The art of relaxation – 08th August 2015

When was the last time that you can actually remember being relaxed? I asked myself this question yesterday after talking with one of my clients who is off on holiday next week. After he mentioned that he is not taking his phone and there is no internet access where he will be. His plan is to totally relax. It made me think, in today’s world are we too interconnected which ends up meaning that we don’t relax. We can be contacted almost anywhere in the world via our phones and for most of us we have easy access to the internet while on holiday. So do we ever get to truly relax? It also made me think about when I was last relaxed. I must admit I could remember times when I’ve been on holiday that I have been truly relaxed, where nothing but what I’m doing at that point in time is important. I must admit a lot of my relaxed memories do include the sun, the sea and good company. But I wanted something a bit closer to home. I remembered that when we first moved into this house, I had a few months of not working, it was summer and I had time to do what I wanted. Potter in the garden, paint the kitchen. There was no huge financial stresses and no time stresses which made me a very relaxed person. But now of course I’m back to working regularly – and even with having time away from my work it still invades my down time to a certain extent.

But then it came to me, I’m exceptionally relaxed and everything else takes a back seat when I’m doing my art work. Currently classes are not happening as we’ve had the exhibition and summer is here – and I’ve not been able to get to any of the summer drop-in sessions and it made me realise that I’m really missing painting. Because one thing I’ve noticed is that to get myself set up and starting to paint takes some effort (especially as it is currently too hot in my studio) so I tend not to take the time to do my painting. Today I will rectify this, it is a cool day and I think I need some down time just to relax and take time for me and paint!

Oh and one thing I discovered this morning when I googled relaxation – that it is (apparently) national relaxation day on the 15th August…

So now that I’ve brain dumped, what have I been up to over the past couple of weeks? Well we have had our neighbours in for coffee and homemade blueberry muffins. I understood a lot more of the conversation than I have previously – which was noted by our neighbours. They liked the work that has happened with the kitchen. I must admit I do think that Pat has done a good job. I painted one of our coffee tables to come into the kitchen, which looks great in here as it is the same colour as the red chairs at the table (2 red, 4 natural wood). Now I need to find some material to make some seat cushions.

We had our two new lounge room chairs delivered. They look great and are in the corner. I now need to find a big standing lamp for the corner so that it has some light for reading. I’ve been looking for 2nd hand ones but nothing has quite caught my eye yet.

I’ve been working hard as all my clients try to get things sorted before they go on holiday. I’m also covering for others when they are on holiday. I’m hoping that now that all my clients are on leave next week (& one’s I’m covering) that next week will be a bit of a slower week. I’ve been doing a bit more baking than usual (banana bread, blueberry muffins, courgette cake, courgette bread). Actually cooking lots of things with courgettes as there are so many… The courgette lasagne was fantastic. I had to tweak the recipe as it called for ricotta and the usual garlic and onions, I think next time (and trust me there will be a next time) it will be much better.

I had a sports massage for my back last Saturday. I have these regularly as my back does cause me a lot of issues. Unfortunately despite doing my stretches to help my leg and back muscles. Last Saturday’s was one of the more painful massage’s I’ve had. One of my biggest issues is the amount of time I spend sitting at my desk working (despite the fact that the time doing this has reduced). This week Pat and I have taken a pro-active approach. I’ve actually set myself up to work part of the day standing up, which since I do know that a lot of my back pain is caused from my sitting muscle being too tight it should help. You do have to stand correctly and have everything at the correct height, as you would you sitting desk, but so far this week it seems to be helping. We have also taken to Pat giving me a small nightly massage (as my back pain was starting to wake me in the night) and one first thing in the morning. The other thing that we have also been doing is making sure I get out for a good walk each day. I’m still doing my stretches, so hopefully next month when I go for my massage we will have some progress in loosening my muscles and getting them (and me) into a better state of being.

The other big thing that has happened, is that our new shower has arrived. For those of you in Australia who are used to fully tiled and water tight shower, they just are not the norm here in Europe. You tend to get cabin or over the bath showers. So yesterday was spent removing the old leaking shower and taking down some of the wood panelling in the bathroom to see what was behind it. The one thing we have discovered – tiles. Yep the two walls in the bathroom that face the outside are tiled. And nicely tiled – they are white tiles – not bright pink or avocado so no idea as to why they were covered (Pat thinks it was because it resembled a public urinal). However we are guessing that perhaps they were covered because the bathroom was cold in winter. As behind the wood panelling there was a good layer of insulation – with an interesting piece with Juillet 1999 on it. Which is July 1999, so when now know when the bathroom was last revamped. Unfortunately what has also happened when the new plumbing was installed that the bottom few layers of the tiles were just hacked away and the plumbing added in. Which means unfortunately that we can’t just remove the wood to give ourselves a lovely tiled bathroom. It also means that my idea of removing the panelling and have an exposed stone wall is not going to happen. Oh well.

broken tiles & interesting pipe work

broken tiles & interesting pipe work

broken tiles, random concrete and Julliett 1999

broken tiles, random concrete and Julliet 1999

We did also find the cause of the leak – bad drainage connections. But thankfully the wooden floor isn’t damaged and only a couple places with minor damp. As I type Pat is upstairs sorting out what he needs to so that we can get the shower back working for tonight. So that’s about it for now. For some good photos of my art work have a look at Pat’s blog from last week… if you want to see the kitchen changes look at the blog before that…. And I will see you again in 2 weeks.

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