Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday Rain Again

What a vile day. There was a little sunshine for a while later in the afternoon, but generally heavy rain and occasional flooding everywhere. Despite this I set out for Ev for a late Turkish lunch. I met lots of really interesting people and took a couple of numbers and emails. There was a young software developer from Barcelona who was really nice, and a couple of older guys who were obviously very much used to these events, and were quite funny. I had a long chat with Diane from Richmond, who was good fun, but three of us decided to leave early because of the weather. When I got outside it was still lightish, but with a dark stormy sky. I looked up, and the sun was shining on the Shard, so I took a snap. It really did look quite impressive in the distance against a stormy sky.

Saturday Evening

Watched the Voice and fell asleep during Britain's Got Talent and woke up to see a bit of Benidorm before giving up on the telly. Finished 'Candide', which was very funny and which, for some reason, I had never read before, and now reading Letters on England, where Voltaire spent a few years. The outsider idea is becoming more concrete, after I did an appalling scribble last night (below). The strange dangling bits are droplets from my chandelier lamp. The particularly drunken (and out of all proportion) jug was achieved by the angle I was working at, not by the ingestion of psychedelic substances, unfortunately. Remind me to try drawing under the influence of absinthe. An interesting way of getting further down the bottle of powerful stuff in my drinks cupboard. We shall see...


I purchased a rather pretty belt in the sale at Peacocks for £3. Coffee at Mamuska. I noticed that they have a large Polish breakfast menu, and the lunch menu has increased in size, mains all only a fiver. Encouraged by this I decided to venture the special, which was a dish of huge dumplings filled with minced pork, served with a healthy carrot and leek salad. They also do a large plate of salad with either grilled chicken, mackerel or cheese. I may try this next time as the healthy option. Later I had coffee with Dorothy at Borough Market. I discussed the possibility of having an exhibition, and Dorothy thought that since I had never bothered to sell work or exhibit, and since my stuff is so very varied, that the 'Outsider' would be a good option. I had always thought that you had to be untrained or released from Barlinnie to merit this title, but he is right in a way. I have never been part of the mainstream, and this would be quite a departure for me. We bumped into Julian, the rain became appalling, Borough High Street was closed going towards the Elephant, so they kindly accompanied me to the tube before departing. Tomorrow I am due to have a Turkish lunch at Ev.

Bromley by Train

I was drinking a coffee in the Elephant & Castle, thinking about the vile rainy weather, when I had a sudden impulse to try a train journey. Bus pass in hand, I clambered onto a train which took around half an hour to arrive at Bromley South. By a miracle, the rain had stopped here, so I alighted and strolled up to the shops. Bromley is not a deeply inspiring place on first inspection. However I found the pensioners' friend, the charity shop, to be much in evidence. I found five in the main high street. There was a square filled with little stalls at the top of the street and masses of shops, as well as two malls. I chose the larger mall called Glades, and wandered around for a bit, window-shopping until I found the cafe in M & S, where I had a very good Irish stew soup with two little rolls and Parmesan cheese ad lib for only £3.50. Bromley is far less crowded than Oxford Street, so well worth a visit for the main shops: Hennes, TK Maxx, Laura Ashley, Marks, etc. I may go back when the rain stops again, which may take some time.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Rosabella Gregory concert

I wrote about this briefly before but did not mention that I had a fellow feeling when Rosabella explained her attachment to Barcelona before singing the song so titled. Her father had always wanted to go to Barcelona but never had the chance before he died. I was living in Barcelona in 2003, and my mother had planned to come over and visit but became too ill, and also died without coming over. Even before this, I was missing my friends and family, and did a small sketchbook project with postcards of all the famous sights in Barcelona with images of my friends and family, some alive, some dead, collaged in the foregrounds of them - I called the project 'Wish you were here'.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Title for Exhibition

I was toying with the idea of having an exhibition of my sorry sketches but have been assured by Nibby that I must pester the press with emails for months, do some more actual painting, organise press releases, muck about with images to pester said press with, have hundreds of postcards printed with several images etc etc. All this in addition to attempting to hire a gallery - no small feat since I keep sending messages and never get replies from people. Then actually inviting people to the opening, trying to fix some prices, deciding whether to invite friends to exhibit with me, keeping a gallery book saying what I have done, keeping notes of what I need to do, then organising an opening, paying for lots of booze etc and then invigilating the whole thing for a week. Not sure I am up to this task. My current dilemma is what to call the exhibition. Here are some ideas, mainly a bit tragic: The Old Bat Paints Again; Sue's Still At It; The Old Lady of - Street and Friends; Showing Off; Granny Harding and Friends; Sue's Last Stand; Can't Paint Will Paint; Sue's Acrylic Allsorts; etc. etc. All wordy contributions gratefully received. Anyway I am trying to breach the awkward gap between totally pretentious and tragically frivolous - so far I am veering fast towards the second, I suspect. Trying to find a catchy caption is harder than I thought which is why I have not had a wonderful career as an advertising copywriter, dammit.

Foul Weather

Met Romy, who kindly gave me lunch at the Tapas place. Great fun and we had a long chat about all our news. I was just walking to the bus stop in Borough High Street when I heard a very loud bang, like a bomb or loud gunshot. Everyone looked around but we could not see anything. I saw no reports about this, but tweeted and posted to the SE1 forum just in case anyone knows what it was. I have been toying with the idea of going back to Westerham again, but the weather has precluded this so far. I am also somewhat boracic at the moment, too, and charity shops might prove too much of a temptation. We shall see. Chatted with Nibby, who tells me that she had a recipe from me (which I have forgotten) and she calls it 'fake Gentleman's Relish'. Here it is: blend together a handful of capers, two handsful of black olives, three cloves of garlic peeled, some pepper, a small tin of tuna in olive oil, undrained, and a tin of anchovies, also undrained. You can add some lemon zest and a little juice, and a handful of parsley. Whizz until the consistency of a thick jam, and put in a jam jar in the fridge. It will keep for a bit, and is very good to replace sweets in a diet. Spread on crispbreads, use as a dip for crudites, and spread both sides of a cheese toastie. Also very good with pasta. Very good. If I say so myself.

Monday, 23 April 2012


Often wondered what I would do if my scalp psoriasis became much worse. I experimented by putting on a rather nasty little black velvet turban and winding around some crinkle-cut cotton Gudrun long scarves. The result to me looks a bit like a cross between Molly Parkin's turbans and Camilla Batmangelidjh. Funnily enough, it seems to stay in place quite well, so if things get desperate you may be horrified by the above vision in a street near you. I shall endeavour to match things up.

Anyway, yesterday Madeleine bought me lunch at the Laughing Gravy after we had wandered around the food stalls behind the Festival Hall. I noticed Andrew Logan looking rather fetching in yellow and green among the diners at the Festival Hall. Later we had coffee chez moi and chatted for some time.

Pissing with rain again today so have been wasting my time 'dressing up', above. Also met David for coffee at the E & C and chatted for ages before a curry at the Lye Torng - Penang, this time.

Made a pink pudding. This time I had taken the precaution of refrigerating a can of low fat evaporated milk. I poured half out and whipped it up ferociously. I then boiled the kettle and made up half a pint of jelly (with a pint's worth of crystals), added a handful of frozen berries, stirred and poured immediately into the frothy milk and stirred again before refrigerating. Attacked it after a few hours and it has come out in three layers - a bottom layer of deep pink with fruit in it, a second layer of pink jelly, and a third creamy pink layer of foamy fluff. Could not wait to ring Nibby and tell her. This will look excellent poured into glasses and served with a raspberry and some icing sugar on top. We shall see. The interesting thing to the dieter is that the total number of calories is around 150 for three to four servings, which isn't bad, possibly even less if made in small glass pots or wine glasses.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Saturday Evening Post

There were two films - one called 'Gizmo' about a homeless man in Stoke Newington, and Guerrero about street children in South America. Both very interesting. I met Catharine and Dean again and we had a drink and a chat afterwards at the Lye Torng.

Yesterday I went to the Festival Hall for the free lunchtime concert with Rosabella Gregory and band. There were four or five artists and illustrators, and we did some sketches. We went upstairs for a chat afterwards. I met some new people including Jenny Linn-Cole who has done an MA in animation and made short films, and David Cooper who has also done animation courses.

Jenny and I popped around to the Indian food stalls outside and had snacks before she set off home on her bike.

Not sure whether Alice is turning up for a chat tonight, but had a successful shopping trip to Morrisons. They have some cheese slices with only 50 calories each, and reduced Gu puds down to £1.70 a pair - the glass dishes are very handy, so bargain!

Cuppa with Dorothy at Borough Market. Dorothy has managed to pay some Spanish bills online and promises to show me how to do this, then , on the way back, surprisingly bumped into Roman with his partner. I had not seen Roman for years, but he looked just the same.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

More Stuff

Barcelona is a disaster. I can't go and pay the bills as I have lent all my money so unless I become rich soon will have to abandon all hope of this. I thought Julian was arriving with my Spanish bills today but she left them while I was out yesterday. Since the last time all this happened I could not get any sense out of my Spanish bank or the electric or water companies in Spain I will obviously have to spend a fortune going out there and dealing with it, which means flights and hotels and transport there, quite apart from the vast sums no doubt owing. Seemingly only bribes have been paid not to cut off the services, rather than paying the actual bills which is not very satisfactory. I wish the Spanish could latch on to the idea of direct debits. They seem to work for other bills in Spain, I hope, unless none of these have been collected either. We shall see eventually.

Going to the Bona Vacantia office tomorrow morning to pick up the letters re my poor old ex before I can start dealing with all the probate stuff.

Had coffee with an ex punter yesterday which was very pleasant, then off to the Physio at St. Thomas who did yet another assessment but I decided to put off a series of appointments for treatment in case I have to go to Barcelona if my boat comes in.

Last night braved the weather to go to the NFT and see La Grande Illusion for a fiver, which was very good and one of the Renoir films I had not previously seen. It had been remastered I think and the quality was very good indeed.

Due to go to LCP over the road tonight to see a film about homeless children in South America which should be interesting.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

And here's the Smith

A kite

Somerset House Again

Went to an exhibition of art which will later be auctioned at Christies to raise money for homeless people. A small show, with an interesting piece by Anthony Gormley, and one by Bob & Roberta Smith.

Also the field of flowers I had seen being installed with Nibby a while ago is now finished and in place.

Had a cup of tea afterwards and chatted with a few people.

Strangely, while I was outside in the courtyard, a strange young woman came up to me and said I looked 'really cool' and wanted to know where I had purchased my clothes! I was dressed mainly in Gudrun, with red Specsavers specs and a necklace in red and turquoise kindly sent to me for Christmas from my friend Catriona. I suppose things kind of went together in a red and greeny kind of way. After this I felt rather self-conscious though.

Spoke briefly to Dorothy who was busy.

Tomorrow, yet another exhibition, this time at Waterloo Action Centre, and apparently I have put myself down for a film event about homeless children in South America which is showing over the road next Wednesday. Dear me.

Raspberry and Frangipane Tarts

Friday 13th

It really was. Opening my bank statement I noticed a couple of payments I did not recognise, so rang the fraud department of my bank. They checked on these and then another unauthorized payment which had been made. The troubles caused by using a card! Anyway they have cancelled this now thank goodness and will send me a new one. Don't know if I lose the money which was taken, but hope not on a state pension.

I then caught the Kookster and had to take him to the vet for his annual checkup. He was most distressed by a large young dog in there and we had to put a towel over his carrying case to calm him down. Fortunately the dog went away eventually. The vet says Sir K's weight is steady and he is fine, so just a jab and a worming tablet. I shall check him for fleas and send off for some stuff if he becomes a fleabag, though he is fine at the moment.

Today I am due to visit a Crisis art exhibition in aid of homeless people. Apparently people like Tracy Emin have contributed some pieces which should raise some dosh. The artwork will be auctioned by Christies after the exhibition has finished.

Tomorrow I shall pop in to Waterloo Action Centre to see the exhibition there.

Nibby's phone 'out of order' this morning. At least the sun is shining.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Getting About a Bit

Went to Westerham, Kent on WAC's 'happy bus pass' outing on Wednesday - this was a sudden impulse since rain was forecast, but in the event Westerham was fine. A bit of a trek - train from Waterloo East to Hayes (not a bad destination for charity and clothing agency shops) then a bus straight to the village green in Westerham. Known to be the residence of General Wolfe (statue on the green) and Winston Churchill. Very pretty little church, St Mary's with lovely views from the churchyard. I chatted with someone from the group and we had a snacky lunch in a small cafe. Thus fuelled we proceeded, not to appreciate the many beauties of this village, but to raid the two charity shops. I found a skirt and my companion, though finding nothing to her taste, purchased a rather cute modern stainless steel teapot from a smart shop nearby. It was double-walled to keep the heat in and had a reservoir for the tea and was a batchelor, two-cup size. We then turned back to Hayes and both found small things in the three charity shops there, before my final purchase in the dress agency by the station of a pair of very smart Geox shoes, normally far beyond my purse. A very satisfactory day. Also shows how far you can get on a bus pass and still have time to get around a bit - the journey was about an hour and a half each way altogether.

Yesterday I went to the matinee of She Stoops to Conquer at the Olivier. Julia (the leader of the Meetup) and I agreed that the actress playing the wife, Mrs Hardcastle, was far too shrill and over the top, even for a shrill and over the top part this did jar a bit, but the rest of the cast and production were very good indeed. Nevertheless I almost drifted off a couple of times, I suspect due to the warmth, darkness and my old age.

Kook is due to go to the vet today for his annual jab and examination. Always a bit of an ordeal to try and get him in a basket and cab him there and back.

Apparently there is some kind of art exhibition at the Waterloo Action Centre. Don't know whether it is just oldies or what, but I shall put in a brief appearance on Sunday. Seems one can hire the place for a week for £500. Maybe I should chat with some friends about the possibility of hiring, given the good location near the Old Vic and Waterloo Station. The main deterrent to me is having to deal with all the publicity though a lot could be done by email no doubt, rather than paper invitations. We shall see.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Sunday

Very quiet and chatted with Nibby in the morning. Pottered around all day doing washing and so on. Really dull, drizzly and generally boring weather.

Later Dorothy and Julian appeared for dinner, clutching Easter bunnies. We enjoyed a roast chicken with roasted vegetables and broccoli and Nibby's recipe stuffing, followed by wonderful cakes from Yauatcha, above.

Seems that Dorothy's skiing, though involving accidents on both days - the first to the elbow and a nasty wrench to the leg on the second day, and also really bad sunburn - was a success in that Dorothy has decided that skiing is fun and wants to go again.

Julian was rather tired after some overexertion the night before, but managed to enjoy dinner and directed a mini Easter egg hunt with Dorothy doing the egg finding.

Went to bed tired and happy to have seen them again.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


sketchbook pages

No Real News

Quiet day and evening, lightened up a bit by Mr Zip on a talent show with a rap about a lost keys and mobile. Restores one's faith etc. Well it made me laugh anyway. Twitter is full of it. I am sure it will be a novelty hit.

Dull again today but at least the garden is getting wet. Dorothy and Julian due for dinner tonight, so I hope Dorothy's illness has improved enough. Will roast a chicken. Nibby showed me how to make a very good stuffing by dismantling good quality pork and apple sausages and mixing with chopped fried onions, garlic and binding with an egg. To cook separately but putting a lemon inside the chicken. I shall do roasted mixed vegetables and maybe some broccoli. We shall see. Cava to drink I think, but there is some red wine as well. Have not even thought about a pudding. Maybe choccie thingies with coffee after dinner. Unless I suddenly become inspired. Unlikely.

Kook is getting back into the bad habit of waking me very early despite the clock changes. 6am today. He was soaking wet, and his fur was very cold, too. A rude awakening. Happy Easter from the Kookster!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Quite Funny

Bit of a restless night about my telephone. However I rang the Magicbox helpline and explained my plight. 'Oh dear' said the helper ' the handbook is locked in the office until Monday', Fortunately he then remembered that one of the keys had a padlock symbol printed on it and that if you pressed it down continually, the phone would unlock. The star key was the one, and it worked much to our relief!

Very dull outside today, but have done a pile of washing, unloaded the dishwasher, and may venture forth to the Elephant & Castle to purchase a paper.

Just discovered that the cheap yellow cotton trousers I purchased for £16 from Peacocks will go very well with my navy, yellow and white umbrella, but also a scarf in those colours. Useful. I now need a green pair, but have not seen any so far. Will keep looking. However financial shortages have become very apparent so I must stop this profligate spending, unsuitable to a State pensioner.

Wasted 40p yesterday on the local rag. The local 'Who's (stabbed) Who'. Dear me. But still ploughing through the rest of de Maupassant. Had not realised his life was so tragic. Daudet and Flaubert next I suspect, then maybe back to the Russians. We shall see. Poor Dorothy has some kind of cold or flu. Remind me to avoid going abroad and picking up foreign bugs.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Garden iPad.

Well. Thought I had published a picture but it didn't work. Worse today, I had just taken my Magicbox cordless phone to put it back and found the keys to be locked. I spent an hour searching for the manual but could not find it and could not find any information online about how to reinstate it. Have been looking through Amazon to try and find an old fashioned ordinary phone without all the electronics but with a last number redial without success so far. So just ring me on my mobile please as I now (again) am not able to use my land line as my sodding phone doesn't work.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Pencil back

I don't know how it has happened, but the pencil has now reappeared, all on its own.

Strangely, i have managed to do the digital change thingy on my TV. Mind you I had to copy the instructions down sent by the changeover people. Then I somehow failed to understand something so rang the Samsung help people, who were actually very helpful. They have given me a reference number and instructions to ring them again on 18th, which is the second, and hopefully final, part of the changeover.

Tried to book a Meetup involving a talk on surrealism and wines of Barcelona at some tapas bar called Barcelona in the city. However, when I tried they confounded me by asking for all kinds of passwords, so gave up on this. I have now changed some of my passwords so many times that I can't remember them, and can't remember which ones I have changed. Hopeless.

The weather is now much worse, unfortunately. On the brighter side I purchased the new Koh-i-Noor solid inks in a palette of 20 and these arrived yesterday. They are absolutely brilliant colours full of pigment. They only cost £4.30 but the postage is nearly as much again. I must try and persuade my local art shop to stock them. I have told Nibby about them because they would be perfect for her as she is such a good painter.


These have finally arrived and one needs to go to Macclesfield when this can be arranged. I shall experiment with this one, pictured, now awaiting christening in my kitchen. I shall report back when I have tried it. I am so excited about it already. It really looks quite a crazy thing. As did I when I passed the mirror this morning wearing some bright red lipstick. Dear me.

And here's my favourite chair, the sides of which have been ruined by the Kookster's constant stropping, but the cushion is very pretty.

Monday, 2 April 2012


is more obliging than Firefox, though the pencil is still missing. I give up.

Finally Lost It

Trying to get the pencil thingy back I had to reset my password with google. This has somehow got rid of my gmail account on Firefox though I can get emails on Safari. It is also stopping me posting to my blog from Firefox too. Not even sure whether this will get through either. We shall see. Computers are really beyond me and I keep forgetting all these new passwords I have to make up. Just ring me and don't bother sending me mails any more. I may not get them!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

More Fish Therapy and Chocolate Festival

After another half hour of relaxing fishy therapy at Elephant & Castle's First Foot I stalked along to the Festival Hall for the chocolate festival which was fun, but rather small and crowded. I met some interested people, and we strolled along to the Ev bar later for drinks.

A nice relaxing Sunday.

Sketching at the Hunterian

Yesterday was a bit colder, but after a coffee and a chat with a few local denizens at the Elephant, I set forth for the Royal College of Surgeons for the Hunterian Museum. Plenty of artists arrived and we stationed ourselves about the place to draw. It really is a good place to draw, and they provide folding stools which is helpful. I had only done a couple of sketches, including the foetus above, when I was diverted by the promise of a lecture by a retired heart surgeon, Mr Jeffreys. This was excellent and put paid to any further efforts. We all met up in a very good pub called the Cittie of York in High Holborn. This is a very old building, and an excellent place for a drink. I toyed with the idea of a Thai meal in the evening, but decided I was a bit knackered so subsided in front of the telly instead. Now reading all of Guy de Maupassant's short stories, again. Dorothy came back with a few bruises from the skiing experience in Colorado. I hope we will meet soon.