Saturday, 11 April 2020

#lockdownlife 2

It turns out I'm not being very successful at keeping this blog up-to-date.  I believe, from conversations I've had, that I'm not alone in finding it difficult to concentrate or to settle to anything creative, useful or constructive in these extraordinary times.

Instead I'm feeling agitated and anxious - anxious generally, but anxious specifically for people I'll never meet who are working long, arduous hours to try to ease suffering and save lives, and am humbled at the sheer volume and scale of their selflessness. Anxious also about a hitherto unimaginable international situation over which my only minuscule element of control is to ensure that I remain at home, where I'm glued to live feeds of the news, devouring facts, figures, expert opinion, whilst morbidly awaiting each day's grim death toll, all, no doubt, fuelling this over-arching anxiety.

And I find myself looking on in envy at people of all ages, all over the world, who are using this preternatural time productively, constructively, creatively whereas I am struggling even to listen to a radio programme or pick up a book.

Life is very small just now, restricted to caring for my animals, feeding my family and trying to reclaim a garden so that I can return to growing a few vegetables.  It's a mighty task after years of neglect, but, at the moment, the thing I have in spades (no pun intended) is time.  The physical connection to the planet, the intimate encounters with nature on this micro-scale help to ground the anxieties, and the mind-numbing, muscle-aching quality of  the work verges on the therapeutic. Thankfully, the weather is uncharacteristically beautiful, which brings its own rewards.

Positivity isn't something that comes naturally to me, but I'm trying to find the joy in small things - the curlew flying low over my head two days ago, the plump, startled hedgehog by the gate last night and the graceful hares I'm lucky enough to encounter almost daily.

Apologies if this appears maudlin.  It's just an explanation of why I'm failing to populate this page with whimsy and the minutiae of daily life on the smallholding.  And typing that, I do realise how very fortunate I am at this moment to be living where I do, when so many are confined to homes with far less, if any, outdoor space.  So I will try to focus less on things beyond my control and to reclaim my whimsical side, which I think is still buried there somewhere......

Wednesday, 25 March 2020


A son and I went to a gig last night. We paid $5 and sat on the sofa at midnight with his computer to watch Conor Murphy from the band Foxing, perform solo among the pot plants from his basement in St Louis, Missouri. The online audience went silently wild!

Interesting fact. I have a sheep named after Conor Murphy. And here he is!

Returning to the original Conor Murphy and his band, and creatives of all kinds, whose income for this year has vanished.  They (we!) need you now more than ever.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

We're back!

I lost access to this blog for - well - several years!  But now I'm back, with my sheep, with my wool, and whoever else I encounter wandering around the smallholding.

And what a time we have chosen to stage a comeback!  This is #lockdownlife

I will try to be a better blogger (which essentially means remembering that I have a blog).  I will try to keep your spirits lifted with beautiful sheep.  And I will try to make you forget about life for a while (Isn't that a song.....?).

But, for now, here is a smiling sheep.  Kester (Woodseaves), named after the weaver in Mary Webb's 'Precious Bane'.

We'll see you again very soon!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Feltmaking workshops, sheep and wool.

In 2016, you'll be able to join me for  a number of workshops and events.  I also have a new online shop.

I struggle to keep up to date with various pages and websites, but you can always find my latest news on my website or Facebook page - no need to log in, or have an account.   

Plus, you're welcome to visit me in my studio or at my smallholding - though it's always better to email first to see whether I'll be there.

Anyway, I hope to catch up with some of you in 2016.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sheep shearer extraordinaire!

Yesterday I got my sheep clipped and, as you can see, Mark, the shearer, went above and beyond the call of duty. This is him carrying Big Girl, my beautiful, but woefully wayward black Bluefaced Leicester. After I had given up all hope of ever getting her to cooperate this year, Mark and his shearing partner, Gareth, with dog, Kim, managed not only to catch her (no mean feat, she is a nightmare!), but, between them, they carried her the 300 yards back to the shearing pens - all 85 kilos of her (that's over 13 stones for those of you still working in the old money!). Now, that's what I call a clipping service!