Then out of the blue…

October 27th I posted how my mental well-being can yo-yo up and down very quickly. Art is my therapy but sometimes having a shop when in winter the town is dead and I don’t have a particular project in mind I drop in mood.

This week a combination of S.A.D. With the dark end to the afternoons, quiet town so seeing very few visitors at the shop in the week I find my mood dipping. I know what’s happening and I try to fight it but there isn’t much fight there.

On other days I have projects I am working on and visitors and I feel better at least on the surface. I don’t like how my mood can suddenly plummet like this but I know it will rise again, but today is my wife’s birthday and being more positive would be nice for her too.

Also this month with colder weather, lots of wet weather…my exercise has dropped a lot compared to previous months but the good news is I haven’t piled the weight back on and am better at not just resorting to comfort eating.

Oh well, I just need to be honest with myself and bear the low days so that lighter days can return too.

Wishing people strength in their mental health too.


Happiness is following your heroes

This week I have followed two sailing heroes of mine online.

1) Sam Whaley, member of Swanage Sailing Club and more importantly the British team who was competing in the European Championships for ILCA (formerly known as Laser) 7 class. Earlier in the season he came 11th in the Worlds. His week started poorly and after day one he was in 65th place in the fleet. Then he started being consistent Adam and yesterday he finished the championships in 5th.

He is doing a talk at our sailing club on Friday about what is involved his journey towards the Paris 2024 Olympics – looking forward to it.Sam is also such a nice guy and supportive of us mature beginner sailers too.

2) Pip Hare, Poole yachtswoman who completed the Vendee Globe solo race in 2020 and has been sailing the Rhum de Rhum race from St Malo, France to Guadeloupe and I watched her finish online this evening. She finished 1 min and 17 secs behind the IMOCA yacht in front and about 300metres after 4200 miles of sailing.

Incredible – we watch her often sailing from Poole out into the English Channel and watched her triumphant return after the Vendee Globe from Shell Bay at the mouth of Poole Harbour – how she sails a 60 ft yacht single handed is mind blowing and she also blogs and posts clear videos sharing with her followers about her race – simply amazing.

That close finish this evening

I enjoy sailing and kayaking, being on the water and I aspire to enjoy my time safely – these two however are inspiring.

Happiness is…

Today, a day alone as Anne at conference in the midlands. The forecast said too windy to paddle, the bay said come on down. So…

It had to be…
Cormorant air drying
I went to the northern end of he bay and back, slowly
The view I get from the water
Photographed and posts on local Swanage page

Yes it was cold, I wore plenty of layers. The sea generally was calm, on the return journey the headwind built up. I haven’t paddled for a while as focused in October on more sailing so need to rebuild paddling fitness, but this is why I love living at the coast.

Weather and exercise

Wet, windy and… work means I am getting up later at the moment and getting to work just on time. After work the weather is cooler this week and also wetter and windier so getting less exercise – just going with the flow to be honest.

Drawing and hosting = happiness

I made no sales at my shop today – disappointing but to be honest not surprising his week.

What I did get to do and give others the opportunity to do was to draw. I also got to gift some of my drawings today to children taking part in art for fun and also to friends locally.

I also found out that there is such a thing as a Shopkin – amazing how we find out new things.

Shopkin, my drawing, owner’s drawing


Today some different stressors including a booked art workshop for a local art group – the first time I had taken up an invitation with a group.

I am a self taught artist who works with one main medium and is comfortable with that for his own work. In addition I let other people use my pens to draw and see if they can enjoy art for arts sake.

But…I am not an art teacher and in fact most things along a teaching line inevitably jog some trauma in me and I start to go off kilter in terms of my mental health. I tweeted someone else who had left teaching, far quicker than I did, when mentioning a fall out for me they referred to it as PTSD, not a way of considering my post teaching state of being but maybe the trauma concept is accurate.

I was also offered / invited to do a session with a pre school, so far outside my experience in terms of children’s ages, the person who invited replied with a jargon explanation of how they usually do these things – that confirmed for me that this definitely wasn’t something for me to consider.

So, today’s takeaway for me is that I need to stop trying to do more with my art than enjoy making my own art and letting others use my pens and encourage them to have fun at my shop / studio. Yes, I rent a studio / shop unit and take the risk of putting my art up for sale but I enjoy the interaction with people generally. I still find comments on me being talented difficult to acknowledge – I draw, I like it and I am grateful that other people like my work enough to buy it.

Yes, I overthink things, I knew that. I also seem to keep trying to justify myself … I don’t have to but Ido seem to keep making that error and triggering a flight type response.

Responding to mental health posts

Twitter now under new ownership means I open it with trepidation but will stick with it as have some good friends on there. Some of those friends have been struggling in term Autumn 2 now the clocks have gone back, so offering support and responding to tweets about reasons people have left teaching.

When I was in teaching a group of us formed under the hashtag #bdamigos and would keep an eye out for the others posting it and check how they were, it was very helpful as a support. When I left teaching I had no internet at home nor a home phone line to assist me nor mobile signal, it might have helped a bit.

I was out for a longer solo walk yesterday and found my mind wondering about what mental state I was in – i love in a great place, I have a business which is really a hobby that keeps me busy four days a week, I love our home but sometimes I still find my mood averting and have to pull myself up and just take in my surroundings as the greatest way to calm my mind creating obstacles that aren’t there.

Happy month-a-versify

WordPress emailed me to let me know that this blog is now a month old. Only about another 120 months to match Mishmash Learning.

Noticing and nosiness

I am incredibly nosey / curious / observant – call it what you may.

When I was a geography teacher, in my first lesson with new year 7 classes I would ask if the children were nosey and put up my own hand to encourage them that it wasn’t the wrong answer. They would enjoy Geography because it requires you to look around you and notice things.

When I changed my path to that of an artist that same curiosity about my surroundings found a new purpose.

Some examples from the last few days:

Monday 31 October overnight – I slept badly as distracted by the strong winds outside, listening to bins moving about and the howling of the wind and bands of heavy rain showers. I researched how strong the wind was to find it was called Storm Claudio – I had missed that, how remiss of me as a geographer.

Tuesday 1 November – this morning visiting the sailing club boat park to check if my kayaks were still strapped onto the top of one of the racks after local gusts of up to 70 mph winds.

They were, but I refastened some straps as this week sees several days of strong westerly breezes. Then I looked around for other items, I took photos to notify other club members and posted them on the Facebook page. I moved some loose windsurf boards which I wouldn’t be able to tie onto he racks securely enough.

Later on the way to work, I went along the seafront between the square and the Mowlem and watched some of the waves and reflected waves converge and produce lots of spray.

During my day at the shop, I watched the weather outside, the rain showers when they came, I listened to the thunder. This afternoon as the sky turned yellowish I came out to see patches of blue sky, a rainbow and clouds gathering.

I worked on two small commissions where I did an initial line drawing based on photographs sent by the client. I messaged them progress pictures to keep them aware of how the work was developing. I finished the first piece far faster than I had expected and at the same time I and my client were very happy with the finished drawing.

Was any of these being nosey? It didn’t matter as I noticed things about me mainly through sight or sound. I used touch when adjusting my hold on my pens to produce a heavier or lighter line.

I find that by noticing my surroundings I engage my brain and senses and I feel calmer.

What do you tend to notice?

Challenges but not too worried if incomplete

We reachOctober 31 and I have completed 31 drawings linked to prompts on each day of the month. I never used to finish this whenI tried it the first few times, it didn’t matter.

For the second year I will have a display in the shop of my drawings for the month which can lead to discussions with visitors about drawing in pen and / or markers and how the thing you draw can be suggested by all sorts of sources.

I used to be very hung up in the past on achievement- a big pressure word in teaching for sure. These days I still like to challenge myself to push,y efforts with some things and I will work to complete the challenge but if I don’t it is ok too.

Many of us load pressure on ourselves when we really don’t need to and cause ourselves additional anxiety or distress. In October I have continued my yearlong effort to increase my daily walking as a good base to add other exercise to.I set myself a daily target of 10000 steps initially but found that often I didn’t achieve it. Living in a small town where many of the places I go to are less than5 minutes walk away doesn’t demand the same amount of movement that my previous life in Essex demanded. So additional walks are needed even to he point like this evening where I raised my total by some extra stairs climbing and descending – helped by living in a second / third floor maisonette. Gradually my monthly totals have risen and in October for the third time in a month I have averaged 10000 steps per day. I also have an app which measures brisk walking, I am achieving more of this rather than just ambling.

Sailing – my new sport since 2020 – I take part in races, but I don’t try to compete as it is not my main aim, which is to be out on the water and practice my sailing skills. However, as happened in the recent Autumn Sunday series I did 5/8 races and my safety duty – this meant I competed more times than any other racers and non participation incurs a points penalty so I came 4th in the handicap fleet – so my reward came from participating more regularly.

What is you approach to challenges?