Friday 28 June 2024

This and That.

Hello Friends!

I'm trying to do what I can in Bloggland, but unfortunately some of you have got those irritating and  highly frustrating images as security {you know the ones where you must pick all the squares with cars/bikes/steps or whatever in them} and with Parkinson's it's virtually impossible to pass the test.  So, I'm reading but cannot comment.  It is a never ending journey of discovery with Parkinson's, finding out things so many of us take for granted then one day, little by little, we are no longer able to do them. Typing is a nightmare as keys often get pressed two or three times.  The dictaphone is not perfect, it has a mind of its own, but between the two I am adapting and managing at the moment.

In a short while, I shall be off to the post box on the corner with my Postal Ballot.  A week from today we will know who our Prime Minister and government will be for the next few years.  We have a new boundary for our constituency this time.   There are eight candidates, some of them look as if they are just out of kindergarten, while others look as if they are after something to occupy them in their retirement!

With Wimbledon beginning on Monday, there is something to look forward to for a fortnight.  I do hope Andy Murray will make an appearance in the Men's Singles draw, and/or with his brother Jamie in the Men's Doubles.

I look forward to the Paris Olympic Games too, and after this morning's announcement that Fred Sirieix is joining the BBC commentating team, my interest to view is even greater.  I am not sure why they feel he is qualified to commentate on sports, but he will be eye candy and a delight to listen to!  His daughter is apparently a diver on Team GB.  I do enjoy the opening ceremonies of Olympic Games, I wonder what delights Paris will bring forth?

I have recently been indulging in The Traitors US. If you like that sort of thing. It is utterly compelling viewing. It's worth it just to see the outfits that he host Alan Cumming wears, although I must admit I do rather like the outfits, Claudia Winkleman wears when she presents the British version. I'm not altogether sure though why our former speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow was on there? However, I did think he was rather good and got voted out rather undeservedly.

Meanwhile, ICAD continues.  Again, in no particular order

off prompt, waterproof pencils and ink

Off Prompt ink and Chromaflow 

"Fold"  ink and Chromaflow

"Steampunk" ink and Chromaflow

Steampunk bonus card  Ink and Graphite

Finally, this is still a work in progress. I'm trying out a new technique based on subtractive drawing. I scribbled graphite pencil all over the card Then I smudged it using a paper stump or tortillon. Using a circular stencil, I created the pattern by erasing the graphite using a fine pointed eraser. We shall see what happens to it next time. If my most recent selection of cards is anything to go by, it will undoubtedly have a steampunk bent to it.

Until next time.
Stay safe stay well.

Saturday 22 June 2024

First It Was The Post Office . . .

Hello friends!

It's not strictly true to say first it was the Post Office. In the interests of accuracy, first, it was actually HSBC Bank. What am I talking about? Rural closures. They seem to be the scourge of the 21st century.

I will never forget the day HSBC closed it's doors.  The small city where I live has a population that varies between 1500 and 1800 people. in recent years, mainly due to the deluge of second home ownership and holiday homes we have been nearer the 1500.  However, in the Silly Season {tourism} our population swells to well up in the thousands daily.   

Growing up, there was always a full complement of services. Several small independent grocery shops. A Post Office. Two bakeries.  A butcher. A chemist. Two newsagents. Three banks. A doctor. A dentist. Two junior schools. A Grammar school. So on, and so forth you get the gist. The day HSBC closed its doors heralded the beginning of the end.

One Christmas Eve, I was coming home along the bottom of the Cross Square and outside HSBC was a trailer full of the office furniture and final bits and bobs being removed upon the closure of the bank. I think the saddest thing of all was that sitting on top of everything was the Christmas tree replete with lights and decorations. It seemed a foreboding symbol of what was to come.  

A few years earlier due to a fire burning down one of the buildings, the two junior schools had amalgamated. But no one saw that as foreboding to the diminishing services in the community. that was to come.  It was something that happened and common sense seemed to say that the two schools would be better merged into one.

Time passed. Shopping habits seem to change as supermarkets established themselves. slowly the daily shop was replaced by the weekly shop, and one by one as the owners of the independent grocery shops retired so their shop doors closed for the very last time. Then one day it was announced that Barclays Bank was closing and overnight, we had gone from three banks to one bank. Not very long after that, our Post Office closed. We now have a part time counter that isn't even owned by the post office. It is owned by a local chain of shops where money comes before customer service. Then towards the end of last year, our last remaining bank closed in the village.  Our nearest banks and post office are now a 17 mile drive away, Or approximately one hour in each direction by bus.  For good measure, the bus services have been cut as well. So you can no longer catch a bus in, nip round and do your shopping quickly and get the next bus back. Now you have to stay in town for at least an hour, sometimes longer.  A trip to the bank can take half a day.  And only then if your bank still has a branch in Haverfordwest, which most don't so the nearest is some 55 miles away in Carmarthen.  So, a full day out!

Just as we start to wonder how on Earth we're going to cope comes the sledgehammer news that our local GP practise is closing at the end of October this year. There have been protests aplenty. There have been meetings of the community. There has been a protest march. And all of these events have been attended by hundreds of people. The GP practise doesn't only serve the village, it serves much of the peninsula, several thousand patients.  One of two things will happen.  Either the Health Board will step in and take it over, or we will all be dispersed to neighbouring practices up to 20 miles away.  

To visit my new GP, I could be faced with a 3/4 mile walk to the bus stop, up to an hour-long bus ride, another walk on arrival, and up to four hours to wait for a return bus home.  Alternatively, I could pay out around £150 for a taxi.  It does not bear thinking about.

So, moving swiftly on . . . let's pick up on my ICAD art again.

Off Prompt Gel Pens

Ranunculas Mixed Media

Alternating.  Gel Pen
Beach {off prompt} Ink

Gold Mixed Media
Crystal Metalic Paint

Tulips  mixed  media

Hummingbird  Gansai Tambi metallic paint
I have never seen a hummingbird, much less draw one, so found online some royalty free images to create a best guess composite.

Until next time
Stay safe stay well
Debbie xx

Saturday 15 June 2024

A Brief Update and Some Art

Hello Friends!

I'm still taking my prolonged break from social media.  Thank you for your kind messages and support.  Your lovely letters, cards and phone messages bring me such joy and lift my spirits.  In the meantime, June 1st saw the start of the annual ICAD art challenge.  Most of you know what this is, if not you can read about it HERE.  I believe this is my tenth year taking part.  This year I am using Silvine plain white, unruled 6x4 inch record cards.  If you don't want to see the art, just hop along to the end, I won't be offended!  

In no particular order the first two weeks:

Portal or Doorway.  Graphite

Zinnia.  Graphite and Coloured Pencil

Gradient.  Watercolour Pencil

Tree.  Watercolour Pencil

Owl.  Graphite

Off Prompt. Bonus Card. Mixed Media

Patisserie.  Mixed Media

Lavender.  Watercolour pencils

Waves.  Watercolour pencil

Potpourri mini challenge Maze.  Watercolour pencil

Ferris Wheel mixed media

Off prompt

Orange watercolour and micron pen

Recipe Watercolour

Ellipse  Graphite

Terrazzo  Gel Pens

I appreciate your messages of support and concern but I think there is a general underlying misconception over Parkinson's, as so many are very kindly sending me wishes for a speedy recovery.  Unfortunately, Parkinson's does not get better, it is a progressive degenerative disease of the nervous system and will only worsen over time.  So until a cure is found there is no getting better, just good days and bad days.  In the meantime, I am attending two days a week at a local hospice, which I enjoy, especially the time I can enjoy the warm jacuzzi which helps alleviate my painful legs.  Social Services has also arranged for eleven hours of help for me.  

In the meantime, we all now have the added worry that we are about to lose our GP Surgery and may have to face being dispersed to the nearest facilities, some 16 miles away.  This is not good news for those, like myself, without transport.  I don't know what is happening to our world.

Until next time
Stay well and stay safe
Debbie xx