Monday, November 10, 2014

Time to explore

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

Chris is very good at finding places that I just adore. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum is a collection of very old buildings that have been moved here from all over the country and preserved as a complete town. The scent of woodsmoke drifted over the village, and I sat in the winter sun and sketched until bits of me went numb. 

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

There were people here whose whole purpose was to wander round in costume and talk to visitors. I think this might be my dream job. And I just love those timber framed buildings and interesting brickwork.

Jelly fungus

My other current obsession is fungi (see previous posts) and I was pleased to add a couple of new ones to my collection, including these Jelly Ears.

The potting shed

There were some charming little scenes set up in the houses, and you could imagine that any moment the gardener was going to walk through the door. It appealed to my love of preserving garden produce - the strings of onions and garlic hanging up and the neatly stacked fruits are a bit of a dream of mine really. One day I would love to have a pantry where I can store dried vegetables and jars of home made jams.

Chickens and grain store

I can't help comparing life then with our lives now: rushing from one thing to the next, sending emails and writing reports, so busy that we have to do our shopping online and get it delivered. Don't get me wrong, I love the life we live and I am very lucky in so many ways. And I wouldn't change our centrally-heated home with electricity and running water for any of these cottages, however charming they are. But I think there is a lot to be said for living in harmony with the world around us, following the pattern of the seasons and using our natural resources wisely. 


I thoroughly enjoyed our morning exploring here, and I'm glad that we get the time to do things like this. Maybe modern life isn't so bad after all.

Monday, November 03, 2014

To be a better sketcher

Lugley House

Making sketching a regular part of my life became a resolution in 2012. My production schedule has gone up and down depending on other things are going on at the time, but two years down the road I find I am consistently filling a journal every couple of months. My loved ones are very good at waiting for me while we are out ("hang on a minute, I need to sketch this") but I am also getting more confident about standing on street corners and sketching on my own.


I'm also trying to record a bit of the world around me. If I only draw when I've got something pretty in front of me, it'll make nice pictures but I'd like to do more than that. I've lived in the same town for most of my life and I can already see changes from when I was younger...I have a feeling that in 20 years' time the sketches of shops and buildings will be interesting reminders.

Cafe Isola

And it's all practice isn't it? Even my worst sketch is better than one that never makes it on to the page. With each sketch that I do I feel like I am getting closer to SOMETHING. I'm not sure what that is, yet. People have commented on my 'style' but I don't think I've worked that out yet. There is still so much to learn. Still so much to sketch.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Too far gone

I think not posting anything since July qualifies me as a terrible blogger. I could go back and re-cap everything since then, but really I think it's too far gone. So instead, I shall start again with the best of intentions and see how far I get this time.

1.11.14 Autumn walk

It's been warm. Really warm. Like wearing t-shirts in October warm. Which is wonderful, if slightly confusing. We finally reached the end of bee-keeping season and the girls are settling down for the winter, which means we get weekends to go off and explore and DO STUFF. Mostly, this has been going for walks, seeing lots of amazing things, and generally having a wonderful time.

Honeybee on ivy

The honeybees are making the most of the long autumn and stocking up for winter.

Red squirrel

Autumn is a great time to see wildlife, and the red squirrels here made my day. You'd think that living with small fluffy animals, I wouldn't want to see more of them. But I do, oh I do. I loved noticing the differences between the squirrels and our degus, even down to the fact that the squirrels will come right up to you for food and yet it took us MONTHS to get the degus to eat out of our hands.

Birds feeding

I don't really think of myself as a bird-watcher. But as we go out and about, I find that I always want to know what things are. What's that bird? That tree? That plant? And the more I know, the more I want to know. Which might be why I've joined so many Isle of Wight nature groups on Facebook. I want to know ALL THE THINGS.


The last few weekends have been full of wonderful things. I'm quite emotional about it really - there's so much beauty around us and I love that we have the time to enjoy it together.


I love noticing all the little details, and feeling like we're making the most of every minute of this glorious autumn. These are good days, my friend.

Fly Agaric