Thursday, 29 November 2007

Boring Old Age

Trying to book a restaurant for my birthday dinner on Monday seemed impossible. Every half decent place was fully booked or had large office parties coming in, which I am anxious to avoid. I finally managed to get a table at Magdalen, a local place, but it is untried, so I am not sure about it. A Monday night right at the beginning of December has not been a problem in the past, but now, people seem to go out every night until Christmas.

I had huge amounts of paper to post to the Trustees in advance of our December meeting. Unfortunately I had not noticed that some of the agenda items were printed on both sides, and to complicate things even further, the pile of copying became stuck so only half was being printed. The result was that I was left with various piles of stuff amounting to thousands of sheets of paper and the whole thing was a complete mess. Fortunately a more organised colleague came to my assistance and we managed to sort out the mess into neat bundles in time to post the papers.

I am still in hibernating mode, and have been reading masses of Miss Read, jollied up in between by 'I must Confess' -Celebrity Tells All' - a novel written by a neighbour which was very funny indeed.

Romy has gone to Spain until next week. She will be back on Wednesday, and I forgot to mention that I am off until next Thursday but I shall ring her on Wednesday and let her know.
I really should try and get the lampshades I need and the coffee tables from John Lewis. Maybe I shall force myself out tomorrow. I also need some more Christmas cards and some stamps.

Monday, 26 November 2007

'Flu, Post and Geffrye with Lights

Regency Christmas.

The postal delivery never came. I expect they will try to deliver it today when I am out.

Poor Dorothy is feeling ill again. Some kind of 'flu type symptoms. I think a bit of a medical investigation is called for. Dorothy and Julian are always becoming ill. Hardly a week passes without their succumbing to a kind of 'flu or chest infection. I hope they will be well enough to come out to dinner next Monday.

Today some lamp scent came, and the doormat with the address on it.

We went to the Geffrye Museum. Unfortunately Julian could not come. Also, Romy had injured her back at the weekend. However we managed a wheelchair each. The rooms were decorated for Christmas and were charming. We had a very good lunch there and after inspecting everything piled back on to the coach to admire the lights in Regent Street, Oxford Street, and windows and buildings all the way to Chelsea before returning home.

Women of Troy

Just got back from Women of Troy. Remind me not to go to a Greek tragedy again. I suppose it is quite uplifting because of the spirit of the women, but at the same time deeply depressing. There was a huge bang at the end when the last of Troy exploded. Blimey, I nearly jumped out of my seat. Fortunately it only lasted an hour and a half without a break and certainly held one's attention during that time.

I shall have a cup of cocoa and go to bed. Malvolio is whingeing for some extra dry food. I may indulge him.

No Derek, Lost Addresses and Hairy Christmas

Thank goodness Derek just emailed me that he got his dates mixed up and can't make it. Which means I can hibernate a bit, eat some rubbish for lunch, and pop out to do a bit of shopping before the theatre tonight. Then I can have an early night before the trip to the Geffrye Museum tomorrow.

I have been doing some Christmas cards but can't find most of the addresses. I shall just have to dig into past diaries and address books.

Dorothy sent me an interesting link about how mediaeval peasants used to virtually hibernate for months during winter.

I have failed to find my address book or old diaries. Rather impatiently put up a wreath and long spray embellished with large fir cones on the mantelpiece. It looks a bit hairy I think.

Credit Card Bureaucracy

I was trying to order some groceries from Ocado using a credit card due to a temporary financial embarrassment, when some wretched thing called Verified by Visa came up asking for passwords. I have had to cancel the whole transaction as I just cannot cope with getting even more passwords for cards, so it may be that my Ocado shopping experience is over. What I cannot understand is how I managed to order my Christmas shopping from them and pay successfully. Maybe it is because I paid by debit card knowing that they do not debit your account until just before they send the goods.

Life is really becoming far too complicated for me. I shall just have to keep opening tins in the cupboard until my salary cheque has cleared. Only a couple of days longer. Fortunately I shall be lunching somewhere I can pay by credit card today, though I have had no word from Derek so I shall just wait and see if he turns up. As I am waiting for a postal delivery this is no hardship. If he doesn't show I shall just open another tin. It looks very cold outside.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Reading and Eating

Have now read A Village Diary and Gigi and the Cat. I saw the film Gigi when I was about 18 but had never read the book. I seem to have gone into permanent hibernation but must force myself to push the hoover around the house because Derek may be turning up at lunch time, and get myself into a suitable frame of mind for going to the theatre tonight, rather than continuing to vegetate in front of the TV. As the weather is rather cold, and all the soaps are on tonight I shall have to make a real effort.

Had a rather hearty breakfast of kippers, toast and marmalade with Lapsang tea. Malvolio has got into a bad habit of climbing onto the table, pretending to be nonchalant for a while, then advancing slyly towards my plate. I ignore him while putting objects in his way, but seem to remember to leave him some food which he eats when I put my plate on the floor. I suppose it is rather disgusting, but I read somewhere that cat's mouths are much cleaner than human ones.

Nibby Has Sold Another Painting

had my usual Sunday chat with Nibby. She has injured her back and arms lifting things, so has had to do less work until it is better. She tells me she needs the money for the mortgage so has to carry on. However, not only has she just sold a painting, but some people opening a gallery want her to take a painting up so they can feature it on their advertising, which is excellent.

She keeps selling paintings without taking digital photographs of them so has no real portfolio. I am trying to get her to do this and get a MacBook so she can put them on Your Gallery and sell worldwide, as I think there are somewhat limited opportunities in Kangaroo Valley. Oh well, I can but nag.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Crome Yellow and Village School

Have finally read Crome Yellow. There was a good quote from Point Counter Point in the introduction in which Huxley elaborated his ideas and world. 'Living modernly's living quickly' says Lucy Tantamount, 'You can't cart a wagonload of ideas and romanticisms around with you these days. When you travel by airplane you must leave your heavy luggage behind. The good old-fashioned soul was all right when people lived slowly. But it's too ponderous nowadays.'

Crome Yellow is quite a slim volume, but full of ideas, and is very much modelled on Thomas Love Peacock which I used to read in my youth. Strangely, at the same time almost, I have been reading some Dora Saint - Miss Read for the first time. Very gentle tales of village life which are nice and restful for an old woman!

Since I purchased ten Miss Read volumes and ten other novels from The Book People incredibly cheaply, I shall continue with this lot before passing them on.

horrible Orange and Great Homofair

I have been having trouble with Orange trying to get PAC codes out of them, which they refused to give me over the phone, so hopefully they will send them Not only that, their envelopes have a horrible orange bit on them which has made a stain on my new table. Presumably caused by it being damp from the rain when I brought it in. Am trying to remove it but shows no sign of going. I have put a drop of lemon on it but shows no sign of bleaching. May add a bit of salt. Otherwise I will have to touch the table up with white paint. I feel like sueing Orange as it is a brand new table. Had an instinct to try some whitening toothpaste on an baby bud thing. Not gone, but definitely paler.

Went to the homoculture fair thingy. It was wonderful, with the women's orchestra playing carols outside, and later playing the Can Can music inside with great zest and energy. Everyone loved it. Later some men in kilts were doing Scottish dances, including the Gay Gordons. I made a pom pom for world peace on Amy Lame's stall, and took a kit home. I may well make some cream coloured pom poms with which to embellish cushions and curtain pull backs. I purchased some of the wonderful calendars and one or two other presents before settling down to some tea and cakes. As last year, I thought I had lost my purse, and of course, found it as Rupert went to arrange an announcement, so slunk off in shame.

I had a call from some friends who were trying to find the venue, and who had turned up ten minutes before it closed. I had left ten minutes before that, but they had not said they were coming, so they missed all the fun. I had tried to drag Dorian along, but he said it was not his kind of thing.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Lazy Old Bat

I have been tired all day because of my passport hunt and a sleepless night. I have avoided any action, apart from helping Julian a bit with some of the old trunk contents. We agreed to leave some stuff in there and Dorothy will be consulted about the Atari.

Lots of books arrived today so I have been vegging out reading. It was freezing outside or I would have looked for some lampshades in British Home Stores or John Lewis. Julian and I had a discussion about a possible Christmas goose stuffed with apples and sauerkraut which is a Nigella recipe. It sounds fine, but I suspect that in any event I shall be purchasing several pheasants and sticking them in the freezer. There was also a very good sounding recipe for a parfait, made basically by soaking prunes in armagnac and simmering them until the armagnac is absorbed, whipping some double cream and breaking up meringues, then chopping the prunes and stirring them in before freezing them. Thing is, Dorothy hates prunes, and Julian hates cream and meringue, so this may be a solo experiment performed for, and by, Bag Lady alone.

Have not heard from Miss Bettawear for ages. I think it was she who found the old Lampe Berger some years ago, must ask.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Passport Lost - But Not Forever

Today, Dorothy asked me if there was a yellow T shirt in the trunk. I invited them around to look.

Spent all evening looking in vain for my passport. So finally had to tell Romy I had lost it. As a result she had been fiddling around looking for cheap fares elsewhere which didn't need a passport to book, and had missed the deadline, so I have now prevented them from getting the cheap fares. I really should give up trying to do anything. Dorothy and Julian told me off for not keeping my passport in one place. Easier said than done with workmen in the house, and having to keep moving stuff from room to room.

I was just going to bed, when I saw a pink plastic folder containing stuff that ITV had confiscated when I went into Hell's Kitchen. I had put some important papers such as bank statements into this when the guys came to paint the sitting room. In the middle of all these was the sodding passport.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Tatty Old Wooden Trunk Full of Historic Rubbish

Last night I examined the contents of the old wooden trunk and discovered:

An old Atari computer with several other electric looking things.
Four metal legs, obviously from some old piece of furniture.
A small keyboard.
An old vanity case full of beads and embroidery things.
Two wooden cigar boxes full of old receipts.
Several pairs of trousers and some T shirts ( presumably belonging to Dorothy and Julian)
Two large wooden boxes full of receipts and old bank cards (one from 1986) belonging to Dorothy.
A file belonging to Dorothy.

Since virtually none of it belongs to me I think I need to get Dorothy and Julian to come and clear it out, as I am certain there is absolutely nothing of any value there, unless the Design Museum are looking for an old Atari computer.

When the trunk is empty it needs sanding, and either polishing or painting, and deciding where it should be kept. I could use it to store some of my bedding, since I believe these old trunks were originally blanket boxes.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Baglady's Bedroom Needs Redecorating

Baglady Corner is becoming quite chic. Julian and Dorothy came around to fix a new loo roll holder in the bathroom and take some old furniture out for disposal. Julian also sneaked off and got rid of about three or four large rubbish bags I had managed to fill, so the flat is practically empty. After that we had some food delivered from Morley Tandoori, which was very nice, and thoughtfully, they provided some free beer with it.

However, my bedroom is still overstocked with books, various ornaments and one extra chair which is not really needed. The chair is quite a nice (I think) though repro one with arms but it will have to go. Dorothy thinks the curtain rail is a bit of a disaster, being a very skimpy affair from IKEA, and I did mention that I would prefer a white wooden one. I may also obtain a couple of tiny rugs and some new curtains from Gudrun Sjoden. Because of all the large brown furniture it does need brightening up a bit, and I may actually paint the cheap pine chest of drawers and a slightly art deco cupboard in turqoise, and go for a turquoise and red kind of look. Which could help. We shall see.

Roberto and Lauren in France Finally, and Possible Hol for Me

Had an email from Mykel. He had been staying in Brittany with our youngest brother Roberto and his wife, Lauren. He sent some snaps of the happy couple outside their new bar rather inappropriately called La Bodega. They are going to change the name to something rather more French. Like me when abroad he had become rather excited by the goods in supermarkets and felt this was a bit tragic. I have to say I was more than excited when I found fresh tiny brown shrimps in a large supermarket in Lille, peeled and ready to eat.

Romy tells me we get a two for one on Eurostar to Lille or Brussels, something to do with visiting Bluewater. I cannot quite take this in, as half the UK population must be hopping over the channel weekly if this is so. Romy plans to go to Spain at the end of January or early in February for a few days. She has very kindly invited me if I can get away. Julian is happy to look after the evil Malvolio, so this might well be an option. I have not been able to get away at all this year, apart from taking the punters on holiday, which is rather like being on duty 24/7, so a complete break for a week or so could be the answer. I do feel however that Romy is always taking people to their place in Spain, and they should try and have a break for just the two of them. I should probably drive them batty. We shall see.

Street Fire and Black Bingo Lampe Bergere

Office life is becoming exciting: arrived to find there was no electricity, so we decided to sort out numbers for outings and holidays from the replies we had received. It was becoming rather cold from the lack of heating. Suddenly at about midday there was a huge bang outside our window and flames shot up to the sky right outside. There were one or two lesser explosions and some smoke. Romy dialled 999 and they decided it was probably an electricity junction box shorting. The building opposite was emptied so we decided discretion was the better part of valour and set off to have lunch before going home. Dorothy and Julian were also without electricity and possibly water, also . They are due to arrive at Baglady Corner this evening to perform their ablutions, if not kip overnight.

Sooo excited. My Lampe Berger has arrived together with a little bottle of orange and cinnamon scent. You have to pour in half a bottle of scent with a little funnel, clean away any spare scent on the outside as it is flammable, put the wick in and leave for 20 minutes with the top on before removing this and lighting the wick. Huge flames shoot out for a minute or two, but after about three minutes this settles down. Then you blow out the flame and put the large open cap on and leave on for half an hour or so to scent the room. You put it out by carefully removing the open cap without burning yourself, put the small cap on and replace the open cap over this. Apparently it takes about half an hour to perfume the place and get rid of any noxious fumes. After ten minutes it really smells good. It is a matte black lamp rather horribly called 'Bingo' and it goes very well with my other black things. There are so many other designs. I may well purchase something red and sumptious-looking for my bedroom at some stage. Or turquoise. We shall see.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Crack, Croak and Be Merry ( Oh Dear, Couldn't Resist)

The graffiti guys yesterday were most amused by some Asian beer brand named 'Chang'. Apparently this is the street name for crack cocaine. You live and learn.

Had a long telephone conversation with a friend who is a courier on coach trips. She said a woman who had been coming on the trips for ten years had died this year unexpectedly on the coach. Although very elderly, she had been fine until a couple of days before. She was from a medical family and had thought she might have bowel cancer, and didn't want to have a colostomy so had kept quiet about her condition. In fact as they discovered later, it had been a twisted bowel which would probably have lead to the same result when treated. My friend was very upset. Not only was this the first time anyone had died on the coach in eight years since she had been doing the job, but the woman had become quite a friend over the years. Apparently she was the only person on the trips to Rye who had enjoyed watching Mapp and Lucia on the telly, and they often used to chat about the programme and books.

My friend and I chatted a bit about coach parties, Turkey & Tinsel breaks and so on. She had several of these to attend this year. Fortunately we only have one, which is not so onerous. She and her husband, who drives coaches, are abroad nearly all the time. I joked that the only way to catch up with them would be to go on one of her coach tours. Apparently, there are not many groups, mainly couples and singles who come back every year, so they must be doing something right. I can imagine this, as he is an excellent driver, and she is very kind and thoughtful, and good with people.

Nibby, Holy Pictures and DVDs

had a long chat with Nibby this morning. She was being terrorised by a huntsman spider about the size of a hand crawling over her window. She asked me about the holy pictures we used to buy at school. I seem to remember they were highly coloured Italian prints with deckle edges in gold. She says she filled her prayer book with them at school, and looking at the beautiful skies in them was the only thing that got her through the long hours in chapel on her knees. Her daughter was asking where they were and if you could get them now. I said I doubted if they would have such good ones nowadays, but they might be found in Westminster Cathedral bookshop and I undertook to have a look at some time in the future.

Nibby also mentioned a DVD which she had seen and which she thought was a marvellous Norwegian film called 'As It Were in Heaven'. She said I must see it. Amazon have it at about £23, which seems a lot, so I may delay buying this for a bit. Also, Julian and Dorothy have my DVD player which I hardly know how to work anyway. Apparently the new TVs with DVD players are no good because they can't play stuff you record at home. A bit short sighted I would have thought.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about some of the really good foreign DVDs I saw when in Spain, such as 'Elling' and 'La Communidad' and masses of others. When I sort out the TV and DVD problem I might well purchase some of these as they do bear viewing more than once. I have now had a look and lots of them are only in something called Region 1 NT something which is apparently not compatible with our machines. Such crap really.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


It was a very cold day. I got no further than the Lye Torng. I have been clearing up a lot of old clothes etc and bagging them up. I cant find the metal stand things which go on lamps that you put the shades on. I had put them aside for when I buy some new shades and two of the three have disappeared. I hope Julian did not throw them away with the shades we chucked out. I dont know how easy it is to buy them these days. One lamp is finished already, apart from a new shade, and Dorian is working on the other two.

Madeleine is up for pantomime at the Old Vic in January so I may well get some tickets for this.
I am still deciding on a birthday place. Dorothy tells me L'Escargot is not great and does not seem to fancy La Barca much. Madeleine tells me I must choose.

Met some great guys at Lye Torng. They have been commissioned by the council, presumably, to do some good looking graffiti on the inside of the walls of the play area, in order to deter the not very good tags already left there. One of them did a graffiti near old street of a creature coming out of a dustbin. He did it four years ago and though people had tagged around it no one had tagged over it. Recently he went back and found that the tags had been removed but his work left. He showed me a snap and it looked good fun. We had a conversation about art training, Banksy and the recent forgery by the man and his parents lately in the news, and all were rather in favour of this exposure of the art world.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Late Night and Solved Mystery

It seems that the Latin stuff is some standard bit of Cicero that graphic designers put into gaps to show how the printed material will look. A bit like 'the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dogs' for typists. Dorothy was astounded that I did not know this, but not being a graphic designer I don't quite see the surprise here. Nice to think that someone thought I know everything.

Julian and Dorothy around for a bit last night. They bought some chicken and corn on the cob from Nando's and finished the bottle of Argentinian merlot I had opened earlier. This was quite good wine and one of the bottles Dorothy had purchased from the Decanter tasting. They bought some rather jolly Christmas lights, a sewing set and some place mats all purchased from Julian's second visit to IKEA. Julian has an interview on Monday afternoon which is promising. They admired my lovely cushion from Romy. We spent ages trying to decide on a restaurant for my birthday. As we would like Madeleine to come, maybe a Sunday would be better, and maybe even a Sunday lunch at Roast. We shall see. They also expressed interest in my idea of going to the pantomime at the Old Vic. This is Cinderella, script written by Stephen Fry, so should be quite witty. We thought we would go in early January close to New Year.

Strange Happenings - Failure to Edit Post

I was trying to edit the last post, but the pencil thingy disappeared. I went to settings, and some strange text came up in Latin to which there were apparently five comments. My Latin was always crap at school so failed to translate. Emailed Dorothy to see if a brain cell or two will shed some light on the matter. Seems quite creepy to find Latin stuff somehow.

The pencil has now reappeared!

Identikit Men, Modern Life Painting and More Rubbish Out

I was outside the Hayward Gallery when I saw these guys on the bridge above. There were about 20 of them. At first I thought it was a school party, but as I got closer to take a snap I realised they were all men in identical black jackets and blondeish seventies looking wigs, being photographed by a snapper on the bridge before all moving off towards the Aldwych. Strange. Probably some ad.

Of course I finally made it to the Hayward, which gave me much more hope about my work. The large painting advertising the exhibition by Franz Gertsch was very eyecatching, and I still like Marlene Dumas as well as Martin Kippenberger and good old Gerhard Richter, an old favourite of mine. I shall just have to do larger paintings, but I am definitely on the right track. Must actually do some work. A New Year Resolution, perhaps?

I had a coffee upstairs at the Elephant and read Private Eye for a bit before a short lunch at the Lye Torng. I am now going through the piles of junk post always received at this time of year and have bought lots of extra large black rubbish bags to receive this.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Bathrooms, Restaurants and Rugs

Julian and Dorothy are having their bathroom done. Julian is very pleased because their bathroom has been a nightmare for a long time, very damp and full of condensation with paint coming off all the walls. Hopefully this will now be sorted out and the bathroom can come up to the standard of the rest of their flat.

Madeleine rang last night to say she had enjoyed herself on Saturday. She recommended the Wolseley, which is apparently very good indeed. It used to be the car showroom near the Savoy. I shall have to inspect it. I mentioned my possible birthday at the Gay Hussar, and she may be able to come along. I do hope so. She is going to come and have a look at my Chech rug, which may be good in her sitting room as she has a blue chair and something in a terracotta colour, both of which are in the rug. It would be nice to see it go to a good home rather than sell it on Ebay.

I am full of good intentions to go to the Hayward today. We shall see.

Rubbish, Theatre and Lampe Berger

I am going to purchase some black rubbish bags to get rid of all my stuff tomorrow. I shall also attempt to go to the exhibition at the Hayward. I have booked a ticket to go to Women of Troy at the Lyttleton at the National Theatre in a week or so. I am trying to force myself to go out occasionally in the evenings, as I tend to vegetate at home, summer and winter. Malvolio has destroyed another catnip teabag. I must ration these as he is becoming quite the little addict. He has clawed the sofa a bit less today. I am buying a whole tub of catnip and will sprinkle this on the rattan chest, bit by bit, in order to make it attractive to him.

Came across some things called Lampe Berger. These are French glass or ceramic containers you fill with oils which they produce seasonally. There is a stone in the top and a wick going into the oil. Apparently you light the stone, leave for three minutes, then blow it out. Apparently your rooms become perfumed for about two hours and it also gets rid of nasty pongs. The lamps are very expensive, the cheapest at about £45. However I managed to find one on Ebay and purchased this for £25. I also bought some Christmassy smelling oil which I shall test in it.

The French have been using this system to scent houses since eighteen something apparently. There seems to be a bit of a cult going with the actual lamps, in that there are designer ones for nearly £1000 - and there is probably quite a market in antique ones. In fact I seem to remember a friend of mine found one in an antique fair, and we did not know what it was for. I can't remember if we put it back or if he bought it, but will suggest he hangs on to it if he did buy it. You can get the stones and wick sets for £10, and ditto for the oil, so it is worth hanging on to. If he doesn't want it I shall offer to purchase it, and put it in another room.

Mirrors, Chintz and Glasses

I have been vainly attempting to tidy up. I took my Venetian mirror to a neighbour who is very glad to have it.

I do seem to get these impulses to buy things. Sometimes I have gone off them completely by the time I have them home, as in the above case, and sometimes it takes a year or two. I am even becoming rather bored by most of the chintz plates and bowls I have bought at vast expense during last year. I may need to offload these. I have fallen in love with some rather nice Limoges plates in a pattern called 'Onde' . They are white, with raised bits which look like the sand when the sea pushes it up in curves. Even Julian likes these.

However Julian disapproves of my liking for Versailles glasses as I suspect they are thought to be too fancy looking. Julian would rather I bought some nice crystal until I mentioned the prices. However, if I ever do launch into vast expense and buy some, we have decided that the best pattern is Grasmere, by Cumbria Crystal, having carefully looked at some others. If I ever do this, I may just get one set of all purpose type wine glasses and a set of whisky tumblers. It seems that Dorothy prefers Riedel glasses which are plain and rather cheaper. Kind of in between, there is Iona by William Yeoward, which are rather nice thumb print glasses.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Bluewater, Polhill - and More Stroppy Malvolio

I have been converted to Bluewater as a temple of retail worship. Nestling like a silvery space station with oast house chimneys in the middle of a quarry, it looks as though placed there by aliens. Spent several hours frantically shopping, and with difficulty found somewhere to have lunch. There is a marvellous selection of shops, and I even found a John Lewis where I bought some simple rope curtain tie-backs. They had a Hawkins shop, a very good Paperchase where I purchased a tiny black christmas tree for my new sitting room. Romy even found me some mini decorations for this. I think if I went again I should have to set off earlier and leave later.

We then went to Polhill Garden Centre. This is a huge place, which presumably started as a normal garden centre, but now sells vast amounts of Christmas decorations as well. I found most of my purchases for Malvolio here. There is also a huge food section with farmer's market type of food, lots of greengrocery stuff with Kent apples and so on.

Malvolio is lying elegantly curled up on the new sofa. He almost looks like a second round black cushion, but woke up when I took a snap of him. He is the second (lower) black lump on the sofa. I bought him some catnip which I put on and in the rattan chest (he likes it) and sprayed the new sofa with cat deterrent (unfortunately he seems to like that too). I bought him a wand with a catnip tail which he played with for a short while and a large catnip filled rope mouse - completely ignored so far. Well, at least he approves of some of the stuff I bought him.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Glammy Black Cushions - Still Stroppy Malvolio

Romy back from Spain where she had a wonderful time. She very kindly brought me two black cushions for my new sofa - extremely glamorous with a suede look, edged with black feathers, one square and one round. Here's the round one in situ. Funny that I was thinking of getting a black cushion as there is so much white in the room.

Malvolio is still attacking both ends of the sofa so I will have to purchase some 'paws away' strips. These are apparently not very visible and deter cats from ruining one's furniture. We shall see. Of course, he has not touched the trunk I bought him. Some catnip spray should help a bit.

Today we are taking the punters to Bluewater for a bit of Christmas shopping. Apparently we are also stopping off for a bit at a garden centre on the way back. I may attempt to get some white curtain tie-backs and some catnip. I think 'paws away' is a specialist thing which I shall purchase on the internet.

Tired Old Age and Stroppy Malvolio

I am addicted to soaps, and Monday night is soap heaven, starting with Emmerdale at 7, then Corrie at 7.30, Eastenders at 8, then back for the final part of Corrie, all ending at 9. However, I watched most of Emmerdale, then woke up at 9 having slept through the rest. I went to bed immediately and did not wake up until 7. I think it's old age, as the IKEA jaunt was hardly arduous unless you count the hair-raising drive back with the drug crazed taxi driver.

Malvolio stropping on the footstool so I have moved the rattan trunk against the side of the sofa, as above, so it is the first thing he comes across. I am hoping that he will transfer his affections, and his claws, to this.

Monday, 12 November 2007

IKEA, Fire, Curtains and Crazy Driver

Have achieved. Went to IKEA with Julian. From the train going there we saw a huge cloud of smoke in the sky, apparently coming from a fire in East London at the Olympic site.

Maddeningly, the curtains I had ruined were no longer in stock at IKEA but I found a better pair. We bought everything we could . The taxi driver who brought us back was a completely bonkers Turkish guy married to a Russian woman, whose driving and manner gave the impression of a racing driver on coke. However we did arrive back alive, and Julian put the curtains up and pinned the hems . We had also bought a great lamp with a dimmer switch and a rattan trunk for Malvolio, who has not yet started to attack it, so it will do as a coffee table pro tem.

Julian has now gone home to Dorothy and I shall grab a bite to eat before vegging out in front of the telly for the evening.

Bad Night and White Sofa

Monday morning. I woke up at four in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep. However I must have drifted off again at 5.30 because the next time I awoke it was 6.30 and Malvolio was clawing me.

Heard on the news that the temperature was going to be 9, which is rather worrying. So much for global warming. I have tried to do a bit of tidying in the bathroom, and less in the bedroom which is an enormous challenge. The sofa has the white cover on and looks fabulous - well I think so - and is extremely comfortable. Malvolio has deigned to sit on one end of it for a while before reverting to his favourite spot on my bed. I shall put up the white curtains when we have bought them. The Chech rug definitely stands out too much. I have now put my laptop on the dining table. Fortunately it is small and kind of white so it hardly shows up. If only I could find a similar television.

I suppose one thing about having it here is that I am alerted if someone comes to make a delivery, and can be a nosy neighbour and see who is going back and forth.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Sunday Afternoon and Evening

Had a cup of coffee and croissant and read the papers for a bit at Elephant & Castle. Then I strolled over to Lye Torng. On the way, they were filming a fashion shot of a black model in a thin black dress, with bare arms. It was very chilly and I got a bit of a fright as I went around the corner and saw her there, with a huge afro and with her huge false eyelashes and her lips painted completely white, shivering in the cold, and looking like a Black and White Minstrel from the fifties TV show. Rather politically incorrect I thought, as all the film crew happened to be white. Mind you, they were all too young to remember the show anyway.

Had a prawn Penang which was very good as usual while giggling a bit at the Hawkins catalogue I had received. This was full of all sorts of nonsense, such as stuff you put in the bath which changes the water to sticky gloop and you put a few drops of a special chemical to turn it back to normal water again. Tom said he'd like a few bottles to pour into his enemies' swimming pools. The remote control farting machine appealed to me as an oldie - where you locate the fart bit in a chair where your boss, or your nearest and dearest is going to sit. Then at the appropriate moment you secretly wield the remote control to let off various inappropriate noises.

Julian and Dorothy came around and put the sofa and footstool and another chair together and we eventually had dinner around my new table. I am afraid the Chech rug, nice though it is, will definitely have to go. I may buy one of the IKEA sheepskin things for Malvolio to tear apart.

Remembrance Day 2007

Sofa arrived at about 8.30 this morning. I daren't unpack it in case I am accused of losing vital assembly pieces when Dorothy and Julian surface.

Just watched the Remembrance Day ceremony and took some bad snaps from the telly which has given me an interesting idea for some new artworks. Some old soldiers above. A strange thing - in the middle of the two minutes silence I thought I heard someone speaking.

Anyway I shall now go to Elephant & Castle for my usual coffee with a newspaper.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Pleasant Saturday Afternoon

Just come back from lunch with Madeleine, Dorothy and Julian, courtesy of ITV. We went to Dragon Castle and had a super lunch, after which we came back to my flat to admire the sitting room. Julian admitted to not disliking the lamp as much as before, and wants to go to IKEA with me on Monday to get the wicker trunk to be used as a cat scratcher for Malvolio, and some more curtains. I shall see if I can find another lamp base, as I have a sixties lampshade in pale yellow plastic which I can use this for.

Madeleine showed me the Your Gallery site which she thought I should register with to showcase my artwork. Will have to think about this a bit. She has also lent me her copy of Alan Bates biography: 'otherwise engaged' by Donald Spoto.

Triumph - New Lamp Base Purchased

I have achieved. I dashed up to John Lewis and bought the lamp base and a couple of bulbs. Why is it every time you get a new lamp it has different bulb fittings from all of your others?

Jumped into the Lye Torng for a quick Baileys on ice before fitting the lampshade on. Here it is. Judge for yourself. I think it may go a bit lighter as it responds to heat so I shall leave it on for a bit. When you turn it on the buildings are black and the sky turns a very gradual red, then lightens further as it gets warmer. It may need more than the 40 watt bulb I have put in it, but the base says I should only put a maximum of 40 watts.

Old Room with New Floor

My black and white room idea has somehow evaporated, in that the red and blue Chechen carpet has been put back, my old pictures are on the wall again. The only different things are the white cupboard, table and chairs and the new sofa, arriving tomorrow, which will now have the sand coloured cover put on it to match the curtains instead of the white one.

The white curtains I ruined will have to be replaced and I need to get the coffee tables from John Lewis, as well as the black lamp base to go with the new Solarise lamp. Dorothy tells me that Julian absolutely hates the new lamp. I also may learn to hate it, but at the moment I love it. I am looking forward to the new sofa arriving, though not the time it is arriving, i.e. between seven and eight tomorrow morning. How vile.

I may still sell the Chech rug on Ebay and get another in black and white. IKEA have quite a cute one called Triangel in black and grey, though I was hoping to find something smaller, and maybe round. Grey and black is better than black and white, as I remember from the old classic design I bought from Habitat which was very difficult to keep clean when you are a slut.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Tired and Emotional

Dorothy and Julian arrived at 9.15pm. By this time I had swallowed a generous glass of red wine to help relax. Dorothy managed to assemble the table quite quickly, but the cupboards took so long it was decided to do just one cupboard tonight. Julian put some of my handles on it, which looked quite good, then Dorothy put a chair together, which again took rather longer than anticipated.

The table looked enormous, so it was decided to push it into one of the alcoves, and put the now spare cupboard in the hall.

After Julian decided to put up the curtains I made the awful discovery that I had made one much too short, so we abandoned these and put up the old beige curtains, so when the sofa arrives we will put the beige cover on this too. At some time we will go back to IKEA and get more white curtains, plus a wicker storage box which Malvolio can strop his claws on.

At 12.45 they left and I went to bed.

Another Visitation

Oh dear, I am rather concerned. Dorothy and Julian are apparently coming around again tonight to put some of the furniture together.

Julian wanted me to iron the curtains, but I explained that to shorten them you were supposed to get them to the right length, iron across then put some wonderweb into the crease, iron again then just cut above this. Did one, but definitely unsure about the length. I was about to do the other when I lost the tape measure, and every effort I made to put them together and try and get the length the same failed, and they came out about six inches different in lengths. I have decided to ask Dorothy to put the short one up to see if it is OK and then put the other one up too. I think I can work on it better when it is hanging since there is masses of spare material.

I found Bob left a large bag of sawdust and small wood bits which I lugged to the waste bins, but had huge difficulty lifting it up and in while holding the lid of the bin open. I was about to get rid of some other rubbish in the same way, but have now discovered I have lost my front door keys.

I suspect this evening is going to be horrendous, since I am exhausted, Dorothy will no doubt be exhausted and cross and Julian will become exhausted and cross with us both.

Still, all could be well, and if so, at least some of the furniture will be assembled and ready.

Chad Varah

Just heard a programme about Chad Varah, known for starting the Samaritans. He lived in Barnes next door to my first husband's family and has recently died at 94. I knew he was a vicar, but had no idea he was also a cartoonist who created the Dan Dare comic. I only met him once at his door, and he seemed a rather quiet man. I don't remember seeing any of the children, and he apparently had five. Perhaps they had grown up.

A work colleague of mine was a Samaritan and described her work to me. It seemed to be about listening without commenting. Apparently they did have quite a lot of training for this role, which would be very stressful, I imagine.

New Lampshade and Decorations

It was absolutely freezing outside today. Very sunny but with a very cold wind. I found Lauren's studio at Cockpit Arts and purchased my wonderful Solarise lampshade. We chatted about business a bit and she gave me a free sample - ideal as a coaster - of her snowflake illusion panel. It seems that this was first produced for a shop, then architects came to her with requests for different patterns including autumn leaves, which appear to float around.

I had a lunch at the Lye Torng before coming back to admire my floor again. It has a slightly disconcerting habit of very occasionally letting out a loud crack. It did that in the middle of the night once. Probably the wood settling in. I hope.

I have ordered some Christmassy tree decorations and other bits and pieces, and a few things for the newly refurbished room. At Really Linda Barker I got a wolfy looking throw at £15 reduced from £55 because I ordered over a certain amount of stuff. I thought it might help to protect the new white sofa. I have put a few black things, such as my African princess carving and a couple of baroque black candlesticks on the windowsill to see how a mainly white room with bits of black will look. Apart from all the gold framed mirrors etc I have had for years. I would quite like to assemble the John Lewis table which is in the hall, but it is very heavy and I would probably mess it up anyway. Ditto the four chairs and two cupboards. The sofa is arriving between 7 and 8am on Sunday.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

More Floor, Furniture and Foxes

Took a flash snap of the floor early this morning before it becomes covered by furniture.

I am a failed drunkard - I only managed to drink a glass of red wine before becoming unconscious. Dorothy rang to ask how the floor looked and about the possibility of doing the stairs and basement.

I kept dreaming that I had lost my camera in some strange place and seemingly spent hours looking for it and getting very upset because it was such a good camera. I also kept worrying fitfully about how much furniture and stuff would have to be moved to remove the floors in the basement. Dorothy does not think this is a huge job because Dorothy put the floor down. However, this was before I bought the Louis bed and possibly, the wardrobe, so there was more space to move things from room to room.

In addition, there were lots of strange noises in the middle of the night from cats - one determinedly trying to get in through the catflap - and also from what I suspect were foxes outside the front of the flat, but nothing to see when I eventually got up to have a look.

Floor Finished, Julian Cross - Shall Get Drunk and Disorderly

Bob has just finished the last coat of varnish, I have paid him and he's gone home. He says he is willing to do some more work some time after the New Year, presumably at the same rate of £150 a day, though I imagine the stairs and downstairs will take a very long time, even if I clear out a lot of my possessions. I do wish I could be more frugal and make do with much less around me.

Julian won't come back to my flat again after clearing up all my rubbish last night, so I may have problems going away with the pensioners before Christmas after all, and I may now go away for Christmas Day. At least it will solve the tree problem.

Anyway I have had a peep at the sitting room and hall, both looking good with their second coat of varnish and I shall be able to go in there after seven tonight. I may celebrate and get absolutely drunk on my own tonight. A bottle of decent red wine definitely beckons.

Tamarind Balls, Guava Bocadillos and Violent Crime

Popped into Elephant & Castle to get more cash out for Bob, and went into the Lithuanian shop for some bread. Unfortunately they only had the black variety so got some West Indian bread downstairs. In the same shop were some Jamaican tamarind balls: 'honeycomb' brand. Also some bocadillos of guava wrapped in dried banana leaves from Colombia. The tamarind balls, though sweet, have quite a sharpness to them and contain tamarind seeds in the middle. All quite delicious. Perhaps I will replace chocs with these fruity sweets.

Reading Southwark News there is a depressing report from the Metropolitan Police which says that Southwark is London's most violent borough, having toppled Tower Hamlets from this dubious claim to fame over the past six months. However this is disputed by the local police and council. Unsurprisingly.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

More Colours and Wood Floor Ideas

Have been looking at the Dulux colours. Purple infusion 1 seems quite similar to the colour, but not the same of course. Amethyst falls is another possibility.

I have been talking with Bob about the basement. He says that all the laminate would have to be removed and a damp proof chipboard put down. Then, the same wood could be used, but it is a big job. On the stairs - they could be done with a wider wood but the lower flight would require some hard work filling in the bits between the treads by using battens, but again, it would be possible. He would not be drawn on price but it sounds like a very large undertaking considering the amount of stuff which would have to be removed from each room and then removing all the current floors.

In my room there is a huge Louis bedhead and sides with a very heavy divan parked inside it, masses of books, chests of drawers, a huge wooden trunk, dressing table, wardrobe and several chairs. In fact it is quite hard getting in and out. Ditto for the spare room. I suppose if there was less stuff in there it could be transferred from room to room.

I think I shall settle for the painted hallway for the next year or so, then attack the bit of plastering and painting in my room.

I offered the remainder of the wood to my neighbour upstairs, but he had nowhere to store it so it will have to go.

More Floors and Past Wall Colours

Dorothy and Julian have been around tonight to empty the cupboards so Bob can finish the bit where the floor meets the inside of the cupboards. A whole lot of stuff I had lost was discovered by Julian, fortunately, but my Algerian Kabyle coral and silver necklace is still missing. I think I have looked everywhere, but it will probably reappear in some totally bizarre place.

I have been instructed to ask Bob about whether the same wood could be used for the stairs and basement of the flat despite the fact that there is a damp problem. I am highly dubious about this as even Dorothy admits that oak is a difficult wood to use in these circumstances, being more sensitive to damp. I will ask anyway, but this is exactly why I put laminate down there. I have already researched this a bit and was thinking that engineered wood might work, but a building surveyor I know has told me that laminate is preferable.

In any event I could not face the disruption of all that for a year or two! I can just about think about having the hall painted. My room will have to wait as it is the least of my worries. Perhaps I shall paint it some dark, wonderful colour. A friend of mine painted a room in a gorgeous colour called Bilberry. I have not seen bilberries, but the colour was a kind of matt bluey purple which appeared to have a pale sheen in the light, rather like the skin of a blueberry, which is probably the same thing. This was in the sixties of course, when we all had dark rooms. I see this trend reappearing. Then, dark brown was the thing, or deep forest green. The green was quite good in the winter. Dorothy had a whole room, including the ceiling and furniture, painted bright red. There was one of those awful, loud abstract patterned carpets in red and yellow. He went off this colour quite quickly, thought we had a bright red hall for years. A dark colour is good in small halls, rather than light. It makes it look quite cosy.

Habitat and Christmas Tree

10.30 and Bob's gone for a coffee break. He is half way through the sitting room and it does look pretty impressive. He can't finish inside the cupboards because they are full of stuff which I can't manage to get out, but has cut the wood straight along and is going to make some edgings which Dorothy can bang in later, just in case we need to sell the flat and to make it look finished. His son is a graphic designer and works in Brick Lane doing the Habitat catalogues. I said he should invite him over to have a look at the floor!

I am beginning to feel a bit more relaxed about the whole thing, and looking forward to the furniture arriving on Sunday.

I am hoping that while I am away from 17th December, Julian and Dorothy will manage to get a tree, as I am sure they will all be gone by the time I am back and get a chance to go shopping on 23rd. If this is unlikely maybe I will buy a fake one, which seems to be de rigueur these days. If I did it would have to be a slimline one as the room is not large.

Christmas is Coming

Romy is off to Spain today. I am at home - the noise from the wood saw etc. is amazing - I may need to take refuge in the Lye Torng later. Poor Bob took two and a half hours to get home yesterday and will leave earlier today in the hope of a shorter journey.

I have ordered some tree decorations in anticipation of Christmas, and will think bit more about coffee tables. I do however have a nice little Sutherland table which will do as a lamp and side table pro tem. I once gave this to some friends, but they nursed it for a couple of years when I was away and brought it back - and it is now turning out to be quite useful.

I have to post a few letters today and I am thinking about doing another card list and getting a start on this. I may also obtain some chrome spray paint. This really does give a chrome effect and since I have a rather kitsch 'Queen Anne' fire which I may be tempted to put back in my sitting room, I shall have a go at respraying it as it is a bit grubby looking. It was completely rewired before I bought it and looks rather good in a retro way when turned on - reminds me of toasting marshmallows or bread for tea with a toasting fork in the sixties. That was probably rather a dangerous activity - maybe we only did it with old gas fires rather than electric ones.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Bob the Carpenter

Bob arrived really early but there were no parking spaces. He did not seem to want to put his tools in the house by parking on the pavement opposite, and then looking a bit further afield for a space, so said he would wait in his car for a space. I have just seen him drive away so am a bit worried. Phew! he has just come back - no space still but is putting his tools inside which is a good sign. I have given him a day permit to put in his car for when he finds a space.

Back from work. He has done most of the hall apart from the awkward bits near the bathroom and stairs. It looks really good. I hope it goes well tomorrow, though I can see it taking days at this rate since it will need a couple of coats of varnish.

Monday, 5 November 2007


is taking over my life. If I am due to feed him between five and six in the evening, he starts campaigning at around three in the afternoon. Today he leapt on my back so I probably have rather deep scratches, and yesterday he trampled all over my computer.

I am quite nervous about the floor, and hope it will not prove too complicated or take too long to fit. Also I hope the varnish will dry quickly. I can hardly concentrate on anything. Bob the carpenter has never worked in London, lives in Hemel Hempstead and seems doubtful about being able to find my address, but fortunately has satnav which should help.

Rewiring and Failure to Attend Exhibition

Dorian has kindly offered to rewire my three old favourite lamps, so this is excellent news.

I spent the morning recovering from the shock of the change in the flooring plan.

Also arrived, an email forwarded by Romy from the accountant offering to come to the office on the day we are taking the pensioners on an outing, which will not of course be possible, but I think he is trying to be helpful. If the bank statements have not come by Tuesday a new date will have to be arranged anyway. I should be working an extra day next week because I am taking time off this week. I am running out of days fast.

I intended to go to the exhibition 'Painting of Modern Life' at the Hayward today, but this was upset by the carpenter's call this morning and I now have to try and think how to get rid of the last one or two pieces of furniture in the hall. Friday is taken up with fetching a lampshade at the Cockpit Arts place, and Saturday is very full. I have to await a grocery delivery and then meet Madeleine for lunch. She is keen on Dragon Castle, and if there is a private function there we shall aim for Chinatown.

Major Change of Flooring Plan

just had a call to say the carpenter is coming tomorrow! Apparently a client got the dates wrong so was not prepared for him to turn up! I shall have to reschedule things a bit. It was quite a shock as I had arranged everything around starting in the third week in November.

Fortunately Dorothy and Julian have done everything in the sitting room so the room is ready for him. I hope he will arrive really early to allow me to get to work as things are very busy at the office.

I am off work on Wednesday anyway because of the table arriving, and now, may have to take Thursday off, too. I had scheduled some time off later in November, so it is just a matter of swapping things around.

My careful shopping and arranging of deliveries has all gone a bit wrong because of this change, but hopefully, by the time IKEA deliver on Sunday, they may be able to deliver the stuff into the sitting room directly. Always hoping that the floor varnish is dry by then. Or there could be a bit of a major problem. If it all works it will be really good as the whole room can be finished in very good time.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Reindeer Pate, Weasel Coffee and News from Mykel

Further examination of the Firebox site reveals a tin of reindeer pate which somehow seems a rather cruel Christmas present. Another strange coffee appears too: this time it is Weasel coffee which has been swallowed and regurgitated by the Vietnamese weasel, apparently popular with Stephen Fry.

Bought the papers and had a good coffee at the Elephant, where they were doing some filming. Judging by the amount of kit and people I think it was a feature film.

Had an email from Mykel who is now setting up his own marketing company and popping over to France for a day or two to visit Roberto on his birthday. Nice to hear everyone is OK, and the new grandchild is doing well.

Party On - South London Rules

Left Evon's party early at about 1.30 when everything was still pretty lively. Great to see her and Kate again and much alcohol was consumed by all. Evon had a pretty loud sound system and DJ and once fuelled by alcohol, there was plenty of dancing. It was Evon's 45th birthday which made me realise she wasn't much older than Dorothy, which I had not thought about before. A guy at the party started the usual north vs south London stuff when I said I lived at Elephant & Castle. I stoutly defended Elephant. I said that though Spitalfields etc was trendy, and becoming gentrified, there was a limit to who would want to live there because it was only near the City, whereas Elephant is on the doorstep of the West End which is much more exciting, and I rambled on about Borough Market, the Eye etc. before discovering he did not even live in London, but Hertfordshire, wherever that is.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Christmas Past and Presents

Along with the usual bumf from the Folio Society was an offer for the Pink Fairy Book and the Blue Fairy Book. These are both gorgeously bound and illustrated, the Pink one being newly and beautifully illustrated by Debra McFarlane. I remember avidly reading all this stuff when I was between five and ten, and reading them to my son, but who would read them today? I know one or two girls between six and ten. The only things which seem to interest them is dressing up as teens, wearing makeup and adoring groups such as Girls Aloud. Maybe no one reads them apart from oldies like me, to remind them of the stories of their childhood.

I have become intrigued by the novelty items for sale from Firebox, even apart from the Borat mankini. They are selling Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup which you drop into a fizzy drink and they open out and apparently taste delicious. Then there are transparent lollipops with entire large insects inside - do I know any nasty little boys? Then chocolate shooters, which are small chocolate cups to fill with the liquor of your choice. The most worrying one is some coffee, apparently delicious, which has been eaten and 'passed' by the Sumatran Civet Cat. Really.

Birthday, Malvolio and Wood in the Hall

Decided to give Evon some l' Occitane stuff for her birthday so found a large soap and body lotion. I wrapped these in full page art reproductions from Tate etc. Glad to be recycling these. I shall try and keep myself awake with some coffee and eventually toddle off to Brick Lane for drinks. Fortunately Kate is also coming.

Malvolio has used the giant cat poo box now I have taken the flap off the front. As with the other one he is only weeing in it so far. He has also taken to pacing around the flat again. I am seriously wondering if there is a mouse somewhere which would explain his intense interest.

My neighbour tells me the wood in the hall needs to be moved tomorrow as he is having his front door repaired and the space is needed to be able to remove the door from its hinges on Tuesday. I said that Dorothy and Julian are coming around tomorrow, presumably late afternoon or early evening, and he will help them with it, but has guests for lunch so won't be able to help before.

Saturday Oxford Street

Rather a tiring trip to Marble Arch.

At first, I couldn't find Laura Ashley so I popped in to Evans where there was absolutely nothing but black and shiny party dresses. Noticing the dearth of items in my size, i.e 30 or 32, I was told that they only got one or two items in those sizes, strange for a shop specialising in large sizes.

Went on to Marks, but the clothes were a bit frumpy. However they did have 15" TVs with freeview and DVD reduced to £199, so I shall go back another time and fetch one as they will fit neatly into my new room.

When I finally made it to Laura Ashley it was a bit of a disappointment. They did not have the wall lamps I had seen online, but everything looked rather suburban and girly.

I walked into the Arabian Oud shop. Full of Eastern promise and kitschy scent bottles, the scents themselves were rather interesting and expensive. I suggested that they produce some very small sample bottles of say, four to six different scents for people to buy and try. The scents do linger a bit, which is an asset as far as I am concerned.

By this time it was lunch time so I turned into Duke Street to a tiny Italian placed, probably part of a chain, called Ponti's. Had a glass of chianti and some aubergine and vegetables with salad. Grabbed a taxi back, but a lot of streets were closed because of the State opening of parliament, so eventually had to come over Lambeth Bridge. I had a Bailey's in a chocolate cup before returning to the awful mess that I call home.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Mankini and Newsletter

Julian turned up today and helped me get rid of a huge cardboard box and tidy up a bit. The 'flu is better at last.

Idling through Firebox I see a Borat mankini and wonder who I can buy it for. I don't buy many Christmas presents as it is such a pain, but will have some cards to add to the list this year with my new found family.

Since the accountant has only just emailed saying he is turning up on Tuesday morning (thank goodness Romy can get office emails at home) when we also have the chairman popping in and a huge amount of work to do in a very short time, have been emailing Romy back and forth about sending a large mailing of a newsletter on Tuesday, and ever efficient, she has already printed the labels.

I am wondering whether the chairman would like a Borat mankini for Christmas.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Lunch, Newsletter and Social Possibilities

Romy met me for lunch today and we discussed the newsletter which is currently being produced, hopefully in a rather more jazzed-up form and with more illustration and information in it. We should be able to send it out next week.

We also discussed the possibility of using the Lye Torng as an occasional lunchtime meeting venue for the oldies. Booking in the college holidays would give us the place to ourselves and we could pick a suitable lunch menu such as chicken and chips, with a couple of Thai options for the more adventurous. These local daytime events might help define the numbers for putting on events in the future. Romy had also investigated the Queensborough centre, which would seat about 120 and there were teamaking facilities. Some kind of meal or snack, maybe a small raffle, and some entertainment are the popular options, since we could thus avoid providing bingo, which is what everyone else does. Maybe we could branch out into showing some good old films like 'Passport to Pimlico' etc. Who knows?

New Table, Old Friend and Crabby Old Bat

On my recent trip to John Lewis I finally bought a table. Solidly made, painted white and 90cm square, it easily opens out to a large size, each end opening out independently. They will deliver it next Wednesday, so now I will swap my day off work from Thursday to Wednesday.

I also bumped into an ex fellow art student, Evon. She is doing a PGCE or something, some kind of teaching qualification which takes a year. She has in fact been teaching for some time, but now she needs this qualification to teach A level and Foundation courses. She invited me to drinks for her birthday on Saturday. Am trying to get hold of Kate, another fellow student so we can go together as I shan't know Evon's recent friends as I only see her about once a year. So little in touch that I have lost both their telephone numbers and have to rely on email, as though Evon is on Facebook, she apparently doesn't use it much.

Took some Hallowe'en table scattering thingies from John Lewis back to Dorian to sprinkle on his tables last night. There were little Happy Hallowe'en signs, small black spiders and orange pumpkins. However was definitely not in the right mood later and when the doorbell rang, irritatingly twice while I was staggering rather painfully upstairs , I had forgotten Hallowe'en and when faced by a small masked Trick or Treater, said 'no thanks' and shut the door in it's face. I really am getting old and crabby.