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 had a great birthday. Mum and I went out for lunch and I was sent a beautiful cake, so it couldn't really have been a lot better. I've been trying to get back into a routine, as if I get out of my routines it takes me a long time to discipline myself and get back into what I was doing. Mum's knee is healing nicely and the physiotherapists are happy with her. We were up at the hospital this afternoon, I went for coffee and she was tortured by physiotherapists. It's working though, so they're doing something right. I got a parking space at the hospital too, which is sometimes a bit of a fight. It was definitely a fight this morning trying to park in Ipswich to visit my dentist for an annual check up. I ended up parking miles away and walking. The parking man was about as well, so I wasn't going to risk parking anywhere daft, I can really live without the expense of a fine, right now. Usually, you can get a space in the dentist's tiny car park but today it was jam packed and some twit had parked in the exit, so I had to reverse out into a busy road (something I usually avoid, I'd rather reverse in and get out the right way), or the car in front of me wouldn't have been able to manoeuvre either. It was more of a pain than my actual dental visit, my teeth are apparently fine.
I've had an afternoon to sit and doodle this afternoon, so I have taken it. It's been a bit difficult recently. Sitting down drawing must help me to relax, as when I don't I can feel the pressure build. We've had hospital visits, Doctor visits, one of the cats went to the vet and the other one has to go this week. I've begun to miss things that I would normally be very organised and not miss. In short, I've been a bit out of sorts. Mum is healing well, which is good. She's back out in the garden and I have to keep telling her off for forgetting her stick. All the flowers are out and the blooming grass keeps growing. It seems to be on fast forward at present. I put the mower away and it needs doing again. I have so many things I want to do and people I want to see that I don't actually know where to start.
Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I've been looking after my dear old Mum who had a knee replacement recently. Mum is terribly allergic to opiates and so they couldn't give her the usual morphine to get rid of the pain. They tried a derivative of an opiate, a synthetic version but she ended up throwing up over her consultants shoes and passing out a couple of times. So all she could cope with was paracetamol. Not ideal and just meant she was in an awful lot of unbearable pain for a week or two. Knee replacements are supposed to be one of the most painful operations that you can have. On top of all of this, she had to put up with my cooking. I'm glad to say, she's well on the way to recovery now (despite my cooking) and we're coming out the other side. So things were a little difficult for a while but are sorting out now. The weather is also a bit better so it's onwards and upwards from this point on.
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.