Friday, 28 February 2014

more tales from the Hotel California
Or perhaps, further adventures in checking out for Gail, Dancer and Ceilidh.  Its an adventure trying to change countries, and not for the faint hearted!  Dancer is currently out of the Welsh rain in a paid stable, awaiting a ride to France, Ceilidh has her passport and will follow once I settle into the house, and me, I'm healing my cracked rib, and trying to settle the 'tab' in the Hotel California so we can all leave!  Glenfinnan feels good right now.  It is my trusty cave in the Highlands while I work life out.  Thanks again to the kindness of friends, this time in Scotland is soft, perfect.  The hooks are sinking deeper every day. 
However, challenges aside, I AM getting excited!  I've no idea where I'll start, painting - wise!  But this change for me and my little family has been hard won, and much needed.  By the time I can pick up the brushes, I've a feeling it'll be when I finally arrive and settle into Lezele.  My days are spent preparing myself and my painting supplies for 6 months of focused work.  I've begun to run again, to rebuild my strength in preparation for the next 6 months.  Its a slow process, the cracked rib gives me a bit of grief, but not so much that I feel I need to slow down.  Its so strange to me here, to write about mundane things....but I can't even THINK about picking up a brush right now.  I can only focus on breathing in and out and keeping my eye on the horizon and one foot in front of the other, and ear to my inner voice that tells me to "trust, its going to work out beautifully..."  I leave you with a favourite image of mine...  Autumn on the Muidhe, 16 x 24 in., oil on canvas, £2,000. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014



A dear friend said to me, when I gave an account of some of my travel tales from the past three months, that I should at the very least be a blues player.  That like all blues players, my best work should come of the incredible adventures and challenges of the journey.  I hope he's right!  I've not picked up a brush since late October when the arrangements of this trip took control of my life! 
On November 15, Dancer (my very forgiving and patient horse and companion of 24 of her 26 years) and I set off for Trecastle, Wales, where she would spend the next three + months in the loving care of dear friends who know horses and had offered to take her so I could leave for an extended trip!  I can't tell you the number of times in my life lately that I have been humbled and offered help from friends unexpectedly, and its made it possible for me to keep moving forward through this lengthy time of transition!  But I digress.....  Dancer and I arrived late that night, and I had one day to settle her (NOT recommended, and I knew better, but circumstances demanded it).  I left for London 24 hours later, and on to the USA the following afternoon. 
Long story made shorter, after several months travelling, visiting, feeling supported by and loved by family and friends, I returned to the UK and quickly took a ferry over to Basse Normandy and Brittany to investigate leads on my next place to explore living and working.  After days of looking around Normandy, and waiting - knowing that none of the places I'd seen were going to work for me and my little 'family'; I headed to check out a friend's cottage in Lezele (by Plouye).  Zing!  This place is a beautifully restored 16th century Braeton house (or 3 cottages cobbled together), in a very small, quiet village in nearly the center of Brittany - not far from Huelgoat or Carhaix. I've been offered this place in beautiful Brittany for 5 months from mid-April ish, taking care of this house. There is a place for Dancer with other horses a mile away, and Ceilidh the cat is also welcome with me.  Its a small step; to try on living in France, without the big commitment of moving Dancer to the south of France before I've had time to make sure its what I want or need to do!  And, since I've decided to take this offer, things have begun to fall into place.  At least there is the illusion that they're falling into place! I also feel I have EARNED every bit certainty after the adventures of not only the last 3 months, but the last year.
Brittany is hilly and more forested than Normandy and yet I'm fairly close to the beaches and cliffs that I've painted there in the past!  AND, I'll have the opportunity to explore more into the South of France, and possibly other locations for painting.  After months of fear, I'm beginning to feel excitement!  Even that isn't without its fear though....  change is hard - even if the change is needed.  I now have Ceilidh's passport, and am working on getting Dancer moved from Wales; and in the meantime, am nursing a cracked rib which I earned by slipping on the door stoop of the Lezele house.  And now that I have my computer and broadband back again, hopefully there will be more to say as I take these seemingly huge steps in the next few weeks!
In the meantime, from Glenfinnan, stay tuned!!