As anyone who follows my Facebook page will know, I've just got back from a long weekend in Suffolk. And the thing that always strikes me during our infrequent trips around the country, is how much outstanding beauty there really is in this fair isle. And how little of it I've seen so far. I still haven't made it to Scotland or Ireland (oh, the shame!), although I have seen some of the beauty that is Wales.
You may (!) know that I'm an absolute sea shore addict - if I don't see the sea for many months at a time, I start getting terrible withdrawal symptoms and having dreams that I'm swimming in it ... ;)
But it's not just the paddling and the fresh air of the seaside that make me happy - I love, love, love trees (you'd never guess, right?) and leaves and mushrooms and the sky ... I could go on, but you're probably already yawning!
And it isn't just nature that draws me - I'm a sucker for historical buildings, particularly castles, abbeys and priories, where I can stand in the middle of the ruins, imagining the history happening all around me.
Suffolk in October is beautiful - torrential rain and all. We saw so much fungi (does anyone else get excited by toadstools? We have a LOT of pictures ..! ) and the heathland was all colourful and glistening. There was an abundance of acorns crunching underfoot and the cider smell of the tiny apples that were scattered around the trees.
All of this adds up to the best inspiration for jewellery-making I could possibly ask for. I love this country, and while there are many places in the world I would love to see (and many that I never will), I am truly grateful for the beauty that is not far from my doorstep.
And I got to paddle (in the pouring rain) on my birthday, then eat an ice cream in a very steamed-up car - does it get any better than that? No, it most certainly doesn't! :)