Thursday, 27 August 2009

Hayling Island Ahoy!

Romy came back bearing gifts: grapes, a lovely light evening scarf and some more microwave Paladin chocolate drink in flakes. We managed to book a trip for the punters for tea on the watercress railway while we are in Hampshire, and decided to go to the boot fair on Monday. We will have a car with us in case of any disasters. Took a couple of paintings I had purchased to be framed today.

Trying to get everything ready in time for tomorrow. Kooky has rather inconsiderately decided to have diarrhoea - a protest no doubt against my going away. I shall advise my neighbour to play safe and limit the varieties of food he is given, and perhaps increase the dry food. I really must buy a larger case - mine is very small for a week of two changes a day. We shall see. I am having to add a smaller case this time, and take a huge bag as well. Our numbers are right down with some last-minute cancellations - but that will hopefully lessen the chances of mishap while we are away.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Sunday Evening

I confirmed today that the white berries draped among the food at Vic's party were, as I had suspected, from a poisonous plant. I call them snowberries. I had to ring Vic with this information in case some future punter decided to sample them. Probably not a good idea on a plate of food. Maybe Karim is sick of his customers??????

Julian popped over this evening, and between us we managed to make the dog flap work manually. However we have not persuaded Kooky to make the journey through on his own, despite drug bribery. At least he can now get out and in. My only hope is that nothing else gets in. Since Julian crawled out of it I am slightly worried. Maybe I shall ask my neighbour to open it manually in the morning and close it at night while I am away. We shall see.

My friend Jon has become a friend on Facebook. I have no doubt that images of Clamidia Rash will appear on his page soon. Oh - they are already there. Quel surprise.

Bought a few paintings on Ebay. I shall now have to try and find somewhere to hang them. I shall also have to try and get someone to paint my bedroom and the hall - the walls are filthy.

My neighbour has confirmed he will feed Kooky while I am away. Julian suggested I leave a bucket near Kooky's food station so my neighbour can drop the poo into this before covering each time with some plastic, then putting some kind of improvised lid on the top to contain the smell. It might well work. Tomorrow I will compose some instructions. Have given up on feeding him small amounts of wet food, as Kooky is very resistant to dry food, however hungry. I now give him much more - about 200g wet food morning and evening - about two packs, and just a small amount of dry food, which he prefers.

Roses and Triffids

I was trying to improve this, but got fed up and I was thinking about the leaves colonising the house and plants, then acting as lace curtains in the window. This is what happens when I get bored with a painting.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


These are a nightmare. I should have stuck to painting my ugly mug.

The Birthday Girl

Vic's Birthday Bash

'Very nice dear - not sure I can manage the whole plate'

My friend Vic's birthday at her Syrian pal's cafe in Hammersmith. Just a few of us this time and we enjoyed the evening. The whole place has become even more kitsch (if possible) and there's a very jolly atmosphere. Gladioli all over the place, Araby hanging lamps, chinese lanterns and fans etc. The food is somewhat oversubstantial: we started with hummus, aubergine dip, cauliflower fritters, heaps of garlicky prawns and a few other things. The main event was rice with fresh sardines, and a large sea bass each on a bed of broad beans, surrounded by various kinds of red and white foliage and whole beetroot "good against cancer!" said Vic. After this, there was a birthday cake iced with mango mousse as Vic cannot have dairy, and after that, a huge sliced watermelon was placed on the table. Vic's agent, and a couple of other very pleasant friends were there, so a very good evening was had by all, helped by champagne flutes on stalks but without bases - forcing one to down the entire glass.

I escaped at about 1.30am, and am still recovering from all that overeating.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Saturday Afternoon

Had lunch in Lye Torng and a chat with my old friend Beverley. A demonstration by the Seventh Day Adventists against knife and gun crime went past.

Did a bit of painting this morning. Having looked forward to it, my heart somehow wasn't in it so I abandoned it until later. May be because I am so tired today, only having had five hours sleep.

Onward and upward - to Hammersmith later.

More Cat Problems

Here's the coffee machine, with the milk frother on the left.

Oh dear, Kooky has been sick again this morning, the same pale clearish fluid as before. His poo is slightly pale, too. I wish we weren't all going away next week. He seems totally well in himself though and is eating well.

Unfortunately, with all the goings-on last night I do not seem to have any instructions for the cat door.Julian has put some kind of locking bit over it so it seems impossible to use so I can't try training Kooky to get in and out. Damn nuisance. I hope the people who charged me over £100 for the door are going to put matters right with the keys and batteries or it will be useless.

I am rather pissed off with everything, but I shall do some painting this morning to try and improve things a bit - a cup of the new and wonderful Nespresso with frothy milk will definitely help a lot.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Good Lunch and Interesting Evening

Catriona arrived in the pouring rain, so I opened some prosecco immediately, which we imbibed until it stopped. Then we went to the Chop House, sat outside watching the river while we had a very pleasant lunch. We carried on with the wine when we arrived back here. A very strange evening, the man arrived to fit the catflap and missed several of the screws so had to return to finish the job properly. Then Julian and Dorothy arrived bearing gifts: a rather super Nespresso machine and an electric milk frother. We had some excellent coffee. However, both the dog key and battery and the cat key and battery did not function, in fact the dog battery started smoking in Dorothy's hands, so I sent off an email to the suppliers. Bloody nuisance as it means i can't train Kooky to use his door with the key. I may just leave it unlocked when I am at home and try and get him to go in and out of it so he has some idea how to make it work.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Face Treatment and Cat Walking

Taking antibiotics for my face rash and putting on some vile ointment. Hope it works. If it's not bad enough being 67,almost 17 stone and hardly being able to stagger about, the last thing you need is geriatric acne. I have had this for over a year now and the makeup layer becomes thicker and thicker. The quack tells me that if this antibiotic doesn't work I have to take another one for three months. Deary me!

Julian came around last night to take Kooky out in his pushchair. First we put him in his harness and lead just in case, and he reluctantly went into the pushchair without making any fuss. However, I felt the traffic noise in the main road would be too alarming so we just had a short stroll down to the end of the street and back, to the great amusement of the neighbours who had assumed we had a baby in the chair. I think the pushchair is a step too far, but if I take him to the vet I may put his new carrying case inside it to get him to the end of the street to the taxi, and use it at the other end, too. I have to buy him a collar this morning as his catflap is being fitted tonight and I will have to start trying to get him to use it in time for my absence at the end of next week.

I am looking forward to a late lunch with my friend Catriona, though the weather is rather dull so far. I shall attempt to get on with some painting tomorrow.

Time Running Out before Hayling Island Break

Luckily I arrived home from work early, just in time to take delivery of a huge dog flap apparently suitable for rottweilers, Great Danes, etc, so it may be large enough. Someone coming to fit it tomorrow evening. It may just about fit in the door panel.

My friend Catriona is arriving between 1 and 2pm tomorrow. If it is not pouring we may cab it down to the Chop House as they do very good lunch deals and there's a river view, otherwise I shall have to think again - Roast is always full but there are a couple of places around Borough Market. We shall see. This evening I am awaiting a delivery from Ocado, which should arrive between 6 and 7pm.

I have primed a large canvas, and am torn between several possibilities for a subject to paint. Just realised I only have another six days before I have to go away. I must check that my neighbour is still willing to feed Kooky - and dispose of his poo, which is the less happy job -unless I can persuade him to poo outside within the next few days. Good thing the door is going up tomorrow night - might just give me time to train him to use it - or not, we shall see.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

19 August - Wednesday

Back at work after quick visit to quack. Seems I am a total hypochondriac and I am not diabetic, my liver is OK too, and my BP totally normal. However my cholesterol is high at over 5, which doesn't sound that bad to me but he was about to force medication on me until I swore to forego most saturated fat and to take some Benecol stuff every day.

Romy has again taken her work mobile abroad and punters have rung her there. She rang me at the office. I do wish she would leave the bloody thing in the office. I suppose I could carry it about while she is on leave, or have a message telling people to ring the office. Oh well.

Fake flowers have arrived today. These may be useful as stand-in models for real ones. We shall see. May go up to Borough Market and take some snaps of a flower stall which could make some useful paintings. May even buy a pot plant or two.

Kooky's Pushchair

As yet untried because Kooky was sick twice last night and to subject him to further trials would have been excessive.

Julian may arrive tonight to take him for a walk. I suspect he will rip his way out of this in seconds. We shall see.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Did a quick painting of these this afternoon. Haven't quite caught the colour - artificial light so too greyish and not enough creaminess and shine. Oh well - keep it up!

Peonies and Friend's Woes

Peonies are realy difficult. Overdone the leaves a bit. Whole thing a bit dodgy - but onward and upward.

My friend Cathy rang last night. Seems her son and his fiancee have discovered her financial problems and are very angry with her. At least they have arranged to change her telephone number which might stop the harassment, not much point since they now seem to be harassing her. At least she is staying with friends for a few days to finish her essay, which is her final piece of work. She is also doing two jobs and working three days a week. I have asked her to come over for a good drinking session when she has finished her exams and we can discuss painting, and the important things of life, rather than debt, and the unimportant things of life.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Kooky - Pushchair and Poo Solutions

I bought Kooky a pushchair today, so it will be easier to take him to the vet as he is so heavy. These pet 'walkers' are American and aimed at the obese pet who cannot stagger about. I need one of these myself really. We are having to pay around £90 for the Staywell dog door - an extra £12.11 for a special cat sized key included. We are going to order it tonight when Julian comes over to play with Kooky. I don't know if Julian has yet obtained a quote for fitting it.

I also managed to find some biodegradable cat litter so I have filled a tray with this and put it in a sheltered place to encourage him to pee or poo (preferably both) outside. Meanwhile I have found a deeply wonderful cat thing for inside, which is a mat fitting inside and around the top of my current litter tray. It has an absorbent base which absorbs the pee, which keeps the actual litter dry. After emptying the first lot of litter out after a week you can refill with fresh cat litter, and a week later, dispose of the whole thing by rolling it up and chucking it away.

I shall feed him some Solitaire chicken in white sauce tonight. I shall continue with the soup. Made some rather better gazpacho today from a couple of handfuls of baby tomatoes, a red pepper and quite a bit of iceberg lettuce, no onion or garlic. I added a handful of fresh basil and one of parsley, some olive oil, some water, some lemon and some balsamic vinegar. It is delicious.

Forsythia Macro

having another crack at a flower macro - this time it's Forsythia with an indistinct background because of the macro. I suspect flowers 'r not us. Oh well, I shall persist for a bit, though may do a portrait for light relief.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Picky Kooky and Fleurs du Mal

Kooky is very picky about his food today. He refused to touch Sainsbury's beef terrine, and is not all that keen on the chicken terrine, but I am leaving it there. Julian playing with him last night. We are going to buy him a think like a small pushchair to take him to the vets which means I can take him easily as I can push it. We are also getting a dog flap which will cost a fortune, around £70, then another £100 or so for the hole cutting and fitting, since the door is at least two inches thick and we will have to ask the locksmith to do it. Julian has also found an excellent sisal scratching mat which he may use - he has already ruined most of the carpets in the house. He is outside this morning eyeing the fishes, I suspect their days are numbered.

Have been having a vile time trying to do flowers. I probably made it worse for myself by copying from a macro photograph which really doesn't work. I shall have to find a bunch of actual flowers. These look rather evil and a bit of a mess.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Strange Diet and Silly Painting

I weighed 16st 11lb this morning so lost a pound despite eating out on Thursday night, and eating a three course lunch yesterday. Ocado due to arrive before 11am today with some more soups, but must cook some more myself as they are generally better. I seem to have lots of plastic containers with dubious contents - probably stock - in the freezer so shall investigate.

I am doing a very silly self portrait in grisaille with a daft hat I bought. I may start on the rather scary prospect of actually painting vases of flowers soon, just for a change. Have never done anything like it before so they will be total crap, but must have a go - at least it will be a new challenge. May try some other still lifes too. We shall see. Good receiving lots of free books with the Times. I am giving most of them to Romy to export to Spain for some winter reading - but some I either haven't read, so now reading 'The big S

Friday, 14 August 2009

Riverboat Trip on the Thames

River trip today. Unfortunately the boat berthed much further away than we had thought it would on the floating platform, resulting in a very long walk to the boat, so Romy had to transport several people in turn in a wheelchair, dashing back and forth when we boarded and when we arrived back. We definitely need another folding wheelchair and to employ a couple of brawny wheelchair pushers for these outings. Anyway, the weather was good and the boat was very large. We were greeted with Buck's Fizz and an excellent luncheon was served. There was a traditional jazz band on the boat which added to the jolly atmosphere. Romy and I spent some time on deck enjoying the riverbank views. A most successful outing.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Another Kooky Alarm and Lovely Dinner Party

I made the mistake of letting Kooky out for a short while before I went out last night. Julian arrived to play with him, and I let him out. Within seconds a black and white cat appeared on the fence, and Kooky somehow leapt over the fence in pursuit. Kooky spent some time in the garden next door birdwatching. We decided he probably couldn't get back again so Julian, after discovering the neighbours were out, took the ladder outside and called him. Meanwhile I was trying to get ready to go out. Finally, another neighbour's husband climbed over the fence and brought him home. Julian fed him while I left for dinner. He woke me up at 5.15 this morning. He is not going out again in a hurry.

Very enjoyable dinner party near Crystal Palace. The house has panoramic views all over south London. We had champagne and canapes in the lovely garden, full of fruit trees and with sculptures. I was quite envious of the decorative pergolas covered in roses. Saw my old colleague again which was lovely, and met some new people as well as my former fellow art student, Elizabeth and her husband. Elizabeth is recently quite transformed - her trademark bright red hair totally gone and now a lovely pale blonde. She is also wearing it up, which suits her, and is very slim and attractive, annoyingly, since she kept telling me how much weight I had gained since leaving college. Talking of which, the food was super, particularly the pommes Dauphinoise served with ham and carrots. There was a most delicious summer pudding made from all the fruits in the garden. My diet ruined. I was very lucky coming back as two of the guests were coming past the end of my road, so had an unexpected lift home. Bed around midnight.

Child Again and Kooky Boredom

Here she is again without the tit.

Kooky slept on my bed again, and woke me up at 5.15. I refused to open the back door until 6am and it was raining so he could not go out.

Julian came around to play with him last night. I think he is bored with living with an old woman and needs someone young to play with. Maybe I should get a kitten too. We shall see.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Kooky Back Again

I went to bed leaving the back door ajar because Kooky is too large for the catflap. I tried to sleep a bit, woke up at 2am to go to the bathroom, and as I walked pas the living room, there he was, sitting calmly on the floor, staring at me with his huge eyes, as though butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.

Julian had asked me to text if he came back, which I did, then Julian rang me. We decided he really is extraordinary. Having been an indoor cat for four years, we were amazed he had survived outside of his garden without mishap. I am really nervous about ever letting him out again.

Absolute Disaster

Disaster has struck. Kooky has vanished. Normally I get him in before dark, but I left it a bit long while I did a bit of painting. When I got upstairs it was dark, with no sign of Kooky. Given his hiding habits I searched the entire flat before going into the garden with his favourite drugs and shaking the container. No luck. No torch but found my UV light. Rang Dorothy. Julian rushed over and we spent hours looking for him, Julian searching the street in front too without success. Tomorrow morning Julian is going to make some notices and put them about. I have been told to close the back door until morning and then search again for a bit.

Tuesday - Day Off

Had blood taken and had to make an appointment with the GP for a 'review' - nanny state gone bonkers - nurse not allowed to do liver function tests so I suppose I shall have to get the GP to order them, then go and have more blood extracted.

I decided my life was too short to polish silver cutlery, so have put it all away for special occasions, and ordered some simple French stuff with brightly coloured plastic handles for everyday use. Seems they can't send knives through the post so popped into John Lewis this morning to buy these. Unfortunately I had already ordered the rest of the cutlery on the internet to arrive by post, rather annoying as I could have picked it up from the shop. While there I went into the Food Hall and purchased some milk, some steak and some of those little dryish French sausages to gnaw when suffering from food deprivation. This is unlikely to happen as I had a green curry for lunch and will have a steak and salad tonight. So much for soup. I shall reassume the soup and salad tomorrow. Unfortunately I am out to dinner on Thursday night, which no doubt will be a dietary disaster, but I shall enjoy it. Kooky is becoming cuter and cuter and spending more and more time outside.

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Duchess

Well here she is in all her tinsel glory, known as 'The Duchess'. I am not the only ugly one. So there.

Surprise invitation to dinner on Thursday evening, which is nice.

Sent Dorothy's grandmother some flowers and a couple of chocs to the nursing home. Kooky is bored with the garden today and is curled up just inside my front door. He has been asleep most of the day, strange thing. I hope he is all right.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sunday Afternoon

Forgot to have lunch. May finish the gazpacho. This is from a snap I took a few years ago at a showbiz party. The two women were having an animated conversation. I haven't painted it well but I like the idea.

Sunday Morning

Rang Nibby. She made me remove the slight tit off the painting - she thought paeophiles would like it. I thought they would prefer it without, but removed it anyway.

Seems Saff is going to some antique fairs in France, talking about one in Lyons. Rather far to drive, but still, while her husband is unemployed might be a good time to go. I just hope they are not going to attempt to take the two dogs as well as the baby and toddler. The energy of youth!

Robert left a kind remark on my Facebook about the painting which is encouraging.

I shall stagger off to Lye Torng for my weekly bloody Mary.

Golden Haired Child

Painted this from a snap I took a couple of years ago. Spent hours trying to paint the water with wonderful reflections etc. but it looked crap so went over it with some viridian and black and it still looks crap but I think the shadows on the child give the image a slightly surreal look.

Kooky slept on my bed last night. I seem to get a better night's sleep when he is there like a fat, furry security blanket.

I shall ring Nibby this morning. Saffron has been exchanging emails with me. She is buying some nice old furniture for her gaff and is contemplating a holiday in France. I suggested Le Touquet as Romy thinks it's a good place.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Quick Gazpacho and Slow Painting

My very quick 'gazpacho', made of half a green pepper and a yellow pepper and half a cucumber found in fridge, roughly sliced. Small onion and three cloves of garlic. large squirt - about two tablespoonfuls of tomato puree (no fresh, no cans in house) processed and then some parsley and basil added plus some cider vinegar to taste and a little olive oil. Whizz around more and add water to taste. Can use bread too. Very quick and cheap. This will be tonight's soup with a piece of toast. I shall make some more bread tomorrow.

I have been trying to paint a child by a pond. So far I have failed dismally with the pond. Don't suppose I shall have much more luck with the child. We shall see.

Richard Revised and Rugger Player

Removed a lot of chin and it looks much more like him. Funny how a snap does not always look much like the victim. Also did a very rough painting of a rugger player who frequented Bedlam when a student. Not a bit like him.

Lost 3lb more. Now 16st 12lb. Dorothy's soup and salad diet is working. But I had curries at the Thai on Thursday and Friday so will forego any indulgence this weekend. Well, I say this.....we shall see. Kooky keeps leaving whiskers in the bath. He really is an odd cat.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Toothache Gone and Richard Painting

Absolutely weird, the toothache has completely gone today. I shall play it by ear, and if it reappears, go to the dentist in Old Street. However, it may be OK until Monday, when my own dentist can sort it out since whatever she did created the problem in the first place.

This morning I painted Richard, ex proprietor of Lye Torng who is now at Borough Market and owns the Rake. He is a bit Desperate Dan around the chin, which I may adjust, and will have a go at the hair and eyebrows.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

No Fake Flowers and Horrible Toothache.

Ordered a few fake flowers on press recommendation from an internet company called VeryNice I ordered them and they said they would come in a week or two. I ordered them on 13 July, and looking at their website there's still no tracking number and they don't reply to emails, so beware.

The filling done recently seems to have played up - odd since my tooth didn't hurt before. I was told there was a root filling in the tooth already, but it has become horribly painful and my dentist doesn't work on a Friday. Julian has sent me the address of another dentist in Old Street, so may give them a ring in the morning to see if they can do a better job. It is aching all over one side, a bit like neuralgia. I googled it and there was a rather alarming article about how, despite a root filling, infection can get into this from the crown causing even more trouble. A credit card job I suspect. They are called Dental Arts in City Road and I have been given the name of one of their dentists. We shall see.

Even Worse Caricature of a Face

Day off today, but I need a signature from one of the Trustees, so will be slightly occupied. Must clear up the awful mess in the kitchen this morning, then maybe do a bit of painting before chasing after the Trustee.

Working lunch with Romy at Lye Torng. The green curries are definitely becoming much more fiery. We came back and had coffee in the garden. The weather was really quite warm and pleasant this morning.

Had a horrible time painting that awful last self portrait, which is now even worse. More hanks of hair hanging uselessly down and jowls more prominent. Oh dear. I must paint something nice soon. Another Kooky portrait calls. I fancy catching him when he lies on his back with his paws curved around.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Wednesday Morning Titter

Funny stories in today's Times:

Allegedly,from the obit for Major William Spowers, when a young man in the army in India, he went into the kitchen to find the servant responsible for making the governor's toast lying on the floor with his feet pointing at the hot stove and slices of bread between his toes. No electric toaster there, then.

Also, in 1969 he auctioned a collection of Napoleonica from the Emperor's confessor, who had attended the postmortem and acquired some mementoes from the house, including, among lot 182, a precious part of Bonaparte, thought to be the imperial member. Catalogued as a 'small, dried-up object and described as a'mummified tendon' it failed to reach the reserve, prompting a tabloid headline of 'Not tonight, Josephine.'

Also, apparently Conservative MP Nicholas Soames' ex wife said having sex with him was like 'having a wardrobe fall on you with the key still in'. Seems he was quite a heavy chap.

'End of Day Hangers'

These hangers have been painted with leftover paint at the end of the day. Quite folksy and fun to do, if a bit rough.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

End of Day Paperweight

Very nice John Deacons paperweight. I really quite like his paperweights. I obtained it at a bargain basement price from Ebay. They are called 'end of day' because they use bits and pieces left at the end of the day, supposedly.

I may do a painting of some of the detail, or maybe the whole thing when I can get the energy.

Have slipped a little on the diet front at the weekend, but back on track now. I was 17st 1lb the other day so will have to keep an eye on this. Blood tests for diabetes and liver function tests next week. Have managed to be pretty well alcohol-free, apart from a tiny amount of St. Germain with sparkling water.

Monday, 3 August 2009

'......A Particularly Horrid Old Thing Tra la'

With a caricature of a face'. Sorry about this, yet another self portrait, but I started so I finished. Livid yellow and green feature somewhat here.

Madeleine pitched up yesterday. I made some bread and then some gazpacho for lunch. I roasted a hen but couldn't persuade her to have any. I pureed it with a cooked cabbage today into a kind of soup. Tastes OK if a bit chewy because of the chicken puree, but probably terribly healthy.

Decided to do some more work on the self portrait. Changed the lips and moved them up a bit. Then got sick of it.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

First Kooky Portrait

Bit of a challenge this morning trying to paint Kooky. Well, here he is. I may make some more efforts at a future date. Actually his lighter fur was more blue and the background more green in the painting, but hard to reproduce.