I hope everyone is doing well. I am finding this lockdown harder than the first one and that has everything to do with the lack of daylight hours and not being able to get outside as much as I would like. Plus, the not-knowing what is coming next. Nothing is clear cut, not even the US election result. Still, like everyone else, I am in some sort of routine. I often walk through Burghley Park at the end of the day, especially if I have been sitting at the computer for hours. I have been working a lot recently, and it always feels good to get out. This glorious sunset behind the gatehouse stopped me in my tracks again the other day.Another one of my regular routes takes me across the town meadows. I have been walking this path all year, and I am enjoying seeing how the seasons are changing and turning. The bushes are so heavy with red berries and black sloes. This is a very calming route; it skirts along by the course of the River Welland. There is some major building work happening nearby, a care home and houses are being built. When I was passing a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that some ground had been disturbed and it had revealed what looks to be an old Victorian dump. I could see fragments of china, old glass bottles and pots sticking out of the soil. I am fascinated by these dumps, or middens. I grew up next to two derelict cottages and as children, we played there for hours and hours, a whole gang of kids picking over the fragments of the past, digging up old utensils, silver spoons, ladles, saucepans and lead soldiers, dolls faces and tea sets. I am sure it was a lethal playground, with rotting beams, unconnected staircases and shattered windows with jagged shards of glass, but that was the carefree Seventies and we never came to any harm. Anyway, I can only put my fascination with old things down to this part of my past.
Here are just a few of the items that I released from the mud. Over three or four days, I dug them out, rather obsessively it must said, and then bought them home where I cleaned them up and did some detective work. I think the pit definitely dates to the late Victorian era, judging by some of the names on the bottles. There was a town brewery which accounts for the number of beer bottles I dug out. Over a week, I amassed rather a lot of finds, and I made them into a display with some seasonal flowers. Everything is chipped and cracked, but I do love the patina on these pots and jars.
There has been very little sunshine, but when we did get some lightness the other day, I made a seating area in the garden. I take photos of the garden all the time because I write a magazine column about it, and it really does ensure that I make the most of our tiny space all year round. I am desperate to get our extension done so that I can remodel the garden, but I just don’t know when that is going to happen, and it is pointless fretting about it.
When I went outside today, I saw that the paperwhites I planted only a few weeks ago have begun to flower. It seemed so early! Like spring in November. But that’s the topsy turvy nature of this year I guess.
In they came to have their photograph taken. I have been block printing a cheap cushion cover, and I did this floral painting as a commission, only to find when it was finished that I had painted the wrong picture. My customer had asked me for something else and I hadn’t understood what she meant. It was completely my fault. So, this one is now spare, but I do quite like it, so I don’t mind if it hangs around for a while. (Painting now sold).
This week, I had my first rejection for the novel that I wrote over the first lockdown. I did get some encouraging feedback from the online publisher where I had sent it, along with her ‘no thanks.’ The editor said she liked my writing style and the premise, but that it was too “upmarket” for their imprint and that I should try somewhere more literary. I’m not sure about that. Anyway, I learnt a lot from this first attempt, I really enjoyed doing it, and it may be that I need to park that one and try again. Although, I’m certainly not wishing for another long lockdown in which to do it!
Tomorrow, I am going to a plant nursery, as I need to refresh one of the pots in my front garden. I am looking forward to a short trip out and I am sure I will be back soon to display my new plants.