I am pleased to report that after a pretty grim summer on the personal front (I referred to it here and here) yet very full on with two Open Studios, I think I may have got my mojo back.
Now, there's a reason to Wikipedia in itself. First of all, so many meanings. Second of all, voodoo talisman!
Well, whatever, mine seems to be back.
And not before time, let me tell you, as I committed to not one but two pre-Christmas sales.
Why the fuss, I hear you cry. That's fantastic news. Get a grip woman!
I love the day job. It is so rewarding. But it does somewhat restrict my time in my workroom. As a consequence I am being very disciplined. In from work, out with the hound, quick supper and then back to that sewing machine (which desperately needs a service, by the way. Stitching through paper and glue is taking its toll).
But while we are on the day job, I should just mention that this October I had to go on a little road trip. And what a joy it was.
First stop, Durham. I had to do a presentation a Tuesday morning so travelled up the night before. I found this fabulous little hotel. I did not take photos when I was there, principally because the daylight was so bad and I am not geared up, but have a look at the picture gallery here to get the gist.
But when I finished my little gig I took the opportunity to stroll around Durham. And wow! What a gem! How come I had never been before?
That door knocker, higher up on this post, is on the door of the cathedral. Apparently if you were on the run you could seek sanctuary at the cathedral if you knocked on this door. I am not sure if this is the original knocker (in fact it can't be) but it is a thing of wonder on the main entrance.
Now, if you know your medieval architecture you will also see why Durham cathedral is so amazing.
I was gobsmacked. Most cathedrals here in Blighty are later - Perpendicular, Decorated or Early English or frankly a bit of everything. But we don't have so much Norman (also known as Romanesque). But the scale of Durham took my breath away. It reminded me so much of Caen Cathedral in Normandy, France.
There wasn't much time to explore the town. It was grey and grim but I did note the river and I had a fabulous short but wooded walk up to the cathedral from the river. (Oh, and i did a bit of shopping. New winter coat. Bright blue!)
And I decided this was definitely somewhere to come back to. Just look at those houses with their view across to the cathedral (which is where I took this photo).
And then it was back in the car and a drive up to Scotland. To Stirling to be precise.
Now I used to know Stirling very well. I lived there as a teenager, so this was a trip down memory lane.
Stirling is a wonderful, historic town. There is Stirling Castle, The Wallace Monument, and the site of the battle of Bannockburn. In fact, Stirling is a historian's dream town. But no time to do all of that - you need a week - and anyway years ago I did the tourist thing.
Another gig and then time to explore my old haunts.
We lived just outside Stirling in Bridge of Allan. And I walked up to our old house.
It perches on a very steep plot on the last row of houses as you go up the hill from Bridge of Allan's main street, Henderson Street. Next to and behind the house are woods and then it is the Ochills. We used to get deer in the garden. I rather naughtily went up the back steps to our old kitchen door. They had not changed. The house though, is now flats.
When I lived in the area in the mid to late 1970s Stirling and Bridge of Allan were very different places. Stirling in particular seems a much smarter town than it was then. It feels much more affluent.
And the landscape south of the town has changed. It used to be on the edge of the Scottish coal mine area but, of course, that has all gone. The pit wheel at Fallin - a mining village in my day - has long gone. In fact Fallin looks rather desirable now.
It has been knocked down - and moved! New location and just look at that lovely building. It is a sports academy now and looks very inviting.
I was away for three days. It was tiring - a long drive ( 6 hours back from Stirling - but I guess nothing to you folk in the USA or Australia with some of your road trips).
But it felt a bit like a mini break. I loved it.
And now, back to the studio.