Beautiful Blossoms, Beautiful Youth

I was to draw a card for a relative. We have a beautiful orchid that lurks greenly in a corner, and then pounces into a dazzling white perfection once every couple of years. How to capture such a pure, such a white, such a delicate thing? With my clumsy hand? Nonetheless, it became my subject…

…but it vied for position with some stunning yellow roses that my friend Cathy had kindly cut for me when I passed her house the other day. Roses are my favourite flower in the whole world. To bury my nose in them and to breathe in deeply is to be transported to my childhood, to the garden of my mysterious, glamorous and elegant grandmother…I have never been able to paint roses. They get fiddly and heavy so fast if you try to draw them the way they are – I knew there must be an easier way. Something that would allow me to be free and easy, unlaboured, but still capture the blowsy beauty, the delicacy of the petals.

My solution: I painted fast and fresh, directly, without any lines. Then when the paint was dry I took a bottle of waterproof yellow ink (I know, you don’t happen to have any at home!) and I scribbled a few lines down, using a dip pen. Easy and lovely to do.


My son Paddy is nearly 18. He and I were driving into Aldi the other day, as he’s a great lad and wanted to help with the groceries (okay, especially the ones he had specifically ordered). On the way in he snapped mildly at me once or twice, then immediately apologised for his brusqueness. I told him not to worry, his definition of rude is nearly everyone else’s polite.

“Yes,” he said, “I’m so polite I could make a good Canadian. Maybe it’s genetic.”

(His grandmother, my mum, is Canadian.)

We made some fun “polite Canadian” jokes and looked a few stupid memes (like the furious beaver, angered by a sign in miles per hour instead of syrup per moose), and then we discussed taking up Canadian citizenship. I’m not sure about Paddy’s eligibility, but becoming a Canadian citizen is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, as I am entitled to it through my mother.

“I’d really like to become a Canadian citizen,” said Paddy, “the letters for Canada are really close together on the keyboard.”

Paddy may very politely be asked to offer a more convincing reason…

Cosy Baby

Liv, aged 9, watching Cars 2

We bought Liv, my youngest, a sheepskin rug when she was born. The rug is a whole sheep’s fleece, very small, but has the outline of a flattened sheep. I’d read that babies will go to sleep easily on a sheepskin rug so obviously I stopped at the next sheepskin shop. As Liv grew, she dragged it everywhere with her, making cosy spaces of laundry baskets, cardboard boxes, anywhere she wanted to sit for a bit. She’s now a month shy of 15 years old, and a tall and willowy girl who towers over her short and squat mother (see the sketch of her from my last blog post).

This morning I went in to say good morning to her, and noticed the rug for the first time in a while.

“Is that the sheepskin rug you’ve had since you were a baby?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I remember trying to line up my arms with the sheep’s arms, my legs with the sheep’s legs and my head with the head part of the sheep. But I was too small to reach.”

Aged 12, wearing a blanket that my mum had brought back from Canada

I’m glad I bought that rug. And I’m glad I have those sketches.


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