It's sad that so many of us cease to play once we become adults. And that our day-to-day lives and work and worries kind of get in the way of having fun and, most importantly, of being who we really are. Or perhaps who we really should be?
One result of last year's time out - it happened when I was sorting through a box of photographs taken in Finland with The Rags - was the realisation that I had lost my joie de vivre. It's understandable, I suppose, after being sick and all those tests and treatments and the hours spent at the hospital, but it was not good. Not good at all.
So, I looked at the picture of me wearing a crazy Finnish hat which, incidentally, I still have and of which I am very fond, together with my famous furry Finnish boots, and I thought back to how I felt then and I wondered how to feel a little like that now.
And the answer that came to me was to dig deep and re-discover the feisty, rebellious, smart little seven year old I once was. And that led, wonderfully, to the Icelandic horse-riding trip because, hey, feeling like a seven year-old but with the freedom of being an adult and without the pressures of work and family, well, the world becomes a magical and exciting place!
The result is that I've been having all sorts of fun, playing and exploring and, sometimes it must be said, running wild. And recently I bought myself a little easel, some acrylic paints, some little canvases and a set of brushes and, after staring at a blank canvas for a couple of days and feeling scared to spoil it, I 'had a word with myself' as the Irish would say, and picked up a paintbrush.
I had in mind that flower meadow near Paimpol that a good friend, Catriona (herself very artistic and spiritual) and I visited nine years ago, probably almost to the day, I may go back to A Mouse in France and re-post that one soon, it was one of those perfect days that I remember with a smile...
Anyway I had that in mind when I started and painted the canvas...
and then I walked past that green canvas for another day before picking up the brushes again...
and every so often I painted a different flower...
and slowly it emerged...
And last night I decided it was finished.
Not how I had imagined.
But finished and, at the risk of attracting ridicule, I am rather fond of my little painting.
Because the most important thing is, I had fun.
So that makes it a success.