Sunday, 23 April 2017

Murder, Blood and Swimming

Poppi and Emily enjoying an indoor sunbathe.
Eagle-eyed visitors to this website will have already noticed the change of title art, which uses my latest oil painting, Liverpool Waterfront.  That's the thing with websites or bloggy places - it's fun to change their look now and again, tweaking this, twiddling with that, casting off something which has perhaps grown a little dusty in favour of something sparkly new.

I have been considering starting a Patreon site.  In case you've not heard of Patreon before, its a way of sharing exclusive or advance work with a group of subscribing patrons, who agree to support the creator's work from as little as $1 per month.  The aim is to build a growing number of patrons in order to allow the creator to become self-supporting and thus be free to create more stuff.  I already attract revenue from my books, from merchandise at Spooky Cute Designs and through my articles on Hubpages but with this Patreon page I'd be posting work-in-progress photos of art, sketches, or chapters of novels or short stories which would allow people to be the first to read them.

Liverpool Waterfront; oil on canvas; 2017.

Speaking of reading, I've just finished reading the first two novels by Oscar de Muriel and I really enjoyed them.  They're thriller/detective stories set in the late 1800's, whose main characters are a haughty, fashion-conscious Londoner and a sharp-tongued, scruffy Scot.  They dislike each other from the outset but have to work as a team to solve murder cases.  Fever of Blood, the second novel, weaves an element of witchcraft into the plot and I especially liked the way De Muriel's witches were portrayed as skilled chemists rather than as practitioners of magic.

Richard added two roses to our garden, and I came home with a pot of chives and a young bergenia 'red beauty', also called elephant ears which sounds much more fun.  I had meant to pick up a tray of lupins but accidentally got this instead.  Oh well, never mind!  (Memo to Self: Put your glasses on!)  Yesterday, with a warm spring sun beaming down, I re-cut the grown-ragged edge of the lawn.

The soil quality here leaves a lot to be desired.  It seems hard, stony and lifeless, and the very low number of worms gives further indication of its poor health.  Still, that is something which can be improved upon over time, with good dosings of blood and bone meal and, once it has rotted down enough, fresh compost from our half-full composting bin.  Good gardens take years to develop - unless it's a TV make-over show with an army of off-screen workers and a vast budget!

Swimming has been fun.  I've been going twice a week.  The hardest part is pushing myself to get a move on early in the morning when it would be so much easier to snuggle back down and snooze for another five, ten, twenty minutes.  But I am already starting to see the difference in muscle tone, and aside from that obvious benefit I just simply enjoy the activity.  I'd go every day if I had the time!  Some people at the pool do just that, though I think most of them are retired.  Many of those elderly people are much better swimmers than me.  I set a target of doing a minimum of 30 lengths but those so-called 'old folk' easily zoom past me, swimming non-stop for an hour or more.  I admire them, truly.

No comments: