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  • Writer's pictureAlanda Calmus

Warmest Wishes for the Season

Updated: Feb 20

Good tidings to you all.

I have been trying to wind down a bit from the busy year I’ve had, not really that successfully. I decided a week before Christmas to swap my dining room into my living room and vice versa. This meant getting rid of a large corner sofa and buying a replacement second-hand suite that would fit in a room half the size.

It’s all done now and the sitting room that we are calling The Snook ( a cross between a Snug and a Nook) is much more cozy and easier to keep warm which will help save on heating bills.

Belated Yule and Christmas Wishes

Firstly this email was supposed to go out before the holidays and then I intended to send out some messages on social media wishing everyone all the best.

What actually happened was I switched my laptop off and put my phone down and left it alone pretty much for the whole time while I gave my full focus to my family. It was wonderful! I’d go so far as to say it was one of the best Christmases we’ve had in a while. The house was full of love and mirth.

We tried to keep things as simple as possible. We stepped back from the excessive commercialism and gave small, practical gifts (All practical except for the charming porcelain flamingo my husband bought me from the antique shop window because he knows I’m odd and would love it).

I’m delighted that my husband is home until the new year and my eldest son and his partner came through on the 22nd until boxing day. That meant lots of cooking for me but I actually really enjoyed it.

This year I have gone from one work event to the next, to the next and the next without a break so I must confess that we have been living on “ping food” which is what I call microwave ready-meals. I haven’t had time or the inclination to cook at all.

I’m determined that next year I will work on a more nourishing life, both physically and emotionally.

The Betwixt and Between

Earlier this year one of my besties booked tickets for us to go and see Wicked the Musical in Edinburgh for 28th December. The plan was for me to get over to Aberdeen to meet her on the 27th and then we’d get a train from there the next day to Edinburgh.

Storm Gerrit started blowing through just as I started to travel on Wednesday. My husband drove me through to Aberdeen. When we set off things were fine and we didn’t know how bad it was going to get or how quickly.

Thank goodness for our 4×4 for when we got diverted across country because of a tree down on the road. We must’ve gone through 2ft of water at some points but we made it and my husband got home safely after a long and winding journey back!

We were really lucky as we didn’t experience any of the really bad flooding where we live but sympathy goes out to those who were so badly affected and those who are still without power.

The next day all the trains North of Dundee were cancelled and we couldn’t get a bus to Edinburgh as they were all fully booked. My friend had to drive us down and thankfully the route we were taking was completely clear, no signs of the storm of the previous night bar a few puddles.

Here we are, Rachel and I, at the Edinburgh Christmas market sampling the Gluhwein.

And here we are waiting for Wicked to begin, by which time I must confess to having had a few more spicy beverages! Can you tell?

Hogmanay and the New Year

We don’t really do anything for the turning of the year. We have dogs and I hate fireworks so we stay up past midnight watching a movie with the volume turned up loud so that they don’t notice anything that’s going on around us.

After Christmas I’m usually ready to just get going with everyday life again. Long gone are the days of staying out partying in the streets and waiting for the bells.

I do have a nice wee 2 night spa break to look forward to though with another friend at the beginning of January. That will be a lovely treat before I have to knuckle down to organising all my paperwork so I can file my tax return.

What’s on for 2024?

I’m really excited for the year ahead. I will be turning 50 in April and have a trip planned to visit one of my friends who lives in Dubai. She is also turning 50 and I’m excited to be celebrating with her.

I’m also hoping to celebrate this milestone age with another school friend and will be making plans to visit her down Norfolk way as soon as I’m able.

What about the Arting?

There are creative adventures afoot too of course. I’ve got lots of plans that don’t involve me running myself into the ground again. My aim is to do everything in such a way as to enrich my life not overwhelm it.

I know I took on too much this year. I’ve had many great successes and some things that were not very successful at all. However, I have felt proud of everything that I’ve achieved no matter what side of the scale it landed on.

I am hugely grateful for all the support I’ve received. I mean, really, I’ve been blown away by it.

I am so fortunate to have great friends who encourage me and have helped out with events, amazing fellow artists who lift each other up, fabulous loyal customers and supporters of my art and wonderful gallerists who make me feel welcomed into their beautiful creative spaces.

Lets not forget those of you who take the time to read my somewhat rambling, long-winded newsletters. I salute you!

Honestly, I’m feeling quite emotional as I think back over the year and recall how much everyone has done for me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Warmest love and blessings to you all.

An extra special thanks goes out to my husband, Mark, without whom I simply would not be able to do what I love so much as a vocation. His support allows me to continue to grow as an artist and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

As I sign off until sometime in January, I wish you all love, support and prosperity. May you experience every success in your endeavours with enough joy and laughter to keep your spirits lifted throughout the year.

Much love and gratitude always

Alanda xx

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