Get on and Shine with Holly Honeychurch

I’m not the greatest morning person. My body loves sleep. Today though, I was wide awake at 5:30am and thought what a blessing! Before my lizard had chance to get tired, I got up, got ready and got out into the city at dawn. Exquisite bird song awaited me as I roamed (it was more of a saunter actually) the streets, stopping to admire incredible 19th century architecture of Glasgow’s West End. Eventually the sun came up and I climbed up higher to greet its full golden light. My face felt warm, the air was sweet and the light sprinkling of frost melted away.

I used to run a wildlife sanctuary of sorts when I lived deep in the countryside of the Peak District. I bought lots of squirrel proof feeders (the squirrels had their own feeding station and it was fun to watch them get fully into the box with just their tail poking out). There were two giant silver bins in the shed where peanuts and seeds were stored and every morning I joyfully bounced round the garden flinging nuts and sunflower hearts far and wide, dancing happily to my own merry tune. I scooped up big handfuls and threw them all over the grass, all in the hedgerows and then I watched. Blue tits, gold finches, pink breasted bull finches, chaffinches, long tailed tits, blackbirds, woodpeckers, pheasants, sparrow hawks…they all came. There was a special needs squirrel who was blind and had possibly had a stroke - it still managed to feed and get through a winter before I stopped seeing it (always a forlorn moment to realise they’d disappeared for ever). There was a limping pheasant I named Sir Limpalot who was past his heyday and often got attacked by other pheasants. I’d always try and give him extra nuts when I saw him. I protected a fledgling blue tit, dazed and confused at its new life by making a little shelter with a roof tile and prayed it got through the night on the ground. It did and eventually became like all the others, loosing its fluffy pudge-like appearance so I didn’t recognise it anymore.

At dusk and during the night hours badgers visited, a whole family of them, squeaking and shuffling, the young ones bumping bums and wriggling about to get the best feeding spot. I’d hear them thundering down the side of the house, excited to find the tasty treasures. An anxious fox bravely came out the hedge and into the open, scared of its own shadow most of the time. Everyone fed together. There was a gang of rats who lived away from the house, in the compost bin. I’d see them scampering over the lawn to the bird feeders. They’d play and mess about in a big ball. Proper frolicking took place until a sparrowhawk swooped in and ruined their fun, sometimes taking off a family member in its wake.

When the snow came, I ran out of bird food and delivery vans couldn’t drive up to the house to restock. I improvised, cooking up pasta and rice, anything I could find in the pantry really. They weren’t impressed.

One day we found out we were leaving and I realised I had to wean them off all this abundance. It was sad for me. My way to nurture was to keep them fed and happy. So gradually the food got less, the 30kg of seed stopped being delivered and the feeders went empty. I hoped the next people would feed them a little but I couldn’t expect them to be quite so dedicated as I was.

Then off we went, on a cat sitting adventure and birds took a back seat.

Now, two years later, I find myself living in Glasgow, in a first floor tenement flat with my kitchen window open throwing out a few handfuls of peanuts each morning into the back garden, watching the waiting squirrel get showered in them and bury each one in all kinds of mad places (I’m expecting lots of peanut saplings soon). I love the greedy wood pigeons gulping them down, the magpies chattering together and bobbing their irridescent green tails as they vie for the best feeding spot. I love watching the little half coconut feeder hanging on the washing line gradually disappear though I never see who’s nibbling away at it.

In the city wildlife is tamer. No one’s shooting the animals for a start. No one’s trying to hunt them down and capture them. Wildlife in the countryside has good reason to be scared. I appreciate that every day as I hear the local robin sing to me just outside my window and see crows on the ground, in amongst the people. Crows are harassed in the countryside. Now I can see them close up. They’re gorgeous.

I love seeing the fox pass me by in the street on a dusky evening walking tall and proud. I love going in search of blackbird’s evening song which echoes along the streets of the sandstone tenements. Their resonance sounds suprisingly richer in the city because of the buildings that it echoes off - something I’d never experienced before and now totally adore.

That experience in the countryside lit a fire in me and gave me a poignant connection with the land, flora and fauna. I loved becoming a friend of wild things and even now, with just a handful of peanuts, it still feels perfect.

Time to go, the wood pigeons have just arrived.

Here’s my second digital diorama - Buzz Masquerades.

Buzz dances in the moonlight with alley cats, a chandelier sparkles above and a gasping pink peacock completes the scene.

Harp music - The Labyrinth - As the World Falls Down - David Bowie.

Listened to two epic sets today. The first was techno trance and the second was a hard trance set. Both by Bryan Kearney in his kitchen, having it large : ) Fabulous tunes and melodies drop throughout and it made me remember dancing outside with other smiley people. Can’t wait.

I’m totally in love with Owl Kitty. Particular favs are The Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones.

I’m here to celebrate a beautiful Saturday. Treacle tart and clotted cream for breakfast, a dance to pumping, uplifting trance for lunch, followed by my all time favourite Switch game - Rabbids - this time with Donkey Kong at the healm. Oh my goodness, the excitment abounds : ))

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood is such a moving film. I love Mr Rogers and knew nothing about him until I watched this. Tom Hanks is wonderful and this sweet story serves as balm for a weary soul. Did you watch Mr Rogers growing up?

Apple pie and ice cream with a lovely cuppa tea. For breakfast of course 😉

As I sit here in the park listening to wrens and goldfinches sing their sweet songs, as I watch the kids run about with light sabers, see parents huddled together in small groups and laugh at dogs whooshing in circles unbounded, I feel so wonderfully lucky for the life I lead and all the fun I have. I go where I want, do what I want, whenever I want. I feel so free. I can do anything. My creativity is flowing and I can’t stop making my own brand of magic. I want to keep doing this unhinged. Forever brighter. Forever full power Holly.

This realisation has lead me to making an important life decision. After thinking I wanted to have a baby, after imagining the story of me birthing and raising a child, I woke up one morning and realised I’m actually much more suited to life as a part time auntie than a full time mum. It was quite a moment. So many emotions came up. Confusion, relief, sadness, excitement. Ultimately it felt right.

I’ve read there’s a somewhat invisible pressure on women to have children. I guess with my obvious physical difficulties I didn’t have too many questions of that ilk over the years - except for people asking me - due to my natural body posture - when I was due?! How ironic. I look pregnant and walk pregnant, I’ve just never been pregnant. It’s something I’ve gradually gotten used to over the last twenty years. It hasn’t stopped - I was asked again last week : )

I was reflecting that despite all my challenges, I still put myself under pressure to have kids. I’m a woman, I should basically think about having kids at some point shouldn’t I? And time was ticking. It felt exciting. I was all for it a few months ago, I’d just never really thought about it much before that time. Like ever. I’d always had the gift of youth on my side. I’m 41 now. I’ve got a beautiful partner, a beautiful relationship, so now was the time I should definitely be thinking about having beautiful children. It was something innate in me and all around me. The romanticism of the idea was palpable. But so were the fears, the struggles, the unknowns, and the stress on my body was going to be a very real thing.

Motherhood must surely be a beautiful, profound experience. I was definitely attracted to it for a while. What a tight connection. What a life change. It’s such a big decision and so exhausting from the very first moment. It’s magic. It’s a gift, especially for the women (and men) who have always wanted it so badly. I can imagine how wonderful it is. Children are magic. But along with all the delight, it’s also incredibly hard being a parent. I can’t say this enough. I get it. It’s constant. I feel it. Bringing up children makes you forget about yourself. Bringing up children gives you a sleep deprivation I fear to experience. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Things can get dark for people, when there’s no support and so much burden - where emotions run riot and people can’t cope. For this I honour all parents for their sacrifice and strength.

I now accept I’m a perpetual fairy godmother, a mischievous Tinkerbell and a female version of Peter Pan, never wanting to grow up. I’m good with kids, (I’m an Early Years Teacher) so I’ll love kids and laugh with them when I’m in ‘Miss Honeychurch’ mode, I’ll give parents a break for a few hours, there’ll be lots of singing circles, lots of delightful joyful, rainbow moments but then I’ll say goodbye, go home to my other colourful existence where making harp music and exploring the depths of my creativity run riot. Because that’s my baby. And that’s just the tip of my iceberg.

I feel I’ve gained 20 years of life from this decision and that might be really hard for people to read, that might be a triggering thing to say, but I’d put myself under so much pressure to conform to being a certain type of ‘woman’ that I’d forgotten to follow my natural, innocent instincts. I’d forgotten to look after myself on the quest to grasp something out of reach. I think I could have been a good mother, but the desire to follow a different path was much stronger and I’m finally accepting of that. Without me feeling less of a woman. It makes me happy to do my own thing. I don’t feel I’m missing out anymore. And I’ll always want to be part of a community where I can help others when they need a break.

I want to lose myself in the magic of making things. I want to blossom and bloom like a flower meadow. I want to go absolutely bonkers in my free time. I want to dance the night away and get home at 5am in need of a serious yoga stretch in the early morning light.

As I love to nurture things I’m going to be a cat mama too. One day. Future catto - prepare yourself for some serious cuddling! I’m going to have an adventure cat to explore the world with. I’ve included a photo from my cat sitting travels and I look so happy with catto Spooks don’t I?

Thanks for reading. I wish everyone so much joy and happiness. You’re all fabulous.

It’s great to finally know who I am. Hooray!

May you all have freedom in your life. Whatever path you choose.

Let’s go make magic.

Will McPhail

A sweet, gentle, ancient sounding lullaby (featuring a blackbird, a cuckoo and a couple of cats) for your Monday.

This is Dusk.

Super shiny mesmerising.

Haste Ye Back

Stop the press! I went on a train to Bowling Harbour. First time out my local area in yonks. The air was fresh and the golden sun shone gently warming my whole body (new fav feeling - sun warming my knees). I even packed sandwiches and crisps. Simple things give me joy.

I’ve been having lots of fun making colourful videos recently. It’s an infinite creative exploration. I only wish I could make them faster. There’s just so much goodness in my heart I want to share. Here’s another one with a hummingbird theme in a mixture of Portuguese and English.

Just seen the coolest music video with David Hasslehoff and now I want to see the film Kung Fury. Totally digging the retro beats and David doing what he does best - being David. Let’s throw a dinosaur in there too. Bring it on.

Finally it’s finished yay! I’ve been working on my first digital diorama. There are flying hummingbirds, sparkly stars and Pickles rising up on a cloud of flowers. I’ve added a glorious harp lullaby to the scene too. It’s a sweet sound, full of colour and vibrancy. Full of magic.

Sweet Buzz. Always had a distant look on his face as if he were connecting to another reality. His guardian thought he had a sneaky personality and now we know why. Buzz loves nothing better than going to masquerade balls. This is…

Buzz Dreams of Dance

Love it when that happens.

Just listened to the best DnB set ever : ) What great beats, fat and juicy with excellent graphics throughout and Katie Koven excelling at her craft. Singing too woo! Not often I see female DnB artists. Love it. Wonderful. This is Koven and this is my favourite track - Supernova.

Introducing Pickles. She looks to be having a wonderful dream…in the sky, with flowers.

This is Pickles in the Sky with Flowers.

Not having a cat in my life means I’m excited whenever I meet one in the area. There are a couple who are friendly and like strokes and another I stay well away from as he’s a complete bruiser and shouts at me if I talk cat to him (I have my own language). I had a cat sister called Amy growing up, I housesat cats, I photographed cats, I played with cats, I carried cats around like babies, I built cardboard box forts for cats, I watched cats experience catnip, I would love to come back as a cat. One day, a cat will own me….but not just yet.

In the meantime, this love of the feline form has lead me to a new creative passion in life - conjuring Cosmic Cats.

We all know cats exist on magical plains as well as our own. Those half closed lids, that slow, relaxed purr, the ability to fall asleep at any given moment, being present yet also not at all - what do they see, where do they go, who do they meet?

I’m going to find out…

Here’s another portuguese song I’ve been working on. Soft and gentle like a lullaby. Uma Viagem is for a calm moment of peace. The video is atmospheric this time with lots of moody mist. Thanks jplenio for this photo. Love the hypnotic fire sample on this track too.

Bye Bye Wuwing

This was our dear old car we called the Wuwing. We hoped she’d go on forever. We got her at 70,000 miles and she’s cost us a small fortune. We looked after her rather than buying replacements. Better the devil you know right? Well I’m wondering now for when we were housesitters on the road, we dealt with her engine blowing up and had no choice but to repair her. An expensive, long winded process involving hundreds of miles of travel and months of waiting to finally pick her up. After that happened 2 years ago we hoped she’d go on for a long time. But more parts started failing as of course happens with old cars and we realised she was too expensive to keep.

We’re at a point in our lives where money is tight and cars are expensive so we’ve decided to say goodbye to our Wuwing. With 150,000 miles on the clock, she’s done well and now she’ll be recycled and maybe become part of other cars.

She was our home when we travelled, a personal storage place we could turn to, a sleepy zone we could nap in, a safe space to return to, a relaxing place to eat in, our adventuring bright blue friend.

I’ll remember the numerous animal encounters she had, on her top, inside her doors, cats seemed to love her. She had a panoramic sunroof we could gaze out of up into the blue sky. We cloud watched, we counted seagulls, we saw stars. She represented freedom.

And now…? Now we wait to see what this year brings financially and with regards freedom of movement because we haven’t been able to travel out of a 5 mile radius for some months now.

The way forward is electric for sure. I’ve finally realised just how gross fuel is and I want to try something cleaner. I’m grateful for how it’s helped me in the past but now it’s time for a greener future.

Living in the city means we’re lucky enough to have electric cars close by for hourly hire so it’ll be a great experience to try them out. It’s a whole new way of driving and planning trips to get used to and I’m ok with that. It’s taken a whole year to let go of Wuwing, we relied on her for so long, to not have her, to not have constant access to a car felt very strange.

Now we are ready. Electric bike hire, a train station a short walk away and a BMW i3 on our doorstep means the start of a new chapter. Thanks for the memories Wuwing. We love you.

A new era is here.

Check out this badass depiction of Saint Michael by Vuk Kostic I’ve used in my new video. And this colourfully cosmic image from Agsandrew - I can’t get enough of those colours. You can see the full video here and I think it’s rather beautiful.

A meal fit for cat royalty. I love these videos so much. Such a nice channel about cats and Japanese cooking.