Tuesday, 28 April 2009

French Trip Tomorrow

Just some last-minute bits of packing. France tomorrow - hope the weather's better there. We are going to stay just outside Lille and I think one day we are lunching in Arras. Bit nervous about the knee, but it should be fine if I can stretch it out a bit in the coach and don't attempt walking too far. Romy extremely organised as usual.

Just hope I wake up early.

Anno Domini (And Fat)

I have decided to record my physical and mental decline. Living this long is becoming rather embarrassing: yesterday I almost became stuck in the bath because I was using a new hair conditioner, which made the bath so slippery I could not get a grip anywhere. Only because Dorothy had fixed a rail incredibly firmly on the wall I managed to escape after a long struggle. I am surprised the rail didn't come out of the wall, I was pulling so hard. I shall have to start using the shower instead. Or do without hair conditioner.

My muscles have weakened the extent that I could not get up from the sofa to go to bed last night. I pressed my hands down firmly and pushed, but just could not get up at all. The seat has become rather lower and softer (that's foam for you) since I bought the sofa. I then decided that the only way I would ever get up would be to slide to the floor and push my elbows down on the sofa, getting up on one knee and thus arising. The leg muscles were still too weak and worse, I was now stranded on the floor. Finally I dragged a dining chair over, which gave me a better purchase, and I managed to get up. All this took some time so I was glad to get to bed last night.

I shall have to put some high cushions on the sofa, or see if I can get Dorothy to turn the seat around so that the more firm part is where I am sitting. Or purchase a new sofa every year, which seems rather extreme. These mishaps show how crap it is to get old and fat. I shall have to obtain an arrangement of ropes and pulleys, like Henry VIII, for hauling myself about.

Swine 'flu

Cancun honeymoon - sounds great, doesn't it? Poor sods, after this experience with Swine 'flu they'll probably restrict their future holidays to Slapton Sands or Blackpool.

Hope we'll be safe in France!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Older People's Services

Successfully collected my prescription and the Times, and had a green curry at Lye Torng.

Decided to investigate the new happening at St. George the Martyr and cabbed it up there. No signs anywhere about how to get in but finally found the back entrance to the crypt open. There were a couple of large signs on stands either side of the entrance - one announcing 'Serving the Community' and the other 'Older People's Services' (pictured above). I thought they looked rather patronising. The first person I saw was our Chairman who it seems had known all about the plan except that he didn't know it was happening today, so as church warden, had to get the place cleaned rapidly. Then saw another of our trustees who had been roped in to help. The ubiquitous Father Andrews, our ex-officio trustee, was also there. Clients who I did not recognise (perhaps living at Blackfriars) were assembling for the afternoon's events. There were refreshments (tea, biscuits, and fruit) a beginners art class which consisted of some A4 paper and pencils - presumably the class was beginning later, tables with a food quiz on, no doubt to encourage healthy eating, which I suppose would also take place later, and the main event,led by Tina of Blackfriars and others was a tutorial in line dancing with half a dozen people participating - the majority were others who had come in with sticks and sat down to watch. It was unclear whether this was intended to be a weekly or monthly event, or whether it was a one-off.

If it is to be a regular event we shall publicise it in our newsletter in case any of our punters wish to attend.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Monday Morning

Malvolio looking a bit wary this morning.

It should be a busy day, but the knee precludes what I really ought to be doing. i.e. decluttering frantically. I shall stagger to the chemists and get a prescription, do more washing and tidy up a bit. I shall take some rubbish bags out on my way to the chemists.

Discovered that Blackfriars is starting a new project at St. George the Martyr, launching today. Nice to see more services for older people, though there are already lots of centres, but perhaps it will offer something different. Our 'gang' will be setting off for France early on Wednesday - we seem to have a continuous adventure, what with the fabulous train trip, France this week, and soon after, a matinee trip to the Savoy Theatre to see Carousel. We never seem to stop planning outings and holidays, thanks to the vibrant Romy!

Poor Malvolio went out last night for a pee, and a couple of seconds later there were screams and howls - he was being attacked by a neighbouring cat, the black and white culprit as usual, who I chased away.

Old Colleague Found

Blimey, was just reading about Ballard, when I discovered someone I knew years ago had been his 'muse'. I first met Claire Walsh as a friend of a friend who came to stay with us in Algiers when I was very young. About 20 years later, I recognised her as a candidate when I was interviewing staff and she worked for me for a bit in the NHS when I was running a Community Health Council. I knew she knew Michael Moorcock - but had no idea about her relationship with J.G. Ballard. When she left, a friend of hers replaced her in my office for a couple of years. Small world eh?

Thanksgiving and Luncheon Excess

Another pic of my glass and lilies of the valley.

Made the effort and went to the Thanksgiving service at St. G the M.

Very full church and some very good choirs. Lunch after in the crypt. They had made a huge effort on the food and drinks front - masses of fresh salmon, home made crab quiche, all sorts of cold meats and salads etc, baby new potatoes, and a choice of fruit salad or blackberry and apple pie with cream. All very good, and followed up with tea or coffee and a slice of the celebration cake.

Saw some ex trustees all looking very well and on form and had a long chat with the SE1 folk who put me in touch with an organisation which trains people to be magistrates, trustees etc. and who may prove a useful source when seeking new trustees. Very handy as we are rather short of people.

Ate far too much so spent a couple of hours unconscious, recovering from the excess. As I came out of the church, the bells were ringing like mad for ages, quite a good and unusual sound in England. Reminded me of Barcelona where the bells rang all the time.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Good Food and More Glass

Both the soup and lemon cake seriously good. Have sliced most of the cake and put in the freezer. Will finish the soup tomorrow.

Purchased four sundae cups in art deco blue. Put in an offer for a dressing table set in uranium glass. We shall see. I am hoping to purchase a couple or more uranium glass trays to use as sandwich or canape trays. Now I really must start the grand clear-out when I return from France on Friday night.

Better Leg and Fun in the Kitchen

Rested the leg a bit - watched Saturday kitchen, then had lunch and a Bloody Mary at Lye Torng. Watching the Two Fat Ladies, Clarissa had been making an onion and Stilton soup. I fried some onions and garlic for about ten minutes in butter and a bit of olive oil, added a pint and a half of lamb stock and some rosemary and cooked for fifteen minutes. Normally you would puree the onions here, but I have decided to leave them whole and will add a handful of crumbled Stilton later and cook for a final 15 minutes. Good way of using up onions.

Thinking about using up stuff, I found a couple of dodgy lemons last night which were a bit ancient so boiled them for two hours. This morning I whizzed them in the Magimix, and added them to 200g almonds ground, 1 large teaspoonful of baking powder, 200g sugar, 3 eggs (normally you would use 5) and cooked for just over an hour in a loaf tin lined with baking paper. I started at 180 and turned the oven down to about 160 after 15 minutes. Anyway, makes a rather delicious lemon cake which could have lemon drizzle poured over but can't be bothered. May slice it and freeze the slices. Good way to use up some old lemons, but get the pips out when boiled before whizzing.

From Nasty Knee to Swollen Leg

Suddenly noticed that my right leg, particularly around the ankle, was twice the size of the left. Thinking about DVT and so on, rapidly rang NHS direct and spoke to a nurse. We agreed that the cause was probably the stretchy but tight knee support I had been wearing, plus not resting the leg when seated, but they advised going to hospital and possibly having an x-ray today, so may do this. The swelling is down a bit this morning after a night's rest, but not completely disappeared. The pain is still a bit vile. I will have to rest the leg quite a bit if I am to go to France on Wednesday.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Keen on Green

Refilling pond and feeding fish. Here are some of the bits of glass I recently purchased and a few lilies of the valley from the garden this morning in one of the glasses.

And Another...

The platform, also taken by Romy, with trunks and an old metal ad.

Romy's train snap

I love this snap of the steam train with smoke belching out of the funnel - taken by Romy, the arty one.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Steam Train Trip

A drink on the platform before setting off. We had a lovely day in the country: by coach to Tenterden, then greeted with a sherry at the station before spending several hours trundling through the countryside at a leisurely pace on the steam train - our carriage was particularly elegant with decorative wood inlays, brass fittings etc. I saw a bluebell wood, lots of cows and sheep, a couple of rabbits bounding around, several pheasants, and masses of primroses. We saw Bodiam castle over the fields which looked lovely in the spring light. We had a super lunch with copious draughts of wine, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day. The menu was specially designed for us, and lots of people took it as a keepsake of this year's St. George's day. Some of the Trustees joined us, and were extremely impressed by the quality of the outing, and the way it had been so efficiently organised by Romy.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

No Such Thing

as a cheap dinner, it would appear. Arrived home to find that the pannacotta dates were 15 - 17 April. It is now 21st. I should have checked, but somehow Sainsbury's are normally reliable so it hasn't been necessary. I may return them tomorrow.

There was a nice little note from Bel thanking us for the flowers when I opened the post. Seems they had a good Easter with huge quantities of eggs.

Erm.....returned the pannacottas only to discover it was 15 - 17 MAY. Sorry, Sainsbury's. Alzheimer's again.

Bargain Dinners

Very tired indeed today and knee being difficult. It may be worse because I have used it more because it felt better wearing the support thingy. Database disappeared at work, but turned the computer off for a bit and it's back now thank goodness. Cleaner coming tomorrow. The Sainsbury's dinner for two (£5.00) has gone Italian: purchased some cannelloni with green salad and pannacotto for pud. Will eat half today and replace the salad tomorrow with some fresh veg. £2.50 a night for dinner isn't bad. Fortunately I don't mind eating the same thing for two nights running. Also nice and easy, just have to shove it in the oven.

Watched Hell's Kitchen last night. They have certainly improved the sleb accommodation inside and out since I was there. We were just guinea pigs anyway, but it really was horribly spartan. They have stopped doing puddings it seems, and they seem to hang around chatting a bit in the kitchen, which we never did. Marco has become more and more 'Marcoeish' with his floppy headband and trademark glare. I do rather feel it has peaked as a programme.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Better Garden and Clean Ish Silver

A welcome surprise visit from julian and Dorothy. Long chat about Dorothy's employment prospects which sound positive, and Julian cleared up the mess in my front area and dismantled a huge plant which was in danger of taking over the back garden. Much needed but plenty more to do. Managed to get to the shopping centre in the morning and purchased some cooling gel plasters for the offending knee, plus a kind of tubular support bandage thing, all of which is helping slightly.

Started the mammoth task of cleaning the silver this morning - some of it cleans up quite well using the stuff you leave it in for a few minutes then wash. Other things have failed using this method. I shall use silver dip, and if that fails, try and find some old fashioned silver polish which I hate using. Oh well, serves me right for buying silver. Remind me not to get any more.

Things are appalling on the art front so have decided to give it a rest for a few days. During this time I have managed to become obsessed with cheap pressed fifties glass, particularly green uranium glass. So far I have purchased a couple of jug and tumblers, i.e. lemonade sets, one in green and one in a very pale blue. Also a fruit salad set in a darker green, with one large bowl and six small ones, which will be fine for any cold pudding. Oh, and a couple of salts. Not sure if they are all uranium, so will have to purchase a UV torch to test them.

Kind of finished the silver which is far from perfect, but discovered that Brasso works on things which other silver polishes fail to clean.

Friday, 17 April 2009

SE1 Lunch Meets Again.

Absolutely pissing down all day. Had lunch club at Alfie's Kitchen in Bermondsey Square hotel. Food so-so, service fine, coffee fine, wine fine - location is good, as Bermondsey market was still happening just before. If we go there again will get there an hour or two earlier to have a good browse.

Resurrection of Nic No-Nose

Giving it a rest for a bit on the painting front.

Had a surprise phone call last night from Nic No-nose, an old pal - musician, dealer in violins, wit, raconteur, disgusting drunk and lecher, who sadly moved away from this vicinity quite a while ago. So-called as most of his nose was removed because of cancer. Because he preferred to drink and smoke, he refused to have plastic surgery which would have involved sacrificing these vices temporarily. This lack of compliance really irritated the surgeons. And has led to a somewhat strange appearance.

Rather disgracefully, he and I used to have totally obscene conversations in the pub to see how many other customers we could get rid of, and thought this terribly funny. Very childish, and certainly not suitable behaviour for a couple of oldies. Which was the whole point.

Nic has not been seen for a few years, and was sadly missed as I have always appreciated a colourful figure or two around the place. Seems that he had a pacemaker put in after being mugged and having his violin stolen - he had been drunk and boasting about the value of the violin while waving it around in a pub! Anyway, he has been living in Muswell Hill with Geraldine 'a rich widow' for the past five years. I had a long conversation with Nic and with Geraldine and we agreed to meet if we ever ventured into each other's manor, an unlikely event. I was glad to hear he had settled down with an 'older woman' - she is a year older than me and Nic is 61. He says he is her toy boy. They sound very happy and of course he has managed to insult and alienate most of her friends in his chaotic drunkenness. But it was nice to hear the old reprobate is still around. Even if running out of friends. I think this may be why he rang. Just to prove to Geraldine that he still had one!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

And More Scary - edited out

.....and then, unable to leave it alone in the bin, you start scribbling all over it in different colours. Even worse!

I blame the whisky. This one went too.

Scary Geisha - now gone

Sorry it had to go.
This is exactly how to cock things up. First, get a bit over bold with the colour, then decide it is all too much and put a white wash over it. Wipe that off when wet and put a purply wash over that and wipe that off. Draw into it a bit with watercolour crayons. Voila!

Whisky Galore!

Loads of people at the Whisky Club. The landlord stocks a bottle from each of the 90 odd distilleries in Scotland. We had an interesting talk, plenty of haggis, tatties and neeps and cheese later, accompanied by three whiskies: Glenkinchie (lowlands and mild), Tomintoul (very nice, from a bit further up) and Bowmore (v. powerful I think Islands, poss. Barra?). Very distinct differences. Can't wait for the next one, great fun.

I started off OK doing a painting from an old snap. Things went a bit wrong and as usual, I got rather carried away, and the result is a totally muddy mess. Fortunately my new brushes arrived this morning, so I shall see if I can redeem things a bit, though I suspect it is a wish too far. I may well put it on this blog, to show as I so often do, just how easy it is to totally cock things up.

Cat food arrived today so Malvolio won't starve. My poultry shears arrived, and also a silver plate on copper tray, very heavy, which I ordered in a moment of madness. I shall use this to display fruit on, piled high. It is a bit baroque but the copper is showing through nicely. I have always quite liked that look, like old Sheffield plate. It has handles so I could actually use it as a tea or drinks tray, too.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Coming in to work discovered that Sainsbury's cashpoint wasn't working. So staggered up to Lloyd's with my bad knee. By the time I had collected some cash, the knee was much worse, so picked up a paper and had a coffee before limping to the office. Masses and masses of letters to open and sort. Felt quite defeated even before I started. I may well give the knee a rest at home tomorrow, especially as it's the whisky tasting tonight.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Wicked Witch of the West

Tuesday afternoon.Confined to barracks with the knee. The choc has dried satisfactorily on the mint creams. This is what happens when I get bored with trying to do a self-portrait and just start sploshing paint about. Just realised it is a bit blurred. Just as well, really.

Tuesday Morning

Trouble obtaining more insulin as the tests are so expensive and unpleasant for Malvolio, so will use up what I have and eke it out a bit.

I shall purchase a brush or two this morning. This is a little portrait of a Spanish guy from a snap. Have ordered some more brushes - I was going to go out and buy some locally but have wrenched my knee yet again. Instead I have limped around the flat, not daring to venture out. Tried to dip some home-made peppermint creams in melted chocolate. Strangely the chocolate has gone cold but not set. I will leave it for a while. And hope.

Still haven't cleaned the silver. I really must force myself to do it.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Catmouflage - Romy's Spanish Cat

keeping one eye on the proceedings.

This was a bugger to paint and a bit of a rough effort, but had a bash. MUST buy some new brushes tomorrow. May tidy the painting up a bit but will leave for now.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Monday

This is a snap of my windowsill this morning, with my vintage dancing shoes, my decorated clove oranges, Julian and Dorothy's anniversary orchid still blooming from January and Kate's wax cast of a miniature TV.

Had a fabulous meal with Dorothy and Julian at Red 'n Hot. This time there was one table of Western diners among the Chinese there (apart from ourselves). We had eaten cakes and Easter eggs with tea not long before, so we could hardly move after we had finished. Back home again it was generally agreed that a decluttering of my flat would be a good idea. I start today - after cleaning the very grubby silver. I shall find time to do a bit of painting as well, I hope. My limited palette was approved of.

More Sunday

Mystery solved. Had masses of clothes hanging from other hangers and later found them all in a heap on the floor ergo one hanger broke spectacularly leaving said debris. Glad to hear I have not been invaded. That awful book I slagged off has had a favourable review in the Observer today. Perhaps the review writer is a friend of the author.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter Sunday - Strange Noises at Night

Happy Easter, anyone!

Strange noise in the night, was woken early this morning by a noise - and found a piece of a broken hanger on the rug at the end of my bed. Trouble is, Malvolio had been asleep on the bed throughout. Hmmmm. This may have fallen out of the bottom of my wardrobe, but something must have knocked it out. There may be something living in the flat. If it were a mouse or rat you'd expect to find droppings or something. I shall have to investigate further. Reluctantly, I must say, since I am rather afraid of such creatures. I have not yet dared look in the bottom of the wardrobe.

I shall attempt to purchase a newspaper and make some bread this morning.

And think about tackling the wardrobe.

Window Again

This is the latest attempt at the window. Probably more drawn than painted, using acrylics and coloured pencils. I really have some difficulty with straight lines.

Holy Saturday

Still no more cheap canvases apart from the ones in the shop upstairs. Now painting on paper which is designed to take acrylic paint - heavy and textured. It is a bit small but works quite well. Started on a small version of a similar front window view, this time slightly from one side. I have managed to ruin all of my small round brushes - they have gone to untidy spiky things. I tried to kind of force them back into proper shapes by sucking them but no go, so I shall purchase a couple more.

Had a super Good Friday lunch at Dragon Castle. Masses of varied dim sum were consumed. We then staggered over to the ghastly Wetherspoons and enjoyed a glass of wine. It is interestingly downmarket, full of old men and drunks of both sexes. Many look rather bizarre, with gargoylish faces - not sure whether their looks have driven them to drink, or whether their looks are a consequence of heavy drinking, I suspect the latter, but Toulouse-Lautrec would have enjoyed the place. Remembering my self-portraits I shall start examining my alcohol intake, though despite only drinking one glass of wine I felt quite squiffy when I arrived home. Perhaps the wine at Wetherspoons is very potent.

Cooked a steak for dinner on the new oven plank - not terribly impressive, but maybe it matures with time. I purchased a chicken which I shall have to roast today so may use the same method to give the board some seasoning.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Feria d'Abril, Barcelona

Tried another painting from a snap of a woman on a horse from the feria in Barcelona. Unfortunately the horse looks several stone overweight and it's legs are somehow wrong so will discard this one. Here's the painting I originally did using a photograph where things are somewhat more in proportion, if a bit dingy.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Old Bathroom

Oh good, the Jady Goody thread has been closed.

Just finished a painting taken from a snap I took some years ago of the old bathroom before it was replaced. I think I rather liked the old gold slippers my mum handed down to me and the light coming in through the windows. It's a bit of a daft painting, but I was trying to paint a slightly chiaroscuro effect, which is quite hard for me.

Goody Haters Back Again

Oh dear, they are still grinding on a bit about Jade Goody. It's becoming a bit of a bore, but is definitely destroying my faith in human nature. If only the moderater would do us all a favour and close the thread. I must just stop reading it.

Pity the Goody haters didn't read the Water Babies by Charles Kingsley as children, and take the advice of Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby. Should be compulsory reading in all primary schools. Advice sorely needed. The concept of fairness seems to have been forgotten.

Retribution ? Divine

When I was a smallish child we had a girl in our class whose legs seemed to have been 'put on wrong' somehow, i.e. with very wide inner thighs, which made her calves look very oddly straight, and affecting her walking, which horrified me. I realised eventually that she basically had fat legs. Later in life, I suffered from the same problem. Also as a child I noticed that when sunbathing, some people's backs had kind of saddlebags on the sides for the same reason, and what are now called 'bingo wings' on their arms. In fact, everything which when I was a child horrified me in adults' bodies has now happened to me. I wonder if it is divine retribution for having such a frank eye as a child.

Bermondsey Bullies Silenced (hopefully)

Thank goodness the moderator has now intervened to hopefully stop the vituperation against Jade Goody. Apparently he has had to delete some even worse stuff posted on You Tube after the funeral pictures. All I can say is that I find it rather shameful that so-called 'opinion makers' such as Parkinson are responsible for spreading such unpleasant views. Most undignified, as I said before, but a sign of our sorry times.

I may have to emigrate.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Bermondsey Goody Bashers

Oh dear, just been having an exchange with some person called Serge on the SE1 forum about Jade Goody. I was accused of ageism - having implied that Michael Parkinson might be a bit past it judging by his supposed comments about Jade. I just felt it was rather sad and undignified of someone of his supposed stature. I suppose it is an achievement to be thought of as ageist at my age!

There is a small hardcore of resentful little people still whingeing on the forum about the poor bloody girl, even now after she has been buried. Seems to be a class thing as one of them was pouring scorn on the choice of floral tributes at the funeral cortege and said he or she wanted to 'throw up' when they saw it on TV.

My mother, middle class to the core, would have found it in very bad taste for people to admit to having such feelings.

Forthcoming Easter

Looks as though a very quiet Easter is in the offing - no word from Julian or Dorothy. There's a Good Friday dim sum at the Dragon Castle which should be fun. For some demented reason I have put my name down for a whisky evening with tatties and neeps etc the following Thursday. I may live to regret this - my fellow drinkers almost certainly will.

Tomorrow my shopping will arrive and I may attempt to cook some steak on my new oven plank, which I have seasoned as directed. Meanwhile I am taking advantage of the Sainsbury's dinner for two, limited though it's menu is. I find if I cook it I can eat half, plate up half, refrigerate and have a meal on the following night. How sad am I?

One of the punters sent a St. George's Day card today. I have never seen one before so it shall take pride of place in my casa. In Barcelona St. Jordi (also their patron saint in Catalunya) was a big deal, coinciding as it did with national book day, and red roses were bought for friends to celebrate. Bookstalls could be seen all over the place. We shall all be celebrating with a wonderful train ride in Pullman carriages through the Kent countryside.

I have discovered there is a local time exchange thingy where you give an hour and receive an hour so there may be an answer to my clearing up and gardening problems. All I have to do is discover a talent to swap - unflattering portraits come to mind - we shall see. They are sending me details anyway to see if I want to join. I could do beginner's art classes which I would quite like to do.

Tomcat Smell, Tiny Mavis and Broken Teapot Handle

Last day at work this week. Need to try and tie up a couple of odds and ends re holidays and outings.

A stranger somehow got in overnight - strong smell of tomcat in the flat. Malvolio not too happy. Mavis, my neighbour's cat, is wolfing down her food but remains tiny and slim, I am so envious. Her owner may be back Saturday night or Sunday, must listen out to make sure she doesn't miss a meal. Roadworks still deafening outside. Trying to ram too much into a cupboard I managed to break the handle of my nice little batchelor silver teapot. Looking at it, I think the best thing is to measure the holes in the silver handle container bits, the distance between top and bottom handles, and maybe try and find a cheap old silver plate teapot to remove the handle from. We shall see. Since the black bit on the lid is also broken, and these bits just screw in, may be able to cannibalise that too. Or buy yet another silver teapot. Maybe not....must purchase some more canvases tomorrow.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Stretch Marks and Protest

Another day at work - Romy in holiday mood - she texted me that Marks & Spencer are in financial trouble and are merging with Poundstretchers - new company name to be Stretch Marks. Ha ha.

It has become dull outside, and Westminster Bridge has been closed all night causing traffic chaos due to some Tamils who were protesting and threatening to throw themselves into the Thames.

Finished Putty Rubber

OK I have now covered the putty rubber in the appropriate amount of grime and colour stains, with all the pulled little dark stretchy bits. This is it - I think.

Monday, 6 April 2009

April Orchid

I can't believe the orchid I bought in January is still in bloom on my windowsill. If I had known orchids flowered for so long I would have bought some before.

What The Hell

Is this? I hear you scream. Well, my friend, it is a grubby old putty rubber. I was rather fascinated by the shape and old marks and grubbiness of it, not yet fully revealed as I shall draw into it further later.

Times are hard.

Fruit Bowl Graffiti

Whoa! not quite sure what occurred here - but the red won! this is what happens when I start mucking around.

I must stop mucking around with canvases, I must stop mucking around with canvases, I must stop mucking around with canvases, etc. etc.

A Walk in the Park and Red Hot Paint

Had a brief chat with Dorothy last night - taking a walk in the park and on their way to Red 'n Hot for dinner. I was invited but had eaten and was a bit tired - and my knees had had their exercise for the day.

This morning the man is supposed to come and fix the entryphone. I shall believe it when I see it. I have primed a canvas in red paint - just for a change and because I had an excessive quantity of red paint. Quite exciting waiting for paint to dry! and getting ideas for a painting.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Broken Ice Shelf - More Canvases, and Broke Again.

I am rather worried about the break-up of the Wilkins ice shelf in Antarctica. This shelf was about half the size of Scotland and built up over hundreds of years. Global warming is apparently at fault.

For the first time in a week or two I managed to walk to the Elephant & Castle shopping centre and back, though I did get a sharp pain in my 'unaffected' knee which was rather ominous. If both knees give up I shall be somewhat immobile. They have run out of the cheap canvases in the downstairs shop, but I managed to purchase a few more for £1.99 upstairs. I shall ask the framing shop if they can spare some cut-outs of mounting board and start using that, as storage may soon become a major problem.

I really need a lot more money - I need to be able to pay someone to clear up the garden back and front, and to help me dispose of masses and masses of stuff acquired over the years: shoes, hats, enormous clothes, etc. I can use the sheets as dust sheets in the studio fortunately. I also need to visit the dentist which costs a fortune these days, and to take poor old Malvolio to the vet since they won't sell me his essential insulin without performing very expensive and useless tests which involve cabs there and back as well as several hundred pounds for the testing - nice income for vets, a diabetic cat.

Must Try Harder

I don't know what I am thinking of. This is a really bad painting of the basement landing seen from my studio with a glimpse of the bedroom mess on the left. The antlers on the wall seem to have grown huge - I blame painting at night for the livid colours. I shall just have to try harder.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


Have tried to restrict colour and keep things simple. This is the result. May be a bit minimalist.

Awful Book

I hate to agree with Vivienne Westwood, but I have just read 'A Partial Indulgence' and it is fairly grim. One cannot feel any sympathy for any of the characters, all without exception totally dismal, the 'action' darts about all over the place which of course is fashionable these days, it is full of revolting descriptions which are highly over-detailed and unrealistic, and I had to force myself to finish it in an attempt to be fair and read it all. Basically it is pretentious rubbish. Described in the Metro as 'funny' I could not find an amusing line in it. It will probably be reviewed everywhere as 'brilliant'!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Calm Down Baglady - Nasty Painting All Gone

After a further disastrous effort, covered that last one in greeny blue. Unfortunately it had lots of lumps caused by overuse of impasto, but I am hoping this will add texture to anything I may paint over it.

This whole blog may provide a valuable insight into creeping dementia. Especially if the paintings are anything to go by - had to consume two bloody mary's today for medicinal reasons of course.

Jade Goody bile still emanating from the SE1 forum. Let's hope it stops after the funeral.

Evidence of Mental Decay

Another one bites the dust - can it get worse? I don't think so. Julian is right, maybe I will restrict myself to about four colours and not paint for a few days.

Paint On, MacDuff!

Hmm. Romy is keen to have that last painting disaster so maybe it will not hit the bin, but she will have to promise to keep it in a dark room and not let on who painted it. Maybe it looks better in the small pic, we shall see.

Have just painted a canvas burnt umber all over. Am trying the dark ground thingy. Seem to remember it worked quite well with Hooker's Green before. I may let it dry for a considerable time before attacking it. I have to say it may look better left alone.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

This is the studio window with a feline interloper.

Defeated of SE1

Put a dark wash in a feeble attempt to cover up mistakes, then got carried away with colour dabs all over the foreground in an even more feeble attempt to create depth. Now it's definitely for the bin! Tragic, really.

Total Crap Painting

OK so it's not finished but I doubt I will bother.

Something has happened and my painting is going from bad to worse. I may desist for a day or two. I shall destroy this if I can't totally transform it, but it is here pour encourager les autres - no one could do worse - so yours will be better!

Buzzing, Goody and Window Painting

Buzzing from the entryphone has been driving me crackers. The installers turned up this morning, didn't have the part! and are coming again tomorrow to replace the offending item.

The SE1 forum has been running a Jade Goody thread which has been annoying me. First, after Jade died, there were the expected tributes etc. then started the sniping. I don't know why, naivety I expect, but it never ceases to amaze me that there are so many jealous, petty, bitter and twisted people around, who wish to vent their spleen about Goody. It is really quite sad, and one does feel a bit sorry for them, but I think they must be somehow unaware of how much of themselves they are revealing in these spiteful posts. Or they would not embarrass themselves by posting.

I have to say I have never been very interested in Jade Goody, but because she raised awareness of cervical cancer in young women and backed the cause, increasing the numbers of young women being tested and therefore potentially saving lives, surely this can only be a good thing.

I have abandoned the last window painting and will paint over it, maybe with another, improved version.