Heart in my throat

So today started stressfully, although I decided to poeticise my commute to try and make at least that part of it less frustrating: I missed my bus by the turn of a corner, and my train by a flight of stairs.

Commute aside, my mind was fully occupied this morning. I had a letter to print out, a letter which I had written yesterday – addressed to our headteacher, explaining a big decision that I was making. A decision that is allowing me to fulfill a life-long dream and embark on a huge adventure.

I emailed him, asking for a quick chat after support staff briefing – he replied saying yes, as long as it’s quick. I printed out my letter, signed it, folded it carefully into 3 and placed it inside a light brown envelope. I scrawled his name on the front, went to the loo to stare at myself in the mirror and make big, confident poses (I wish I was lying….) and went down to the office.

At 10:10am, once his office was cleared, I handed in my notice. As of May 26th I will no longer be working as an Art and Music Technician at this inner city comprehensive school. Then on the 25th of June, I will be boarding a plane with a one-way ticket, and going to a country that filled Aidan and I with a ridiculous amount of joy and wonder when we visited last year.

More to follow, there are still some very important people I need to tell about this. The next trip to the print studio is going to be a nervy one….

Loss of wisdom

So yesterday was oddly and unexpectedly eventful….I went to the dentist first thing for a check up and a clean, and he ended up taking out my upper right wisdom tooth! The tooth has been giving me a bit of grief on and off for a while now, but it’s the kind of thing that you just get on with. Anyway, he could see it has been cutting the inside of my cheek and said it was a simple procedure that wouldn’t take more than ten minutes, so after a quick head in hands panic I decided I just had to get on with it….

Injections done, I sat in the waiting room for ten minutes shaking like a leaf and messaging various people, hoping for a response from someone to help me calm my nerves….then I was back sat in the chair, special goggles on, hands gripping the arms of the seat with white knuckles. 2 or 3 seconds of the strangest sensation I have ever felt and it was over. Cotton wool in the gap, calm voice and soothing words from Dr Norton….all over and done with.

The sensation during the removal was really odd. My eyes were closed tight, and visually I had a deep reddy-orange thing going on. I can’t remember hearing anything much, concentrating too hard on trying not to feel the numbed feelings in my mouth, trying to focus on the tips of my fingers tensing into the mint green arm rests. As far as the mouth goes….while he was tugging away, it suddenly felt like the tooth was occupying the space of a grapefruit in my jaw. A feeling like a black hole opening up, no pain, just a numb openness….

Aside from the bleurgh of having to swish salt water round my mouth once and hour, and the self pity inducing dull ache in the side of my face all day yesterday [and to a lesser extent today] – I’m glad I just said yes to having it removed there and then. I feel a teeny tiny bit proud of myself for just taking a deep breath and getting on with it!

Getting back into it

So since the move things have felt a little stagnant. Upheaval can really make it feel like you’ve hit the pause button within your personal life, while everything else races on around you. I don’t know where the last 2 weeks have gone! All I know is that my etsy is feeling a bit stale (although I did sell a bag last week), and that life is too short to get stuck in the oh-my-gods of a sideways shift in your day to day life.

Screen set up ready to print my new fabric labels

Simply getting back in the studio last Tuesday to print labels for my bags was enough to get the ball rolling again. Sometimes you need something like that to force you back into action. So last week I spent Tuesday eve, Wednesday day and Thursday eve in the studio working on various bits and pieces – some etsy stuff, and some lithography. I managed to finally etch the 2nd colour layer for my white rooster commission, and after a few teething problems managed to get the main image layer printed on some paper samples I picked up from John Purcell Paper a couple of weeks ago.


2nd colour layer for the white rooster litho

I’m still new to lithography, so when the ink wouldn’t wash out of my closed stone I did feel a pang of anxiety! Paul assured me that the ink should still take, it just might take a little longer to get an evenly inked print. I spent 4 hours in the studio last Thursday, partly sorting out my new etsy packaging, but mostly stressing over getting my white rooster litho to print like it had before!

White Rooster commission on 4 different types of paper

I’m so happy I’ve got the White Rooster proofed on a few different types of paper now, as it means I’m closer to getting the edition done. I tried out Fabriano artistico in traditional white in both 225 and 300gsm, Zerkall 902 smooth in 225gsm and Simili Japon in 225gsm. I think I’m going to go with the Simili Japon, top right in the picture above – it’s nice and smooth and is a lovely warm white, which I think suits the image better. So excited to be editioning my first lithograph!!!!

Temporary Move

So Aidan and I had to move out of our place last Tuesday. The whole saga surrounding the leak we had over the xmas/new year break has dragged on and on, with little to no communication from the insurance liaison company. We found out late on Thursday (March 2nd) that a removal company had been booked for the following Tuesday. Crazy thing is we had to go all Sherlock Holmes just to find out we were scheduled to be moved! The tip off came when I received a call that day from the contractor who had assessed us for damage/spread of damp from the leak, saying he’d been given the all clear to start ripping up the floors and getting the concrete dried – were we out of the flat yet? Erm….no….this is all news to us….

So we got in touch with the insurance liaison people, and tried to get some kind of answer to what was going on. But of course, you can never get through and they take forever to respond to emails. I’ve left a few messages for these people and I can honestly say I’ve never had a call back! So damn frustrating! In the end Aidan managed to get through to someone and they confirmed that yes we were being moved out on Tuesday, accommodation still needed to be sorted, and we needed to fill out a removal form for the removal company and get it back to them first thing the next day.

So we’d been given 4 days and an evening to try and get our shit together….Super stressful. So what could we do for accommodation? We’d been offered a room in Crystal Palace Travelodge (which is actually in Penge….) and £10 a day each to cover food and extra travel costs. Greeeaatttt….We live in London. How is £10 going to cover 3 meals….We tried to get in touch with them on the Friday to see if it was possible to stay with Aidan’s parents instead, but didn’t get an answer until late in the day the following Monday!! Luckily we’ve been allowed to stay with Aidan’s parents, which should be slightly less stressful for us and more importantly the cats.

Anyway, Tuesday rolls round all too quickly. We’d packed all weekend, trying to figure out what we might need for the 2 weeks – 2 months we might be out of the flat. We’d been told that we wouldn’t be able to access anything that went into storage, so this took ages to figure out! The flat looked like a bomb had gone off, and the cats were understandably acting rather cautiously.

We tried to keep the morning as stress free for Gizmo and Luna as possible, and had decided to get them out of the flat before the removal men came. We got gizmo into his cat box fairly easily, but the meows were like no sound I’d ever heard him make before. Luna was a bit more difficult, she’d sussed out what was going on and decided to hide under anything she could, including the kitchen cupboards….tail fluffed up and eyes wild. Once she was in her carry case she was much calmer. We got them down to the car and Aidan whisked them off to their new temporary home before returning to collect our bare-minimum possessions, and we followed on about 4 hours later once our lives were packed into bags and boxes.

Gizmo and Luna, not really enjoying their new home on the first day!