Sunday, 31 August 2008

Brixton Party and Garden

My old friend from UCH, Catriona, came here bearing some lovely fresh figs and nectarines from Walthamstow. We sat and chatted for a bit before leaving for Roxy's party in Brixton. Apparently two friends of Roxy's had birthdays that day, and there was some confusion about who could come when, so Roxy was having open house from 2.30 until late in the evening. In the cab, I discovered I had stupidly left my purse at home when changing bags, so Catriona stumped up a tenner for the taxi fare. We met some of Roxy's friends and relations, but as we did not know them had a bit of a problem working out which of them were couples. Roxy's garden needs a makeover, having cleared a lot of weeds. The men were all suggesting pouring concrete over, but since the previous concrete had all cracked and broken, this seemed a bit of a waste to me. I think if it were my garden I would get rid of one of the beds at the back and maybe put a few cement tiles, and create a large area with beds on three sides, maybe raised up at the back, then just clear it all up a bit and put some huge pots with fruit trees and various plants trained up against the walls and fences.

We drank some wine and nibbled a bit, chatting mainly to a guy who had retired early and was moving to Hertfordshire, having lived in Brixton for twenty years. He was quite funny with a very dry humour.

Catriona and I left at about nine and had to walk quite a way to find the station, there being no cabs around. I had worn a rather tight pair of shoes which was a big mistake, but we managed to get home in the end. I have never kicked a pair of shoes off so fast. I fell straight into bed after feeding Malvolio.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Experimental Tasting

Not at all sure about the root beer. It is quite sweet, and rather medicinal tasting. The Bundaberg name was interesting to me since I once met a couple in the South of France who owned all the sugar cane and rum factories in Bundaberg and invited me there should I ever find myself nearby. I think the root beer is another product from this family's portfolio. Anyway, it is quite refreshing, the bottles are too large, though satisfyingly chunky and old fashioned looking. I see that one of the ingredients is sarsaparilla which is reputed to be good for psoriasis. We shall see.

The Fentimans Mandarin and Seville Orange jigger is also a bit medicinal, but quite refreshing and contains ginger and herbs. Interestingly to me it contains Speedwell, my favourite wild flower, which I had not realised was a herb. On Googling, it seems that it is a different Speedwell.

The Roquefort and leek tarte is quite good, though not as nice as my own blue cheese tart. The beetroot falafel is quite pleasant but ordinary, the damson colour lifting it a bit.


I became a bit carried away with my internet Ocado order, and instead of buying sensible stuff, among other rubbish I purchased: a Waitrose Bistro Bacon, leek and Roquefort Tarte; Waitrose Delicatezze Beetroot Falafel; four bottles of Bundaberg Root Beer; a jar of Cassoulet Au Confit de Canard; Economil Organic Almond Drink; Fentimans Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger; Look What We Found Gloucester Pork Meat Ball; Gaea Stuffed Vine Leaves, The Food Doctor Oranic Omega Butter and Waitrose Kalamata olive and Anchovy tapenade. I must be completely batty.

My literary purchases have also been a bit crazy, in that I have discovered and purchased four books.

I shall report back on these experimental purchases later when I have sampled them.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Better Theatre

Although I was feeling rather tired, went to The Year of Magical Thinking at the National. Again there were crowds outside at what now seems to be called National Square, and some quite good kids doing a breakdancing demonstration to loud music, which was fun to watch. The performance was a monologue by Vanessa Redgrave, from Joan Didion's book about the deaths of both her husband and her daughter. The review in Time Out was not that good, but I found it fascinating,despite the rather gloomy subject. Good acting really does help.

My first husband once took Vanessa Redgrave to some garden party in Oxford in the sixties, and he told me she was very shy, though already quite famous.

After the play I thought that it is funny that even we oldies can be ageist, I remember thinking that it was so clever of her to remember all those lines at an age when some of us are forgetting which day of the week it is.

....and here are the teapots. My large hammered one, behind, needs a good clean.

Monday, 25 August 2008

New Sofa Cover and New and Mended Teapots

I am so thrilled ! Dorothy and Julia came around, and not only took my footstool cover off, plus the back and base cushion covers off my sofa for cleaning, but also put the other, washable covers on. It looks like a new sofa. The cover is called 'sand' and is a beige colour with a slight nap like fake suede. It tones very well with the floor.

I am a genius. Having purchased a bargain batchelor teapot on Ebay to replace the one broken by my cleaner, I felt emboldened to try and mend my teapot. I attacked it with a hammer in the garden and it is virtually back to normal apart from a couple of tiny dents so will again be a serviceable large teapot. Hooray! I decided it would cost more than I paid for it to have it mended by a jeweller.

Had a very good green curry for lunch in Lye Torng. As I was leaving I saw a large police van and several police collecting large numbers of junkies who congregate near the refurbished childrens playground to score drugs. Thank goodness they are getting rid of a few of them at least.

End of Olympics and Necklet

Dorothy and Julian have visited Dorothy's grandmother again. They just missed Madeleine, who had visited a little earlier.

The Olympics have finished and we won 19 gold medals, a pretty good show. I watched a bit of the closing ceremony on TV. I tried taking a couple of snaps but the focus was hopeless. I think I have developed rather unsteady hands as part of the ageing process. It has some interesting effects though (above).

I have more or less finished Romy's bracelet, and emboldened by my efforts, have now done a necklet which looks a bit daft, but I like it. Basically I had a rather nasty old enamel necklet from the sixties, which I covered in gold scraps and beads etc, including a few bits of an old watch. I will have to wear it with something very plain, as it is a bit over the top

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Hangers and Bangles

The package from Royal Mail finally arrived on Tuesday, my neighbour collaring the postie to extract it from him. I have used all the hangers and now need a small cupboard in the sitting room for Dorothy to use as a stand for my CD player. Dorothy bought this for my use in Barcelona, and it has been stored since I returned in 2003.

Romy is in Hayling island with the punters. Strangely, Shane Hampsheir, our pensioner pin-up, was singing in the first night cabaret there. Hmmmmm..... I do hope the weather holds out. If not, at least the place is large and covered, with plenty of places to sit around in, and an indoor pool and jacuzzi for the intrepid. If the weather is fine, there are large and beautiful gardens to wander around, and a decent sized outdoor pool by the river estuary.

It is the bank holiday weekend. I may stagger out for a bit, but am quite busy decorating a bangle for Romy (above, almost finished), and redecorating another two coloured ones.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Missing Parcel

Royal Mail has failed to deliver again and has not answered my complaint. Hopeless.

Saw my ex-mother in law, who had perked up a bit, but did not enjoy the madeira, so I left it for her to offer visitors. Madeleine is going to try Bailey's next, and if no luck with that, maybe some advocaat, as a desperate measure. Her flowers were all dead, so I sent some more which should arrive on Tuesday. Madeleine and I had a pleasant cream tea at a little place in White Hart Lane called Orange Pekoe.

Julian and Dorothy are so kind - bought me masses of hangers, a new uplighter for the bedroom and some new curtains for my spare room. I can put these up when I have a rod from which to hang them. I have now used all the hangers, and will have to sort my clothes out a bit and throw out some old things.

Friday, 15 August 2008

waiting in all day for nothing

The bedding has arrived. I have also ordered some quite fancy bedding for when I want to dress the bed up. They tried to deliver a package here on Tuesday, so I tried to get a redelivery online for today. Royal Mail of course. Predictably it didn't arrive though I stayed in all day, annoyingly, so I have complained yet again.

I am now awaiting a rather jazzy leopardskin velvet jacket for any parties I may go to in winter, some more clothes from La Redoute, the new fancy bedding and whatever Royal Mail have so far failed to deliver. Will wait in for a bit tomorrow but have to go to Borough Market for a bit of shopping. I will leave a note on the door and hope they will try the neighbours if they come when I am out. All this is why I have not yet bought any more hangers.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Stuff and Nonsense

Tried two shops for hangers at Elephant & Castle and the quality is awful. I don't have time to go to IKEA so shall try John Lewis. Over half of the clothes from La Redoute have arrived. They are of reasonably decent quality, all fit and look OK. My Jo Malone Red Roses cologne has also arrived. I am still waiting for the rest of the clothes and the quilt from QVC which will replace a quilt I tried unsuccessfully to dye.

Spoke to Madeleine who is meeting the lawyer about the power of attorney thing tomorrow. Her mother is sounding a bit more perky after her sleeping pill dose was halved, fortunately. Maybe this will help her appetite a bit. We are both going to see her on Saturday but haven't made the final arrangements about where and when to meet.

It was fine for a couple of hours this morning, so I managed to spend a short while sitting in the garden, but then it clouded over and became quite stormy.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Vanity and Cat Envy

Some of the hangers.What caused my strange interest in hangers was that I have just purchased what will no doubt be my entire winter wardrobe (maybe bar a coat and some boots) and have decided to put all my clothes in proper colour groups. So far I have done black and navy, but hangers have nearly all been used. I may need to purchase a new flat to put the lot in. I already have a wardrobe and a large bar on the downstairs landing full, and am rapidly filling a second wardrobe.

I have, or rather had, two very pointy pairs of shoes, the points extending an inch beyond my big toe. I have tripped and fallen twice wearing these, but otherwise they are desperately comfortable. I took it into my head that I could simply cut the ends off and make them into peep-toe shoes. So far I have (with difficulty) achieved this with one pair and intend to attack the other pair soon. Fired with the spirit of experiment, I shortened a black pair of soft leather boots into ankle boots, and so they are quite cute, with long black fringes all round. Very Gok Wan. My friends tell me that teenage girls interested in fashion usually do this kind of thing. Tragic really at my age. And at seventeen stone. I suppose, that having rather given up on the main event (my body - the entire torso) I have taken to concentrating on limbs and other components, i.e. face, head, hair, arms, hands, legs, feet, neck etc which can be painted or adorned. This may explain my rather excessive interest in jewellery.

I am so envious of Malvolio, who just strides around with effortless gorgeousness in his soft black fur.

After Bear left, I did a bit of shopping. I was really looking for some wooden hangers, but the Woolies ones were a bit rubbish. Must get some IKEA ones. I have painted lots of these with acrylic paint in 'folksy' designs and have become rather fond of them, so want to do all my hangers in the same way. It is really easy - I just sand them down a bit before painting a background colour, then applying blobs or stripes or whatever you like. Being acrylic paint they dry quickly. I was rather worried about the paint chipping off when I first did them but it doesn't as I did the last lot a couple of years ago and they are still fine.

Anyway, a bit later in the afternoon I saw lots of men in yellow jackets, a fire engine at the end of the road and some police all dashing down the road surrounding this car. Not sure whether it had crashed the barriers and fallen over the new gas pipes or what, but it was a bit dramatic for a while. Such excitement in our small street.

Bear in Action

Bear fixing my jasmine plant to train over the door against the wall. He and Pippa, the 'creative director' did a fantastic job. I really must have him back every few months to tidy up.

Bear Garden and Relative Visit

My nephew Bear has completely transformed my back garden. He has got rid of the rubbish and trimmed everything back, so the place seems twice the size, as well as getting rid of all the weeds between the paving stones. if the weather ever improves I shall spend as much time there as I can in future.

Dorothy and Julian went to the nursing home in Putney to visit their grandmother, who, although she recently opted to move there, is understandably finding it hard to have such a huge change and to settle in. Julian said that there is a rather harsh central light in the room which shines into her eyes, and that the side lights are a bit dim if the central light is turned off. There is a bedside touch light, but Julian felt that one of the IKEA lamps with a dimmer would be a good option as these can be turned up or down to any level without producing glare, and they are looking into this. Also, from the bed it is hard to see anything much. When looking ahead there is a blank wall, and when turning, just the corner of a wardrobe. Julian felt that a painting should be put where it could be seen from the bed, which would mean making a hole fairly high in the wall there. Julian is always keenly observant, and seems able to notice and understand all kinds of things that no one else would even think about. We shall see. I was going over there tomorrow but Madeleine has persuaded me to leave it until next weekend, and then to go over with her.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Gas and Garden Rubbish

Day off. I stayed in all day waiting for the men to disconnect, then reconnect the gas in my flat and upstairs. Finally the work was done.

Bear is coming tomorrow to get rid of all the rubbish in my garden. I may ask him to put my Gilbert & George poster back in the kitchen. i have also discovered that I can take the clippings to the council place in Manor Way free tomorrow. At last my garden will be free of rubbish.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Noisy Workmen Outside.

Another dreary day. I have decided I prefer the pale lavender colour of tanzanite to the premium colours. I have a premium stone in a ring somewhere which is quite nice, though I can't find it at the moment. I have purchased a pendant with some earrings and a silver tanzanite ring. Maybe I shall become a genteel old lady wearing lavender - some chance.

Have just bought some Tulip glitter gold to make Romy's bangle when she gives me the gold bits for this. She has some fool's gold, pyrites which I will have to hammer down to slightly smaller sizes.

I found some frozen blackberries for £1 a box in Tesco - a promotion, so I bought two packets, reduced, sweetened and strained, pressing the pulp until I obtained a coulis. I have frozen most of this but am keeping a bit in the fridge to pour on puddings. Occurred to me that a simple baked apple might be quite good with some of this poured over, and some cream. Could also be used with the raspberry feuillantines in the absence of raspberry coulis.

The workmen are incredibly noisy outside, working later than usual. Yesterday they left at 3pm, it is now 3.50pm.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Quiet Sunday

It was a bit dull today. Nevertheless I went to Elephant & Castle to see the Carnaval procession. Unfortunately they had changed the starting point to Elephant Road, and diverted the traffic down Walworth Road, which caused a rather large pile up of traffic since they were letting buses down the road. I looked out at the crowds and decided to give it a miss this year.

Instead I sat around drinking coffee for a while before shopping in Tesco's to buy a few things and came back home. The Lye Torng is now closed on Sunday. I did some washing and made a fresh loaf of bread, using a recipe for yoghurt bread which came with the Easy - Yo yoghurt. I shall report back on this later.

I hope Romy is coping all right with the punters in Eastbourne. She has sent a text to say they had settled in well last night. I do hope the weather perks up a bit, though the forecast is not brilliant.

Dorothy and Julian may call around later.

Bag Lady Is A Chav - Official

Had a very pleasant couple of hours with Madeleine outside the National Theatre watching a latino band called Merengada. There was a great atmosphere with people dancing and quite a crowd around, some hanging over the balconies, and even people watching from Waterloo Bridge.

Then Madeleine went home and I went to see 'Afterlife' by Michael Frayn.

I lasted about ten minutes before I started nodding off. A trumpet fanfare kept me awake right at the beginning, but when I realised that this was a morality play kind of within a morality play, full of stageiness and repetition, I became slightly comatose.

The last straw was the rhyming couplets throughout. I slipped out rapidly at the interval.

I felt I had found my level when I sat down to watch Big Brother on TV, sighing with relief to be back at home in my messy flat. I rang Dorothy to confess my failure to appreciate high culture and my embrace of the lowest kind of entertainment. Malvolio curled up beside me and my world was complete.