Coping with November 2020

Finally! At long last! November is over! It has felt like a very long month with little to be joyful about. However, on one of the blogs that I have been following since the pandemic began,

I saw an escape and a way to return to drawing. Now, I have hardly drawn anything for many many years, in fact not since I left school in 1960 something! So, I’m quite surprised and happy that I actually completed the challenge that Sarah suggested. The following image, a daily diary of drawing is the result:

Now when I look back, I can see that I have been busier than I imagined. The beginning of the month saw me lighting candles to remember those who are no longer with us, not just family members, those who were closest to us, but in remembrance of those on the ‘front line’ during the pandemic who paid the greatest price, and not just here where I live but around the world.

Also in November it would have been my late Mother’s birthday and whilst she passed away a couple of years ago, I’m still grieving the loss of one of the most important women in my life.

Then there were all the other things: we had to have new taps put in the bathroom; there was the election in the USA; I had my flu jab and because I’m now 70 years of age I was also offered a jab for the prevention of shingles! There was shopping to be done and I have written a couple of hokku to send to the Hokku Garden (sorry Edo, I will have another one for you shortly, when I’ve finished this blog):

I made some garlic and rosemary flavoured red wine vinegar, and also some flavoured oils to give as gifts at Christmas; I bought a new mobile phone (and sorting that out, transferring contacts and so on, was not simple); sold my ‘other’ guitar; had a haircut and on the last days of the month did some dreaming!

Dreaming! Of what? Well that might just feature in my next post. For now, on this first day of December, I’m looking forward to Monday 21st when it will be the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night, and at that time the turning of the Earth points towards returning light and potential renewal. For an explanation and a little bit of science, go to:

Since it is likely that we won’t see our families this year, except by video link over Christmas, the usual festivities will be very much changed.

The Winter Solstice then, will be something wonderful to celebrate!


62 thoughts on “Coping with November 2020

  1. I like your calendar with your drawings! Great idea! Yes, three more weeks until the solstice. That’s when I celebrate the beginning of a new year, the return of the sun, with its warmth and light! And no rush on a hokku; just whenever one comes to you.

    1. Thanks, Edo! Yes, I’m excited by the prospect of the solstice! We could celebrate together but you might not be awake at the same time as us! Haha! 🀣

    1. It is a great way to keep drawing although I’m not sure I will continue it. I have other plans for my drawing which I might post here. Thanks for visiting my blog 😊

  2. This is an excellent post, Ashley, as anything about the universe is I Love your drawings.

    Did you know about Jupiter and Saturn, getting so close that they will be like one?


    1. Thank you for your comment and lovely compliment regarding my drawings. 😊 I must now look at the bigger picture (pun not intended)!
      I’m aware of Saturn and Jupiter in the evening sky and Venus in the mornings, but that is all I know. Are you hinting at something else, something astrological perhaps? 🀩😘

    1. Actually, we suggested to family and friends that this year we would not do presents, but just in case we receive one, we have something to give in return. The vinegar and the oils were very easy to make and it was something new for me to do! You should try it!

    1. I’m not sure about painting Chinou, printing is more likely! A couple of years ago I started a printing course but because of ill health at this time last year and then the pandemic…well, it hasn’t been the best of times! So drawing (as suggested by Sarah) seemed like a good way to keep the momentum going. Thank you for your comments. (I need to learn French and visit your beautiful country again. More new goals, even at my age!)

  3. What a wonderful way of journalling your month πŸ‘πŸ’•such a great idea. Feels playful and light, contrasting with the awareness of your honoring your late mum being a special woman in your life. Birthdays seem to be like a portal that brings one nearer and more conscious of loved ones missed. I hope you could connect with some thoughts or memories that can sustain the living memories of your relationship. πŸ€—

    1. Thanks, Morag, for your comments! I enjoyed the challenge but will continue to draw in other ways. It’s the women in my life who seem to have had the greatest impact on me! I don’t ignore my father’s memory, it’s more cerebral I suppose, but my mother and grandmother (my mum’s mum) pull on my heart, all the time.

    1. Thanks, Andrea for dropping in! Busy, and frustrating, as I twisted badly getting into the car and hurt my back, just over a year after a back injury in the garden! πŸ˜’ It’s been a year of personal health issues that I wouldn’t wish on anyone! However, struggling through the mental strains we all have had this year has also made me stronger, I think, and more determined to get my act together regarding some creative projects that need to be continued. I hope you also are now nurturing new ideas for the year ahead and look forward to hearing of their success 😊.

  4. Dear Ashley,
    Thank you very much for your post. I almost both laugh and cry and feel for you, the wording “Coping with November” (nearly) says it all and is very relatable. Your drawing is absolutely brilliant and I wonder if I may post the image in a post as an example – of course with a link to your post?
    Sincerely – to a better December and Merry Christmas,
    Marina πŸ™‚

    1. Dear Marina, thank you for your really energising comments, as always! Yes ‘nearly’ is so right, as you know some of the history! The drawings were a test for myself and now I need to get on with the main task of illustrating my other works! Of course, you can use the image, I’ve no problem with that as I’m sure you will use it in a very positive and instructive way. Would you like me to send a scan of it or are you able to copy from this post?

      1. Dear Ashley,
        Thank you very much for your reply and happy drawing πŸ™‚
        (Sorry for late answer, I only saw it now).
        Thank you for allowing me to show your drawing, when I get on to the business of writing I will forward link. I will try to use a copy and if resolution is too small to do your art work justice, I’ll be back!
        Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
        Marina πŸ™‚

  5. That was a very apt title for your post and I just had to read it to see what you’d written about November! It looks like there was enough to distract you from the days getting darker and colder and well done for keeping up with your art challenge. Best wishes for December and lets hope the weather won’t be too severe.

    1. Thank you for visiting my post! Well now, just as I receive your comments the wind is blowing the remaining brown leaves off the oak tree in a neighbouring garden, it is also raining and it’s cold enough for woolly hat and gloves! Thankfully the rain has washed away the light snow that we awoke to this morning! This weather is coming from the northeast, so I think you know how we’re feeling! Brrrr! It is great to hear from you. Best wishes to you. Ashley β˜”

  6. It’s a beautiful morning here but yesterday we had the same northeasterly, except it was an icy cold gale for us. I looked like an arctic explorer on my walk to the post office!

  7. Wonderful post and drawings, Ashley!!! I’m so happy you gave the doodling a try – isn’t it fun? What I probably like best about them is that they’re so small one can relatively easily manage to do them, right? πŸ˜€ And how funny we both had our hair cut this month! And I notice the bathroom taps especially because I had some trouble with my tapwater at the end of the month – it came out white as milk!! It’s fixed now thank goodness. Love your colorful rectangles at the end of your month! So much creativity flowing! And I hope you’ll keep at drawing these doodle calendars!! Take care! x

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for visiting my blog! Yes, I thought the idea of a daily drawing was great and in conjunction with the calendar month, even better! Such a simple routine, although there were a couple of days I missed and had to catch up! I’ve not started the exercise this month as I have some other drawing work to try (I’d like to illustrate some of my poems and want to get some ideas down on paper) but think the daily doodle a brilliant way to record a snapshot of each month; might just start again in the New Year! Thank you for your lovely positive comments πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸ˜˜

      1. Hehe! I had to do the same, the catching up I mean. Sometimes half the month goes by before I can do it, so at least I make sure to write a little note each day, what I did and what I want to draw. Looking forward to your doodling in the New Year! ❀

  8. What a great drawing exercise. I enjoyed the drawings. I lost my Mom in 99 and although we had a challenging relationship I was shocked by how much I’ve missed her and still do. I have no other family anymore, so her loss brought that into view as well.

    May your December be joyous and peaceful!

    1. Thanks, Katelon for responding here! I lost my Dad in 1999 and Mum 2016; someone said to me that I now belonged to the same club of orphans that they belonged to! Indeed!
      The doodle diary was great fun and intriguing as I look back and think about why I chose those particular things to draw! Fear, anger, peace, happiness, joy, frustration, pain and so many feelings and emotions are portrayed. I wonder if next time I will be so honest with myself! During this pandemic, there has been much soul-searching!
      May your December be joyous and peaceful too πŸŽ‹

  9. This is such a joyful post! I love seeing your return to art in this very clever format. May you continue to be inspired as we head towards the winter solstice! 😍πŸ₯°πŸ˜˜

    1. Thank you, Sandra, for your lovely comments. I have been struggling to draw anything for several years and when I saw Sarah’s blog (see the link above) the routine of drawing something small each day, just made me smile; such a simple straightforward idea! I have some writing to do before Christmas so hope to start my doodle diary again in January. I certainly look forward to the 21st of December when I will celebrate the returning light. Thank you for dropping by! 😘πŸ₯°πŸ˜πŸ€—

  10. I love it! I’m glad you’ve found activities or positive ways to cope with a not so great November and autumn in general. And I love the fact that you started drawing again! It’s never too late to re-explore things we used to enjoy in the past and that got kind of lost throughout life. Looking forward to reading about your new dreams, it’s a very fascinating topic! Best wishes!

    1. Thank you, Camilla, for your lovely comments! The past 14 months have not been great for me and I don’t know whether it’s just me going through some sort of ‘age’ thing, a sort of late male menopause or whether it’s simply the added distraction of the pandemic. My heart and mind seem to be all over the place! I’m definitely looking forward to the 21st of December as it is the winter solstice. From that day the daylight hours increase and hopefully we will all see an end to the coronavirus. Thanks for visiting my site. Have a great week! πŸ€—πŸ˜˜

    1. Hi Monica, thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, cool, and so simple! When I looked back on what I’d done I was surprised how many colours I’d used, for me that is! I plan to repeat in the new year. Take care.

  11. Dear Ashley, I have and I am so busy writing, last week 7000 as you know, and this week must publish on Thursday, and that is why I have not said BIG THANK YOU for a beautiful card. It is very kind. If you have a chance read my Christmas Caroll with a difference, and I wish you both a very Happy Christmas and New Year.


  12. I find out that I missed this article !!
    I love your drawings, there is a lot of vitality
    It’s funny because you’re talking about December 21st;)
    I kiss you Ashley

    1. I have my pencils at the ready and hope to complete another month of daily drawing. Such a simple thing to do particularly if you already keep a diary or journal. Thanks for your comment 😊

    1. I’ve already had a look and it’s so fresh and easy to follow. Maybe you’ll follow mine too πŸ’πŸ’πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ

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