Tag Archives: enjoy

Can you? Would you? …. Yes / No

These questions and similar became the bane of my life in the past. I had the tendency to say Yes when I should have said No. Our family social worker when adopting over 20 years ago used to say to Anne and I, “can’t you two just be?” and often the response would be no.

Why? We had plenty on our own plate with my career’s demands and the needs of the boys and … but often we found scraps of time to support others because by working as a team we could back each other up. Eventually it started to backfire and we started to say No more often, or attend meetings and sit on our hands so we couldn’t volunteer to do more.

So when my career crumbled back in 2016 – see previous posts from November plus 2016 and April 2019 – a change of status… the answer had to be a definitive NO.

Life has changed since.

From November 2016 I joined the Swanage Depression Support Groups and then helped when the Wareham Depression Support Group started. These two groups were part of me taking control of my depression and working to improve that aspect of my life and its impact on those around me. Eventually after about 18 months to 2 years I found hearing many similar stories over and over was not helping my recovery. I still attend when my life wobbles, we have hosted the May social for the last three years and now, particularly, my free time means that if a meeting’s cancellation becomes likely I am happy to stand in and help by facilitating the meeting be it in Swanage or Wareham. I did one of these back in May for Swanage and last night I ran the Wareham meeting. Groups like ours are not run by professionals but fellow sufferers who speak from experience, we support each other and we welcome others who need friends in their time of need. Last night reminded me yet again how special that link is.

Wednesday had been due to be a quiet and restful day only through a combination of circumstances I needed up attending a meeting in the afternoon and evening too. I actually came away refreshed mentally from both of them.

So what did I do in the afternoon? The first working group meeting for Artisans on the Beach 2019. Yes meeting in June to discuss the beach hut arts and crafts event for December. An event which exists to encourage locals to develop with their hobbies.

In 2016 I sat on the seafront with new friends very fresh from my November breakdown and leaving teaching, I drew a piece of the Swanage Beach Huts – my first piece to sell in 2017. In 2017 I took part, I was almost hyper at times, energetic, enthusiastic, drawing out in the fresh air, wearing outfits that caught people’s eye and I ended the event as ‘Artisan of the Year’. In 2018 I had become one of the two Artisans on the working group and we added some changes and structures to the event which continues to grow by reputation for participants and visitors.

In 2019 that role continues – my art hobby has become “AndyKnillArt”, I do two main events a year with PAW (Purbeck Art Weeks) and Artisans on the Beach, I also exhibit and sell my work year round as a member of the Purbeck Artisan Yard, it will never be a full time job, nor will it stop me pursuing other ideas but it is a channel through which I share my creativity and I love it.


I attended two meetings …. I said yes. Does that mean I now say yes to every opportunity / query? No, I don’t. I need my free space to explore, relax, enjoy. I have earnt that right after 28 years teaching, after 20+ years of parenting and seeing both our sons live elsewhere.

Moving forwards

I am investigating more ways to use my motto “ArtForFun” where I host activities for any age to do some art for the joy of it, no judgement, mindfulness, relaxation, … whatever suits. This is also not going to turn into a ‘crusade’ that sucks me into overcommitting myself timewise and emotionally. I will do it from time to time, e.g. every time I do a duty at the artisan yard I post on the AndyKnillArt Facebook page so that passersby can drop in and have a go. When I do events like PAW and Artisans on…. then I can offer it again. I don’t want it formalised into an activity which engages all those officialdom forms and risk assessments and … been there, done that, thrown away the uniform. As the ‘tag’ suggests it is about “fun”.

Many years ago after working in outdoor pursuits prior to my pgce (teacher training) I adopted the motto “Life is not a rehearsal”, I now have time to enjoy my life, I live in a location where I can enjoy my life, I have Anne whom I enjoy life with. So sometimes I will answer yes to queries. Often I will say no because I need my enjoy life space now.

For you

Are you a yes, a no, a mixture? Volunteering makes our society work. It is the glue that supports communities. Please consider saying yes occasionally, but at a scale that you can cope with.

Thanks for reading


New adventures of an artistic kind

Ok year 2 calling myself an artist and new challenges taken on. I have moved so far from the broken person I was just 14 months ago. My first year as an artist saw that break into selling some work, being commissioned to do some pieces, exhibiting work in a number of locations and taking part in two events locally. So year two already has a pattern to follow and is not brand new.

I started the year with the last week of Artisans on the Beach on Swanage seafront. Swanage TiC team chose me as Artisan of the Year for my enthusiasm. Today I have applied for a committee post to help next year’s event be even better for all involved.

I then put two pieces into an exhibition by participants in Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) sketching programme in 2017. The exhibition was in the Orchard Cafe at Holme for Gardens and finished this week.

I have worked with two classes at Swanage Primary School with a sketching project which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I have entered PAW for 2018 and will be opening my studio at home again. This year will see the addition of refreshments and supporting three local charities through this. More detail on this going forwards. I believe that the art Weeks are a good opportunity to highlight local charities and what they offer in the Purbeck area. I am also putting together a trail map to link studios across the villages between Swanage and Corfe as there are more of this year and working together we can help visitors to see what we offer. Last year having enough work as a concern, this year I already have quite a catalogue of pieces both original and prints /cards to offer.

Last week I visited Purbeck Artisan Yard who have had a recent turnover of bay holders. The atmosphere and range of artists has changed and I took a bay which I will use over the next 12 months as a permanent gallery and selling space for my work. This was a missing aspect for me in being able to have work on show all year round. At the end of 12 months I will review what steps to take next. I look forward to working alongside and learning from my fellow Artisans at the yard. Duties will see me managing the “shop” on regular days and at other times I intend to be there working as the bay is light and I can discuss work with visitors as I was able to do during Artisans on the Beach.

Today my newest batch of card designs arrived for proof checking and I look forward to getting customer feedback too.

I have also started, slowly I admit, adding my work to an AndyKnillArt Etsy store. So in 2018 my work will be available direct from me; at the Purbeck Artisan Yard; on Etsy; during events – PAW and Artisans on the Beach and anywhere else that stocks pieces – currently Java Independent Coffee House and Swanage Tourist Information Centre.

I just need to enjoy making art, showing it and if people like they can buy it. my ambitious sales target for this year – to sell some art.

A week in the life – part Devon

A week in the …. has become a series of posts about my summer holidays 2013 and how I have done different things to relax and refresh for the new school year ahead. At the end of term we booked a cottage late in Devon. The first time just three of us would go as eldest elsewhere. We were torn between Appledore and Bideford in North Devon. We chose the latter and found Allsorts, a fisherman’s cottage in East the Water backing onto the River Torridge. We would be near the old bridge, a 2 minute walk into Bideford. At the end of the street a bike and kayak hire centre and within a minute, the Tarka Trail and a heritage railway centre and star of the James May model trains toy programme, oh and two model rail shops in Bideford (railways being a “specialist” subject for our youngest son.

So, as is the routine for our family holidays of recent years an early start to avoid some of the traffic and a chance to do some activity before we could get into the cottage. We were up and on the road just after 05:30am. M25, M3 and what has become a tradition – packed breakfast at Fleet services. Traffic had been light so far, onto the A303. Things slowed as we approached the ‘henge and the pad we had used on previous journeys was now no more, but some good pics from the car.


We headed further south – my choice to follow a nicer cross Devon route. However, SW traffic was building and the speed slowed. Our destination was Broomhill Art Hotel and sculpture garden that was a popular visit on a previous holiday in Croyde. Some food first then a wander around the gardens, some changes in the sculptures and position of some plus the National Sculpture Prize nominees and previous winners. These photos are representative of some of the work seen.


Welcoming us in the drive a new piece, that was very attractive to the insects,


The shoe welcomed us as it did on our previous visit.




Then the sculpture award area:

Our favourite and previous winner-






The last was our chosen vote for this year unanimously.

We then drove onto Bideford. The cottage is small but very welcoming and soon we were settled with a mug of tea and the door open to the garden.



Our first full day saw us walk to Appledore along the SW coast path. This is covered in a previous post. The views of the river were great and the sun kept us warm. We left Appledore before the afternoon’s carnival.



On an evening walk we saw the bridge lit up and took some pictures.





We drove to Rosemoor RHS gardens at Great Torridge. Our limit was to not drive far for visits. The gardens offered an orienteering trail which I followed as a keen geographer / big kid! All three of us enjoyed the visit with a variety of settings and many plants.


This shows the back of the education centre / open classroom.


A favourite, the formal hot garden.


The garden contained a wide variety of butterflies and insects.


A variety of water features.


Buildings favoured for weddings- a truly romantic setting.

The original gardens are reached through a rocky gorge.



Play areas included seating, musical instruments and structures for play.


Map reading geographer.

In the evening we ate out – returning to Mr Chippy, as most places were shut on a Monday evening. Not popular with Mrs K as it meant chips again.

We realised that we had walked for a further 2.5 hours today.


Full breakfast in Bideford and then some shopping time in town including model railways for one member of the family and a visit to the Pannier market.


Not a pannier in sight and a parade of craft and other shops.


PM when the weather was forecast to improve it was cycle hire time. It was raining again lightly so Mrs K changed her mind. Knill major and minor set off towards Barnstaple. A wobbly uncertain young cyclist who gradually gained more confidence. We made it first to Instow level crossing and eventually Fremington Quay both places that featured in the James May Toy story with model trains. A refreshing chocolate ice cream and we returned.




Fremington – as the picture says.


Bideford on our return.

Then as we left the hire shop a young man started to feel weary.


14 miles cycled, further than I thought we would do.


Rain forecast and rain it did. So I planned my own cycle adventure in the opposite direction. I went from Bideford to Petrockstowe station and back (26 miles in total). I stopped for cake and tea at Yarde Orchard with Yurts and an Eco-bunkhouse. On the way back the gradient was in my favour.

In the afternoon we drove to Appledore and visited the Maritime museum.


Kayaking day for Knilly males and shopping for Knilly female. We were photographed getting onto the water. We paddled about 5km in total, well I paddled about 8-9 km and my assistant joined in for the rest. We saw Cormorants, gulls and herons along the river banks. The nice part was high tide meant we couldn’t leave until 11.15 so a lazy morning.

We’re off slowly…


The afternoon saw us enjoying a cream tea or retrieving Mrs K’s cardigan left in cafe am- you decide.


Young Knilly is shattered! advised to have a lie in while Mum and Dad go for a cooked breakfast and then on our return, a walk on the Tarka Trail to the bridge we had kayaked beneath at Landcross yesterday. The sun was coming out and the weather warming up. I looked wistfully at the river and on arriving back at the cottage abandoned my rest day plans and went for a single kayak – 90 minutes and the same route covered (planned rest day abandoned). We had some refreshments in the garden where it was now very warm. Then we took part in eldest’s CPA meeting by conference call. The evening promises a meal at bistro at the other end of the street.


Driving home via #Bristoltweetup also know as an excuse to go Gromit hunting in Bristol.