January – July 2018

Been away from this blog for awhile so I’ll just do a quick catch up before I get more organised and keep to monthly posts.

January was nor exceptional. however I was delighted to have 2 paintings accepted for the Winterwall exhibition in a Cardiff Gallery called M.A.D.E. They were my 2 small White Landscapes I painted on Japanese paper and tissue paper. I love those paintings and don’t really want to sell either of them, but it was good to let other people see them. I took my two grandchildren to see the exhibition. No-one else in my family went to see it apart from hubby. Sad.

February. Attended the Regional Samaritans Conference in Tenby – even though weather rubbish I love walking on that beach.  I had a larger area in the Glasbury Art Exhibition this year – I showed all my sketchbooks – 3 years worth. Also I exhibited three White Landscapes and 2 feather ink drawings. Looked great. Was very proud. Also spent one hour every day from Fri-Wed drawing in the exhibition and inviting members of the public to join me. Very interesting and it felt really worthwhile. Hubby and one son saw the exhibition. Had some lovely positive encouraging comments given to me about my concertina sketchbooks which were spread out to show the drawings. I began life drawing sessions in Llanigon Village Hall to get ready for my life drawing trip to Berlin in May.

March. The biggest event was the arrival of my third grandchild – Isaac Llewelyn at 5.45a.m. on 3rd March in Cardiff. Pretty special you thing. He has a cleft lip which they are planning to operate on when he is 3 or 4 months old. He’s lovely. I organised a crazy day on the 20th March – Samaritans on the Railway at Llandrindod Wells. We met every train from 5.30a.m. until 9pm meeting passengers and staff to raise awareness of volunteering for Samaritans. Hard work but good fun.

April. I had the scary prospect of dog sitting my son’s two dogs for 4 days whilst they went to my brother in Edinburgh for a break. It swing from delightful to horrendous in equal measures – I won’t elaborate here!!!!! During that break my son proposed to his partner and she said yes of course. That was in the Science Museum in Edinburgh on the balcony. Romance is alive thank goodness.

May. I went on a life drawing holiday to Berlin meeting the other 5 people on Stansted airport! A bit scary as I knew no-one just booked it on the internet. I loved every day. It was great and challenging and inspiring. Decided to keep going to the Life Drawing classes for the rest of the year in Llanigon. I’m improving and feeling more confident as it is so difficult to be consistent.

June. Moderating for 2 weeks in Exeter and Liverpool. Fitted in a night with mum too. Hotels were brilliant. Did a little shopping in both cities which was fun.

July – main event was my first visit to Silverstone to watch the British Grand Prix and spend 5 nights camping on the GP Festival site. Scorching hot but had a great time. Slept in my brothers awning tent attached to his camper van and another friend camped in a separate tent. Strange to walk at dawn to the toilet block for a wee and having conversations with the 24 hour security guard. Enjoyed the comedy tent and Whispering Bob Harris’s music evenings of new talent. Loved it. Mum came back to Brecon to bungalow hunt for her move to Brecon. She’s 91 this month and we had a little BBQ party for her. I am finding it stressful finding a good bungalow for her. I just want to find a little gem for her as it is a huge move for her. Isaac went in for his operation and it was a huge success. Quite amazing. A relief for everyone. I was heavily involved in the Crucial Crew event in 9 high schools working with other organisations giving talks to 12 year olds about emotional health and coping strategies. Tiring but worthwhile.

So how am I feeling? Lonely and unloved. It doesn’t matter how busy we are when you are feeling unvalued by those you love you feel like running away. Let’s see what August brings.



August 2016 – married for 35 years

August 1st 1981 – walked down the aisle Valerie Anne Smythe and married Christopher Laurence Meredith at St. Hilda’s Church in Bilsborrow, Lancashire.

Memories of that day include….when everyone was at the church there was just me and dad left and we walked in the garden in the sunshine. It was so quiet and still and calm. We just talked and it was the very best moment in time for me, a closeness that has never been replicated.

Visited my friend from University back in the 70s. We had a lovely few days just talking art and seeing Georgia O’Keefe’s exhibition in Tate Modern – such paintings and drawings – sooooo wonderful. Just want to get back to making art. Just hope the chemotherapy works for her.

Set off in the night last week of August to go to the International Youthweek in Aurich, northern Germany with 4 sixth formers to join students from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Romania. Amazing.


November – a reflective month and birthdays galore

November continued to let me have a straggle of blackberries and apples for jam making and I added some quinces to my activities from my son’s garden, ripening them on the kitchen windowsill then making jelly jam. Quite a success. they are a strange looking fruit – wrinkly, but interesting inside with a clean scent.

I have been inspired to continue drawing everyday – objects around me, objects in my cabinet of curiosities from my travels, trees and seedpods, whatever takes my fancy. I’m trying to get inspiration for a pendant design that an old friend is designing and making. I met Lyndsay Cameron on 22nd November in the Tate Modern – last meeting June 1976 at our final art shows at Aberystwyth University. (I was in London on our annual trip to see the tennis at the O2 near the end of November) I was excited but also a bit nervous and I think I gabbled on a bit, but it was lovely. We had a lot of life to catch up on. We discussed our ideas looking at each others sketches and materials she’d brought. It was so creative. I can’t wait to see the finished designs. This is a gift to me for my 61st year.

Walking across the Millenium Bridge my son called me and I spoke to him and my granddaughter in the darkness watching the light reflect on the Thames water, magical. Both me and my granddaughter have birthdays in November 7 days apart so on consecutive Thursdays we were a year older – she being 3 and I was slightly numerically older at 61. Nice to be able to spend them together. Naturally I think about the past as we are reminded about age and time passing. Dum spectas fugio. I enjoyed being 60 – something I haven’t been able to say since before my early 40s.

Visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford helping on a school trip was amazing as usual – EVERYONE should go and enjoy a sense of awe and wonder – it blows my mind every time and I can draw some truly weird and wonderful objects.

I am so loving my daily drawing using very soft 8B and 6B pencils – now beginning its second month – I feel grounded and more content. Not sure why? I thought it might be a chore to do and to choose what to draw, but it’s not, it’s making me feel creative. I’m quite surprised at myself. It makes me really happy. Not sure if it will last as Christmas chaos and pressure is on the horizon.

Going to Germany at the beginning of December – that makes me happy too – meeting some people I have known for 10 years seeing them once a year, some I met about 19 years ago – Benito from Galicia hasn’t seen me for 16 years and some will be new to me. They are all part of the International Youth Meeting group from Poland, Germany, Finland and the Basque Country. Watch this space – it should be fun…..



September Escapades

Had hoped to be in Crete, but no chance. Surrounded by damaged human bodies!
Spent first day of September in hospital at a fracture clinic with mum – better than we’d thought, but 6-9 weeks for healing everything. C still has bad back so no flying. No Crete. Wonder if I could escape for a week away on my own – I’ll start planning!

Today there is an eery mist surrounding everything. Woke early but mist did not clear for hours. This is how I feel at the moment. Still grieving.

Planning some talks to sixth form students to go on an International Youthweek in Aurich, northern Germany. This will be different as I normally take students I know and these are from two different schools. Wondering about the difference – a new experience since retiring. Exciting or scary?

My niece had a baby girl last week – Matilda. Hope to see her in November.

My grandchildren freaked me out early in September – felt so useless, I couldn’t get anything right when I looked after them. This was a first and it really upset me. Surely I can do this. This week it was much better but exhausting. I don’t want any pointless battles. Must plan some surprises for next week.

Been picking blackberries in Cardiff, in Brecon and near Llandovery in the sun. I’m addicted. I love it – time stands still, you hear the birds singing, you watch life passes, then you can make jam or jelly – it’s just sensational. Everyone should be doing it – why aren’t they????

Drawing more trees this month – but not many……