Thursday, 18 October 2018

What a summer it's been... and a visit to the zoo

Well, this summer certainly wasn't what I expected it to be. One of the worst ever. I did this drawing in my sketchbook in mid August, and oh boy, little did I know how accurate it was going to turn out to be a few days later.

The bronchitis I had at the end of July/beginning of August caused my chronic condition to flare up. It was one of the worst flare ups so far, and I spent another four weeks at home off sick. My doctor was very close to admitting me to hospital and considering surgery, but thankfully decided to try another round of medication first, and the meds did their job and things improved quickly. I also radically changed my diet. I've been wanting to make some changes for a long time, but never quite got round to it. But this time, I had the motivation I needed, and it went all very smoothly. I've even lost some weight. Those hated 10 kilos that I've put on in the last 4 years because of medication, and just wasn't able to shift. And now they just drop off by themselves, a very welcomed side effect of my new diet and life style - I'm also practicing yoga again regularly and go for walks much more often. In fact, at the moment, I'm feeling pretty good. Actually, I haven't felt this good in a very long time, in years. It's not all perfect, there are still issues, but all in all, things are looking positive. So in the end, a lot of good came out of it all, even though it certainly didn't feel like it back then, in August. But looking back, I think it was just the wake up call I needed. Yes, my UC and me, we're sorting this.

I didn't get much drawing, sketching or painting done since then. On the days, when the medication didn't floor me completely, I worked on setting up a new health and food journal. I went through 10 years of chronic illness, through old journals and doctor's reports, I did some research and wrote it all up. It was very therapeutic and helpful, in many ways. I'm now keeping a detailed daily food and health log, which is also very useful. And I bought a whole shelf-full of books. Books on anti-inflammatory and gut friendly nutrition, on the gut itself, on spices, herbs, herbal teas and infusions, natural remedies.... It's still going to be a long journey figuring it all out, but it's worth it.

I didn't have much time yet to look through and start using my new cook books, the only recipe I tried out so far was this kohlrabi potato soup with smoked salmon, chive oil and cress. It was delicious, and I'll definitely make it again.

From mid/end September on, I went on holiday for 2 1/2 weeks, to lovely, sunny Dorset. After everything, it was good to get away for a bit, and spend time outside and explore coast and countryside. I took my sketchbook, pens and watercolours with me, but in the end, I only got two pages filled. The second one was a weak attempt to get into and catch up with Inktober. But I'm afraid I have to give that a miss this year. I'm in an "all new" mood, and have been busy clearing out stuff at home - including a pile of clothes that are now too big - yay! But I hope to get back to making art again soon. Once I moved away all the stuff that has been piling on my studio desk...

I took of course loads of photos in England, but I haven't had a chance to go through and edit them so far. Instead I'm sharing a few photos from a visit to the zoo here in Zürich, that I took during our last holiday in July. N and I love visitng the zoo here in town, it's so beautiful, and now they've added a new enclosure - Australia, with the koalas as main attraction.

The emus and wallabies are free to roam and mingle with the visitors. The wallabies were a bit shy, though, and prefared to keep their distance. The emus, on the other hand, were very interested in investigating...

The elephants enjoyed some quality family time.

The Masoala hall is always a special place to visit. You never quite know what you're going to see. It's something different every time. But there's always something to see. And this little mouse lemur was just the sweetest little creature!

That plant must be especially delicious, because on our way back, we saw this little fellow. Usually, they just sit motionless upside down on tree trunks.

Gecko from Nordljus on Vimeo.

One of the animals you pretty much always see, is the chameleon. This time, we saw four different ones. What characters they are. And their colours, patterns and textures are just amazing.

The end of another wonderful day at the zoo, and one last glimpse back in the later afternoon light, before the zoo shut it's gate, and the animals got some well deserved peace and quiet.


  1. Good to see you around again. Glad that the change of diet helped you get well, and that you are now feeling good again. Love the photos from Zürich. Happy PPF, Valerie

  2. I'm so sorry about your suffers and happy that all is passed and you are well. Congratulations for weight loos and strength to you to keep it. Your paintings are beautiful and thank you for marvelous photos from the zoo. I love especially the koala and the speedy video fellow! Thanks for sharing.
    Happy PPF and weekend xx

  3. Goodness me, you must feel like a new person after having put up with all that for so long. Well done!
    I loved your sketches and then another treat with those trip to the zoo photos. Especially happy there was an Australian section. Laughing because that Emu was nice, a lit of them here will come up behind and steal the food from your hand they are that cheeky.
    Happy PPF!

  4. That is some zoo in Zurich thanks for sharing the lovely photos and videos and of course your art. Glad you survived summer.

  5. Oh my, I know how such chronic pain and flare ups can wreak such havoc not only on the body but the mind too. So glad you're feeling much better. Sounds like you're doing the best thing for yourself-healthy eating(that soup looks DELISH!), clearing things out, and getting some kind of exercise. Wonderful photos of the zoo animals!! Stay well, and happy PPF!

  6. What a marvellous set of animal photos! I also love the small watercolour of the little squirrel.


  7. I hate when our bodies decided FU and go into flare up mode. Glad the meds helped and you are making a change to help yourself :)

  8. That sounds like it was a hard summer. I'm glad you're feeling so much better now. Those pictures from the zoo are beautiful. LOVE that chameleon! Never saw it that up close. Happy PPF!

  9. I am sorry about the flare. I do know what you are experiencing. I switch to herbs and other natural things 18 years ago. I am better now than I have ever been. Once you get it figured out you will be even better. Love all the photos.