Sunday, August 2, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.
About this time yesterday, I returned home from the shop relieved that I had commenced my week of vacation. Seven sequential days off. Last spring I was also able to have that sort of break and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was such a pleasure to go to sleep knowing that I would not have to hear the alarm clock's beep on Sunday morning.

Surprises were in store. Around 1:30 am, the sirens of four arriving fire trucks woke me. I do live in a big city, and we are very glad to have various siren-equipped vehicles available on call, each vehicle carrying well-trained professionals. This is our urban village. In the middle of the night it is wonderful to know that a response to an alarm will be quick.

And so, wide awake as I realized that more than one fire truck had stopped somewhere near my apartment building, I wandered over to the window to see what was the matter. (Do you all hear a bit of Twas the Night Before Christmas?) I did indeed see at least three fire trucks and at least five firemen getting out of some of those trucks and entering my building. Smoke? I did not smell it. I sort of took my place at the window, parting the shades, and tried to gauge the engagement of the various firemen. It really seemed that this was not a major emergency, and yet, I did wait to see that encouraging moment when the firemen climbed back onto their trucks and slammed those doors shut, and relaxed to see all the trucks depart.

I went back to sleep.

Not long before 5 am, I was again roused from my usual very deep sleep by the ringing of my telephone. Again, I got up and answered the phone to hear the welcome, even at that hour, voice of a dear London friend. We have known each other for years, yet she still has trouble really, really focusing on the difference in our time zones. All the same, it was great to have this call, and to get caught up with each other. She berates me for working too hard, and for not having been to London in far too many years. We laughed a lot, and eventually I did hang up that phone, and ... got back to sleep.

If I had needed to be up early and ready for work today, those night time surprises would have been trouble. How wonderful to realize, when my eyes next opened, that I did not have to go to work.

Even horrid weather was not a downer. I got laundry and grocery shopping done well before today's series of thunder storms arrived. My building doorman filled me in on the fire brigade visit. Apparently, some tenant on the eleventh floor had sent something that was still alight down the chute of the trash compactor. The lit whatever had extinguished itself prior to the arrival of the valiant firemen, and only smoke remained as evidence. All the same, how good to know that the situation was checked out.

Once all that was sorted out, and the Sunday paper read, and lunch eaten...I took out my pencils, paints, brushes and paper, and...

I did a few pencil doodles, and then, painted this little water color that I will cut out tomorrow and mail out as a birthday card for someone who was once an August baby.
It was so much fun just to play about with the paints, and dot and blot and dot again.
It has been an age since I actually got round to even this level of painting. I am hoping that the next six days will lead me further along the path. Even a giant thunderstorm can be a welcome catalyst.
Best wishes to all for dream-filled sleep.


  1. I hope you have a well deserved rest - your London friend is right you work to hard. We're a canny lot us Londoners.

  2. Hello Frances. I know how precious seven days off in a row can be. I hope you're able to indulge yourself just a little - try not to let the time be filled with errands and housework. Painting, reading, visiting the museum, taking coffee with a friend in the middle of the day......those are the soul-filling things you need to be doing

  3. Oh do enjoy yourself Frances. It looks as though you already are. It's such a treat to have the time for your designs to take you where they will. I hope you draw and paint a good deal this week. The results are lovely to see.

  4. What a treat. We're in the 2nd week of the summer holidays which is just lovely. Lots of time for creating and crafting. It's our village show on Saturday so we're all busy making entries. Love your watercolour. Fantastic colours.

  5. Hi Francis, I hope you have a wonderful break and get oodles of painting done and if you ever make that trip to London, I live less than an hours train ride away, so I'll see you then.

  6. Well, I'm so glad that the drama was relatively small even if you were woken up - how worrying for you. Glad you are safe. I look forwards to your holidays because I know it's going to be a treat for us readers too. I love the water colour - someone's going to be very happy to receive that. Cx

  7. Have fun, Frances, during your week off - you deserve it. Make plenty of time for your self - do the things that give you pleasure; painting, casual walks around N.Y. and chatting with friends over coffee.

  8. Do enjoy your week off! I hope it is full of the grace and pleasure your posts bring to my day as I sit here missing America but still grateful to live where I do.

    You are a talented artist, there is one very lucky recipient for that delightful card.

  9. Good Morning Frances
    I hope that after your disturbed night you will have a better one tonight (or have had one already?)
    As nothing seriously wrong happened it might have been interesting to see the fire brigade at work and look down on a sleepy NY and to crawl back into bed knowing that a lovely long morning awaited you.

    Have fun, do all the me-things you don't normally have time for and let us all know how you filled the glorious hours of freedom stretching out before you. That is, if the computer and blogland aren't interfering too much with said me-time.

  10. Oh, a lovely lie-in, despite the interruptions. And being creative too. Pondside is right, such a wise owl. It's the soul-filling things you need to enjoy.
    With love from another August baby. x

  11. Hello Frances,
    Glad to see the paints out. I hope you have a great week.
    Tomorrow I am going to have a demonstration, as I hope to buy a sewing machine with embroidery stitches. This will be a big upgrade from the old singer. I feel a real sense of excitement, a new toy to create with, some sewing projects.
    It is good to play, hope you find lots of "you time" this week. Milly x

  12. That is a beautiful card, Frances. I'm sure our friend will cherish it! I hope these days go slowly so you can enjoy more time painting or whatever makes you happy. :)

  13. That painting will make a lovely card Frances. How nice and relaxing. A lovely wakeup phone call though not sure if I would have been as gracious as you having my slumbers interrupted.
    So very pleased that the fire wasn't anything serious.
    I hope the rest of your week is as easy as this.