Long time away

Ian Scott (1989) To Live and Die in New Zealand (Acrylic and Enamel) Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland
Ian Scott (1989) To Live and Die in New Zealand (Acrylic and Enamel) Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland

I haven't posted a blog entry since June 2013 - getting on for 10 months. Funny how time just slips away.


This time last year I was very interested and writing a lot (from a distance, it must be said) about the unfolding Cyprus department of the Eurozone crisis.


Maybe at the end of the day I felt more and more like a bystander in this debate. I stopped writing and I stopped tweeting and nobody seemed to notice that I had gone. And then I stopped looking at my Twitter feed.


At the same time the acute phase of the Cyprus and Eurozone crisis was coming to an end. In Cyprus a settlement of sorts had been reached with the troika of the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. It was now a question of managing the rescue programme and distributing its costs through the political system in Cyprus.


I would have been interested to chart this process and become a protagonist in it but on what legitimate basis I might have achieved that - as a Brit living in the UK with no Cypriot/Greek language skills - I was unclear.


While I pondered that and made enquiries about a six month post at PRIO in Cyprus the international news story that was the Cyprus crisis came rather abruptly to an end.


At the same time the dreadful cold and wet Spring of 2013 in the UK came to an end and catching up in the garden became imperative. Bees buzzed, the sun shone, and time passed. Trees were felled. Vast woodpiles created. My 92 year-old neighbour lost his wife and 'Project John' was born. And a gratifying, demanding and at times bewildering experience it became. And continues.


The winter of 2013/14 came with a wet and windy vengeance to the western seaboard of Europe. The jet stream shifted south and deep Atlantic depression after deep Atlantic Depression swept across the southern half of the UK, battering Cornwall in millennial gales, inundating the Somerset levels and creating misery along swollen flooding rivers across the land.


East Kent escaped relatively unscathed but it was a tough time. Tidal surges, cliff falls, the scouring of shingle beaches and fishermen stuck onshore for months at a time. We stoked up our new wood-burning stove and sat it out. I helped John sort out his finances and pensions and lent moral support and friendship in his time of need darting across his increasingly muddy and dark path through gale after gale to make endless cups of tea.


At Jikeleza Dance our fundraising efforts fell on very stony ground. A large bid and business plan to the Motsepe Foundation went absolutely nowhere and things have not improved since. My foray into internet fundraising was about as fruitful as an ornamental cherry tree - it looked very nice in bloom and took a lot of time to keep in shape but the cherries were few and far between other than the wonderful donations of a select band of friends and project supporters.


In the meantime I kept an eye on my website which kept ticking over. Visitor numbers increased and since December 2011 the total number has now passed 21,000.


But it is surprising how little feedback there is - a request from India for a job in the Cyprus dairy industry was fairly typical - but every now and then something of real significance happens along. Not that finding work across international borders is not significant. It's just I don't have any cows in the UK, let alone Cyprus.


As the gloomy, rain-soaked winter ran its course (in the process sending increasing amounts of water through my studio/shed roof) we thought of our forthcoming work/pleasure trip to New Zealand. And it is to this, three weeks after our return to the UK, that I now intend to turn.


The first 76 photos



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