All changes, all stays the same…

You know how at some times in your life things feel steady, grounded, perhaps occasionally just a little bit boring – yes well, this isn’t one of them around here.

It’s not as bad as when I had Number One Daughter and spent the first six months after she was born waiting for things to go back to normal (i.e. pre-baby normal) – the realisation one day that that normal had gone forever hit me like a brick, I’m not sure I ever completely recovered.

stained glass window at baddesley clinton

No, it’s not that bad, it’s just that this autumn, with the girls now largely independent, I’m suddenly (I know I should have seen it coming, I just didn’t, ok) – faced with regaining most of my own independence.

Crikey, too much choice or what!

I don’t think I’d quite appreciated just how much of my own routine was determined by the pattern of the school term, and now although Number Two Daughter is still at school, there’s so much less for me to do, I feel oddly liberated.

But nature abhors a vacuum they say, so I’m going to avoid problems by using my new-found freedom to gad about the country indulging my passion for historic places.

suites of armour

It probably sounds terribly flippant and a poor use of time when I could be doing something very much more useful. But for me, the physical connection to historic places, is in some way I find impossible to articulate, absolutely essential. I derive an energy, a sense of belonging, a feeling of simultaneously losing myself and finding myself when I’m exploring a castle or walking around a stone circle that rarely happens otherwise and the regained ability to tap into that source is life enhancing.

I’m sure that on some emotional level, this energy feeds into the stitchiness I create, although I couldn’t really explain that either. I don’t stitch pictures of moated manor houses, but something of their atmosphere inspires me. It’s a puzzle that I haven’t yet understood, let alone solved.

Is it just me, am I losing it a bit, or do you too share a special connection or feeling towards a place or an activity?

Anyway, I’m rolling with it yet again – another one of life’s spirals…





21 thoughts on “All changes, all stays the same…

  1. Funny how we move from one ‘normal’ to another. I’m sure the energy and atmosphere of historic places transfers to your stitches and it sounds an excellent use of time.
    Recently I’ve visited art exhibitions with my mother, sister and daughter and have found it inspiring and uplifting, not just from the art but from the surroundings, the journey and particularly perched on a sea wall eating fish and chips.

    1. Ummm, well there aren’t many things better than fish and chips at the seaside, you’ve made me long for some right now! Art exhibitions usually make me go off in a bit of a dream, it’s lovely to think of how everyone experiences something different when viewing art.

  2. Since our child went to Uni I have begun adding time for me, between work shifts. I am confident in visiting art galleries, writersfests on my own and have recently added theatre feeds of Met Operas and British Theatre to the list. Best for my soul is time spent by the water and in the woods. Enjoy your newfound freedom ❤️

    1. Nora, I absolutely agree about water and woods, it’s no surprise to me how important they were to our ancestors when we can still feel their energy in our modern lives. I admit to being a bit of a sucker for a touch of Shakespeare myself…

  3. Ah, I totally identify with this post Anny, especially the bit about the power of a place, how we can connect with it without really being able to articulate why. Maybe that’s why we try and express it in artwork of some kind, to try and capture the essence of that magic in visual terms rather than words, which can be a bit limiting. And all the best with the new normal, I love those pics!

    1. Phil thank you so much! I think you’re right about the visual terms rather than words, it’s not as if I’m even consciously trying to translate something, it feels more subconscious than that, just a response. But rationalised or not, we have to keep on doing it don’t we. Glad you like the pics x

  4. I agree so much with feeling the sense of something in historic places. That weight of memory and events is like an elusive scent and I find it stirs me to write, which is something that really has gone by the board in the last few years. Historic places and the sea for me…

    1. Yes, yes, yes, absolutely – ‘an elusive scent’ – perfect! Yes the sea too is such a powerful energy – ahh, I’ve gone all wistful just thinking about it. Write more!

  5. I know what you mean – I’ve been through the child-related changes. Then retiring after 35 years and leaving our home of 22 years on the same day was a real blow to my sense of reality. We’ve moved to a different area (with all that entails) and one of the things that has settled my soul is the connection with ancient places. How comforting it is, to walk through doorways so many have walked through in centuries past, to touch stones which hold countless memories and how unsurprising that an artist such as yourself should feel this?
    Embrace the change Anny! If you get to my part of the world let me know x

    1. Oh yes, that’s exactly why I want to move to your neck of the woods – around here there’s so little of that to tap in to, that’s why I travel west so much, because that’s where I experience the connection most strongly. I like to stroke my fingers on the stones in castles, abbeys and the like and just make those associations, they feed my soul too. Looks like we’ll head west once Number Two Daughter finishes A Levels, so about 2 years – I can start planning fairly soon – can’t wait! x

  6. Some galleries help me connect. For me, it is about having time just to be. No particular agenda. So, even walking the streets and absorbing the atmosphere is enough.

    1. That’s really interesting Kay, having time to just be is so important isn’t it – I think we sometimes lose track of that. I don’t think walking the streets would be my first choice for relaxing into the space, but to be fair I’ve never really tried – but you’ve set me thinking x thank you.

  7. No, you aren’t losing it. Not even a little bit. You are lucky to know what re-energises you and be able to find it and take advantage of it. I think a lot of people today find themselves so much on the treadmill they don’t notice that they are missing something they need. I know, for instance, that it’s time at my embroidery frame I need, and I’ve not had much lately!

    1. You are absolutely right, it worries me how this happens to so many people and the society that continues to let it happen. I do hope you’re able to find space for embroidery very soon, I know exactly how I feel when I can’t relax into my work and I’m entirely sympathetic – best wishes x

  8. Oh that moment (or perhaps series of moments) when you realise that they are becoming who they are going to be, as they move away from us. My daughter will be 30 this year, just married, very happy doing her own thing, and I still find myself thinking about her as though she was still in the daily flow of my life. It’s both delightful and very wistful – that gentle letting go. You sound as though you’re doing the right thing, just taking time to be and absorb your new freedom, using it to “settle” the soul – I love that phrase. I find as I get older, I occasionally get a whisper of that sense of immanence – something, not sure what, sitting behind what is visible, a tingling at the edge of being, that I remember from childhood – something that wonderful old places can inspire, or walking in the woods, sometimes just the slant of light, or the way the air moves. I’m hoping it’s a compensation for impending decrepitude!!! 🙂

    1. Oh Kathy, I hope so too! I’m happy to feel 18 in my head, but more and more days my body definitely creaks. I love the phrase ‘a whisper of that sense of immanence’ – yes, something for us to ponder while we stitch…

      1. I think where we are in our heads is often more relevant than the body’s betrayals – my 91 year old Aunt would agree.
        Must stitch more! 🙂

  9. I am so there with you about historic places. I love putting my feet in the indents of worn flagstones and running my hand along smooth walls. The same with churches. I’m not religious, but the weight of history and time in a church or cathedral feels very soothing to me.

    Kayte |

    1. Oh yes, I have something of a passion for churches which I’m sure is largely to do with respecting the work of countless unknown individuals who built and decorated them over the years, but I’d happily admit to there also being something else too, an energy, call it what you will, created or held by the thoughts and prayers of yet more unremembered people through the ages.

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