Thursday, 23 July 2015

Five Naked Ladies

Well four and a half!

Over the last few months I have been decluttering, painting, tidying the house in preparation to put it on the market.  In the process it feels like it is turning into someone else's house.  The book shelves that are usually overflowing have been purged, they are neat and tidy and just not so interesting.  The spare bedroom that acts as my craft room is looking more like a bedroom and less like my little cave of creativity.  You can actually see the bed now it is not covered by my latest projects.  Bathroom shelves cleared of all the little bottles I collect from hotel rooms, yes I am that person.  Piles of books and magazines removed from all over the floor by my bed.  My little nest on the sofa that usually has books, knitting project, coffee cups and laptop has been cleared.  They say you need to de -personalise your house when selling it but how far do you go?

I am reminded of a poem from the Adoption Papers by Jackie Kay.  Her adoptive parents are awaiting a visit from the Social Worker who will decide if they are fit people to adopt.  She writes:

I put Marx Engels Lenin (no Trotsky)
in the airing cupboard - she'll no be
checking out the towels surely

All the copies of the Daily Worker
I shoved under the sofa
the dove of peace I took down from the loo

A poster of Paul Robeson
saying give him his passport 
I took down from the kitchen

My copy of the Communist Manifesto is still on the book shelf, but I have taken down the photo of the lady who apart from some sprinkles really was naked.  However I have left these five prints on the walls.  The tattood lady (above) gazing up to the sky which I love and everyone else in the family hates.

My poster from the Tracy Emin Exhibition I went to a few years ago, it's by our kitchen table.  Perhaps I should look at it when I am tempted to scoop a bit more of something onto my plate, then I may have an ass like that.

This gorgeous painting of a women sprawled across the bed, I look just like that in the mornings ..... ha I wish!

This beautiful mother and baby

...... and a glamorous 'sleepover'.

Sorry they are not great shots, it is very difficult taking a photo without getting a photo of yourself taking the photo, if you see what I mean.

Do I erase the last bit of my personality by taking down my naked ladies and putting up photos of flowers or cute dogs?  Or just think 'what the hell' they are not buying my artwork.

So bloggers, is there anything you would hide if you put your house up for sale?  Do tell :)

I am joining with lovely Amy who is kind enough to host Five on Friday

Chickpea xx

p.s.   I do have a lot of other non naked lady pictures around the house.......just saying :)

Friday, 17 July 2015

A Breath of Fresh Air

The pollen count has been really high the last few weeks leading to streaming nose and eyes and a head full of cotton wool.  Even being indoors doesn't seem to help.

However there is one place that I am lucky enough to be able to escape to and ease my suffering.  After work we head to the coast, just sea and sand and I can breath!  Come for a walk along the shore with me and dip your toes in the cool water.

Joining with Amy for  Five on Friday here's five things I love about the beach:

1.  The air and light are different by the sea, I don't know what it is but you just feel better at the beach, breathing in all the salty fresh air, watching the sun reflect off the sea makes everything look magical.    It lifts your spirits and makes everything feel better.  Artists talk of the special light in places like St Ives and many make their homes there, I can understand why.

2.  The beautiful sand we have in Cornwall, I couldn't cope with a beach of stones, it has to be golden, fine sand for me.  Cornish cars and homes are full of sand, you can never quite brush it off after a visit to the beach.

3.  Picnics and bbq's on the beach, sandy sandwiches and orange squash in plastic cups are such a huge part of mine and my childrens' memories.  You don't have to spend a fortune at the beach, just treat yourself to an ice-cream and take everything else with you.  As it gets dark the smell of sizzling sausages, childrens laughter, a flickering campfire and someone strumming a guitar drifts across the beach.  The sounds of the waves crashing on the beach in the dark, as you pack up the picnic bags and make your way back up the cliffs.

4.  Rock pools, a little ecosystem of seaweeds, tiny fishes, and crabs revealed to us for a few precious  hours before the sea returns to cover them.  

5.  Swimming in the sea, there's nothing like it. Getting up your nerve to immerse yourself in the cold cold water, jumping over the waves, daring each other to go first, counting to 3 and ducking under together, screaming as the cold takes your breath away.  The taste of your salty skin and seaweedy hair.  I haven't done this for years, it is on my 60 x 60 list, what is stopping me?


I really enjoyed a t.v. programme about Toni Morrison the other evening.  What an amazing woman.  The first book of hers that I read was Beloved, it still has the power to shock and move me.  You can catch the programme on BBC iplayer.  I really need to find the time to read more of her books.   Do you have a favourite Toni Morrison book? 

I hope you have all had a good week.

Chickpea xx

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Pure Madness

If I ever whinge about hay fever again slap me!  Getting this close to a field full of rapeseed plants is pure madness but I couldn't resist getting a photo of this abandoned hut surrounded by a field of yellow.  I think it may have been used as a football or cricket club at some stage but now looks like a post apocalyptic film set.  I suffered for my art for the rest of the day.

Chickpea xx

Friday, 10 July 2015

Feeding the Mind and Body

Date Paste

I have been feeling stressed, too much to do, too little time to do it, ( and horrendous hay fever) so I was determined to make time for things that feed my mind and body this week.  Here a five things that have helped me feel more like 'me'.  For this post I am joining with Amy over at love made my home


I am thoroughly fed up with painting walls and doors so I thought I would paint a chair instead.  I had a couple of little pots of Annie Sloane chalk paint left over from another project, an old pillow case bought in a charity shop, an old chair that was given to us years ago and so had some fun.


When I'm tired and stressed I turn to eating crap, and I have been doing a lot of that lately, I'm trying to have lovely healthy things prepared for when I get home from work so I have no excuse to grab for the packets of crisps and chocolate.  Refined sugar seems to be the food of the devil at the moment and to blame for all our ills, so when I came across date paste in a recipe I just had to give it a go.  I used it in an oil free salad dressing for this lovely healthy brown rice salad.  It sweetened the white wine vinegar to make a tasty dressing.  You can also use it in your baking, though I haven't tried that yet.  Actually it is tasty enough to use as a spread, in moderation.  I can buy medjool dates by the pound in my local greengrocers and always have some ready to munch on. They are full of vitamins B5 and B6 so really good for you though they do have an awful lot of calories in them, but still better than refined sugar.  All you have to do is take the stones out, cover them in warm water and leave for a few hours to soften. Pop them into your food processor with a drop of vanilla essence,  adding a little of the water a bit at a time until you get a thick paste.  Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and it should keep for a week or two, or you can freeze it.


I was lucky enough to win piquante pepper seeds in a giveaway from Dani  over at Ecofootprintsa   I was really worried that they would be wasted on me as I'm such a novice at growing things.  Luckily some of them germinated, so I put a few in the veg patch and a few in pots in the greenhouse.  The ones outside don't seem to be doing much but the ones in the greenhouse seem to be happy so far, fingers, legs, arms, eyes and everything else crossed.  Not sure if I should remove some at this stage so they are not too squashed, any advice?


In the evenings I have been doing a little knitting before I go to bed.  It may only be a couple of lines but the cardi is growing little by little.  I have had to buy some more wool it seems to be taking more than it said.  It probably would have been cheaper to buy two cardis for what it is costing, but I'm looking forward to snuggling up in my home made knit in the winter.  It is made on circular needles which I love using.


I am also trying to grab some time to read this really interesting book.  The author decided to spend a year eating only locally and home produced food.  It's a fascinating read, she really knows her stuff, it is shocking what the food industry is up to!

I hope you all have a good weekend,

Chickpea xx

Sunday, 5 July 2015

What type of person are you?

It's been a hard few weeks for both of us for various reasons.  We needed to spend time together, in a neutral place over some good food and wine, something we used to do regularly, our Saturday date just the two of us.   Walk into town, have lunch, share a bottle of wine, talk over our week.  We have let this slip, life takes over sometimes.

As the food is savoured and the wine supped we feel ourselves relaxing, talk of work, family and home.  Then he said something to me that stopped me in my tracks, shocked and angered me, does he know me at all?  "You're a glass half empty type of person"  Wait....what?  Me?  No no no. You have me all wrong.  Why do you think that?  It niggled me for the rest of the day.  I kept bringing it up again and again.   "You just are" he said.  No further explanation.

I have always thought of myself as a half glass full type of person. Why would he get that impression?  I mulled it over, thought it through.  Could it be because I think the world is going to hell in a handcart?  We are destroying the planet and intent on killing every living thing on it, especially each other.  That people are full  of hate and intolerance.  Maybe that does make me sound a bit negative, but it's all true as far as I'm concerned.  All you have to do is listen to the news to confirm my thoughts.  I don't try to bury my head in the sand, I'm no Pollyanna.

However........ I'm not one to sit back and except it.  I do my bit and know that there are many people out there who like me are not willing to let it happen without a fight.  We fight for equality in our own ways, sign petitions write letters.  Challenge intolerance and hate. Try to protect our environment.  Yes hearing of the terrible things that are going on in the worlds knocks me off my feet sometimes.  It takes a while to dust myself off and come back fighting, but I do.

The news is full of the terrible events of the 7th of July 2005, when people full of hate set out to kill as many as they could.  It would be easy to give in to the feelings of despair for this world and its people, but then you hear from the survivors who have taken this terrible experience and turned it around.  Fought hard to make something positive come from it.

On a local level a young man with learning difficulties on the way to the shop to buy sweets was attacked by a group of other young people, humiliated and pushed to the ground.  Now he is too scared to go out on his own.  My heart breaks once again.  The following weeks are filled with news of people donating money for a holiday for him and his family, presents, a ride on a motorbike with a local motorcycle club.   It restores my  faith in my fellow beings on this planet.

The photos are from a new cafe we came across in Truro yesterday.  The owner spent 10 months refurbishing the place, turning it from a betting shop into a positive nurturing space.  It has been created from reclaimed, recycled, foraged pieces by him and an amazing carpenter. Lovingly put together to create something beautiful in this fucked up world.  Here's their story Inner Tide I hope it succeeds and doesn't go the way of many other businesses in the City competing against the multi-nationals.

So am I a 'half empty' type of person or a 'half full' type of person because I continue to get back up and fight for what I believe in?  What type of person are you?

Chickpea xx

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Word of Caution

Thousands of people will be heading down to Cornwall over the next few weeks to enjoy our beautiful beaches.  I hope you all have a wonderful time, but please please take care.  The sea is beautiful but can be deadly, take a few minutes to pop over to the RLSS to read the tips on beach safety.  You may be a very good swimmer in your local swimming pool, but the sea is very different,  it has rips that can drag you out to sea and waves that can knock little ones off their feet.  I'm not a strong swimmer so have learned to respect the sea and take precautions.  When my children were little they loved the beach and many happy hours were spent splashing in the sea.  They were in the local Surf Life Saving clubs Nippers group for children and were  taught safety precautions. When my son was caught in a rip while out surfing, he knew what to do and got back to shore safely.  Taking the time to read up on safety tips can save your life.  I don't mean to sound over dramatic and scare people off, but my one bit of advice would be to go to a beach where there are lifeguards, and do as they tell you.  Swim between the flags, stay out of the sea if the red flags are flying and never take your eyes off your children, keep close to them if they are in the sea.   Stay safe everyone xx

As for me I will be stuck in work on the hottest day of the year melting!  The photos were taken last year on a dull day, but still plenty of fun to be had in the sea.  These youngsters  were learning to surf safely with a surf school, watched by the local life guards.

Welcome to my new followers, I seem to have more people following me the less I blog haha.

Chickpea xx