Thursday, 14 February 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY - : A BRAINFUL OF STUFF!: I haven't posted for a while for which I humbly apologise. It's not for the lack of ideas - never short of those! - it's mostly ...


I haven't posted for a while for which I humbly apologise. It's not for the lack of ideas - never short of those! - it's mostly fitting everything in! I've got so many ideas and projects going on that I'm trying to work out how to do them all. 🤔 Still, that's a very nice situation to be in.

Art - Refreshing and smartening old art that's been gathering dust forever. The new me has intentions of uploading them to Etsy.
Sculpture - Ongoing experimenting.
Writing :
                 The Novel - Continued work on that.
                  Blogging -  Posts to write for mental health sites, plus my own posts.
                 Anthology - Some years ago I began to create an anthology of anecdotal articles I've written over the years. I intended to put them on Amazon. But reading back through them I felt I could improve on them. So that's ongoing.
Archery -  Returning in the spring. Setting myself up and learning more about it.
Redecorating - Ongoing. The house is beginning to look nice. But the winter leaves loads of cleaning to be done!
Kitty Le Roy's Cabin - My western cabin. I hope to improve on its appearance this year.
Steampunk - Costumes and events to plan. One event that we're definitely cutting our teeth on is Bressingham Steam Museum Steampunk event.
Dotterel - Our narrow boat is moored in Warwickshire, and we use her as a base for visiting daughter and family and events etcetera in the Midlands. Dotterel needs cleaning up and maintenance.

And anything else I can think of!

Just for now, though, here's a silly poem wot I wrote for our friend's Open Mic night last night:

There was once a writer,
she lived in Timbuktu,
she had a dreaded deadline,
she didn't know what to do.

The deadline was on Wednesday,
an open mic no less,
she had to dream up something,
a challenging process.

Would she write a story,
or do a silly verse,
perhaps a funny anecdote?
So jolly to rehearse.

She settled on a poem,
she found them fun to do.
Her brain dreamed up the sentences,
and Husband gave her clues.

Together they used Rhymezone,
which gives you words that rhyme, 
which inspired them onwards,
for open mic next time.

But concentrate on now,
this verse she must complete.
She's reading out at open mic,
on Wednesday when they meet.

Finally she's finished! 
It really wasn't bad.
It took a little effort,
but now she feels quite glad.

For next time however,
a challenge would be good.
How about a limerick?
So easily understood

After creative Wednesday 
there's Friday's writing class,
will it never end?
More work to do, alas.

So this creative writer,
the one from Timbuktu,
must wrack her brain once more,
as now she has no clue!

She'll come up with something, 
she nearly always does,
and if she finds it really hard,
a poem is what she loves!

Saturday, 9 February 2019





Image result for glad join us in the world's largest study

Image result for glad join us in the world's largest study

The Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression (GLAD) Study, led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health BioResource and researchers at King’s College London, is a project set up to support studies exploring risk factors for depression and/or anxiety. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders worldwide. 

In the UK, 1 in 3 people will experience symptoms during their lifetime. The GLAD Study aims to better understand depression and anxiety in order to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders. We invite you to take part! There are 4 simple steps to signing up to the GLAD Study:

Register for the website and read the information sheet
Provide consent
Complete a 30 minute questionnaire to see if you are eligible
Send a saliva DNA sample through the post

Once you have signed up to the GLAD Study, you will be able to see information on the website about a number of optional questionnaires or other research studies that are being carried out. You will be able to choose to take part in these studies should you wish to.
We would like to emphasise that you can stop taking part in the GLAD Study at any time.

Want to keep up to date with the GLAD Study and the important research being done by our team? Follow us on social media!



Wednesday, 6 February 2019


(I'm reposting Marianne's story because I think it's worth reading about recovery from depression, and understanding that although it is difficult to find the right help, as Marianne finally did, it is possible.)

My name is Marianne Orlando and I'm a freelance illustrator from Massachusetts, and I also work a full-time job as a proof reader for a large retailer. 

In 1979, in graduate school in Michigan, at age 25, I had a nervous breakdown that precipitated severe, suicidal depression. I couldn't eat, couldn't focus, could barely talk, and felt like I was under water. Being the stoic that I am, I tried ignoring the pain, but the physical and emotional pain were so intense, I couldn't ignore it. I met with a social worker, was diagnosed as Bipolar, and promptly committed to a psychiatric hospital. I swallowed a whole lot of pills, so they put me on suicide watch. There, I was treated by a crackerjack therapist. Things went well and I asked him: 'When will I get better?' but he said: 'It's a matter or years, not months.'. Turns out he was right. That was 40 years ago. 

Eventually, I returned to the workforce, got a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture, and continued to see therapists (I can't even remember their names or faces, there were so many of them). I had two more meltdowns, each time committing myself to a psychiatric hospital because I knew something was very wrong and that I needed to change but didn’t know how. In 1986, I moved into a halfway house because I realized I couldn’t take care of myself living alone.

The halfway house was a terrific growth opportunity. The woman in charge ran the house with unconditional love. I had a part-time job, and got assistance from Social Security Disability Insurance. I learned a lot about myself, and studied computer sciences at a rehabilitation center in Boston and started enjoying life. Things got better and better: I got a fulfilling full-time job and married a wonderful man, but the meds I was on didn’t really help me at all. I was still on the dismaying merry-go-round of therapists who kept leaving to pursue other work and just listened to me, but didn’t really challenge me.

Around 2005, I hit rock bottom again: I got assigned to an incompetent therapist (Dr. X) who prescribed the wrong meds. Used to being the life of the party with a quick and active mind, under Risperdal and a whole lot of Clonopin my personality was masked and the side effects included rigid body language and a slowing down of movement and speech. My body was stiff, I was paranoid and my mind was foggy and I couldn’t talk with people at work. People at work made fun of me because it took so much effort to talk. This was a marked contrast from my real personality which is more like being a warm and witty person. I told Dr. X something was terribly wrong, that the only time I was happy was when I was asleep and that life was not worth living. Her response was: 'That’s good. I’m glad you’re getting enough sleep.'. I think she missed the point. Throughout these years, I was suicidal but I never again attempted to harm myself.

Flash forward to 2015. My insurance company suddenly announced that Dr. X was out of the network and her visits would cost $300 apiece. I scrambled, panicked, and found a new therapist – a social worker Ms.Y – whose website told me her expertise was just what I needed. Ms.Y happened to work with a brilliant psycho-pharmacist, Dr. Z. He changed the doses and the meds I was on, got rid of the Risperdal  and cut back on the Clonopin that were causing the masklike affect and told me the Bipolar diagnosis I had been living with for 40 years was incorrect – he saw no indication of mania. Y was marvellous and challenged every assumption about life I had ever had. She gave me the tools to figure out what needed changing. I went from a cowering person with the emotional intelligence of a 15-year-old to a mature adult – who is now her own best friend. Over the last 3 years I have not had one single episode of depression – which I think is a miracle because in the past I got depressed for about 11 days every 3 weeks or so. Today I can say I haven’t had depression for 3 solid years, and that’s what I call a happy life.

My old personality has returned. I have a sparkle in my eye. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and reorganized my entire home. I read Big MagicLiving Creatively without Fear and tapped into my creativity. I’ve gone to spiritual retreats and rekindled my relationship with Source/God/Nature – whatever is out there that is definitely bigger than I am. I’ve rediscovered my passion for drawing and founded a freelance business, Marianne Orlando Illustrations. I am positive and walk with a bounce in my step and now have many friends at work and from church.

I am again a happy person.

It took some luck, a LOT of hard work rediscovering myself and figuring out who I really am, and once again, having the right tools, the right diagnosis, the right doctor and social worker, and being on the right meds.

I am forever grateful and finally just as happy when I’m awake as when I am asleep.

It was a long tough 40-year journey, but I have no regrets.
So, thank you Jo. That’s my story. 

Marianne Orlando

Marianne Orlando

508 875 4552

Sunday, 3 February 2019


I'd love to hear from you peeps. Come and say Hi!

CREATING MY ODYSSEY - : PROCRASTINATION BEGONE!: In my endeavours to 'rebuild my creativity and life', as quoted in my 'About' introduction I'm lecturing myself somewhat...


In my endeavours to 'rebuild my creativity and life', as quoted in my 'About' introduction, I'm lecturing myself somewhat to get off my bum and get on with it because I've been hugely into procrastination over the years and I'm determined to break that habit. If I don't have plans, I grow bluesy. Not good.

So, in my endeavours to break that mould, I've started researching and hunting and here are some of the things I'm going to be doing or visiting, whether now-ish or later, and this post will be my reminder of what I'm doing.

Art Galleries/exhibitions, Winchester, Hampshire: Guildhall, Winchester. (Winchester is an  
                                                                                                        easy half an hour drive from   
                                                                                                        Whitewall Galleries, Winchester.
                                                                                                        Minster Gallery, Winchester.
                                                                                                        Winchester Festival.
                                                                                                        Bell Fine Art, Winchester.
                                                                                                             Canvas Gallery, Winchester.
                                                                                                             Southbank Centre, London

Concerts/Festivals:  Anvil Arts, Basingstoke        (Another easy half hour drive from Alton).
                                         South Bank Centre, London (an hour's trip by rail from Alton, my                                                                                                                                             hometown).
                                           Royal Albert Hall, London    (I've visited the Royal Albert Hall many times                                                                                                                     over the years, and it never fails to impress    
I'm definitely doing archery this spring. I just need the confidence to show up and shoot!  Farnham Archers
Steampunk - Camden Market, London.  
                        This is where we need to go to buy the gear for   

Image result for steampunk couple pirate and cowgirl

And this is one of the first events we'll be attending to cut our Steampunk teeth - Bressingham Steam Museum Steampunk event

My wild west cabin - This year I'm hoping to extend it. It was never quite what I'd hoped it would be, so I'm going to 'face' the planked cladding with a rougher effect, shingle the roof, and add rooms. I hope to use it for outdoor entertainment, western style, eating over our camp fire, and perhaps get creative in there. 

And here's Kitty Le Roy's Wild West.

Canoeing - Researching where to launch our traditional 
                 Canadian canoe.

I would love to find more creative courses. The last course, sculpture, introduced me to my lovely friend, Yvonne, and I loved what she taught. Unfortunately these courses are hard to find. Keep hunting!

I'm hosting an art afternoon at my home every month, something I've never done before, but it's good fun. A small, intimate group of friends mucking around with art - or whatever else is fancied!

And Husband and I also run our co-operative writing group, Bordon Writers, Hampshire. If anyone in the area fancies joining us, we'd love to meet you. A sense of humour is essential, and a bit of quirk, if possible! Contact me here, if you're interested. 

As an extension of the group, we take it in turns to host Open Mic nights, which entail the opportunity of 'having a go' at anything and everything creative - reading out your writing, singing, playing instruments - with your mates as your audience. Great fun!

And then there's our garden to work on. I love gardens! Particularly quirky ones, sculptures, themes... I'm hoping to create all of that. We're lucky to have a quite substantial one, so plenty of room for scope, and now I'm well, we can do just that.

Endeavour to enter art and writing competitions. I'm very lazy about that, but I really must, must, must. I've subscribed to Artists & Illustrators Magazine and Writing Magazine for years, both of which are excellent sources for ideas. I had considered unsubscribing from them, but lately I've decided that my inspiration for them has grown. 

More entertaining friends, nurture friendships, make more friends... No excuses...

Volunteer on an archaeological dig. Digging for finds, washing finds, drawing, documenting them. I'm finding this one hard to pursue because it's an uncommon interest. At least I can still go mud larking

Oh, a bucket list item - I always fancied being a TV/film extra, or 
a 'support artist' as they're now known, but I didn't fancy getting up that early! 😄                               

And of course, not to forget travel and out and about...

This'll do for now, but I must persevere. There are too many things I want to do and I really, really want to do them!


Ps. Husband mumbled that he's not included in any of this. I told him that he's automatically included so I don't think about it! He's managed to make me feel nice and guilty. Swine. Grrr...

So, peeps, I'd love to hear about your plans and hopes, either here on comments below, or on my social media sites.