Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lockdown 2.0 day six

I can’t believe we have only been in lockdown for six days as I have completed so many things. Today a bright start and no clouds to the side like yesterday.

Good morning Swanage photo used on Instagram, this is becoming a morning ritual.

I needed to go to the shop to prepare a print for a client so we went down, I did that and we got some takeaway coffees from Java and sat on the seafront and watched a sea swimmer, small child playing with toy tractor and trailer on the beach. We also caught up with several friends out for walks.

Home and some art work done. Then just before lunch I went back to the shop, met customers who collected their print and some cards.

Home again for lunch sat watching the view as some boats visited the bay. Before we fell asleep for a nap we were out again heading to the other side of the bay on some errands, more friends, more exercise and more photos. On the way back some food shopping.

I have then completed my two Christmas card commissions , sent digital images to the clients and invoiced them.

Tomorrow, my priority after sorting delivery / collection of commission pieces are to follow up another business christmas card enquiry. I am then going to give myself a day off drawing for others and just enjoy some art for fun and relaxation.

I am about to surpass last November’s sales at the shop and own work in just the first 11 days, my art business is clearly progressing and that is very pleasing and I take it as a great compliment too.

“Half term report”

Well, the schools are on half term.

So, January – the quiet time of the year for shops in coastal resorts. The good news is that despite sales plummeting for me, and in general at Purbeck Artisan Yard,the new venture in Swanage has covered its rent in January and February with ongoing sales.

Art workshop – I led four sessions using the ProMarkers and a variety of other media available through Suzanne whose group it is at All Saints, Swanage on a Friday morning. An older crowd than those that I am more used to. We took the theme of “Stepping into Nature” and developed pieces based our own likes and dislikes framed by our senses. We drew around our feet to represent the steps into nature. Pieces developed included a range of sunsets, silhouettes, mono and back prints using nature materials gathered. My teaching experience stood me in good stead for offering a range of assistance as well as providing the initial lead in each session. Some of the group have also been to visit the shop and I hope they will return as the year warms to draw for fun.

Working on seasons frieze
Stepping …literally

The “Art for Fun” table in the shop is starting to see more use and I have developed a range of items that can be bought for small amounts if people want to draw more than their free A6 art postcard. Tuesday in half term (18/2/20) saw 11 take part, a mixture of children and parents plus me of course.

Menu of Art for Fun options

I have also had fun hand colouring and producing commissioned Valentines cards and have decided to make the original card commissioning a regular service to offer at just £4 for a unique 7” by 5” greetings card with envelope hand drawn to client’s remit.

New use for my Landrover at Studland pen and ink design (£3).
A commission example linked to a prior contract by recipient.

As we head into the last week of the month a new project starting in April has been arranged but I will publish details of this once publicity is started by the venue I shall be working with.

Altogether a busy yet fun start to a new year with more adventures to come.


Asthma and how it puts life on pause …

Well it’s the first week in October. Last week I went to Essex with Anne and we stayed in two lovely hotel suites on consecutive nights, luckily for me both had suitable sofa / chairs I could sit upright in. Why? Surely they came with a bed?? Yes but since Tuesday September 24th I have been unable to lie down to rest as my breathing runs into difficulties.

A week on:

successes – managed to visit our eldest son Jon in Essex

– attended family funeral on Anne’s family side

– Missed hanging first solo art exhibition

(delayed not  cancelled)

– two days of planned sketching with primary

school classes (delayed not cancelled)

– unable to collect mower yet after its most

recent service, not that I would be able to use
it as grass too wet, oh and own health

So, why the fuss, well tbh I would like to be getting on with commitments but staying indoors is what I have to do. I have endured six nights of extracts of sleep between 20 minutes and three hours to be awoken coughing and gasping to catch my breath. I have been to the doc, I have steroids to help ease the breathing and I am using my salbutamol inhaler when I need to.

Asthma has been in my system diagnosed since I was 11 and go at time said I could get out of cross country – I went on to run for school team and running club. I have done a range of sports but I recognise conditions that trigger my asthma which I work around. Currently I just have to “be” and recover, those who know me that just “be” ing does not come easy.

So, that was it, no big explanation of what asthma is – difficulty in getting enough oxygen into your system comfortably – try breathing through a fine straw, alternatively get your rib cage wound tightly in bandages and try breathing. Currently add razor blades liberally in your throat while doing above.

Just letting off steam, but also started InkTober 2019 drawings; doing some art; chatting with Anne; reading; watching wildlife…so keeping busy in a just “be”ing kind of way.


Family reconnections

On Sunday my cousin Fiona arrived for a short visit to ours. Fiona is my only older cousin and previously we had seen each other at weddings and funerals. Also when I was working in Berkshire many years ago and attending college reunions I would pop by when driving back east. This year she has taken on a fund raising challenge for St Mungos and their work with the homeless. She and Fizz her two year old collie are aiming to walk 1000 miles.

As part of the challenge she has tackled her technophobia for a good cause and she and Fizz have a Facebook account to share their walking adventures. She had come to Dorset to explore our area and add some different miles to their record.

It has been wonderful over the last two days to get to know each other better than we have ever done before. Anne and I have had lots of time to chat with Fiona and of course to admire Fizz.

On Monday Fiona, Fizz and I tackled part of the SW coast path. The view planned would offer great views from the Isle of Wight to the east and the Isle of Portland to the west.

Yep, sea mist spoilt the view, which I still pointed what lay out there, even if we couldn’t see it. ( some of my art showed what had been missed later). A mild day and good for walking. We did an eight mile walk from ours, along the Houns Tout ridge and then down the steps to above Chapmans Pool. Fizz coped very well with both the steps and the slow humans.

Then around the valley bottom to Hill Bottom and up onto the cliff path out to St Aldhelms Point. The valley of steps led to suffering for Fiona and I, Fizz just ran back and forward between us.

We visited the chapel on the headland where Fizz took advantage of the cool stone floor to relax for a rest. Photo opportunities outside the chapel then on past the Coastwatch post and the radar memorial (WW2 site of extensive radar development work).

We explored the old quarries at Winspit and made our way eastwards. Fizz was happy to pose by some drystone walls which will provide more art pieces at a later date. We continued to Dancing Ledge and walked down to the ledge above the pool where we watched a coasteering group jumping in then regrouping.

Then a long slow slog up the hill and over at Spyway Barn to reach Langton (Matravers) and a well event drink with Anne, then fish and chips on the seafront at Swanage.

On our return home Fizz enjoyed a well deserved rest.

Tuesday saw me cycling off to work for my boat shift. Later I was visited by Anne, Fiona and Fizz. They had a walk by the river Frome where Fizz kept disappearing in the reeds apparently; they visited the Purbeck Artisan Yard and provide food for lunch which as was delayed in eating as I had a sudden rush of customers. Fizz spent some time with me while the ladies visited the town, he was very popular with customers and passers by alike. A meal out last night with Fizz resting.

Today we are going to head into Swanage this morning and meet up with Charlie before Fiona and Fizz return to Sussex. It has been great to spend time together and get to know each other so much better, shame it has taken to our 50s but there we are. We will be visiting Sussex next that’s for sure.

December and Christmas

Hello mishmashlearning, not seen you for a while. I now blog more frequently about my art through

So December – last year I took part in an event in Swanage calls Artisans on the Beach for 7 weeks. By the end of it I was announced as Artisan of the Year and it was suggested I should be on the committee / working group for the proposed 2018 event.

It is now 2018, I am one of two artisans on the working group. This year the Artisans on the Beach event started on December 1 and finishes on January 2nd after about 5.5 weeks. I have also become named event organiser from the artisan aspect and taken on tasks including the social media marketing on Facebook and Instagram.

I have at last arrived at that old phrase transferable skills – organisation, spreadsheets, social media work etc , when someone praised my organisation skills I was at pains to point out the demands were less than those needed for a days teaching. I am enjoying my role and will be asked no to be considered to repeat the role for 2019 and possibly subsequent years.

My art is also found at the Purbeck Artisan Yard, Wareham. There I have found myself producing admin. Documents again for the same reasons and those skills again. My artwork is d finitely selling more in my second year. I have greatly increased the range of my work available and initiatives like Christmas cards started for December 2017 now account for a third of my card sales of over £2k.

I am back doing winter training with Swanage Sea Rowing and haven’t injured myself so far, so fitness is increasing gradually. I hope in 2019 to be out exercising much more.

Memories – December has been a difficult time for my family the last two years. Mum passed away in 2016 and last year at this time I sat by Dad’s side before he passed away on Christmas Day. I had a dip thinking about this last week while at the huts one day. I now feel in a better place but will miss the family gathering in Broadstairs even though I found them hard myself from a mental health perspective. Mum and Dad both believed in an afterlife, so I hope they can communicate with each other easily again and are happy with what they see their offspring up to these days. Clearing the family base as it is now sold (almost) turned up many memories and items from their lives and their families too.

My eldest has made changes in his life this year but is still difficult to communicate with, I wish him all the best and stay in contact when possible. My youngest took on a job this year and has shown much maturity about work and maturing in some ways. My mother in law at 96 continues to thrive but it would have been nice for where we live now for her to have retained more of her sight so that she could see the birds and wildlife more easily.

Finally Anne, my fab wife of 25 years now who I am getting to know again now that work is not a barrier that separates me from the family as it had a tendency to do when teaching.

So Christmas Day rest well washing up for me tomorrow. Then back to the hut but hopefully a focus on positive memories.

Seasons greetings to anyone that still follows this blog.


November …

Well, I took part in the Supervets Regatta last month and drew pictures of gigs which went to Somerset, Bristol and London with visiting crews. Preparation for Christmas events are generally ticking along and seem to be on top of those things.

Yesterday google photos shared pics taken two years ago – a walk I had taken a day or so after my teaching career blew up for the last time. This month seems to be a difficult one and I am in a limbo where concentration is hard and trying to just be. I know I am lucky we have a life I never thought would have been possible in a beautiful area yet that loss which was not in my control keeps kicking back.

I am lucky I can rest and then start again and that’s what I shall do,,,, life gets busy from the 24th with Christmas events, goodbye visits to Broadstairs and Anne’s birthday. Once I am busy meeting people etc it will be better I am sure.

October is …

Well two months since I last posted. Not as interested in sharing my life these days and to be honest a lot of my readers were others in education.

So October, my seasonal boat job has finished for 2018. Working on helping to organise December’s Artisans on the Beach event that I took part in last year. Returned to Sea Rowing in readiness for ur Supervets Regatta on Saturday October 20th.

Art wise, I continue to do duties as Wareham’s artisan yard. I have been stock taking, cards done, prints next prior to any orders for Artisans event in beach hut 54 again. It is also Inktober so I have kept up for the first 8 days and intend to continue with that.

Mental health wise, I have reduced my anti depressant dose age, just need to tell GP later and check on next steps. I haven’t returned to support group and continue to feel better for it.

Getting out and enjoying the freedom our new life offers Anne and I especially, oh and raking up leaves, lots and lots of them.

Two month gap …

Well, to be honest my mishmashlearning blog has ceased to be as important as my art on AndyKnillArt.

Life continues to have its ups and downs but I feel less inclined to impose these on others and over the summer I have taken a break from my Support Groups. Today I read and responded to some teaching posts on Twitter and then slipped into a little slough of despond. However this was cleared by a four mile walk over to Swyre Head and its great views over Purbeck, other parts of Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

So what is life doing?

Still working three days a week at the boat hire, I love the job and chance to be around in boats. Three to four times a month I am on duty at the Yard and do my best to chat with our visitors and support purchases from all the Artisans therein.

The art is a source of confusion in my own head at times as I decide if it is therapy, a hobby or really a job as I just don’t have the energy or capacity to throw myself at it like my teaching career.

Hope friends and fellow bloggers are well.

Carpe Diem

My new motto and one that is pushing any minor dips along. Last night I had two positive dreams the main one was about teaching – a moment to enjoy.

Today – Open Studio 23 preparation …


Fits and starts at the moment. One matter resolves itself and another occurs. Two days now on decorating duties but added a positive in getting self to use I Door rower when I get home and about 4K done each day. Let’s see how long I can keep this up.