Saturday, 31 January 2009

Lazy Sunday (I hope)

Sunday. Julian and Dorothy's anniversary. I always remember them standing at the top of the stairs at Chelsea Registry Office on that sunny day, looking so sweet together with Madeleine throwing confetti over them. Chris and Victoria gave them such a lovely bunch of beautiful flowers, later recorded by Julian in a super little painting. This was given away to a mutual friend but here is a not very good snap of it - I was always very fond of it. We were all living together in those days with two cats and several goldfish.Julian made a little pond in the garden for the goldfish which required many hours of digging. It was certainly a full house.

I often get a bit tearful early in the mornings. This has been the case for many years and I have come to the conclusion that my hormonal or my blood sugar levels are probably low first thing in the morning, because this always improves after an hour or so.

Although I fed Malvolio at five pm last night, he was kind enough to let me sleep until 7am this morning, which is a bit of a bonus. It is freezing cold outside apparently, and not that warm inside, either. I am glad I brought the old fire upstairs as I will certainly need it this winter.

I am very keen to get painting but must keep drawing for a bit longer to try and improve my draughtsmanship. I am also nervous about painting, but tell myself I am only doing it for fun! so it doesn't matter if it is totally incompetent. After all, I have done the classes - degree, and so on, so now I can just enjoy it without having any other goal.

I am looking forward to ringing Nibby later. There has been a heat wave in Australia with lots of bush fires, which is a bit worrying, but I hope Kangaroo Valley hasn't been affected.

Here's a sodding bunch of flowers.

Sketchy Efforts

I shall have to stop communicating with my family - we always end up by arguing.

Did some more sketches today - still crap - but worked out I haven't done anything for about 12 years, so probably not surprising. Tried doing a few from the telly and some bits in the room, plus Malvolio's head (above).

Pitmen Painters was very good, but every time they changed scene which was frequently, they seemed to do the same thing as Hytner in the History Boys, i.e. bang around with stuff projected along the back of the stage and various light effects and explosions, which tended to put me off what was going on, but I suppose did keep me awake during the second half, though it got boring. It was worth seeing, though there was the usual dreary middle-class crowd, laughing loudly and knowingly at anything mildly amusing. I am really turning into a grumpy old woman.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Glory Land

I may have mentioned my new mini-obsession with Dock Boggs, an American folk singer I heard on a BBC4 programme recently. The tune that made me sit up and listen was 'glory land' which I now have on my Doc Boggs CD.

I was supposed to lunch with the SE1 lunch club and really looking forward to meeting them at the Royal Oak, but had a bit of a tummy upset so thought it wiser to abstain, particularly as I am going to the theatre tonight. So strange: after I saw 'Cage' my neighbour was due to see it, then when I told him I was seeing 'Pitmen Painters' tonight he told me he is seeing this too next Wednesday and was at uni with someone involved in it.

Keeping up the sketching. Don't know whether it is old age or blindness, but all the marks seem to be very crude and forceful. Will have to chill out a bit.

Surprise Lunch

As I am now poverty-stricken, Romy insists on paying for lunch. She found a good deal at Cantina Vinopolis, so we prepared to walk around the corner and take advantage of this. However, when booking on Toptable, she pressed the wrong button, and booked at the Cantina at Tower Bridge, so there was a quick taxi dash. The lunch was very good indeed, and we had spotted a rather good looking large boat on the river outside. Romy rang the number displayed on the side, so we shall probably book a trip from Tower Pier for the punters, including lunch or tea. There is a minimum three hour hire fee, so lunch may be the thing. A lucky find and quite an adventurous lunch, so we can still try the right Cantina at some stage.

My ex sent me quite a friendly and funny postcard (above), but I really can't put up with any more scenes and difficulties with the rest of the family, so I have drafted a letter and sent to the others for comments before I post it. I expect he will still turn up from time to time, but hopefully at considerably rarer intervals.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Vampire and Bottom Mouths

I was reading my Diana Athill. She writes amusingly about an older woman who would insist on wearing scarlet lipstick, which got all over her front teeth and spread to the deep furrows on the outside of her lips, giving her a look of a vampire torn away from it's prey mid-meal.

Nibby also made me laugh. She had been frantically whistling for a lost dog: 'I whistled for hours and it was so bad the lines around my mouth became really deep, so my mouth looked like a bottom'.

Touch wood my 'around the mouth' lines aren't too bad yet, but I do have to watch the lipstick a bit.

p.s. Nibby would never say 'anus'.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Moveable Children

Back again! don't know what happened there, but internet is now back.

My ex told me something I thought was very strange when he turned up on Sunday. It seems that when he was only one year old, his parents divorced and he was sent to live with his father and his new wife for two years. When the new wife got pregnant he was sent back to live with his mother and her new husband who had a daughter two years later. When this marriage broke up, he was left with his stepfather and sister until he was around 12 or 13, and his mother, who had remarried again, was now living in England having moved from their native South Africa, and eventually sent for him to live with her there. She then had four more children from her final marriage. I did know most of this, but was surprised that he was left as such a small baby with his father and later with his stepfather. A bit of a 'pass the parcel' existence. He told me that his mother had been very young, and suspects she may have become pregnant, necessitating the first marriage. He must have hardly known his mother until he was much older. I always felt he put her on a huge pedestal, and maybe this is why.

My own childhood was a mobile one: my father having left my mother, who remarried and had my sister. We lived all over the place, from Devon to Cambridge where my first stepfather was doing his degree after the war, to London, then a few years in Trinidad, West Indies where my stepfather worked in the oil business. Then that marriage split up, and my mother brought us back to England and remarried, living in London, Farnham in Surrey, and eventually on the Wirral peninsula, where my brother was born when I was 17. So we were rolling stones. But the one constant in my life was my mother and my sister, and much later, my brother, and despite all the moves, I always had my mother and family so I was very lucky.

Goodbye from Baglady

Unfortunately my internet connection at home has broken down somehow, which is really annoying. I shall not be posting for a while, which may come as a relief for any reader I may have.


Monday, 26 January 2009

Painting Corner

Tea and sympathy about my horrible day from Dorian, who may apply to be a trustee of the charity. I also tried the chemist, but he is too busy with his career as a magistrate, which I had encouraged him to take on years ago. I may try one of the local GPs. We shall see.

With the lack of money for dust sheets I found some old sheets which will do, and made a painting corner. Malvolio was inordinately interested in this, rolling all over the sheets and then I realised they had come from the linen chest where his catnip had been sprinkled. I may have to hang some plastic sheeting on the nearest wall to protect it but will try and be less messy than I have been in the past. I am still only sketching but want to be prepared to put paint to paper or canvas soon.

A long chat with Kat about Roxy. We agreed that she was one of the most trusting people we had known, which had not always worked in her favour.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Mea Culpa (No Doubt)

No call from my ex, who to my horror appeared at my door before I had had time to put my makeup on this morning. Because of this I did not manage to get out and buy the papers for my usual relaxing coffee break. He came bearing gifts: a copy of the Golden Ass, a catalogue from an antiwar exhibition held in 2007 at the Candid Arts Trust Gallery - Iraqi artists, and a catalogue from Winchester Art College student work published in 1995. Also some Curiosity Cola with a quarter bottle of rum to drink during the day, rather early for me. I showed him how to use the mobile which he pocketed, explaining that he was a quick learner.

Somehow we got into an argument involving the family and he suddenly became completely hysterical, shouting about how he was the 'most important music composer in this country' and how he was going to treat children who were traumatised from the Iraq war, bringing them over to this country! Unfortunately I made all this worse by pointing out that he had not worked with children for about thirty years and would need a police check and that maybe experts in this kind of mental trauma already existed. Mention of the police really set him off on a long rant. Poor chap is totally deluded. At this point I realised that he might become violent and that I had provoked him too much, so I offered him some tea and orange cake, which calmed him down a bit. After another mug of tea and a cigarette, he eventually left at about five. Before he went, he told me that he had again seen his mother, who had seemed much better, and was the only person who really understood him.

I had to open all the windows for a long time after he left, the place smelled ghastly, and hope he doesn't appear again in a hurry. At least I might get some warning if he learns to use the mobile. I am glad he is getting on well with his mother, and hope he behaves himself when visiting her.

I then had a call from Madeleine, and after confessing my indiscretion, she said that it wasn't important and that nothing else mattered as her younger sister was very ill indeed,said she did not want to hear her brother's name again, then hung up. I passed this information to Dorothy who is apparently having difficulties at work and may be about to leave, possibly next week, because of problems with new management. In between all this I was emailing the vixens about poor Roxy's funeral arrangements.

I have had better days.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Sad Day

In all the goings-on at work I had been a bit preoccupied, but today emailed Kate about Roxy. She rang me back to say that Roxy was moved into a hospice a couple of days ago, and died in her sleep yesterday morning. I spoke to Roxy's brother who said that she had been in pain all the time when awake, but had been sleeping most of the time in the last few days. Kate was glad she had managed to see our old friend once more before the end.

I am glad for the days that Roxy managed to spend with me in Barcelona together a few years ago and will miss her badly. She was always ringing me with her latest property purchase at auction, and news about how she would redecorate and rearrange it before letting or selling. She thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of the auction and finding ways to improve her flats and houses. I did this small painting of her a few years ago in Barcelona.

Numbing Boredom

I can't believe that I have been writing this nonsense now for over two years. What a sad life I lead. It is a bit like a long shopping list - but Dorothy tells me it is all about food: a two year meal, maybe? bound to cause indigestion in any case.

Last night I watched quite an interesting programme called Folk America on BBC 4, all about the early combination of black and white music and Appalachian music. I confess to a slight obsession with bluegrass music when a teenager, and a bit of an interest in blues, but never enough to become obsessed with either. However, I was transfixed last night to hear some strange sounds from someone called Dock Boggs, and impulsively ordered a CD from Amazon. It was bizarre and primitive sounding music, but somehow very familiar - something to play on the new CD player if it arrives.

I have had no reply from my card to my ex, inviting him around tomorrow to learn to use a mobile, which is rather a nuisance as I don't know if he is coming. I suppose unless I hear from him I shall assume he isn't, or perhaps hasn't received the card. We shall see, but I have no intentions of hanging around the house all day on the off-chance. Unless it is pouring with rain.

Shoe Rack

Dorothy tells me the shoes on my rack have been displayed the wrong way, so I have changed them and they do look a bit better. But two pairs have really interesting soles - so I have put these on to show these, i.e. the 'wrong' way.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Good Party and Bad News

Job done! Romy collected me and we arrived at the hall. Unfortunately, to fit everyone in, the caterer had laid the tables in three huge long rows which did make it a bit hard for people to get in and out, which was quite interesting when people decided to walk around having a chat over a friend's shoulder while the waitresses struggled to collect plates and so on. Our new chairman rendered an interesting version of 'Danny Boy' and was dutifully applauded, the band was very popular, and the raffle went very well. I was home by about 5pm.

I must try and get some dust sheets today - decided that the whole music thing was too technical for me to deal with and ended up purchasing a portable radio/tape/CD player from Amazon which may arrive today. At least I shan't have to worry about whether to get floor speakers, and where the put the whole thing.

The news is rather depressing: it seems that when John Travolta's son was dying in the ambulance, the staff were photographing the boy and later tried to blackmail John Travolta over selling him the photographs. In Mexico where the drug related deaths had doubled since the year before, a man had been arrested for drug crime and confessed to 'melting' over 300 bodies by putting them in holes in the ground on a building site and pouring sulphuric acid on them - he was known as 'the stewmaker'.

All rather dismal.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Spotty Face, Successful Meeting, Missing Dorothy, Faint Hearted Painter and Punters Party

I never thought I would get spots at my age. I have been eating too many chocs and it has definitely brought them on. My face is now smeared in toothpaste which helps dry them up and I shall have to put an inch of makeup on tomorrow to cover them up.

Last night was our first meeting of the year, and all went well. We elected a new chair and vice-chair and did a lot of business including giving a generous grant to a small local organisation, which was satisfying. I don't think I was home before 11pm so Malvolio was a bit sour and very hungry. Then I woke up at 6am this morning, but made Malvolio have his breakfast after seven to make a sufficiently large gap between his insulin doses, which were still probably too close together. Well, he seems OK tonight.

I had not heard from Dorothy despite lots of emails so sent my usual 'are you ok?' text to no avail, so rang Dorothy who had been very busy dealing with tax matters and stress etc. etc. It seems the whole speaker and CD thing is very complicated and I should have something called an ipod, but since i cant even get the cds to work with the computer, I think I may give up on the whole thing and try to find a CD player, something we used to call a funkbox. Otherwise I shall have a huge collection of CDs which I have never heard.

The art materials have arrived, except the paint which should come in the next day or two so I shall have to purchase some dust sheets. I have not ventured near the sketch book again but must have another go soon, despite disappointing results.

Punters party tomorrow. I have masses of super raffle prizes to bring upstairs before carting off when Romy arrives to collect me. It will be a fairly full-on day, which I hope will be a success. Not sure what to wear yet.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Obama Fever and Face Cream

Tuesday. Obama is being sworn in as American president today. The inauguration is at 12 sharp in Washington. On radio 4 they were interviewing some people who said that despite the bad state of the economy there, the memorabilia trade was doing very well indeed, as people were rushing to buy anything marking the historic occasion to hand down to their grandchildren. Yesterday they were interviewing Obama's stepmother who lives in England. She has now become a celebrity in her local bingo hall, signing autographs and so on. She is invited to the inauguration and is very excited about it. An unenviabletime to become president though.

When it was televised the vast crowds were amazing to see.

Running out of the Solace Aromatherapy organic violet leaf face cream, and not finding any more on their website, I ordered some aloe vera anti-wrinkle face cream with hyacinth and violet leaf essential oils from Healing Hands Organic Aromatherapy on Ebay. These hand-made creams are very good, extremely reasonable and contain no rubbish. To obtain more of this cream I can ring Tracey in Sutton Coldfield, which may be handy if it disappears from their site.

One Pot Cooking - (again)

A mutual friend went to see Roxy yesterday. She is still very unwell, but managed to say she might be having some experimental treatment. I do hope she feels better soon.

It was a quiet Sunday. Read the papers and had some capuccino at the shopping centre and popped into the Lye Torng later.

I found some ham in the freezer left over from Christmas, cut into fat slices. I purchased some vegetables, half-filled my stockpot with stock and chucked in a couple of sliced onions, three cloves of garlic, two bay leaves and two cloves. I then cubed the ham and put that in with some carrots, broccoli, about four handfuls of frozen peas with a small amount of mint and a handful of parsley. I checked the seasoning and simmered for half an hour. Using a draining spoon I removed the solid things - ham, peas etc, and had this for lunch with potatoes on the side. I shall reheat the pot tomorrow and do the same again. In Catalunya, as I have mentioned before, there is a similar dish with different meats called Carn d'Olla, where the liquid is served with some pasta shapes as a soup, and followed by the meats and dumplings as a main course. Quite a good meal using one pan, and frugal but nourishing. The nice thing about using ham is that the liquid remains very clear, and there is the option to add more ham, and perhaps a little sauerkraut at a later stage. I shall be adding some of the liquid to give a ham flavour to some split peas which I shall cook today.

I have found some good designer frames on Ebay which are very cheap. Also some opticians who make up glasses very cheaply if you can provide your prescription. Single vision lenses only probably. I have also managed to find some chandelier prisms for £1 each on Ebay, so will be hanging some in the window when they come.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Old Fashions

This is the 'Mrs Exeter' look on a Vogue cover from 1948 which I think is so cool. It reminds me of those smart older women who always wore hats and furs from my youth. There was an unwritten rule that you couldn't wear furs until you reached a certain age - now you can hardly wear them anyway - though there are some not too bad fakes around. She does look a bit snotty though - and it is obvious that to have this look - the opposite to mine! - you have to be about six feet tall and extremely thin. Oh well.

After putting my oranges and roses in cardboard boxes with some cloves and mixed spices, I have been thinking about making some more pomanders. The ones I made years ago still give off a waft of perfumed air as I pass by.

I am still awaiting the redelivery of art materials which should come on Tuesday. Tomorrow is Sunday and I am anticipating a quiet day, with maybe a trip to Marks. Or not.

I have managed to find a cheap mobile for my ex in Superdrug which cost only £15. I have registered it to his address and his name but chosen a password, though if it gets pinched it won't cost much to replace anyway. I think I shall write out some simplified instructions for use as he has no idea how to use a mobile or look after it. Having said that, it took me a long time to get the mobile registered and put in my number so he just has to press a button in the middle to show this.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Daily Trivia

Saturday. It is absolutely pouring outside. Kat and I feel absolutely powerless about Roxy, so it is a matter of just waiting for an improvement. The flowers from Kat will have arrived on Thursday.

Not looking forward to work next week, a major meeting (if there's a quorum, otherwise we will call it a working party) next Wednesday night, and the big annual punters party, lunch for over 100 and afternoon entertainment etc. on Friday. Just hoping it won't be too cold or pouring with rain on Friday. Rain is forecast for the next three days.

A bit frustrated with the lack of art materials, so may pop around to the local art shop and see what I can find. The main problem is the lack of a drawing board so I can't use the easel. We shall see.

A very successful lunch club meeting, with Gillian, Plum, Nomad and Juliet at Nawaz. I think the food there has improved. The menu is limited, but for £5.99 for the buffet, one can hardly complain. Juliet had to rush back to work as usual, but we repaired to the Miller for a couple of bottles of wine, which was good fun.

Had a guy around on Friday morning who is going to quote us for an entryphone. I do hope we are able to have one, since my doorbell never works and I may have two internal phones, of which a downstairs one will be particularly useful.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Cash Buyer Discovered in London Garden

Romy has surprised me yet again. She said that she heard a strange noise outside her house last night, and looking out she saw people getting out of a van on to her garden, which does not have a fence. She went outside to see what they wanted and they summoned the van driver, who turned out to be a man who had previously been interested in buying her house. They had come to put some stuff in storage in the garage at the back of the houses. "I've just sold my house so I am ready to buy yours" he said to a surprised Romy "I am a cash buyer, shall we shake on it now?"

Romy has recently spent a lot of time and money improving her place, and said she would have to consider the offer. She told me that if the offer was enough, perhaps she might accept it and rent a place for the time being, and maybe buy at some stage later. She is still thinking about it and may show the place to her prospective buyer.

In these days of credit crunch when no agent seems to be able to sell anything, only Romy finds people wandering about her garden at night and making sudden cash offers for her house.

Baglady the Ancient One

I have been reading a slim volume: 'Somewhere Towards the End' by Diana Athill who is 89. It is very interesting and refreshing to read something from the viewpoint of someone who is very old. Thoroughly recommended for anyone over fifty, but also should be read by younger people. She mentions how Vogue invented an older woman "Mrs Exeter" in the late forties and started putting older women into clothes with fashionable shapes and colours which suited their age. Among the many things she tackles, work, sex, occupation etc. she describes fashion in an interesting way. I have been seeking 'older' clothes recently, and perhaps it is this look I have been seeking. These days there is still a desperate seeking to look 'young' which becomes rather pointless for people in their sixties. Mind you, being skinny, tall and old rather than fat and short would have been helpful in the clotheshanger stakes.

Anyway - I think I shall become an Ancient One and vote for all things Old.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Missing and Broken Art Materials

Back to the orifice again. All fairly well, and managed a very enjoyable lunch at the Boot & Flogger yesterday. Spent most of the afternoon investigating possible outings for the punters and possible ideas and venues for the Christmas party next year. Romy has found another old-fashioned railway, this time in Kent who do a four hour trip with a three course lunch, which sounds very promising.

Arrived home to find my parcel of art materials. But on opening, only some canvases and a sketch book were inside plus two damaged pieces of what had been a much larger drawing board. I emailed the company who had apparently sent everything I had ordered, i.e. paints, brushes, drawing board clips, an A1 drawing board etc. I suspect that Parcelforce had thrown the parcel around and that all the other pieces had dropped out. How they managed to break the drawing board, which is very heavy (I know, when I opened the parcel a piece fell on my foot and really hurt!) and just put two bits back into the parcel is beyond me. Anyway I took a snap of the broken bits (above) and sent to the sellers, Artifolk, who responded very quickly, and will replace all the missing stuff and take it up with Parcelforce. Very disappointing. Strange because despite the problems I have had with Royal Mail, Parcelforce have always been pretty reliable.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Lazy Monday with Empty Easel

I have spent a lazy day at home - did some washing and cleaning, brought my easel up and moved some furniture to get the easel into the living room. This will be my studio now. I have ordered some art materials and need something to cover the floor and some dust sheets which can be put away when necessary. I shall concentrate on simple still lifes and window views in acrylics, and some drawing. Since I haven't done any work for ages, it will be total crap no doubt. However I must prepare for what may be the imminent prospect of enforced retirement if my job situation goes pear-shaped.

My next year's tree arrived today which I will store under the stairs. I also received some more dry cat food and a product for cat fleas and other infestations.

I have discovered that drying the finely cut orange peel and rose petals, adding a few cloves and storing loosely in a cardboard box, when opened releases the most fantastic spicy orange scent. I shall eat more oranges and keep some more boxes full of these to open as a pot-pourri when visitors come - if they come! At least the place will smell good.

Hospital Visit

I went to see Roxy at the Marsden yesterday. Her brother was there with her. She is up on the fifth floor, where the windows look out on some interesting architecture with Dutch gables, which reminded me of our little eyrie of an office at UCH years ago.

Roxy was not at all well and very sleepy with a morphine drip, so I just had a few words and left some bits and pieces before departing.

Raymond kindly bought me a large drink when I alighted at the Lye Torng, which was gratefully received. I sent a mail to our mutual friend Kat, who will either visit or send some flowers. We both feel rather helpless, but at least Roxy is in good hands, thanks to Kat's insistence on her going to the Marsden instead of her local hospital.

I was rather surprised and pleased to hear my Bing Crosby and Noel Coward playing in the Lye Torng, good relaxing music for a Sunday.

Friday, 9 January 2009


Just been looking at the website of one of my college friends - - I really like it because it's so nice and plain. It shows her progress in paintings since our college days in the mid nineties and you can see this very clearly. Margot painted my much admired 'flying granny' which is hanging in my hall. I absolutely love all her work, particularly her recent views of roofs and through windows. Looking at her works makes me want to start painting again, but I have never been able to paint and do a job as well. But we shall see. Perhaps I shall do a few sketches out of windows to get me started. I seem to remember Nibby giving me a sketchbook, though I may have passed this on to Julian. We shall see. I like Margot's website because it is very clean and simple.

Buying Raffle Prizes

Such a busy day! Romy back again. Her hairstyle is fabulous. After a bit of admin work, we decided to shop for the raffle prizes, so set forth for Fortnums's, where after much deliberation we settled on some old-fashioned sweets, some biscuits, cakes and teas, mostly in very nice tins, before setting off later for Marks & Spencer in Oxford Street. In between, we had a birthday lunch at the Criterion for Romy, which I hope she enjoyed, and I certainly did. We found masses more prizes at Marks, then totally overladen, fell into a cab to go home. Not having foreseen our shopping trip, I had worn a rather uncomfortable pair of shoes, so my feet were extremely painful at the end of the day.

There was a minor dramatic flurry when I could not find my keys, so and repaired to the Lye Torng, carting all the heavy bags, where I found the keys at the bottom of one of the Fortnum's bags. Had a quick Bailey's before a short stagger homewards.

With very little more to get, I hope this year's party will be a great success. Romy is going to order the wine and beer and bring it on the day. I am going to purchase some paper carrier bags at the local pound shop for the punters to carry the prizes home in.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Still Cold

I have missed Romy's birthday, but she sent me a snap with her new hairdo, which is very chic. Reluctantly back in the office after the Christmas break, I miss her, but she will be back soon.

Malvolio is letting me sleep until late, i.e. 7.30 which is a mixed blessing, in that I have less time to get up in the morning and would prefer not to have to rush but do like a longer sleep. Maybe I will go to bed earlier tonight.

A couple of trustees contacted me jostling for the position of Chairman. Not feeling entirely well, I left at the normal time but may get in rather late tomorrow.

It is still very cold outside, in fact I jumped in a cab to get home without walking around or waiting for a bus.

We are still rather worried about Roxy, who hasn't replied to our texts. We decided to leave things for a day or two as she may have relatives to contend with.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Bloody Cold Outside

Another Spanish cat.

Andrew put my Shane Hampsheir music on his system, so I shall give him a couple more today since the music is so awful at the Lye Torng. I am not sure about Dr Dre, but may take the Bees, Amadou & Mariam, The Kinks, Blur and Isaac Hayes hot buttered soul. We shall see.

Ordered Nibby a card from Moonpig which will arrive a bit early for her birthday. Also ascertained that I shall be able to attend the Pitmen Painters on 30 January without the ticket which I have lost. It seems this is OK so long as I get there early. Fortunately it has transferred from the Cottesloe to the Lyttleton so I shall sit in comfort.

Now I have had a good lunch (chicken Penang curry)and Lye Torng have taped my CDs, apart from Dr. Dre. They have wiped poor Shane because it wasn't up-tempo enough! So I shan't bother with taking along Bing Crosby etc.

I have purchased two further cashmere jumpers: one in pale grey and one in a beige/brown mixture. They really are nice and warm. It is still vile and freezing outside and was snowing for a short while, but not enough to settle and look picturesque.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Snap of Chocolate - and Guava Squares

The chocolate drink stuff. You need one of the sticks of which three are shown here. Heat a small mug of milk in a pan, add the chocolate and stir a lot unless you have a special chocolate maker. It has cinnamon and clover added for some strange reason. Very nice drink though. The guava squares (on the right, wrapped in banana leaves) are totally delicious, if very sweet.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Winter Warmer

I purchased some solid chocolate flavoured with cinnamon from the Latino place in the Elephant & Castle shopping centre. You break a piece off and heat some milk and stir it into the milk and it really makes a delicious cup of chocolate. I also bought some of the guava squares wrapped in dried palm leaves. I had forgotten how good they are.

I brought up my ancient Belling 'Queen Anne' fire as the weather is so very cold. It certainly belches out plenty of heat. Disposing of the living room door was maybe not such a good idea. Maybe I should get a warm velvet door curtain. We shall see.

Wore my Land's End cashmere sweater for the first time the other day. The colour is called 'blackberry' which is a blueish purple and goes quite well with navy. It certainly is very warm.

Friday, 2 January 2009


Julian's wonderful new Yves Saint Laurent boots.

Spoke to my friend Kathy who has been in touch with Evon. Rang Evon who has suggested meeting up soon and will contact me when she has arranged something with Kathy. Had an email from my little drummer friend Stephen who may want to come and stay when he is over in England for a while.

I am still faced with the tree problem. I have taken the decorations down, but the tree is looming large in my little room. I may start with some secateurs and attack the lower branches tomorrow.

Malvolio is still refusing to go out through the cat flap, so I let him out of the door and closed it, forcing him to come in through the cat flap. I do hope he will re-learn how to use it again.

Julian and Dorothy turned up to remove my tree and tidy away the decorations which was extremely helpful. They were very pleased with Madeleine's presents, and I took a small truffle from Dorothy's Artisan Chocolates which was totally delicious.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Day

A very quiet day. Madeleine turned up with a wonderful present - a food sizzler - for me. I shall become proficient in stir-fried food soon, and be able to present wonderful sizzling dishes, once I discover how to make them.

Madeleine brought some superb pink champagne and we enjoyed this with home-made bread and cheese, smoked salmon and salad and a hot dish from Marks & Spencer tasting rather like Kentucky fried chicken. Unfortunately Dorothy and Julian were rather jaded and therefore unable to join us.

Tomorrow I shall attack the tree and remove the decorations before seeing what I can do to try and dispose of it.

I have ordered a fake 6' tree covered in 'snow' from DZD for next year which will make my life easier as I shall not have to decorate it. May add some lights, though. For an authentic pine smell I shall hang a branch or wreath elsewhere in the room.