You don’t expect to re-invent your life – and your working future – approaching your 79th year. Your body, and even memory, are not what they were. Though I am still the same ‘me’ that I have always been. There are flashes of exhilarating energy … of a life well-lived in a 56-year working partnership with the person I loved and married. The past occasionally illuminates itself … but the future – breaking through the carapace of what is no longer there – is unknown.
There have been six re-incarnations:
1. Childhood and College (that magical time of young brain, and an introduction to history, the natural world, literature, music and theatre).
2. Teaching … marriage … our own educational publishing company … work-work-work.
3. Three beloved children (who all at one time worked in our publishing business), and more than that helped to rebuild our late-16th century home whilst converting an acre of wild ground. A true family partnership, which still exists today.
4. All changed in 2014: cancer (for me) and simultaneously the death of my quiet, gentle, brilliant and long-suffering RQB.
5. Quiescence: an 18-month existence when my brain and body felt as if they were calcifying, and I was becoming wrapped in a thin skin of cold forgetfulness. So frightening.
6. A change in medication and I begin to pull myself together; to slough the skin and reinvent myself. Creativity, writing, photography and my garden have always been the backbone of my existence – the idea of “Ann’s Art Retreats” and one-to-one tutorials begin to percolate through. I planned that the Open Studio event would be the catalyst. It has indeed and in quiet moments a portfolio of suggested tutorials has emerged.