Feast and Famine

September has almost slipped by with hardly any time to catch my breath. Like a very incompetent juggler, I have been trying to balance a heavy workload with friends and family whilst attempting to keeping up with my little shop and I am afraid my poor blog has suffered from my inattention yet again. As many of you will testify, being a self-employed artist is very much a matter of feast and famine. Some weeks go by in the doldrums and then suddenly the workload is overwhelming and deadlines seem impossible. Not that I am complaining, I would much rather have too much than too little. I have been busy updating my portfolio and working on some packaging and greeting card commissions and extending my Gardener’s Scrapbook Calendar to include cards, magnets, note pads etc. The idea being that we will have a whole stand of related products for The Spring Fair in Birmingham next year. I was also delighted that the first of my Owl prints sold out, hopefully I will have some more in stock soon.
Earlier this month we visited beautiful Budapest. It was my first time to travel to Hungary and Budapest did not disappoint. It was so lovely to be able to walk under clear blue skies and to hop on and off buses, trams, river boats and trains; an entire week of travel for the cost of one day in London. The food was delicious, much of it spiced with paprika, which added, not only flavour but colour to the dishes we sampled. We sailed up and down the Danube and criss-crossed between Buda and Pest with visits to Margaret Island where we saw red squirrels! Budapest by night looks like a scene from Disneyland, the bridges and buildings along the Danube are illuminated and reflected in the river and there is a joyous, friendly atmosphere in the bustling streets and gardens along the banks. By the end of the week we had grown muscles on our muscles, after climbing what seemed like a million steps!
The contrast between rich and poor was very apparent; so many homeless people try to survive in this amazing city. The vast market groaned with fresh produce whilst others searched through bins for scraps of bread. I know this problem is not exclusive to Budapest but it seemed more obvious and made me wonder how people arrive at such destitution. Unemployment, family break down, war, all these things can happen to any of us and it made me very grateful that I have a roof over my head and food in my larder. “There but for the grace of God go I”.
The book in the photograph was a stark reminder of Budapest’s troubled past. It is housed in the Zwack Museum where we sampled Unicom, (I don’t have the words to adequately describe this extraordinarily bitter drink!)