When I was first diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome, I used to walk a lot. I would take 2 of the dogs and I would walk along the river in Woodbridge. I walked a lot with my friend Steph and then I would walk on my own. I felt strong walking along there because it was somewhere I had come to be able to think about things and think about a future where I was a stronger person. There was something that became a key part of these walks that I totally attribute part of my recovery to. I'd been there a few times, but I started to end my walks at The Tea Hut on the river in Woodbridge. At first I was nervous - it was a public place and often I was quite stressed or emotional by the end of a walk. But every time I came to The Tea Hut I felt safe, I felt ok. The staff at The Tea Hut are friendly and the owners in particular became very supportive of my journey as an artist and asked me to help with a family day. It built my confidence and then they hung my work in the café too. By September of last year we had become close and they had really helped me to be confident to be seen out as an artist and so I started my residency here.
I now come and paint here for a day each fortnight and I always enjoy my time here. I meet all kinds of different people and really feel like part of The Tea Hut family. It is a beautiful setting in which to spend time away from the studio and I feel incredibly lucky to do so. This morning I have been sat here typing this blog, as I felt that it was only appropriate to sit and write it in the place that has inspired me so much , surrounded by the people who have supported me so well. It's been funny because as I sit, so many people come in and greet me. We talk about life in general, we talk about art. I get licked to death by pug puppies and sly looks from little children. These things inspire me.
So thank you. Thank you Sharon and Brian (or Uncle Wolffy as I like to affectionately call you) for being there. For becoming a part of what family means to me. For supporting me to be the best that I can be. For providing a place that anyone should feel they can just come and sit in surrounded by loving people who care about their community. If I was giving out awards for supporting the community, you two would get one. You bring together the community. You support every person who comes to visit and should be celebrated for the amazing people that you are..
If you would like to go for a #cheekyteahut anytime I highly recommend it.