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Saturday, 6 July 2013

On Work, and Play, and Mr Christmas coming for a visit.

We will divide this week's blog into two sections.  Section one will be work and section two will be domestic.  Woven into each section will be references and hints at other things, such as personal, kids, and escape routes.  And so, let us wade forth!  Courage, mon brave, it will soon be over.

Section One, Work.

Last weekend I finished the portrait of the young terminally ill doctor Kate Granger.  It was a difficult portrait to paint because Kate looks so well, and works so hard.  I am glad that it is done, and that she will now join the A Graceful Death exhibition as a powerful lesson in how someone facing their own death, refuses to stop everything and wait.  The exhibition will benefit from Kate's presence and lessons, and I am so pleased to have met Kate.  She will be writing something for the exhibition herself, adding much welly to the portrait.  I hope very much that she will come to an AGD, in the near future.

Kate on her sofa at her home.  Note the tension in her hands, and her wedding ring.  Interesting details.
Sound Workshop and Sound Bath Experience

Next Saturday, for those who can come, my friend and colleague Sarah Weller will be holding a Sound Workshop and Sound Bath here at my house.  We are raising funds for AGD, and will ask for contributions from you who attend, for the sessions.  Sarah's practice runs from Blacknest Golf and Country Club in Alton, East Hampshire, you can see her page here - https://www.facebook.com/SarahWellerAtBlacknest . Here is a taste of what we are doing, 
Sarah Weller, inspiring Sound and Drumming Therapist and Soul Midwife, will be giving a workshop as a fund raising event for the A Graceful Death Project. Sarah's workshops, featuring drums and gongs, are energising, mysterious and deeply wonderful. We are asking only for donations to the AGD Project, we will leave that entirely up to you.

The Sound Bath is a glorious way to experience mystery in pure sound. It is peaceful, meditative and effective. Sarah will play her many different sound bowls while you rest, eyes closed, and feel the power of the vibrations and frequencies healing and soothing you.

I will provide the necessary tea and cake, you will need it after experiencing Sarah's wonderful Sound Workshop and Sound Bath.

We are raising funds for the A Graceful Death project, that enables paintings of those who are facing the end of life, to go on public display as part of a project to start talking about what it means to live, and die, and be fully alive while dying. Many of you know and have supported the AGD Project and know that without your help, I could not do the work I do. It is ongoing, as I do not charge anyone who is painted for the exhibition, just to work with them is gift and a treasure beyond compare. But I still need to fund the creation, the exhibiting and the maintenance of the project. Sarah is offering her valuable help with this Sound Therapy Workshop and I am honoured to have her support.
Sarah and I are also going to offer another screening of the film "I Am Breathing" after this workshop.  This is a powerful film of the last year of a young father with Motor Neuron Disease.  The film is sponsored by the MND Association, and we will ask for donations to that too, if you stay on to see the film after the Sound Workshop.  We are able to show the film with the blessing of the MND Association, and hope you will be able to stay and see it.  All donations to see the film will go directly to the Motor Neuron Association.

Please have a look at the page set up on Facebook and come along.  https://www.facebook.com/events/168946923282149/.  Let me know if you are coming, I will double the biscuit levels and get out the extra big teapot.  

Next week I go to visit another old friend and Sound Therapist, Sharon, to talk about AGD going to a Hospice near her.  If that comes off, I will let you all know, endlessly and repetitively, and make you all come to it.  Sharon lives in Lightwater in Surrey, you can find her on www.sharongalliford.com.  

And!  I have promised myself a day off in the studio!  A day where I can throw glitter around, fiddle with pots of paint, make paper aeroplanes and lie on the floor and sing to reggae as loud as I can.  And hoover behind all the stacks of wood I keep on the off chance that I will paint a masterpiece on one of them. This day may be tomorrow, Sunday, I feel it taking shape in my soul.   

Domestic

I am renting out my Older Son's rooms.  He has two, a big bedroom and a teeny room alongside it.  For some reason, the teeny one has captured the heart of my Polish lady who already lives here, and she has moved out of her small room to this even teenier one.  "Are you sure?" I said, and "But yes!" she said.  And so, it took her 20 minutes to move her things over the landing, and she has taken up residency as from last night.  Older Son has stopped talking to me, which is quite nice, and is camped out (with all mod cons) in the TV room downstairs.  He does have a place in Brighton but it is better here, more food.  This afternoon I have a man called Mr Christmas coming to look at the bigger of the rooms.  I wonder if he has a sense of humour.  I shall line up the whole household to look at him, we could be offering accommodation to someone we need to keep on the good side of.  If I dress as an elf, and he has no sense of humour at all, and thinks this is normal, then he is perfect for this household.  He won't notice anything.  Giant Boy tends to eat big meals in the early hours of the morning, and Older Boy is often furious.  I may be lying on the floor of the studio on his first day here, singing shamelessly along to reggae in a pseudo Jamaican accent that only middle class middle aged fairies can do.  A profound sense of humour works here, or none at all.  Just a bit of a sense of humour, and you can feel oppressed.  It needs careful navigating, this house, at times.

While mowing the lawn last week, I had to dodge the bumble bees.  My lawn is 20 % grass, 80% dandelions, daisies and other wild flowers.  "Sorry!" I kept saying to the bees, as I tried to mow in all sorts of patterns around them so that they could finish doing what they do with the flowers.  So I have left a patch of grass, about 4' in diameter, for them to play.  I have a meadow.  I have now got a bee friendly meadow, where the bees can frolic.

Where the bee sucks there suck I.

Here will be my own Dingly Dell in the making.  Soon it will have a pond, some benches, overhanging branches and weeping willows.  It is all very new, and I have found some bees not in the Meadow this morning, but on my other flowers.  I gave them a stiff talking to, and told them to not look a gift horse in the mouth.  I shall check up on them later.  Just for reference, here is Eileen photographing in the real Dingly Dell

Like Where's Wally?  Where's Eileen?
And now.  I must prepare the room for Mr Christmas.  I am painting some old furniture white, and it is in the garden waiting for the second coat.  It goes in the room I wish to rent.  And later, Sarah Weller, of Sound Bath and Sound Therapy fame, is coming for the night and we shall have our first screening of the "I Am Breathing" film.  Tonight, we are showing it to a selected audience with dinner and discussion, to raise funds and awareness of and for, Motor Neuron Disease.  That will really test Mr Christmas.