A path well trodden, but how much longer will it be?

Coming here to the North of Kefalonia  it always felt like I was coming home, arriving at the airport, the warm moist air enveloping me as I take the first step from the air conditioned cabin. The familiar face of Makis greeting me and taking my case to the taxi, the breathtaking views as we climb north driving ever higher.   I have been coming twice a year now for 6 years, a long time for me but for others I have met here this is nothing, Some people have been coming to Kefalonia for 16-20 years or more.    The farmhouse always held me, its wild gardens, olive groves, views across the ionian seas to Ithica, the wildlife,  the chickens and goats, this was a sanctuary away from the deadlines and constant pressure that hounded me  when back in the uk.   Now that the pressure is off  I wondered if returning to Kefalonia this time would feel different as I am no longer fleeing the pressure of trying to spin all the plates in the air, run a home, a business, staff, family issues and so on.  Its doubly hard when there is nobody to share this burden with me.  Designing interiors, mixing colours and textures, choosing original artworks, designing my own furniture pieces it gave me the  best feeling in the world and I was in my element, but the procurement  and installation , working along side architects, and building contractors and the male dominated construction industry who wouldnt know good design if it bit on the bum, all this side of designing took away that feeling completely.  Even though I won awards and various accolades it just wasnt enough to keep me fighting the design battles anymore.

So her  I am and  pleased to say that the feelings, even though the first two weeks have been in the coldest ever apparently, haven’t changed a bit,  I still love the island, well the norther part anyway, south more built up and busier.   Guess the one thing that has changed  is the longing to live here.  For one ,I do not like the fierce summer heat, so July and August would be a definite no no for me and two, I have found the uk version of northern Kefalonia, its wildness, rugged cliffs and coves, forest and quiet windy roads where I feel drawn to make my permanent home.   Still visiting Evreti, Kefalonia for 2-3 months each year I can have the best of both worlds, and still continue to travel and explore the uk and of course spend time manifesting creative objects into the world.

Of course with the advancing years, 70 last January, there is that little conumdrum of how much should I be spending?  how long will my money have to last, how long will I be walking in this world?  Something one never considers when younger, there is always decades to enjoy, thing to try out and if mistakes are made, plenty of time to put it right.  Now though decisions seem more important to make as not time left to rectify anything. Do I say to myself another 15 years, divide it up and spend the said sum each year?  Do I buy a house with an income, (holiday rental cottages} and run it as a small business?  Guess I am lucky that my business was successful and have these kind of issues to contend with.  I am not having the live on a uk state pension, the lowest in the whole of Europe!  Actually there was no luck, I gave my all to my company, blood sweat and tears to make it successful!  All I know is that this is whole new chapter in my life, one where for once I have the total freedom to choose, a real adventure awaits and I am very excited to watch each day unfolds and just where this path will take me

A few pics of the past weeks

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A lot has happened since my last post

the last months since November have been packed full with all manner of things,  visit to Wales.  Fabulous lunch at The Greenhouse.   London museums and gallery visits, the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy being one of the most inspirational I have seen in a long while.  Firle church and an evening of music, words, dance and ceremony with Carolyn Hilllyer to see in the solstiice, and on the solstice a wonderful evening organised by a good friend Ali, journeying to sounds of a Mongolian throat singer and gong bath.   Then of course Christmas and the handmade presents I usually do, this year it was books, hand made and hand bound.  A new skill learnt which I love the precision of the bindings themselves.  Sourdough breadmaking course at the Bicycle Bakery, which I made many tasty loaves   Then it was needle felting families of dreaming mice, each one had a prayer for manifesting peace and serenity in all areas of life and then a fabulous sleepy dreaming bunny, this has now grown into a rabbit figure which has conjured up clothes, characters and a book.  A fabulous christmas lunch of Haunch of Venison cooked to perfection by my daughter and an illuminated walk at Bedgebury which was quite spectacular All the while though there has been my daily practice, patterns and watercolour and collage.

Oh and of course it was my 70th birthday last Friday.  I had a fabulous couple of days, so many lovely cards, flowers and messages.  A gift from daughter and her partner, one for  for each decade, so seven beautiful gifts including a poem that bought tears to my eyes.  I also spent a lovely evening and breakfast walk along the seafront at Hastings after a night at The Laindons which I thoroughly recommend.

What it is like being 70?  the best feeling in the world, freedom to do and be who you like, fabulous.

Here are a few glimpses of the past weeks

the way forward

Since my days have become my own to choose what i do, I have been experiencing elation !!  I just cannot believe why I continued to work for so long !!  as always I am trying to build a daily practice, but consistancy is not my forte and although I am managing to keep a flow of writing my daily pages and trying something creative most days, my oil painting seems to have diminished.  Think I am trying to do so many things including downsizing all my posessions, that in itself has been overwhelming.  “one room at a time ” is my motto and I am slowly getting thought it all.

At the moment the easiest thing to do is reach for my watercolours and gouache as I can just sit down and do something quickly without too much fuss.  Here are some of the outpouring.

Woolf works

img_6476I have seen many ballets within this rich tapestry called life, a aficionado of dance, not by any means but the thrill that music and movement can instil is unforgettable.  I have seen the proud somewhat arrogant Nureyev bring the audience into a frenzy to the graceful elegance of the long limbed Sylvie Guillem but nothing in all these years has moved me so much as Wayne McGregors’s  Woolf Works.  Plus it was a live screened performance from The Royal Opera House, sitting in a cinema !

A ballet triptych describes three books, which takes you through life from an ageing perspective,  looking back at the vibrant memories of 1920’s  England in Mrs Dalloway, to the energetic, fast moving dynamism of youth in Orlando, then finally to death with The Waves. By the end I had been through so many emotions, my heart had been pulled this way and that and at times felt it would leap from my chest.  I felt expanded, exhilarated, as if my body had filled the auditorium.

I watched mesmerised as the dancers moved with such grace and ease, their limbs, muscles, tendons showing the strength needed to perform such a strenuous ballet, especially in Orlando.  So many avenues of thought and feelings erupted

Then came the rhythmic hypnotic swelling of the waves, not only in the music of Max Richter but the dancers and the compelling back drop of raging foaming seas in  in slow motion as you watch and hear life ebbing away.  Actress Gillian Anderson reads Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter written to her husband before she drowned herself in the River Ouze,  the words  so moving in themselves.

I have now listened to this so many times since seeing the ballet, downloaded from the trusty itunes.  Its stunning, moving , haunting and magnificent and so much more.  This week sees the start of my week in Totnes and this mornings playing produces these quick impromptu sketches  and I can see this is going to inspire the senses in many ways as the days,weeks and months roll on.

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