Thursday 29 December 2011

Less Of The Inner, More Of The Outer Life Please

I feel you have been patiently dealing with my inner life in recent blogs. It is time now to tell you of all the amazing things that happen in my outer life, rendering you speechless with wonder at the richness of my world.  I shall try not to tell you much about how I feel about any given subject, and I will try not to become philosophical or go inwards, as they say.  Let me develop for you a small time line.

November was exhibition in Birmingham -Birmingham and back - Soul Midwife training in Dorset and back - Birmingham again and back - and Birmingham and back - home

December was unpack - clean studio - assess exhibition - rest - eat - go to bed - plan Christmas - go back to bed - think a little - make decision to do nothing more until January 2012 - have Christmas - award myself OBE for getting through Christmas - do this blog.

It was a hard month, November.  From Alan's birthday concert in Crawley we travelled deep into the night with my car packed to the gunnels with A Graceful Death paintings and Stuff, to a Premier Inn just outside Birmingham, from where we took off early the next morning to park inside the Bull Ring. We had a window of about 3 minutes to unpack the whole exhibition outside the church, St Martin in the Bull Ring, in which we were to show the A Graceful Death for the whole month of November.  Alan suggested, with typical problem solving focus, that I drive along the pavement through the market stalls to the side door of the church where we were to unload and so I did.  I left Alan to carry everything into the church while I drove back through the market stalls and pavement, back into the one way traffic going far, far away from the Bull Ring towards Manchester and Edinburgh, and back, and round and round until eventually, hours later, I found a place to park.

Cut now to mid November and I am off to Dorset to train with the very inspiring Felicity Warner, on a Soul Midwife course.  I have longed to do this work, and so going to train with Felicity and meet all the people on the course, was just the bees knees.  A Soul Midwife is an emotional and spiritual companion and support for the dying.  It is work that needs to be done, and there are many of us who are deeply moved to work with the dying. I met Nurses, Old Peoples Home Managers, Witches, Shamans, a Funeral Director, Counsellors and Healers on this course in Dorset, all of us fascinated with each other and what had brought us to Felicity and this work.  Just before I left to drive to Dorset, I was told that my dear Aunt Kit, my beautiful, funny, clever, wicked Aunt Kit, had lain down that afternoon on her sofa, and died.  I had visited her just a few days before, and now she was gone.  Just for the logistics of this month of November - Kit lived in Birmingham.  I went to the exhibition in Birmingham and back three times, and to Kit's, also in Birmingham and quite separate from the exhibition, to visit twice, and then, by mid November, back to Birmingham for a return trip again for Kit's funeral.  And in the middle I did a three day training course in Dorset.  There and back.  This is how the Queen feels, going round and round the world.  I was only really doing Bognor to Birmingham on a kind of ridiculous loop, with Dorset and back thrown in for pudding, but we all have to start somewhere.

Enough!  November ended and December began.  December was a winding down of all the travel, organising, meeting and greeting that happens in exhibitions.  I finished Rev Rachel Mann's portrait

which you can see is perfect for her.  She is a Heavy Metal fan, has her own Heavy Metal band and will do, if asked, fabulous zombie imitations.  Rachel has tattoos, attitude, intelligence and energy.  She also has a condition that renders her very ill very often, and so to do as much as she does do, she must have an iron will.  Rev Rachel Mann is a force to be reckoned with.  This portrait is 4' tall and about 2.5' wide.  Anyhow, I finished this, and another couple of paintings, and an Angel, by which time I was thinking about how I did not care to do Christmas, and I may have to play at being a bit potty so that I didn't have to take any responsibility.  I also thought that I would take the rest of the month of December off, in order to sooth my jangled nerves and deal with Things in the home.

Christmas was lovely.  I didn't have to do any cooking, my Beautiful Daughter did all of that, and made herself extremely angry in the process. She escaped to my mother, aged 81, to let off steam, which is awfully good of my old Mum.  My old Mum is only 5'3" and Daughter, passionate and Shakespearean when having a meltdown, is just under 6'.   Fiercely Independent Son is deeply unhappy at the moment.  He has always found life difficult, and is near breaking point.   I think he is now just Lost and Furious Son;  he and Daughter do not get on at the moment.  Each wishes the other a spell in Afghanistan without body armour, so it is good that my elderly mother took the Daughter on Boxing Day.  Youngest Son though, aged 15, got a fab report from school, and seems to be less interested in Boxing and Thumping, has not been arrested for at least 2 months, and so I do not know what to call him now.  Instead of thinking that a blood stained shirt is a badge of honour, he seems to think a nice night in revising physics really cuts the mustard.  What happened?  Well, he was the twice on the receiving end of some tom foolery by a rather unprincipled fellow, who is known for his fisticuffs, and managed to escape with cuts and bruises the first time, but had to be hospitalised with a broken nose and possible concussion the second time.  So Youngest Son is a bit more thoughtful now about things.  Let us talk this through, he will say in future.  Let us come to a compromise and shake hands together as friends. 

Christmas was lovely because Cousin Maddy and her daughter came, plus Eileen, my dear photographer friend, plus my old Dad, and of course, Alan.  It was lovely because I took a back seat and said Yes to everything, making everyone very happy indeed except for Daughter who howled with rage and went to her Grandmother and Lost and Furious Son who also howled with rage and told us all that his friend was going to give him sleeping pills to help him sleep.  Maddy, trained health care professional, took over here and as far as I know, Lost and Furious Son has not been sleeping unduly long and we think, we hope,  that she averted that one.  But Christmas was lovely.  Next year, as I live in Bognor, we are thinking of hiring some chalets in Butlins so that we don't have to do a thing, and there are bouncers already employed on the premises.

So to end now, you have some idea of the Outer Life Events over the last few months.  Soon, on 1st January, I will have to be serious about what to do next year.  Or maybe, I will consider that on the 3rd.  Because on the 2nd, how about this, I am taking 81 year old Mum to Birmingham and back for the day!  Why?  We are going to collect Kit's ashes and go through her flat.  And, I am not telling you anything about how I feel about it, nor do I have any philosophical bon mots to say.  In keeping with only the Outer Life this blog, I am going to bed and taking a tray of tea and mince pies with me.  If I feel sick, I won't tell you about it.

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