Friday, 31 July 2009

Call from Exmouth

Call from my friend BJ tonight to say he had settled in Exmouth and to give me his address and telephone number. He did a booking as Chlamydia Rash and has had two further bookings as a result, one is a staff party for a well known supermarket chain. I suspect his star is in the ascendant and Fortuna will look kindly upon him in Devon.

His sister is coming up from Cornwall for a week or two to look for a property in Devon. I have to say I am rather envious. Oh dear, I keep being envious of people doing stuff in Devon. Apart from Trinidad, it is the only place I have always been rather obsessed by.

Perhaps I will let my flat when I retire and rent somewhere in Devon if I can manage this. I would have BJ, my brother and my sister all fairly nearby, but would miss Julian and Dorothy unless they could occasionally force themselves to brave the odd rural exeat. The countryside is so beautiful, but I would need a car again to get around there.

Anyway I fully intend to go down for a visit later in the year. It was nice to hear from him again.

Birthday Call and Hard Times

Had a good chat with my newly found sister in Devon. She rang to thank me for the flowers. Spent her birthday at Anstey's Cove where a ?son has a cafe, and they all had a good time. I was rather envious.

Seems that business is not great in Devon. I suggested getting some younger customers in by providing sixties and seventies stuff to go in their IKEA households since they are not into antiques. Seems that sixties and seventies stuff is not yet popular in Devon. Maybe I should get my friend John to buy some down there cheaply and come and sell it in London expensively.

Anyway, my sister is going for the credit crunch approach, i.e. secondhand being cheaper if you have no money, which is probably quite sensible for young mothers, and anyone else, come to that. I am sure she will have them eating out of her hand, or putting their money in it, very soon, as she is a very determined and sensible woman. I hope so, anyway.

Soda Explosion and No Thermometers

Arm so much better. Almost blew myself up with a new soda syphon today by overfilling it with water. Huge water expulsion explosions all over the room. Sent an email to the manufacturers because I thought the whole thing might go up. However, when I had calmed down a bit and emptied the water and started again, it worked perfectly. I had forgotten to put a kind of plastic neck thing in which stops it from overfilling. Scary. The company were rather sweet and rang me on my mobile just to make sure I was still alive. I may treat myself to a St. Germain and soda later, though it is a bit alcoholic. I shall have a very small one. It's nearly the weekend, after all.

Went to the chemist to buy a thermometer and some hand cleansing gel just in case. Guess what? he didn't have either, apart from some small handbag sized liquid stuff. He says it's the nanny state and everyone's gone mad. I have to attend the quack this afternoon to have my blood pressure taken. What a performance. Nanny state again. They would only give me a month's worth of prescription drugs instead of three months in order to assure my attendance. Must be an item they are paid for. In my day they got £4.50 p.a. for each patient. The practises were always rather large, with a huge population of 'ghost' patients, i.e. those who had moved on, one way or another. But at least they left you alone.

There's More

Here are two I picked up in a junk shop at St.Margarets. The one on the left is a souvenir of Buckfast Abbey in acrylic, and the one on the right is glass and is a lighthouse. I can't read the writing properly.

My First Paperweight

in the sixties was given to me by Dorothy. Here is is on one side to show the clock face in the base.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Help From Julian and More Purchases

In quite a lot of pain most of the day. Julian kindly came around and brushed Kooky, first putting his harness on which helped keep him still. Julian helped clear the house a bit and made a makeshift sling for me which was extremely useful, forcing me to rest the arm. Because of this I had a much better night and to my surprise the arm is much better today. I think the immobilisation and support approach is the ideal one - seems to avoid months of misery though I may be speaking too soon. We shall see.

My latest craze is collecting paperweights. Bought a few from Ebay. There's a new one on the left and an old one I already had on the right. Haven't yet bought my favourite which is a dandelion seedhead in acrylic, but will do. I also fancy a rather kitsch 'fish tank' one. I am getting a couple of millefiori ones. Trouble is I now have a taste for John Deacon millefiori which are a little more expensive. Unfortunately I have just read an article about an elderly shopaholic woman who was found buried in things she had bought - and it took five days to find her among all the shopping. I must make the effort to stop.

My arm has been much better all day. Probably the sling helped. Because I keep buying things I shall have to do another declutter very soon - tidying up a lot meanwhile. I don't want to become entombed by my purchases.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Grumpy Old Invalid

Well, apart from the fatty liver I diagnosed myself as being diabetic on the internet, and will check with GP eventually.

Went to the dentist in fear and trepidation and had a simple filling, to my relief.

Much worse, I am developing a frozen shoulder on the right side which is a total nightmare. I can hardly do anything and spent hours in agony last night until I found a cold patch thing and put it on for a while, just enough to enable sleep. Kooky slept on the bed which was reassuring. Googling frozen shoulder was ghastly - seems it can continue for years.

On the two occasions I have had this previously, fortunately on the left side, it has been cured within weeks by keeping the arm in a sling, particularly at night to immobilise it, and tying a scarf around the pillow to provide good neck support. However the sling idea provides no relief this time and today the advice is not to rest it but to keep mobile and take painkillers. Hmmm. I am a bit dubious about this, as my previous self-treatment obviously shortened the course of the problem,and curing it in weeks.

Getting dressed and undressed is quite a challenge, particularly in the bra department, and getting in and out of the bath, etc. etc. Totally annoying. Rant over.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

- And Yet Another Thing -

I can't believe they are trying to claw back money from two injured soldiers. Just as four more who have died are arriving back it seems terribly mean to try and reclaim compensation awarded in a court of law, and to try and limit future claims to relate precisely to the direct injury suffered. You don't have to be a doctor to know that complications arise later, from wounds, such as infection, from surgery etc. I find it hard to believe that this is happening. Although completely against war of any kind, I still feel sorry for those whom I see as pawns in someone else's game, and probably joined the army out of patriotism or as an alternative to long term unemployment.

Monday, 27 July 2009

- And Another Thing

I seem to remember that sheltered housing was supposed to provide housing for a community of older people who were protected by the presence of a warden. Cost cutting over the years has meant that the wardens were not there at night, when most needed, and now they are not always there by day. Not Very sheltered housing is what it has become. Not sure if there is much point to it any more. I heard of a break-in to one of these places recently. Well, if there's no warden there, the very presence of these places is an advertisement that there are vulnerable elderly people only there and an invitation to criminals. Perhaps we should all stay at home until carted off to a nursing home. Oh dear.

Which reminds me, I was watching Heir Finders on morning TV. Apparently a woman went into a nursing home and died, apparently aged 58. Later her aged was discovered to be 88, and no one had a clue. She had successfuly hidden this fact for years, out of vanity, presumably.

Paint Victim

Monday again. Fairly bad night having to get up twice and Kooky woke me at 6.30. I am doing something wrong and he is turning into a reincarnation of Malvolio.

Pouring rain, darkish and coldish this morning. I painted this snap of Jeremy, my ex, listening to music. A bit rough as usual, but there you are.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Green Me

This is fairly evil. Painting on a dark ground brings out the Tretchikoff in me. Did this in the morning,but now the weather seems to have turned rainy. Had a good green curry, if a bit spicy. Perhaps the green painting led me to the green curry?

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Can't Paint Will Paint

Foul painting of plants on the terrace. Just absolutely can't stand mucking around with foliage.

Discovered that Kooky likes Gourmet chicken in white sauce.

It has been sunny all day. Got too hot in the garden at lunchtime so hid inside. Had a drink of strawberry Pago at Lye Torng and a bowl of my successful sweet potato and cauliflower cheese soup at home. Dorothy is on a new diet, just eating fruit, salad or soup. A banana is good for breakfast. I suppose you could always puree things and call them soup. You could have two starters when out for dinner, a soup followed by a salad. My liver dish, though very good, would not be a candidate for pureeing, I think it would look rather disgusting, and the consistency would be rather horrible. Hmmmm...

Jungle Garden

With my neighbour's plants added.

Just found out that it is my newly discovered sister's birthday on Monday so sent a bunch of flowers with a few chocs.

Kooky Food and Taking A Tumble

Here's Kooky hiding behind a plant pot in the garden. Early delivery from Ocado. Seems they haven't stopped putting in a free copy of the Times, just that the driver forgot last week. I have ordered industrial quantities of very varied cat food. Sat outside for a bit with some iced coffee, then did a very small bit of drawing but it became a bit hot. Looks like Romy just got back in time from sunny Spain - bit of a disaster area at the moment.

Kooky is settling to a small tray of Sheba in the evening, followed by a small bowl of dried food. When I have exhausted the large tins, I shall commence this routine in the morning. He doesn't seem to like human food - I tried him on tidbits of liver, both raw and cooked and he turned his nose up at it. I may see if he likes bits of dressed crab. This was a favourite for Malvolio.

Forgot to mention that I had some distinctive liver pains recently. Googling this it is either fatty liver, the precursor to cirrhosis, caused by being fat, or alcohol. I shall cut down a bit on food and attempt to forego alcohol altogether, though may weaken when out to dinner. Strangely, I managed to avoid alcohol altogether at the SE1 roof party. However this did not stop me taking a tumble on a badly lit step at the flats on the way home, grazing a couple of knees, but not badly. Helped up by a rather sweet young girl who was most concerned at seeing my mountainous form suddenly keel over. Anno domini without the benefit of alcohol.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Paint Purchase and Cooking

Spent about £40 on paints and brushes so no excuses not to keep going, but today I gave it a rest and had a solitary lunch at Lye Torng. My neighbour has had another offer of £375k for his flat but needs at least £390k to buy a house for £500k. So he's not in a position to take lower offers. Cheers me up about the value of my little shack.

Cooked some sweet potato soup and added the remainder of some cauliflower cheese soup. It is quite good, surprisingly. I also made a casserole of lamb's liver, to which I added bacon and peas, a little sherry, seasoned with Provence herbs and mustard and with the addition of baby tomatoes, mushrooms and some sweet potatoes. Strange mixture but tastes pretty good. There was a lot of lamb's liver in it. Made another loaf of bread today. I used white flour with two small teaspoons of salt and bicarbonate of soda. I then added some lemon juice to thicken over half a pint of milk and added a little groundnut oil before mixing this to a loose mix then poured into a loaf tin. This time I cooked the loaf for nearly an hour at 170, then turned it out. The crust has been too hard previously which made it difficult to slice, so this time I covered it in a clean, damp cloth while it cooled on the rack. It is very good but still comes out a kind of light browny colour, not sure why.

Roof Party and Overactive Night Kooky

Friday again. Despite the rain, a good time was had by all at Jackie's party on her roof terrace, with wonderful views all over London. Met all the SE1 people and some new ones, plenty of food and drink, and Jackie being the perfect hostess. The Prof was very kind and we chatted a bit and I met Juanita's new lodger, who is presumably working in London but normally lives in a converted chapel in the countryside. I am rather envious as I have always fancied living in one of these. The lodger was admiring my wonderful new pearls, so I warmed to her immediately.

Kooky decided to get frisky at about 2am and leapt about the flat, mewing and waking me up, and it took some time for him to give up rushing around and realising I would not get up. He then left me until 8am before starting again thank goodness. He really is an odd cat.

I may stagger over to the art shop today as paints are becoming rather lacking. I find that a limited palette works quite well. I now use any kind of white, plus cadmium red and cadmium yellow, cerulian blue, a little burnt umber and sometimes a touch of black for mixing. I sometimes put in a touch of Naples yellow, any kind of pinky scarlet and a darker blue, but the basics are just about five colours. Despite this I do run out of them occasionally. I use masses of white of course.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Romy Back and Jacqui's Party

Jacqui's party tonight. The weather looks rather dismal so may just look in for a short time before hibernating once more. Romy back today bearing gifts: three lovely scarves, a jar of Paladin and a packet of some new Paladin flakes to use in the microwave. Lovely. Romy's holiday was good but too short. I have told her that two weeks is the optimum amount off,which I read in a survey years ago. It seems that four weeks is too long, one week is too short, and the best is between two and three weeks. I suppose in that you are packing, travelling, and thinking about the next move or recovering from the journey for a day or two either end, ten days in the middle to enjoy the holidays is OK.

Because I will have been at work with no time for cooking, I shall provide strawberries and blackberries plus some wine for the party. The Kent blackberries are quite sweet at the moment. The variety, which has very long fruit, is called Kotata, which does not sound very 'local'.

I was hoping to wear something pretty with my new pearls but will probably don a heavy mac and Sou'Wester in the current weather. We shall see.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Problem Punter

Last day of freedom - apart from being collared by a punter wishing to complain about the food on holiday. Just at that moment the Chairman appeared, so told him that we had a complaint. The Chairman said he had received a call to say how good the hotel and food were. The complaint seemed to mainly consist of the fact that the food was served plated, and that vegetables were not served from side dishes. Also, that the food was so disgusting that people were ordering salads instead of the cooked meals. Sounds like a healthy option to me! I have to say that in the West End one can pay upwards of £50 per head for dinner and the food is served on the plate. Oh well, seems that the majority enjoyed themselves anyway. These holidays are free, and there are at least a couple of free outings, such as a theatre outing and a couple of half day trips during the week. Fortunately complaints are very rare - and we always receive letters and cards thanking us for the holidays. Romy goes to enormous trouble to arrange these holidays and outings, and has to work extremely hard while there. Rant over.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Another Nasty Pic

Very good meeting at Blackfriars with lots of attendees. Picked up masses of leaflets, information etc and have scheduled another meeting for September. If I hadn't been on leave I would have taken some of our newsletters, which I will take next time.

A bit tired this morning - had to get up twice during the night - Kooky's latest alarm call is to rush across the room several times as noisily as he can, which was successful at 7am. I have fed Kooky and cleaned out his litter tray, swept the kitchen and run a bath. Discovered I had run out of butter so I shall have to breakfast elsewhere. Today I need to actually get to the bank having failed yesterday, buy some clock batteries - they all seem to run out at once - and settle down to another self-portrait. The more I do, the more 'clinical' and less personal I feel about them which helps a lot. I shall also try to force myself to make a dental appointment. Made a prescription request for 3 months medication but was only given one month - presumably to force me to call and have my blood pressure taken. I wish we were like Spain and could just buy it all from the chemist without interference. The older I get the less time I have to hang around GP surgeries.

Rainy Tuesday

Kooky forced me up to be fed at 6.30am. I then went back to bed until 8.30 so I must have been tired. Today there's a meeting at Blackfriar's Settlement. Not sure whether to go. I need to get to a bank to get some cash for my upstairs neighbour who pays the insurance, which fortunately is down a bit this year. Still, since my pay is not yet in my bank I will have to borrow the money. Good thing I have a large overdraft. He only told me about it a day or two ago, so I am not sure what the hurry is. I would have rather waited a couple of days to avoid borrowing, but there it is.

I have primed a couple of canvases with black paint to imitate black gesso. My sister Nibby swears by black gesso. We shall see.

Anyway here's my first feeble attempt at drawing a bit in the garden, doing various bits of green stuff. Not a very good snap.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Image Failure

Was going to put a snap of the Beatles on, but I have done something to the computer which stops me putting snaps into my blogs - damn it.

When I click on the image thing, nothing happens. I really hate it when things go wrong like this. I tried cancelling the post and going to new post, but it still doesn't work.

Ah, finally restarted the laptop which has done it - success - I like this image though it is a bit fuzzy due to my bad photography.

Not To Be Outdone

It's Una Stubbs.

Sixties Snaps

The more observant will see that I have revisited the last two portraits.

Here's quite a funny snap from then. It's Rolf Harris!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

And Another


Sixties Man

Here's another face from the sixties. Doesn't look very alike but neither did the snap.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Sunny Saturday

Seems that Julian thinks I should be doing botanical-type drawings of plant details which sounds rather boring but I suppose I could have a go at this. We shall see.

Kooky still sleeping on my bed at night, which is good. I am now feeding him half a large tin of catfood in the morning, and a small tin or packet in the evening, supplemented with some dry food. I shall probably stop buying the very large tins as I am throwing the remaining half away as he is very picky about freshness and doesn't like it to be refrigerated or kept in a container overnight. Actually he really doesn't eat that much of the wet food, but tops up with the dry food, which seems to suit him.
This is a small painting from a close-up snap. Then I shall have a go at drawing in a genteel manner in the garden.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Madwoman in Furs

This is one I did from a snap of me in a vintage fifties fox f-- scarf purchased from Ebay. I like the completely insane look in the eyes. I can see I shall have to paint some garden plants when the weather improves. Perhaps they will also look insane and surreal, who knows?

Just hearing on the news about two families in a self-imposed quarantine with swine flu. Seems their symptoms are cough, sore throat, headache, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. Hmmmm. Romy sent two punters back in a taxi from the holiday with diarrhoea and vomiting, and another threw up in the coach all the way back. I thought it might be something else but now wonder if they had swine flu, and hope Romy doesn't get it now.

Julian turned up today with a 'notebook barbecue' which folds pretty flat which she found in Heals. I have stored it behind a door, waiting for better weather. I made some bread today, and I have chopped and melted some onions with a bit of garlic. I shall make some small pissaladiere tarts which will hold together better than a large tart, I hope.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Big Purpley Thing

Which of course is a hydrangea - Alzheimer's again.

Kooky slept on the bed again, but got up to whinge a bit in the middle of the night. I think I have been feeding him too much. After all, Malvolio had very small quantities of food and maintained weight. Kooky is not desperately active, and my old cat Lulu, a childhood pet, used to have a quarter of a tin of kit e kat (when it was proper meat) mixed with a handful of crushed cornflakes and was just fed once a day. But she did have meat and fish scraps. She lived to a ripe old age and was very fit indeed. I will cut down on the amount of wet food and supplement with dry food since the dry food I have is of better quality.

Oh dear, I am a bit worried: I sent three lots of flowers from Scilly, and there is a postal strike, so they may not get delivered, which is rather depressing.


Here it is. Big, innit?

I bought some totally fabulous licorice fudge on Ebay from some people called Gave some away and people all loved it. I have never seen it in the shops. Try it - unless you absolutely hate licorice. In fact I have never been keen on licorice, but somehow it is milder and better in fudge.

New Plants, Naughty Kooky and Clafoutis

Julian appeared with a super lot of plants: herb pot, lavender, and a nice purply thing.
We organised them into the garden.

Kooky kicked off at about 2am mewing like a loony, then running at speed around the room above - I can see why they let him go. This morning he would not touch his breakfast which was still there this afternoon so I gave him a little more dry food to last until this evening.

I came home a bit early and made a clafoutis of blackberries which turned out well, though you can't really see this since I have covered the top in too much icing sugar. I really do need someone to feed at times like this!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Rough Painting From An Old Snap

This one is rather strange. Taken in 1995 this snap never did look like me and the painting is even less so. However, it is obvious that despite the possibly flattering snap, the old physogue has definitely gone south in every way. I painted this one a bit differently, still quite unfinished I more or less just blocked the hair and top in as I quite liked the flat look. So there.

Just had a call from Julian who has bought me some plants for the garden. I had better nip out and tidy it up a bit, but it is rainy so I shall make some tea first.

Painting Over the Cracks

Staring at my horrible snaps made me think of makeup - which I wear in spades these days in a feeble attempt to wallpaper over the cracks. Remembering my teenage years when I was too young to wear makeup and the nearest I got was Pond's Vanishing Cream. This was applied and 'vanished'into the skin leaving it very matte and very tight feeling. It seemed a definite improvement immediately after being applied, but did dry the skin a bit. This was corrected by the application of Pond's Cold Cream.

This latest attempt is less foreshortened than the actual snap, which again affects the proportions. I have abandoned it pro tem though it is unfinished. I may seek out a snap from my younger years for a change.

Romy left for a well deserved break in foreign parts. I hope the weather there is better than here. Meanwhile I am attempting to force myself along to the dentist, as I have a bad tooth problem. Not painful but will need root filling etc. etc.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Nibby Says

My self portraits are shockers - that I haven't been very kind to myself. I shall continue to be unkind to myself in the search for 'truth'. We shall see.In an effort to try and reduce the general ugliness I shall seek out some snaps from my youth to paint in an attempt to balance the current outpouring of vile images.So far the couple I have done from the eighties haven't looked much like me. Nibby says the basic colour for faces is green - definitely Tretchikoff. Perhaps I will try a green one with red eyes to frighten the horses. I suggested to Nibby that at my wake, the walls would be surrounded with these self portraits to make sure that I DID go to the ball. That would be scary, now.

News that oldies drink too much, quel surprise. More strange news that centres treating boozers won't see anyone over 65 - definite discrimination - so old boozers have no help with their problem. And now they are supposed to pay in advance for being abused in nursing homes. Great. Remind me to drink myself to death first.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Prolific Today

Another vile pic. This time I have resisted the temptation to bland down all the colours in the face with an orange wash. I have however left unpainted some bluey bits which make it look strange, and added some scribbles of crayon over the top.

I met Romy who was in good spirits, considering. Let's hope she manages to have a good break over the next couple of weeks.

Another One - Kooky Shy Again

I was painting in a very bad light last night and this one became very Tretchikoff so I overpainted in a kind of orangey flesh colour to tone it down. Left the arrowish eye highlights on the original snap as these look a bit surreal. Lips are wrong, nose too long, etc. etc. etc.

Kooky has become rather shy again today and was in the wardrobe while I painted. Not v. interested in his breakfast. I shall have some in a minute. I am thinking about cheesy scrambled eggs on toast and a cup of tea. We shall see.

Romy and the punters due back today. I shall meet her to collect her defunct laptop. Last night there were a few with D and V, so fingers crossed! So far, no swine 'flu. Must be the only thing that hasn't happened. Yet.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Dinner, Drunks and Painting

Great dinner last night at Red'n Hot with Julian and Dorothy. It was absolutely pissing with rain when we left the restaurant so we got a bus home. The whole West End seems to be full of young people, totally drunk and falling about - Dorothy tells me this is 'normal' for the weekend. We came back here and Julian spent some time playing with Kooky while Dorothy showed me how to use BBC iplayer to look at old progs I have missed.

This is the foul self-portrait I did yesterday, given interesting texture on the face and forehead by the scratchy painting it covers. Apparently one is supposed to sand a previously used canvas. Some chance.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Finished At Last and Kooky the Garden Cat

Nothing like the victim painted but all good practise. I am waiting for some awful self-portrait snaps to arrive so I can get under way with these - and no doubt completely depress myself, though I shall try and maintain a professional distance.

Kooky has spent hours in the garden this morning. He was quite reluctant to go out as it had been raining, but soon became keen and loves it out there. Watching Heston Blumenthal make a Black Forest cake is huge fun - especially when he plays with house painting gadgets and a paint tray full of melted chocolate.

Friday, 10 July 2009

More Garden Kooky

Garden Kooky

Kooky had a long wander around his garden before breakfast. I gave him some Whiskas in little bags last night. After eating the jelly he left the lot. He doesn't seem at all keen. The box said ' high in protein' but nowhere did the actual amount of protein appear, unless in was the 4% meat which seems very low in protein to me.

Disaster has struck this morning - the TV won't go on. Changed the batteries in the remote and checked the connections but no luck. It was working last night so I am wondering if something has happened to the aerial, but I think that would have just affected the picture. Nightmare - I shall be thrown back on my own complete lack of resources - and tonight is my favourite TV night with lots of soaps. Damn. God, I have just pressed something on it and it is now working. Weird. There is a god.

It's the 100th anniversary of Big Ben. They showed the insides and bells on the news. Impressive.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Thursday Evening

Didn't get back until after 11 last night - far too long a workday for an old woman. Kooky fed but trying for a second dinner - he's not entirely stupid. Today Julian had the locksmith around fitting a new inner lock to my door. It's quite handy because, though you need a key to get in, you get out just by moving the snib thing. He has really investigated the garden today and spent ages outside.

Left work a bit early because I'd managed a pretty rough draft of the minutes and wanted to play with Kooky. The auditors wanted all sorts of figures and all the minutes for the past year and a half. My feeble email skills just about managed this, though I was rather cross-eyed from scrutinising all the files online after this.

I am hoping to get some painting done this weekend. Just baked a loaf of bread as I think I am now ready to tackle solid food, which is just as well since I am taking Julian and Dorothy to Red 'n Hot on Saturday night - not sure that Szechuan food ideal for a delicate tum but may find something a little milder for me.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Romy Nursing Week, Meeting and Kooky Alarm

Call from Romy. So far: one punter with migraine, another forgot pills necessitating GP visit, another forgot crutch so needing crutch hire, and a fourth with bad knee requiring GP visit for cortisone injection. Fingers crossed for no more problems - it's turning out to be like a week long hospital outpatient appointment for Romy. She will need a holiday to recover. I am beginning to dread the August trip to Hayling Island.

Meeting tonight and too much to do, masses of photocopying and sorting as spent the whole day yesterday with the auditors.

I hope Julian will feed Kooky tonight as I will probably not get back until around 10.30pm. I have left a note with the food ready. Kooky was quite good last night - stayed upstairs under the table all evening while I watched TV. Every now and then he would inspect the outside world from the front window. This morning I overslept a little and he jumped on the bed to wake me up, which was quite helpful. I miss him when I am at work - he is working his evil magic on me.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Kooky on Tuesday Morning

Julian's birthday today. Julian came around to play with Kooky yesterday afternoon and left some keys and an umbrella behind in the excitement of being snapped with Kooky, who was pretty deadpan at the prospect.

Kooky is being a frightful tart pre-breakfast this morning, throwing himself on his back on the floor and stretching, with tiny mews to encourage me into the kitchen. I am running a bath, but will feed him after that.

Big Round Glasses from the Eighties

I have decided to tackle self portraits. I will do them mainly from photographs taken at different periods. I am getting some current ones printed large to work from, but this was taken in the late eighties/early nineties. It still doesn't look like me, but I shall crack on and keep going with these. They will make an interesting group anyway. These two have been fun and don't even look like the same person, which I quite like.

Strange Kooky, Paintings and Snaps

A strange thing happened last night. Kooky had been lolling about and suddenly started looking as though he had seen an insect or something, and creeping across the room. I looked over and couldn't see anything. Then I suddenly noticed my self portrait, which was propped up on a chair after snapping it. He was staring at it, and crept slowly up until he realised it wasn't a 'creature' of some sort, then walked away nonchalantly. He really is easily spooked. This morning he caught a tiny moth in the bedroom and ate it.

This morning I did a painting of a snap of Bill, the husband of one of my fellow students. This was the chap, who, unbeknownst to me, was a good friend of my ex-colleague's husband, who had known him for many years, since they were both very young. He is a very benevolent-looking chap, and I liked the snap of him because he was typically smiling. I am still having trouble with proportions - the bit between the nose and lip is too large (also in my self-portait) and the chin is not quite big enough. I shall have to concentrate on these areas. When I painted the Queen and Prince Charles, I made this mistake. Chins are my nemesis.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Old Self Portrait

The old photo didn't look like me, and neither does this. It really is a bit Tretchikoff though - not the inferior painting, just the colour. I should have done a really green face.

Kooky Yawning

You're just lucky I'm not screaming, stupid old woman. I am the cat from hell, so don't you forget it.


light photo to show his shape.

Last Priest

Cat Bore, Still Ill and Bad Paintings Again

Oh dear, I have become a total cat bore, the way people with babies become baby bores. I managed to remove another dag from his tummy today, but there are a few more to tackle. He is becoming a bit more trusting about having his tummy stroked. I may have to wean him off his drugs. They are absolutely the only way to get him to do anything at all unless he is absolutely starving, when food sometimes works. So far I have shamefully pandered to his addiction and bought large supplies from Ebay. I think I shall keep giving them to him, but cut down the dose to about six drops three times a day, then four, then three, etc. with a week or two between reductions.

Unwelcome continuation of Delhi belly - good thing I am not taking the punters on holiday as I am sure I won't have recovered by tomorrow.

Lost the connector between my camera and the computer. Snapped another priest, a self portrait from a very old snap and several of Kooky lolling about but can't do much with them until I find the connector. The paintings are a bit rough, but it is all good practise. Except that the old self-portrait, taken when I had eighties long wavy hair, went a bit Tretchikoff, except that his are rather better.

Warm evening and very noisy old eighties music coming from Louise's house. Good thing we didn't have a barbie as it would have been very irritating. As it is I am inside, but the noise is still very loud. I AM getting old!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Gutsache and General Lack of Mobility

Had a touch of Delhi belly for the last few days. Made the mistake of having some prawn crackers today. Since then I have drunk lots of tea and diet coke with two pieces of dry toast. I shall have to make some more bread tomorrow, as I shall keep up the dry toast for another day while the food I bought recently rots in the fridge. Quite annoying really.

Large, cheap catfood tins seem to be the way to go for Kooky. He crawled outside on his stomach like a furry snake with legs for a short while today, nervously sniffing about, but did not venture far from the back door. He still loves sitting on the bathroom window sill.

Dorothy did not like the print, and is horribly busy and stressed. I shall leave Dorothy alone for a bit until this latest work crisis has passed.

I think the Big Lunch idea is going to be a bit of a damp squib around here. There seem to be two people attending in Perronet House and a couple in Metro Central Heights. It is on July 19th, so maybe south east London is not the kind of place for it. I read recently that some organisation put pianos in about fifteen locations all over London hoping for impromptu performances. The performance in Burgess Park was a 'happening' - someone torched the piano.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Cat Matters, Fire and Gold Plated Burial

Just lashed out on some compact compost which is now being sold cheaply on Ebay. I shall do a few more pots in the garden. I really ought to put something on the front windowsill. I am rather tempted to put a couple of fake round box trees on either side with a real windowbox in the middle, we shall see.

Have found Kooky's reputed favourite Kit-E-Kat in large tins. Last night he wolfed back half a tin, and is still keenly devouring the rest this morning. Real, old-fashioned catmeat doesn't seem to exist now, it is all synthetic looking muck in jelly. Oh well. At least I have the Iams. This time I bought chicken Iams since he's not too keen on the salmon flavour.

There's been a fire in a tower block in Camberwell and six people, including a small baby, were killed. A tweeter called Southwarkcrap says that the people have been petitioning for an entryphone and hopes that the lack of this has not played a part in the starting of the fire.

Michael Jackson will apparently be buried in a gold-plated coffin.

Garden Improvement, Elephant & Castle Cock-up and Freebie from La Redoute

Julian is wonderful: my little back garden improves by the hour - Julian bought a very pretty miniature rose tree from Borough Market, which now has pride of place just outside the back door. Julian spent ages moving things about, trimming and clipping today. The scarf is being shown to Dorothy for approval (or not) before framing - though Julian thinks it may be more easily and cheaply framed in a large frame from IKEA.

On Wednesday the whole Lend Lease project for Elephant & Castle ran out of time for the final sign-up. Hopeless. I have lived here for 17 years and it has all been 'about to happen' for at least that amount of time. Piss-ups and breweries come to mind.

Purchased a couple of bits (two towels, a cushion cover and a waistcoat) from La Redoute with 40% off and was sent a free rather jolly set of four square melamine picnic plates, and four knives and forks, two of each in bright pink and two in bright orange. Good fun.

Birthday Dinner, Locks, Garden and Framing Problem

Had a very good dinner at Arbutus last night with Dorothy and Julian. We did not have starters, but had a prosecco and strawberry cocktail first. Dorothy chose a very pleasant red, which went with the rabbit chosen by Julian, and the bavette chosen by Dorothy and me. It was served with green beans and a little pot of pommes dauphinoise and Julian had a miniature shepherd's pie. For pudding I had a strawberry and elderflower trifle, Julian had provencale peach with various other things and a sorbet, and Dorothy had a strawberry and meringue thing. Instead of a pudding wine, we all shared a cherry and cherry sorbet, and it was all delicious. Unfortunately Dorothy paid while I was away from the table, so I will have to reimburse.

Julian had arranged for an extra secure lock on my inner door, but the locksmith couldn't fit it as there are already three locks and making another hole would have weakened the door. Julian has arranged for one of the current locks to be replaced with something better, and this will happen next Thursday. Julian spent quite a time improving the garden, has purchased some seeds which will 'manure' and feed the soil, like white clover, and a new pair of secateurs, which work well.

I will have to confess all to Dorothy: I took the silk square I was having framed as a picture - it is a John Piper sketch, signed, on a silk square, and will look good (I think) framed on a wall, but it turns out to cost an enormous amount to have it framed, partly because it is flimsy material and partly because it is so large. I don't want to have it done, then for Dorothy not to like it, so I shall show it to Julian and Dorothy before going ahead. If they don't like it, I shall get it framed anyway, at a later date.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Dorothy's Birthday, Sulky Kooky and Summer Holidays

Julian came around last night and did some major improvements in the garden, hoping for some fine weather for a barbecue on Sunday.

It is Dorothy's birthday today. A few years since being born in the cottage hospital in Chipping Norton, when we were living in Yew Tree Cottage, at Chilson, near Charlbury. I've booked a table for dinner tonight to celebrate.

Kooky is sulking because I have mislaid his drugs yet again. I must try and find them.

It has been a very hot couple of days, but it is expected to cool down over the next week, but it has been good having a bit of summer.

Romy is taking the punters to Eastbourne next week and has a helper with her. I hope the weather is OK. I shall be going to Hayling Island at the end of August for a week. We are hoping to stay at the Grand in Torquay again next year. I am quite keen on that place, with its faded grandeur and fabulous sea views.