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Every three hours my focus changes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 28 Jun 2023, 16:22

This is the way I like it, and would have made many a regular 'job' unsustainable. I don't know that the tally is - 32 jobs in 25 years? But working freelance as one of those 'portfolio' workers I am content to put in three or four shifts: social media and website for an educational charity, a swimming club teacher and coach (one of the largest clubs in the south of England with nearly 1000 members) and a Town Councillor. This morning I was out with a representative for Balfour Beatty who look after the roads around Lewes: potholes, broken kerb stones and damaged pavements. They're on top of it: reported issues are dealt with swiftly. The Western Front Association saw 313 digital members get a PDF copy of our member journal (we have over 6,500 members, 14,000 followers on Twitter and over 40,000 followers on Facebook). And I'm off to Mid Sussex Marlins in a little over an hour to teach a group of 'para swimmers', then take the junior squad I am responsible for (keen 9-13 year olds) and staying on for our Masters - they're impressive, with multiple World Records to their name. 

And as anyone knows who follows me here the rest of the time is mixed between Markstakes Common, where there are 38 recognised ancient trees: oak, beech, hornbeam, ash and birch. I am starting a report on the additional trees that might be added to this list of 'notables'. My eye caught a dead beech stem covered in oyster mushrooms yesterday.

A dead beech branch with a group of oyster mushrooms the health ancient tree in the background

And drawing/printing/painting: once a month to life drawing at Charleston Farmhouse and once a week to BIP-Art in Brighton to print up lino prints. I'm working on a limited series of prints of a huge beech tree in Northumberland - it's a park beech in a field where my sister keeps her horses. 

A part printed, part stamped, part painted draft painting/drawing of a stylised ancient beech tree with a horse in its shade

So, lots to keep me busy. And for a week we've had a family friend over from Poland. He lives in a city close to the Belarus border and reads Russian so kept us ahead of the news over the weekend by reading what he was getting from Telegram. The aircraft and helicopters shot down by the Wagner mercenaries were being reported as they happened. 

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Design Museum

Adobe Express

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Now that I am doing social media for four groups, as well as a bit myself, I have been trying platforms to schedule content as well as using more than the basics to create images/stories. It was therefore with delight that I returned to Adobe Express the other day and not only find it intuitive to use, but low and behold I get a scheduler to upload my content to.

The learning is supported every stop of the way with clear 'just in time' prompts and hints. I love it! 

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Design Museum

Long time no see!

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For over ten years I have posted here consistently. And now I've missed a month, nearly two! What could possibly have been happening.

Well, out of online learning and into social media is the answer. I now spend a good 30 hours a week creating and managing social media for The Western Front Association, The Association of Green Councillors, The Lewes Railway Land Wildlife Trust and Life Drawing at Charleston.

Things have taken a switch at the regional swimming club (Sussex Champions for the last 5 years). Before I came to the OU in 2010 I was working 22 hours a week, most days of the week and galas. I'm not quite back at that level but the hours are running at 13-15 hours with galas again. Its a joy to be working with the swimmers, with me back with what we used to call 'Mini Squad' our young competitive swimmers ages 9-11. 

That and a year of visiting woods across Sussex has filled a gallery with photos and videos of trees in various states of undress. I have joined Friends of Lewes and go out with Lewes Urban Arboretum to mulch hedges, and I have also joined Friends of Markstakes Common where were grub out brambles, bracken and saplings in selected spots. 

All this and I am a busy Green Town Councillor working on planning, audit and grants - and working on our own campaigns for elections in May 2023 while helping nearby districts, such as Maresfield where the Greens were declared the winners with  61% of the vote last night.

That and I do put in around 6 hours of painting a week! This is working up life drawings I have done at the monthly sessions I have been attending at Charleston Farmhouse since November 2016.

So, a busy life and I love it.

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Green

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An 'ancient' hornbeam on Markstakes Common - it has a girth of 400cm and all the hallmarks of its 'ancient' status.

(The above is a so-called 'ancient' hornbeam - ancient because of its features rather than the girth specifically: hollowing runk and branches, fallen dead wood, dead branches, holes and water in pockets, lichens and mosses)

I'm an elected Green Town Councillor and will be standing for the District. As well as being, thinking and studying all things green I'll be going out 'door knocking' ahead of elections next May ... and I'm also doing social media for the Association of Green Councillors. It would appear that more desire to spend a good deal of time online is becoming an occupation rather than a hobby. 

Me in front of a drawing exercise - a life drawing first executed drawing 'blind' with the non-dominant hand (my left)

(Me in front of a drawing exercise some years ago - a life drawing first executed drawing 'blind' with the non-dominant hand (my left))

I teach social media, I do social media. I balance it out with life drawing and painting, teaching and coaching swimming, and long walks with the dog (looking a trees!) 

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