Monday, October 24, 2011


Okay those of you with a sensitive disposition look away now as I am going to be talking about CHRISTMAS CARDS! I know, I know, we should be safe for some time yet  but as one who has to finagle a way of getting Christmas cards to Uk by sending them with some kind person I have to think ahead! Is this the time to mention that I have already made our Christmas cake and our mincemeat? No? okay then!!!

  While doing this DVD watercolour course with Dee we learnt to do fir trees in snow - sort of - so thought I would try to see if can paint some xmas cards this year for a change - what do you think?

This is actually the first painting and have printed it out onto watercolour paper and made it into  card. Cant see but have added some sparkle to trees! 

A variation on the above theme.

And another!

Thought I would add some life into it - in case you cant tell it is a person and their dog!
Now just getting silly - and in case you need help - they are supposed to be looking at a deer!

Saw something like this on internet so thought I would try it - tree needs lot of work!

And this is just for fun! Saw loads of guinea fowl up at Bissil and just love those feathers! 

 Almost forgot the good news - THE DEPOSIT IS IN THE BANK! Unfortunately the lawyers bank not ours but it is there so that means that we have sold the house here - hopefully! Yeehah! Also got the keys for the flat but problem with gates and security but hopefully will work out okay. So all going fine we think.

Spent a night at Muthaiga club to celebrate deposit and had lovely relaxing time. Then went up to stay at Bissil with Mo for a few nights - it is way out in the bush -very peaceful and gorgeous. Saw buffalo and bushbuck, impala etc and amazing  birds. Had lovely time.

David taking few weeks off so we can sort things out but then think that he will be staying on at job until end of January which is great as we were hoping to go to Uk in Feb so David can see house and it is Mums 70th birthday!!!

Rainy season is upon us as is the terrorist threat season - grenades in a local nightclub last night. World has gone crazy!

 Shelan was over from Spain briefly so was great to see her - next time hope to catch up with her in Spain. That would be fantastic!!

Off to Naivasha to see Jeanie at end of week otherwise it is crafting and painting all the way!xxxxxxxx

Monday, October 17, 2011


Well it has been a while but here it is - the catch up. If you keep everything crossed and pray very hard then it looks like the deposit for the house here in Nairobi will be in today so hopefully by about April next year the house will be 'Signed, sealed, delivered, and Theirs'! We can but hope. Supposed to be paying for flat here tomorrow, David has extension for job looks like until February so we may make it through. Life is full of surprises at the moment!
Anyway onto things crafty! Oh my gosh put Donna and Bryans quilt together and took it to the wonderful Deanna who agreed to do the quilting - got it back Saturday and it looks gorgeous so can give quick peek but not much as it is their - what will be belated! - Christmas present!
Also been trying to do a bit more painting - tried a woodland snow scene and was going well until very end when had to spray with water to take out sunlight - disaster!!!! So will try again and let you know! Did do a cherry blossom sort of tree - hmmmm! 

Hm - yep still needs some work! 

Made a birthday card for our god daughter Nandi - how did she get to 16 already!!

Then realised that as we are not going over before christmas needed to start making christmas cards so looked online for inspiration, got side tracked - as is my wont! - and saw this brilliant youtube video about how to make snowflakes - it is an inspiration and so easy it is embarassing! Have a look! Here is one I made earlier!
Looks intricate but you just make 5 separate pieces - incredible!!!
Had a bit of a melt down yesterday worrying about everything but do not know why I am not more trusting that things will work out as we have always been so lucky and things have fallen into place. Think it might be my control freak nature! However, very blessed with amazing friends and family who take time to listen then tell me like it is! Thanks to one and all. Until the next time xxx

Friday, September 30, 2011


Spent busy day trying to work out how the heck to put together Donna and Bryans quilt in the morning with the help of Dee and then trying the following painting in the afternoon. Thought quilt was a problem until tried the painting!!!

Trees done using sponge - need to practise that big time!!!
Next week trying dappled shade on snow so watch this space. Need to have put the quilt together by Wed but can't put that on or won't be a surprise for Donna!! x Have a great weekend x x

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Okay last few days been doing some of Donna and Bryans African Quilt that they asked me to make ??><<?? years ago but looking more likely that it will be finished sooner rather than later. Here is a little peek at a couple of the panels - don't want to give too much away!!
Just to give idea of what will look like when put panels together.

Wacky colours!!! Hope they like it!

 So there it is.
On the home front, got lovely email from lady we are buying house from in Devon. Surveyor going to do his stuff at her house on Monday so will see what he has to say - hopefully not that it is riddled with damp/dry rot etc. Otherwise waiting on money to come through from Uk so that we can put deposit on the flat here in Nairobi. Fortunately for us the exchange rate has gone up from Ksh150 to Ksh162 to the pound which is great for us at the moment as we are bringing money into the country but bloody awful if it stays that high when we want to send money over to Uk from sale of house. Until last 6/7 months the rate had been around Ksh120 for ages. However with election coming up next year all MPs etc bringing in all their ill gotten gains to pay for it so pushing exchange rate up - as well of course as horrible world markets - not that I understand how it all works obviously just know while there is a mess out there we are in trouble and look like losing a ton of money!!!!! Hey hoxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, September 24, 2011


No it is not snowing in Nairobi but it is not a bad idea for one who LOVES the whole christmas scene! Been doing some more painting with Dee and decided to do some snow scenes and here are my first efforts - been looking at dvd by Gordon MacKenzie who has a lovely loose style.

First attempt at doing snowy trees.

Supposed to be river in snow - looks better from a distance!!!
Must admit am adddicted and love the whole feel of snowy scenes so may try a few more. If I can come up with my own scene may even use them for christmas cards!!
Quick update looks like we have the flat as long as we can come up with the deposit so that seems to be moving ahead.
Had horrible week as had constant migraines due to being all blocked up after chest infection but seems to be lifting today thank goodness. Been quite thundery here too so that doesn't help but hope to start swimming in another week as the pool at Muthaiga should be open then - keep your fingers crossed!!  x

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Okay, for a self proclaimed control freak it is pretty much hell at the moment as I have no control over what is happening when - or so it feels. The great news is that we have put an offer in to the house on Dartmoor - love it! and it has been accepted. Quite funny as they accepted within an hour of the offer going in - had pretty much checked they would anyway! - but then of course they are asking for our solicitors contact. Well of course we hadn't thought that far but fortunately our friend Alison - wonderful lady! - in Tavistock, gave us the name of her solicitor who lives close to where she is in Tavi, and despite getting a very strange email from a stranger woman, the solicitor accepted so that is being sorted. Not paid for you understand, just sorted.
You all of course know how wonderful David is already, but he just keeps proving it. He knows how important this house is to me so has put the offer in without seeing it in person, just the photos I took last time. So we need to get over there asap to set his mind at rest, hopefully before christmas, finances permitting.

Just a little reminder of how lovely it is - the front door.

What will be a lovely courtyard!
Life is weird at the moment as on one hand I am doing very little, just sorting house and doing some crafting, on the other hand we have so many balls we are juggling. A flat has come up in the centre of Nairobi which is not only cheap - for here! - but also lovely and even more surprising has a big garden for the dogs and we are going to need somewhere to live when we leave here so we have to go for that so that is all sorting itself out we hope. Then the last offer for the house here in Nairobi fell through but we are onto a new one and at contract signing stage. We got here before but until they actually put the deposit in it means very little. Deposit hopefully by mid October so keep everything crossed. Finally, Davids contract here runs out mid November so as far as we know we have to get out of the house by the end of November. However, they have not found a replacement so not sure if they will need him to stay on for a few months - which would suit us - so all up in the air.

The final thing is that now we are getting close we are having to talk to lots of people about what to do with the money when we get it and how to get it into Uk without paying massive amounts of tax. And as we have no idea about financial talk it is all a bit scarey - but exciting as we are very lucky to be in this position. Suddenly the financial markets take on new meaning!!

Sorry it has been so long and rambling but that is up-to-date on everything I think. Hope you and yours are having a more restful time! xx


Been a long time and in so many ways lots has happened but feels like no further forward in other ways! Really struggling to settle to doing any painting or crafts as keep thinking about packing up, what to pack, when to pack, where is it all going!! However, my lovely friend Dee comes once a week and keeps me on the painting track even when I don't really feel like it. Here is what we have been doing recently. Been getting frustrated as just want to paint landscapes in quite a free style but struggling with all those greens and those large hillsides!

Trying out some trees - supposed to be olive and palm!

Tried this valley in Lake district before but not successfully. A bit happier with this one though not really getting the depth.

Been getting into christmas already - you know I love all things christmassy! Here is a tree decoration I made and a heart garland. Okay, so it may be twee but I love it!!

Garland all tangled!

Garland stretched out a bit.
Tree decoration

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Okay nearly up-to-date! After Shetland went on plant dyeing, felting and weaving 4 day course near my Mums which was wonderful. there were 10 of us situated beside the river Wye in a glorious setting with Jane Meredith as our teacher. She is inspirational and does a variety of courses - if you are interested look at her website . Hoping to go on her Dabu course next year. She has an amazing garden full of vegetables and plants that can be used for dyeing. We made pieces of felt, found out about different fleeces, learned to card and spin wool, and wove a few pieces - I am hooked!!!!

Our view over the river Wye

The other direction

Dyeing wool

Plant dyeing garden

Dyed wool drying

One example of my weaving!

I got the sad news that one of our dogs had been run over back in Nairobi and along with various other stresses, not least of them being that I was missing David terribly! I decided to come back to Nbi 2 weeks early. Before that however, I made a quick dash down to Devon and met up with Mikes mum, Dorothy and spent a lovely day with her, meeting up in Tavistock. She kindly agreed to accompany me to take a second look at the house on Dartmoor that I had fallen in love with as needed to take pics to show David. Isn't it gorgeous - just us I think!

View just outside Postbridge

Sitting room


Door from sitting room to garden

Garden with stream at front of house

Back garden - nothing a good strimmer cant sort!

Spent a lovely evening with Alison and her son Freddy in Tavistock then dashed back.

Had usual 8 hour wait at airport as bus gets in so early, uneventful flight then the 2 hour nightmare that is usual Nairobi traffic to get at last back home and back to David.

Been lovely being back but frustrating as process of selling house seems very slow and time is now not on our side. We have until the middle of November and if not sold by then we have no house, no income etc etc - gulp! Also may lose house in uk! But hey, life is fuller if there are challenges to meet!!! x


Well, got back to Kenya on Wednesday, after 8 hours at airport - must get that later bus! - only to be facedwith a 2 hour drive from airport before I could see my gorgeous hubby! So lovely to see him againand have spent week together and having lovely quiet time. this week we will start reconnecting with friends.
Anyway, back to Shetland! As always I ahd an awesome time. I have a theory that for most of us there is a special place where we just feel we are at home, where we feel part of it, and for me that is Shetland. I was once told that in a previous life I was a herbalist living on a remote croft and growing herbs - probably seen as a witch doctor by the locals! - so maybe that is why. Whatever,both my sister and I, when we reach the border going up into Scotland, give a whoop of delight! Talking of which, was weird driving up from Newcastle to Aberdeen to get the ferry. It had been really sunny driving through the North of england but literally right at the border the weather changed and the other side of the border was really misty and glowering. Just made me laugh!
Our wonderful, generous friend, Mike, up there on the island, had very kindly agreed that I could stay there rather than in the gorgeous Benigarth where I was last year. A brave man indeed! However, he survived the experience and possibly even enjoyed my company - it is possible my friends!!! fortuantely for me though not for him perhaps he was out on strike one day so we went over to Bressay with another friend Jane and had a beautiful day climbing the cliffs and having a picnic.
Had hoped to do lots of painting while I was there but got so sidetracked with going out walking and generally just being busy that it never happened.A few pics of the gorgeousness!!!

View from St Ninians Isle to Bigton

Cliffs at back of Watsness

View from house I was staying in - Foula island in background.

View from the house

Such characters - at Sumburgh Head

So many highlights but the best was perhaps the day we saw the orcas. It had been a grey day and Mike had kindly driven me around seeing places I hadn't seen before. We were very lucky as wherever we went the weather seemed to lift. Stopped off and had coffee with a friend of his at Vidlin who showed that it is possible to have a beautiful garden- with trees1 - in Shetland. Got back quite late and were halfway through cooking dinner when jane called to say the orcas -killer whales by another name - were hugging the coast down the south mainland. After humming and haaing for a few minutes we madly decided to take the 80 minute dash down to the south to see if we could catch them. On the way we were laughing as the fog was so thick we could barely see the road at times never mind whales out in the bay. As luck would have it, they were still there - a big male, 3 females and a baby right into the shore - we spent a wonderful half hour watching them. Stunning. Only got bad shots as so busy just enjoying watching.

They are orcas, honest!
Also they had a mini type of Up Helly A called the Fire Festival where they burn the Viking Longship and had great evening - really good atmosphere.
The parade through the streets - lots of the costumes are authentic

The burning boat

Throwing their torches onto the boat

An impressive sight


The tall ships race was the other major event and because of it I got to go to Yell and Unst with Mike to see some of the events that were going on. The musical talent on Shetland is quite amazing and there is such a great community spirit. And the ships were truly magnificent. On the last day when the parade of ships made its way into the bay they looked truly majestic with their crews lining the sides of the ships and disappearing into the mist. As they passed the fisheries vessel a cannon was fired and Pomp and Circumstance played - stirring stuff!!!
Lerwick harbour

THere was live music all day over the 3 days of the festival and well into the night - free!

Alexander Humboldt off Walsay

Parade of ships out in bay

This was an amazing sight - they lined all of the masts

Christian Raddich in Lerwick

 Going to end this blog with those few pics of that and catch up in next blog. Have a great day! x