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Another funny old year!

To start the new year with a cliché, 2021 was definitely a bit of a rollercoaster. We began with another lengthy lockdown, but with the vaccination rollout underway, it felt as if there was, at least, some light at the end of the tunnel.


As we counted down the days to the end of lockdown, spring and summer brought back a sense of cautious normality, albeit, a changed or 'new normal', but as the days shortened and entertaining outside became more challenging, a new, even more contagious variant popped up to remind us that this thing still wasn't over.


But as we ponder what this New Year will bring, rather than missing those things that were out of reach in 2021, and dreading whatever new restrictions may be in store, I find myself full of gratitude for the positives in my life and looking forward with interest to what 2022 has to offer.

Why the optimism?! Well, let me try to list a few of the things that I'm so thankful for:


- Holidays abroad may not have been on the cards, but I'm lucky enough to live in a beautiful place with daily views such as these, on my doorstep. Literally. As a result, I don't need to look far for inspiration, my head is full of images just waiting their turn to break out onto the paper!

- In no hurry to negotiate foreign travel just yet, we've enjoyed several wonderful breaks in the UK, and have already planned several more for 2022. What an opportunity to see more of our beautiful country?! Say it quietly, but we've even invested in a camper van!! Yes, we're officially 'vanners' now!

- For the very first time, I've grown, harvested and cooked some of our own veg. As you'd expect, not everything was a success, and the less said about the tomatoes and the broccoli the better, (SO many caterpillars! I learnt about the need for netting far too late...) , but the runner beans were a big hit, as were the carrots, the beetroot and the lettuce. This year, I might try spring onions, maybe celeriac? Who knows, but it's great fun!

- Opportunities to socialise may have been limited, but we've still managed to make new friends within the village, and spent valuable time with old ones. Thank you all, you know who you are!

- On a professional level, I have maintained links with the Leamington art groups that I have been part of for some years, but have also been welcomed by two local art groups. Both the Art In Dunchurch group and Rugby Artists and Makers are full of inspiring, friendly, talented people! How lucky am I to have these resources on my doorstep?!

- Outdoor exhibitions returned just in time for Warwickshire Open Studios. There was also Art In The Park, the first WOS Plein Air event, plus later in the year, two exhibitions at Floor One Gallery in Rugby, and one at East Lodge with Leamington Studio Artists. Not to forget the brilliant December Pop-Up shop in Rugby Central with RAaM Network.

- And finally, at last I've been able to welcome students and visitors to my studio in Toft, where I've been teaching classes and workshops since September. I was initially very nervous, but I'm thrilled with the positive response, and have met so many lovely people who are keen to learn about watercolour. There is such a lot of talent out there! Look out for more dates coming very soon on the website for February onwards. I also have some very special tulip workshops planned for the spring!


There's much more, too many things to list, too many people to thank,


So thank you to everybody, whether you're family or friends, customers or pupils, you've all helped to make my glass way more than half full in what could have been a difficult year.


I have so much to be thankful for, so as we lift a glass to say farewell to 2021 and to welcome in the New Year, let's try to make the most of whatever 2022 might bring!



CHEERS!

In case you're wondering, it's a French 75 - cold, lemony, ginny and sparkling!



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