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A blast o' Janwar win'

It's almost, but not quite, too late to wish you a Happy New Year! Hope 2023 is good for you in lots of ways.

By the tenth day of January, how are your resolutions going? My one is the same every year and every year I fail miserably but hey, I might surprise myself one day. I do intend to do more of many things this year.....more painting; more singing; more writing; more blogging; more walking; more promoting; more selling....and less of other things.....less procrastinating; less eating (yes, that's my normal 'go to' resolution!); and less worrying.

So, on with the blogging and promoting. December of 2022 was a busy month partly because we spent some of it on the Isle of Skye. It's a magical place and it catches me in its spiritual grasp every time. I can't explain why. I just know how much I love to go, how much I hate to leave and how much I'm desperate to return. On this particular visit though, we were treated to (and occasionally hampered by) a fantastical snowscape. I'm completely inspired by the scenery and I'm sure my poor husband felt like a chauffeur, driving me (and our dogs) round the island while I had my head out the window taking snapshots of the stunning landscape for future reference.

As far as we could go! Our usual visit to Talisker Bay was hampered by the snow and we couldn't get any further so we had to turn around and go and console ourselves with cake and coffee in Carbost

Now though, the festive season is well and truly over and, yes, the January winds are blowing a hoolie and rainy days seem endless. I've already broken my promise of no more procrastinating by doing this instead of tidying up the loose ends of my tax return. I'm desperate to see the first sign of snowdrops, knowing that by their arrival, nature is waking again but, as my late mum used to say 'don't wish your life away' I'll try to be patient and wait for the earth to dry out and the skies to clear.

Short be yer Wunter but no' that short ye cannae rest an' tak' a breath an' sleep for a while - inhalin' the guidness o' earth's rebirth and reawakenin'
Lang be yer Simmer but no' sae lang that ye' tak' it for granted and los' that deep sense o' yearnin' - like that ye feel fur a luver that's left ye. Mary Carroll 2023

In the meantime, I'm busy getting ready for my next gig which will be in Oslo, Norway of all places. We have the dearest friends there and I can't wait to see them after so long (last time was in November 2019 and you know what happened after that!). My husband will be playing guitar and I'll be singing the songs of Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher. It's a great celebration of his music and a privilege to be part of it.

I'm also totally and positively excited about recording the vocals for songs I've written. Recording is always so nerve wracking for me - red light syndrome - but hopefully something decent sounding will come out of my mouth! Either that or our producer Fraser will need to work serious magic!

As far as art is concerned, I spent a bit of time before Christmas creating Scots bookmarks with poems I'd written on one side and a lino cut print on the other. The writings were fun and challenging, using my mother tongue (the one I speak most of the time but rarely write) and I so enjoy the printing process, however basic it is at this stage. Both skills get the brain working! I'm constantly thinking of artistic things I can try....sometimes it can be distracting as I've so many ideas going on in my head! I am, however, going to make some more prints of my work available on my website (in various sizes) and there is still a good selection of original work available there.

'Brock' (linoprint)

'Hare' (linoprint)

Well, I'm signing off now as I'm heading to bed. I had a conversation this morning with my friend about getting to bed earlier. She's just texted me to see if I'm in my bed. Do I reply with 'not yet, I'm blogging' or not answer so she thinks I am already sleeping????

Finally, enjoy your haggis, neeps and tatties on Burns Nicht (25th January)...a wee celebratory glimmer in the dark winter. I grew up singing the songs of the Bard and my favourite is Ye Banks and of his most famous songs and so sometimes overlooked but, in my opinion, it's one of the most beautiful and heartbreakingly sad love songs ever written.

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair? How can ye chant, ye little birds, And I sae weary, fu' o' care. Ye'll break my heart, ye warbling birds That wanton through the flowery thorn, Ye mind me o' departed joys, Departed, never to return.
Oft hae I roved by bonnie Doon To see the rose and woodbine twine, And ilka bird sang o' its love, And fondly sae did I o' mine. Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree But my fause lover stole my rose, And Ah! he left the thorn wi' me. Robert Burns

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