Yep, most activity now involves four walls from the insides, knowing where my emergency inhaler is just in case at all times. If doing any physical task, pace, do it slowly. Maybe I could…no, don’t be silly.

No, I am not ill very often and in more recent times more mental health than physical illness so crap at being patient or patience. So mental health wise fine, physical – just keep doing a little more each day if body says yes and today I stayed awake for the whole day .. also had the shortest of walks outside, but what a feeling of achievement.

Normal service to be resumed soon – I am a man so apparently this is how we act.


Parenting after they have left home

We have two sons. One no longer lives at home. He chose a different lifestyle to ours. He is only too willing to dismiss our lifestyle choices. He is an adult.

We have two sons. One no longer lives at home. He has many issues including mental health issues, a drug habit, homeless. he is an adult.

Two statements both true. Do they evoke different responses? Possibly. Key words that get a reaction. Today like on many other occasions a sudden message that he wants us to sort out help for him.

Issues with that;

– we haven’t made direct choices for his actions for at least five years

– he rejects our lifestyle and choices

– when offered help it has to be on his conditions so usually fails very quickly

– lies about current drug situation

– he thinks we have an endless supply of money and influence

– he won’t actually approach for help himself except under his conditions (see above)

Why am I posting this? To be honest I don’t know as I don’t seek answers, I don’t think there is a clear one except that he needs to take responsibility for himself. More of a vent after an afternoon where I became concerned he might “go for” a member of the public because of his mood so ended up in a phone trail to where he was to look after people.

I used to work too much, I may have contributed to his issues but there is no clarity. I just get wound up, snappy with those around me, all for someone for whom my decisions aren’t acceptable but I am expected to help them out while being bombarded with random insults.

I could drive to his side of the country and be there in person and it would just be the same except face to face, no difference.

Loud frustrated scream like noise at this point……

Vent over.

A good way of feeling relaxed – Alpaca walks

Today, Anne took up her birthday gift of an Alpaca walk, she had to cancel back into November due to very strong winds and rain. Today we went to a local centre at Longthorne Farm, just north of Monkey World in Dorset.

We were to walk with Harry and William and Anne was to lead Harry. These two young males get on famously apparently. We were given lots of facts about Alpacas which I admit I generally let roll past me. Very calm animals with “teddy bear”like coats. We were allowed to stroke their necks. William was fairly “talkative” throughout the walk. The biggest noise was the tanks passing to their training grounds, the Alpacas took it into their stride as for them it must be a familiar sound.

When an Alpaca decides it wants to eat, drink, scratch you stop with them, a mind of their own but no mean spiritedness at all. We got to feed them in our return too. When we left I felt incredibly at ease and we will be back again.

Stopping in the cool stream and having a drink.

Time for a group photo.


Harry allowed Anne to stroke his head, William wasn’t keen although he allowed his ears to be stroked.


Feeding for two.

Harry demonstrating how Alpacas settle similarly to a camel.

I have had allergy issues with horses at sanctuaries before that meant I couldn’t visit. The Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic and I had no trouble being around them.

A big thank you from us both to Longthorne, Farm.

Exercise plan (not a resolution) week one

So, today I was up for the third boat out – earlier two due on water at 7.45 am and some edging at 7.15 beforehand – I was asleep. We rowed for just under the hour and lots of technique work which is my focus. Great to be out on the water again especially as the water in the bay was very calm once in the wind shadow of Ballard Down.

This week has gone well, next week meetings clash with training times so I will need to be more proactive. My right knee is unhappy so I shall fit in some exercises where it is not having impact and see how it responds.

Anne and Andy walks

Today the intention was a walk at Studland beach and we did this after some errands in Swanage first and the walk in and back from free parking via the seafront. We then drove to Studland parking at the Knoll beach National Trust car park.

Usually we do an out and back walk on the beach, today we went through the dunes and heather / gorse area and then onto the beach just after the naturist area signs (a bit cold for them we thought). We then returned along the shoreline enjoying the antics of various dogs and their owners.

A small lunch and a piece of napkin art for me (see art blog). Then back home. Between Swanage and Studland we had walked 3.6 miles, an encouraging start to our plans. I did not paddle in the sea but had shorts back on.

This morning;

I went on an additional walk as I woke early and felt the need to get out. I walked from home to Swyre Head and back. It was very frosty and the only other people I saw was a farmer on his tractor and the estate gamekeeper out feeding the pheasants. I took a range of photos to use for art inspiration and walked about 3.2 miles.

For me then just over 10km, my right knee let me know it had worked hard, so rest physically and admin for art to keep me busy.

January 19: Good intentions

January is up and running.

My first commitment Artisans on the Beach has completed bar the wash up feedback meeting. I am tidying the art materials and work pieces away so as to not make too much impact around the house, well trying too.

Thursday night yesterday saw me straight back to men’s training at the rowing club – the beach hut event had not involve a lot of leg work, last nights training did – aching legs today then. I worked harder and achieved more from the session than pre Christmas but still have lots to work on.

The start of the month is a sensible slowdown after Artisans on… including avoiding germs as much as possible. Tomorrow we (Anne and I) hope to start that intention re walks and enjoy some time at Studland beach, maybe even my first paddle of the new year, we will see.

Exercise – I used to keep an array of exercise books as diaries in the past, my solution last night to set up on the iPad a training log where each sheet will cover what I have actually done each month. A sort of GOE record – Glimpses of Exercise to look back on or identify obstacles that disrupted my fitness ideas apart from apathy / laziness.

Onwards …

2018 review and going into 2019 (Nurture 2018/19)

My New Year’s blogpost I have now done for several years but in a different format as no longer in education but balancing my life is always a priority.


AndyKnillArt celebrates its second anniversary on 31 January 2019. Initially my aim was to see if I could sell some of my art. Those who have followed this new path for me will have seen that I have achieved this aim consistently. My art year includes:


: ending the previous year’s Artisan on the Beach in the Shore Road Huts on Swanage. In 2017/18 I was awarded the title of Artisan of the Year for my enthusiasm, dedication and general “artyness”. Tomorrow, we complete my second Artisan of the year event and this year I have been one of two artisans serving on the working party and I took on the named role of event organiser. My role has been social media marketing and care of our artisan team during the event. A role I have generally enjoyed.

: drawing the next two designs for the “Santa over Purbeck” Christmas card series. In the 13 months of sales of this series it now approaches 400 card sales, a great success with many ideas to take the idea further.

: starting work toward Purbeck Art Weeks for the year.

: for 2019, continued participation as an artisan and member of the collective at the Purbeck Artisan Yard, Church Street, Wareham where I have been full time since March 2018.

February, March and April

: continued time for art work development

: Purbeck Artisan Yard

May and June

: participation in PAW (Purbeck Art Weeks) as an Open Studio when I welcome visitors to our outbuilding and my exhibition and possible sales of my work and art catalogue to date for 16 consecutive days.

: Purbeck Artisan Yard

July, August

: continued time for art work development, this may include PAW sketching events

: Purbeck Artisan Yard

September to November

: helping to organise Artisans on the Beach if I keep my working party place.

: continued time for art work development

: Purbeck Artisan Yard


: Artisans on the Beach participation

: Purbeck Artisan Yard

In the last month I have celebrated my gross sales income exceeding £5k and enjoyed my first month where my art income exceeded £1k.

Clearly a positive direction to take and I really enjoy my art for the help it gives me with relaxing too.

Wareham Boat Hire with Matt and Julie Jones. In 2018 I completed my second season, a wet April but then from May to September the weather meant record numbers of customers throughout the season. I worked three days a week in 2018, however my duty commitments at the artisan yard means that I will go back to two days per week in 2019.

I continue to love the outdoor nature of the work, standing in the river, talking with passers by and customers and guiding on safe use of our fleet of craft. I have learnt many skills and I look forward to my third season in 2019.

Both of these offer much free time which has been spent with family, especially Anne and is a priority going forward as we continue to explore Dorset.

In 2019 I also intend to start my life as a retired teacher by taking up my teacher pension at 55.


2018 started with Dad’s funeral and his ashes being interred with Mum’s. Family came from New Zealand and Canada and from the UK. An end of an era which at the end of the year sees No. 4 (family base since April 1975) sold (subject to …) and sharing of family heirlooms, nostalgic items. A new era starts for us all as a family.

Contact with Jonathan our eldest continues to be patchy. This year he announced his marriage to Sarah. We have visited and remained in contact as has Kate my sister. His journey going forward needs to be driven by him.

Here in Dorset the tri-generation household has its peaks and troughs but has settled more.


Sea Rowing

Difficult to commit when doing art events, summer boat job etc so I continue to train with the men’s squad when I can. My only regatta participation in 2018 was our Swanage Supervets in October which enjoyed superb weather for the second year. I bought a Concept2 ergo from a fellow club member, but it is still underused somewhere between the worry of over exercising and never actually starting.

In 2019 a more balanced approach I hope.


I cycled around Poole Harbour in February with Dave Furmage and achieved 34 miles with no long term after effects except no repeats. I also cycled the Ulwell to Corfe Castle ridge after a steady push up to the ridge itself. I cycled a handful of times to work in Wareham.

So in 2019 I need to cycle more and drive less.


Limited use again but some trips on the Frome pre work in my Triumph 13 SOT (Sit on Top). I also paddled more in Swanage Bay including some trips with Anne too. This is an area we want to repeat more in 2019. Anne has taken swimming lessons alongside this ambition.


We have done some local walks but all fairly short. I want to get out on longer exploratory walks like one I did to Kimmeridge and back via the coast path this summer and combine walking, drawing and photography. I do need to swim much more too.


This continues with my art skills and my work developing as noted by several friends arty and not. My business skills have developed and I have found some of my teacher admin. skills useful at the artisan yard and for Artisans on the Beach.

A clear target for 2019 is to explore online retailing of my work more thoroughly. I also want to develop my boating skills and qualifications too subject to time commitments.


Being in business has meant reestablishing an online profile both blogging, sharing my art, using Instagram as well as Facebook and Twitter. This has also led to reconnecting with friends of old and has led to several friends visiting including teaching colleagues from my first post over 30 years ago.


Staying uninjured physically is a key ongoing aim now to allow more time outdoors and also during the boat season. Mentally there are still ups and downs but on the positive side I have ended 2018 on a reduced doseage of my antidepressants and less need to attend support group meetings.

Going forwards

The key priority is to spend lots of time with Anne especially, forge more friendships locally and get out in the great Purbeck air and enjoy our new home to the full.

Thanks to anyone who actually reads this. Feedback welcomed as long as constructive.

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.