Wednesday, 14 February 2018

New website

This was taken last week, doing a walk for the new book - this was round the Great Flat Lode, in the heart of the mining area around Camborne/Redruth. This was Wheal Grenville, the Fortescue Shaft. And for the first time in weeks we had a whole afternoon with no sunshine - what a treat!

But the main purpose of this post was that my dear friend Andy has finished my new website so here it is:-
If that link doesn't work try this - Sue Kittow
And if all fails, please type in Sue Kittow Author and it's sue kittow.com.

Any comments would be much appreciated!

The Man Engine Tour 2018 begins at Easter and I am so excited as I'm going to be part of the Man Engine Choir. To read all about the biggest mechanical puppet in the world, read here - or if that fails, put in Man Engine! I was so sorry to miss it two years ago but will sing my Cornish heart out proudly and thoroughly enjoy it!

And now - note the hidden teddy, found in a hedge on Bodmin Moor on Sunday!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Organ donation - my piece in the Daily Mail


This is the link to a piece I wrote about organ donation. You may not agree with it, but please read it if - it could save someone's life.
Thank you.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5327817/I-deeply-regret-not-donating-husbands-organs.html
Try this one if the other one doesn't work!

Friday, 26 January 2018

Fascinating people, places and things

Recently Viv and I did a lovely walk at Restormel Castle near Lostwithiel, and walked past this wonderful manor house - Restormel Manor - which is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, and at the bottom of the hill near the woods leading to the Duchy's Nursery and cafe, which are well worth a visit, even if you don't like gardens. A fabulous array of plants, shrubs, a wonderful cafe (and a dog friendly area too) and a well stocked shop with lots of Cornish goodies. And no, they're not paying me to write that!

I also had the good fortune to meet Nikki Markham, who runs the charity Battling On. You can read a bit more about her on the website The Overtake:-
- I hope that link works, if not, google The Overtake and mine is one of the most recent pieces. Nikki has had cancer and said she feels almost obliged to help others - and the work she does is truly amazing.

On a completely different subject, I met the most talented botanical artist, Sarah Humphreys, recently. People travel from all over the country to attend Sarah Humphrey’s workshops in Cornwall, and seeing her illustrations, you can understand why. For the last twenty years, her work has been commissioned by The Body Shop, McGraw Hill and the RHS, to name but a few clients, and she has become one of the most exciting botanical illustrators of her generation. The link to her website is here - https://www.sarahjanehumphrey.com/

And lastly, a piece I wrote on Organ Donation will, I hope, be out next Tuesday but I will post that when I have the link - just in case it isn't run!

Meeting such inspiring people goes a little way towards balancing the gloom and doom of January Mud, of which there has been, still is, and will be a lot of...

I do hope everyone is managing to get through this horrible of months. Spring is nearly here though - I have a few narcissi out in the tubs up my steps, and even a little crocus bud....and this is to prove that the sun did shine in Cornwall in January. Though I can't remember when!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Barklife Way

The above portrait of Moll was done by my very talented friend, Carol, nearly a year ago now and made me think of this book I was sent recently, entitled The Barklife Way - Life Lessons from a dog

This is such a lovely book about what we can learn from our dogs based based on the author's observations of her own dog called Cooper.

It's a fantastic read for anyone who loves dogs, with wonderful illustrations that are worth framing in their own right.

Each chapter, or section, has a bit about what Cooper does - i.e. his delight in a new day, all the wonderful new smells he encounters, so each trip is unique, exciting and packed full of novelty and fun, bursting with opportunities.

The next section asks what we can learn from, in this instance, our daily trips to work, or to the park, to the beach, wherever we walk our dogs, with the idea of not taking things for granted. Open our eyes and look and see who's around us, what the birds and trees are doing; what flowers are out. The pink balloons by someone's gate, the peeling paint on an old house. All the little things that we take for granted, or don't even recognise. We should, for we miss so much otherwise, and miss everything that's strange and special, all the delights and enjoyment that our dogs use every day, every moment.

This is a lovely study for anyone who loves their dogs but it also carries some very good life advice with the most fabulous illustrations. There's also a section about how the author wrote this book and information about the illustrator.

I can't honestly think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book, but if you have a dog, and you enjoy illustrations, this is a must.

So instead of New Year resolutions, I would just get this book, take the advice - and see how much more enjoyable your life becomes. Just like your four legged friend!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Keep It Small

I'm sorry but if I receive one more press release or see another "inspirational" post on Facebook about new year's resolutions, I might scream.

I'm not quite sure why the end of this year was so dire, but in large part is due to huge volumes of water cascading from the sky accompanied by gale force winds that have been hitting the south west since Christmas Day. I've given up listening to the weather forecast as it's more of the same.

Then there's that awful feeling of having to drag ourselves out of bed for work, having been idly cocooned in duvets with no special get up time at all for what seems like months but is only a week. It's amazing how quickly the brain can atrophy, isn't it? One minute, if not sparking on all cylinders, at least it was working - then - bang - complete shut down.

So no, as I said to a friend suffering similarly yesterday, I am not making any new year resolutions. Getting out of bed was quite an achievement. To actually get some work done after that was nothing short of a miracle.

So my motto for January is to Keep It Small. Getting out of bed is a good start. Eating breakfast - excellent. Walking Moll first thing - part of my wake up routine. Though bless her, she has something wrong with her left back leg so have to take her to the vet later. Enough of that - think positive.

Next step - turn on computer. Brilliant! Transcribing a walk - brilliant. Making a call about an interview - my god! I think a few brain cells have woken up from hibernation. And frankly, whatever works is good. And if it doesn't, well, it will again soon.

I remember reading a piece when I was once having a really tough time and it advised to get out of bed. And breathe.

Sometimes that's all we can do. And you know what? Sometimes that is a hell of an achievement. So whatever you aim to do in January - Keep It Small. And achievable. And celebrate just putting one foot in front of the other. That's one hell of a good start.


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Let it snow..

Not a hint of snow here, but as ever more rain and some very strong winds.

But I'm not writing to have a gripe about the weather but to talk about Potager Garden, a very special place that Tony took me to several years ago. We went for a party of a friend of his, who has a workshop there and , as it was February, it was freezing. The party took place in the cafe which is in a greenhouse type conservatory room that was a little more open to the elements than might have been desired for winter.

Now, the place has been double glazed, though the woodturner is continually lit in winter and all the better for it. I have taken several friends there recently, as part of a walk for the next book, and every time I go I am delighted by it. The garden was a derelict nursery years ago and has been recovered over the years, to form lots of little separate areas where, in summer, people can gather to read, to talk as well as to garden. Dementia groups have started there; a singing workshop was held the other week and a workshop on making wreaths is to follow tomorrow. You can play table tennis, badminton, lounge around in hammocks outside, or just sit and read the papers.

The cafe serves homemade vegetarian food, cooked in the kitchen at the far end of the conservatory, accompanied by cafetieres of coffee and a range of other drinks. It would be quite possible to while away hours here quite happily. But we had a quick coffee and cake stop before doing a walk along to Scott's Quay, a mile or so away, and then back to Constantine over the fields.

It is a secret, magical part of Cornwall where you can rarely see a house, let alone meet anyone. And as we walked along the silent lanes, save for a noisy blackbird or a chatty robin, it made me wonder again at how many different faces of Cornwall I am privileged to see.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Gloves wanted - for the Invisible Men

In case you can't read the caption, this is the Invisible Man in St Ives the other weekend. You may see the relevance after reading this post.

Last weekend, our musical director asked for donations of gloves, as a friend is volunteering in Calais where there are a thousand people sleeping outside in the freezing cold - it has been snowing. They need gloves, particularly men's gloves, and if anyone could give them to her, she would send them off on Thursday after choir.

Strangely enough, I'd been digging out my gloves as I've started getting chilblains (an occupational hazard for those of us with bad circulation) and found a pair of men's thermal gloves that I'd got for Pip. As his health declined, and due to the medication he was on, he felt the cold more and more, so I was always thinking of ways to keep him warm. For some reason he'd never really taken to the gloves, though he had worn them a few times.

Seeing this post on Facebook, and finding Pip's gloves made me think - well, he would be delighted. So am I - to think that these gloves have been sitting here, unused, for years, and now they can go and help some poor fellow freezing out there and give a little bit of comfort. Well, I can think of no better use for them. And I know Pip would agree.

So please, if you have any spare gloves or anything to help these poor people sleeping outside, do give what you can. Stuff Christmas presents - this is the kind of thing that's really needed.