Saturday, 27 February 2010

Embarrassing Names

Names. Just read about the most embarrassing names in the country. Daisy Roots, Jo King, etc. The comments on this article were quite funny: someone called Susan, a lawyer, married Rob, a banker. So they are now Sue Mee and Rob Mee. I was born a Weed, but was so teased at primary school my mother had my name changed by deed poll. However, more recently, this unusual name helped me trace two half brothers and a half sister. So it's not all bad.

Batty Old Bat and Banana Skins

Dear me. Alzheimer's is gaining pace. I leapt into a cab last night to go to my friend's opening in Shoreditch only to discover it is next month. I was actually quite relieved, and at least I know where the gallery is. Redchurch Street has livened up a lot since I was last there, but was glad to see the Owl and Pussycat pub is still there. In past years I have had many a good Sunday lunch there with my friends.

Put another coat of paint on a chair. Because the light in my studio is crap, the last layer dried a kind of battleship grey, rather than the tasteful pale 'greige' I had intended. The next coat will be greige, or a very pale khaki. Not sure what to do with the colourful one. May paint it red first. Or a jolly bright blue. We shall see.

An extraordinary fit of fake posts about Gordon Brown throwing a tangerine into a machine in a factory has hit Twitterdom. Then has been published in several newspapers. I am now waiting to hear that David Cameron has thrown a banana in anger. Or slipped on a banana skin, even. Dear me.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Eeek - Found More Fraud

Thought I would check where I used my card around the time of the fraudulent transactions, and guess what? found yet another phone top-up, this time to O2 a few days before for the same sum, £30. Dear me! I shall check my bank statements more carefully in future.

Friday Fraud Victim

Back from the funeral, very moving, and also very tiring.

Achieved a little at work, though much overshadowed by Romy, my deeply vibrant colleague who achieves as much in half an hour as I do in a week or two.

Painting chairs still. Here's one, above. I may paint one in a bright folksy colour, covered in patterns and motifs, just for fun, and it will go in my studio.

Looking through a bank statement noticed two payments to 'Vodaphone cr card T' for £30 each and both on the same day. Since I don't have a vodaphone account rang the bank. Unfortunately someone from whom I purchased something has used my debit card details to top up their mobile. Now I have to cut up my debit card and complete declarations etc etc. Such a pain. If I stop buying things I will have no further problems, presumably.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Tuesday Morning

Bought some paint having ventured as far as the shopping centre yesterday. Mixed in a bit of acrylic and have nearly finished one chair. Only four more to go.

Resignations from the 'bullying' charity. Pratt looking more of a prat.

Going to the funeral today. It is a woodland burial so have been warned about possible mud. I shall wear boots and take some shoes with me. It is all very depressing, but trying to stay positive. I shall wrap up warm but wear a raincoat as it promises to rain today.

Managed some more decluttering yesterday. Must get back to this tomorrow.

Have been invited to an intriguing opening by an artist colleague. To be opened by Sam Taylor-Wood, and with music from 'Artettes' etc. Can't wait.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Painting Chair, Good Kooky and Suspicious Allegiances

Very quiet weekend. My confidence faltered a bit, so just picked up papers at the local shop, which turned out to be a good idea as I managed to find a few essential groceries there too. Started painting one of the chairs with artist's acrylic, rather expensive but all I could find. I fully intend to try and make it to the DIY area in the shopping centre to find some commercial but water soluble wood paint. I can mix it with artist's acrylic to get the colours right. I am crap at painting furniture, and this stuff is very slow, with intricate spindles and carvings etc, but looks so much better that I shall persevere.

Kooky is being rather more affectionate, and slept on the bed last night. He crept up to my end at 6am, and left me in peace for another half hour, which was excellent.

Oh dear, Andrew Rawnsley has written a book being serialised in the Observer alleging bullying of staff by Gordon Brown. Now an antibullying helpline charity has backed up these allegations, saying staff had contacted them. Someone called Pratt. All very strange. Of course the charity's political allegiance has been questioned. Seems Anne Widdecombe is one of the patrons. Seems Pratt made her allegations after being contacted and encouraged to do so by a local MP. Hmmmmm.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Bathmat Kooky

I nearly trod on him a couple of times when he had silently crept onto the bathmat while I was in the bath. Now he has taken over the bathmat whenever it is there.

- And the last, possibly

"No comment"

Just Another Gypsy Babe

My New Espresso Tower

Drinking more coffee now I have this jolly tower - putting an espresso in the cup and topping with hot milk - kind of a long cortado. Excellent if you like milky but strong coffee shots.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Disappointing East Enders and More Gypsy Girls

Watched East Enders to find out who killed Archie. A lot of noisy drama culminating in a confession from a slightly unconvincing murderer. We shall see on Monday, no doubt.

I may try to force myself to go to the shopping centre to purchase some filler and investigate paints. Am rather inclined to paint the chairs in artist's acrylic, but this may be a rather expensive approach.

Here's some more gypsy girls in church.

'Barbies' Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake

More Gypsies

No energy. Will get wood filler tomorrow. Had prawn won ton soup at Lye Torng for lunch. Review of gypsy wedding programme saying it was a bit superficial. I agree, but was glad to see all the dresses, cakes etc. Here's another pic - a very nervous bride.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

More Thursday and Friday morning

Doing washing, and continue to declutter, just in case.

Have filled one box, now filling another, a few more to go.

Gave up to watch soaps and enjoyed the gypsy wedding documentary. What dresses!

I shall take it easy today, but will try and purchase some wood filler and make a start on priming a chair later.

Medical Stuff and More

Went to quacks, waited for two hours, appointment took just over 5 minutes. Seems my dizziness is unlikely to be caused by medication. I have to make a long appointment for next week when everything can be checked, and perhaps another referral to the neurologists for maybe a scan under sedation. Told not to return to work today.

Had a small soup in Lye Torng and bought papers.

I hope I am not about to croak before I have decluttered the flat. Not heard any more about next weeks funeral. Bad news from our chairman, seems another of our ex-trustees has terminal lung cancer, so awful.

Invited to what promises to be a trendy opening in Shoreditch on Friday week. Also my friend Ivana wants to meet in early March for lunch. Nibby due in May, so I must remain sufficiently healthy for all this. By the way, may possibly leave one of the chairs dark, as it goes with my little bureau.


Feel a bit woozy this morning. I was in the bath and lay down to get my hair wet before washing. Suddenly felt most peculiar - faint and disorientated physically. Sat up PDQ and clutched something to keep my balance before letting the water out in case I passed out and drowned. Dear me. Seems like some kind of postural hypotension, but a bit extreme. Supposed to be going to work, but am sitting around hoping to feel a bit better before setting off. Pouring rain outside is not exactly helping either.

We had a fairly successful day at work yesterday, thanks to Romy. We found several investment possibilities, then Romy insisted on buying me lunch at Applebees.

I am still feeling a bit dizzy and may stagger over to the GP.

Monday, 15 February 2010

More Monday

My brother rang this morning. I had told him of the recent family death and he was most upset. We chatted for a bit. He has been very busy at work and in the house. His daughter is just starting uni, so they are selling their house to get rid of the mortgage, and downsizing. They want to spend some time travelling, ski-ing, and so on. He is going to ring Nibby soon. It was good to hear from him.

Had my hair cut and coloured at Regis. It will take another couple of visits to get rid of all the layers I foolishly had put in last time, but already looks slightly thicker with a couple of inches off.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Monday Morning

Yesterday, a minor disaster struck. Just after having a good chat with Nibby on the telephone, I left the house to make my usual trip to Elephant & Castle. Saw a neighbour who had taken in a parcel, and looked for my keys to take the parcel in before leaving, only to discover I had left them in the house. Alzheimer's strikes again. Dorothy and Julian have a key but they are not exactly early risers, so made my way to the shopping centre, bought my newspaper and settled down to a coffee. The chap in the coffee place treated me to several lost key stories. Seems the cafe is owned by the Indian restaurant next door, and he once lost the keys, which included his house keys, and five special keys to the restaurant, and all the locks had to be changed. So it could have been worse I suppose.

I went to Mamuska later and had a huge pork knuckle with cabbage and potatoes and a generous shot of vodka. Had a bit of a struggle to consume all this, but excellent value. Staggered downstairs and purchased a couple of books, having read the papers, and settled in the awful cafe there with a mug of tea. Managed to make contact with Dorothy three hours after leaving the house, so cabbed up there to enjoy another cup of tea and a chat before departing with their keys. Julian kindly gave me some Spanish sausage and had managed to find some special light bulbs for my bathroom light in Barcelona.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Valentine's Day

My loveur, AKA Kooky the cat, woke me up at 6.45am, screaming to be fed. However, he allowed me to stroke him for about ten minutes before rushing noisily to the kitchen. Once there, he shot out of the catflap while I lovingly prepared his beef-in-carrot-jelly breakfast. Meanwhile, I lovingly placed some clove-studded clementines on the radiators to pleasantly scent the air for him. Mmmm. Perhaps I should have used sardines instead. But there are limits. He then shot back into the kitchen, noisily devoured his food, and demanded another small tin of food, this time lamb in game jelly, before clawing the sofa a bit, and then settling for a post-prandial snooze.

Above is a typical pose - happily in the embrace of 'another woman'. Hmmm. Sometimes I think this Valentine's business is not all it's cracked up to be.

Fivepenny Chairs

Rather excited about the new programme with Monty Don on BBC 2. Featured a farmer called David Saltmarsh who makes chairs in his spare time. Was rather tempted by one of his dining chairs but they are £400. Sounds a lot but all made from green oak and elm with hand tools and no nails etc. Seems that as the wood dries out it hardens and forms a brilliant seal in the sockets and becomes hard as iron over time. Designed to last for hundreds of years. His site is So tempted, but so broke! They take ages to make and he only charges £10 per hour, which puts it into proportion.

Saturday Sadness

Took the wrong pills last night: sign of the times.

Weighed 16st 12lb this morning. So, unless I gain weight before tomorrow, have undeservedly lost half a stone. Not that it shows until I lose about 3 stone at my size. My arms look a bit wrinkly though, so it could be dehydration. We shall see.

Dorothy rang. Involved in some exciting project which is not understood by me. All to do with computers.

Expecting news of a family funeral: someone far too young, loved by everyone, a great mother and so much more. It is a terrible waste when someone dies so young, while the rest of us limp on into old age.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Diet Chef Delivery Day

Waiting for my Diet Chef delivery. It all weighs so much. Fortunately Romy is taking a week's supply for two which she will collect from me in due course. In order to get a weeks supply free I have to order another large lot of stuff in a couple of weeks, but then will definitely order fortnightly deliveries, which will mean lighter parcels and less storage space needed.

Lost another pound last week. Now 17st 1lb, but suspect I have fallen entirely by the wayside this week what with eating more food with my cold and cough and comfort eating in the cold weather.

Had a great lunch out with Romy at La Cave. A bit expensive but I thought, well worth it.

I hate waiting around for deliveries on my day off. Feel trapped in the house, but I am putting loads of washing in the machine, so making some use of it.

Finally, the food has arrived. I am letting Romy have a weeks' supply for two, which she will collect in due course.

Don't feel like going out now!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Vile Bodies

Was thinking about that TV programme, Embarrassing Bodies. My first body memory was of being in a bath, wearing a kind of cyclist's cape being bathed by a nun who turned away while washing me with a large sponge. I was about four or so. I decided then and there that bodies must be rather disgusting and unmentionable, since being naked around other people was obviously not an option. At any time.

At home my mother would walk around completely starkers when upstairs, a sight we were well used to. This did seem strange to me, but we always knew our mother was considered to be beautiful. My stepfather, when not fully clothed, wore pyjamas, and a dressing gown and slippers. So did we.

At boarding school we got dressed and undressed awkwardly in the dormitories under our dressing gowns so no 'sights' were seen. Except Penny, a rather large and tall new girl who unselfconsciously stripped off and strode around the dormitory to our complete shock until she realised the effect she was causing and learned to be 'modest' like the rest of us.

The only time I ever thought bodies might not be so dreadful was when I was about ten, out swimming, and a boy told me that I should be proud of my body, that people's bodies were all natural and fine. This seemed a revolutionary idea, but I was not convinced.

Even when I got married I always wore extremely unsexy nightclothes and insisted on the lights being off in the bedroom before lovemaking. I had been very surprised some years before, when at 15, I was walking with some French boys and girls in the South of France, and feeling hot, to see that most of them stripped off and went swimming in a mountain lake together. There was no ogling or pruriency as there would have been in England. Though in the late fifties, this would never have happened in England, and I had been rather shocked, though envious that they behaved so naturally.

Apart from my body now turning into the horrific sight it never was in earlier years, nothing much has changed. At least I now feel totally justified in remaining covered - though my sister Nibby has always wanted to paint me in the nude 'all those mountains of flesh, and lumps and bumps!' she rhapsodises. No chance, Nibs!

I seem to definitely have Alzheimers as I distinctly remember writing about all this before a year or two ago. Oh well. But at that time the new menace, the airport body scanner, wasn't about. For me, at least, foreign travel is no longer an option. All those parts now modestly covered in clothing will be revealed by these infernal machines.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Cross and Sick Monday

I have been somewhat incandescent today. Nibby, several other sources and my interiors magazine all recommended what would seem to be a common product called ESP: Easy Surface Primer, which you can wipe or paint on any surface, leave for a couple of hours, then repaint without the need for sanding, stripping etc. Spent a tenner on a cab to B & Q, who had never heard of it, or anything similar, so purchased some sandpaper. Had my usual soup and noodle lunch at Lye Torng.

I sometimes think I am a bit of a recluse: I only go out for the newspapers and sometimes to lunch. Apart from when I am at work I am always at home. This reluctance to go out has been reinforced by the appalling lack of everyday products at B & Q. I have now succeeded in purchasing it online, like the rest of my shopping, apart from newspapers and some occasional fresh fruit and vegetables. Spent £20 altogether on cabs since there is no bus stop outside B & Q.

May have a bit of a chest infection. However my antibiotics purchased in Spain are out of date and I really don't fancy having a fight with the GP to try and drag some antibiotics out of him. Read that nearly 40% of over 65s are in danger of contracting pneumonia following a chest infection which is rather alarming and must be why the 'flu jab is given. I shall try and recover without medication unless things become much worse. Not helped by the freezing weather and being snowed upon outside B & Q.

RSPB sent some coconut bird food in some kind of fat so have hung one in the garden. May hang a couple more out. Not seen any interest from birds so far. We shall see.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Cold Sunday with No Newspapers *sob*

Just spoke to Nibby in Oz. She says I should apply easy sealing primer and just paint those chairs - I don't have to get the varnish off. I have taken one downstairs and will buy some paint and primer tomorrow. If they look dreadful I shall just get rid of them. Good thing they were cheap!

Cold and cough awful. Feeling too crappy to go out to get the newspapers. Really annoying as I shall miss my usual Sunday read. Oh well. I shall lounge about and vegetate in the house. Hot chocolate may be the answer. I had not realised how tired being ill makes one feel.

Have just heard that snow is expected - again. Glad I purchased the snow chains to put on my shoes though they are a bit tricky to get on and off.

I wonder if Dorothy and Julian are back from Barcelona yet.

Saturday, 6 February 2010


The chairs have arrived. They are simply huge - wide and tall. Very sturdy though. No question, I shall have to paint them. This will minimalise them a bit as they make the room look absolutely tiny, as Dorothy had predicted with any wooden chairs. I shall definitely keep them pro tem. I suspect they will look quite good painted white or thereabouts.

Saturday Cold and Sad

Awful cold, runny nose, sneezing, cough etc. so went to bed at about 9pm. Still feel like crap today. Man due to deliver chairs and my cleaner is going to collect the white 'Gilbert' IKEA chairs. These have been mistaken for very expensive designer chairs by non IKEA shoppers. They are smart and very sturdy, the main problem being that they are painted wood and a couple of the seats are slightly scratched, but of course can be repainted. Ocado are also due to deliver between 12 and 1pm. I do hope the new chairs are sturdy. I know they are heavy but at over 17st, strong chairs are a must.

I have lost 1lb per week since I started the Diet Chef diet, despite several departures from this. I really may take it up as a way of eating since there is less washing up, less time spent cooking and preparing, and it tastes OK. I am so lazy.

Message from Madeleine to say she had been away for several days, so I am expecting some very bad news. I wish I were there, but better for them to try and cope together. They don't know me very well, apart from Madeleine and her sisters, so I cannot intrude. I feel so helpless, but at least Madeleine knows I am here, and ready to do anything required.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Bawdy Babes

Just waiting for the cab to pick me up for today's Brick Lane pantomime lunch.

It is becoming quite sunny, though the two days without heat or hot water seem to have given me an awful cold and I am far from 100% at the moment. Could sleep all day and my nose is running like a tap. Very weak, too. Just had a cup of tea to try and revive me a bit. Will continue this post later.....

Apart from a problem with the number of taxis getting lost and going to Brick Lane instead of E16, we finally managed to get everyone to the place, which is a large church in North Woolwich Road in the middle of nowhere. The lunch was fine with good service, and the pantomime totally politically incorrect but very funny, with a couple of very good female singers. The whole thing was terribly camp in a good way and a great success.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Boiler Restored to Health

Fabulous boiler man has been. The boiler is now (cross fingers) fully operational. I had thought it wasn't behaving very well before it broke down. Seems the pump had gone. This and the circuit board have now been replaced and a couple of other little bits and pieces. The man also bled some radiators so they are now filling well. Although the boiler is 12 years old apparently it is quite likely to go on for another three to eight years with occasional attention, so I am now a happy bunny. Apparently my insurance has covered the lot, which would have cost much more than I paid this year.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Boiler Saga Continues

Rang the boiler insurance people and it seems I paid by direct debit so I was able to access the maintenance department. The house was pretty cold yesterday but damn cold by last night. The man is supposed to be coming today. Despite the fire in the living room it was so miserable last night that I went to bed wearing layers of clothing at about 8.30pm. I may well have a large fry-up for breakfast this morning to try and warm myself up. Though the kitchen is freezing because of the giant catflap which certainly lets the cold in.

I am boiling kettles for washing. I shall have to wash my hair this morning which will be rather a pain. If the boiler is unrepairable I can imagine it will take weeks to install a new boiler so I shall have to purchase some more room heating. Kooky is not being very helpful as he has decamped to the studio instead of keeping me warm on my bed at night. Such an ungrateful animal.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Boiler Breakdown

At about 11.30 in bed, I somehow sensed that all was not well. Went upstairs to find the boiler had locked out. I checked everything and the pressure was less than 1 bar though this was not registering on the indicator so I could not reset it. It might be I have a leak or something worse. The boiler felt rather hot so I rang Dom the plumber in a bit of a panic - no answer of course so I turned the boiler off and went to bed.

This would happen when snow is expected. Of course I forgot to pay the insurance. I will ring them up this morning. The boiler has been behaving a bit oddly recently, in that sometimes the hot water in the bathroom would suddenly stop running and I could hear a clunk coming from the boiler. Oh well. We shall see.

Rainy Day

My last day off. Work tomorrow.

I have decided that orchids are the only flowers to have. These plants last for ages. My birthday orchids from the beginning of December are still in flower, and the previous plant I bought for Julian the Christmas before is about to flower again. Incredible. I may well buy a pink orchid to go in my bedroom window and another white one to go in the bathroom.

I have just purchased four chairs from Ebay, which will arrive on Saturday morning. These are to replace the cheap IKEA ones I had, which, although quite stylish, have metal legs and a couple of the seats have scratched a bit, though they could easily be repainted. I did not realise they were made from wood, had thought they were some kind of tough plastic. If anyone wants some 'Gilbert' IKEA chairs, get in touch very quickly!

The new ones are wooden, probably oak with spindle legs and spindle backs. Stretchers which will hopefully keep them stable and the backs have carvings in a couple of places. Although they currently look very good, as they are a bit dark for my room I may Farrow & Ball them in some kind of putty colour, we shall see. They will certainly look good painted as they are quite ornamental, but I don't want to ruin them if they look good as they are.

I have managed to apply for my new bus pass today. I need not have worried about the photograph - the post office has a machine in there. 'You don't look 60' said the teenage counterhand. 'You say that to all the old bats' I reply. He giggled - 'Not all of them'. Made my day.

Lye Torng is extending the special soup theme by supplying a rather good prawn won ton with green cabbage giant soup, which is excellent in this vile weather. I have suggested they do a mixed meat with noodles too.

I purchased a pair of secondhand suede boots from Ebay made by Damart. They arrived today and are very warm and comfortable, though absolutely not Ugg style which I don't really like anyway. Not bad for a tenner.

Message from Dorothy - seems the mains water has now come on in the Spanish flat. Given how slowly the shower empties, I do hope that this will not cause a flood with the sudden increase in water pressure. Good news though. I may force myself to revisit Barcelona at some stage, though I really don't fancy going through those new xray body scanner things they are putting in Gatwick.