Everyday Life

Everyday Life: Peonies & Power Cuts

summer karen harvey

These recent things don’t feel so recent, time is getting away with itself. I do remember the beginning of June, but everything was so different then. (This is not meant to be a pre Brexit reference, but seriously, Brexit?! I’ve only just stopped having nightmares).

The past month has been hectic, more so than usual, and strangely I find that I’ve been taking the most serene and calm photos – perhaps in an attempt to balance things out?

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I know I’m not the only one who gets ill at the mention of holidays, not because we hate them, but because our bodies go ‘Hey! Time to relax!’ and then they let their defences down, welcoming virus’s and injuries like VIP guests to a 24 hour party boat.

Usually it’s when I’m going on holiday that I get sick, but this time it was my colleague who took the trip. There I was lying on the clinic bed on an ECG machine whilst concurrently he was lying on a golden beach in the south of France sun. Damn it! (He did bring me back a lavender bag though!) It was some kind of virus, I was told to rest.

There was no time for rest, onwards!

Have you even seen Leepu visualising a car? That was me, in some kind of art induced trance, conjuring up three coherent exhibitions from several hundred entries. Bloody hell I’m good!

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We launched three exhibitions across three venues in the beautiful city of Cambridge. The first, at Hot Numbers, was rammed – a relief as even though I’ve done loads of these events, I still get nervous that no one will turn up to the opening. The second night was at Novi and… no one turned up! Ha! Well, that’s not true, but I was really worried for about 20 minutes as the sky opened up and threw torrential rain and hail at the earth, crashing thunder down and bringing the brightest lightening.  Then the clouds broke, and the crowds came. Then there was the power cut. Guests used their phones as torches to view the work as they stumbled around in candlelight. It was quite romantic, I suppose. Finally we opened at Stir, with another good turn out and an enjoyable evening. Phew!

There are loads of great events for creative people happening in Cambridge throughout July, most of them are free, and also amazing. Come along if you can, and please spread the word!

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Baby Ruth Sultana has left home. Some might say ‘flown the nest’ but that might sound too cliched. It seems she’s just decided to go it alone, Adam says she’s a free spirit. She’s been gone for five nights now. At first I felt bothered, and Ginger Margaret (Ruth’s ‘mum’) was beside herself, I had to hide biscuit crumbs under peony petals to keep her occupied (and it looked nice). One afternoon she came back, appeared at the front gate, and I let her in. She rushed from food bowl to water bowl and back. Margaret ran to her, bounding across the grass with joyous vigour. Then a couple of hours later, she’d gone again.

We went out at night and searched the neighbourhood for her, but… nothing. No sign, no clues. I’m testing out the new CAT S60 phone, it has thermal imaging. Thermal imaging! So, of course, I took it along to aide my investigation and help me look like even more of a weirdo to my neighbours (they’ve already laughed at my ‘missing brown hen, not dangerous’ notes.)

There was no sign of Ruth, but look at this! You can see the other four are tucked up in bed all nice and cosy, with their hot brains!

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In other big and exciting news, my brother and his family moved back to the UK… hooray! They’ve bought the most beautiful home up in Cheshire, and even though all their things were still travelling across the oceans on a container ship when we visited, it still felt like home. Lovely, lovely home. I’m looking forward to seeing them more, to visiting and spending time with my niece and nephew, and to being opinionated about home decor!


We sprinted with LoTRDC at Silverstone and it was brilliant, joyful, challenging and nerve-wracking (full story here). I had no idea until it was announced, but, I won a trophy – MG Car Club Best Lady Driver. Go me!

I attended an event at Burberry in London, not because I am a fashionista (you know me!) but because I was invited along to find out more about a mentoring scheme for women in business. I already mentor through Inspiring the Future, and of course, Shutter Hub, but this is something different… that I can’t tell you about yet!

As I was sauntering down Regent Street I spotted a comb on the pavement, ‘Excellent!’ I thought, as I squatted down to get my photograph, creating a human island in a sea of Penhaligon’s and Liberty bags. No shame. #combtheory

I came home with my own little bag. “What have you got in there Karen?”  My reply, “jam and biscuits!” and, most impressively, I was telling the truth!

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We celebrated Midsummer’s Eve with a bonfire. No party. Just Adam and I, bats circling, bonfire blazing, ice cream in hand, under the massive full moon.

It sounds a little bit more magical than it was. Adam kept finding random things to put on the fire, and I had poked this dead little bird in there to give it a ceremonial send off. Fen life.

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I think, I hope, I will always  keep looking for the beauty in everything around me. This old shopping trolley lay dead in the river, whilst the reed warbler sang it’s way back and forth through the long grasses. It’s all there to be found. In the fallen flowers, in the light, and the empty train station. In the ugliest or most boring moments, you just have to look for the joy!

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Please can I go back to bed now?