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?


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

Sunday 16 October

Met Dorothy for a coffee at Pain - good to see Dorothy again. Later, Kate popped in for a drink and a chat, which was super as I haven't seen her for ages. Our fellow artist is now very preoccupied with a new boyfriend so we aren't expecting much contact for the foreseeable future. Such is life.

Here's a sketch of Kook sleeping - he looks a bit dead really. I did one of him asleep stretched out, too.

Another I shall include is a snap of a strange teeshirt at Elephant & Castle, with a masked youth on the front and the caption 'Thug Life'.

Friday, 14 October 2011


From drawing has marked the past couple of weeks. I shall try and get back into doing my journals and so on. Hanging out with young couples and very small children just makes me feel very ancient and sidelined, which is a new and unwelcome experience. It is so long ago since I had a child that I am relieved that this part of my life is over, though I enjoyed it at the time. I am set in my ways and no longer keen on the unfamiliar. This is why I am still in London, despite hankerings to move to the country. My Barcelona purchase was a mistake probably: at the time I did not anticipate the future financial crises and drop in the property market.

Above is a snap of Nibby's elderly Italian Greyhound (which may be crossed with a whippet).

The new report out on neglect of elderly people in hospital just confirms what I have observed over the past twenty years or so, with general attitudes towards the old. Probably brought on by old people like me who aren't that keen on the young!

Had a chat with Victorine last night. Apparently the opening I missed on Tuesday night was really good if a bit crowded. It was at the Chris Beetles Gallery, and Victorine dined later at her favourite little Italian place in Soho. She suggested that when I retire we could do some travel pass outings and discover new parts of London. I have to say that I rather fancy a shoportunity at the new Westfields thingy at Stratford, so may think about a trip there from Southwark. Vic has rediscovered Portobello Road, and Nibs and I found quite a few good East London places recently. We shall see.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Progress at Work

Fell off the train into the office for an interview for my replacement at work.

All went well, and we have now appointed an excellent successor, who will no doubt do much better than I did, and a relief to have that sorted out. I am now completely knackered and will lounge about trying to recover for a day or two.

A rather irritating thing is that I was invited to the Peter Brooks cartoon book launch this evening, which I had to miss. Retirement beckons.

Paper Flowers

Found this book in the National Gallery bookshop. I mentioned this a few blogs ago so here it is.

Boy Meets Dog

Back in London Again

Macclesfield, what can I say? A compact town with branches of most useful shops, a good little covered market and plenty of small boutiquey shops. Property very cheap compared with London prices: small cottages for under £100,000, larger two bedroom Victorian houses with original features for £160k and four or five bedroom properties around £250 - £300k. Climate a few degrees colder than London. Surrounded by what looks like very attractive countryside hills (didn't get to investigate) and seemingly a couple of country houses nearby worth a visit. Close to Manchester and the Wirral. Easy from London, less than a couple of hours from Euston and cheap by Virgin trains.

Apparently there is a large influx of London people in the area since the BBC is moving oop North, and quite a few artists and creative types. A large number of young families. Treacle Market once a month. Saffron, Nib's daughter, is part of this younger creative tide with a stall at the Treacle Market and a maker of interesting stuff for young families to buy. She makes purses and bags and refurbishes old furniture to very creative effect. Her label is 'Freddy & Violet'. I also met Steve's very nice parents, Peter and Val, who have moved to a nearby village in their their retirement.

Both Nibby and Saffron have very good, solid houses with lots of original features and plenty of space. They also both have a pair each of some rather rat-like dogs called Italian greyhounds, whose saving grace is their small size and rarity. I was relieved to see that Saffron has also had the sense to own a black cat, which is somewhat smaller than my evil beast, Kook.

Nibby waited on me hand and foot which was fun for me, home made toast and wonderful marmalade and jam, also home made for breakfast. We visited Arighi Bianchi (Google it) and had an excellent lunch there, and very good coffee and cakes in a local gallery. Nibby cooked Sunday lunch at Saffron and Steve's house, and a friend Rich was there with his two rather cute children. I met Freddy and Violet, Saffron and Steve's children, and my great niece and nephew, for the first time, Freddy as cute as a button, and Violet, Nibby's mini-soulmate, full of character and fun. We had tea at Amelia's on Monday. Amelia and Rich have just bought really quite a large house in the town. I was very impressed by the kitchen diner downstairs. It is 18th century, with several storeys, and very impressive.

It was bloody cold up there though. I suspect if I lived there I would want the heating on full blast, day and night. Of course the weather changed yesterday for my return to London and is now much warmer.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Nibby's Last Day in London - Macclesfield Ahoy!

We set off tomorrow morning for Macclesfield so things will be quiet for the next few days.

After purchasing a paper, we set off on a bus and ended up wandering around Spitalfields Market, admiring shoes, clothes and other stuff. We had an excellent luncheon at St. John Food and Wine: Nibby had chicken with broccoli and mushrooms, and I had cold game with beetroot and watercress and horseradish dressing. We also had puds, Nibby with treacle pudding and creamy custard, and I had Queen of Puddings, not something you see around much. All delicious and back home for a postprandial siesta.

The weather is becoming gloomier and a little chillier. Seems it is much colder in Macclesfield so must prepare for the sudden winter.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Vertical Planting

This is rather good, outside the National Gallery by Trafalgar Square, now pedestrianised.


First we visited the Crypt over the road, where I perversely bought one of those stained glass looking roundels which I have never liked, simply because they are not nearly large enough. It is an angel, and I was probably thinking of Christmas decorations.

Anyway, we had lunch at the Picture cafe at the NPG upstairs. Here's a view from the window. Sal went to the Piers Lane and Patricia Routledge event at the Sainsbury Wing and I spent money in the shop, buying some wrapping paper with a map of central London including most if not all of Southwark which will be handy for the office. I also bought a daft flower pop up book. The idea is that instead of buying flowers for your table, you open the book which displays an arrangement of paper flowers. American of course. I thought it was fun.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Doing Stuff on Monday

Today we went up to South Bank and sat at Pain Quotidien. We sketched a bit and had lunch. Bear rang to say he was arriving at two thirty with Anne-Marie. Nibby and I bought some brownies from Konditor and Cook and made this mad cake surrounded by berries and topped with a daft thing which whirls around when you light it and plays faintly, which was quite amusing. After they left we attacked the garden with unseemly vigour, and it now looks uncharacteristically smart.

Nibby has given me some stuff for the psoriasis on my fingernails. It is a powerful smelling black ointment normally used for horses hooves. I shall try it and report back in due course. Hmmm....

nibby sketching at the Art Cafe

Nibby Drew me

Here's me drawn by Nibby wearing my rather exotic new Gudrun outfit and sitting at my table with the blue and white fish cloth.

Nibby's pencil

Quiet Sunday

The artist at work in my garden

Nibby Arrives

For some reason, this donkey was put by the bins today.

Nibby arrived late lunchtime, preceded by Bear and Ollie. We had tea and a chat before Bear had to take Ollie home.

Nibby and I had a good day and an early night.

More Friday

Nibby due tomorrow