For the Federation of Children's Book Groups Newsletter click here

As it all seemd too idylic I thought I would write and alternative day, a little more full of chaos.

A Day in the Life of a restless illustrator, 2.

Last night I dreamed of six kingfishers. A bright, vivid dream full of colour, vibrant. They were in Evesham.

Later that day I remembered having seen six kingfishers somewhere but it took a while to realise it was in a dream, so clear was the memory held in my mind. Sometime in the not too distant future I must paint them and try and work out where they came from and why.

The rest of the day has not been bright, vivid or joyous. It began with arguments and trying to get ready for school in time to walk down the road to get a lift from a friend. The car is still in the garage. Much colder today and Hannah has a school trip to Cardiff, an unreasonably small bag to put lunch, money and phone in and no jumper. The cats decide they want to join us on our walk as we are obviously going somewhere interesting and by the time the children are swept off to school I feel frayed and ragged.

But it is a sharp, clear day, sky speckled with small lapwing flocks and fields dotted with redwings. Ramsey Island looks crisp and mysterious.

Back in the studio I finish painting The Lobster Quadrille, having filled bird feeders and stood for a while watching as greenfinch, chaffinch, robin, house sparrow, greattits, bluetits, blackcaps and blackbirds pass back and forth through the thorn hedge.

And then the phone rang. For the rest of the day the phone rang, every time I sat down to work, every time I gathered my thoughts, after I had tidied away books, shuffled roughs and flicked through sketchbooks.

The garage called to pronounce a near death sentence on the car, which can only be saved by lots of very expensive work, which cannot be done for 3 weeks. I have to go to London in three days time with a car full of paintings for an exhibition.

A friend who is a vet points out that I won’t be able to drive myself home from the appointment at the eye hospital, even if I had a car to do it in, though there is nothing in the literature from the hospital to advise this. Thank goodness for wise friends.

So the day slipped through my fingers with a brief interlude of freedom from the phone where I walked the dogs. The air was so clear that I could see all the way to the Llyn Peninsular and Bardsey Island in the distance, the whole coast of Wales laid out like a map.

Then children home and supper, Hannah calm now and quiet and tired after her trip to Techniquest. We flop onto the sofa to watch yet more Orcs pile over barricades to slaughter the elven folk, ourselves piled like puppies in the cushions.

When the children are in bed panic sets in. Time has slipped through my fingers and my mind is tangled up in knots. Too much to do, things to organise for the exhibition, lists of paintings and prices and cards and books to take and paintings to wrap and I don’t know how much space there will be in the car ( what car! Mine is in pieces in the garage!) And I have roughs to do for the poetry book that I am not yet halfway through and am anxious about workshops for the French festival.

I give up, walk the dogs around the village in the pale moonlight with gentle moon shadows. The hole in my vision looks like a moth against the pearl grey night sky clouds. The house is hushed now, children and animals breathing out gentle dreams and whatever the day has been like I have a hopeful heart.


Back to Journal