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‘It’s so obvious when I think about it – how much my mood is affected by the environment in which I find myself and how that in turn, impacts on the work I make. Caught up in the general busyness of life, you sometimes forget these things.’


Post New Year’s Day and looking back. I’ve just looked to see where I left things before heading away for what felt like a much needed break. I wrote the above in my last post here, in December. Today, on the second day of the year, I’m writing this from Scotland, where I’m more acutely aware than ever of how much my environment affects me. It’s not just about the physical environment, one which I love and feel completely at home in – it’s also about the people who live within it. Warm, open people on the whole – Scottish people, renowned for their warm welcome and friendliness.



On a more personal note, visits to Scotland are also about the people who no longer exist. So many of the family homes that for years had been the focal point of visits to my Dad’s birthplace in Ayrshire are no longer there. I’m lucky to have family connections and a place to stay in Edinburgh, but I miss the familiarity and closeness of my Dad’s relatives – the warmth and a true sense of belonging.

Loss is always very much at the forefront at this time of year – Christmas card lists emphasising who’s no longer living, set places at the table highlighting who’s no longer around to join in with family meals – sharp reminders of just how fragile life is.


Callander, December 2016


I’m ending this post with a quote from a new year’s tweet from Harry Leslie Smith, an activist for the poor and for the preservation of social democracy. It feels apt in terms of my New Year’s resolution to be more hopeful and optimistic:

‘Keep faith in love, friendship and democracy & never surrender your human light to the darkness of demagogues.’

Happy 2017 everybody and here’s to everyone getting what they deserve.