Inspiration

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The beauty hurts my eyes.

‘Inspiration’ is the word of the day.  Where do we get it? Why do we get it? What is it exactly?  How do I get more of it!? I got back to blogging this weekend, mainly because I saw these -above…

Beach huts in Bournemouth – recently decorated in Cath Kidston’s beautiful prints.  I’m in love. Yes, it is an advertising stunt, yes, it is to shamelessly promote the brand, but, it just cannot be denied- they are so, so bleedin’ pretty, look at those perky rows of eye-catching colours and prints!!

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The cloud print is AMAZING for a hut.

Seriously, I held my breath when I saw them. Why though? I ask myself.  I am a rational person (sort of) stirred by real-world events and important issues, nevertheless, a tiny wee nearly came out when I saw these huts- and a squeal formed at the back of my throat somewhere low and primal-as primal as anyone can be about polka-dots and florals anyway.

Excitement (of the wee inducing, squealing kind) is born of love and passion for things.  I love beach huts (as is clear) but they are inspirational in a way I can’t fully explain-unhelpful- from she who writes said blog.  Others things inspire in this (not fully explainable) way: old-fashioned/timeless photographs; new wool; a brand new book; a very old book; all things VWCampervan; vintage style (in the best sense of the word- not keen on the slightly depressing items that just smell a bit).

I am in good company.  We all get the nudge, heart-flutter, lift, sigh, intake of breath, urge to run out and create/do something in some form or another.  It’s a great place to be, on the verge of producing something, having just been inspired.  It’s a legal-high and I believe it’s totally a spiritual thing .  I used to ignore the things that made me feel this way, now I stop and give them more credit than simply being preferences.

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Oh you blue, beauty you. Sigh.

… I don’t know about you but I also get really inspired by ‘before and afters’.  Don’t you love it when you see an image on those DIY adverts of a dingy room -and then after – a light, fresh, airy oasis?! I love the improvement, the freshness of it all. Ever since I can remember I have been obsessed with transformations like this. To witness someone become the best they can be, watch an underdog achieve and have their turn to shine, these are powerful.

The downside is, I am, therefore, very frustrated by slow progress, I like transformations to be quick, complete and dramatic! My hut looks like this inside right now…

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A shed by the sea.

I am having to strongly resist getting discouraged. It is inevitable that things take time.  I want to get to so many things and so many days just don’t contain the hours, or at least the non-comatosed ones.  I also haven’t been myself lately either and I find my mood dictates how creative I can be.  I didn’t know this until I started this blog.  I just couldn’t find the ideas, inspiration or motivation.  The verve needed to write, even a humble blog post, is something that has to just be there.  I needed to find my inspiration and daily life was getting in the way, by that, I mean the grind of life, the dull things, like paying bills.

Nothing kills inspiration like the words, ‘direct-debit’.

Then there’s the more corrosive stuff like thinking negatively, becoming stuck in a way of thinking. ‘Inspiration’ comes along to invite you out of whatever mud you are stuck in.  It is the creative’s best-friend and it cannot be engineered.

Inspiration works on your soul in the form of a random attack. Suddenly, something makes your heart leap, or fascinates you, or just grabs you by the collar and jerks you towards it.

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‘Almond Blossom’ – Van Gogh

Years ago, I visited the Van Gogh gallery in Amsterdam and understood for the first time what all the fuss was about, his life, his story and his paintings grabbed me.  I was so, so moved, how he had been plagued with mental illness, when this was so misunderstood (still is) and produced paintings that spoke so loudly of beauty.

On the same trip, we toured Italy, and to be honest I almost became de-sensitised to the works of art that surrounded me.  In Italy, you can be standing on an ancient, work of art and be waiting for a bus.  We walked through endless corridors at the Vatican museum and began to switch off.  Then we came to the Sistine Chapel.  We were told that Michelangelo was almost blind while painting the ceiling – caused by spending so much time elevated inches from the dust above him. He was also being forced to work on it. He had run away many times, but having been commissioned to complete the work, he was made to continue. I couldn’t imagine where he found the ability to create something so exquisitely beautiful in those conditions. Perhaps he just poured his torment into the work like Van Gogh and so many others.sistine-chapel_1

It isn’t just visual art, books do this. Most of us can remember a book that grabbed us and left its mark.  For me, it was ‘To kill a Mockingbird’, I was very young and I was left humbled by the courage of Atticus Finch and outraged at the injustices in the world, new to my innocent self. I wasn’t the same after reading it.  There have been many examples since. Harper Lee, however, found it very difficult to write and suffered great personal trials whilst writing and afterwards. Maybe we need some angst –  it is the typical portrayal of the artist isn’t it?

So, it may be that I need to write even when I feel like burying my head.  Crack on, to push through the mood barrier.

It may be necessary then to seek inspiration like a medicine for those times when I don’t feel up to pursuing anything much at all.  A great song, a great book, or in my case today I simply came across these beach huts and it inspired me to get back to the hut and to my writing and to finish what I have started.

Xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

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By the sea all worries wash away…

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We all go through times of hardship, it is the cost of being human, but sometimes we go through times when there are no hardships to speak of- yet we are just not happy.  Happiness, of course, is overrated- many believe contentment is far more prize-worthy.  Personally, I think peace is the dark-horse creeping up on the inside.  To me, peace is everything.

IMG_0310You can be in the middle of an emotional storm and if you can keep even a tiny sense of peace in that core of your being then you can weather it. When you don’t have peace everything is hard. I always think of the words of a W.B Yeats poem, “when peace comes dropping slow” .  I can really relate to that line, many times, I have felt that lack of peace and it can be excruciating, drip, drip, in small droplets, like the agony of a leaking tap, when what you need is a gushing wave of it to cover you!

I needed waves.

I had recently had my second baby, perhaps it was my hormones, but I just couldn’t settle my heart.  My head was o.k, I just knew my soul wasn’t right. There was one place I always went when I had that disturbance inside and it was the sea. I booked a long break at an old familiar seaside town from my childhood.  I didn’t particularly want to go there exactly, but, then I came across this little beauty…

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Oh how it spoke to my heart!  I knew this was somewhere i wanted to be for a while.  I couldn’t contain my excitement when I realised I could hire it and a caravan and it was only an hour up the road.  I know some would find this strange…it is hardly Barbados and it definitely is a holiday ‘of old’ these days…but a simple, caravan holiday, a spit-away from the sea with a perfect little hut straight out of a Cath Kidston brochure really rocked my boat!

Then I saw the sign at the back of thIMG_0199e hut, “by the sea all worries wash away” .  That sealed the deal.  I knew it was the tonic I needed.

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I couldn’t wait to soak it all up.  I didn’t care if it rained – alright I did a bit – but I just wanted to drink in that saltiness; take in the energy of that wild air and watch the crashing waves of the North Sea.

We made pancakes in the mornings, a tradition that has stayed with us whenever we have a lazy day of nothingness ahead of us.  We fed birds from our caravan door and they came up to my little one’s highchair to feed; she squealed with joy- and the peace dripped.  We went for long walks to get the baby to sleep and it dripped some more.  We built castles and moats and channels and pretended we were deserted on islands and it dripped and dripped.  We got a dingy and took it out to sea and laughed and screamed when we got splashed, then the baby fell asleep in the boat on my lap and we bobbed about near the shoreline.  It dripped and dripped and poured and poured and soon we were awash with peaceful, joyous moments and finally relaxed into our lives as a new family.

IMG_0306We didn’t want it to end.  So I went in search of a hut of our own.  I asked around and rang numbers and discovered they cost a lot.  Then we came across a wreck- at least to an untrained eye.  To me, a keen spotter of something that is going to make my heart soar, this was a haven by the sea.

I envisaged a retreat where I would spend hours of quality time with diaries of ideas and (in my imagination) a typewriter.

In reality, I had to spend hours cleaning theIMG_0262 thickest layer of grime I have ever seen and wire-wool a rusty old gas stove just to get a cuppa at the end of it- but what a cuppa!!!!

Look at that view!!!

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To me, she was a beauty… sure, her interiors were, erm, rustic but that was and IS her charm…  We intend on dressing her beautifully, it has been a long process, there were stairs to fix, stain to buy and rusty nails to deal with.  This year though, it is the interior that will take the limelight and I cannot wait!! Below is the first time I went in, after picking up the keys, and recently… after painting!!!!!!!

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There are many things in life to try us and none of us escape pain or a lack of peace, as I guess we won’t truly find this until we meet our maker, but, I have found if I concentrate on the things that make my heart do back-flips then I get a little closer to that peace.

Now can you see how this hut is begging for crochet??!!

More pics to follow, charting the journey of this neglected- but heavenly -hut!

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx