Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Walk Three Hundred and Sixty-Three – Fairshot Court garden

Today, Robin hooked up the child trailer to the tandem and we cycled Xavier to morning nursery and picked him up at lunchtime to take him to afternoon nursery. We haven’t done much tandem cycling for a couple of years, so I’m hoping that we’ll do quite a bit more, now that I won’t have to try Robin’s patience by stopping and sketching. We’re also planning to do the St Albans 40 mile charity ride on May 13th so I’ll need to get in a bit of practice in for that. I also walked in the evening and sketched this lovely garden. For those of you that have asked, I will definitely leave this blog up for as long as Blogger will let me. I’ll also keep up almost daily drawing and will post those pictures on my other blog.

I do have an idea for another year-long challenge, but I’m in the throes of finding out all about publishing, ISBN numbers, cost-effective print-on-demand, distribution etc, so that I can put together a book for anyone who is interested in having a momento of this year, so that will keep me busy for a little while. However I don’t want to lose you all (I know we’re all so fickle when a blogger doesn’t give us a reason to keep coming back) so I’ll probably have to reveal and start the next challenge fairly pronto.

You have all been so wonderful and so supportive during this year. I’m sure that many of you have been dying to ask but were too polite to – but have you lost any weight? Well as Alison has pointed out a mile walking and then stopping to sketch and then a mile back is not a really hard workout. So when I started the challenge, in my mind, I fully intended to walk faster and further distances as the year progressed. However this plan didn’t allow for six months of deep depression following the death of my mother a few months into the challenge. Many days it was difficult to get out of bed, but I had to for the children, and many days it was difficult to force myself out of the house when quite honestly I would have rather sat down, eaten the contents of the fridge, and felt sorry for myself, but I had to at least do that mile because I knew you were all there cheering me on. And so, apart from all the things I really couldn’t avoid doing, however depressed I felt, I also had this one daily task. And I really think it healed me. Exercise, nature and sketching – a magic potion for soothing the soul. So although there was a big black cloud hanging over me, sketchercise stopped me becoming completely engulfed, and one morning, after Christmas, I realised the depression had gone. Now isn’t that a recommendation!

Come back tomorrow for more thoughts on my year.

340mm x 195mm pen and watercolour on Arches HP


Blogger Katherine said...

You can't give up! Or I'll have to turn the award into the "For when Julie got off her blogging bottom Memorial award"!!!

I'm glad it helped with the post-partum Mum depression. They tell you about baby blues but not about the bit at the other end..........

Seriously, I think it's been a great endeavour and I'm sorry for being such a wimp and limiting most of my long walks to museums and art galleries! I'm doing similar research - and I assume you've found which looks like a solid proposition and has been going for a bit.

Now you've very nearly done a year you are of course going to issue a Press release and write an article for The Guardian Online - so I'll wait to see what that brings

In the meantime I'm trying to work out what the next project is. Long distance digital manipulation of stylus maybe?

1:33 am  
Blogger Penny said...

this looks like a magical garden just the sort I love. I am glad that somehow we helped to get you through your depression, i know how it can feel and lately with the drought it has been rather nasty for me but i refuse to give in. I too have bought a bike, but have yet to ride it! Lovely that you three can get out and enjoy things together and get alittle further afield. My poor old boy isnt much for bike riding and he came back from fishing yesterday with heaps of fish but badly swollen knuckles, he is a worry.

5:04 am  
Blogger Mike1727 said...

Same you're stopping, I'll miss this project.

I think I may have seen your tandem when I was dropping my daughter off at nursery yesterday - mounatin bike style, front suspension, towing a trailer? (I was riding a silver racing bike)

9:55 am  
Blogger Laureline said...

Julie, I have LOVED this blog! I read every post and have so admired your faithfulness to the project and your exciting stylistic range. I would never have guessed that you were experiencing deep depression. Knowing that, I am all the more impressed by what you have accomplished. I'm so glad you're feeling better now and I look forward to your next adventure!

10:37 am  
Blogger Africantapestry said...

I got onto this "wagon" much later than I would've liked, but the time I've spent with you on this project, has been a joy. I loved(and still do of course)your work and this latest garden is once again a beauty. So, I am also looking forward to your next ptoject!

2:12 pm  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Katherine I just want a breathing space form the pressures of Plein air. I've looked into Lulu but think I’ve found somewhere that suits me even better. E-mail me if you want to know more.
Well done you, Penny. Isn't the garden lovely - I'll have to see if I can sneak in again.
Mike, thanks for visiting. I don't understand technical terms like 'front suspension' but yes that was us. I didn't see you as I was so busy concentrating on pedalling and staring at that spot between Robin's shoulder blades.
Laura, I just wanted to share my bad patch because sometimes blogs can be so unrelentingly cheerful, people can wonder if they're the only one.
Ronell, it's great to have you visiting and it was lovely to discover your blog - full of lovely delights.

11:36 pm  
Blogger Alison said...

I love your magic potion sentence -so true. I can't imagine what my year would have been like - having to deal with my father about my mother - without this project. I just would have withered completely, I think. This is indeed a beautiful garden view.

1:01 pm  
Anonymous Cathy (Kate) Johnson said...

I'm so sorry to read, belatedly, about your mother, Julie, but I have SO found that same thing about walking and sketching being healing. I wrote about it in my first natural history book, On Becoming Lost; A Naturalist's Search for Meaning. It's magic, isn't it--and I am so glad you stuck with it, day in and day out...

2:43 am  
Anonymous Richard Gillin said...

Just found this after you've finished! Darn! Googled on in when looking for Childwickbury.

Can endorse what's been said about - they're generally very good. Oh, and

2:41 pm  

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