Friday, 31 August 2012


- as they say in the Caribbean. Assaulted with this view as I walked past the LCC so took my revenge by snapping and posting on Facebook etc. Funny comments from my friends. Also sketched at lunchtime in Mamuska. In the evening I sketched from an old snap featuring my friend Jon in drag at a party a while ago. The guys having an animated discussion fascinated me - amazing faces full of character, and I loved the earring on the rather butch guy on the right. Foul weather, but may force myself to go to Twickenham to Strawberry Hill on Sunday.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Pigout Central

Dear me. This morning I had toast and marmalade with a banana followed by a large coffee. Lunch was a veggie casserole with salads followed by a huge slice of walnut, honey and coffee cake. Went on to have coffee ice cream and will have a lot of soup for dinner (needs to be finished doncherknow) with a lot of garlic bread (taken out of freezer so must be used up). Dear me, really must starve tomorrow. Went to a buddhist centre in Renfrew Street, off Kennington Lane, for lunch. It has a really pretty little courtyard which I was almost, but not quite, tempted to draw. Too much eating I think. Creativity at an all time low today. Tomorrow is a new day. I hope.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Knackered Sunday

Every pot and container outside was full of water in the morning after Saturday's storm. I transferred it all to a large bucket with which I can top up the fishpond, which was also a bit overfilled with water. The blackberries are now fewer but have been used for lots of puddings with apples and were used to make my experimental blackberry gin. I did not get any work done on Sunday, and am meeting Julian today, but hope to progress further soon. No weight loss, stayed the same, but will try harder this week. Today is my 500 calorie day. I did rather ruin Saturday with a large green curry to celebrate Ken's birthday. In Mamuska today they tweeted that they were offering free pierogi to the first four customers who came in and said 'Mamuska Tweets' so a pity it is my diet day. Oh well. Though no more drawings I have been working on a couple of unsatisfactory prints, with colour and ink, and at least one looks to me better than the original though being a 'mechanical print' each is not worth tuppence on its own, but with my added transformation, of course is now priceless and by the time I have progressed this method, discovered by accident, no one will be able to afford them. We shall see. Kook seems to be back to normal now, though he ate less yesterday. Probably disturbed by the storm or eating mice. Made a dressing today involving a tin of anchovies in olive oil, a small tin of stoneless olives, some balsamic vinegar, a little low fat mayo and a couple of tablespoons of plain yoghurt all whizzed up in the Magimix. I thought a little would go a long way in jazzing up an Iceberg lettuce, pasta or anything else for that matter. Now in a jam jar in the fridge. Looks revolting but tastes OK. Problem is I keep forgetting to buy garlic. Bloody Tesco has been without packets of low calorie soup for nearly two weeks now which is very annoying. Will try Sainsbury's in Borough where they are better value anyway. Dorothy back from foreign parts but have not clapped eyes on the lederhosen yet. We shall see. Nils' friend Sonia has now departed for Manchester, and Nils is out visiting. Pity about the crap weather, but normal for a bank holiday. I am really keen to get on with some work but this always seems to involve making purchases of food or drink. Also, I must find some new places. The Duke of York was good the other day. May try EAT at south bank again where I sketched the couple outside. BTW the saying is 'mama tweets' at Mamuska. They may still have two pierogi prizes at least they did 45 minutes ago. Starving....

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Kook Showing Disturbed Behaviour

Went drawing yesterday at south bank, and came back amid the rain and storm to discover that Kook had thoughtfully vomited all over my quilt. After washing this, I went out to Ken's birthday meal in the evening after waiting for the very heavy stormy weather to subside a bit. Arrived home pretty early but rather tired so went to bed. Around 5.20am Kooky starting rushing around the house wailing, which I foolishly ignored. Later there was an awful smell, so I got up to discover he had crapped on an IKEA bag in the living room. Tested his catflap which was working so I can only assume that his behaviour was caused by my failure to attend to his earlier demands. Dear me. Maybe he doesn't like having a lodger. I may well have to reinstate the poo tray which I had been hoping to avoid. Anyway I am glad to have come back early from the south bank washout. Apparently the others stayed and walked a lot and got very wet. I did a short sketch of a couple before drawing some sketchers from the top of the National Theatre which I thinks shows the windy weather.
Nils and her friend who had come down from Manchester went to the Toulouse Lautrec to listen to the jazz singer.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Thor's Day

Had my usual coffee outside Mamuska, then set off to find Reunion in Union Street. I have to say that despite the welcoming sign outside and the stated opening hours, the place was firmly padlocked. Some people outside said it was an architectural student project, so basically it was a building site. On the way back home I strolled into the Duke of York and had a salad. I decided to draw the view out of the window where the railway bridge crosses over, which was quite difficult, but had a go at it. Three hours later I set off home. Had a quiet evening banging screws into the backs of frames, so will need to purchase some more tomorrow. Will also get prints of some A3 images and some of A4 to make cards. I have been invited to do more than one drawing of a cafe for which I will hopefully be paid, thanks to Nils. I may go over and take a look at it later and decide on angles, etc and may even make a start. We shall see. Drawing at South Bank tomorrow but it promises to rain unfortunately. Anyway here's my finished version of the Duke of York:

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Busy Monday and Knackered Tuesday

Romy very kindly drove me to Lakeside IKEA. After a quick lunch we successfully found the frames and I purchased masses of A3 and A4 frames, plus some wonderful hatboxes which were half price and will be useful for storing things. I also found some mattress covers for only £4, which was excellent. Fortunately Nils handed me some cash in the evening, so I darted into Lloyds today to try and get some money in before my overdraft registered. Such is life. Met David for coffee today and spent time framing drawings. I have decided I probably shan't exhibit my paintings. I have far too much stuff so I shall carry on drawing and put what I think is the best in the exhibition. If I have far too much I may just exhibit my 'local' and other London drawings. I can always have another with drawings of my house and garden and immediate surroundings. We shall see. Romy rang me today to suggest a drawing place and possible place for coffee with David in Union Street. Seems there is a new space which they are doing up called Reunion. Must investigate.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Dramatic Day at Gaywood Street

But the morning passed uneventfully, with coffee and drawing the table tennis players upstairs at the shopping centre. I had a sudden invitation to draw for the day at South Bank but turned this down because an old aquaintance was due at 3pm to have a natter and possibly purchase a painting. Such a hot day. Anyway, Nils was up and about so I introduced them and we had a chat about the relative merits of various kinds of coffee, after which Nils made a cup of Turkish coffee for Ellie. We sat about in the heat for a bit, then looked through my work and Ellie selected my Combe Martin painting. However at this point she suddenly became ill, pale and sweating and feeling faint but her face was very red and she felt her pulse was racing. Things became worse rather than better so an ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital. Nils and I were rather concerned, but apparently all is well and Ellie wants to meet up and for lunch some time and collect and pay for the painting. Dear me. Nils reported that all the front doors on the opposite side of the street were opened with all the neighbours having a good stare at the ambulance, so they must have all been looking out waiting for something to happen! Today was rather quieter, Madeleine came over and we drove to Butler's Wharf and hung out in the hot sun, but even this became rather dramatic with a heavy downpour at one point.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Yesterday's efforts

Well, here they are:


Went to Brixton and had time for a long chat with several fellow artists who were very helpful about my printing problems etc. Quite a productive evening. I also met someone who is holding some kind of music and arts event over a weekend in Brixton in September and asked if I would do some sketching at this event. We shall see. Got back really quite late so rather knackered. Ate for England and not too sure about this feast and famine diet. No doubt Sunday will reveal the awful results and will determine whether I continue. Today was my low calorie day and was quite manageable, particularly if I eat more really early in the day. Met David who checked my recent artistic effort which I have since improved and will post a shot when I have had time to take a snap. Sat in the garden and I don't quite know what happened as I was drawn to sketching a rather unfortunate nearly dead rose thing attached with bright blue wire to a plastic green plant support. This looked like crap in real life and even crapper when I finished my desultory effort. Dear me. I have always been attracted to ugly unsightly things: my last husband for example. A bit tragic but there you go. 'Must try harder' as all my school reports once said. Dorothy in Germany for a week. It has been boiling hot again and will apparently be so again tomorrow which is great, so we will then have had at least a week of summer this year.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Prisoner Ben Free at last

Was in tears just now to hear via Facebook that Ben has finally been released after serving around 32 years (for what nowadays would have been considered manslaughter) when he was a child. He has waited all these years for this, and I have been reading his blog since I first heard about his plight about six years ago. At the time I started reading, I could hardly believe that he had been incarcerated for so long. Anyway it is the beginning of a new life for him and will need a lot of adjustment so I wish him all the best luck now.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Positive thinking

It is now Thursday morning. A friend appeared last night and we sat in the garden, joined by Nils later. We chatted about things and I did consume half a small glass of red wine which brought me about 60 calories over the 500 allocated for the day, but never mind. Nils was displaying the Kookster to her family on skype. No doubt they were amazed to see the enormous beast I am harbouring here. Thinking about what people are saying about my work reminds me of my prefoundation tutor who told me that I could do any kind of work related to art. So an 'illustrative' or 'graphic' style does not necessarily mean that one should be sidetracked away from one's lonely path as a sketcher. Nibby tells me that I am not a sketcher because my drawings take so long to do. Seems I am a 'drawer' but we shall see. Had a few more followers on Twitter since I have been posting my sketches, which is interesting. I sometimes think my need to draw and post my stuff is like tagging or graffiti - kind of a 'Sue Woz 'Ere' way of providing evidence of my tiny existence. Sad bastard, eh? Tonight is the end of Brixton and Nils might come. We shall see. I may gather some more blackberries today. Someone suggested calling next door and begging some windfall apples from their tree, tantalisingly just out of reach. If I could find enough blackberries I suppose I could offer to make them a blackberry and apple crumble. We shall see. Must try and find time to do a drawing today since I have lapsed a bit recently.


I ordered some folded card and envelopes and went to the art shop. However, it seems that people do not buy actual photographs on cards and want them inkjet printed on the actual card. So I will not be selling cards to shops, not having an inkjet printer, despite having in the past sold my tatty old home made cards to American Retro, the ICA bookshop, Ko Kon Tozai and many other trendy places. I shall now just have to sell to the discriminating few! I have had a few images photocopied on thick card and I have to say they look quite good to me, but there you go. Investigated illustration and card agencies and I have to say that though my work is described as illustrative, this would not seem to fit in with anything else I have seen. I am just 'illustrating' everything I see around me rather than trying to draw something commercial and product-related. I shall reduce my cards to £1 each because they are apparently not up to modern-day standards of presentation. I do hope my friend Victorine won't be insulted to receive one for her birthday. Nils paid me some money today which was a relief and enabled me to get a salad for lunch. Apart from making a few more cards showing the outside of the Albert Arms I have not been very productive as it is my 500 calorie day. I suspect this will creep up to 600 calories before the day is out. We shall see. Definitely looking forward to tomorrow. Evon is due to pay me a call later in the day and may want me to draw her dogs. Must remember to put the garden waste out tomorrow night, which is the last night of the Brixton exhibition. I have just realised that I do become a bit crabby on 500 calories a day.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Tense Tuesday

Successfully had my low calorie day but felt a bit tense as I kept being offered food which was a bit tricky. Today (Tuesday) I shall go to the podiatrist which I am sure will be a complete waste of time as it is publicised as an assessment, i.e. no actual treatment. We shall see. Have not seen David for days so I hope all is well there. Evon may come around tomorrow and will call me tonight to let me know. Must keep £20 for Annie. Am trying not to use the bank but just rely on cash, which has run very short. I went to bed early last night because Nils had a friend around for coffee in the evening. I am so unused to having people in the house. At least I have proved I can do it, but would probably need to have a break now and then. In future I shall look for a cat lover, so I could go and visit Nibby and have a reliable cat feeder in the house. Nils is nervous around Kook which is hardly surprising, given his size.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Relaxed Monday

So much so that I left my cardi on the back of the seat outside Mamuska and it had vanished later when I returned to see if someone had handed it in. My strict diet day today, helped by a few raw carrot batons. Bought some low calorie cup soup. Have also purchased some half fat cheese for my non diet days to make cheese on toast. Had a Mamuska mackerel salad, light on the mackerel, heavy on the salad for lunch today and just sketched a few punters there. Tried on a couple of cardigans at Peacocks, and bought some navy ballerinas there for £7. Due to visit the podiatrist for an 'assessment visit' tomorrow. The Brixton exhibition closes soon with a party on Thursday night. Dorothy unable to come so may invite Evon and Kate. We shall see. Bumped into Jackie, who said she might restart her usual parties at the penthouse, beginning with a fireworks party, and I said this would be very welcome. Kook suddently became a bit aggressive today and nipped me a couple of times, but mildly walked away when I told him to clear off. Minutes later, he was back and butter wouldn't melt!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Woolwich Arsenal

Up at 4.30 but dozed off until 5.20 to be roused by Kooky wailing loudly, no doubt annoyed at a failure to catch a mouse. They are becoming rather wily. Off to Woolwich today. My low calorie day which is just as well since I overdid it somewhat yesterday. Kook, now replete after half a tin of salmon Kit-E-Kat, is asleep on the bedroom floor. Yesterday I noticed that the skin on my legs and arms is becoming horribly dry and thin with old age so I purchased the last bottle of Johnson's Holiday Skin at half price as a moisturiser with a bit of self tan to improve the colour a bit. Some old people have a really good leathery tan but my legs refuse to change colour despite exposure to the sun. Oh well. Must water the garden, ring Nibby and purchase a paper before I set off. It is now Sunday. 53 bus takes a very long time (about an hour if not more) to arrive at Woolwich. There were masses of sketchers and it was great to see them again, especially the fabulous Fabiola who conducted matters very efficiently on her home turf. Lovely day so I sketched people watching the Olympics on a big screen. Though there was plenty of excellent architecture which will have to wait for another day, I vegged out since it was my very strict diet day, and concentrated on relaxing and rehydrating. I then did a brief sketch of the garden outside the pub later and we compared notes. There was plenty of excellent work being passed around and people were very kind about my meagre offerings. Before I left for Woolwich, I became slightly obsessed with snapping shadows: here's an enormous one of me coming back from buying the papers at Elephant with my shopping basket:
more weight to lose here, I suspect!

Friday, 10 August 2012


Had to go to the art shop to buy another Bristol board A4 pad. The proprietor was telling me how I could buy larger paper and cut it up, but they have no guillotine and neither do I so that was not much use. Some of the paper was a bit off-white so I showed her my recent sketches to show how I need thick paper with a white background. She got quite excited by my work and said how talented I was, and how many artists they had through the door who were not nearly as good. She said she thought I should sell my stuff to card companies and suggested I look up some illustration agencies. She also wanted me to produce some cards with folds for her to sell. I would have to stick things to the back with a card title, which might prove problematic since they would need to be printed somehow. Oh well. I suppose it is quite heartening that some people like what I do. We shall see. Meanwhile I shall keep practising.

Hot Day

After coffee with David, trotted (well, staggered) around the outside of Elephant looking for somewhere picturesque to sit outside and draw. Was tempted by the latino coffee bar in Elephant Road, but decided to walk up the London Road and do the outside of the Albert Arms. Had a couple of salmon fishcakes and a diet coke and drew. Worked out that the 53 to Woolwich Arsenal goes from the back of the house, handy for tomorrow's drawing day, which unfortunately I shall be doing on an empty stomach, though might find a salad for lunch somewhere. Snapped last night's disaster too and found masses more blackberries.


Have had masses off the brambles next door. I have made blackberry gin and blackberry and apple crumble. Today I have to think of something else. I ate a few of the berries which had been soaking in gin and sugar, and decided they would be good with ice cream. I shall call them 'ginberries'. Met Brendan and his uncle at Waterloo, and we exchanged money and painting which helped my tragic finances. I have been doing a different diet: eating 5-600 calories only on alternate days, and unrestricted calories on the other days. I shall try this, with Nibby, as it definitely seems doable, and has been going well so far. I have been stretched to find very low calorie things which I can eat in quantity. My low calorie jelly (40 per pint) with a handful of frozen berries have been useful here, as have piles of Iceberg lettuce and the Mamuska chicken or fish salads. I shall report back on progress. The great thing is that it is easier to stick to so far as one can look forward to one's 'non-diet' days. We shall see.

Hola Again!

Snaps back from Snapfish so made another 40 cards. Nils thinks the images from my journals would make good diary covers. Hair cut (too short, and in particular, too short at the sides) yesterday, but it only cost a tenner. Lunch at Albert Arms, which was very good, for two days, and sketched both rooms there. Devastated to hear of the death of Robert Hughes, my favourite art critic. I shall purchase a couple more of his books including his memoir. Currently reading Turgenev - can't seem to leave him alone. Did a couple of sketches but last night, unsatisfied with the mess I had made of the old painting of Gaywood Street, attacked it once more, this time with inks, then wiped some off. It is more lurid now, and not sure whether it is better or worse. Put it in a cheap frame to stop myself from doing any more harm pro tem. Have managed to get dark blue ink on my dress, bra, and the floor downstairs. So mucky.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Saw Some Friends

Coffee with David in the morning. Then lunch at Mamuska and finished a short sketch I had done the day before in black and white. Later I went back and had a very excellent lunch and sketched a punter. In the afternoon I sat outside in the sun and finished this while chatting with Nils, when a voice, apparently disembodied, called my name. This turned out to be Louise over the fence who came and joined us for coffee and a chat about the recent Lye torng closure. Then Kate turned up later bearing food and drink. We had a very long natter and she advised using little curls of masking tape on each corner to mount my work if it needed a mount because this would be easily removed if someone wanted to change the mount, so I shall do this. She will also investigate printers and see if she can find a good price as we both want some stuff printed. Then I lent her my new Gudrun pink dress and jacket with a matching crinkly stole thing for a wedding in America. She looked very good in this, but I suspect being tall and slim probably helps. I had a call from someone wanting to purchase a painting. He lives in the suburbs and I am within the charging zone thingy, so he is coming up by train and I shall meet him at Waterloo, clutching the painting! Well, it is all dosh, sadly needed these days. Anyway, here's the sketches:

Sunday, 5 August 2012


is not the cafe for weight loss: had today's special which was ribs with sauerkraut and mash, followed by ice cream with choc sauce. Dear me. The child upstairs has chosen this moment to thunder up and down the room, just as my new lodger is due to arrive. Still, I suppose the noise won't be too bad from her room in the basement, and as Julian and Dorothy declare, I was lucky to get someone and she probably won't stay long at all. Looking at the state of the flat, I think they are probably right. I think I am too old, messy and selfish to share with anyone, but need to have a try. I must remember to pay the plumber tomorrow, and ring up the podiatry people who want me to ring them for an 'assessment appointment.' My new lodger is now in place, still doing Ramadan so I could not offer her tea. She offered me some Turkish coffee which is not my thing, but it was very kind of her. She is starting work in a month, so I hope she will be able to pay the rent which is due weekly. Kook is lying in a state of exhaustion on my bed, recovering from the effort of having woken me up at 5.30 this morning. I had another go at the Art cafe sketch with which I am still not happy, but there you go, I am bored with it now.

Saturday, 4 August 2012


My days have been rather recently. I have made up some cards using prints from Snapfish but have only done one sketch. Today I drew Art Cafe interior in London Road, with a punter reading the paper. I am not very happy with it so may have another go at it soon. The fishes have braved their dustbin and come up to the top. Unfortunately Kook is showing an unhealthy interest in them so I hope they will wise up to his evil ways in time to save themselves. Lunch with Romy in the garden on Thursday which was good. I am definitely missing Lye torng, especially since at the weekends the Albert pub, pretty but useless, is closed. Had lunch at Mamuska today after a brief coffee with David this morning followed by a trip to Brixton. Studio 73 is looking good, but my unframed bits were not well presented, so I took them back to have a think. My stuff is much better framed, even if unmounted. South Bank Arts do an economy mounting for things, but it still works out to be quite expensive and more than my IKEA frames so there's not much point. I could just centre them and mount on card, then on board to make them more presentable, and get some A3 and A4 cellophane bags from Ebay, because some people might prefer to get them framed themselves. Oh well, I shall give it some thought. Nils is coming after three tomorrow and I have just realised I don't have an iron since I don't iron anything. I do have a small steam pressing thing though. I need to chat about this with her. I suspect she will disappear after a very short time as my domestic life is more than a little chaotic. We shall see. I shall buy some A3 card tomorrow to attempt to mount a few things. I suppose I could window mount them, too. Romy has kindly offered to take me to IKEA to get more frames soon, and she can take a couple of chairs home for her garden at the same time. I had an email from someone who wants to buy some of my stuff, which may be interesting.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Makes you Sick

Not only am I mad but I look much older than I am. Went to the opening of a Southwark Arts and Music Festival last night invited by Romy. There were a few pieces of artwork which we had supposed were done by college students but turned out to be by local artists. The opening was very small and opened by the female mayor, who asked me if I were Romy's mum! After I had spent hours putting slap on. I nearly slapped the mayor, I can tell you, but I now prefer to think that Romy looks very young. Which she does, the bitch. Oh well. Romy kindly stood me dinner at Nando's which made me feel better. Having sold some cards recently, I had to spend £23 on pens and £10 on cellophane bags for cards, much more than I made through selling them. The sums don't quite seem to add up, especially if I add photographs, cards, envelopes stickers with prices on etc. Perhaps I am mad to do it. Romy could not understand why I had not been invited to exhibit at the show since most of my work is based on local places. Brixton will do me fine and I shall have my own show at Waterloo Action Centre in November, for which I must purchase more frames from IKEA. I have acquired quite a few more bits from the Lye Torng closure, including a fifties coffee table, three chairs, a lovely cast iron table for the garden, various trendy little kitchen items and four goldfish. I am keeping them away from the others and will have to try and find something to put them in which I can keep in the garden, and with a fixed slatted top which Kooky can't fish through. I shall have a look in the ironmongers tomorrow.