I have just finished my M.A in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art and thoroughly enjoyed it. I consider myself an illustrator and I work for a company called 'Creative Minds' who take art and craft sessions to older adults and adults with learning disabilities. The following entries are my drawings and musings. All images are copyright of Kerina Strevens. Please contact me on my website kerinastrevens.co.uk.
I've been away in North Norfolk for a week and despite pelting it down with rain and spring appearing to be on hold (although there were a few lovely, bright daffodils about) we had a great time. We went on a boat and looked for seals. There weren't many but it was entertaining to see the ones that were there. We all loved that and it even stopped raining for a while, while we were in the boat. We had a lovely family get together and it was wonderful to see everyone and we had an excellent time. My cousin excelled herself as a host and everyone had a great time and a good chat. On the only sunny day we all went into Cromer and had a good time, especially the children. We visited Blickling Hall and had a picnic. The cats were pleased to see us get home. In fact, Flo has cuddled me more in these last few days than she has done in months. It was a good break but now it's back to it, I have a lot to do. Mum goes into hospital again this week.
We've had a number of dead shrews this week, left by the cats, in the back garden. We're letting the cats out at night at present, as the weather is getting better and also as we will be away for a few days, we'll leave their cat flap open so they can come and go and a lady we know will come in and feed them twice a day. I was in bed, watching tv all snuggled up with Flo cat. We suddenly heard a bang and a commotion from the hall. Flo went all alert, so I shouted 'R.J?' and he replied 'meow'. Flo shot off the bed and joined him in the hall. More commotion followed, so I got up. We have a little bench you can sit on in the hall and shoes can go underneath it on a very low shelf. There were no shoes on it but the cats are positioned either end and I can only assume that R.J had brought in another mouse and that it was hiding, terrified, under this piece of furniture. Meanwhile R.J is trying to put his paw down the back and thump the little thing out. I have no idea what to do. I get down to look under the thing but can't see anything because of the half light but I know something is there because of the cats. In the end I go back to bed and leave them with it. I can't sleep, so I decide to get up and try and chase it out of the front door. It's 1am at this point. I go into the hall and R.J is playing with a shrew in front of my room and it's very much alive. He leaves it as soon as I walk out and it shoots under our bathroom door. It's temporarily safe as the cats can't get through the shut door but RJ shoots his paw back and forth under the door. Again, I haven't got a clue what to do. Eventually, I get a jam jar and go into the bathroom, making sure the cats don't get in and I shut the door. The poor little creature is slightly to one side of the door and sitting there dazed. Having no other idea of what to do I put the jar gently down with the opening facing the shrew. No one is more surprised than me when it just runs into the jar. I place the lid on and walk out of the bathroom, both cats are scouting round the floor peering into corners and looking into gaps. I exit unnoticed and end up in the garden in my pyjamas with a shrew in a jam jar. I put him down near a gap and leave him to his own devices. Then I come back in, lock up, fasten the cat flap so they can't get out and terrorise it and so we don't have any more brought in and go back to bed. I think R.J just sees toys, not living creatures.
I've been thinking about black Shuck this week, the huge black dog with red eyes that haunts the Suffolk and Norfolk lanes. This is my drawing of him. The first drawing I did reduced black shuck to looking like a cross highland terrier, but you have to start somewhere. This black shuck I've done looks like he's bringing up a fur ball but it's all a work in progress. I love these folk tales and legends. We had a week without hot water, fortunately before the second cold snap started. I can't tell you how lovely it was to have a hot shower instead of having to boil a kettle and have a strip down wash. Makes you appreciate things like having hot water on tap (most of the time). We have an electrician in today as he temporarily wired the boiler up on Friday but has come back to do a proper job today. The cats are not happy, they don't like strangers. They don't actually like family but will live with it but strangers are a total no go. One is presently under my bed and the other is sitting somewhere in the garden out of the wind, I hope. That's cats - not strangers. I have a very busy week this week. That's good.
I went back to work this week and it was great! Everything back to normal, we thought. How wrong we were. The snow disappeared as I did a happy little jig and we had a couple of days of normality and then I got up one morning and happened to pet the cat as I came back up from the stooped position I could see a large area of damp on our kitchen ceiling. Uh oh. Men were promptly called in, the first to arrive was a roofer as it was thought it would be a leak in the roof which would be easy to fix. He came down from the loft and said it wasn't the roof and that he would call a plumber as he thought it was our boiler. In came the plumber, he went up in the loft and had a look and came back down and said he would have to call a more experienced plumber as he had never seen our type of boiler and hadn't a clue what to do with it as it was so old. Off he went and in came a more experienced plumber who disappeared up into the loft to have a proper look, then water started dripping down the light fitting in the living room and an electrician had to be called to come and make it all safe. The outcome of all this on Friday afternoon was that, the living room light was taken off the circuit and left to dry out, a lot of the wetter stuff in the loft was taken out and we were left without hot water for the weekend. It now looks like we will be without hot water until Thursday. That's when the new boiler will get here and should be put in. They've ordered a new one as they think the one we have has been there since the bungalow was built. So we're having to boil hot water to wash at present and to do the washing up. Makes you appreciate it though. Perhaps I'll have a 'normal' week next week. I live in hope.
A little cat print in the snow. This was before the snow blasted in properly and everything ground to a halt. RJ braved the snow initially but when it started getting deep and the freezing wind was whisking everything about, he abandoned hope and crawled under my duvet for a sleep. I stayed in and didn't go out for four days. We cancelled a hospital appointment too. I was too distracted to do any work, it was a bit strange. This week, I have a lot to do and my work ethic is back to normal. Anyway, I very much hope that normal service will resume next week. It's feeling like a long winter.
Good grief, I blame the weather. I've been meaning to post since Sunday. This time of the year really gets to me though. I'll be so pleased when the Spring finally gets here. I've been beset with weird dreams recently, last night involving Simon Cowell and I never even bother watching his programmes. I wasn't trying to sing fortunately. They told us the beast from the East was due and we holed up really, so we wouldn't have to venture out for a few days and it's come in with a whimper. We've had snow but nothing that out of the ordinary and it's been cold. That's winter. At present the nice bright sun is melting the snow that did manage to lay. It's not much of a story. At least I'm feeling a lot better this week. Not long til spring now!
I have not felt this rough for years. I really went down with the awful cold that is going round. Managed to get myself up but only to sit in an arm chair and feel terrible and sleep all day. It's taking such a long time to go too. I've had to cancel homes as I'm frightened that it could do quite a bit of damage to someone who is slightly more vulnerable as I'm supposed to be relatively fit. I feel like death warmed up. Also my cousin's son was in a terrible head on collision in Norfolk this week. Thank God he was ok, although he's still in intensive care with compound fractures and looking at more ops in future. The main thing is he is still with us all and will hopefully mend nicely in time. Enough of my whinging. Flowers are coming up and the weather appears to be brightening - it's almost like I can believe spring is coming. Not going to count my chickens yet though. This last week has been extremely tough.