A few years ago I shuffled off to see an exhibition of her work at the Royal Scottish Academy – my friend had a pass so it would be free so I sloped along. But in person they were NOTHING like the reproductions. Incredible colour changes. We spent ages standing infront of images saying things like ‘can you see the green?’ There was no green in the image.

Today on twitter I was struck how many images looked like a great basis for a quilt.

Bridget Riley. 1963

More about her here.

So many many decades ago back in the 1970’s my mother took me to an exhibiton of this Austrian artist’s work in Pretoria.

I knew he had designed an apartment block in Vienna but didn’t realise he also designed the Spittelau incinerator! and a spa and hotel. I’m hoping I can visit these one day… when we are allowed off this plague ridden island.

But unfortuantly I’m unlikely to ever see his New Zealand public loos which are apparently visited by more tourists than users every year.

Apparently astonishingly enough there are people who are …not aware of penguins.

I’m fond of a penguin I am… particuarly Macaroni Penguins known as Punk Penguins in our family.

And this picture always brings joy if not to the penguin involved.

More about the Scottish National Antartic Expedition here. The penguin was teatherd and the rope teathering him was painted out in a early form of photoshop. He was an unwilling audience.

Otherwide check out this music video which not only has Pingu in it but the vocals of a friend of mine who was breifly Big in Japan.

I finally took a brief break from social media to listen to a radio play about David Bowie’s sojurn in Berlin to try and escape drugs and LA and produce the haunting Low album. I’m mired in doomscrolling – the current political situation in the UK makes it all too much. And I and desperate HUNGRY for actual making. Like real food.

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(pic taken at the V&A in Dundee in January – one billionty years ago don’t know who did the poster SORRY shoot me now)*

So … we move in and out of acceptance or deeper levels of acceptance. Yesterday I finally saw my parents after three months. It took four hours and twenty five minutes to traverse the 7.1 miles between me and them. I’m high risk (have already nearly died of pneumonia really don’t recommend it) so I’m not going on public transport and I don’t drive and I have ME. There is a book called the Worst Journey In The Word by a chap who went on a disasterous Emperor Penguin Egg Collecting Expedition as a side shoot to Scott’s expedition to the South Pole. And possibily my journey wasn’t quite as bad … but the walk there took 1 hour 25 minutes. I then caught up with parents for three hours. And I started to walk back at 4pm. I soon realised my rest had done nothing to rest me. I staggered onto the cycle path and found a helpfully fallen tree trunk and sat on it for half an hour. Nervously fishing about in my bag for my hand sanitiser. I looked at all the people, cycling, walking, scootering in a jaundiced and judgemental manner. A dog ran away from its owner – I sat on my tree stump glowered and rejoiced at the badly behaved dog. Because people who walk around happily  without being crippled by the walking frankly deserve at least some kind of justice to even things up. I then got up and staggered another twenty minuites  of walking then found a lowish wall and sat on that for another half an hour. And sent some waspish texts to various friends. This was how I got home. Getting home took three hours.

My lodger in a cheerful manner said I would soon get quicker at this walking malarky if I kept on doing it. Now the marker of ME is that exercise doesn’t make you better it makes you worse. I feel no optimism for this being likely. And further more I can feel a bone weary tiredness over me which is its most vile symptom. And that comes with a most ferocious grumpiness with the world and its wife or dog or small child pinning posters to trees with drawing pins and littering the pathway with plastic foamy crafty bits which have fallen off said posters which exort you to ‘BE HAPPY’ as you kill your health trying to walk to you parents so you seen them once more before they die.

*Earlier this year I put up an instagram post without attributing the street artist and got roasted for it. So feel free to harrang me over not taking note of who ever did this poster but I have forks am likely in current mood to jab you back.

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I haven’t been down this street in a month…. incredible. And it looks like it will be months before I do again. I like most people cycle in and out of acceptance. Most days just marketing, cooking and clearing away takes most energy. I try and walk once a day, local to my house. I walk the same streets over and over. The good thing is that their particularity becomes even more sharply in focus. An abandoned self isolating hoover, rubbish with furious commentary written over it, cats who wander about like they are now our overlords – ‘These are our streets now.’ The unfurling of spring more important day by day. I then get a day when it all seems such a drag. And I’m on dratted social media too much like eating mental junk food. Craft projects and good intentions seem down the pan. I’m currently knitting rainbows for friends working in NHS or small children! Writing postcards while worrying about the workload of posties. Today I came up with a wild idea of giving my house front a make over.victoriantiles

Only one house in my street has original tiles leading up to the front door. Not mine sadly but I’ve thought of a way of giving myself a tiled entryway. Not costing the £5000 I was once told of the cost of putting mine back…

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Plucky plumber  – my little sink in my shower room has been getting progressively more clogged. I’ve tried to find my sink plunger for days now, to no avail. Then this afternoon trying to clear something else I found it! Oh joy my sink now runneth free. I hope to watch this film again – perhaps in the autumn with my friends David & Fiona who have an unparalleled collection of vintage films.

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Well crumpets – picture by my mother  – retrospective last month at the Open Eye Gallery. You can take a virtual tour here. Sorry that this blog is so neglected but I went pell mell for starting up my classes again – I was so determined to make this year different… ha ha! So threw myself into promoting them.

My friend H’s Aunty V calls this ‘Splendid Isolation’. I think I will adopt this attitude. I’m thinking here of my cat Frida who did this very well. She enjoyed me being ill and approved of me in bed where she could perch on me for hours. I’ve spent many weeks and months hardly ever leaving the house with frankly nary a phonecall or an email from a friend. So I have a touch of the herrumps about me. I see their slightly panicked emails and social media postings. And even their reaching out to me I can sense that really they just want someone to respond to them. I’m trying to be kind….

I have had pneumonia which nearly killed me and have ME. I’m self isolating as I’m not keen on getting anything which goes for the lungs  – luckily my lodger is very sensible. Though his reports from the outside world are hair raising. I can set up working form home which is next weeks job. I had a virus two weekends ago which is still lingering as these things do with ME. I just feel quite tired. Luckily I have the space to take things slowly.

Top tips for staying home from my experience with illness.

1.Don’t fight it. The people who fight their illness just stay ill longer. Accept you have to be in isolation.

2. Gentle routines. By gentle get up wash, make food, clear up, wash clothes.

3. Admit how you feel. Panicked, anxious, say it out loud. Unacknowledged feelings bite you on the bum. I’ve done what I can to plan and prepare. I can now do no more. Try to live in the thinnest slice of now as Robyn Posin says.

4. Do slow things, Knit, craft, mend, listen to radio dramas ( I think this will work for people outside the UK but check out the stuff here  – BBC sounds – scroll down for the programme categories). If you are in the UK I find ITV hub good for detective dramas if that is your bag – currently watching Scott & Bailey) Books – I had a premonition and hastily ordered 7 books from Abebooks – I entered in my favorite authors and did cheapest to most expensive. It supports second hand booksellers too.

5. Write cards. I have been able to use up a stash given to me by downsizing cousins! but got some lovely new ones from local artist Sally Richardson  – free delivery in UK and will continue to send some postal cheer to others who are self isolating. Stamps I’m going crazy and getting them from here. 

Leonard Da Vinci

This is officially known as Madonna and the Yarnwinder. But the wikipage is a bit crap banging on about spindling. A Yarnwinder is used to make spun yarn into hanks of wool. Wool balls as we have them now are a late 19th Centuary invention. I can remember reading about it ages ago online but I actually made it to its home in the National Gallery of Scotland to be mightily  put oot that it was not on display as its out on loan until March. I hope to revisit it and wave my someone sturdier made niddy noddy at the Madonna…