Seasons of Joy: January – Week 4

Ribbet collageSeasons of Joy

This week has felt too busy to me.  I fight against the London suburban mindset of fitting more and more in all the time.  I want to savour my life and move through it slowly, experiencing every moment.

This week we have been wandering down to the pond most early mornings.  It has been a gift of peace before the hectic day which lies ahead.  It makes us slow down and take stock.  It nourishes our body and our souls.

The mornings have been cold, frosty and absolutely beautiful:


The main reason for the busy-ness has been our return to full-time school.  Anxious to fit in as much as possible during our schooling week so that, y’know, I actually do what I’ve promised to do during our unschooling week and back off, I’ve been a tincy wincy  bit pushy.  In fact I may have gone round all week with a slightly sinister look on my face cackling at my children that for this week they were all mine (mwahahahaha)…..The children know me of old and chose to pay very little attention to their slightly peculiar mother.  That said, I’m fairly certain they are very much looking forward to next week when they will be looking at me with a slightly sinister look on their faces cackling at me that for this week they are to be left alone (mwahahahaha).  I can almost imagine them all wringing their hands in glee at the proposition of a mother free week…..I know them of old, too, and I likewise will be paying little attention to my slightly peculiar children.

As you may be able to tell, we are all looking forward to a reversal in roles next week and one has to ask if any such reversal is practical given none of us take each other terribly seriously.  We’ll probably bumble along and find the angelicscalliwags version of unschool much like we have found a rather comfortable angelicscalliwags version of school.  Who knows?  But it has been fun bossing them around this week, albeit in jest!


I am looking forward to next week very much.  I have a (very unattainably) long list of all I would like to achieve, because in my head I am going to have lots of free time.  This may or may not be accurate, only time will tell, but for now impracticality is the name of the game so I have written myself a list.  I have also been playing about with art journaling again.  This is becoming a form of communication for me.  I love the cutting, sticking and creating which goes along with the whole art journal thing, but more than that I love that I am able to communicate an idea or concept, transferring it from inside my head onto paper.  The very nature of art journaling suits my haphazard mind more than I can say.  One doesn’t have to be very exact about what one wants to communicate and I like that.  And yet it seems a very open, honest and personal way to lay down the workings of one’s mind.


One of the things on my list, and therefore something I have created an art journal page for, is to spring clean my office/hallway area.  I have ideas and thoughts as to how I want to do this and absolutely none of my plans involve actually cleaning.  I’m a typical creative type who is able to get a feel for the end result but is a bit vague on the details of how to get there.  It is such a blessing to be this way!  Honestly, I get utter joy from the planning and executing of said plans to achieve my end result – that big picture.  You would all shudder if I showed you my ‘plans’, for they really are a bit impractical and sloppy.

My mum is the opposite to me.  She is by nature a perfectionist and very much a details person.  She has spent my entire life trying to understand where on earth I came from.  If we were to paint a wall she would put down sheets to protect the floor, tape the ceiling in order to achieve a straight line without any paint getting onto the ceiling.  She would fill in any gaps/ hole/ imperfections and rub down anything which protruded out.  She would outline first with a small paintbrush around the door frame and windows and eventually and very carefully she would paint the wall using a roller.  She would do as many coats as she felt it was necessary to do in order to obtain a flawless finish.  Then there is her daughter (that would be me).  I grab a stool and a paintbrush and just get on with the painting.  I can’t bear rollers or small paint brushes so I use a large brush for the entire job.  If I get any on the ceiling I quickly remove it with a damp cloth I have tucked down my trousers.  Likewise windows and floors, oh and the stool I’m standing on to reach the high bits.  If we have uneven bits, bits sticking out, bumps or holes I simply hang a picture or get Gary to build another book-case.  One can never have enough you know.  But here is the thing.  I will stand back and admire my work with a huge smile on my face.  The big picture.  So long as it looks like it did in my mind and is full of things I love or that give myself or my family joy then I am a very happy bunny.  My mum will stand back, having been at it for considerably more time than me and she will be critical.  Hers will be 100 times better than mine and yet she will still find fault.  Mine will be 100 times more inferior to hers and I will be patting myself on the back for a good job jobbed!  People would be happy to pay my mum to paint their living room.  People would pay me not to go anywhere near their living room with my stool and my brush.

So this week, in all this spare time, I will be turning my office and hallway area into something rather special.  I look forward to showing you next week, but promise me something?  Just don’t look too closely.  Instead look at the beauty of the whole package, the bits and bobs which make up our memories, our lives and our home.  Choose not to notice the marks, frays, messy books, misplaced toys, bits of paper and pens strewn everywhere.  Instead notice the fun which will have inevitably gone into making my office and hall-way cosy, warm and practical.  A place of industry and creativity.  A place of peace.  Because if one ignores the imperfections one can find the joy which lies in their midst.


Be blessed this week!


  1. Good luck to everyone (your children and you) for next week! 🙂 Your mother sounds like my husband, while I’m more like you so you can imagine the “interesting” combination we have here, living under one roof! Have a good weekend!

  2. Wow! I think you just preached to me, Claire. That last sentence really hits home in so many ways. That is my food for thought today.
    I have to laugh at the contrast between you and your mum. I used to be just like your mum, but the older I get, the more I move away from perfectionism. I can’t wait to see your new space. By the way, I need a little painting done. Want to come on over?:)
    Have a lovely weekend.

  3. My best friend from childhood is your kind of non-perfectionist. It took me a long time for me to be able to look at a painted wall in her house, and admire her choice of color rather than her paint job 🙂 I think it’s taken her a long time too to realize my crazy drive and fussiness is only me pushing myself, and not trying to squash her down. Looking forward to seeing your job. And, I love your pond! Thank you for taking us with you to visit it.

    1. Our differences are what makes the world so special and so colourful! Mum and I jog along quite nicely together, which I’m certain if we were alike wouldn’t be the case.

  4. I laughed so hard at your painting descriptions! You have just described my parents versus me in a nutshell! When I paint walls I can see their hands twitch, itching to correct/improve…but they stay quiet, kindly enough. 🙂

    1. Mum just laughs at our differences. She deeply wishes she was not a perfectionist and having lived with her for 21 years I am very happy I am not one!

  5. Oh, you are so funny. It might be true, but the way you describe the painting is quite entertaining. We’re the opposite.. sorta. My husband is like your mom. I’m more like him, but in a “just get it done, I’m tired of this project” kind of way.

    I can’t wait to see what your project looks like at the end of the week. Good luck to everyone next week.

  6. It’s amazing how much you make me smile Claire – I started reading this post as a distraction to being irritated and awake at 4:30am and now I’m all smiles and happily reminded that it really is the big picture that matters. Looking forward to seeing your creative space!

    1. You made me smile reading this! I am sorry you were awake so early (how irritating) but glad you found some amusement and distraction in my writing!

  7. You have such a beautiful way with words and what you say makes me smile. Keep up your wonderful parenting. Love you.xo

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