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Lighter, brighter days ahead

Have you noticed how much earlier daylight is peeping through now, and how much longer the days are generally? My dogs provide me with a daily timetable, and I am up at 6.30 to feed them, and it is already starting to be light now, with sunrise officially around 7 am, which is very different to how things were just a few short weeks ago. The dogs have their dinner around 5 pm, and it is still light - with darkness only falling at about 6 pm now, which is really encouraging.

With that, I have noticed primroses in the lane, and there is a woodpecker loudly hammering away, as well as a much more noticeable “dawn chorus” of birdsong on a daily basis. There are lambs tails on hazel trees, and the daffodils are

starting to complete with snowdrops for space in some places. It all feels as if things are just lifting a little, and I am encouraged by the way that nature just keeps going - the seasons do continue to come around, the green shoots do appear, birds start to build nests. When you get the chance, just open a window and smell the air, or, if you can, go outside, close your eyes and just breathe in and listen.

Try this wonderfully calming technique - breathe in for a gentle count of four, hold the breath for four beats, and then breathe out for four beats, and just repeat, feeling yourself relax into this gentle rhythm, allowing everything else just to drift away for a few moments. If you don’t feel comfortable just standing and doing this, I can assure you that it works just as well if you walk but keep your focus on your breathing.

There are some lovely creative things to enjoy right now - if you have any interest in portraiture, try joining the Sky Arts Live sessions from 10 am on Sundays, which you can join through FaceBook Live. People from all over the world are regularly joining an artist and a celebrity sitter working virtually and creating some incredible art works. All free to air and you can then add your work on Instagram if you like, or to our very own hArt 'Creative Community' facebook page

I am also looking forward to the return of Grayson’s Art Club this Friday 26th February, (Channel 4 at 8 pm). Grayson Perry and his psychotherapist wife, Philippa, are in their own studio, creating work themselves, but also talking virtually to various guests, and encouraging everyone to get creative. It’s very much hArt’s message - self-expression and the joy of creativity without judgment or criticism. What’s not to love?

As I write this, on a dry and fairly warm (relative to the weather we have had recently!) Monday, I am looking ahead to a momentous event today - a drive across the Forest to Southampton where I have an appointment for my first vaccination jab. I am not a great fan of injections (who is?) but there is something quite amazing about the speed with which the scientists have made this all possible, and it does give a sense of there being more normal days ahead. We do, of course, all need to stay sensible, and not suddenly see this as a licence to let go of the everyday care we have been taking, but at least it feels as if we are moving forward. I understand that I get a sticker once I have had my jab - which is something I was not expecting - but I have a child’s excited anticipation about the whole thing, and a sticker, while not in any way essential, also adds to the general feeling of celebration! Yes, I realise that does sound a bit sad in someone who is 66 …

Take care,


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