Monday, July 15, 2024

Summer break

Dear friends,

I am taking a few weeks break from the blog, but I will be back…probably in the second half of August.

In the meantime I wanted to tell you that I was mentioning badminton in an email today and couldn’t remember the word for shuttlecock. Imagine. I had to Google it. That’s what my brain is like these days.

Secondly, and randomly, I don’t know if you’re Call the Midwife fans, but I am devoted to it. I have a quibble, though. I want to know why Matthew insisted on carrying on with business when he was no good at it. When Trixie met him he was a barrister. Why on earth did he not go back to working at that? Actually I don’t like him much. He was impossibly high handed in that last episode of the last series (series 13). Comments welcome.

Wishing you lovely weather,

Love Sue

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

All new

I have never been to Pembrokeshire before and I’m loving it. 

Yesterday’s weather was drizzly and dull so we went to St Davids, which is a city, on account of St David’s cathedral, 

but St David’s is a settlement smaller than Bakewell. There is only one supermarket, for example, and they’ve been campaigning to stop the surgery being closed down. Perhaps the new government will keep it open: they are promising more GPs, after  all.

We looked round the cathedral and I was taken with this quote from St David:

Also with the needlework on this tapestry:

…look at the beautiful crows!

And this panel in another part of the cathedral:

Which brought me back to thoughts of Gaza.

And in another part of the cathedral I learned about the Armenian genocide in 2015, which I had known nothing about. Why are there STILL genocides?

I saw this tweet last night:

We must not let the world turn its eyes away from what’s happening in Gaza.

Monday, July 08, 2024


 This is the official selfie for this year’s holiday with Liz.

Photo by Liz

We’ve had two beach days with hot sunshine now. Yesterday I managed to get up to my waist, and today it was total immersion in the cold, cold Atlantic. I feel very pleased with myself. I have nothing left to prove now. Can you spot me?

Photo by Liz

I managed to squirm into my tight cossie under a towel on the beach without embarrassment, and then noticed my pants hadn’t come off with my jeans, so I had to do it all over again, while not letting my falsie fall out and get coated in sand. All part of the holiday fun when the sun is warm and the sea and sky are a deep deep blue. We’ve been so lucky with the weather. Rain is expected tomorrow so we’re going to St Davids.

The wild flowers and grasses here are sublime but I find it difficult to take a good photo. 

Liz is better at it.

Photo by Liz

Sunday, July 07, 2024

Picture postcards from Pembrokeshire

We are staying in a lovely little cottage very near Porthgain. I’ve never been to Pembrokeshire but Liz has been coming for 50 years so she is showing me all her favourite places. It’s beautiful. 

The journey was a long one and made longer by three significant diversions caused by roadworks or accidents. Once the satnav took us on a vicious circle down a single track road.

Liz said “We may be lost but we’re making good time.”*

But we got here. Liz is an excellent and patient driver. 

On our first day we had beautiful blue skies - which have been so rare this year - and a strong cold wind.

Here are some pictures:no writing today.

Walk to the harbour
Photo by Liz

Look at that lush vegetation!
Photo by Liz

Porthgain beach

On the coastal path

Coastal path
Photo by Liz

Coastal path
Photo by Liz

Liz’s first paddle 

Caerfai Bay

Colours on the beach

Colours at the harbour

* borrowed from her brother in law.

Friday, July 05, 2024

Things I am happy about

Things I am happy about:

The Tories are toast.

Jeremy Corbyn has won and will be Father of the House.

Diane Abbott has won and will be Mother of the House.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has lost.

The Greens - the party of the left - have won 4 seats, up from 1. They’re on the way up.

I am going on holiday with Liz today! 

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

The truth about the art trail

I know that at least one member of my family would say I shouldn’t admit to this, but the highlight of the Art Trail for me was MsX coming to visit on the Sunday afternoon.

This is MsX:

I hadn’t seen her for three weeks and I shan’t see her for another three weeks, and that’s too long a gap for me.

It reminded me of when I was publishing BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED  YOU, and Isaac was producing the cover. He lived in San Francisco then. The cover proofs arrived in the post via FEDEX and in the same parcel were some unexpected photos of Lux, my eldest granddaughter, who was 9 months old.

I was so excited to be getting the cover for my book, and I ripped open the envelope, but then I spotted the photos of Lux and was even more excited, and I drooled over those first.

I wrote a blog post about this and how it made me realise that I was a grandmother before a writer. I think it’s the same now but with painting. And it still amazes me, because I was never one of those women who desperately wanted grandchildren. But now they are here I am besotted (as you’ve probably gathered.)

The other highlights of the trail were

1/ Chrissie buying a painting on the eve of it so I could add a red dot 🔴 to one of my paintings. This was a huge encouragement. This is the painting…

Our blue shed

2/ three good friends coming to visit for extended conversations - one of whom I hadn’t seen since before Covid.

3/ the positive feedback and interesting conversations I had with some of the visitors.

I sold plenty of cards, and none of my paintings. But the prices mean they are not an impulse buy.

So would I do it again?

I’m not sure. It was well organised and well attended and successful. I’m sure the punters enjoyed it. But I’m not sure if it was worth it for me. It’s not free.

I enjoyed last year’s exhibition at home for friends and family so much more, so I think I’m going to do that again in August. We had tea and cake and people sat in the garden talking to people they didn’t know and it felt like a party.

If you’re a regular blog reader you’d be welcome to come.

The profits from my cards will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians. 

Link here

Friday, June 28, 2024

For sale!

Dave and I will be going to the church in Bonsall today to set up the display of my paintings for the Bonsall Art Trail this weekend.

I assembled them yesterday and thought you might like to see them. They are varying sizes. They are all acrylics except for the two that are labelled ‘Collage.’ 

Forgive the cardboard corner protectors on some of them. They’d just come back from the framer and it seemed daft to remove them when we’re packing them up to go in the car.



All set up now with Dave’s help -

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Precious life

Someone I know, someone I knew, someone I thought I knew, died ten days ago. He took his own life. He was about the same age as me. It was shocking and sad. No, it was beyond words. All of us who knew him are left thinking about the last time we spoke to him. No-one knew he was on the brink.  Why didn’t we know? Had we known, could we have done something to stop him from taking that step from which there is no coming back? 

There was a vigil held for him in the small town where he lived, and what became  apparent to me that night was how loved he was. All these people from all these different groups in the town assembled to mourn and to talk about how much he meant to them. Hadn’t he known? Did he know but it wasn’t enough? All these questions.

At the same time as he left, a real burst of summer arrived - at last - and having been reminded of the tenuous grip we have on life,

Lettering by Elizabeth Forrest RBSA

…I have been packing as much into my days as I can. As a result of that, I was so tired yesterday that I couldn’t even paint. 

The day before, I’d been on a bike ride and we had also been on a double-decker open-topped sightseeing bus from Calver to Castleton, up Winnatts Pass to the Blue John Cavern. There and back. The views were fabulous. We’ve done it twice. If you’re a local, you should go! (I feel like being an ambassador for these buses. You buy a ticket and there is one every hour and you can hop on and off all day if you choose. £5.50 with a bus pass.)

This is me at the terminus enjoying a coffee and the view down the Hope Valley. 

Last Thursday when it was a little chilly

And two days ago, when it was warm.

Last week after a long bike ride my knees ached so much that I couldn’t get to sleep. It was the third daily bike ride in a row and methinks it was a bit too much. I do have arthritic knees, but bike rides, being low impact exercise, are generally good for them.

And there’s another thing - yesterday I admitted to myself that I no longer like driving. Everyone seems to go so fast, and if I don’t go the same speed I am one of those annoying pensioners who drives at 40 mph in a 50 mph limit.

All of this stuff is about getting old. 

I’m not complaining, just aware.

This is a Mary Oliver poem. You might recognise the last two lines.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

The Bonsall Art Trail

Do you remember when I was going to the London Screenwriters Festival hoping to find a producer for my screenplay of BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU?

Do you remember how nervous I was? 

Do you remember how I wished for some kind of accident that would give me a face-saving excuse for not going?

Well, that’s how I feel about the Bonsall Art Trail next weekend, because I'm nervous!

I so hope that if you’re a local you'll come and visit me. It would be so fun to meet a blog reader I don’t know. I’ll be showing my paintings in the church.

Someone who is coming to see me is my youngest granddaughter MsX. She’ll be coming with her parents, and I can’t wait. I was due to go and play with her this last Friday but she had something contagious which I really did not want to catch. I called in to deliver something and stood on the doorstep and chatted to her and her mum, the lovely Jaine.

I drove away feeling sad: it reminded me of all those times I had stood on a doorstep and spoken to family during Covid, and yearned for a family hug. I was lucky - I had Dave. But I’ll never forget that bleak feeling when I went for a 6 feet distanced walk with my daughter and there was no goodbye hug at the end.