How ironic…

How ironic…

Hi there.

Tuesday’s blog rolls back the hours, right? I like looking back to this day last year, don’t you? I used to have a diary when I was a girl, which had 5 years on one page, so as you made your daily entry, you could read where you were on your journey the year(s) before.

So today, I thought I’d go back exactly one year from today, to 29th September, 2019.

Oh boy, did it bring me up sharp. Read on, and you will understand. This is last year’s post copied and pasted – verbatim.


 29th September 2019  Barbara Gray Comments 31 Comments

Hi there

Thanks for popping in! Trundling down the A1 in the white van. Big jams bumper to bumper. Way too many cars on this little island. I’m guessing somebody’s having a rough day. So whilst we sit in traffic, 2 hours in and still north of Doncaster, I thought I’d chat to you on my phone! Blogging on the go! Can you believe it? I can sit in a truck and write a blog on my phone. What a strange world we live in. Perhaps that’s why so many of us have a hankering to be creative and get with our hands. All the techno-power in the world can’t replace a good old get together with a bunch of like-minded people.

We just had a fab weekend in Leyburn with so many Clarity friends, old and new. The whole event was a pleasure and a privilege . I love our Open Days, I really do! Not only is it a perfect opportunity to hook up with loads of the Clarity gang; I get to talk to and listen to so many people, mostly women, who are just like me. At first glance you may be fooled into thinking we have little in common with one another, except perhaps the stamping or the craft. But then, when you stop and listen and watch, it all starts to unfold. You miss your kids, I miss mine. Your Mum just died, so did hers and hers and hers. Your husband left you; so did mine and hers and hers and hers. You get anxious in crowds; so does she and she and she. You are your husband’s carer; she is too, but has managed to slip out for an afternoon, like you. You’ve had cancer and are doing ok; so has she, but she’s struggling with the fear of it coming back. Your husband died and you just miss him so much; so did hers, and hers. Even after all this time, you still feel lost without him. So does she.

Honest to goodness, if you only knew. If you only knew just how much we have in common, you would be staggered.

For me, that’s probably the most important part of my job; to provide a safe, kind, creative haven for us. Where we can come together and just be part of something good and healthy.

I hope that doesn’t sound corny. It comes from the heart. There is a very powerful energy around Clarity; if you were there on Saturday at Leyburn, you know what I’m talking about.

Yeah. So as I was saying. A huge privilege to know so many good women, strong women and brave women.

Love and hugs

Barb xxx

Packs a punch a year on, doesn’t it? Now add this year and all that has come to pass to it, and then you really see how much things have changed. But also how things haven’t.

Within our Clarity community, things may have shifted geographically, physically. But actually, we have simply morphed into a really kind and creative virtual community. We have a quasi mini Open Day gathering in the SHAC Shack, don’t we? We still come together, we still look out for each other, we still nourish our creativity. So we have managed to still achieve the same thing – but differently, so that we can stay safe.

Like I said a year ago, we are pretty good, strong and brave, aren’t we? Let’s add resilient to that list.

Love and hugs

Barb xxx

24 thoughts on “How ironic…

  1. Hi Barbara. The world has changed so much from last year but then it hasn’t ! You’re still providing us with a place to meet and chat. And although we can’t converse with you face to face we do chat to you and to each other. And I’ve met some new friends this year through the Shac shack. Well virtually met them but it’s strange how we’ve got to know one another. And that’s down to you!!
    Just think of all the people you’ve connected over this last 6 months and that’s amazing!
    I love looking at what I was doing on this day last year or even longer. Social media lets that happen more I think. I’ve just been for a walk with my neighbour. We both had recent ops and both trying to get fitter so it was lovely to walk with him chatting about things and looking back to when they first moved in their house. It’s a reminder that actually things aren’t as dark as they may seem and simple things like a walk can make you feel uplifted.
    Enjoy your evening. Love and hugs. Xxxx

  2. Wow that truly was ironic, i would have loved to come to one of the open days or retreats, maybe next year and it would be great to meet up with all the people i have been conversing with this year in and out of the SHAC SHAC, you have truly cemented this little creative community and i for one am truly grateful for everything you have given us, the biggest of which is your time and talent. We are all trying to get through this together but the driver of the bus needs to take care of herself xxxx

  3. Well, as you were heading south, I would have been heading north after a lovely weekend and meeting you for the first time. That led on to the SEC and getting to know each other better. I loved those days and our last night together. How the world has changed since then but the things that bind us remain the same. Enjoy your evening, Barb. I have another online meeting! Hopefully it won’t last too long! Prep for the online General Assembly on Friday night and all day Saturday! It doesn’t get more exciting than that!! Lol. Hope your mum is progressing well. Lots of love, Hxx

  4. So powerful looking back like that. I was in Cyprus on holiday last year at this time. Not a big traveller, but little did I know that would be my last holiday for some while.

    One positive thing Covid 19 has brought me is a new group of friends with whom as you say Barbara there are things in common apart from Crafting. And of course I discovered You and the Shac Shack which has ignited my dormant love of art and craft. Thankyou Barbara – you are a bright shining star in these horrible uncertain days and of course we go on virtual holidays now so I’m happy to stay at home and craft!

  5. The shac shak has been a wonderful way of being with you and all the others. I belong to three flower clubs which haven’t been able to open, so miss my friends. So nice to have a chance to mix. And the open days on line were great as I have never been able to get to one, even though I wanted to.
    You have done a wonderful thing for so many people. Big thank you. Like you said we all have something in common with one another. Xxxx

  6. God Bless Barbara. As crafters we spend hours making beautiful things and then we give them away to others. This trait helps us to cope with extraordinary time we are living through, able to accept what we have no answers for and happy to share our time together in the Shac Shack making beautiful things and hopefully giving comfort to those who are struggling. Hope to finish all my Christmas cards this year . Xxxx

  7. Memories are a wonderful thing and although I’m fairly new to Clarity – so have never been on an open day – I will always take you Barbara, and my Shac Shack friends with me in my memory. I just absolutely love the Shac and everyone in it. Thank you for being there everyone xx

  8. When I saw that your diary had 5 years on one page, I thought ‘blimey, you need small writing’, then I realised what you meant! A great idea.
    I love your blog and feel that you are the thread that binds so many of us together. This and the SHAC are a real lifeline for many people. Thank you. Hugs. Annette X

  9. I think you always give every body 100 percent what ever even with all the changes I am so proud to be part of the Clarity team xxxx

  10. I can’t remember what I was doing this time last year but 6 years ago we finished packing the car for our move to Norfolk on the 30th. which turned into an unmitigated disaster thanks to the removal people. Nuff said. Since then Clarity has been my saviour in many ways so thank you Barbarafor everything.

  11. A year ago I’d never heard of Clarity or Barbara Gray. I’d never drawn anything, or even felt inclined to. Me? I can’t draw!
    To unwind I watched TV, did the occasional pub quiz, binged a box set.
    Me? I can’t draw!
    One year on, only 10 weeks ago, I saw Barbara on Hochanda and something clicked in my head. I googled Clarity and found Clarity Worldwide on Facebook.
    That same day I drew my first doodle – three toadstools! Drawn on a lined notepad with a biro – I had no pencil, no eraser, but I drew anyway. I found some coloured pencils that my husband had bought for when our granddaughter visited and I shaded in my doodle. I was drawing.
    I showed my husband and he said, ‘I never knew you could draw’
    I replied, ‘I can’t draw, it’s just a doodle’
    I posted that first ever doodle on Clarity Worldwide FB page, the response was overwhelming. People I didn’t know made lovely comments, encouraging, uplifting and so complimentary.
    That was it, I was hooked! I found Barbara’s YouTube tutorials and joined the Shac Shack community – likeminded friends (yes, I mean friends), who all hop on Barbara’s bus – she’s a pretty damn good driver too!
    So, now I doodle more than just toadstools; I doodle flowers, trees, birds, bunnies, windmills, hot air balloons, dreamcatchers, carrot people, boats, mountains, geishas, and more, much more. In fact, I don’t just doodle – I draw!!
    Me? I CAN draw!!
    So, thank you Barbara, from the bottom of my heart. You rock!!
    Debbie Lee

    1. What a great story! I remember your first Facebook post. This is why Barbara deserves a medal for what she has done for so many of us. Thanks for sharing Debbie. X

  12. This time last year, I was with a group of lovely friends, chatting over a meal at the pub, after a great time at Leyburn, doing fluffy birds, and learning more about coloured pencils. Then we all said goodbye, )not realising we would not be meeting up physically the following year) and going back to our B&Bs to pack for the journey home the following day. I usually use my trip to Leyburn to meet up with family and with my roommate from college. I also try to visit places up there that I could not get to during three years at college – we didn’t have cars in those days, just buses or Shank’s Pony. Perhaps, next year, I can do all those things again. Two things I have really missed this year is sitting watching and listening to the sea, and going up to the top of the moors and just watching and listening to the wildlife. I will do both those things again and I will meet up with my Clarity friends again. Positivity and keep safe for now. xxx Maggie (Silvercrafter)

  13. Wonder what 2021 will bring. I still hope for a shac shack Union or at least tea and crumpets together.
    Be wise, be well, be happy.

  14. Don’t know what I was doing last year-have to look in my agenda of last year. What I do know that when moving home to this county 17 years ago I saw a lady showing how to use stamps to make landscapes…I was hooked!!! The name of the lady was Barbara Grey!
    Last year I was searching on youtube and found again that same lady!!!
    So I followed her on Youtube.
    Then there was a epidemic-covid — and look!! I found the Shac Shack with Barbara and learned a lot about coloring. And not only learned a lot but also met people from all over the world!!!
    Barbara hope your Mum is getting well and take care of yourself and stay save!!!💝👼🌹
    Greetings and till tomorrow in the Shac
    Trijntje Huppel

  15. Hello Barb, yes there are often many common threads to our lives, and looking back at this post, really brings it to the forefront of our thoughts. This year has brought many challenges, insurmountable to some, which has led to devastating consequences. I think there would be many people who would not have coped without a crafty outlet, and you have certainly done so much to help us all along with that. So from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you. Take care everyone and stay safe. Bx

  16. Resilient seems to be the word to live by this year! I love that you so appreciated the friendship and fellowship of the Leyburn day, even though none of us could have anticipated what was to come. The one thing the pandemic and restrictions have given us is the ability to share that fellowship with a wider circle in which distance, financial stability, mobility, caring role, social anxiety or other factors don’t have such an impact. Always have to look for the positives!

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