One lunch hour in May last year I was sitting at my work desk trying to decide what to do with the half term holiday just about to start (I worked for a publisher set up by teachers who decided to keep the school holidays!). Normally I would do a round trip of my parents and sisters and catch up with all the nieces and nephews, but the past year had been very tough, and I felt like something different. I started to have a look online and a chance conversation with my boss who had just come back from his own holiday inspired my next google search. Half an hour later I had booked myself onto a boat traveling up the Nile, due to set sail first thing on Monday morning! I had never previously travelled alone and it was the best adventure I have ever had. My trip coincided with a small brief window of euphoria, as Mubarak had fled to Sharm El Sheikh after 18 days of demonstrations by the Egyptian people. There weren’t many fellow travellers but we were welcomed with enormous warmth and gratitude.

My next painting will be inspired by this hazy photo taken with my iphone on the first night inside my cabin.