Sometimes I find it hard to find presents for people. There is an ongoing and unresolved discussion with my siblings about Christmas – whether we should do presents for each other. My view is almost always yes – I’m single, have no kids and so if my family don’t get me present then I don’t really get any and that just seems sad.
I love planning presents – what to get each person, how to wrap and present it. This year was a bit different to usual as I was made redundant in August and from September to the end of November I really had very little money. I managed to pay for some things for the nieces and nephews and make something for Mum, but everyone else was going to miss out a little.
I was due to stay with my brother for Christmas, so wanted to get something for him and he’d said that they always like home made presents, which is handy because I have resources at home and I can normally think of something to put together.
When we were younger we had some lovely picture books; one that went astray and which we have both tracked down copies of was ‘The Winter Bear’ written by Ruth Craft and illustrated by Erik Blegvad. The story is a simple one, of a group of siblings on a winter walk and finding a lost bear. The landscapes are beautifully painted and drawn and for a while I’d thought that I could re-create some of it in felt but the main issue would be picking which page.
I settled on an image of the boy rescuing the bear from the tree because I liked the snowy scene, the colours of the landscape, I could embroider the grass and tree and the boy reminded me of my youngest nephew.
I’ve not done one of these for a while so here we go. I originally thought I’d only have 4 or 5 but got a bit carried away, as you can see. These photos cover 4 continents and about 3 years of my life. Some of the hues come from nature, some are man made and others are the result of nature’s affect on man’s creations. I’m always drawn to photographing things with red tones, because red is a favourite colour of mine, but I’d not realised I had so may different oranges until I started going through to select some.
There are days,
There are days when your life clouds over
and the world gets so dark
that all at once you can’t tell night from day.
There are times
when your heart cries ‘this isn’t happening’
but the truth is cold and real
and I know this storm won’t go away
‘It’s her or me’ from Miss Saigon, by Boublil and Schonberg
I’ve been quiet on here for the last few months. I know some people have dropped by to see if anything has been written and I have tried to, but it’s been a difficult end to the year.
Not many people know, but I’ve been off sick from work for 2 and a bit months. Mental health issues are still quite taboo in our society and I don’t really understand why. It’s something that can affect anybody and yet still it’s not something we feel confident talking about. I have depression, which I think is something that I’ve been battling with for a decade and it’s dreadful. This bout has definitely been the worse of the lot. A stressful job, moving to a new area, not having much if a social life, various things that have happened in the past, lack of money all building together until I essentially cracked. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t go outside without having a panic attack and I couldn’t go to work. It’s such a difficult thing to describe. I get frustrated with myself because I can’t physically do things that I want or need to do. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t speak to people. I don’t have any outward physical manifestation of this, there is just this mental block, a cloud, a haze that won’t let me through. Then I spend time arguing with myself in my head – you know what you need to do, just get up, just get up, just move yourself, just stop wallowing in self pity and get up and do something. But it’s no good. There is some chemical imbalance at the moment. There is something just stopping me whether I want to or not. Ruby Wax says it better than me, so here she is: