In With The New!

Yuval Zommer

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, abundant, joyful 2019!

Carefree we step to a fresh start, renewed with childlike wonder. I decided to post some beautiful illustrations from wonderful Twitter chums who illustrate, and write, children’s books. (see below for links to their websites, contacts, etc.) Without fail they always thrill me and make me smile. And, they all work and reside in England. Hmm, interesting…

So here goes: first image (above) by Yuval Zommer;

Of course our v. special and dear friend Mr. Colin West;

Colin West








and darling Beccy Blake in Bath with her parliament of owls.

Beccy Blake

There a more illustrators I want to mention…so many talented and imaginative people all. I would like to think being a children’s illustrator is a happy happy profession. If I were wealthy…reminds me of a quote by Jane Austen, not this one but it will have to do: “Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.” Well anyway, I would buy prints and lovely gorgeous things from all of them! I will have to close because it is crazy windy here and the WiFi connection keeps dropping out. It’s taken me hours just to wish everyone well.

I hope we can hold closely, yet gently, the joy in being present – at the same time as we ride the whirlwind. Binary opposites to be sure, but if we can be okay with that “tension,” we will prevail.


Clare Irwin

You may also contact Colin West on Twitter:

Hugh Grant Revisited

I can’t say that I’ve ever given the actor Hugh Grant much thought. I have seen a few of his movies, not many. I think the disaffected man-child roles that he perpetually plays have worn thin, and are a bit absurd now that he is in his 50’s. However, I did like him in Emma Thompson’s and Ang Lee’s Jane Austen adaptation of Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet, and I thought he was wonderful in the charming About a Boy — a great script and spectacular cast with Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz.About a Boy I know of him since he has been in the tabloids consistently over the years, being connected with glamorous and beautiful girlfriends.  I have seen the Bridgit Jones movies only because they play constantly on the 700 channels or how many we have beaming into the house.

Recently I’ve thought about him in a different light; I think he may be more substantial than his cultivated public persona reveals. The first inkling was when he went up against Rupert Murdoch and testified in a London court over phone hacking of public figures. Hugh Grant TestimonyHere’s where a classical education from Oxford comes in handy folks!

Over the summer, I was watching a talk show on Bravo, Watch What Happens Live (my secret shame), and Elizabeth Hurley was on with Ralph Fiennes. They were both fun and game for the silliness, and they both looked pretty amazing. Hurley mentioned that after all this time she and Grant are neighbors and friends, and that he has taken to fatherhood, all be it late in life, but taken to it fully. I thought that was moderately interesting.

Then a month or so ago, Hugh Grant was on the same show. First, I was struck by how well he looks too. Of course, most celebrities have a lot of work done, but it looked good on him and he still has that nice shock of hair. I can’t remember what he was plugging. This was after The Man from U.N.C.L.E. which I did not see, and it wasn’t for the next Bridget Jones sequel. To Grant’s credit he did not sign on for that one. Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth are reprising their roles (what’s up with that?), but they had to get someone else to play the irresistible rake. I think in this movie Bridgit doesn’t know who the father of her child is?!  Aren’t they all eligible for Social Security by now or whatever the equivalent is in the UK?

I read online that Grant was irritable during the “after show” on Bravo, but maybe his discontent is a product of someone smart and talented that took too easy a path on the rise to stardom. Perhaps there’s a great actor in there. On the other hand, why shouldn’t he be happy? Handsome, smart, early fame, beautiful women like Elizabeth Hurley and Jemima Goldsmith, money, still has his looks, still working — I mean life seems pretty good for Mr. Grant. Time to hang around with lesser mortals, regular people, and count his blessings! Hugh Grant

Now that Grant is a father and older, I think it’s an auspicious time for him to reveal and revel in his substance. Take smart roles, play against type — the risk is small, don’t you think?

Clare Irwin