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with mother and father’s help …

June 15, 2021

While I have been in lockdown, I find myself transported back to the houseboat isolation. Now, no longer in squalid conditions and the war now a faded memory; but, in a situation when feelings are inclined to be polarised and exaggerated and some talk of mental and physical illness. I have rediscovered my well-founded ability to create is a valuable tool or even a weapon to take me from enclosed or unpleasant space. For all my parent’s misgivings I ached to please them so while I responded favourably to their relentless demands, I was encouraged to be creative. With my dad in his workshop, I spent many hours while he sharpened his chisels and saws, cleaned his paint brushes, or put the finishing touches to some task in hand, in silence. I would sort through the screws in the tobacco tins and generally fidget. Until he smoothed out a sheet of paper; taken from a supply of used envelopes, brown paper bags or scrap paper and sharpen a pencil; that was always a delight since he had a deep aversion to new-fangled pencil sharpeners.  Then he would position a cup or a jam jar on shelf and I would draw it again and again, without a word he would take the pencil and a rubber tweak the images until it was finished. This is how I work to this day a pencil, paper and something is drawn to death until I can do it when my eyes are shut. Then, with my mother beside the fire and with one ear on the radio I learned to knit and sew.  My mother not so silent, perhaps not so gentle was a hard task master.  My endeavours to sew fine seam or knit a complex pattern or embroider a dainty cloth were often thwarted with regular unpicking, unravelling and beginning again.  Again these; lessons have allowed me to find a place in the creative world where I need not strive for perfection from the practice come a natural ability. 

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