Saturday, 31 December 2011

Last Post of 2011

Today I shall stagger out and see if I can find a few things for a small buffet supper, which is what I shall have tonight. I doubt if I will stay up for the New Year.

I purchased a couple of cheap frozen lobsters from Aldi. I shall position these around a pile of prawns with lemon tonight. I also have some Spanish cold sliced saucisson and ham of various kinds. Some salads etc and made some more of the almond and blueberry cake. This time I added some Amaretto - a good improvement, which with the preponderance of ground almonds over flour, keeps the slices moist. I overdid the fruit on the top and added a few Amarena cherries and flaked almonds and sugar, which again vastly improves it. Dorothy and Julian will bring more stuff from Borough Market and something fizzy to drink. I made a very rich soup, blitzing in the remains of the pate and some cream, and have frozen this. Dorothy and Julian apparently have no interest in any of the seafood so I am going to have to force a couple of lobsters and a load of prawns down myself. Dear me.

Tomorrow I am having lunch with Alice, and will hear about her Christmas adventures. On Monday Kate is coming to Murmurs with me at lunchtime.

Around 10pm. Dorothy and Julian came bearing vast amounts of excellent food. We had enough to feed at least three more people, but made valiant inroads into all this stuff. I am going to bed while they go off to a party. Goodnight and Happy New Year to my reader.

Friday 30th

Seems that Madeleine had a problem in that her car broke down in the Mall on the way home the other night, and she was approached by several police saying it was a 'sensitive area'. Dear me. I have not heard the full story yet but it sounds a nightmare.

Meanwhile I have had a quiet day at home. Spoke to Nibby, who told me you can freeze Stilton. This is just as well as I bought a huge half wheel thing at £4 which was half price in Tesco, with no idea as to how to use the rest of it. I have now cut it into sections, wrapped in kitchen roll, and frozen it for later use. After dinner with port comes to mind. Or PX. Hmmm.

Lots of laundry done, and the sheets on the bed are fresh in time for New Year. I suspect that, as usual, this will be a 'home alone' affair. I may play 'Dinner for One' on Youtube, yet again, still trying to understand the joke, which is plainly a cultural thing, but maybe you catch on if you watch it year after year, like the Germans, who find it hilarious. Oh well we shall see. A very dreary day, pouring with rain, but Kook being rather cute.

Just finished my first e-book by Jo Nesbo, on my ipad, which seems to take a lot of power so I have put it on charge again. I think the book was free, so may try to find more free books which are actually readable. Still thinking of the freedom and accompanying poverty before me. I should try and make it a point to see how little money I can spend. Madeleine's Christmas present 'Frugal Food' should help. Unfortunately she also gave me a book about old fashioned puddings, all laden with calories. Since I have not dared weigh myself since before Christmas when I had already gained two or three pounds, and have no doubt gained at least half a stone by now, I may need to keep this book firmly on the shelf for a while.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Thor's Day 29 December

Purchased some bits and pieces of food in the sale at Tesco to supplement stuff I had already purchased. Madeleine, after several message to say they were arriving late, arrived at around 3pm for lunch with several other family members. We had quite a jolly lunch with a couple of bottles of champagne and fortunately I had provided plenty of food, though I have to say there's at least a kilo of Stilton in the fridge still, and plenty of ham and chicken, too. I may roast a couple of leftover potatoes, make some gravy and serve these with heated ham and chicken and some frozen petits pois for lunch or dinner. May purchase one last bottle of fizz for New Year before austerity sets in.

Dorothy turned up later, so we had quite a house full. Apologies from Julian who was in the throes of domestic duties, but sent some chocs for Madeleine and her sister, whose son, Leckie, enjoyed the cake fountain so much we set another one off. These are quite spectacular, from Ocado, and I saved one for New Year. The others set off to meet the rest of the girls at the NFT, but by this time I had been up and down the stairs constantly all day and evening, so decided to veg out and watch the soaps. I would love to have met the girls again, but my back had been so bad the night before and was still being very painful, I think I made the right decision. I am a very old 70.

Today I have started clearing up and will change sheets soon, either today or tomorrow. I may text my nbf Alice, to see how her festivities went. I know she was going to do Crisis over the Christmas period.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

- and a clown spraying the audience with water

And here's the snowstorm

Wodin's Day: Twixmas


Staggered around cooking and shopping before realising that the family were due to arrive the following day. Did not matter because Julian and Dorothy would come around and make some inroads into the food mountain after Slava.

The Snowshow was absolutely fantastic, just as I remembered it. The giant spider's web covering us all, then the 'snow' everywhere, and finally the giant balloons. What a superb show, with incredibly skilled clowning, humour, pathos etc etc. If you haven't seen this, and can't get a ticket, go next year. Definitely.

When we got back we settled down to a long snacky dinner with champagne and much overindulgence. My diet vanished in seconds. Dear me.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Boxing Day and Bank Holiday

A quiet day. Just as well with the lack of sleep. Did masses of dishwashing and washing clothes and tablecloths. A call from Romy, who was taking an afternoon kip, so I thanked her for the fantastic Fat Duck Cookbook, which will give me plenty to look at for the foreseeable future. A call from Nibby to say they had a successful Christmas oop North. Watched plenty of TV and kept falling asleep. Dorothy texted to suggest they might pay a call at around eight or nine in the evening, but whereas I had been prepared to cook and entertain earlier, by this time I had undressed and was considering a very early night. I managed to watch the most ludicrous episode of East Enders ever, and found myself laughing outright at all the galloping tragedy as it ripped across the screen in front of me. What utter tosh!

Fell asleep shortly after 9.30 and awoke again at 5am. Tried to Skype Nibby without knowing how to do it and thought I had to ring her telephone number but that did not work. She did not have it properly installed, and when we tried later it did not work. Oh well. Popped into the shopping centre and purchased a couple of bits and pieces and a paper before vegging out yet again today.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Later Christmas Day Evening


Dorothy arrived alone, but we soldiered on, and managed to make a fair job of the cooking. We started with tea, and carried on with gin and tonic. Here's the table before we destroyed it.

We decided to drink the red Astrales Ribera del Duero, a tempranillo, a good choice as it turned out to be the best red we have had for years. It had matured satisfactorily in my flat - it was a 2004 vintage. Very good with the chicken and even better with the Stilton. Dorothy had purchased some young Colston Bassett which was excellent. I should draw a curtain over the gluttony, really, suffice to say we had large quantities of Gelupo ice cream bombe to follow all this, and then coffee. We talked until late at night. I was sorry Julian wasn't here to see the decorations and enjoy the food, but hope will put in an appearance again soon.

I have to confess to watching East Enders in bed on the iplayer at about 1.30am, then of course, woke up at 5am to feed the monster. It is now Boxing Day, and Nibby rang me early to tell of her Christmas which was good fun with the grandchildren.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Day


Woke up betimes -5am to be precise, then tormented by Kook until 6am, when I forced myself up to feed him. Slowly got up by around 8am, had breakfast, bathed and dressed. Email with greetings from Madeleine, text from Jon, and call from Nibby. Listened to the Archers on radio 4 and packed the small gifts I purchased for Dorothy and Julian. Decided that money was my best larger gift option, after the Gieves & Hawkes cashmere scarf disaster last year.

Nespresso, made a very strong lungo, then topped with generous single cream and added some glugs of Amaretto. Delicious, recommended. Keep hearing programmes on the radio about these poor old people spending Christmas day alone. Me too! but somehow the booze makes up for it and anyway, my rellies/relly will no doubt show up later. Now listening to carols on the radio.

Nibby tells me they are having a large fillet of beef for Christmas. Since her favourite is turkey she will also purchase a chicken and cook and eat with the trimmings later, something I have usually done. May look out for a turkey crown in the sales myself.

Christmas Eve Later

Watched a bit of East Enders, then Dorothy arrived, laden with food and gifts, like an early Father Christmas. Seems Dorothy and Julian had had a bit of a domestic, so Dorothy came alone.

We had some wine, cheese and pate and a little fruit, and chatted until late. Either one or both will come around again tomorrow to celebrate Christmas. A provisional time of 3-4pm has been arranged, though no doubt it will probably be later. Gives me time for a further declutter in the kitchen and to feed the fish and refill the pond which has a permanent slow leak, despite the lining being renewed.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve at E & C Shopping Centre

Had a short stagger around Tesco. I saw an elderly former neighbour who now lives on an estate called Draper I think. She was struggling to do the last of her shopping, and I was horrified to see she had a very bruised face and a black eye, also one arm in a sling. Seems to have been caused by a gang of small children heaving bricks around. Apparently one was arrested, but she tells me the three year old told to police to fuck off. Sweet little things, eh? Then working at the checkout there was a cute girl with a pretty headband. The customer in front of me, a cool looking black guy buying lots of healthy salads, reduced in price, asked her if he could pay less for Christmas, before kissing goodbye to his £20 note: 'I didn't know you long, but we were really close' he said (to the note).

I purchased a huge ham roast leg thing, probably a large hock, on the bone, reduced from £16 to £8, so I sliced it up and stuck it in the freezer. I used the bone to make some stock, then made some pea and ham soup for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.

Arriving home I found more cards, and one from my ex-college pal. We had fallen out through some misunderstanding years ago, but I had spoken to him again a few months ago, and sent him a card. He has rented a studio in Deptford and is painting again. Says he will send me some images so I shall email him and see what arrives. Nice to hear from old friends again.

Christmas Eve

One of the recent joys in late life has been heaving my huge, sagging tits into a size 40H wired balconette bra. It has taken me until 70 to find out the great support (and what would have been a glamorous look 40 years ago) of the wired balconette bra. Today I am wearing a translucent gauzy mauve spotty one edged with lace and tiny satin bows. Such fun. Almost worth getting run over for. Hard to find an H cup but they are selling them on Amazon. Correctly named.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Eve Early Morning

I wonder how many old people have been killed by their cats? Kook is always sitting on the stairs and does not move if I want to pass, so I have to grab at the banisters and miss steps going up and down. If not doing that, he weaves between my legs, then, particularly on the stairs, just stops, so I have difficulty in not falling upstairs. Hmmm. I have been getting my revenge by leaving masses of birdfood outside so he is tormented by the tiny birds feeding just out of his evil reach. Actually fat balls in cages are being sold in the pound shop, which seems brilliant value. I may have mentioned this before. Which reminds me, I may look in there for some more, and see if there are any more bargains, such as pepper and salt grinders, and cantuccini or pandoros. Apart from that I just have lemons, hair foam and spray, and newspapers to purchase today, but as I said, might get some meaty stuff for the freezer.

Maybe it is being old but I keep cooking the same thing: thinly sliced and well fried chorizo, then adding onions and garlic, frying for a bit longer, then adding chicken stock, spices and herbs to taste, before chucking in lentils or beans or chick peas etc with a good squeeze of tomato puree and simmering until it thickens before serving. Oh, and my addition of chunks of beetroot and lots of carrots. With a whole chorizo ring and a tin of lentils it adds up to about 1500 calories, so three very generous helpings are 500 cals each, but less will do nicely. More carrots won't do any harm. Comfort food for the cold weather.

Friday 23 December

Found out recently that Romy and the Trustees are planning a dinner for me at Lye Torng in January which will be fun. I do hope a fight doesn't break out, or do I? It could be quite exciting, I suppose.

Marks & Spencers, where I was quite restrained, just purchasing a paper, some onions and garlic, but forgot the lemons. Large queues of people in front of me at the tills having purchased the rest of the stock.

The Nigel cake thingy I made was quite delicious. I have frozen it in individual slices, but have succumbed and defrosted three slices to eat with coffee so far. Basically it is a shallow sponge, but only 80g plain flour and 150g ground almonds, a couple of eggs, sugar and butter. When mixed, you drop in 100g of marzipan chopped into little squares. Line sponge tins with parchment and drop the mixture in. Drop blueberries and raspberries and a bit of sugar, almond slivers and currants if you like over the top and bake at 180 for about 35 minutes. Remove and let them go cold. To serve sprinkle the top with icing sugar. Delicious, unfortunately. Must remember not to make again.

As you will gather the diet has vanished, I hope temporarily. I keep trying to fool my metabolism by having a 650 calorie day twice a week. Unfortunately I am having a 2000 calorie day seven days a week. Oh dear. Look like a giant sausage in my 'shapewear'.

Another Christmas tree related incident: I was trying to hang more chandelier crystals on this, when I heard the distinct dripping of fluid behind me, and on turning, realised that my fat backside had connected with some sticks from a lavender reed diffuser stupidly placed on a low table, and which had fallen over. The floor and curtains were now covered in lavender liquid, which I rushed to mop up before placing the diffuser on a high surface in another room.

It may be that relatives will call in on 29th which will be quite exciting. Otherwise I shall continue with the last few bits of shopping, silver cleaning, and trying to tidy up a bit before Christmas. May buy some more meat and stuff to put in the freezer, cannot live on cake alone.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Russshhh


Did washing, polished even more silver, dug out huge plate candelabra and started to clean this pair, before discovering I did not have enough candles. I am sure I purchased a job lot of candles from IKEA at some point, so may dig around a bit. I have decided on a plain white linen tablecloth, so have laid this beneath several others to save ironing. On Christmas day I shall just whip the others off, revealing a pristine white cloth, unless I tip pints of red wine over the whole lot beforehand.

Rather a disaster with the Christmas tree which I was advised via Radio 4 to water with at least a pint of water a day. Unfortunately the water went straight through the tub and over the tray onto the ancient thunderbox supporting it. Rushed around with kitchen roll, and hopefully the tree will suck back some of the water now surrounding it in a puddle on the tray. I shall then recover the tray with foil and hope that water has not leaked through the thunderbox to the fake wooden flooring. Everything is far too heavy to move the tree and have a look. If the floor is ruined, I shall just place a piece of furniture over it. Dear me.

I shall win a prize no doubt for the most boring blog ever.

Dorothy has asked me to purchase some fresh garlic and some onions. I shall do this today. Not sure whether to buy cream, but may get a small pot.

Retirement At Last

On Tuesday, back at work to try and sort out last bank problems. Unfortunately this did not include the large number of changes, such as people who had not received their pension, changed bank, moved, etc. but hopefully the mandate is now sorted. Staff Christmas lunch at the Leather Uppers and my successor invited, all good fun. Yesterday was my last day, so made a desultory attempt at tidying drawers - not successful, and deliberately left a little filing for my successor so that he could familiarise himself with the filing 'system'. Sorted out one punter who was owed two payments, and had somehow fallen off the bank payments. Then we had lunch at the Royal Oak with the chairmen and met a few people in there. Back at the office, the other charity presented me with some gifts which I shall put under the tree, and thanked me for my company. I am quite sure they were delighted to see the back of me really, since working in an office has never really been my strong point - shopping and chattering is, though.

Romy and I set off to dump all our stuff at my gaff before visiting Sensational. Not a lot there, though Romy managed to find a couple of good buys. We then popped into Lye Torng for a quick cava, but Tom had bought us another before disappearing around the corner so we had 'drink taken' before we arrived home. Do hope Romy is OK as her leg was not behaving itself yesterday, and had not been good for a couple of weeks.

Washing clothes and making a Nigel recipe, almond and marzipan cakes covered in fresh fruit. I have made them as larger cakes, and will report back if they are edible. I topped them with blueberries and raspberries before cooking.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmasstress

Oh dear, I have just found the card I wrote for Madeleine. I have had to email her to ask if she either received an empty envelope or someone else's card. Tragic. I should have listened to Nibby who advised me not to send cards. Next year (if I am spared) I may try and produce a Christmassy image and take a snap of it to email around. We shall see. I am just a failure. And Dorothy is in bed ill, which does not bode well. On the other hand I have managed to write a card to my one reader and hope it arrives in time.

Last batch of cards going out today. I think it's the last day for posting anyway. After working today and tomorrow I shall get on with polishing the silver and may purchase a bottle or two of something fizzy.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Sunday and Monday Morning


Damn cold on Sunday. I ventured off to M & S, trying to restrict my purchases, but finally bought rather a lot. I saved £20 on the bill with the offers available and they called a cab, who loaded all my stuff up for me.

The very expensive tree in a pot had arrived on Saturday. I decorated this to within an inch of its life in silver decorations plus some clear glass bits, not that this shows in the snap. This somehow looked inadequate so I added several crystal chandelier chains and droplets. The huge set of lights I purchased last year had looked very ugly since there were masses of obtrusive wires. I took these off and curled them in a large glass vase where they look fine in the hall. I found some tiny sets of lights in Marks, three for two, so bought six sets. The advantage is that they are battery lights. The disadvantage is I have to switch five sets on, so I may restrain this activity to Christmas Eve, Christmas day evening, and Boxing Day evening. The extra set I have run along the mantelpiece. I am still not satisfied with the large bucket holding the tree. I put it on a tray on a stand and covered it and the tray in tinfoil, and then piled up various silver baubles around it. I may remove these. We shall see.

I hauled down some silver: drinking mugs, teapots, fruit dishes, jugs and sauceboats, pepper and salt things etc. to have fun polishing over the next few days. I shall use my white lace tablecloth and white linen napkins with silver candlesticks. I have a large tureen and may fill this with things as a centrepiece. If I could find a large piece of unframed mirror I would put it on this. My niece uses unframed mirrors very effectively in this way. All this activity and the place is still a tip. Decluttering will loom closer in the New Year.

I tried to go on a Waterloo Action bus pass outing today. Packed something to eat and drink and went to Baylis Road to set off as advertised to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Ha ha. When I arrived the receptionist said the outings were only on Wednesdays. I really began to believe I had galloping dementia, since there was nothing on any of the publicity leaflets she showed me, so I slunk back home in shame, only to discover they were advertising the outing on their website. I wrote an email pointing out that if they cancel, there seems to be no way of letting anyone know about this. No reply yet. Shan't try again though. Happily it meant I could have lunch at the Lye Torng and it pissed with rain later. Louba insisted on paying for my rye bread at the Elephant & Castle, and we had a coffee upstairs. She pressed a box of chocolates on me as I left, after regaling me with the complicated details of her love life.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Quiet Saturday

Almost finished doing my cards. A short visit to Lye Torng, closing on Thursday until 2nd January. Just as well, because, according to Alice, I shan't be able to afford a modest Thai green curry there any more. I may try and find some creative recipes for bread and water, and see how many layers I can wear to avoid using the central heating so I can surprise Alice by being seemingly able to afford social events. Years ago, I was acquainted with a fashionable couple in Algiers, who drove a very expensive car so were always given good restaurant tables when they parked outside. Later, someone told me that they lived in one tiny room and were fashionably thin through not eating much at all at home, but regularly drove around town, just for show. I suppose they had once had enough money to purchase the car, good jewellery and smart clothes, and could now just about afford to eat somewhere smart once a week or so.

Met Dorothy at Borough Market for a coffee and a wander where we met Julian. They purchased an expensive and terrifying looking poulet de Bresse, complete with head and innards and feet (intestines etc apparently removed though). They may cook this chez moi tonight. Hmmm.

I am feeling very optimistic about my successor. We have always had an awful time dealing with the bank. They told me it would take two weeks to make an appointment to change the mandate which needs to be done by the beginning of January, with only a few working days left before the Christmas break. My successor then rang them and was very forceful. He made them see us on Tuesday, happily. Their 'customer service' should be rechristened 'Customer Contempt', they are such a nightmare. Not my problem soon, hurrah! I shall not mention their name as I cannot afford to be sued, as I am sure Alice would remind me.

Very enjoyable drinks with the upstairs neighbours. Met some other very pleasant and normal neighbours which quite restored my faith in human nature.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

SE1 Dinner

was great fun last night. A select 15 of us there, which made it easier to chat with people. Had far too much to eat and drink, which I shall pay for. I gave Alice some cute little slippers for her 60th birthday, and a miniature alarm clock because she is still working. She said she was worried that I would not be able to afford to come to things like the SE1 dinner when I am only receiving a state pension, and that my lack of money would really hit me in January. I thanked her for reminding me of my impending poverty, but declared that I should somehow manage to exist, along with many thousands of people who receive no more than a state pension. I am constantly surprised by Alice.

I think Dorothy has fixed my email because I had lots of emails in my box. Unfortunately the bad news was that not only are my upstairs neighbours having their drinks party in the afternoon,when I am meeting Dorothy, but also they have invited my nasty neighbour. Actually, apparently they haven't, they mentioned someone with the same name, phew. I may pop up later then.

Friday, 16 December 2011

And this one came from Buratta's


when on an outing with the punters. Round and cute, it is made from linen union fabric and I thought the print was quite well done. They were all snapped in artificial light which does seem to fade them a bit.

This came from France


via Ebay. It is blue velvet on the reverse. Looks a bit faded in this image, but in fact the colour is quite vibrant.

Friday Again


Kook helped me up at 5.15 this morning so I arrived in plenty of time to get my hair done. Did a little Christmas shopping afterwards and fell exhausted into the Lido at around 2pm. Had soup, steak and a glass of wine, all excellent, and tried to take a tube home, but the entrances were all closed because of flooding, apparently. Electricity cuts in nearly all of the shops on one side of Regent Street near Oxford Circus, losing plenty of money for the owners, no doubt.

Fed Kook once back, and unpacked my shopping. I shall fall into a bath soon before changing for tonight's dinner. Yet again a failed delivery, this time from Hermes, but can't remember what I ordered. Oh well.

Can't remember whether I showed you these cushion covers, some hand done tapestry and some printed linen. This one is a tapestry of a cat's head I picked up in a charity shop in Eastbourne.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Last Days of Gainful Employment


Straight back to work the next day after being away, so somewhat knackered. Although the time passed almost without incident, there seems to be some stress from wondering if everyone will be all right, given that people are in a strange place and not aware of where steps and turns are, particularly during the night. So relieved to get everyone back in one piece.

Things are even worse at work: a new computer, and also an updated Word package means that it takes me twice as long to find documents etc. Having told my successor how the old one worked, I shall have to let him try the new package, which is really the blind leading the blind, but fortunately he is a bear of large brain, unlike myself, so will pick things up much more quickly.

Hairdressers early tomorrow morning, and SE1 Christmas dinner in the evening. My newish neighbours upstairs have kindly invited other neighbours and me for drinks, but have fortunately not invited the difficult one, so I shall be pleased to go. Sir Kook may come back tomorrow, am quite looking forward to seeing him.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Long Weekend


Despite all my problems, less than five hours sleep for several nights, and forgetting my phone lead, our weekend was one of the most successful breaks yet.

We stopped at the Tutti Pole in Hungerford for a good lunch, and I darted into a charity shop and purchased a new skirt and dress before arriving at Littlecote House. This is a very impressive property, approached through a long tree-lined avenue, apparently first built in the 13th century but rebuilt or mainly completed in the fifteen hundreds. There are Roman ruins and a large mosaic in the grounds and the main entrance to the house, above, reminds me of Hogwarts somehow.

Everyone seemed to have a good time - the food was very good, the rooms large and comfortable and so on. Romy had opened her French windows when she arrived, to turn around and find a large peacock in her room. She managed to shoo it out again, but we quickly learned that the biscuits in the room attracted large numbers of various birds, including the peacock.

It was a very relaxing weekend, and Romy and I sampled the mediaeval banquet on the last night, with an excellent jester. We had a shopping trip into Marlborough where I purchased a Christmas wreath for the front door, and some new scent. I spent quite a lot of Sunday hogging the enormous fire in the Great Hall and lobbing giant logs onto it.

There was reputed to be a haunted bedroom, which we visited without discovering any unquiet spirits. However a couple of punters were wandering around looking for this, and found someone in a mediaeval bedroom, before the embarrassment of discovering that they had accidentally stepped into one of the historic rooms, complete with resident guests. There was much lively entertainment in the evenings and I returned home exhausted. Kook will be away for a few more days with Dorothy and Julian, so I shall catch up on sleep.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Chaos

Over the past week I have filled in forms wrongly, filled in the wrong forms, forgotten where I have filed stuff etc. The last straw was last night: Julian and Dorothy came to collect the monster because I was taking the punters away for a long weekend in the country. I had bought a neat little cat carrier and with the taxi waiting outside, it was impossible to get him into it. I then remembered that I had kept his old basket, and amid much panic we stuffed him into this and off they went. Shortly afterwards a call came from Dorothy - in the panic they had left a bag behind with money to pay the cab, so Dorothy would return to collect the bag etc. It was at this point I suddenly remembered I had left the office without the cheque book, debit card, and petty cash, so was all set to leave London in the morning without the means to pay for anything! I leapt into Dorothy's cab when it arrived, handed the bag over and collected cheque book etc. from the office before coming back to finish my packing and go to bed. I suspect that had they not left the bag behind I would not have remembered my stuff at the office.

Either I have absolutely galloping Alzheimers, or having an extra person in the office is completely confusing me, which I suspect to be the case. I have never been able to multi-task, and need peace and quiet to be able to concentrate and actually achieve anything at all. Had I not had a lot of stress for the past six weeks or so, I was hoping to write a short paper on the minute details of what I actually do at work, but of course this has not happened, so it is all a bit of a rush running up to my retirement. Well, that's my excuse anyway. I pity my poor successor, trying to pick up the job from the ramblings of an old bat who has practically forgotten her name. I shall sign off as 'confused of SE1'.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

New Look


This blog has a clunky and difficult to use new look. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for you, I have been able to revert to the old look, but no doubt this will change.

Had a delicious dinner at Jamie's Italian at Westfields, including a fantastic starter served on a long wooden board - out of focus (wine) snap above. It was a nightmare to find because we went into the wrong entrance to Westfields and had to walk around in the freezing cold for ages. The Christmas decorations and lights at Westfields are most impressive. Strange, a place like that full of luxury shops in the middle of a pretty rough area. I wonder if Elephant & Castle will have one when it has been improved. Weird.

I had purchased a rather fine warm flannel shirt for Christophe, which he wore, but I must remember to buy a smaller size if I see anything in the future. Victorine was looking splendid and glittery and had lost lots of weight, the bitch. They were laden with gifts for me, Christmas and birthday. I must get back on the wagon. I wonder if I can find a restaurant which will restrict customers to one glass of wine, and serve low calorie delicious food only. My dream. The nearest I have got is to have a so-called six course tasting menu with tiny amounts of food on the plate. Perhaps I shall open such a restaurant. Might call it 'Maigrette' or some such. Oh well. Bloody cold outside now. Off with the punters to the countryside tomorrow. Must pack warm things.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sunday Early Morning

After Nibby's flowers, Madeleine arrived bearing gifts: a superb bottle of Jo Malone Red Roses bath oil from Antoinette, and a fabulous smart black radio from John Lewis with a docking station on the front. We drank hazelnut Baileys until Julian and Dorothy arrived bearing gifts and cakes, so we had to then have tea and cakes, delicious. My present with lots of extra bits and pieces, was an iPad, which they will set up for me. So exciting! Another bunch of flowers from Michelle's in Borough Market, is now improving my old flat.

We then set off for Islington and found Candid Arts and Margot's exhibition. Met Evon, Kate, Julia and Jocelyn there which was fabulous. Margot had produced lots of artwork and Margot's husband Pat was DJ. They had an excellent singer and wine and cupcakes were served. I purchased a book full of reproductions of Margot's small paintings done on nearly every day of the year in 2009. Interesting that the first painting, which inspired the rest, was one of a little green robot,one of two I had previously bought. There were notes about each painting under the reproductions, very interesting.

After chatting for a while and admiring Margot's work, we set off to Latium in Berners Street. This is a totally fabulous Italian restaurant. I started with crab salad, went on to grouse and finished with a superb pear sorbet. What with the strawberry prosecco cocktail, the red wine, then the coffee and petits fours, I somewhat overdid it. Altogether a great birthday evening.

officially bloody old - 70 today


Pains in the back awoke me at 3am, then 4am, then drifted off for another hour from 5 to 6am. At this point the Kookster burst through the catflap and screaming noisily, leapt upon me demanding to be fed. When I felt a large wet tail like a foxes brush sweep over my face I knew that it was time to get up, and also that it was pouring with rain outside.

Happy birthday, me!

Cards arrived from Ivana and Val, urging me to visit next year. If I can manage the fare, I may just do this. A further card came from Nibby, with a hand drawn image of Yours Truly, sketching at the restaurant of the NPG. After a bit of shopping at Elephant, coffee, then lunch at Lye Torng, I returned home to relax a bit and a lovely bunch of flowers arrived from Nibby: pink roses and white lilies. I now have two vases of flowers in the place, the other from some kind punters who delivered to the office. I am so spoiled. Another two Christmas cards came: one from Pierre in Canada, and one from a friend from college, Jocelyn. Seems that Jocelyn is down for the opening tonight so hope to see her there. Madeleine, Julian and Dorothy are due here late this afternoon, so we shall all travel together tonight.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Another Week Over

so it is Friday. Things have improved a little but retirement has never looked so attractive, apart from the lack of money, of course. I may have to take a part-time job running the country. I might make a better fist of it than the present incumbent, though I would have to try and fit it in between lunch at the Lye Torng and the soaps at 7pm. I think this would work out well.

Meanwhile I need to pack for our festive Friday to Monday next week. Julian is taking Sir Kookster away to their residence in Borough. Good luck with that. Pierre is kindly going to send me some money for the last time before my period as an oil heiress finally ends. So complicated finding out how to receive electronic transfers from overseas, and quite amusing that in this day and age it still takes four to five working days to reach one's account. Oh well. Very nice to receive some money at this time of year.

Spoke to Nibby, the other heiress, who has a bit of a cough and has thereby managed to avoid the 'flu jab. Since she has had the cough for several weeks I have told her to extract some antibiotics from the GP if it goes to her chest, since she is not immune from all our English bugs yet, and grandchildren seem to pass virulent infections onwards. I do hope she will eventually have the jab, though suspect it will take a nasty dose of 'flu to convince her. Oh well. Horses to water and drinking come to mind.

My 70th birthday tomorrow. I hope I shan't suffer the fate of Revd. Brian Brindley, who had organised a wonderful dinner for his 70th at the Athenaeum, then died suddenly between the dressed crab and the boeuf en croute. Seems he may have actually fallen into the boeuf en croute. Frightful waste since no one finished the dinner. Shame really.

Already I have received several cards, and this morning, a lovely necklace from my friend Catriona. Strange, it has very pretty red beads with a sprinkling of turquoise, and goes perfectly with the red Gudrun top I am wearing today. Catriona must have second sight.

Monday, 28 November 2011

More Invitations

Christophe and Victorine have invited me to a Jamie Italian place in West London to celebrate both my and Christophe's birthday. This will be fun, but I shall have to restrain myself alcoholically and try and leave early since this is a very heavy week at the office.

Christophe also asked me to design the cover of a book he is writing. He sent a synopsis which sounded very dramatic. I may be able to scribble a bit, but designing a book cover is rather a responsibility, best left to the experts, and since he has someone who can do it, I declined. Very kind of him to offer though.

The birds are settling into eating the food I put out for them after our trip to Polhill. Tomorrow we go to Twyford to the King's Head where we eat at Buratta's, maybe followed by a trip to Henley. Buratta's is so fantastic, great food and lots of very good value antiquey bits and pieces. I must restrain myself though. Hmmm....we shall see.

Disappointing Calls

I still get excited when the telephone rings, but while my hand is reaching out to pick it up, realise it is just another spam call saying my bank account, internet connection etc is about to be closed, so steel myself to be quite rude, not acknowledge my name or address, and to deny having a computer or bank account before slamming the phone down crossly. Unfortunately if it is a genuine call, I inevitably sound very angry when answering the telephone, and sometimes almost hang up before I realise this is the case.

I have cleared out the airing cupboard, piling the contents in the spare room and now have the exhausting task of going through drawers full of papers and sorting them, then all other drawers full of garbage in the house. This will definitely take months. Then I shall do the kitchen. Then I shall do the bookcases, ruthlessly chucking all but essential books and some of my nicer Folio Society ones.

Yesterday Kate came around and we had a long chat about impending retirement and consequent poverty etc. A bit dismal until cheered by the consumption of Baileys and mince pies. Kate also brought some rolls, salad, goats chees and chorizo which she made up. This did seem to be the wrong thing in my house, but very kind. We were later joined by Alice, whose son is also a copywriter. They might well meet up. We drank more Baileys, followed by coffee. Alice is planning a huge birthday party for her 60th, starting with a film in the Short Wave cinema in Bermondsey Square, followed by dinner for 40 at Del Azziz. The cinema is costing £400 and the dinner £500 is. Gosh. I shall miss this, being away with the punters but Alice is going to send me an invitation designed by one of her clever sons. I wouldn't know 40 people to invite, so am relieved to be having my much more modest celebration for my 70th, just with close family. After the others departed in the early evening, I settled down to watch the X-factor and promptly fell asleep, missing whoever was kicked off, and more annoyingly, missed Garrow's Law, which I quite like. I keep missing Rev all the time through watching some trash, so irritating. What a telly addict I am. At least I lost 4lb this week, before the excessive consumption today.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Something New to Try

I have just read somewhere that G.K. Chesterton said that there are only three rules for living: the first is 'be kind'; the second is 'be kind' and the third is 'be kind'.

I may attempt this, though it sounds like a tall order, doomed to certain failure. We shall see.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Successful Jaunt


Took the punters to Polhill Garden Centre. Two coaches and a successful venture. Romy terribly organised as usual. I managed to purchase some kind of things with white bobbles on, and arranged these around the mirror in the living room as a start of the Christmas decoration attempt. Not a very good snap I am afraid. There will be tealights along the shelf and in the lanterns hanging from the deer's antlers eventually which will brighten things up a bit. Oh, and my first Christmas card - on the left of the shelf - has arrived already.

Waiting for a delivery again tomorrow. Seems to be an occupational hazard. Must stop shopping very soon. Mysterious call from Christophe this morning, but I couldn't talk so no doubt he will ring again. Might be birthday related since he also has a birthday in December.

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Rest of Sunday


Arrived in Oxford Street at around 10am only to discover that nothing was open until around 12. I strolled up and down a bit and found Cafe Lido in a back street so settled down with a latte to read my papers. Went to the loo downstairs and discovered they have a huge dining room there. Must remember that they do lunches if I am stuck in town. BHS opened early for 'reviewing' so I looked around and found a black short sleeved stretchy lace vest thing for a tenner, which I eventually purchased. Handy to wear under sleeveless or chilly evening clothes. Eventually I picked up the watch at Debenhams and looked for a refill for the very good handbag scent Romy had given me, only to discover that Prada have stopped selling them. Oh well. I did try Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis so I suppose they are right about this. I popped into John Lewis Food Department and purchased some cooked and pulled ham. I bought some leeks and lentils and cooked a stew thing when I arrived home.

It had been very cold and misty when I went out. The weather has definitely become a bit chillier in general. All the walking had worn me out a bit, so I vegged out in front of the telly in the evening and did another bad sketch.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday


Here's a bit of the other tape, plus bits of the box of lip stuff Julian bought me. I really do think the bees are rather good.

A vile night last night wondering whether I had cauda equina, myeloma, or was just unbalanced from the back down. At my age and weight one would normally suspect furred up arteries, but the symptoms would normally be cold feet, swelling and ulcers etc. which are not there, so some kind of compression of the nerves would be a plausible explanation. But the cause is a mystery, so far. Oh well. At least things are much better during the day. Health is such an obsession of old age, and so boring.

Today I shall go to Debenhams to collect an old watch. I had forgotten that I left it there five months ago and they rang yesterday! Old age strikes again. Anyway it will be fun to go up to Oxford Street and will make a change from my usual visit to Marks & Spencer. Must just find a paper and somewhere to have coffee.

Caturday


Surreal morning - i had crossly waited in the flat all day on Friday because the post people had rung my mobile promising two parcels, but in the event, no post came, despite ringing Royal Mail and being told I had to expect post up to 6.30 which confined me to barracks. The next morning, the postie arrived and asked to use my loo! Seems he was the manager of the post office, had been working all night, the postman had not turned up to do deliveries on Friday and he was doing deliveries himself after being up all night. All is not well with Royal Mail, but the long awaited packages arrived. One was a purple skirt from Ebay and the other contained excellent tape (as above)from Rob Ryan via Etsy. A sweet little handwritten card wishing me 'happy taping' came with them. I hope all this does not sound naive. Oh well.

With my new found freedom I purchased more Lithuanian bread, Louba was not working, and I also bought what seems to be a handpainted Christmas apple in blue and white for a fiver, which I shall fill with chocs or a gift. May buy a couple more of these as they are rather sweet.

Then met Dorothy, looking very slim indeed, at Pain Quotidien. We had some coffee and purchased the ingredients for the goulash to be cooked chez Julian and Dorothy that evening. We discussed my forthcoming birthday, and agreed to all meet at my place before cabbing up to Islington for the evening. That way, Madeleine can come straight to my place and have a drink with the others before we set off.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Old Hand


Here's the left hand -obviously unaware of what the right hand is doing. You don't need a medical qualification to observe the antiquity of the hand, fingers bent with arthritis.

Bought some more frozen fruit in Iceland today and made more jelly. This is obviously going to become my latest obsession, though I was hearing about some machine which fries things without any fat called 'air fry' Hmmm, sounds strange but may be true. I shall investigate further.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Slimfruit


Found some frozen 'summer fruit' in the freezer. This seems to be redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries and raspberries. I made some low calorie (supposedly 8cal per serving)raspberry jelly in half a pint of boiling water, stirred a bit, added a quick sprinkle of sugar and a cupful of said frozen fruit. Topped up with cold water and put in fridge. When set, I forked it all up and though this snap does not look that good, I think it makes an excellent pud. Can be added to ice cream, yoghourt etc. or simply served in a wine glass. Probably less than 40 cals per serving. The fruit is only 27cals per 100g, and 500g in the packet. Used less than one quarter of a packet of the fruit, tipping it into the jelly still frozen, to make a pint. There does need to be plenty of fruit to make it look good, and I suppose you could add a little elderflower or wine. May do this next time. You could put in a jelly mould or pour straight into glasses, but I prefer it looking forked up and wobbly.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Quiet Wednesday


Trying to use up my annual leave. Spent most of today pottering about and reading, awaiting a delivery, which finally arrived: two Gudrun dresses. At least I shall not go naked in my retirement. However there was no post. Seems that the days of a daily post delivery are finally over, since I know I normally have post every day, and others have commented about the lack of post. No cleaner by after 4pm either. She may be very late, or not coming. We shall see. Also no Alice, who was to pop over for a coffee. But she has now texted, and instead of arriving at coffee time will no doubt arrive this evening. Time will tell.

Bloody cold today so I put the heating on during the day. Made a casserole from cupboard ingredients: chopped a chorizo ring fairly small and fried with chopped onions and garlic. Added two bay leaves, some rosemary, chicken stock, tomato puree, hot smoked paprika,a good slug of gin, a sprinkle of sugar, and simmered, then added a vacuum pack of beetroot, a tin of lentils, a tin of broad beans, more seasoning and left to continue simmering in a casserole. Tastes quite good. Oh, and a pack of mushrooms, too. Will make this last for a bit. Here it is though this snap is not great. I may do the Catalan bit and eat the solid stuff as a meal, then add more stock and a handful of pasta to make the rest into a soup. The Catalans do it the other way round and serve the soup first, followed by the sausage and vegetables as a main course. I may have mentioned this a few times before, but if not, the ingredients are a bit different but the principle the same and it is called Escudella and Carn d'Olla. Often served at Christmas.

I have started eating more eggs again since they have been absent from my diet for a bit.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Messing About with Chandelier Chains



Forging ahead with Vernon Coleman. He may be a nutter, but does write some sense. Seems everyone except me knows about him since he wrote for newspapers, was on radio etc etc etc. Can't be all bad because he likes cats.

Anyway, went to Laughing Gravy with Madeleine yesterday for lunch. We both held back and left potatoes and Yorkshire pud - and ate no pudding. Madeleine kindly relieved me of some tablecloths and granny blankets which are surplus to requirements.

Today has been very quiet. I have been hypochondriacally googling my back and leg symptoms with little enlightenment. Some glass chandelier bits arrived today with little curly metal things to put them together which took ages. I also bought some with aged clips which are much easier to deal with, so may purchase more of these. However the result of all this labour is a bit naff on the bare lampshade frame I chose to adorn. I am going to get some more large green droplets to perk it up a bit. Actually, I may buy one or two small lampshade frames and have a go at these when I am retired. We shall see.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

How To Live

Had a long chat with one of Julian's ex tutors the other day. During the course of the conversation he recommended a book: 'how to stop your doctor killing you' by Vernon Coleman, which sounded fun and which I purchased from Amazon secondhand. Some of it is fine, but I think the best part is chapter 32 - how to live to 100. Regardless of wanting to live to 100, it has some brilliant tips, if rather odd, to make you feel better. One of them is if you are feeling low to take a deep breath, meanwhile, hold your tummy in as hard as you can and count to five, then relax. Repeat this several times. Actually it is very relaxing. There is advice about not eating meat as it gives you cancer, which I shall ignore, but otherwise, some quite good ideas. Apart from getting up early, one of them is to keep the house well lit as it will look more cheerful, wear daring and sexy underwear for fun, wear bright colours etc. etc. Anyway I think this particular chapter alone is worth buying the book for. With that in mind I have purchased some more bright clothes from Gudrun Sjoden, though Dr. Coleman is not keen on consumerism. Oh well.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Feathers


Another work week. I am amazed by how much I have yet to do. I must bag up more clothing but would do well to try and lose some more weight. It might well help the back pain. I have purchased some more sketchbooks and found a good source of these on Ebay. I may have a day off tomorrow and will hopefully get something done. We shall see. I watched Jamie make a rather extraordinary version of an arctic roll on TV. It did look quite fun as nursery food. Basically it involved making a cake base of vanilla and chocolate sponge marbled a bit. Covered in blobs of softened vanilla and choc ice cream and jam, more jam and then rolled up and frozen. I suspect a plain vanilla and home made jam version would taste better, but would look more visually boring for TV. Ho hum. I must stop thinking about food. Ha ha.

Trees Card

another version

here's another version of the Gaywood Street card. A bit blurred.

coin mystery

Monday, 7 November 2011

Sunday


Went to Marks to get a paper. I also purchased some Fru Grains in Holland & Barrett. I am giving up my glucosamine, malt and cod liver oil capsules since before taking all that I did not have the pains in the backs of my thighs which have become much worse recently. Restless night last night. I decided to walk back to try and improve my lack of exercise. I was just passing Elephant Road when I spied several shops under the railway arch which had not been there before. I took a look at the first one, called something odd like Chatica, and it turned out to be an excellent looking latino place serving coffees and so on, very clean and shiny. I may well pop in there at some time. I bought some more black bread, and Louba apologised for not contacting me as she has been very busy (so have I) but threatens to call on me next Friday. We shall see. At least I can offer her a decent coffee. Am supposed to be seeing Madeleine on Sunday.
I just happened to be passing the Albert Arms pub which looked closed, but has recently apparently reopened. A pleasant guy taking food in introduced himself and his wife as the owners of the Great Little Pub Company (or some such name) and said they were closed today to get the kitchen sorted out as they will be doing food, including Sunday lunches. Madeleine and I may sample one of these next week. I have always thought this pub was very pretty, but needed a substantial makeover, which seems to have been done. It will be good to have a decent pub around the corner.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Saturday 5 Bonfire Night


Romy's Ebay shoes arrived today. I have to say they look rather small, so the size may have been mislabelled, but we shall see.

Lunch at Lye Torng as usual, and treated myself to a Pad Thai which was delicious.

I went to Specsavers and saw a couple of punters who are going on the winter break, and my friend Beverley, looking very chic, with her grandchild. Beverley had been made redundant. She had been happy about this at first because the job had been very exhausting and she needed a break. After another two months of being less happy and more broke, she secured a job. This was less well paid, but local, so saving time and money. I picked up my specs which will add to my wardrobe.

Dorothy and Julian popped in last night. Seems my Christmas cards are too morbid, but they liked the badly drawn Christmas at Gaywood Street ones so I shall see if I can do more like this. We shall see. I may examine some previous sketchbooks to see if I can find something else, too. D and J had been to see the fireworks at Blackheath, which were excellent but with vast crowds so hard to get away again. I had stayed in and watched TV as usual.

Here's the tail end of the Kookster's mangled toy. I may have to purchase a new one for his Christmas present. Since we are going to Polhill Garden Centre in November this may be my chance, and with any luck they will have an amaryllis bulb, too.

Tea Caddy


I love this cheap old tea caddy. No doubt a promotional item in the fifties or so, it is made of cheap metal with a red plastic inner and knob on top. I found it in a car boot sale, and have seen hundreds since. I don't know why I am so keen on it. My liking for kitsch no doubt. If anyone knows more about it, please comment.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Friday 4th November


Bonfire night tomorrow. Cheap clothes from Ebay arrived today. The secret of buying is to go for a minimal quality label such as Marks, and the goods are likely to be fine.

Ocado delivered and I made a huge casserole containing: half a chorizo ring, sliced finely and fried with shallots, then two pints of chicken stock added, then carrots sliced and a large sliced cabbage. Seasoned with smoked paprika, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme, three cloves of garlic and quite a lot of tomato puree. Later I added a can of lentils and another of broad beans. Cooked on a gas ring until considerably reduced. I had lunch at Lye Torng and a chat with Louise. Tom was there, so I bought him a drink.

Dorothy had some bad news from a civil court case which will cost around £2000 which may preclude spending a fortune on dental crowns for a bit. Then an email from a close friend who has just become a grandmother - seems the baby was over eight and a half pounds - a big boy. Sent Nibby the Christmas pudding recipe. She has made two Christmas cakes but devoured one because it was so delicious, dear me.

Did another atrocious drawing above with wobbly oranges which look rather like potatoes. Then found some inks with the appalling result revealed for all to see. Just hope no one is looking. The small shrivelled thing on the right started as a lemon. Tragic.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Thor's Day


Ho hum. Last working day this week and all as well as could be expected, etc.

Desultory sketch of the mess on the table: lampstand, jug, vase, hangers, book, deeply wonky as usual with dodgy elipse etc. last night, but never mind. It's all practise.

Fell unconscious twice in the middle of soaps, so retired to bed and reading Waverley, which is quite hard going, full of whimsical Scottish stuff, all a novelty to me.

Woke at 3am in a certain amount of agony, so tried to find a comfortable position in bed. Then at 4am, Kook started screaming loudly outside. I let him in and put some dry food down, but he had come in to use his litter tray to have a pee. He then disappeared and returned, absolutely drenched and ravenous, at about 7am. He submitted to a vigorous towelling and slumped around, later being groomed and I took the opportunity to drop some antiflea treatment on his neck, after which he disappeared again. Waiting for Ocado this morning, and will have to await a postal delivery, too.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Stressed


After an anxious day yesterday, I was all prepared to go to the opening at the Mayor Gallery, but, despite getting ready and putting on a smart dress, suddenly felt very tired, and somehow intimidated at the idea of meeting a room full of strangers. I put this down to accumulated stress, and decided to stay at home and watch television instead, though rather disappointed.

I quite enjoyed the Imagine programme with Grayson Perry, who seemed a typical (if there is such a thing any more) English eccentric. I sketched a sketchbook I had purchased from Ebay (above). This morning I found a message from Romy, who I will see later today.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Quiet Sunday


Purchased a top and skirt from Marks this morning, which was a bit extravagant but it was a pretty printed velvet which I thought would do for the winter.

Also bought a lunch deal for £10. Instead of the wine you could choose two glasses of chocolate Irish cream so I did. Main course was a lamb bake thing with roasted veg. Profiteroles for pud which I shall take into the office tomorrow, ditto some biscuits I must dispose of.

Cleaned out the pond and fed the fish. Watched Downton Abbey, which is getting more and more boring. Must get back to my journal, so did two foul little sketches (above) to start me off again. Sorry, first is portrait, second landscape, so on its side. Must learn to draw. Just realised it is a bit out of focus. Dear me. Although I had severed relationships with my very difficult ex, I sent him a few quid in a card for his birthday because I knew no one else would. I do hope that will not result in a rash of phone calls or worse, visits to my house. With any luck he has forgotten the address, poor sod.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Here's the Result


Rather jolly, I thought.

Was reading about the increase in world population. It does seem rather alarming. Perhaps some huge catastrophe is imminent, or maybe that is just wishful thinking, not that I am any kind of misanthropist, you understand.

Saturday Evening


Lunch at Lye Torng where Tom, above, was doing a cartoon of a cocktail drinking couple to go above the bar.

Coffee at Pain Quotidien with Dorothy, and purchased some toasted Marcona almonds, plus some medlars, which I roasted without bletting, and was chatting with Nibby on the phone. they ended up rather burnt and with a deeply unspectacular taste. Apparently I should have bletted them for a couple of weeks in a cool, dark cupboard. Oh well.

Long chat with Kate. We plan to have dinner at Les Trois Garcons in November, since I have a Groupon to use up. I must also contact Alice because I have a teatime voucher for tea and drinks at some riverside hotel in Clapham, which sounds vile, but may be fine. We shall see.

I now have to go into work on Monday, tiresomely, but may possibly take Tuesday off. We shall see.

The clocks go back tonight so must try not to get up at 5am tomorrow morning. May actually change the damn clocks - I have so many all over the house.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Beginning to get rather irritated

So far recently, because of Special meetings, I have missed the Arnold Wesker opening at the Royal Court, The private view of the Peter Brooks new cartoon book, and I am due at the Sylvia Plath drawings private view on Tuesday which I may have to miss. Roll on retirement.

Dorothy has advised me to keep my blog much more bland. And lose my one reader?

OK.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

It's been a bad week

Discovered that I owe about £800 in Spain for water and electricity so had to cable money today and try and set up standing orders there so this does not happen again. The plus side is that someone told me about google translate which helps a bit.

Dorothy apparently needs two crowns costing £2000 which seems rather excessive. I asked around and was told they are around £300 on the NHS and up to £600 privately which sounds more like it. Must be a celebrity dentist. Oh, to be rich...

My right arm has a huge red infected bump on it which seems to be from some kind of bite - must de flea the Kookster - so I may need antibiotics as it is getting worse. Collecting some new specs tomorrow and maybe ordering more. We shall see.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Another Hellish Day

I spent much of the day contacting people in Spain. Romy could not help as Endesa would not speak to her Spanish friend, and my bank just suggested contacting Endesa. Finally Dorothy told me that our Spanish contact had dealt with Endesa and all was again OK. All this in the middle of preparing for the evening meeting.

I did not arrive home until 10.15, to find a hungry Sir K whingeing about the poor service, justifiably.

I am very tired today. My back is really appalling. I am wondering if I may have myeloma, not that I am a hypochondriac, of course. Anyway, if I had myeloma I would be losing weight at a rapid rate.

Rather Hellish Day

The electricity and computers failed in the office. Then I had an email on my phone to say my electricity was being cut off in Spain with visitors in my flat. Then I rang Endesa who could not accept telephone payments, someone had to pay in cash in Spain. Romy said she could pay today, but it will be too late and God knows how long Endesa will take to restore power. I will have to cancel everything until it has been sorted, so emailed my Spanish bank to see if they can help at all. Nightmare.

Went to bed early and had a nightmare about having had a new coat and bag stolen including all my cards, bus pass etc. then woke up at 6am to realise it was not true, so rather relieved, but very stressed about everything.

I have never been so happy at the prospect of becoming free, if broke, again. Rant over for the time being.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Two more cards


This year is rather tragic really.

Monday 24


Popped into the office for the morning to check the post and emails - nothing thank goodness. Did a bit of admin before coming back to have a rather lazy afternoon. Here's a couple of this years rather feeble cards.

My friend Alice popped in for tea in the afternoon and we had a chat about Greece, Macclesfield, property etc. etc. It is a pity I will miss her birthday, also in December like mine, as we will be on a festive break with the punters which I am rather looking forward to.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday Morning

Ocado delivered, so decided to just stroll to the shopping centre. Purchased an eye pencil and some very cheap lip stain in Superdrug, made by Sleek, it is called Pout Paint and the colour is Pin Up. It comes in a tube. The instructions said one tiny drop would cover the lips. Damn right. Of course I put it on with my finger which will no doubt remain scarlet forever. Must use a brush, but it certainly stains, and may be the answer to fading lipstick. I may chose a more subtle colour next time.

Bumped into Louba in the Lithuanian shop. She is going to do the odd cleaning session in exchange for conversation practise. I may ask her if she knows anyone who is either fat or reads a lot, as I could offload some of my excessive purchases here.

I may well buy an i-pad. Dorothy seems to think it is a good idea. I forgot to ask him if I can use it to purchase i-tunes to then somehow transfer to my i-pod.

Saturn's Day Again


Another tragic mug. I thought they were improving, but then saw that the top right lip of the mug looks as though the spoon has melted it outwards. Oh well. I blame the draughtsman.

Usual lunch at Lye Torng reading the papers, followed by a tidy-up (very minimal) at home. Then a food order to Ocado which will arrive tomorrow morning. Then met Dorothy for a coffee and catch-up at Borough Market. We decided that going out for lunch on Christmas Day was a non starter because of transport problems, and I said we would carry on with our tradition at my place. Actually, I am quite looking forward to finding the Christmas pudding recipe and thinking about decorating the place a bit. We are unconventional to a large extent by not having the traditional turkey or a joint. Dorothy will cook small chicken pieces with roasted vegetables sprinkled with rosemary, garlic cloves and olive oil in the oven at a high temperature. I remember this was very good last year. I may make some bread sauce and gravy to go with it. I shall purchase some champagne, and there are lots of liqueurs here already.

Dreading next week, but trying not to think about it. My nbf Alice is coming for tea tomorrow.

Sir K. G. Behemoth After a Night on the Tiles

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sir K. Garden Behemoth in Typically Undignified Pose



Dear me.

October Friday


Looked around my flat which is full of stuff. I really must declutter and tidy up my papers, which are all over the place and will prove a nightmare on my demise unless I start sorting them a bit - drawers full of mixed and muddled relevant and irrelevant papers. What I need is a filing clerk, ha ha. I think a lot of people could use one of these. I remember years ago there was an agency in West London called Problem, who would sort anything out - pet feeding, cleaning, babysitting, typing, house sitting, etc. etc. I need someone to sort out the whole physical part of my flat: cleaning, furniture, stuff in every room, but apart from papers the most important mess is books and clothes which seem to breed like rabbits all over the place.

Coffee at Elephant upstairs, popped in to Sensational, then Lye torng for an excellent chicken Penang curry, before subsiding at home. Oh, and I also need to bag up the garden refuse for collection next Friday, having missed it this week.

Another bad drawing in the evening - I seem to be specialising in wonky mugs now, plus I did a rather wild sketch of Kook stretched out. I have been reading The Master and Margarita and am thinking of rechristening him Behemoth. Perhaps Sir Kookster Garden Behemoth (KGB) might be suitable, since he has taken to colonising all the local gardens recently.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Ray of Sunshine


has arrived with a card from my friend Margot inviting me to a special art event in Islington on the very evening of my 70th birthday. Called Radio Duck, it promises Music, Paintings and Objects. I shall take Dorothy and Julian and we shall dine out afterwards. Hooray! Time something good happened.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Retail Therapy


Yet another wonky drawing. Must do better.
The self medication continues in the form of an excellent luncheon at Lye Torng - chicken Penang curry this time - and a visit to Sensational after work with Romy, where we both enjoyed spending a bit of money. I purchased a rather eccentric black cardigan thingy with lots of small torn holes in parts, asymmetrical shape of course. Will look good over dresses, skirts and trousers/leggings and boots. Romy purchased the grey version, so we shall have an office uniform.

Have been giving some thought to my gloomy financial future. Though ideas for obtaining filthy lucre have not been rushing to me, ideas about how to spend time have been. I shall definitely do more drawing and painting, maybe abetted by an ipad which I shall purchase while I still have the cash. I shall probably join the bus pass outings from Waterloo Action Centre when they are going somewhere I want to go. This should be a cheap option as people take their own sandwich lunch etc. London should be an excellent place for a penniless retirement as there is so much to do for nothing. South Bank is nearby, as is the War Museum, and the bus pass option will take me further afield, maybe even to Portobello, as Madeleine and Victorine have suggested. Julian described the cafe near Brick Lane which is going to have a life model so I can do a bit of drawing for the price of a coffee or two there.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Weirdness Continues




Another bad drawing in the evening - I swear stress is affecting everything. Or maybe that is just an excuse. Hmmm...

Elder Abuse

First they abuse or ignore old people in hospitals, now they are trying to pinch our houses, whatever next? Compulsory euthanasia over the age of 70? This morning I heard someone on radio 4 whingeing that the Americans are keen to downsize on retirement, but not the nasty old Brits, who are quite unreasonable and hang on to the places where they have brought up their families and have worked all their lives to acquire. I am expecting a knock on the door when I have been reported for having a spare bedroom. Makes you sick. I may watch Soylent Green again soon. I seem to be getting my own share of abuse in the form of poisonous emails at work and nasty neighbours at home. At least the latter have shut up for the past year or so. However, it is all enough to make you move to Macclesfield. Or Starcross. Or anywhere else but here. Dear me, I am feeling a bit cross this morning. Quite crabby, in fact. Crabbed old age I expect.

Orange Peel is now Orange

Tuesday's Table

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Flatpack Cats


Flat cat, above, rather like a slug.

Back at work again. Had a chat with Madeleine, also having problems which she is not free to reveal, but who has, like Victorine, rediscovered Portobello Road. We agreed to visit Portobello Road and the Wallace Collection soon.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Sunday Again



This tragic drawing is supposed to be some orange peel on a plate on my fish tablecloth. I knew it would be a pain to do, but the orange bit looks rather like measles. Must try harder. Or paint it orange. Hmmm.

Tidied up for a bit, then went to Marks. Bought a couple of small Christmas things and the newspaper. Also found some microwaveable lentils and red and white quinoa which will last forever and be a handy staple for emergency meals, along with vacuum packed beetroot which will last until December and vacuum packed sliced meats ditto.

Had a chat with Nibby who keeps finding cottages in Macclesfield for me. I had to admit to a certain reluctance to leave London, unless possibly if house prices ever go up, to the West Country. For some reason I am still a little obsessed with Starcross in Devon, which I have only ever passed in a train. I think the pretty old houses and the Exe estuary location with a ferry to Exmouth and a train to Exeter and Torquay etc may have something to do with it. Seems a bit of an effort though, as the age of 70 approaches by leaps and bounds.

I am now dressing like a lunatic. Yesterday I wore red knee high socks with brown spots, red trousers, an orange sleeved vest, over which I wore a red and pink long frilly vest, topped by a long sleeved pink dress, all topped by my Gudrun brightly coloured cardigan. Today is worse, with a long sleeved orange top under a mustard yellow dress with maroon knee socks and over this, a sleeveless bright pink short dress. I may wear yet another lurid cardigan. We shall see. This burst into florid colour may be in defiance of my ancient years, or in defiance of the weather, which, though sunny, has turned damned chilly. I purchased a bright red winter coat, too.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Thug Life



Presumably aimed at diverting 'yoof' from gangs etc. Probably will be worn proudly by gang yoofs. Dear me.

Stretched Kook