Well, here we are again. The sky is soft blue-grey and there’s a slight mist of drizzle in the air. The cat is asleep on the sofa next to me, oblivious to the two fat white ducks that are hanging around outside the bay window, hoping for cornflakes.
It’s all about the wildlife these days.
I’ve been feeding the ducklings and the cygnets (and accidentally feeding the rats), and the other day there was a full-on swan brawl outside the house that almost left one swan dead. It was a horror show of brutality and attempted drowning. At one point I thought I was going to have to get in the river and wrestle the two man swans, until Adam turned up with his broom. ‘Hook its neck!’ I shouted, and he did.
There have been blue tits catching flies on the kitchen window, angry little expressions on their faces as they swoop back and forth from the hedge. Adam saw a deer walking round the cars the other morning, and a lady from the village told us she’d seen an otter from her bedroom window at midnight so she’d got in her car and driven after it.
Do you remember the pigeon I found that had been attacked by a hawk? Betty Snowday. She got stronger and stronger, still couldn’t fly, and turned out to be a man. Every time the cat walked into the room he would start to coo, a deep grumbly coo – he was trying to chat her up! Mr Betty has now moved out, gone to Sleaford on the promise of two wives.
The following day the postman tried to bring me a dog. I was tempted but redirected the delivery to next-door-but-one. He also told me there’s a terrapin who lives just up the river from us, has been there ten years and sunbathes in an old tyre.
Tutti turned 14. She didn’t have a party.
I’m still cutting my own hair.
Louise and I have been taking more walks in strange places. She has a cousin called Lamina, which is ‘animal’ backwards.
The apple blossom across the lane seems extra pink this year.
Turns out Tutti doesn’t like peas either. She really likes Sheba cat food (she also likes Chipsticks), but not the peas they hide in some sachets, she spits them out whole.
I impulse purchased a second-hand petrol leaf blower for a fiver with the plan to turn it into a flamethrower. Got to have hobbies.
Visit Netherlands invited me to a really lovely online masterclass called #DutchFlowersNow and it was such a joy. I scribbled notes about the most expensive tulip in history, listened to the chairman of Dutch flower and vegetable parades and daydreamed my way through the fields of Flevoland’s Tulip Route. Then I wrote all about it for Surf4 – Dutch Flowers Now: Beyond the Tulip Fields.
I’ve been sent some interesting things in the post: pies that were not good for me, Easter eggs from Visit Flanders which were perfect (they had pictures of rabbits doing weightlifting and riding motocross on them), also cushions, and books.
This month’s reading list goes something like this: Flowers by Zara Carpenter / Clouds Revealed by Hilde Maassen / The Bloomsbury Look by Wendy Hitchmough / Paradise City by Sebastien Cuvelier / European Porcelain by Mina Bacci.
At Shutter Hub we’ve had some really enjoyable members online Lunch Break get-togethers and an amazing run of Professional Development talks that are open to everyone and free too. We’ve been working on our first proper book, planning YEARBOOK 2021 and two new awesome exhibitions too. I’ve reviewed portfolios for the Photographic Resource Center in the US and FORMAT Festival in the UK.
Despite everything, our POSTCARDS FROM GREAT BRITAIN project has clocked up 20 pop-up exhibitions across Europe now! It’s been a wonderful experience, sending out exhibition packs to people, some of them strangers, and seeing how they carefully curate the selection of images in their own space. Windows full of photographs creating conversations in neighbourhoods across Europe. It’s made everyone feel connected, and inspired, and it’s been a little bit of uplifting joy and distraction in a very difficult time.
And finally, after many months of behind the scenes work and top secret zoom meetings, we launched Toiletries Amnesty’s new and exciting partnership with Feelunique, Europe’s largest online beauty retailer. This is such a big deal for us, not only because Feelunique has pledged to raise £30,000 for the cause, but because the team there genuinely care about making a difference to communities and to the environment too. You can read all about the year-long project here, and this short interview with me, 5 Minutes with Karen Harvey.
What’s next hey? Probably going to make a cake.