Sunday, 15 August 2010

Home from Home.

As my erratic blogging habit demonstrates, it’s been a couple of years of upheaval for me at home and at work. This time last year I had been working hard for some time on achieving some harmony at home and it wasn’t going well at all. P enc nwc caravan park in Newquay, West Wales came up as a last minute on ebay and turned out to be a full seven days of exhaling all the stresses of the preceding months. I spent my days watching my children play in the sea, pushing my toes into the sand, reading and breathing – just breathing.

Now we are back. After another year of stress and in uncertain circumstances, it made sense to revisit the place that had eased our nerves so completely last summer, same place, different caravan – oh so very different!

I imagine most creative people are a little jarred by the aesthetic of static caravans; the lightweight, laminated, mass-produced home from home in shades of beige can make one feel a little like living in a dolls’ house. To take the factory-fitted edge off, the caravan of last year was filled with personal touches and things that had been left by the goodwill of previous tenants, it felt warm and welcoming. Even in my stressed state, the echoes of the happy holidays of those who came before us ensured that the sun would come out no matter what. The discovery of half-full pots of herbs and spices in the cupboards, butter in the fridge, some clean but well worn tea towels, fudge and wine left by the owner and leaflets with handwritten notes recommending interesting places to visit. My feet went up straight away as I sank into the sofa with a cup of coffee.

Now to P encnw c caravan 2010! This ‘Willerby Aspen’ showpiece immediately put me on edge. The lovely lady owner showed us proudly around the immaculate results of her carefully harvested nest-egg; A worryingly pristine palace of pre-ordered veneer and fablon, a faux walnut ceiling fan and precariously placed ornaments that hissed ‘smashhh meeee’ at my children. Bed linen a five star hotel would have been proud of, a HUGE top of the range flatscreen TV with not a fingerprint to be seen and a sign that stated ‘No smoking and PLEASE No felt tip pens’. Worst of all, having arrived empty handed after last years’ stocked cupboards we were a little irked to find not even a bar of soap on the sink. A search has revealed some sparse cleaning products, some very slim toilet rolls, some elderly teabags and some coffee flecked sugar.

So, immedietely after the very proud lady left, I set about setting up my temporary Wychbury workstation for my cosy evenings in after the children go to bed. I’ve brought a set of the drawers I customised a while ago and filled them with the stock that is in our online shops, postage supplies and some work to finish. I’ve brought my sewing machine, my glue gun, my fabulous new camera and a wireless dongle. I will be dropping thread on the floor, beads down the sofa and sticking my pins in the arm of the chair, soon have this place feeling like home!

To finish, after I’d set up and gone to unpack my clothes I found this beautifully comforting sewing tin in the wardrobe that was so juxtaposed with the rest of the van I can only assume someone has left it; I will leave it behind just the same to bring reassurance to anyone else having a knee-jerk over leatherette covered nests of tables with matching coasters! I also found the local shop filled with teeny old packs of buttons, threads and sewing kits (as well as a birthday card with Daley Thompson on it to indicate their potential age!).

Despite my new holiday accommodation being a little ill-fitting, I am really happy to be back in Ceredigion and hope to find still more peace in the land of bottle-nose dolphins and red kites.

Wychbury in Welsh Wales. Paula x
* PS After a small pang of guilt at writing this piece, the author would like to stress that the caravan she is staying in really is lovely as is its owner! :) This post is really about feeling out of place, I have nothing against caravans and stay in them often. I flipped out slightly because my family and I know we are way too scruffy and clumsy to be let loose in something so contrived and posh and have already spilled a drink and pulled down a blind! I PROMISE I will leave the van exactly as I found it and will not be sticking pins in the sofa or using any felt tip pens! px

Sunday, 1 August 2010


I have been playing Alice in Wonderland on my daughter’s pink ds after she’s gone to bed. It might allegedly be aimed at seven year olds but I have become strangely addicted to the game to the point of dreaming about it and I think I have hit on the reason why. The main objectives of the game are facilitated by the player having to collect the jigsaw pieces to reassemble Underland which is falling apart.

I haven’t blogged for a while and I have re-written paragraphs several times trying to find a comfortable way to describe how my personal circumstances have led my whole world to end up in pieces. As it turns out I don’t seem to be cut out to wear my heart on my blog and I’ve deleted every one I’ve written – hence my hiding behind all the Alice metaphors!

There’s no huge drama as such, well not compared to many people, but somehow I feel as though I’ve got someone else’s life on at the moment. A series of circumstantial and emotional upheavals have left me totally upside down. A friend described the feeling that she is only too familiar with as looking down on your life and seeing a bird’s eye view of a completely unfamiliar landscape. I knew exactly what she meant, all the elements are there but they aren’t quite fitting together anymore.

I’ve tried a few times now to start putting the pieces back together but each time I have been a little premature I think! Much as I would love to get dropped straight back on to the right jigsaw piece I am old enough to realise that I have to follow the right path and open all the right doors to get there. There are lots of stray jigsaw pieces in my world and it will take time to put them all back.

So here I am, at the first jigsaw piece. Wychbury is a definite corner, a starting point and the piece that keeps the rest of the jigsaw from falling away like wet cake! I have forgotten this recently, forgotten the sense of self I get from designing and making, the pride I get from selling and the support I get from the community associated with my chosen career.

Lately, through some messed up psychology that only a professional would understand, I have felt undeserving of the right to immerse myself in something that evokes all these positive emotions. What used to feel like a responsibility, a calling even, felt like an indulgence. How can I sit and sew when everything is in such a mess? I convinced myself that I didn’t have the time or the energy for something as selfish as trying to run my own business and that a more suitable pursuit would be the excessive consumption of wine and cheesecake. This is all very well and yummy but this ‘eat me/drink me’ attitude has left my motivation feeling very small indeed!

Months have gone by in a jumble and it is time for order again…I feel a jigsaw habit forming!
Paula x