It was all going so well. Too well ….

I know I should have expected it, but I’m an eternal optimist and am much more likely to believe that the great plan will actually come off, rather than worrying about what is going to derail it. 

So I was hit by the oncoming train of a stinking cold. Surprisingly this was great news. For those who don’t know, I have had ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the last five or so years. During that time my immune system has worked in constant overdrive and I have caught no colds or bugs. 

My occupational therapist at the clinic where I was taught to manage my condition said that when I got a cold it was a good sign, my system would be beginning to behave a bit more normally; which is why having the cold was great news! 

However, it wasn’t great for my writing schedule. The cold filled my head so much that there was no room in there for writing or thinking about writing. So, being kind to myself and not beating myself up, I let my body recover and ended up not writing for a week. 

I’m glad to say that this morning I was back at my desk bright and early. I picked up the thread easily enough and wrote 1200 words. 

One of my greatest lessons of the last few years has been learning to accept that plans don’t always come off and in each one there is room for life to intervene. I’m cool with that now. As they say ‘shit happens’ and beating myself about it not being as perfect as my vision is a waste of my limited energy resources.

The knock on effect of the cold is that my current novel wasn’t finished by the end of October, so the dream of doing NaNoWriMo this year is out of the window. But, hey, there will be other years and the next book is still waiting in the wings, ready when I get there.

So to all those who are doing NaNo, good luck and enjoy the manic writing and turn off the editor!

Bowes Museum disappointment and delight exhibition visit

I visited the Bowes Museum at the weekend, specifically to see the Hockney, Printmaker exhibition.  I was disappointed and delighted, but not in ways I had expected.

I was disappointed with the Hockney exhibition.  There was a good range of prints on display, etchings, lithographs and more experimental combinations of print making techniques.  From a technical point of view, as I am interested in print making, this was interesting, to see the different effects that are possible when making prints.  However, I wasn’t excited or moved by any of the works.

I wasn’t inspired by the swimming pool works, even though I have sat on the edge of a pool with my camera capturing light. The Japanese style prints, which, given my love of Japanese prints might have caught my eye.  They didn’t. I found them flat or too thin, if that makes sense.  There felt a certain smugness to them, from the man who learnt to make prints in 15 minutes. Perhaps that influenced my judgement?

Hockney Printmaker Japanese weather prints

Hockney Printmaker Japanese weather prints










One thing did stick with me, which was a comment on the Japanese weather series about the wind.

He says “I couldn’t figure out how to do wind, make a visual representation of wind, because normally only the effects of the wind show themselves.”  It reminded me of some Constable sketches of trees blowing in the wind, and some poplar trees near home that I love to see blowing.  This is something I would like to pursue further at some stage.

Bowes Museum Hockney Printmaker The Weather Series

Bowes Museum Hockney Printmaker The Weather Series










So the Hockney was the disappointment.

The delight was the the ‘Shafts of Light: Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield‘ exhibition. What a great diverse exhibition.  There was sculpture, textile banners, prints, drawings, paintings and even one painting made with shoe polish.

Perhaps it was the subjects which were more moving, bent men trudging down the mines, but this exhibition engaged me much more than the Hockney.

My particular favourites were the Tom McGuiness prints and the large charcoal figurative drawing below, Heavy Metal by Harry Malkin.  All these showed the darkness of the mines, the filth the miners worked in and yet had a real beauty.

Heavy Metal by Harry Malkin

Heavy Metal by Harry Malkin