20/04/2014 11:58 BST | Updated 20/06/2014 06:59 BST

Swimming, Violet Curtains and the Duchess

I think this is my ninth day of swimming, I'm feeling quite a bit better in myself, the sunny weather has been good too. I've gotten into a bit of a routine, a walk through the field, coffee, newspapers, a steam, then the pool. Painting wasn't going so well, then I turned a corner with a bright green jumpered Kate M. Not sure what will work out next, but there's a nice blue stripy shirt I have in mind to paint too, on a rock star.


'Kate green jumper', acrylic on hand-made paper, (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), 2014.

The swimming is beginning to feel like second nature, and I don't know how I've managed without it for so long. I like to choose a patch of the pool that has the sun shining on it, so I can imagine I'm in the sea on holiday. I'll be fully back to my real whole self, when I can pretend to be a mermaid on the turns, at the end of each length. I'm still too fat for that kind of agility, I've lost one roll around my stomach, two more to go. One of my chins has gone too, thank heavens.

I've been looking at some vans again, I quite like the idea of touring Europe in one for a while, stopping here and there to paint. I fancy making some violet flowered curtains for it, I have my eye on a small van with windows in the back. I've also been looking for a place to settle in again up north, as the urge to paint in oils is overwhelming sometimes, and wont be so easy on the road. Sometimes I think of going further afield like the USA, but that would be complicated. The sunshine of Los Angeles or Mexico would be great for my work. Hopefully if I keep swimming, the old energy levels will come back, and I'll move forwards in a good way, whatever that is.

Ideally I would have a base to live in anda van, though that seems a bit ambitious! The allotment TV show the other night, had me longing to grow vegetables, little niece and I enjoyed that together, we are similar in many ways. It's nice when someone understands your sense of humour, we seem to be on the same wave length. My sister and I enjoyed watching her riding lesson again too, it's been pleasant to have the lighter evenings, and a nice drive out to the stables.


At little niece's horse riding lesson, in Norfolk.

So Yazmin gets back from her dad's on Tuesday, in time for the next allotment programme, and there's 'Jamaica Inn'to look forward to on Monday, I do love du Maurier.


'Daphne', acrylic on hand-made paper, Daphne du Maurier, (Private Collection), 2009.

I really must try to sort a proper base out, in the not too distant future, I think some nest building, will make me feel so good. I've been a bit flighty the last few years, but I'm naturally quite earthy. I guess I just have to balance the fact I'm really a traveller, who got a bit sidetracked for too long, with somewhere to oil paint, cook, dig and bathe. I dread to think how much of my life I've spent in a depressed stupor, it's like you just get numb, and even breathing feels like a bit too much movement. Like playing statues as a child, only it's no fun, and you have so many things to do, to keep life ok, and you can't help but let everything crumble around you. Then it takes forever to get back to a place of stability and hopefulness, briefly before it all starts again.


'Manderley', acrylic on canvas, (Private Collection), 2004.