I had lost my get up and go … yes it was that sort of post-Christmas dull lethargy, fuelled by too much chocolate, too much telly and not enough sunlight or fine weather to encourage me away from our log-burning stove. What a great purchase that was. It really is the most comfortable place to be in the world in our front room on an evening with the fire roaring and the wind blowing a hoolie outside. The first occupants of our cottage many, many years ago had a similar stove which they would have burned mainly peat on, but would have afforded them their cooking and water-heating as well as their warmth and comfort on a dark winter night. We know this because we’ve seen a photograph of them sitting in front of it. The house has changed some since those days and is now a combination of two small cottages joined together with small extra extensions at the front to allow for a utility room and a modern bathroom (both small but perfectly formed). We also have a small conservatory, lovingly called the “Sitooterie” becase one sits oot in it, which was built by our immediate predecessor in the house. Instead of a two room but and ben cottage in which all the family life took place, we now have a very comfortable little cottage with most mod cons (no ensuite, but the bathroom is so close to the two little bedrooms that iit’s almost ensuite). We live by the sea – our long-held fantasy – and we are detached as opposed to being semi-detached for most of our lives, and in some cases even terraced or town-housed! – so what more could we ask for. Good neighbours you say, and good neighbours we have. Our sitooterie doubles as my studio and gallery and I share it, when painting, with a small army of curious, inquisitive and sometimes downright vandalous cats (more of them in another post). So finally, I’ve dragged myself away from the wood-burner to the Sitooterie and have managed to finish a piece of work, one of a series with 3 more to go, all for the lovely young women who work in the hair salon I go to. Each is to have their own portrait by their workstation and I’m working on portraits with a difference, each one inspired by the woman herself, and also by my love for certain styles of painting, including Pre-Raphaelites and Gustav Klimt. More of this series later. For now all you need to know is the Sitooterie is back in use, the new movable kitchen trolley houses my paint palette in such a way that I don’t think my cats can walk through it any more and the views of the sea are making my chances of starting on my resolution of walking more often a little more realistic. Also, I went to a really inspirational talk by an author Joanna Penn talking about ways of achieving scaleable income by writing and this included lots of really good advice about self-publishing, tying up all the loose ends I’ve been dabbling with recently including having an Amazon Affiliate shop and regularly blogging. So here I am re-starting my blog which sprang to life some time ago and then died an ignominious death. This time I’ll be faithful. Also writing 1000 words a day was mentioned – or at least spending an hour a day trying to write 1000 words. Seems a lot and then I notice this blog has rambled on vaguely without me even trying and has almost achieved an amazing (and probably over-lengthy for a blog) count of nearly 600 words. Who’d have thought. So tomorrow is another day and tomorrow I’ll achieve 1000 on one of my stories which may never be published but will get me heading in the right direction of writing, chopping, editing and polishing. Wow, up to 634 now (note to self, stop looking at the word count …. 646).