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February blues

I have started this post three or four times then got distracted so I’m determined to get this done. This is a very chilly view from the kitchen window. I wrote that a couple of weeks ago but it’s not quite up to today’s blizzard.

The last time I started this I began with : There is something in the air that says spring is on its way although I’m not sure what! We had this lovely-to- look -at snow on Saturday so went out feeling intrepid in the Landrover all the way to the farm shop.

The snow went pretty quickly and we’re back to dull old grey but very cold. M put up 2 bird feeders and we have a blue tit queue for those most of the day. There was a lovely coal tit with it’s white striped head and my favourite blackbirds foraging for the dropped peanuts.

I did venture into the garden but there is little sign of any shoots. I planted a lot of bulbs in the autumn so I’m hopeful of lots of spring flowers despite having spotted next doors’ cat digging in the bed. An update- we have some lovely snowdrops, although I am always torn between leaving the in the garden and picking them to paint.

Ralph has been poorly with a feline UTI but seems back to himself; he also hated going out in the snow and sharp frosts, so was pacing around a lot bored (when not comatose over the radiator)

So there really are signs of spring after all, and it is getting a bit lighter. I've been poring over Sarah Raven catalogues choosing lots of nice things to put in the garden and to get the veg patch going. I’ve been able to paint some hellebores which make an appearance in January as well as some snowdrops and pears. I got some tulips from the greengrocer as I couldn't resist the orange.

This lockdown is now getting to people I think; I am feeling increasingly frustrated at the lack of contact with everybody. I called this February Blues as I suppose most people are feeling depressed in some way. I have my moments of gloom but luckily can always find something to inspire a painting.

Zooms are ok but in someways just a reminder of what is missing. Although we had our zoom book group on Saturday which was a good discussion with 9 of us. There is never a book that all of us like but this one, Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, got majority approval.

It was a book I put forward as when I’d read it a couple of years ago I really wanted to talk about it with someone. Despite the main plot being about a shocking child murder it’s not in any way gruesome. Reading like a thriller with beautiful description of the mountains and believable characters the reader is left with no answers. Some of us found that dissatisfying. I of course was convinced I had got to the truth of the matter but as usual with different opinions others disagreed.

So apart from that and the odd foray out to the shops everyday is pretty much the same. I get up (too late M thinks) and potter around for the rest of the morning and then paint after lunch until Ralph needs feeding and it’s cocktail hour and making dinner.

I was pleased with this delicious roast partridge, parsnips, carrots and potatoes

with cavolo nero and pear and damson jelly. I love sweet things with game.

I was also very pleased with these garibaldi biscuits; different to the real thing but hard to compare really:

Then we watch a couple of hours of telly- I’m eking out the Crown and enjoying the Serpent, (although M less so); I love anything medical, GPs Behind Closed Doors is fascinating as is 24 Hours in A&E. Anthony Bourdain seems to have made hundreds of Netflix episodes eating his way round the world it seems. I like that he mixes food and the local cultures. Also catching up with the last season of Spiral which is such a great French crime series.

Well I suppose I could watch telly all day and I’m sure some people do but I think I would feel depressed as a couch potato. My daily outfits are mostly joggers and sweatshirts with furry slippers so it’s easy enough to switch to couch mode. Occasionally I wear jeans if going outside, but it is good feel comfortable. I was for some reason reminded of prisoners living in their prison issue tracksuits.

Not that it’s comparable in any way; I know that prisoners have been even more deprived of liberties like visits and time out of cell so they’re even more hellish places. We are deprived of our freedom though in a way that is hardly questioned, but I’m not going to get political today.

It still feels to early to look forward to anything. I had my first vaccine (Oxford AstraZenika) on Saturday but it makes no difference to what you can or can’t do so gives no sense of progress. I get the next one in April. And apparently the Oxford one is useless against the new South African variant.

I spend most of my time thinking about painting. One of my favourites Joan Eardley I’ve written about before. Here are four of her great landscapes:

If this post has seemed a bit disjointed it’s indoubtedly because I wrote it in fits and starts. Maybe the ongoing lockdown means there is so much time that it's a sort of 'manyana' mindset. I think I will attempt to write a bit more regularly.

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