And so spring is here or so they say, though I'm still tempted to sleep in my mittens and scarf every night and I'm still waiting for the warmer weather to follow! On the last Wednesday of every month, I want to try and write about things I'm thankful for that particular month. When I had this idea I didn't realise how rough a month March would be. We had our upstairs floor plastered. To achieve a similar stress level just throw all of your belongings into one room including a mattress to sleep on the floor with and live in that one room for two weeks. While there get a chest infection that makes it impossible to leave your chosen room for longer than an hour without feeling that you'll need to 'lie down for a bit now'. I also had the very sad time of a sudden death of a loved family member which was a massive shock. The weather has been awful and to top it off I got grief from a bunch of teenagers on the London underground for being small, which I am, for having grey hair, which I may have and for stinking, which I hope I don't given that I do, you know...wash. So a March for the ages it was, and to be honest I didn't really want to write this given what had happened. But in all things give thanks and I think it's better to think of these things when your feeling rubbish then when everything is running smoothly. Here is a very silly top 5 of things I was thankful for in March
1. Gordon Spud
On the first day of snow this year (beast from the east RIP) I went out to feed the birds (more on this later). My lovely partner, Lee took it upon himself to build a snowman. We christened him Gordon Spud and actually moved him around the garden so we had a good view of him inside. We followed Gordon's progress with great interest, through what we think was a bird that stole one of his raisin eyes to his last snow standing status. I always think that I can't be bothered to do snow men as I'm never going to build anything as legendary as the snow Pikachu pictured below (look at his pensive solemn face) but Gordon became a legend to us and I'd encourage on the next snowfall, which lets face it is probably going to be in 5 years time now, build a quick Gordon and enjoy the awful weather a bit more.
In probably what will be a running thing in what I'm thankful for, a few things have really made me smile in hard times this month. One is 'The Grip of Film' by Richard Ayoade, it has a bananas concept where Ayoade is actually only presenting and annotating another book by fictitious 'Gordy LaSure', it's sounds mad but you'll get the idea of it as you read it and you'll be glad you do. It's so funny and I'm going to ruin it if I try to explain the joke but get a Kindle sample or pick it up in a bookshop. It's brilliant! The other thing I'm loving is Celebrity Bake Off on channel 4. I'm normally not a fan of celeb style rehashes of formats but I've loved this. It's been a great example of what us mere baking mortals would actually be like in the bake-off tent and they've all been funny episodes to watch if only to see Nick Hewer's off of Countdown 5 attempts to make 1 cake and get it amazingly wrong every time. Have a go, it's free over on 4 on demand so you've no excuse not to treat yourself. I've put a link in the image above.
A quick note as well, if your really not in the mood to laugh and instead want a programme that will both need your full attention and communicate with you on your morbid mood which you actually need to stay in try Mindhunter on Netflix. It's a grim show looking at the rise of FBI profiling of serial killers, but it's fantastic and sometimes you will need something like this rather then a pick me up.
3. Getting things Finished.
One of the silver linings this month provided was the fact that I couldn't get into the office space I normally work in given that an entire floors worth of furniture had been piled in there for plastering purposes. This meant I only had my laptop to take and couldn't really start any new art pieces. So I instead finished work that was hanging around half cooked on my hard drive for one reason or another and it was a huge achievement to actually finish things I'd meant to a long time ago. One turned out to be incredibly profitable too and in one week became my biggest selling piece ever. It did mean that me and my partner Lee had to turn our living room into something that resembled a post office warehouse but it was a profitable venture and helped pay for the next thing I'm thankful for...
I know, IKEA is the worst. The arguments couples and families have in there are the stuff of legend and yes it is so annoying when you have to walk round THE WHOLE SHOP to get to the one thing you actually want (especially when there is a family with small children in front, don't get me started!) But before pouring more scorn over the Swedish wonder I'd like to say that IKEA is also a marvel. for 3 years now me and the boyfriend have slept on a mini double. If you haven't heard of it basically someone looked at a new build house and it's teeny bedrooms and decided they could get away with calling a smaller room a double if they made the double bed that was for a pair of Hobbits. We fit but one pillow would always hang off the side and we would endless knee and kick each other in the middle of the night subconsciously, or so we say. But anyway as freelancers at the start of our careers still really we couldn't really afford much better. We did though put some savings aside and along with my poster money, we managed to buy a swish as heck IKEA double bed, mattress and a shelving unit that are all lovely for very very good value (under £350 if I can be vulgar and mention money). IKEA maybe maddening and though we nearly had to chop off our hands in order to build the bloody flat packs we feel like Kings in our new bed and like to think we're in a hotel suit in our room. Thanks IKEA, you yellow and blue saviour.
5. Feeding the Birds
Tuppence a bag, or actually £1 for a massive bag from Home and Bargain, nice one! In all seriousness since we had the bad weather, I started putting food out for the birds. I did this for a few reasons, one being I felt sorry for them given that a worms must be close to the molten core of the earth right now given the cold snap and two because it's something that reminded me of my Nan who always loved the birds and would always, even when she was paralyzed by a stroke would make sure that the birds were fed in some way or another. It's a nice way to remember her and feel that she would be proud of me. I know feeding the birds is not going to be the cool new hobby that you know, Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell, will be doing next week (am I sounding less cool?) but it's a nice thing to do even when you don't feel you can be nice. The other thing that's happened is more birds have appeared. Ones I thought had died out from Kirkby and have not seen in decades have come back to our little garden. Not all is lost, even though it may seem it.
Thanks for reading. Spring is here.