At the request of one person on the Internet, I’m back.
I have no travel stories to share with you, unless you want to hear about my fortnightly trip to the supermarket, or how last weekend Adam drove 15 miles across the Fen back roads with me in the passenger seat clutching a chocolate cake we were delivering to my friend Louise for her birthday.
Where we live is usually very quiet, but I’ve seen more runners, cyclists and dog walkers go past than ever before. Adam saw a man in a cowboy hat go by in a Sinclair C5 on Easter Sunday, and the other evening there was a family in a campervan having dinner outside the house. (I’ve also seen a man out there taking a pee, so it’s not so idyllic you’d want to come here for a treat!)
We’ve marked every weekend since the official lockdown began with ceremonial Saturday pancakes (sugar and lemon). The flour has now symbolically run out.
I’ve not found the time to bake sourdough bread or learn a new instrument (though I did get the piano accordion out for a quick blast) but I have cut my own hair, again (and again), and I’ve been watching a lot of Columbo (no more than usual).
I made caramels with pecan nuts and honey from Louise’s bees.
I grew a single passionflower, after years of trying.
I’ve been to the post box, which I now mistakenly call the post office.
In the past couple of months Toiletries Amnesty has helped get tens of thousands of toiletries items to the 150+ organisations across the UK that we support, including homeless shelters and hostels, women and children’s refuges, mental health services, NHS trust services, refugee support groups and food banks.
We’ve been featured by the Big Issue in an article on ‘How people power is saving the nation’ and in other pieces by Stylist, Beauty not Cruelty, and Be Kind.
And, my friend Louise (who I made the birthday cake for, and who also happens to be an award winning artist, with work in the V&A, and other cool accolades) created an amazing linocut called ‘Most Wanted 2020’ and has been selling it to raise money for Toiletries Amnesty. If you’d like to show your support and buy a print, there are £20 reproductions and £85 hand made prints, all limited editions (and going on other works by Louise, collectable investments too) and, all for sale over on Louise’s website here, and through Affordable Art Fair here.
At Shutter Hub we’ve been working extra hard to create opportunities for as many photographers as we can. Jayne curated EVERYDAY DELIGHT (Stay at Home Edition) – the most beautiful two-part online exhibition, as a follow up to the physical exhibition we had in London this past winter. To complete the trilogy our current call for entries EVERYDAY DELIGHT (windows edition) is going to see bright and positive poster prints showcased in windows across the UK.
We’ve got new dates for our Amsterdam exhibition, OPEN 20/21, and extended the call for entries, and we had a good think about what we could do about all the cancelled exhibitions we should have had for POSTCARDS FROM GREAT BRITAIN. No postcards exhibition at Eurovision, no postcards exhibition at ViZit, no postcards exhibition on the DFDS North Sea crossing. But, (big but), we won’t let that stand in our way.
We’re going to see mini pop-up POSTCARDS FROM GREAT BRITAIN ‘reaching out / staying in’ exhibitions in windows across Europe. We’ve already got locations in France, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands (of course).
In return for the kindness of people across Mainland Europe we decided we’d create a POSTCARDS FROM EUROPE exhibition, which will be showcased at Cambridge University with Art at the ARB at the end of 2021.
And if that’s not enough, we’ve come up with YEARBOOK… the graduate / non-graduate showcase of your corona virus dreams. Exhibition, publication, awards – and all for the price of ‘whatever you can afford’! Seriously, we are so chuffed about the possibilities and I want you to be too. Please read about it here.
The other day, when I had to leave the house, I turned out of the driveway and drove into the village, following a hearse for three miles. I was an accidental participant in a non-existent funeral procession. The coffin was covered in flowers. I turned right at the bridge and tried not to think about it all.
This is the weirdest time of our collective lives and there is nothing profound to say. Anyone who says ‘It can’t get any worse’ needs to hold on tight, and everyone who said ‘2020 vision, it’s going to be my year’ needs to promise never to say anything of the sort ever again.