Spring came and went and I continued to thrive in my new life. The only thing that was spiralling downwards was my weight and by the end of April I had lost over two and a half stone. My sensible eating plan and stringent walking regime were definitely having the desired effect. I spent many happy hours nesting and trawled the charity shops and junk shops for items of furniture and other essential bits and pieces. Money was, as always, incredibly tight, but I can be resourceful when I need to be and the more personalized I made my flat, the easier I found it to lay down some cautious but strong and unquestionable roots.

I WAS home, that was certain. And, as always happens with me, as soon as I felt more settled, I had the urge to paint and produce. Of course, I didn’t have a beautiful studio, as I had in Greece, but I made a little area in my bedroom, my desk directly facing the window and all my precious art things close at hand. I cannot explain the pleasure I achieve from having a dedicated space to create, be it art, craft, writing or anything else. I quickly had quite a collection of new art work displayed on my walls.

One day as I was steaming along the seafront (shedding more pounds and decreasing blood pressure), the kernel of an idea sprang to mind. As my body inhaled the sun and sea air, my mind had been wandering down memory lane to a women’s art collaborative I had founded in Greece. I had modelled the venture on a Collaborative set up by Van Gogh in his house called The Yellow House. I also called my house The Yellow House, inspired by himself and offered space and companionship to any women in the area who wanted to join forces and paint or create. There were soon a whole bunch of us working together on my huge, under cover terrace and I cannot begin to describe the fun that we had. There were English, German, Italian and Greek women enjoying each other’s company immensely and gaining inspiration from the camaraderie. We invented a sort of pigeon English, with a dash of Italian, Greek and German thrown in, which included lots of swear words and quite a lot of nonsense to boot, but somehow we managed to understand each other perfectly and have some heart-warming and deep conversations. We worked together, sang together, laughed together, cried together and ate together. One of the women, called Ieva, was an excellent cook and we all brought items of food to her which she turned into the most mouth-watering meals in my kitchen. She did this in exchange for her own supper, as she struggled to make ends meet. The art work we produced was then offered for sale at a series of bazaars that I set up in a venue called Sappho Garden of the Arts.

Those times were very special. The memories we created were priceless. I have visions of one particular day when I began to whistle ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ as I cheerfully snipped away at a mosaic tile – before I could say ‘Chitty Bang Bang’ two of the very serious German women joined in WITH the words in English, the Italian sang with gusto and the two Greek girls threw back their chairs and started to dance….. and all this under a magnificent blue sky with only olive trees and a couple of sheep for an audience!

The kernel of an idea that started to seed itself in my mind as I walked along the prom in Weymouth, was to try and promote such a venture here and now, in England. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. Ideas were tumbling over each other in my head and the name of SWANSONG CREATIONS came irresistibly to mind. The name came in part from the famous ballet which my school children studied for G.C.S.E. Dance, of the same name. A Swansong is said to be the last and most beautiful act that a swan performs before she dies, so I felt a venture of that name would be quite apt for an old crony like myself to champion. Also Swans had always featured strongly in my school, its original logo being taken from some black swans that nested near our first premises. My creative juices overflowed and as I wandered homewards past the lake that spills from the harbour, I spotted a beautiful swan sitting on her nest. She was so serene and patient, waiting for her cygnets to hatch and I felt an instant bond with her. As she incubated her babies, so I would nurture my new venture. I took some photographs with my phone camera and raced home to paint a new design.

Just so was SWANSONG CREATIONS born. The design I painted turned out well and I created my logo with it as the central feature. The blue that I chose for my business cards represents the waters of the lake and the blue writing that is featured on my logo represents the blue, blue skies that still fill my mind, from my happy days at The Yellow House on the sunny island of Lesvos.

Initially I tried hard to find other older people in Weymouth to join me in a collaborative but unfortunately I was unsuccessful. It seemed that no-one close at hand had the fire in their belly as I did and unlike me, others were happy to while away the hours in peaceful retirement. Undeterred, I strode onwards and went to print for the very first time…….

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