Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Dorothy, Kooky, Cuckoo Clock and Past Holiday

I am rather worried about Dorothy, who I think is doing far too much. Seems that Julian has an internship somewhere for a short while, and I hope it goes well. What those two really need is a decent holiday. If I were a doctor, I would prescribe something very restful in a west country seaside town, such as Torquay. Or Exeter, if they wanted to be inland. Madeleine always has a couple of weeks in a rented cottage in Cornwall. Dorothy and Julian do like to be in a town. I suppose there are holiday cottages and flats in towns.

Moved my cuckoo clock upstairs. It stopped cuckooing, and on investigation I had turned the cuckoo off by mistake. Quite missed it.

Kooky escaped last night and didn't come in while I was awake. He did not wake me up and I woke up at 6.30am. Found him fast asleep on the trunk in the spare room. He eventually came up to breakfast. I suspect he has been outside most of the night and is tired in the morning. Checked him over, but no visible wounds.

Found a sketch book and diary of my stay in Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1991. I had forgotten how ill I was for the first few days - quite alarming to read about it. I obviously wanted to come home but was feeling too ill and lay about in the hotel, sleeping and taking various painkillers - not eating, feeling very sick, chest pains for which I took GTN which gave me the most dreadful headache. Looking back, not sure how much of it was the enormously long coach journey giving me ankles like footballs on arrival, or an afternoon in the burning sun in Brno, when I may have had sunstroke. I missed several outings including one to Vienna, but perked up later, in time to visit the rather beautiful Pjernstein Castle. All this time at the Hotel Voronez, the competitors for the girls world junior baseball championship and their trainers were staying. The girls were Chinese and Russian mainly - all looked gigantic and rather steroid enhanced. Sketched some muscly legs (above) - the knees and calves were huge.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Kooky Still on Our Bed

Kooky on Our Bed

Black Tom

The same cute but annoying black male has been pestering my neighbours at the back and their animals. Their cats have staring matches, but he seems to have moved into their garden and yowls all night, waking my neighbour Ru several times during the night.

Kooky has had a poo in his tray, so I think he has been disturbed by all my changes. Perhaps it is his revenge: I locked his cat flap last night. He did not poo during the night, but waited until the back door was open this morning to poo inside. Bastard.

I keep carrying things up and down. The blind in my new sitting room is broken. I shall replace this with the new net curtain I have ordered. I must say the room is much lighter. I shall also remove the blind in the spare room as I don't need it with curtains.

I am trying to force myself to go out and buy a paper today. I shall leave it for a while. Soon, I should buy some white paint for the fireplace and make a start on this.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

- and here's my chest of drawers

Some faux and dried flowers, plus my very boring bank stuff in some faux book files. Nibby found me the wonderful mirror. The little painting on the left was left to me by my mother, there's a hat with flowers on and the fab toadstools were found by Julian in a trendy shop in Barcelona. They may have to go downstairs since it isn't at all trendy in my boudoir. You can just about see a greyish blurry thing which is a dandelion paperweight and mini icon from Westminster Cathedral shop. The boudoir looks like a cross between a very old fashioned Italian hotel room and a nursing home.


Spoke to Nibby this morning - she tells me she has had the best week of her life, hobnobbing with famous artists and pianists in an Oz artists house, kept as it was when he painted there. Can't remember the names, but the event was all about ?Commedia del Arte with Harlequin and Columbine etc. She did lots of drawing, and her friend did paintings, and they may form part of an exhibition. All very exciting. She is due to leave for Canada on Monday week and arriving here mid May.

Spent the day trotting around tidying up, in between moping about the kitchen flood.
Today I had a Polish lunch and resisted the temptation to purchase a plum tart from Popina.

I seem to be sleeping better upstairs. I now need to compile a new list of things to do and buy.

Here's my little computer bureau with my parents' Napoleon and Josephine (fake Sevres) but quite pretty if you like that kind of thing, and masses of pomanders which I made earlier.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Dear me, there's a downside to everything. Just as I was feeling quite happy, the aerial man came and as I let him in I saw water all over the kitchen floor. I suspect the dishwasher which I put on earlier. Unfortunately the water was all scummy, and when I had mopped and dried it, so is the floor. Oh dear.

Anyway the TV is fine and I pottered around a bit while watching Saturday Kitchen. I shall now go out and buy a paper and think about trying to get a plumber. I may wash up by hand, and do washing by hand also, since there may also be a problem with the washing machine though it was OK yesterday. We shall see.

At least it is nice and sunny outside.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Excellent Friday

Friday - it's all been happening - Pete painted my fence yesterday. I put in more pond weed. Romy and Pete here all day today beavering away. Furniture all moved into place, just some tarting up to do here and there. Very excited - and my new lace curtain up so my nasty neighbour can't see in. New divan inside my Louis bed and lovely boudoir upstairs now. Downstairs needs a bit more work but TV aerial man coming tomorrow to extend my aerial to the new living room. Just need somewhere to put all the paintings and other crap. I am so pleased with the place now.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Suspiciously suddenly, the airports are once again open. I hope there are no disasters.

Yesterday and again this evening, Kook is displaying signs of antisocial behaviour, in that he has taken to biting me - not very hard - but noticeably, when he is a bit peckish. The other day he suddenly bit my forearm a couple of times, and tonight, he was rubbing himself against my back while I watched TV and he took a couple of nips at my arm, then my head. I suspect he has become rather wild after his frequent excursions outside and confrontations with other cats and has decided that this is acceptable, despite being reprimanded. Hmmm.

My home upheaval has affected my concentration on anything else. I have not been feeling 100% and put this down to the rather stressful experiences with the awful neighbours. I have now purchased the lace curtain for my bedroom, complete with garlands and cupids, to give me a bit more privacy. This has arrived, and Romy is kindly giving me an adjustable rail for it. When I have more or less organised my furniture I will get the aerial man back to put an aerial in the new downstairs sitting room to watch TV there. I am not sure I also want a TV in the bedroom. We shall see.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Monday Morning

I have decided that further moves are necessary, but there's no point in doing them until my French bed has been set up. I shall also have to move my mantel shelf and overmantel mirror downstairs because my wardrobe needs to go against that wall. Unfortunately it looks awful where it is. I shall have to move my French console table up to one side of the bed, move three chests of drawers etc. etc. Endless, really. I have put one commode to use as a store for my acrylic paints, and the other may make a coffee table somewhere. The place still looks awful.

Poor Dorothy and Julian have abandoned their American trip pro tem because of the volcano. I have a nasty feeling about this. If the other volcano goes off, we will be in even more trouble. Apart from people being stranded everywhere, imports are a problem, NHS already running out of drugs, apparently. Not good.

With all this in mind I have planted (basically thrown into the soil) some vegetable seeds among the flowers: peas, beans tomatoes etc. and will see if anything comes up. Growing your own veg suddenly seems a pretty sensible option.

Still trying to tidy up and plan a bit. Ordered a lace net panel with roses and cherubs on it from Ebay. I shall have to find a way to put it in the window. I already have a white blind and curtains. Because my awful neighbour can see straight into my window I have been leaving the blind down, but would rather have a lace panel for privacy as it will let a bit more light in, and the blind and curtains can be used in the evenings. I am vaguely considering removing the door from the new living room downstairs and getting it hung in my new bedroom. I don't really like door handles, so may remove this and just get some glass knobs fitted. I do have a rather pretty mirrored door panel which could be fixed to it. We shall see. First I shall measure it.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Sunny Friday

The men turned up. One of them tells me he is an artist, writes films and something to do with computers. However, he was a brawny lad and very helpful, moving and sweeping up in between. Such nice lads.

The place now looks as though a bomb hit it - clothes, bedding, paints and rubbish all over the place. It will take me some time to turn it back into a flat which looks as though someone lives there.

Lunch at Lye Torng with Louise, a former barmaid now living in Hertfordshire with her husband and ten month old daughter. She did not realise the shock she would have with a new baby - not going out in the evenings - nursery costing more than the rent, etc. so is planning a move oop North to enlist family help with childcare and babysitting.

Poor Dorothy and Julian due to leave for the States today, and no sign of improvement in the volcano business. They have rebooked for Monday, but things still look rather gloomy. We shall see.

Fascinating Lagos Documentary

Waited in all morning for a delivery which came just before lunch time. No more trouble (yet) from my nasty neighbours. Removal men due today, so I am rather anxious and the house is a tip since I have been moving things about to make their job easier. Avoided most of the political debate to watch a fascinating programme about Lagos. I suppose I should have known that Nigerians are resourceful from the number of internet scams, but the more positive side of this was shown by local entrepreneurs in Lagos, and I was left with nothing but admiration at how they managed to recycle and lived with dignity in the midst of dire poverty.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Trouble At T'mill - Again

Oh dear. I knew it was the calm before the storm. This morning at 8.45 my neighbour opposite standing outside in her dressing gown talking to her neighbours next door. Actually she was deliberately shouting very loud so that I could hear, but I had the TV on and didn't, just heard shouting, then saw her looking across towards me and heard the word 'holidays'. This will definitely get worse. The letter from our chairman seems to have given her a second wind. What a nightmare. My daughter-in-law tells me that if she keeps harassing me I can ask the council to move them. I suspect it will have to be bricks through the window before this happens!

Unfortunately I had to lean out of the windows to water my flowers in front. Though studiously avoiding looking over the road, I saw the daughter out of the corner of my eye. She shouted 'ere, give me a knock before you leave'. Not sure whether this was directed at me but there was no one else to be seen.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Abuse Unlimited

Dear me, I had hoped my awful neighbours would calm down on receipt of our letter making three holiday offers. Far from it, the daughter rang Romy in the office with an onslaught of slanderous shouting and accusations. After this it was agreed to draw up a report for all trustees and the Chairman, who wrote a warning letter to the punter, stating that Trustees would not tolerate threats and insulting behaviour to staff, and that if any more was reported, they would be taken off our charity list. We have been instructed not to speak to them on Charity matters, and if they wish to contact the charity they should contact the Chairman in writing.

Thank goodness I don't have to deal with them any more. However I am still expecting the brick through the window. Romy has insisted I should ring 999 if I have any more trouble. Oh dear, what it is to grow old gracefully. Something they will never know.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Anticipated Room Move

I have contacted Graham of Man and Big Van who have had bad reviews in the SE1 forum. I have to say I used them a few years ago and they were fine. We shall see. I am hoping they can move my furniture around on Friday or next Monday. This will give me time to tidy up the place before Nibby arrives at the end of May. My new living room will be rather a challenge as removing my French bedstead will reveal the ugly gaping hole which used to be the fireplace.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Old and Vile; Plants and Food

People have been rather shocked by the behaviour of my awful neighbours. Talk of ASBOS and injunctions etc. At the moment, rather than taking drastic action, I would prefer to see if they can calm down a bit. I am certain that people behave like this because of deprivation and lack of education - perhaps they experienced cruelty when young, and have therefore not learned to interact normally with people. Despite their behaviour being so unpleasant it seems unfair in a way to punish them. They are obviously punishing themselves by taking the trouble to be so aggressive at their age. Odd to live so long and still not have a clue how the world works! I do feel rather sorry for them.

Anyway, forced myself out to B & Q to get a few plants. Of course they didn't have any pondweed but have now ordered this online. Bought a couple of bronze cordylines, a rhododendron (but forgot ericaceous compost so it will have to stay in the pot for a while) and some bedding plants. Then braved the shopping centre which had a very mini food market. I am my own downfall here. Purchased three savoury thingies and an apple tart from Popina. There was a crepe stand, some Jamaican jerk chicken, some Hungarian food and other bits and pieces. Staggered home and ate. Fiddled around with the garden a bit then subsided.

Romy popped in to collect some wood Pete left in the evening, and talk turned again to my vile little neighbours. Heigh ho!

This morning, Kooky woke me at 5.30am but I fought him off until 6.45. Woke up during the night to listen to a repeat of Charlie Gillett's world music, which was super, as usual. Such a pity he died last year, I had only just started listening to him a couple of months before.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

See the Fences!

After many years. Pete is going to come back and paint some weatherproofing on the fencing before the climbers climb up too much, and I shall purchase some more plants soon.

Friday, 9 April 2010

New Garden

After a restless night, Kooky decided I should get up at 5.30. Managed to fight him off until 6. I had a look at the back garden which is totally transformed, thanks to Pete.

It is like having a new garden. About twice the size. I shall purchase a few more plants, then scatter some seeds around in a random manner, just to see what happens. If the weather permits, I shall definitely be able to eat outside. I almost feel a glass of wine coming on, and it is only 6.30. Anticipation is nearly always better than the real event.

Thinking about my neighbour's complaints last night, I remembered that they had complained about the holiday hotel food after the previous year's break, but had decided to go back to the place despite this. I had been rather surprised at the time, as the complaints had been quite forceful.

I now need to have a lot of furniture moving around the house, which all has to be done in a certain sequence. I shall have this done as soon as possible, hopefully before Nibby arrives. Then I shall have plenty of work to do in different rooms, probably culminating in some painting, since the new sitting room and the hall are both very much in need of this. I was going to get a company to make a bed frame for my French bed, but since they wanted full payment in advance despite having my bed, worth twice what they were charging, and would not accept a deposit, I may well reconsider. Particularly since Pete thinks he may be able to help with this.

Work in Progress

Ghastly Neighbours

Dear me. Pete has been working like a slave all day. Unfortunately I did not hear the front door despite staying in all day and my neighbour (daughter of one of the punters) took my curtain rail delivery in. This gave her an opportunity to drag her father over the road to trade insults about me and shout at Pete (poor sod was trying to fill a couple of pots in the front). Strangely, all this apparently before receipt of the letter we sent him explaining our offers of a holiday this year. She demanded that Romy visit her father and they both called me a liar, stating that it was because of their previous complaints about the food that we would not take him on holiday with the group. Again, she was going to take matters up with 'the committee'. I was 'just a clerk'and Pete was 'just a gardener' and 'not medical'. She really is a pain. I suggested she wait until she had seen the letter before continuing to shout the odds in the street, but it was a while before they both ran out of wind. I may have to move immediately!

Later in the back garden I could hear her shouting about her grievances to as many neighbours as would listen. I think Pete feels a bit sorry for me living opposite her, but I was sorry that because they had seen him working on my pots in the front, they felt they could come over and shout at him from the pavement. Sad to have such unpleasant neighbours and to have to be involved with them. They caused such a lot of trouble last year as well. I feel quite harassed.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

All Change in SE1

Romy sent me a link to advancedstyle.blogspot.com which is a blog by a young New York guy featuring old women looking stylish. I feel a bit ashamed and will attempt to be more gorgeous. We shall see.

Romy and Pete arrived yesterday morning, and Pete blitzed the garden, fitting new lattice to the tops of the fences, while Romy and I exhausted ourselves at Daphne's, Romy's local garden centre, before joining Romy's husband for lunch at a fab little cafe near them which was like a tardis and opened out to gardens at the back. We arrived back to find the garden transformed, but not yet complete. Made Pete a snack lunch. Duty called and we attended the opening of the Silver art exhibition at the cafe gallery, Southwark Park. One of our punters had done a painting, so we took snaps and took a look at the work and Romy listened to the many speeches and acknowledgements. Such a pity they stopped doing the Southwark Open, at which Julian and I used to exhibit.

Arrived back to see Pete disposing of at least six recycling containers outside. He will have another go at the garden today and may be able to move a bed or two. We shall see. I cannot believe the amount Pete manages to do in a day. I was so excited I rang Dorothy and burbled on about it. Dorothy is very patient.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Sunday

Here's the cute little green robot painted by Margot.

Spent the day both lazing around and cooking. Dorothy and Julian arrived - they gave me a cute little egg from Fortnum's and I gave them my Sainsbury's offering.

We then drank some champagne while starting to eat: strips of pepper with a hummous dip, strips of chicken and ham with a spicy banana chutney and pistachio nuts. The melanzane eventually cooked, but looked a bit watery. It tasted OK but the general consensus was that the tomato sauce should be very thick indeed before cooking, that much more Parmesan in the layers was required and maybe only one mozarella layer at the top, plus a very long cook in a very hot oven, next time. The ribs were a bit of a disaster - first time I had cooked them and they were a bit nondescript and rather overcooked. However, a potato salad and a tomato salad with finely sliced onion and dill made by Julian went down well. We could hardly manage much of the orange cake and cherry tart with cream, washed down with gallons of tea.

I was horrified to hear that after all this conspicuous consumption they had to go off to a party in Stoke Newington which was due to start at midnight.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Holy Saturday

Not feeling very holy after dinner last night.

Met Margot in the shop at Tate Modern. We found the cafe, and she kindly treated me to some wine and cheese and we exchanged cash for paintings in brown envelopes. Here is one of them in a temporary site, though because the frames are very deep, they can stand up or hang up. We chatted about things. She is going to America later this year for three months which I am sure will be very interesting. Although I have never been there, I have read so much American literature I almost feel I know the place, or parts of it, quite well. We aim to meet again in May before Margot's departure.

Today I shall make some orange butter icing and tomorrow, defrost the cake and ice it. I shall also make some home made tomato sauce today for the melanzane alla Parmigiana. I shall cook that and the maple spare ribs tomorrow. I may make a cherry pie later today.

It was pouring with rain earlier today, but now the sun is bright and I must venture forth to pick up some milk and salad vegetables.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Good Friday

Found a lovely Easter card from Romy in the office this morning. A nice surprise.

Unusually, the phone rang tonight. A marketing call of course, which was a disappointment. Although I have blocked these from UK, I think they just ring from overseas now. Such a pain to get up and stagger to the phone. If I didn't need it for the internet I would get rid of the land line.

Friday morning. I shall have a hot cross bun as a treat today. Actually we had one for lunch in the office yesterday, so I am doing rather well.

It is so chilly this morning I have switched the electric fire on.

Julian and Dorothy are coming around on Sunday and it may be that Romy's friend Pete will do some work next week. Trouble is, that to do much in the garden beyond just tidying it up a bit will require a visit to the DIY /garden centre. Romy says she may be able to take me there which is very kind, but I pointed out that if the weather continues to be vile there won't be much point in Pete trying to do anything in the garden. We shall see.