Sunday, 31 January 2010

Pensioner's Party

The party was a huge success. The mayor was there in his chain, and insisted on playing bingo before he left for another event. There were sausage rolls, sandwiches, several kinds of trifle, cakes and sweets and masses of booze. And crackers. There was a disco, karaoke, and a session from MIA (Moving Into Age), all dancers over 50, a raffle, and later, some lady Morris dancers.

I met my predecessor, who had organised the cakes and made the trifles, and one of our previous trustees, Hilary Wines, wearing the most enormous gold watch ever seen. I commented on this amazing bling, which Hilary had purchased at Borough Jewellers. She was wearing a long skirt with a most wonderful shot silk wrapped top - very elegant. Our Chairman was also there, meeting and greeting. Another trustee, Pat Notton, was fronting the show. It was all too much for an old lady like me - I left as the lights lowered for the disco, before the Morris dancers, whom I had seen previously. I had put on some lowish heels for the occasion, which squashed my toes up a bit, and was happy to get home and throw my shoes off later. I did manage to get rid of the umbrella which had been left behind at our party, but am left with a scarf and a cardigan, which will go back to the office until claimed.

Sunday morning

Chat with Pierre last night about his roof.

Spoke with Nibby this morning who is excited about coming home this year.

Read my newspaper in the Oasis at the shopping centre, then went on to Mamuska for lunch - bigos and a diet coke. I also sampled the vodka - excellent, and the Polish cooked cheesecake - a bit tough, and not very exciting. I think the puds are a waste of time there. This afternoon I am going to a punter's party - lots of things were left behind at our party the week before last so I shall try and get rid of some today. I have also found a little diamond crossover ring which will do as a raffle prize. And a bottle of wine. Like a children's tea party it runs from 4 to 8pm, so let's hope I remain conscious until then after all that sauerkraut. 4pm. I am still conscious, so it's on with the lippy and off to the Community centre!

Friday, 29 January 2010


Met up with Jackie, Nomad and SaneJames for lunch at Mamuska. Jackie was rather bothered by the harsh lighting. The deal is that you choose what you want, go up to the counter, order and pay, grabbing cutlery as you do so. They give you a number and call the numbers out so you collect your food. I think you are meant to take your dishes back to the counter when you have finished, too. I had boiled potatoes with meat and sauerkraut, I think it was called Bigos, and a beer for £8. The beer was enormous. Later I had some lemon tea. Nomad had some meat patties, Jackie also had sauerkraut and SaneJames had pea soup with Polish bread, some vodka and some apple and cinnamon cake. The food wasn't exactly boiling hot, but was very nice. There was a good atmosphere and we really enjoyed it.

Afterwards I discovered that you can get passport snaps in Tesco's which was handy. I may venture to the post office to renew my bus pass next week.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Thursday Evening

I have decided to purchase some natural sound effect CDs. I have purchased rain sounds, storms, waves and a dawn chorus of birds, all in the hope of achieving some tranquillity. I may purchase another CD player for the bedroom, but will try them out first and see how it goes, since I am accustomed to radio 4 and world service.

Just had a call from Dorothy who has had some good news about tax, and is rather relieved. I was delighted to hear this, and they are off for a few days to Spain.

I have had a bit of a cold, which now seems to be improving. My Diet Chef diet seems to be quite successful, in that I have been attempting to stick to eat, with the addition of a little fruit and vegetables, plus some milk to go in the porridge.

Sunday, 24 January 2010


Chatted with Nibs yesterday - she had a very successful birthday in Canberra visiting an art gallery and having an elegant afternoon tea with friends.

I have been hopeless around food, but despite this have lost another pound. I suspect my sins will show up on the scales next week. Have had a bit of an aching tum for a few days, not sure why. Age I expect. It seems to account for most of my bodily disorders. Dorothy appears to be suffering from some kind of sleep problem whereby you only sleep very few hours each night, then make up for it at weekends by sleeping all day. Suggested banning the computer after ten and going to bed with a hot drink and a good book. Or getting a TV. It seems to send me off at about 9pm. Apparently the Japanese go in for catnaps during the day.

Ocado delivered yesterday. I bought two huge bags of oranges and had forgotten there was another one free. I also seem to have purchased a large pineapple. I am hoping Julian will collect these today as I am now awash with fruit. Otherwise I shall be forced to make several pomanders.

Trying to arrange another meeting at the Photographer's Gallery with my friends. I have decided it is a very good spot, and of course, near Liberty's.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Friday Party and Saturday Morning

Set off for the party this morning. Everything ran pretty smoothly - the food was good, the music was good and people enjoyed the raffle. Though Romy did most of the running about despite her cold, I felt quite exhausted and fell asleep for an hour after I arrived back home. I have done an Ocado order which will arrive on Sunday morning and done one load of dishwashing. I shall vegetate in front of the TV tonight.

Watched CBB then fell into bed. Reading my first James Ellroy which seems pretty good. May read more by this guy. Kooky woke me up at 7, so fed him and went back to bed until 9. I may be starting a cold. Romy has one but only for the last day or so. We shall see.

I hope Nibby had a good birthday - I did raise a glass to her yesterday.

My weight loss attempts have been less than successful this week. Purchased a tin of fudge and devoured the lot within a few days. Just because it was there.Someone gave me a hugely tempting box of chocs yesterday. After devouring five chocs last night I decided to give the rest away just to avoid further temptation. I shall attempt to keep more fresh fruit in the house for these moments. After decanting my wonderful diet food from Diet Chef, I found the instruction booklet in the bottom of the container. It does not add much but some of the advice might be quite useful for eating out.

Seems very smoky inside today. Perhaps the people upstairs smoke. Or their guests. I have looked up an air filter system which I may have to purchase if this persists as I have a slight breathing problem - I know I am allergic to barbecue smoke and think I may be allergic to cigarette smoke.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thor's Day

Southwark Refuse turned up very rapidly - I managed to drag the cupboard out and it was gone later on Monday, having emailed them on Sunday.

Lunch at the new Photographer's Gallery in Ramillies St. They have a good little cafe there serving salads and snacky lunches, and rather delicious home-made cakes and coffee. Managed to get a Lapsang tea which was great. There was an exhibition upstairs by Jim Goldberg, about displaced people, refugee camps and general itinerancy. It was good, if rather depressing. My friend is three quarters through a vile course of treatment for hepatitis C, due to finish at the end of May. Despite this, and apart from weight loss, she isn't looking bad, and we shall meet up again soon. I saw two men I immediately recognised as well known actors there, but absolutely couldn't think of their names. It is quite a little oasis in that busy part of town and a good meeting place.

Romy back yesterday, and we staggered off to purchase raffle prizes at Selfridges after a rapid lunch at Frankie's. For some reason I was totally knackered before we started, so we cut things short at about 4 pm and headed off to unload things at my house. We agreed we had not purchased enough presents for men, so today we shall set forth to Marks & Spencer in Fenchurch Street to finish our shopping.

This morning I received an email from Pierre in Canada with several photos. Seems their gaff in Vancouver Island was beset by wind recently, and they heard a crack in the middle of the night. In the morning they discovered a huge pine tree had fallen, the top end crashing into a glass extended roof on the side of their house. I do hope no more of the many pines around their house are tall enough for this to happen again. It is a wonder no one was hurt, and will take ages and cost a fortune to clear up.

Monday, 18 January 2010

And Finally -

Here's a pair of lounge lizards or card sharps, my French is a bit crap but I think he's suggesting joining a card game where the odds look good, whereas she's intending to go to the bar where there's a Porto Mogoa. The ad is from 1939 and shows the trendy fashion of the day.

Another Ad

This is from 1953 - the French have such fancy chocolate ads - I don't know if you can see the 'wood veneer' face and neck.

Old French Magazine Ads

Emailed Southwark Bulky Refuse about collecting my white cupboard rubbish on Saturday or Sunday. To my amazement they will collect tomorrow, so I just have to drag it down my front stairs today.

Have sorted out a pretty silver necklace and a couple of rings for raffle prizes on Friday. Just hope the weather holds out.

Very lazy day yesterday, just lolled about reading the papers after having coffee at Elephant & Castle. Mamuska was very quiet at about 12 when I went passed, but had filled up with people and families by about 1.30pm. Good to see some people in there, there are too many empty cafes around here.

Bought some ads cut out of old French mags - here's one. I shall have them framed as I think they are rather amusing. They arrived today, and for more, go to though I bought them from the same people on Ebay.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Lazy Sunday

Dorothy and Julian came around last night bearing cakes to see my new furniture. Later, Julian took us to Ba Shan, their new discovery opposite Bar Shu. It used to be a noodly kind of place but is now doing mains. We had a prawn and chilli sauce starter, an aubergine starter, followed by a huge fish with noodles and rice and a huge bowl of crab claws in chilli with other bits and pieces. Delicious. It is Dorothy's current favourite restaurant. Seems the cuisine is Hunnan - even hotter than Szechuan.

Spoke to Nibby this morning who has her Oz citizenship - congrats from all. I shall have to have another go at the studio to try and make it comfortable for her visit later this year.

I went to John Lewis yesterday and purchased a few prizes for the pensioners party raffle on Friday, which is the same day as Nibby's birthday. I shall raise a glass for Nibs on the day. I found some quite fun prizes, such as a Hotel Chocolat Pretty in Pink goody bag full of choccie things, some Roger & Gallet guest soaps, a very fancy bath cap and a first aid kit in a red WWII type tin with a crown and white printed message 'keep calm and carry on' which is quite fun. We will have to purchase masses more bits and pieces next week. I shall put in a couple of books and a bottle or two of wine. And do my usual jewellery search for a couple of little pieces. We shall see.

I must remember to purchase some more glucosamide today. I shall have a quiet day, I hope, vegging out with the papers.

Friday, 15 January 2010

- and this is the little 1920's mahogany bowfronted chest in the hall. Not a very good snap I am afraid.

- this is the larger chest.

Tired Friday

This is the small Belgian chest. Rather baroque, what?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Furniture Day

Absolutely typically, the weather was fine today and the delivery came unexpectedly early. I managed to push the furniture around a bit and already nearly all the drawers are full. I haven't managed to dismember the IKEA cupboard which had been in the hall so it is taking up space in the living room. Had a good lunch - they have put the Tom Kha soup with noodles on as a special for £5.50 at Lye Torng. I shall have a diet dinner tonight - probably bolognese without pasta but served with a large Iceberg lettuce salad.

I have so much stuff still to chuck out. Soon, I shall ring the charity guy to see if his van is working then he can take away my memory foam mattress topper which is cluttering up the studio. It is so cold I just haven't felt like even going in the studio, let alone painting. I have also made a decision to paint over most of my paintings as the canvases are taking over the place. I shall start on the worst ones first - plenty of choice there! Then I will start again, having snapped them. That way I can remember and record what I have done without having to keep the actual paintings.

Meeting Evon at the Photographer's Gallery for lunch on Tuesday so have scheduled a day off. Party preparation, probably mainly involving the purchase of raffle prizes on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Wednesday Afternoon

Woke up to thick snow everywhere and Kooky reluctant to exit the house. If there hadn't been a meeting tonight I would have stayed at home. Romy rang to say she could not get a flight back since Gatwick is closed. I was going to ask Julian to come around tomorrow and receive the furniture, but when I set off to find a cab the weather was so awful I decided to cancel tomorrow's panto visit. Having done this, of course the weather has improved and the snow melted. Still, it may happen again tonight. Romy rang the office again to say she might try for a flight on Friday or at the weekend. I hope she is able to get back before the party on Friday week. We have already had to replace one of the entertainers. I have to be off on Tuesday, so we will have to purchase raffle prizes for the party on Wednesday or Thursday, or both. I do hope the weather clears up before Friday, or we will have a disaster on our hands.

My food from the Diet Chef through QVC arrived. The parcel was so heavy I could hardly move it. If I eat stuff weighing that amount over 28 days no wonder I am so fat. So far I have tried porridge and granola - both good; oat snacks - good; vegetable soup which smells like school dinners but tastes fine and spicy, and paella which is fine but bears no relation to actual paella. There is a lot of variety and it all looks OK and I am sure would be a harmless diet with the addition of some fruit and vegetables. We shall see.

Meeting at the office tonight may ring Julian to see about Kooky's dinner.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Polish Food, Elephants and Music

Kooky did not come back for ages last night. I could hear him bleating from another garden in the dark and called him. He eventually managed to get over the fence. I must remember to lock him in at night.

Elephants still being painted in shopping centre. Found a guy doing a free electronic music workshop where you can have a go - more to come from Point Blank. Going on all January in Brixton. If you book to go to one of these in Brixton you gain free entry to a celebrity masterclass led by Jony Rockstar (Sugarbabes, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys). There - my reader can become famous - if it works, don't forget my commission! More info at

Had a chat about art and people were surprised to hear that my dissertation subject 'Art and Money' was turned down in 1995.

Passed the new Mamuska Polish restaurant - advertising meals for a fiver. Must try the sauerkraut some time.

On the way back passed Abbey National whose cashpoints now bear the name 'Santander'. Takes me back to the heady days of 2003 in Barcelona and people who kept telling me that Spanish banks were always going bust, and how safe all our money was guaranteed when in British Banks. Times change.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

More Saturday

Snowing for a bit today. Earlier, had lunch in Lye Torng. Louise suggested having a large Tom Kha soup with noodles, which turned out to be excellent advice in this freezing weather.

I shall have to force myself into the shopping centre tomorrow if it is not too bad so that I can purchase the Observer. I shall ring Nibby in the morning as usual. I have put some stuff in the new desk with more to do tomorrow. Not well organised, but at least it is all in one location.

I can use my laptop, and store this on top of the desk away from the TV and other distractions.

- And unwrapped

Though it is quite dark it is very hunky and the drawers are a very decent size. So much more practical than the cute little davenports I had been looking at in the first place.

Here's the desk

All wrapped up.


The desk arrived today. It was as heavy as lead, but the guy somehow got it into the flat. It was completely covered (above) in clear wrapping and underneath (where I have torn it a bit) in some kind of blanket stuff. V. professional.

It is exactly as described but much darker (see next post). However I have decided I quite like the 'brown furniture' look, if only because it goes against the current craze for painting everything white.

For some reason the photo uploading thing won't work.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Shopping Day

Successful day - Julian appeared with lots of washing powders, gels etc. then we set off for Gray's.

As usual everthing was very expensive, the first very attractive and cheapest thing was an art nouveau and enamel pendant in 18ct gold with two nude ladies which at first glance looked quite abstract, for £850 (best price). However, after a fairly exhaustive look around Julian managed to improve on this with an early 20thc bar brooch with a substantial and very well modelled fox mask. This was large enough to convert into a pendant and we did this, so all was well, especially as we managed to avoid purchasing the stand-out favourite - a Victorian art deco style huge gold bracelet at a very unaffordable £7,000. We then went for a coffee before coming back to my place.

During the aftenoon I received a surprise text from Romy saying it was snowing in the south of Spain - more than it is here.

Tea and cherry tart next and we had a chat about proposed improvements to my flat before Julian put the blind cord (which had fallen loose) on the fitting again. I have decided to change the dining chairs, and we found some very attractive ones on Ebay. I may possibly change the table too, but the current one will do for the time being unless I see something amazing.

Tomorrow the desk is supposed to be arriving. I hope the bad weather won't affect this. I shall make a space for it tonight.


Even colder today - apparently minus 22 odd somewhere in Scotland.

Rather cold in bed despite the granny blankets, not helped by Kooky sleeping elsewhere. I shall see if I can find a duvet today since the weather shows no signs of improving.

Started sneezing this morning which is rather ominous, especially with delivery of a desk tomorrow, a late evening meeting next Wednesday, followed by three chests of drawers on Thursday - not a great time to get ill. Haven't been able to wash any clothes as I have run out of washing tablets and forgot to order them from Ocado. I may have to go out today and purchase some. Perhaps Julian will call about going to Gray's today.

Made another clove orange last night. Instead of drying it out on the windowsill as usual, I have a box of orange peel and rose petal pot pourri which I made before, and have placed the clove orange on this in front of the fire to dry more quickly. I shall turn it over from time to time. It smells warmly aromatic from the cloves.

Found the duvet so I will be warmer tonight.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Thursday Evening

Did not venture out. I made a large soup by frying a large onion in goose fat, adding five cloves of garlic, a pack of carrot batons and one of new potatoes. I added some chorizo, a rasher of streaky bacon, some chicken stock and herbs and spices, including smoked paprika and cooked for 20 minutes before adding a tablespoon of tomato puree, and some blue cheese before serving. Had this for lunch, and there's enough for tomorrow.

At teatime I had some tea and cinnamon toast. I make this by lightly toasting some bread, buttering it, and then sprinkling on sugar mixed with cinnamon before toasting again. It's the first time I have had this for about ten years. Really good.

My last effort today was to fill a pastry case with fresh cherries. I then mixed two eggs with sugar, added some ground almonds (about half a cup), then half a container of supermarket custard and pouring over the top iof the cherries. I then cooked it in the oven for an hour (above). This is a bit experimental as it's the first time with ground almonds, a bit like a bakewell without the jam but with real cherries. I shall keep it in a cupboard until the day after tomorrow as Julian and Dorothy assure me that it tastes better this way and should not be kept in the fridge as this makes it damp. We shall see.

I shall see if Dorothy wants to go to Gray's tomorrow.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

7th January 2010 - The Big Chill

Watched an interesting programme about diarists last night, discussing Joe Orton, Kenneth Williams and the diaries of an actor's wife. The actor worked on the diaries for six years before publishing recently. His wife had died of motor neurone disease. He was devastated at the end of the work and he agreed that this may have been a way of keeping his wife alive. Jo Orton's sister was interviewed and read some very amusing parts of his diaries. Must read these.

Also watched Celebrity Big Brother. Though I did fall asleep a couple of times. It will have to liven up a bit to keep my attention.

Just looked outside this morning. No more snow but thick ice on the pavements so I may not venture forth. We shall see. A lot of disruption at Gatwick - I hope Romy will be able to fly back when the time comes. Apparently temperatures were minus 16 at Benson in Oxfordshire - lower that Moscow! We are still at minus in London, more snow expected today and tonight and no respite from the cold so far. Some power cuts. I hear that supermarkets are running out of basic supplies as people stock up. Comparisons being made with 1963. I was in Paris during that winter - how cold it was. Could do with a bit of global warming right now.

Wednesday 6 January

Was looking forward to waking up to a white New Year but no such luck, just wet everywhere. Had to tidy up for the cleaner before arriving at work late. It started snowing today so left early. I have achieved a bit of filing and photocopying and one of our singers has let us down for the January party. He hasn't come up with anyone else to take his place so will have to seek out someone.

Kooky rushed through the cat door soaking wet so towel dried him for a bit. Put the fire on to help him.

Looks like the vipers are gathering in the Labour party. They want to force a leadership vote just as we go into a general election. I suppose we will definitely have to get used to having the tories now, with labour in disarray before the start.

Having purchased a neat little bureau I went for bust and made an extremely cheeky less than half-price offer on three chests of drawers on Ebay. One is a rather elegant bowfronted chest which will go in my bedroom. The other two are slightly baroque Belgian efforts painted in a Farrow & Ball pale creamy colour - one will go under the telly in the living room and still provide useful storage space, and the other, low and smaller, will go in the studio. It means I have to dismantle the two very cheap IKEA cupboards which I purchased as a temporary measure. I shall bring a wood chest up from my bedroom and put it where it used to be, in the hall. This will provide much more storage for me and I will have quite decent looking stuff, too. The carriage is free too, saving £40-£90. I offered £600 for all three. The price was over £1000. Having said that I only paid half price with free transport for the desk which I bought originally, but that was rather more expensive in the first place. With the help of Pierre's Christmas contribution I am improving the place a lot.

I shall take Julian to Gray's on Friday or Monday to see if we can find anything interesting.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Tuesday Evening

Along came the cavalry in the form of Julian brandishing a torch and all sorts of goodies from IKEA. Of course Kooky had resurfaced by then, but Julian helped me put the troublesome cover back on the sofa seat - so much easier with two people, and climbed up on the ladder to bring my curtains down for the wash. We noted that the blind is rather grubby and will soon need replacing.

I was thoroughly admonished for my general clutter, persistent buying of cheap rubbish, and mess. The new bureau is due to arrive on Saturday which will help with paperwork clutter. I explained that I intend to get rid of the ricketty cupboard in the hall and replace with a chest of drawers. I seem to find a chests of drawers better for storage somehow. I shall also replace the broken chest of drawers in the studio, and may eventually replace the cheap white IKEA cupboard under the TV with a chest of drawers.

I have checked my boiler and it seems not to qualify for replacing so maybe I need the plumber to bleed the radiators. Which might make it run better. I was hoping to benefit from the Government offer of £400 towards the several thousand pounds that replacement would cost, but apparently not. Oh well.

5th January 2010

My higher calorie day was somewhat scuppered by two pork pies at 277 cals each. Not quite in the diet spirit. Still. Cold comfort food. Dear me.

Back at work for the first time, sent a cheque for income tax off, sorted out a few papers and the treasurer, due on Thursday, announced he was coming over as the weather forecast was not good, so not much more done. Romy's birthday - sent a text and she sent a snap of herself sunning it in Spain at a spa hotel with a glass of cava in her hand - go Romy!

Forecast is for lots of snow and ice in the next 24 hours so I shall consider my position re office attendance tomorrow morning. My cab driver told me that someone in the office broke her arm slipping on ice the other day. If I venture out I may wear crampons. We shall see.

Madeleine rang. I am worried about her. She is doing too much - I may have to stand over her and force her to eat a whole box of Rococo chocs, we shall see.

Kooky causing trouble again by screaming outside in the dark when I can't find a torch. However he has reappeared, apparently none the worse for wear.

Monday, 4 January 2010

No Prints, Furniture Offer and Diet Day

Tried the iphoto thing again with no success.

Made an offer on a little Victorian bureau on Ebay. I am hoping it will help me to be tidy. We shall see.

On my low calorie day today, so cut a thinnish slice of bread and toasted it and ate with one single scrambled egg with tea for breakfast. Finished off some fresh pineapple.
For lunch I had my main meal which was some Tom Kha soup in Lye Torng. Just had a snack of a teaspoon of marmite stirred into a mug of boiling water. This is quite warming and filling and almost calorie free so may have some more later. For dinner I shall have plenty of lettuce with a small drained can of tuna and some horrible diet soup if necessary. Normal eating tomorrow thank goodness.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Frustrating Application

I am rather peeved about my i-photo application. Whenever I try to get some prints it says an error has occurred and I should check my internet thingy. Have tried this and also cropped the snaps right down in case they are too large, but all to no avail. I will just have to do without snaps. Trouble is, I was going to send the ones of Chris's birthday to him, and I can't now do this. I have tried sending them to his computer, but I think it is somehow incompatible, as they don't get there. Oh well. I am also having difficulty getting some of them onto my Facebook. Not for the first time. All very strange.

Old Bat New Hat

Just spoke to Nibby who is starting a diet. She is 11.5 stone and I am 17.4 stone. We will check with each other once a week. She wants to lose a stone. I would be happy to lose at least 9. Which is somewhat unlikely.

She has a citizenship interview next Thursday. It will be good if she gets citizenship - seems there are so many art competitions which she can't enter without it. The children are happy - Nibby skypes them on a regular basis, and is going to email me Bear's address.

Dorothy and Julian rang me from IKEA last night in case I had any needs. In fact I do need a new set of light saucepans since the non-stick has come off my cheap ones, and Julian has also purchased me a larger one with a lid which is very light. I can now chuck my old pans away. I think they have also bought a rubbish thingy which fits inside the kitchen door in an attempt to stop me leaving carrier bags full of rubbish dangling from handles in the Spanish style. They are so kind to me.

Ventured as far as the shopping centre and purchased a newspaper, stopping at the Oasis for a couple of coffees. Bitterly cold and a few flakes of snow on the way back. This is me, above, wrapped up for the cold and with my cheap hat and fabric rose on the side. Slowly getting rid of Christmas detritus around the flat.

Dietary Matters

Sunday. Kooky is learning to leave me until nearly 8am, which is excellent.

I was reading about an odd diet system whereby you eat normally for one day, then diet the next etc. You need to start with a very low calorie diet on your diet days at first: around 500 cals for the first week, then gradually up, i.e. 750 for a week, then 1000 then up to 1500 cals. It is supposed to work by some very complicated mechanism. American of course. I have just purchased a 28 day supply of Diet Chef stuff on special value at QVC. Watching the programme, it became apparent that the food, in sachets to microwave, is probably the same as the food in Sainsbury's and Waitrose which I had been getting, with perhaps the quantities a bit less and differently branded of course. It does look very good, and will help with the diet days.

Meanwhile I have decided that I may be short on Vitamin D, so forced myself to have some mashed sardines on toast, about half a tin. Fortunately they were lemon sardines which cut the richness just a little. I grilled them on a piece of toast. I shall have to try and persevere with the oily fish. Apparently fresh salmon is a good source, and I do like that.

I expect the whole nation is considering a diet after the Christmas excesses.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Kind People

Finally made it to the end of the street. Purchased a paper, then lunch in Lye Torng. Ray rather kindly told me I looked like a Russian Empress in her finery and gave me some liqueur chocs. Dorian bought me a loaf of bread while he was out shopping, which is very handy. I have rather given up making bread - it seems to come out too crumbly, so have taken to buying white 'sandwich' loaves. These seem to keep for about a week even out of the fridge but in a closed bag and taste OK if rather plain. They are very useful for toasting though.

Disposed of one of the bags containing tree parts - just three more to go. Just spilt tea all over the place. I am becoming accident-prone.


Well, the tree's down. I keep feeling dizzy, so have to take frequent rests. The tree has spread more fake snow, all over me, the rug and the floor. Despite this I have managed to jam the three parts into three black bags. I can't face even this next year so will chuck it out, today if I can face it. Somewhere I had a long print of a decorated tree. If I haven't chucked it out that may well be my 'tree' for next year if I am here still. If it has gone, I may well seek out a 'bald' little tree and spray it white and decorate that.

Oh dear. I definitely can't get the cover back on the sofa seat, dammit. I am dizzy, out of breath and exhausted after trying. I shall have to put a blanket over it and put the cover away in the cupboard. I kind of knew it was a mistake, washing the thing. It is fitted and therefore very tight and needs great strength to cram it back in - much harder than getting it off, which was quite bad enough. I now wish I had an old fashioned sofa with a loose cover. Because they are made of linen they are much easier to deal with. I give up. Actually the sofa looks awful anyway because of the shower door stored behind it.


With great difficulty I managed to get the cover off my sofa seat. This is now washed and dry and ready to go back on again. Hmmm. I really need to be younger and fitter, or at least fitter. However, I will attempt to get it back on again. Pity I can't get the cover off the footstool as this needs washing. I have tried, unsuccessfully, on more than one occasion. I never did manage to get any help to change all the covers to white. Perhaps white is really a bit impractical, though it would have looked good for Christmas. (See above). I rather liked white, though the beige goes better with the floor I suppose. This snap reminds me of poor old Malvolio, who can be seen here posing on the sofa.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Kitsch Concert Kitsch Crochet

Was watching the New Year's Day concert on BBC2. It is great fun - totally kitsch - Radetsky march finale, the audiance joining in with enthusiasm. Broadcast from Vienna. I have managed to miss out on this in previous years. The ballet dancers were absolutely hilarious - frocks by Valentino, men in black tights with proper shoes and tailcoats.

I have changed the bedding (above) to a nice blue check covered by my retro granny blankets. I have observed that when they depict chavvy country people on TV, these crochet squares are invariably displayed in their houses. I now know my place. Actually, Madeleine tells me they have them at the hospice but crocheted in tasteful pastel colours by volunteers and she says they are very nice. I think Nibby or Saffron would make them in shabby chic colours and they could look pretty good, but mine are brazen and kitsch from Ebay. While we were in Peter Jones, the staff were getting all excited about some union jack cushions which had just come in and were 'flying out'. One of them was the cushion I bought two or three years ago from Ancestral Collections (above).


Well, they are not Fornasetti after all. Did a bit of Googling and if you go to there are some cushion covers for £50 each, (unlike a Fornasetti umbrella stand for around £3,000). Described as fifties material, cotton barkcloth, 'assorted guardsmen'. Obviously no grand maker, which I suspected as barkcloth is not that fantastic. Having said that it has lasted well from the fifties, so can't be too bad. If the design had been Fornasetti it would have been printed on linen. My mother was a purchaser of furnishing fabric at that time, and one bought either linen, linen union for chairs, or silk or the real favourite, glazed chintz for curtains. In fact Dorothy and Julian had a point, as Fornasetti had a design called 'dandies' which consisted of men, including soldiers which were very similar indeed but drawn with much more detail, and may in fact have been designed after my fifties 'guardsmen'.

We live and learn, though I would like to know who designed them. And I will always like them - they are so camp.

New Year's Day

So, last night I ate some reheated stuff, unwisely (as I now discover) adding some mint and horseradish sauce from two pots which had been in the fridge far too long but seemed fine, will now throw away. Anyway, all I did was watch 'Love Actually' while kind of despising myself for it. I finally realised which bit was filmed outside the houses over the road - it's the bit where the male porn guy picks up his girlfriend before running down the steps, I distinctly recognised both front doors. Went to bed at 11.45 and read Wolf Hall for a short while before being disturbed by the very loud fireworks, but eventually fell asleep. Not a great night, but today filled with resolutions regarding improving my flat, being tidier, decluttering, repainting the hall and bedroom, sorting out my books etc etc.

A funny thing happened when Dorothy and Julian were shopping in Liberty's. They saw a lampshade for sale - Fornasetti, with the exact colours and design of my old curtains with soldiers on. I am very fond of these curtains, which hung in my room for a bit, but everyone else hates them. Totally camp. I think if they are Fornasetti, people will start warming to them. I know they are very old, sixties or seventies; but there is no designers name on the selvedge. Bad snap at top of post, but I have written about these before. I should point out that the background is actually white - it's just my rotten photograph.