The Changing Seasons – January 2020

This challenge is hosted by Su from Zimmerbitch. You can find out how to participate at the end of this post!

Another difficult month. I was actually pleased to return to work because of my low mood during the holidays, which has persisted all month. The last weekend of the holidays did see a return of some energy and I got out of the house a little.

The first Snowdrops were already in bloom during the holidays:

We went to Williamson Park in Lancaster so I could try out the new camera. The park not only has the lovely Ashton memorial (the highest point in the city) but nearby there is a tropical butterfly house and there is always something nice to see even mid-winter.

Ashton Memorial

Very near to the park is an industrial estate which houses the Lancaster Brewery and also, allegedly, the largest Antiques centre in the UK. I have always tried to avoid this place, quite deliberately, as I would fill the house if not careful. To be honest, it transpired that there is a lot of junk in the antiques centre but this little cast iron glue pot caught my eye:

The week I returned to work I decided to join a new gym. It is the same one my wife uses, not that we ever work there together. It is not as convenient to get to but it does have much better facilities. One thing I am not enjoying is the crowded locker room, loud with semi-articulate ‘banter’. And as for the smell….

During this month I also became aware that a something has damaged the lens on my phone camera – as you can see!

Shiny new gym.

The next week saw the start of the refurbishment of our bathroom at home. By the second week we did not even have a toilet so we decamped to a hotel. It is bizarre staying in a hotel only a mile from your house, but handy if you have forgotten to pack anything.

This has been a somewhat trying experience. Week one saw two minor floods in the utility room below, week two saw a broken window. We have been back in the house this week but don’t expect the job to be finished for at least another week.

Not-so-shiny bathroom

Art-wise this has been a quiet month, largely because my studio is sealed up to exclude builder’s dust. I did try a new company for having prints made – and am very happy with the proofs. I also had the butterfly designs printed on mugs and some have been sent to Australia. I went down the route of getting them printed and posting them myself because the carriage prices charged by Cafe Press are ridiculous.

Towards the end of the month and I have a cold. This is a good thing because normally I get one during the Christmas break! Outside, the garden is seeing increasing signs of spring, with this rather nice Hellebore catching my eye:

The elephant in the room this month is, of course, Brexit. A populist and xenophobic media-assisted coup has resulted in the UK leaving the EU on January 31st. I am reminded of Rod Serling ‘s closing narration to the very relevant 1960 episode of the Twilight Zone: ‘The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street’:

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices…to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill…and suspicion can destroy…and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own – for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

If you would like to join in, here are the challenge guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Su’s original post, she can update hers with links to all of yours.

43 Comments

  1. That Twilight Zone quote really says it all! I am incredibly sad about Brexit, and grateful that we left the UK when we did. I’m not sure I’d recognise England any more.

    I hope the bathroom renovation is over soon and you enjoy the new “facilities”, and getting back into your studio.

    Thank you for bringing beautiful flowers and a butterfly. Art and nature are both solace and tools for change (she said optimistically).

    I’m glad your cold is improving Darren. Kia Kaha.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I will be honest here Su and say that I no longer feel any connection to this country.

      Interestingly, that Twilight Zone episode was remade in 2003 at the height of the ‘war on terror’ and featured a different but still apt closing narration:

      “It isn’t enough for a sole voice of reason to exist. In this time of uncertainty we are so sure that villains lurk around every corner that we will create them ourselves if we can’t find them – for while fear may keep us vigilant, it’s also fear that tears us apart – a fear that sadly exists only too often – outside the Twilight Zone.Β ”

      Thank you and I greatly enjoy your own photos of nature. It does offer some solace.
      Xx

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Wow! I never really watched the Twilight Zone. Perhaps I’ve been missing something.

        I think most people I know in the UK feel as you do — with some infuriating exceptions to whom I am unfortunately related. Quite a few Kiwi friends we thought were going to be UK-lifers are beginning to make plans to come back here.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The Twilight Zone was superb and very thought-provoking. Especially in the first few seasons. ‘Time Enough at Last’ is my favourite episode I think.

          Was reading that the day after Brexit notices appeared on the fire doors in an apartment block in Norwich warning people that only the English language was to be spoken from now on. It has started.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I hardly know what to say. When I first lived in England in 1991, I loved hearing so many different languages and seeing so much diversity. The 1930s are not so far in the past; can people really not see the parallels. 😒

            Liked by 2 people

            1. That’s exactly what I’m worried about as well!! Not only with Brexit but what’s happening here in Germany too. Don’t people realize that it took a couple of years before the sh.. hit the fan back then and that we easily can find ourselves in the same position again if we’re not careful? The political swing to the right here is horrible. I don’t know if news have reached you about recent votes in one of our federal state? It was a win for the CDU (that’s Fr Merkel’s party btw) because the AfD ‘gifted’ them with their votes without being in a real coalition. Luckily the whole country was shocked and re-elections are now going to happen…

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I had not heard about this but it saddens me. Our prime minister has managed to engineer control of the treasury this week and has started a ‘review’ into the power of the courts after they made Brexit difficult for him. With his huge majority he can get away with pretty much anything now.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, I hope that the renovations to your bathroom will be completed soon. Not relaxing to have a bathroom in this state. I must admit, however, that the decor would be interesting for fashion photos. It will look nice once the renovations are done and you and Susan will be able to relax. I sympathize with you regarding Brexit. It must be so frustrating. Focus your energy elsewhere Darren, especially on your drawings and your online shop. How beautiful are the flowers in your garden! And this antic iron glue pot – splendid. Definitely a decoration that would be charming in my house, with pencils in it or a plant ??????? Hugs and love. xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Dominique. It is having friends like you that gets me through the times I can’t relax.
      You are right about focussing on the good things that can build a happier future.
      I thought you would like the glue pot! Love and hugs. X

      Like

  3. What a mixture of influences you’ve had these past week. Brexit. Ouch. Bathroom renovations are maddening. We had ours done a few years ago and I was reduced to an incoherent blubbering pile. It wasn’t pretty. I’m sorry you’ve been through such a rough patch, but I must say, you are doing wonders with that new camera! Those photos are just…WOW! Can’t wait to see more!!! ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Linda and it is so good to hear from you.
      I am definitely not pretty. Three weeks without a mirror means the beard has gone a bit wild.
      As I think I have said before – any work in our house always turns into a drama. It took a year just to find someone to do the job – the previous person who agreed to do it literally disappeared last summer.
      I am so happy with this camera – so thank you and I am pleased you like the results!❀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. New camera = auh-mazing photos. Darren already had a lot of ‘points’ but more over-the-top points were added for the original Twilight Zone quote. I hope Feb is a better month, no more leaks!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Looking forward to seeing your new bathroom. Glad you are on the mend, its rotten when you get a cold and can’t do stuff! Williamson park sounds interesting and don’t get me started on that memorial -it’s lovely. Have a happy weekend and great week ahead πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh my! The largest Antiques store in the UK – I will never visit you, it might be dangerous for my bank account! πŸ˜‚
    So sorry about the cold, hope you feel better already!!
    Ugh – Brexit! Better not talk about it but I totally get your feeling of not belonging anymore… I haven’t called my aunt yet because I’m still angry and I’m afraid I might let it out on her (she being pro Brexit and me wanting to say ‘Are you happy now?!’).
    Yay to the new gym! It looks rather shiny and bright in the dark. πŸ˜„ And hopefully the bathroom will soon be competed so that you can back to your studio!! ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sarah. I don’t want to put you off visiting!
      I genuinely can’t express my feelings about Brexit. Is there anywhere left where I would feel I belong??
      I am sitting in my studio as I write. I am supposed to be dusting itπŸ˜‰πŸ˜„…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehe! You could sum up my life with ‘supposed to…’.πŸ˜‰
        I was thinking which country would appeal and would say Canada of it weren’t for the super cold winters!! πŸ˜‚ As a lover of Italian cuisine and culture I’d love to live in Italy of course but politics there are just as bad. πŸ˜‚ Maybe conquer some land and have your own republic?! πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

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