Painting the Past

A special welcome to new readers, with a little bit of background.  I began blogging about dramatherapy in 2001, then switched to a personal blog in 2015 with ‘Beside Ourselves‘ on Blogger. After setting up an art blog as part of an Open College of the Arts course (given up after a term),  I moved in 2019 to WordPress and launched ‘Time After Time‘.  I am so lucky to have regular followers, including some who keep in touch via email and social media.  I also have a couple of off-grid fans who get their copies by post!  Thank you for reading and encouraging me to keep writing.

It’s good to hear from other bloggers like Carole (Lifetides) and Jessica and to keep in touch with artists like Rosalind, Karen and Sophie.

https:// lifetides.co.uk

https://wordsbyjessica.co.uk

https://karenedward.com

https://rosalindwalker.co.uk

https://sophiemckayknight.com

Rosalind Walker’s February calendar picture On the Other Side from You is my featured image at the top. And below is Karen Edward’s Girl and Stripey Dog in a Garden with its cheerful colours and hints of Summer.

I’ve been posting  Sophie McKay Knight’s Painted Tarot in my Instagram stories and use it below.  I love her images!  Very different from the Leonora Carrington cards I’ve been using for a while.

Today’s card is The Sun, a ‘seed’ card signifying transition. The child archetype in a world of innocent play. We could certainly do with some of this! Note: I don’t have any mystical feelings about Tarot. The images are useful metaphors, that’s all.

I’ve been doing more family history research, trying out Ancestry, Find my Past and My Heritage. Most useful for English records has been the General Register Office. My Sister and I have been looking at different events in the same family and plan to get together to share our findings.  Some of these are sad; three little girls and their father dying of scarlet fever in the 19th C.  Others pose questions: two brothers who died young, our Grandmother’s wartime marriage our Great Aunt’s involvement in theatre and living on for decades in the family home. Puzzling over the faces, looking at resemblances, studying the clothes, the expressions, the backgrounds, trying to draw and paint them,  I find a connection to their lives.  The first two paintings are almost done. I’ll share them next time.

I’ve been enjoying working my way through my stash of books beginning with Magpie by Elizabeth Day, a clever surrogacy story. Susie Steiner’s Persons Unknown and  Remain Silent feature detective Manon Bradshaw – funny, engaging crime stories.  I was sorry to read that this talented young writer has lost her sight.

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett is a great read.  A prequel to his Kingsbridge trilogy, it is set in the Dark Ages.  The Manningtree Witches by AK Blakemore is an absorbing novel based on true events in 17th C England. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse was widely publicised.  I didn’t like it very much.  Yet another psychological thriller. However, I was pleasantly entertained by  The Twelve Even Stranger Days of Christmas, short stories by Syd Moore.  I am not usually a fan of this genre but the first sentence of the first story had me hooked.            

Nobody ever realised that the seven dwarves were female

I loved Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, moving and beautifully crafted. Lily is the latest novel by Rose Tremain, a writer I have loved since hearing Music and Silence serialised on Radio 4. Having visited the Foundling Hospital, I found this unsentimental story poignant and true.  I have discovered Peter Ackroyd’s work with The English Ghost (short anecdotes from various sources} and London Under, a fascinating journey into the world beneath London’s streets.

Belinda Bauer was recommended to me by G a few years back and I have read most of her quirky crime stories. I read Rubbernecker on my Kindle, a strange murder story with some very funny moments.

I finally got to the end of Stalingrad, a long listen, but worthwhile.  Having the print book to refer to helped with the Russian names.  I might postpone the sequel for a bit. I have started White Debt by Thomas Harding, also recommended by G, the true story of the Demerara uprising.

Television: terrestrial channels and streaming provide lots of choice.  Interesting to think how we judge TV programmes.  A friend talked the other day about trying to stop her elderly mother watching ‘rubbish’ until after midnight then sleeping in the next morning.  I thought, if I make it to my nineties no-one is going to stop me staying up late and watching anything I like. Something to add to my list of requirements if I end up in a care home, along with red wine, chocolate and high speed broadband. 

Around the World in 80 Days was perfect post-Christmas entertainment.  The Tourist  with Jamie Dornan, Stay Close and Rules of the Game (Maxine Peake) have been ideal binge watching.   Two new dramas, Trigger Point with Vicky McClure and Responder with Martin Freeman are edge of the seat stuff.  We’re hooked on a weird Apple TV series called Servant with Rupert Grint and Lauren Ambrose.  I’m growing fond of the ageing Sex and the City stars of And Just Like That as they grapple with life in today’s New York city.

We’ve managed to see a few films too. The Tragedy of Macbeth provided a different take on the play. With Ross emerging from the shadows and the wonderful Kathryn Hunter as all three witches, it challenged traditional interpretations.  In Boiling Point, starring Steven Graham, we shared a shift in a restaurant kitchen.  Gripping realism – food,  fights and some brilliant acting. 

The Electrical World of Louis Wain is a quirky, moving film about an eccentric artist whose illustrations popularised the cat as a domestic pet. Yesterday we saw Belfast, Branagh’s semi-autobiographical movie. It has an excellent cast and music by Van Morrison. I love going to the pictures on a weekday afternoon!

It’s good to be getting back to life after a long spell of incapacity.  Being able to do my usual chores around the house, go swimming with my pals, get to Pilates classes and drive again (soon).  Cannyrob has been amazing, looking after me, stopping me doing daft things, but it’s great to feel independent.  It makes me appreciate things I took for granted, but then Covid has been so limiting for all of us that starting to look ahead seems like a new thing.  Are you feeling more optimistic as the daylight lasts longer?  Get in touch in whatever way suits you: leave a comment, email me or use social media. And, please, do point out errors.  I’ve had a few glitches with this post!  Love, Elinor