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A Year On From Lockdown

I must confess that during the past year I have achieved a lot, but not in the form of writing. I suppose that continuous Lockdowns have forced me to concentrate more on physical goals, rather than the mental pleasure of creative writing. In this instance the pen is not mightier than the saw – or hammer, nails and paint! To this end, the past year has seen our garden transformed, with firstly new fencing, raised borders and a space cleared at the bottom of the garden for a Studio shed, which was finally erected last July and is now the creative hub for the coming months. In addition, I have just finished dividing off the garage internally, to form an insulated and boarded ‘keep-fit’ space and have re-cycled a couple of large mirror doors from a dismantled old wardrobe. Just need to get some hard-working equipment installed! Finally, a new double glazed back door will be fitted in late May, as part of renewing double glazing units to the front of the house. The result of clearing out space in the garage for this project, has seen our 1987 Austin Mini being sent away for complete renovation. While it looked in quite good order, it hasn’t been running for a few years, and there is much hidden rust to remove. The Mini has now been away for almost five months, but there is no rush to have it back. Apparently the engine has fired up and has good oil pressure, but the rust works are still on-going – so the re-spray and MOT won’t be for a few weeks yet. Anyway, we plan to keep the maroon colour and the ‘Paul Smith’ stripey bonnet, which we had done almost fifteen years ago when we lived in France. Hopefully, we’ll be driving it soon in the Summer sunshine! The Mini has a story of its own to tell, one day.

On the book front, sales continue with Amazon and online, but bookshop browsing has of course been sporadic and currently non-existent for my local shop displays and galleries. Both Worthing and Guildford galleries and museums have taken advantage of closure, to undertake refurbishments and re-assessment of sales space – so hopefully my books will soon be placed in a more prominent sales pitch! Littlehampton Museum’s Art Gallery now has its ‘Open’ expo online, and my painting of May Day Flags from last year’s blog entry, has been featured – my first ‘accepted’ painting for an exhibition. From time to time, I still use artist’s brushes instead of the four-inch variety of decorator’s ilk, and I have had two or three stabs at Motcombe Park– just round the corner where we used to live in the Old Town area of Eastbourne. This one ended up being a twilight version by accident. Nothing really planned, and certainly no colour co-ordination. I believe Cezanne scratched around on about one hundred versions of Mont St Victoire, before calling time. Hopefully, Lockdown will not chain me to many more versions.

Finally, I am still continuing with some family research on both my Mum’s and Dad’s sides. To this end, I have decided to have an Ancestry DNA test, to see if I can make a quantum leap away from my ancestors known to date. I have tentatively started to write a few notes about my Mum’s life, which in time will hopefully get into print. On my Dad’s side, my cousins and I have taken our Riddy line back to the 1700’s as agricultural workers for many generations near Bedford. I have engaged a local archivist to delve deeper, and hopefully this will shortly resume once libraries etc re-open. So there we are, going full circle with Lockdown – which we all hope will also be confined to history!

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