Saturday, 28 February 2009

Saturday Painter

did some mandarins (or were they clementines?) this morning. The ground looks a bit tinny but isn't really, I promise.

Keep trying!

(I may have some kind of obsessive/compulsive disease).

Friday, 27 February 2009

Lack of Progress and Ladies' Lunch

Quite an eventful day. Had just popped in to Lye Torng for a coffee and my friend Vic turned up. We had a drink and went on to the SE1 lunch club. Elsita, Plum and Nomad were there and we all enjoyed a good meal at La Bodeguita. I then showed Vic and Nomad the dress shop 'Sensational' so they know where to go for a bargain, then Vic and I came back for tea and cakes.

The weather was lovely and sunny and so spring-like that we had tea outside. I gave Vic some cake to take back for Chris, and she went back home to Hammersmith. She was quite taken with my paintings and was interested in buying some, but I said I wasn't yet ready to sell them.

I painted some bunches of bananas this afternoon and evening which was quite hard work. Annoyingly the first bunch look better than the second bunch, so I don't always improve. This picture is a bit blurry (camera shake) so may try and do another to replace it later. Or put another in somewhere else. We shall see.

Had invited my brother Tim on to Facebook and he joined, so sent him a cheery note to start him off.

Finished Terrine

here it is again with a similar ground to that on the marmite.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Terrine 1

One of my mother's 'fifties Le Creusets. She used to make a delicious pate in this terrine.

We had an interesting time at work yesterday: Romy finalised the Spring newsletter then we had a super working lunch at the tapas bar: lovely little bowls of pea soup with crispy bits of bacon and a crouton, followed by country bread toasted with tomato, and tortilla with peppers and chorizo with allioli. We discussed the benefits of various river cruises for the punters, and decided to take a taxi around several of the possible departure points to test for access. We did this, and Romy leapt out of the taxi and rushed about while I sat in the taxi and studied the brochure, feeling rather guilty. Interestingly there seem to be only a couple of places which are fully accessible to disabled people. There are other places with level access, but because buildings are in the way, taxi or other transport can't get near enough to the river. Romy had the rather brilliant idea of having the punters next Christmas party on the river, but first we shall try a trip in the summer with lunch on board.

Long Flowering

The white orchid I had bought for Julian and Dorothy is still flowering. I bought it for their anniversary, but they said their flat was too dry and the flowers would die immediately. My flat must be very damp as the flowers are still in bloom. I had not realised they would stay in bloom for so long, weeks and weeks. I shall definitely buy orchids again.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Just realised it is Shrove Tuesday - pancake day. In the old days I used to make them for Dorothy and put sugar and lemon on them. In later years Julian used to make little Russian ones for us all.

I am so tired, I had to get a cab back from work. I am trying to stay awake to watch 'Come Dine' at 9pm, but fear I will have to go to bed even earlier. My ex came to collect his things, and we had a rather awkward little exchange on the doorstep.

Malvolio is being rather sweet and dozing off next to me in front of the television. So comforting to have a cat to stroke.

Morning After

Managed to find a cab quickly in Long Lane so was home by 12.30. It was interesting meeting people from different countries and hearing their impressions of London, and of Southwark. It seems that our humour does not always travel: Lisa did not enjoy 'Little Britain' or 'The Green Room', favourites in UK. She told us about a short movie which many Germans and some Swiss people watch on DVD before they go out on New Year's Eve. It is called 'Dinner for One' and is all about some batty old lady and her butler. Seems it is a great favourite. I may try to see this to see if us Brits find it funny. Madeleine always refuses to go out on New Year's Eve, so maybe I shall send her a copy, and she can watch in solitary splendour.

Monday, 23 February 2009

First Dinner Party

Hurray - quel triomphe - a historic occasion - the first ever SE1 forum dinner party has occurred!

The wines were totally fabulous - as anticipated from our group: 'the winos' - it was fun trying entirely new wines provided by Lisa, Jo and David - and the food, if I may say so, excellent. My starter, despite its trials, actually tasted very good, the main course was Marlene's pork from Ginger Pig in Borough Market with cabbage and a wonderful medley of roasted vegetables, including miniature new potatoes, garlic cloves and chestnuts, and for pud we had Sidi's brilliant and highly professional lemon tarts, presented with candied twists of lemon on top and aided by a 'flame thrower' in the kitchen - impressive stuff. This was all in the setting of our host Marlene's stylish flat in Borough, which added to the sense of occasion.

A great success and a hard act to follow, but I am looking forward even more keenly to next month now - all I have to do is solve the problem of which dessert to provide.

Fish Tart

It looks okayish - trouble is I would have to destroy it to taste it, so may just hope for the best. If it doesn't slice well I do have a small pastry cutter so I could do little circles - I hope it slices though. I feel I shall have to apologise for it in advance. Never had fish tart before!

I have now cut it into little circles, leaving enough to taste it. It is really quite OK. I have made more mayo using peanut oil with a bit of olive oil, two cloves of garlic crushed in, a bit of dill and some lemon instead of vinegar. I intend to serve it on small plates with lemon quarters, a little pool of mayo, some sprinkled brown shrimps and a small bit of dill on the side. I hope the others like it. It seems I have inadvertently invented a new dish. As long as I don't knock the containers over on the way there!

Continuing Tragedy

It gets worse - I decided it would be difficult to serve the salmon, so made some pastry, put in another beaten egg and have now added parmesan and put the whole mess in a pastry crust to cook. I have my doubts about it. If this also fails, nothing but a quick dash to Tesco's will do.

Kitchen Mess

Oh dear. I should never have agreed to take part in the dinner party thing. I had some very expensive wild alaskan salmon which I attempted to gently poach today. Suddenly horrible white curds arose and also coated the salmon. I fished the pieces out and skinned them. When I cut them in half they were also rather raw, so I microwaved the pieces, just for about one and a half minutes, and they came out really overcooked and tough, and unservable, though the flavour was fine. The obvious thing to do at this stage would have been to chuck the lot and buy some more from Tesco's. It's a wartime inherited thing and I can't bear to waste the food. I made some mayo which tasted very bitter as I had used olive oil. I mixed it half and half with Hellman's which improved it a bit. I then chucked it in the food processor with the salmon, which made a stiffish puree. I added some lemon juice and dill, and it was still rather bitty, so chucked in half a large greek yoghourt. This has rendered it edible. If I was good with gelatine and had some moulds I could have made a mousse, but I am not. I may try and find six small pots to put it in, and sprinkle brown shrimps on top with a bit of dill and a pinch of paprika to tart it up a bit. Why do I do these things ? Who could go wrong poaching a few pieces of salmon?

Cooking is really not my forte. I shall stick to painting the pots. Having said that I made quite a good stock pot last night, full of vegetables and boiling bacon. Had some last night and it was excellent.

Revised Cooking Pot

I looked at the 'real' marmite again and realised I had somehow made it much larger and in particular, much more bulging at the base. I did not like the blue ground either, so overpainted this and adjusted the propertions. Here it is, though you can't see the paintstrokes in this snap.

First Cooking Pot

This is a bit vibrant - it was slightly turned and I have rounded the tiny handles a bit. The ground is actually darker than it appears in this snap. The real marmite is actually quite small - only about 7" high, but contains enough for at least two to three people. I don't know whether my mother bought this in the fifties when she bought most of her Le Creuset, or purchased it later, but it is a really cute little pot and quite unusual.

Tonight is the first SE1 dinner party. I do hope all will go well. Already, one of the diners is already unable to make the March party, though we had seven days to choose from, so will have to find a replacement diner. This should not be a problem as we have several 'spares' each month.

My face looks like a pizza and I can't think what to wear. I have yet to make the starter, which should be simple, probably the easiest thing.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Peppers on Blue

I think this is a definite improvement. May attack the peppers themselves again some time. We shall see.

Had a chat with Nibby in Kangaroo Valley. She is preparing for an exhibition in May and another in September so is painting excitedly. She recommended me to give up the rubbish brushes and use only the best, so I may lash out on two or three decent brushes. Must also get some more canvases.


Last night it was lemons! Very difficult for me. Anyway I had an attempt. I also looked at the peppers again. One thing about these paintings, if you want to edit them you can return to them 'like a dog to it's vomit'. I picked up this lovely expression from Barbara Pym of all people - not sure whether it was in 'A Glass of Blessings'. I do love B. Pym, her books all take me back to the fifties, with it's frugality, gentility etc.Anyway - I have decided that the ground for the peppers is utterly vile, and though the lemons ground is a bit 'blue' may try this for the peppers as it is definitely rather more pleasing.

Dorothy rang last night - has been ill in bed all week and therefore unable to do the presentation at work, which is now being done next week. Dorothy and the others think they all have four weeks work before being thrown out, so I am hoping that the presentation will be extremely effective.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Peppers Done Pro Tem

have persevered with the peppers, having had lunch at the Lye Torng and exhausted other activities.

They are a bit dull and formulaic, but never mind. Should have done a baby blue background. As it is I mixed up all the colours I had used (waste not, want not) added some blue, red and white which made a very dull purple. Having sworn to stop being a spendthrift I managed to spend £20 in the art shop on materials. However, some of these were brushes and a paint knife, so will last.

I may leave the peppers for a bit. Was thinking of either painting some lemons, or indeed any kitchen items. I do rather favour mother's old petit marmite from the fifties. I have all mother's ancient Le Creuset pots, some of which are covered in dodgy looking chips and dents, but all dating back to the days when people did real cooking.

Oldage Acne

I feel like Job: my face has at least five horrible red septic spots on it. I had put it down to eating too much chocolate (or at least drinking it once or twice a day) until Malvolio woke me up this morning. It suddenly occurred to me that he spends some time nuzzling my face every day to wake me up and that he may well bring all sorts of revolting bugs in from the garden. May have to get some antibiotics from the quack, but so far I am using TCP neat on them, then disguising them a bit all day with lots of foundation and mineral powder, but it can't go on - I may acquire some horrible flesh-eating infection. I wouldn't mind a fat-eating infection, but with my luck it would be the former.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Kitschen Queen

Romy sent me a u-tube extract of Nosher Powell in some film called Eat The Rich. Rather an unsavoury display of an ageing body, but then, if Nosher is still alive he would be about 80 now.I have lived here for about 17 years and don't recall having seen him. I shall ask some of the neighbours who have lived here for much longer.

This is the start of my peppers painting. A bit crap, but 'work in progress' - my excuse being that it's only supposed to be a sketch. (Dream on, Baglady).

Still Life Maybe

Lunch at Tai Tip Mein with Nomad and Sidi. Very good. Made the sensible decision to stick to the soup today.

Took a snap of some peppers. May have a go at a still life of these or something similar.

Claim to Fame for Gaywood Street

Ocado came early thank goodness. The driver asked if Nosher Powell, apparently a very famous, large red-haired boxer, still lived in the street. I said I had not seen him, so suppose he has moved. The driver said he used to live in Hayles Street nearby and Nosher was a familiar sight in our street.

The only claim to fame our street had to my knowledge was to provide one of the locations for 'Love Actually' with Hugh Grant running down my neighbour's steps. Hmmm. Maybe there is more to discover about our street.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Slightly Irritating Thursday

Makes you sick - I spent hours tidying up and putting away my painting gear, to get back from work and discover that the cleaner hasn't turned up yet again. No phone message and she no longer has a landline and I don't have a mobile number. Ocado and the vets are delivering tomorrow and I am due at the lunch club so nothing I can do if she decides to turn up then. I really need to find someone who is reliable and can clean properly.

She has just rung up to apologise. Seems she is doing a hairdressing course. She wanted to come tomorrow but I told her that Fridays and Mondays are very inconvenient for me, so she now says that she will come on Wednesdays. We shall see.

Needless to say she rang when I was having a bit of a painting struggle. I decided I was not equal to the task and painted the canvas over in a dark green, which I shall use for a ground for a new painting. The above was the last bit of the old one.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Saw an ad inside a cab recently for something called 'Shreddies' which are pants (i.e. knickers) both male and female. These apparently are used by people with 'flatulence problems' - presumably who fart a lot. Seems they have charcoal and some other kind of linings which neutralise the pong. Very useful. You wouldn't want to receive some for a Christmas present though. Extraordinary. If you know someone with such a need, go to

I-photo and Domestic Disasters

I may need to do something escapist soon. Dorothy has sent me dozens of emails explaining how to make things on iphoto smaller. For me, not only does it not work, but I have now also forgotten how to put snaps on Facebook. I give up.

I obviously do need to get out sometimes. At least there is the SE1 dinner thingy on Monday night. Must remember not to drink too much.

AND I think the flat is falling to bits. Downstairs where I once had a leak from the bath overflow into the basement, the bit where the water came through before is bubbling up on the ceiling. I can't stand it so shall just ignore it. I suppose it could just be damp, but with the dehumidifier on 24/7 it is unlikely. AND the light in the hall has gone, too, and the new entryphone connection box is making a slight buzzing noise. I have been told it is safe, but it is on the same circuit as the light, and I am wondering if I have electric problems generally, since when I had a doorbell it hardly ever worked, sometimes for months at a time. I certainly can't afford to have the flat rewired.

Forgot to mention the letter I received from my ex-husband today which was rather sad, too. At least I am not alone in my misery.

So I need to get out more. Maybe Monday will help.

Theatre, Maybe?

It would be rather extravagant but I quite fancy seeing Imelda Staunton in Entertaining Mr Sloane at the Trafalgar Studios. At least Whitehall isn't far to go. I loved the film so maybe it is ruined in advance for me, but I shall certainly think about it. Imelda Staunton is a very good actress, so it might be OK. We shall see.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Purple Horror

It's my first experiment in painting in artificial light - not very successful, as the painting seemed to suddenly become an alarming cacophony of livid yellow and reddish purple - necessitating the application of a dirty white wash (see above) so it is now a mere shadow of its former self. I got rid of the pencils as they were driving me mad. However I shall not give up - I will work on something else so that I can put everything away for the arrival of the cleaner tomorrow - then have another attempt at it on Friday.

However I shall slack off for a bit over the weekend as I shall be concentrating on my starter and choosing what to wear for Monday's first SE1 dinner party in the Leathermarket. Since my ingredients are coming from Ocado on Friday morning, I may have to visit the Turkish supermarket in Walworth Road to buy more dill on Monday, as they sell it in huge bunches.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Still At It

I was concentrating so hard on the painting that I missed Come Dine. My attention is obviously no longer in deficit. No wonder Malvolio was clawing and whingeing at me. Poor thing, I am the cat owner from hell.

I found biro marks all over the back of my right forearm and was mystified by this until I found several biros stuck into my easel to prop paintings on - and a biro was put in facing me so it drew all over my right arm while I was painting.

I have started on a small self-portrait from a mirror reflection showing me, the easel, a few pencils and the wall opposite with a few pictures on it. I shall probably leave it looking fairly sketchy rather than overdo it like the last one. Still looks like someone else but that doesn't matter.

Music Mess, Painter's Block and Annoying Cat

I am trying not to spend money but must buy a CD holder - at the moment all my CDs and DVDs are piled up and keep falling on the floor. Such a mess. Today I retrieved Doc Boggs, The Kinks, Blur, Memories of Spain, Gadjo, the Bees, Ahmadou and Mariam, Bing Crosby, Noel Coward, Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth, and Dr. Dre which had fallen on the floor. Eclectic or what?

Malvolio has been crawling over me and tormenting me for hours. It is just before 4pm and he is not due to be fed until 6pm, after I have watched 'Come Dine with Me'. Watched most of 'Blithe Spirit' on Film 4 between naps.

I am thinking of attacking the new small canvas tonight. May do another self-portrait as my easel is close to a mirror. Not ideal, but I must keep playing with paint, though I have years to catch up on and am finding it very difficult. Bad though my last effort was, it gave me a sense of achievement to have even got through it, while being aware of the many faults.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Uphill Struggle

Dear me, I carried on at the painting and managed to make quite a mess of it. Should have left it in it's unfinished stage. I must remember to do this - the longer I work on things, the worse they get. I must leave well alone, and quit when I am ahead.

I bought a couple of the small canvases for £1. They look a bit tatty, but I shall try them first before I buy any more. They will do for practice, and if any good will make a great bargain.

Dorothy tells me they have been bowling at the Elephant & Castle shopping centre - seems it was weird but fun. I know they used to have bowling upstairs there, but thought that bingo was the only current activity. Bowling does sound a rather healthier option - and probably far less costly.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Window Shot

I have started an attempt at the window view. So far, it is decidedly dodgy, but we shall see. I am using cheap watercolour paper at £1 a sheet. Really decent watercolour paper is nearly £3 a sheet. I have just been told that the new £1 shop at Elephant & Castle is doing some stretched canvases at £1 each. They are probably quite small, but at that price need to be checked out.

Lunch (chicken Penang) at Lye Torng for £4.99. Lye Torng has had a fantastic review in something called ViewLondon which Andrew is very pleased about. Seems that Tom is not doing the newspaper cartoons every day now, just occasionally, and has a book deal for a book he wrote some time ago, and is able to spend more time concentrating on this. This is good news, as I know he prefers to work from home, though a salary reduction of course.

Dinner Menu

Pierre from Canada suggested a suitable dinner menu:

Aperitif: Oloroso Nutty Solera or Findlater's Dry Fly Sherry

Hors d'Oeuvre: shrimp, smoked oysters or devilled eggs

Soup: consomme

Entree: Lobster or Crab on the shell

Main Course: Cornish game hen (not sure, either crossed with a Rock chicken to make a miniature chicken, or not to make some great big aggressive hen), 8oz beef tenderloin steak, lamb shanks, pork butts (seems to be the top end of the shoulder)

Dessert: anything sinful.

I replied that I might find anything after the entree an impossibility. Can't remember when I last had sherry or consomme. Can't imagine serving all or any of these powerful dishes to complete strangers - not quite sure what devilled eggs are. Sounds fun though. Ah, just googled them - they are those quite boring hard boiled eggs where you cut in half and take the yolks out, season and mix with mayo, curry, whatever, then put them back. They used to serve them about 30 years ago at parties and I always used to prefer whole hard-boiled eggs, though they looked quite decorative.

First Charcoal

- and this is the charcoal one. Looks a bit squashed, but the other snap I took was more out of focus, though more in proportion as I included the whole drawing, which is a bit larger than this.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Messing with Paints

Ventured into charcoal and paint yesterday. Results somewhat dubious but I am not going to let that stop me having fun with paint - last night I recalled how much I used to like painting - though the artificial light affected everything it was still hugely enjoyable to do.

I may lash out and purchase some large paper today.

Finally I am seeing myself not as me but just as a subject - so it really doesn't matter if I look like an ogre! I am just something to draw and paint in the same way as a bowl of fruit, a vase of flowers or anything else. When I improve I shall attack the views from the windows here, which is my current ambition.

I just wish I had the discipline of Morandi, but I am just a frivolous old woman - distracted by everything in the world and need to concentrate much more on the job in hand. It is ridiculous to think I spent a year doing A level and prefoundation at college, followed by a year's foundation, then a five year part time degree, i.e. seven years training in Fine Art, only to stop doing it. I suppose to some extent all that training does make on see the world in a different way, but it is good to get back to the 'nitty gritty' of it. I should probably go to an exhibition or two, since they often seem to inspire me a little. Perhaps seeing The Pitmen Painters was good in this respect - took me back to the classroom atmostphere.

Butlins, Buying and Tai Chi

I do like this Hinde postcard of the Tropicana Heated Pool at Butlins Rockley Sands.Will have a bash at some still lifes. I have only purchased two things recently: a depiller for my cashmere sweaters which seem to bobble like mad, and a simple book on Tai Chi. I shall have a go at this in the privacy of my own home. It does look suitably sedate. My dear old mother had enrolled for classes, but died before she could start them, so maybe I should have a go, as she often had some very good ideas. Years ago, the staff of UCH were all following her advice to put Dead Sea salt in the bath for relaxation, to the extent that the local chemists were running out of supplies. The vixens wanted her to come up to London so they could sit at her feet and absorb wisdom about life. Tai Chi might suit some of our punters as it is a gentle exercise. Maybe we could get someone to do a demonstration for them at one of our functions. After all, plenty of Chinese oldies do it in the parks!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Getting a Bit Bored

Joined Twitter but no one else will - apart from one post from Pipinghot, I am twittering to myself so may forego this particular method of non-communication.

Had a go at drawing the photograph but no particular luck. I may concentrate on still lifes for a bit. I think the problem is partly that I am 'fitting in' doing a bit of drawing and never spending more than about 20 minutes at a time. I shall have to give it some 'quality time' and see what happens. Perhaps my concentration is fading with age.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Another Try

I think this one looks more like me without glasses.
If I draw this one it may turn out better. We shall see.

Just had a long chat about Dorothy's aunt with Madeleine. She is much better and it seems almost certain that her problem was an extreme reaction to an anti-epileptic drug, so they will have to change her medication. Madeleine will see her and send her everyone's best wishes - she is already having further radiotherapy which will help.

Wednesday Drawing

Had a go at that. Don't really like drawing from flat things. It is still all out of proportion. Maybe I am going blind.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Drawing from Photographs

Since I seem to look better in photographs, might try drawing from one, such as this one. We shall see. I quite like the sepia and that it is taken from above, quite a forties' look.

Looking over this blog, I shall have to include more illustrations. Every time I try to put two words together I come out with at least a dozen. No wonder poor Dorothy made me start the blog. I am such a one way transmitter.

Wednesday Morning Stuff

I have to say these self-portraits are rather depressing -still, I used to think they were awful even when I was much younger and better looking - the only thing is, at least I am 'having a go' at drawing again. I may try and find a few still life subjects. I have some gloves lying about and an umbrella - pity Malvolio is a black cat and a bit harder to draw than most, but shall persist, since he is my only model. Other cats, such as my old cats Fritz and Spitz, two gingers - one with long hair and one short, were good to draw, and despite being black, my cat Chub was excellent, being slim and very oriental with a good 'wedgy' face and bat ears. Malvolio would be very insulted by these comments. In fact he has just toddled out of the room. Maybe he can read...

I am still worrying about Dorothy's aunt - it may be that her recent episode is a reaction to some drug treatment, we are awaiting news on that. Meanwhile, I suppose she is in the best place, as they say, in hospital and being well looked after.

Dorothy unexpectedly rang me for a long chat about various things - the job situation is rather hairy - nothing to do there but wait - but Dorothy has come up with some plan or programme or something which has been praised highly by quite a few people and which might help the company in various ways, so depending upon how it is received at higher levels, might keep Dorothy in gainful employment. We shall see.

Bad to Worse

Losing concentration here. The face keeps elongating or squishing up.

Dear Me!

Had a try at drawing without glasses. Nibby thought it would be a good idea as it would lose the detail, but I think it was too close for that.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Very Trying

Which shows you how much better photographs are!

Still Trying

but this one is a bit swarthy-looking!

I shall have to persevere.

Ugly and Uglier

Did a pair of perfectly awful self-portraits - I didn't think I could make myself look uglier, but the concentration of drawing does make one look really grim - not to mention the lack of proportion everywhere. Still I shall keep trying as I have now found a mirror on a stand. Quite funny, the face on the top one is too elongated and the other makes me look like a purse-lipped hen with a thyroid problem.

A bit of good news - Dorothy's aunt is much improved. It may have been a reaction to treatment. Hopefully she will continue to get better and have some quality time.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

More Worry

Nibby taking tea in London last year.

I am waiting for news, and anxiously hoping it will be good news.

Madeleine went to see her sister for the weekend. I sent her an email offering the flat in Barcelona for a recuperative stay, and she replied to say her sister, who is Dorothy's aunt, had been rushed into hospital and was very ill indeed.

I was hardly able to sleep last night - tossing and turning and wandering around the flat.

This is turning out to be a rather dismal month.
On a happier note - I had been unable to get hold of Nibby on the telephone - she eventually rang back - it seems she had spent her weekend partying and going to a wonderful concert, and was very happy indeed. I had been worried about the Australian fires.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Sunday Post

Keeping an eye on my mini-world. Sunday again. I hibernated all yesterday, but pottered about doing washing and other dull tasks. I tried to do a bit of sketching last night but the results were rather discouraging. I heavily edited a letter to send to my ex, and will enclose one of the snaps I took when he was here. I still feel a bit 'hung over' emotionally from Roxy's funeral - she was far too young to die, and enjoying her life so much. I shall miss her calls and meeting up for drinks or lunch.

I heard the strange sound of my new doorbell when Ocado arrived yesterday, and completely forgot where I had the entryphone installed! After rushing around a bit like a madwoman, suddenly found it and let the man in.

Nibby sent me the address of a website where this American woman sends out a postcard every week and asks people to paint their interpretation of this. She posts the results on the web - it may be a competition. Looked at some of the results,hmmm. The instructions for sending your images in were remarkably complicated about the sizing etc. Since I don't seem to be able to get a little image on to Twitter there's no hope for me at all. Her blog is called
She also appears to nab the copyright of any images you send her which seems a bit dodgy.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Hibernating and Living on Credit

Dorian rang to invite me to dinner tonight. Trouble is, I am in hibernating mode - even doing without milk tonight in order not to have to go outside. We decided to leave it until next week, when it is his birthday, so he bought a pork chop to cook for his dinner.

Hearing that one third of people with credit cards use them to buy groceries, I was encouraged to order some food from Ocado so I shan't starve. The groceries will be here tomorrow morning, and I hope they include a free copy of The Times, as they have done for the last few deliveries.

New Entryphone

It was snowing this morning but just drizzling now. The house has been absolutely freezing with the men working on a new entryphone and the front door open. But worth it - I now have a smart new entryphone with an extra set downstairs so I can answer it when I am there, too. If Julian or Dorothy come around they must remember only to open the upper part of the door now - or they can always use the doorbell!

Sent the cleaner away as the men were still working. She will be back later to clean the house, hopefully.

Sent my ex-mother-in-law some bright yellow gerberas with a few chocs today - something to brighten things up with this very dull weather.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


This is one of my favourite pictures of my mother. Looking at it now, she seems to be a carefree country girl. I used to have it on my night table at boarding school. These were small cupboards by our beds - I think these types of cupboard were originally used to secrete chamber pots many years ago. Our school provided them for a more modern purpose: displaying photographs of parents and family - one girl proudly displayed a photograph of her parents at the recent coronation complete with their ermine cloaks and coronets, which was quite funny. Inside we stored our washbags with soap, flannels, combs and brushes etc. We used to call them 'tables de nuit' for some reason.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Funeral and Future Savings

Feeling a bit down today as it is Roxy's funeral. Still a bit icy outside but at least it is not snowing.

Malvolio is happy this morning because I had a kipper for breakfast and left him a bit. Now washing his paws very thoroughly.

Back from the funeral. It was very Jewish so didn't understand much. Don't think Roxy was into all that considering the amount of pork pies, sausage rolls, ham and bacon she used to consume! Still, lots of people present so she had a good send-off. We three remaining vixens went back for a quick drink in Lye Torng. We have decided to have a private farewell here some time in March, purchasing a few pork products in honour of Roxy.

My cleaner did not turn up today and has threatened to come in tomorrow. This could be a nuisance if she comes early as the lock people will be installing the entryphones. With any luck she will arrive later. I do hope so.

In honour of the credit crunch I have cancelled my household insurance which will save me about £25 a month, and Time Out which will save me about £10 a month. Might also cancel my Art Fund membership if I can find out how to do this, and my subscription to Period Living magazine. This should all save quite a bit.

Icy Pavements

Crawled to the end of the street like a crab this morning, and the same in reverse tonight. Ice all over the pavements in small streets like ours. Not looking forward to Roxy's funeral tomorrow.

Romy was ploughing through lists for our outings this year. Today she booked a four hour rail trip with lunch. There is already a theatre trip, and we are hoping to book an overnighter to France, also a trip on the Thames. Romy is off to Spain next week for a well earned break.

I am so glad I bought a couple of cashmere sweaters - these are fabulously warm in this very cold weather. My ex rang twice today: first with a question about his mobile, and secondly to suggest he call around. I explained that I was at work, and worked most days, but I think I will have to write. He does not seem to quite grasp how busy I am and how much my spare time means to me - I seem to be getting busier all the time with the art, the Friday lunch club and now, the Dinner Club.

Was trying to put an image (above) on Twitter, but it has refused this. Such a pain.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

SE1 Dinner Party Club

Can't remember if I mentioned the SE1 forum version of 'Come Dine with Me' - not for telly, non-competitive, hopefully just good fun. Above is a shot from my stint on House Guest. Jac has now sent us the timetable and what we are doing.

Every month we dine with a different host - this goes on for about nine months, towards the end of the month. The host provides the main course, one guest provides the starters, another the desserts, another the aperitif wine and a bottle with the starter, another two bottles for the main course, and another the pudding wine and maybe port or brandy. We shall no doubt get very drunk.

I am doing the starter for the first party at the end of this month. I shall do a cold starter and assemble it at the host's house. I am really looking forward to it. My only problem so far is with the August date, which I may have to exchange as I think I will be away on the date. We shall see.

Housebound and Orchid

Have been housebound because of the weather but the sun may melt some of the icy stuff all over the pavement outside - I suspect I just might make it into work tomorrow. Julian called in this morning and harangued me a bit more about spending so much on an entryphone. By this time the price had gone up to £2,000 - a bit of an exaggeration. I was also told off for worrying Dorothy so said I would forego any further contact for the time being! I will have to keep the little white orchid which I had bought for their anniversary as their flat is apparently too dry and the flowers will die. I don't mind as it is a pretty little plant.

Did a couple of even worse drawings but will persist. Had a go at the orchid but I somehow don't seem to have the concentration to do botanical type drawings and it ended up a crude scrawl.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Bathroom Window View

Thought I would try a medium sized image here.

Snow Scenes From a Small Flat in Southwark

This is the view from my bedroom. I have not seen so much snow since I moved here, I think in 1992, when I snapped the lions in Trafalgar Square covered in huge piles of snow.

Malvolio licked a little snow off some plants outside the bathroom window nervously, before retreating back into the warmth of the house.

I shall probably become annoyed with the snow if it lasts, but so far it is WOW!

Garden Table and Chairs

Several inches on this lot.

Outside the Back Door

My Street

Sunday, 1 February 2009

White February

Woke up at 6am and looked outside. It has been snowing all night and is still snowing. Everything is covered in inches of snow. Apparently no buses will be running all day, so it may be difficult to get into work if they are not running tomorrow. Flights have been cancelled and there is general disruption. I do hope Dorothy and Julian managed to get back from their anniversary meal last night. They had gone to Arbutus to celebrate this.

Apparently it is the worst snowfall in London for 18 years. I am rather fond of looking at snow scenes, but venturing out is a different matter. I must see if I can find some boots. At least I have some warm gloves, scarves and hats, and at least three warm coats, two with furry linings. When it is light I shall go out and take some snaps of the snow.