Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sunday Thrill

I am so pleased. I popped outside to clean the pond pump and noticed my first passion flower in bloom - I was afraid they would bloom and die while I am away, but no, I shall no doubt see more before I leave. I absolutely adore these flowers and may well buy another plant to cover my dreary wall, naked after removing the Virginia Creeper.

This has made my day.

Sunday Iced Yogurt

Disappointed because I thought Dorothy was calling with some proposition. I had been hoping to show my handiwork, but a call to cancel because the proposition didn't add up. Oh well.

Here's a snap of Kook lying on his new quilt. Although the room looks much darker with the purple curtains, it does look more boudoirish. Which is nice. The new quilts will look excellent with the pale lime green linen sheets. And also with the aubergine ones. In fact I may purchase another pair of lime green curtains for upstairs so that I can change the look and wash the curtains I have managed to hang. All I need to do now is find a way of ironing the downstairs ones without getting them down. I may be able to find a steam ironing thingy.

I have made some Greek yoghurt ice cream with agave nectar and lemon juice. At least it is in the freezer. I still want a proper ice cream machine. Today I shall have another go at tidying the airing cupboard. Maybe.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

My Own Strawberries

Pathetic really, but I get a few strawberries every year from a plant on my windowsill, and here they are.

and here's the sitting room ones, with Kook's new chair

- and with the giant white paper flower.

Almost Competent

With a great struggle at the top of the stepladder, after finding the right head for the screwdriver, I dismantled one side of the curtain rail downstairs and slid the curtains off. I threaded the new curtain on and fixed the rail back. Ditto the other side and ditto upstairs in the bedroom. However, the curtains are a bit short. It doesn't matter so much in the bedroom,since as they reach the floor, the cleaner somehow never gets the dirt off the hems. The sitting room is another matter. I have decided to leave them hanging and to either add a contrasting panel at the hem, or purchase some very deep fringing. We shall see.

I am not sure what to do with all the tiebacks. When I had hung the upstairs curtain I noticed a long scarf from Claire's accessories which was quite a dark colour and basically consisted of giant pompoms which blended very well with the curtains, so I cut this in half and it makes quite jolly tiebacks.

I am quite pleased with managing to do this alone, and quite pleased, despite the length problem, with the way they look.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Again

At the office on Thursday, tidying up odds and ends and having a very frustrating time with Barclay's who seem to have put some kind of warning on the business card, so that I had to spend nearly two hours trying to pay a hotel bill. God knows what will happen when we can't use cheques. They then rang back to query every single card transaction in the past few days. Bonkers.

Today I managed to get my hair done at Regis, despite the awful traffic jams throughout London. First, I purchased a pair of long curtains in a kind of faux silk slub from Primark Home, which will look excellent in the living room. I noticed they had trendy cushions for about £3, and some very good more expensive-looking applique ones for only £8. I also found a bag which will go with so many things.

Must start thinking about what to pack for the Eastbourne week. It so depends on the weather which has been brilliant most of this year, apart from the current week, when it has been fairly rainy and chilly. Difficult.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

More Gains

Had a super day: went through the antique shop at Buratta's like a locust, acquiring a chair, two large hampers, curtains, silk throws, a giant cream paper flower, cushion covers, a quilt, a basket etc etc. Seems Madame Buratta is an artist, which explains her very good taste in acquiring fabulous things. This extreme purchasing was followed by a very good lunch at Buratta's, then on to Henley Rowing Museum by the river. Looked around the Wind in the Willows exhibition with Romy before devouring an ice cream, then back to Borough. Managed to cram my purchases into the cab somehow, though they did look rather like a bring and buy sale on the pavement while we waited.

In the evening, I packed things away. The hampers were very handy for tidying up tablecloths, blankets etc. which had been lying about the house. The basket, which is very deep, has proved excellent for storing shoes. The curtains and two quilts will be perfect for my bedroom, and the chair, which is a hilariously ornate yellow boudoir chair, has been colonised (naturally) by Kook, leaving the chaise longue free for me. Result. Oh, and I also bought rather a fine table lamp which helps to illumine the sitting room.

Back to reality today.

Victorian Chaise Longue

A relative was disposing of a Victorian chaise longue which had been in my mother-in-laws' house in front of the French window. Nobody wanted it, but I decided it would look better in my living room than my rather grubby iKEA sofa, so I arranged to have it delivered. It came yesterday and the guys were happy to take the old one away. It looks rather good, is comfortable to loll on and has now been totally colonised by the evil Kookster. I am now thinking of changing a couple of my very large peasanty dining chairs for some small ones. I may eventually purchase an old leather armchair, too. We shall see.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

South Bank

Met Dorothy in Borough Market and had a satisfactory discussion about my mortgage, with coffee and a bowl of berries. We then strolled along the river to Tate Modern. Julian met us there and they saw me into a cab home, before they continued weekend shopping.

I pottered around for a bit. Before I had left in the morning, I decided to put two garden chairs near the kitchen, where it is very sunny in the morning. I am sitting in the garden more, and people are asking if I have been on holiday. I suppose leathery ancient skin catches the sun more. I would rather be fat and brown than fat and white. Even if a tan is chavvy. So there.

I purchased three 'dresses' made of cotton with something stretchy in. They arrived, and are extremely short and extremely tight. I shall have to wear them over skirts, trousers or leggings but they will look considerably better on a smaller body. I must get one of these.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Million Dollar Quartet and Crypt

Took the punters to Million Dollar Quartet which was quite fun, and some ended up dancing in the aisles, so a success.

Romy and I escaped to the crypt of St. Martin in the Fields for a glass of wine before dashing back home. It was quite pleasantly uncrowded and would be a good place for coffee or a snack when meeting in town.

I shall be meeting Dorothy tomorrow - this makes two meetings - one a week, so I am getting unprecedented access to the Great One. Went to Borough Market today and purchased two enormous artichokes and a huge fennel bulb. Cooked them both and will consume en salade over the next day or two. Also could not resist the Comte cheese in the French stall so bought a little of that, too. Bumped into one of our ex Trustees' wives. She looked very splendid in a red turban-like headband. Most glamorous. I really must lose weight. I seem to have lost a bit of impetus recently. Dorothy on the other hand is going great guns, but I still think should increase the calories to at least 1150 per day.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Steam Train and Cherry Orchard

A good day in Essex, with a steam Pullman coach and lunch. The weather perked up in time to get on the train, which was pulled backwards and forwards over a very short stretch of line, while we all indulged in a very good lunch. On the way back we drove through pretty villages called Clare and Cavendish. These had traditional village greens surrounded by very pretty thatched cottages. One cottage which was for sale, had been rethatched and had a thatch sculpture of two fighting hares on top. My country move almost transferred to Essex, until Romy pointed out that public transport was conspicuously absent, with no bus stops. Oh well.

Texted Julian who kindly agreed to feed the Monster, before dashing off to the National Theatre for the first night of the Cherry Orchard, last minute tickets very kindly provided by Madeleine's boss, who also offered to provide drinks and dinner afterwards. Very kind and very much appreciated. Though not wishing to look a gift horse in the mouth, the first half was very long, and took a long time to build up and engage our attention. However, the second half, involving much more dashing around and slapstick humour at one point, did the trick, and we were brought around.

Afterwards, we went to Ping Pong, since we had both had a decent lunch, and enjoyed some dim sum, then Madeleine kindly dropped me off. I was in bed by midnight. And up by 6am, thanks to the Monster.

Monday, 16 May 2011


Went to the chemist to collect the medication he had owed me since January. He greatly admired my long winge (above). I experimented with long and short fringes, and decided that the older one is, the more of one's face should be covered up. Will wear a moslem hijab or niqab or whatever soon.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Long chat with Nibby yesterday. She thinks I should either sell my flat in Spain, which would be easier said than done, or sell this place and buy something smaller and cheaper. I have seen a couple of garden flats with one bedroom not too far away, in leafy Brockley or around Denmark Hill. Devon is still where I think I would like, if I have to move again. I need to find a vast injection of cash I suspect, to remain where I am.

Later, being anxious about future mortgage payments, I rang Dorothy, who was very snappy and tense, while assuring me that future mortgage payments will be safe after my retirement. Somehow I did not feel confident. I could not hear much of what Dorothy said, which didn't help. I probably listen too much to the advice of others, and may just get on with it in future, making my own mistakes. In any event I don't really want to put my flat on the market until my neighbour has sold his, which will give me a better idea of the price I can realise.

Madeleine has very kindly invited me to the first night of the Cherry Orchard at the National. I may well be taking a coach to the Colne Valley Railway for a train trip with the punters during that day. If so, I shall dress a bit smartly and stuff some jewels in my bag in case of a late homecoming, so that I can just jump into a cab and hotfoot it to the National if need be.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Friday 13th

Auditor in the office. Turned out to be a middle-aged chap who had just started learning the cello, having taken his grade 8 piano many years ago. He keeps his cello behind his desk at his office, and opens up in the evenings and weekends to practise. Such devotion. Accountants really can be interesting.

Dorothy thinks I should sell the flat in Barcelona rather than try and sell my flat here. I am inclined to tidy up the place a bit and put this place on the market as soon as possible, since it seems that neither of us will be able to pay the mortgage soon. I know it would probably be sensible to look for a little hovel locally, but I am inclined to go to Devon, finally. We shall see.

I am slowly recovering from the recent ghastly meeting, but I don't think I can stand the place much longer. The trustees, anyway. The job itself is fine.

Caught up with two old friends, which for some unaccountable reason made me ring my old art school friend. I had fallen out with him about six years ago when he sent me a very nasty email. The other day I decided that I had recovered from this unpleasant action, which had been uncharacteristic of him, so I rang him. We were both fairly cautious, but I was glad to hear he was doing well, and we agreed to keep in touch by phone again, at least. We shall see.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Dear me, I am becoming quite forgetful: forgot to weigh myself yesterday and forgot to ring Nibby. Weighed myself today (stayed the same despite a neurotic eat-in on the night of the meeting) and will ring Nib next week.

On Saturday I met Dorothy at Borough Market. It really is terribly busy on a Saturday, but there's now a Pain Quotidien in Winchester Walk, which helps. We had coffee, and Dorothy had a large bowl of fruit and I had a small bowl of berries. Excellent to be able to get such healthy things. As predicted Dorothy thinks my idea of moving is bonkers. We shall see. Dorothy is very busy as usual, but for me it was great to meet up, a rare sighting, and Dorothy's weight loss is very good. I wish Dorothy could increase the calorie intake from 900 to 1200 a day at least, preferably 1500, and not completely exclude groups of food such as bread, but just strictly control them. The small sliced loaves I get from Marks and Sainsbury's are very good. I only ever have two slices, with a filling, as a complete meal with a salad, or two pieces of toast, butter and marmalade for breakfast. Anyway.

I tidied out the kitchen food cupboards yesterday. Trouble is, I can't bear to throw things away, but still. I shall ask at the office about getting a one-off polish for the kitchen floor which always looks atrocious. One of those men with huge machines comes around once or twice a year to do the office floors which always look fine.

Chatted with my neighbour who is trying to sell his flat. I gave him an article about selling through Facebook and said we will miss him. He is the guy who gardens the piece of land at the end of the street so successfully.

Friday, 6 May 2011


A colleague said it takes three days to recover from a trustee meeting. That means I will be much better tomorrow. So far, nothing disastrous has happened, though the files are such a mess that the new auditor is going to have fun next week trying to find stuff, and I am not looking forward to trying to locate lost and unfiled receipts etc.

Sunny so far today, and I may have an appointment, time to be arranged, to meet Dorothy in Borough Market tomorrow.

Lunch at Lye Torng today and a couple of tops arrived in the post from Gudrun Sjoden. Excellent.

Bit of an own goal in the Oldie: Henry Cooper who died a couple of days ago, is interviewed in their 'Still With Us' feature. Not only that, but they have a cartoon of him sitting in his winner's belt on the front cover with the caption: 'It's a Knock-Out.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Olde Tymes

Thinking back fondly of Hammersmith days, I remembered Dave, who unofficially ran a branch of the London Health Emergency from an upstairs office, objecting to the cuts in the NHS. Dave, a self-confessed reformed football hooligan, was a very charming young man, and very lively and effective. While there, he interviewed Benazir Bhutto, who was very young at the time, and had rather a crush on her.

My friend Victorine, though an actress, was frequently 'resting', and spent a year or two working for me in the office in the Fulham Palace Road. We had a shopfront, with the attendant dangers: one man broke our front door, showering us with glass before the police arrived; we had to calm down several transexuals who were very angry with psychiatrists at Charing Cross Hospital when refused the 'op', and who came in to complain bitterly; and many others among those just requiring basic information about the NHS provisions.

Still, the meetings were highly civilised, perhaps because they were public meetings open to all with the local press in attendance.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Horrible Meeting

I have had a most frustrating time. Last night a long and tiresome meeting culminated in disagreement with every proposal I had made. Testosterone was in the air, and I only hope that these people do not, in their hubris, prevent the receipt of a large sum of money which we very much need by pushing for more. I was very cross when I arrived home last night, but slightly calmed down by a phone call from Romy in Spain. I often think we do our jobs quite well, despite, rather than because of any help from trustees, who only have to reap the praise given to our organisation. Oh well, retirement looms thank goodness, but I nearly walked last night. No wonder I want to move to Devon to get away from these people. I think my successor should be someone who can keep them in order, which I have failed to do. When I ran the CHC in Hammersmith for ten years, over 20 years ago, the members were very civilised by comparison.

Dorothy thinks Devon is a very silly idea, but since Dorothy would then not have to pay my mortgage one would think Dorothy would welcome it. Sitting in a thatched cottage overlooking the Exe estuary, doing a bit of painting seems idyllic compared with the dreariness of my current existence. I found quite a few of these pretty cottages online for around £210,000. Oh well. I may have to settle for summer boat trips on the bloody Thames.

Minutes to be concocted this morning, in which I shall gloss over the events of last night. I sometimes wish I were a football hooligan or preferably a gangster so my problems could be sorted in short order. Unfortunately I do not have any unlicensed weapons on the premises. Temptation is so strong. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Tuesday Evening

Blimey, posted something on Twitter which then disappeared. Anyway, I thought of the link between the five men recently arrested and the Wikileak thing, and it appears that others have also been making this link. At least they are on the lookout for nuclear bombers etc.

Romy has had some storms and hail in sunny Spain overnight, but things are now improving. No word from Julian or Dorothy, so hope they are OK.

Evening meeting tomorrow, and the office photocopier refused to work, so hope it will be working tomorrow or I shall have no papers for the meeting unless I find a machine outside. Pain in the arse. Oh well.

Nibby invited me to stay oop North but it would be when I am taking the punters to the Welsh borders so that is out. We may get the chance to meet up briefly beforehand. I do hope so because Nibby is keen to go to Devon for a short break. We shall see. If only I could sell up easily I am still tempted by the cottage for sale in Starcross. I know it is just a silly dream, but so tempting. It may not make financial sense to sell up here though. I have seen a few flats locally which would enable me to be mortgage free. At least I could lose the nasty neighbour.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Feeling Better but Nuclear Uncertainty

Feeling better today thanks.

Reading The Week last night, on page 9 I saw an article about the Wikileaks US documents which apparently reveal that a senior al-Qa'eda commander has claimed that a nuclear bomb has been hidden 'somewhere in Europe' , ready to be detonated if Osama bin Laden was ever caught or killed. Bin Laden has been killed but I have not seen any comment about this leak subsequently. Dear me.

Back to work this morning. Must pay tax, try to tidy up receipts because the auditors are in next week, and buy some food for the meeting tomorrow night.

Kookie has been obligingly cute for the past day or two. Madeleine is still rather wary of him, and Sharon would be very keen to have him as a ratter. Though he is endearing himself to me for the time being.

Bank Holiday Monday

I keep seeing rubber gloves on the pavement.

Almost recovered from my adverse event.

Madeleine paid me a visit yesterday. It was lovely and sunny and we drank a small glass of pink cava in the garden, eating strawberries and blueberries provided by Madeleine. Conversation did keep straying to food subjects, which it would have been better to avoid, since we are both 'eating healthily' apart from my stray into river cobbler, which has definitely taught me a lesson. We discussed Easter, Devon visit, clothes etc. A very pleasant afternoon.

Later, Dorothy texted to say they were just going out to eat. This text came when I had just gone to bed for an early night.

I am rather dreading the financial consequences of retirement, with added insecurity about my mortgage payments. If selling property was easy, I should probably sell up and either move into a one bedroom place locally, or make the final move to Devon, probably. But the flat up the road is still on the market, so I suspect things are still difficult.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Beware River Cobbler Fish

Purchased two cheapo packs of this from Tesco: 1 smoked and 1 fresh. Put one in the freezer and used the smoked one to make some chowder which was excellent.

However, after my bout of extreme illness last night, I Googled this fish with most alarming results. Seems that masses of people have become ill after eating it, so I shall chuck the remaining pack away. It is farmed in the Mekong delta, in Vietnam. Nibby tells me that conditions in the far East are absolutely disgusting, to the extent that she never purchases anything from there. Anyway the Google thing was a total offputter. I am surprised that Tesco stocks this muck, though I suppose I should not be, since it is in their 'basic' range and they have probably worked out that they would receive fewer and less effective complaints from the proles purchasing this stuff.

Be warned.