks like the photo below, but it begins to take a shape in my head. I only hope it is the right shape as I will have to live with it for a long time. Larry, Robin's dog, does not like the house as it is, no he does not like it, not at all. But the cats do so love their new scratching posts!
17th August. A cold despair crept over me from yesterday evening and gathered around. Today I wandered through the day and then was rounded up by ginger cats and herded to a warm place, not of my choosing, the home again, having worked out how the raven needed changing. It seemed that I couldn't move on until this was addressed. This will be the third time that I have painted, or tried to paint, this spread. Sometimes it seems so like one step forwards and two back. And then there is the house, which creeps and creeps and creeps towards something. The front of the house does indeed look like a dark cave inhabited by trolls.
Now the children are both with their father and Rosie has gone with Hannah so there is just me and the six cats and two dogs at home and that feels good. Tomorrow I will paint late into the evening because I have found a horse to head off on.
27th August. Results day, and Tom and Hannah both have GCSE results to get, then school uniform. Looking back through the last few postings life seemed pretty drear. Things combine to stop me painting and this is driving me mad. Hannah's birthday was a lovely day, with sunshine and sea and friends, but difficult in a broken house of rubble and dust.
Over the past few days when I have felt utterly at the end of my tether I have found that it is indeed possible to go a little further, but amidst all the chaos I have found beautiful things. Iris's tiles (seen below, with links to her website which is lovely). I hope to scatter these among slate tiles on the floor and also to talk to her about more as we do some work together. Flowers from Robin. So kind. So thoughtful. Sunshine on hawthorn berries, blue sky and bird song.
31st August. It is raining. Hard rain beating on the roof, cold. In the garden the rose hips are full and red and shining with rain. Trying to paint, and in the half of the house that is broken the builders are painting, making doors and beginning to put down a floor in Tom's room. My head hurts and I feel sick but I am trying to paint, glowing amber beads in the shape of a broken heart, fallen onto snow, watched by a distant snowy owl.