Sunday, 30 September 2012

Still Ill

with a resurgence of Delhi belly. Have discovered that, rather than taking Immodium, which basically just slows down the gut mobility, you can buy kaolin tablets, which absorbs the toxins which you have inadvertently ingested. I shall now stick with these for any future problems. They are also much cheaper. So I missed drawing at Primrose Hill yesterday. Very annoying. I finished the sketch of Sasha, hopefully adding more depth to it. I managed to get up to Borough Market for a brief chat with Dorothy. I mentioned the Zedel place we discovered the other night, and the Italian place where we had dinner. The printers were closed so I will have to wait until tomorrow to do some more work there. Had a message last night from Dorothy who had decided to try Zedel and let me know what it is like. Dorothy has such exacting standards that it is bound to fail. We shall see. Nibby is still painting her owls. I must remember to tell her that I have put the fishes back in the pond. The large black bin was just too small. They are definitely looking happier to be back in familiar surroundings. Just had a text from Alice, who may be at the jam session tomorrow. Might meet up with Madeleine today. My nails are becoming so strong and long from eating low calorie jelly that it is hard to find the right keys when typing. Dear me. I am told that jelly babies also have this beneficial effect on the nails.

Friday, 28 September 2012

I keep trying

to do an invitation to my exhibition. Yesterday I managed to write out something and get it printed on a public computer. I then tried to get this copied onto tranparent film and eventually succeeded. However when I placed it over what I thought were pale drawings the lettering did not show well when reduced. Today I may attempt a small pencil drawing, otherwise I shall do a small drawing which avoids the lettering area. I am not happy with the font or the layout, but public computers are not the best places to design anything properly. I need some invitations to give out on Saturday and also next week so will have to do a bit more work. Last night I was invited out by Christophe and Victorine. We had a drink at the Round Table pub before finding the restaurant which is a newish Italian place called Mele e Pere (apples and pears, because it's downstairs)in Brewer Street. I think Dorothy would like it. I had a very good butternut squash soup with cheese and beans, followed by a pork medallion which only just left room for the tiramisu. Victorine and Christophe had a fish starter, the pork main and Victorine had some excellent looking cheese afterwards. On the way to Piccadilly we found the ex Regent Palace Hotel where Nibby spent her honeymoon,which had been refurbished beyond belief and is now a very fine looking brasserie called Zedel which also has a bar and a piano bar. Excellent place. Today I sketched Sasha having her feet done at First Foot. I must go back there again soon, it is such good value and very relaxing.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

strange laptop

So weird, my laptop had, to all intents and purposes, died completely. But yesterday I turned it on for the umpteenth time, and it actually worked. I suspect it is moribund, but not quite extinct yet. I have spent a while framing drawings, putting strings on the backs, and labelling them. They are mostly originals but there are one or two prints. I have also had some extra prints made. I shall only make up to 20 prints of each original, and many have had watercolour washes added so there is something original about each one. Pricing is very difficult but I think the prices are very reasonable. My main problem is that I seem to draw better on A3 sized paper and cannot produce the small postcard sized drawings which many artists seem to do. I may think about getting some reduced size prints of these. We shall see. Anyway I now need to group my drawings and seem to have groups consisting of Elephant & Castle. including cafes there, mainly in the shopping centre; around where I live, cafes and Imperial War Museum etc; South Bank and the rest of London. I have about 45 drawings and have run out of frames, so will have to think about whether to get any more. Since I tend to do about five drawings a week, and there are several weeks to go, I may do this. Another ten A3 frames would do it. On the other hand I have a few odd, unmatching frames around the house which I could use for reduced size prints, and a few very small ones too. We shall see. I shall start on a list of drawings now. Walking down to Elephant on Sunday morning saw this shoe, which made me think of a South London Cinderella losing her slipper.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Laptop sudden death

Dear me. My laptop now displays a blank screen. Trying to do this on my iPad but the typeface is minuscule and pale grey and I don't know how to change it so may have to abandon this blog for a while. Cheerio !

Sunday, 23 September 2012

More open mic

Back at the Sundial Cafe I think I have discovered their most edible item: corn on the cob. Mind you, this comes on a stick, hygienically wrapped in some kind of plastic covering, thus a bit soggy having been soaked in some buttery substance, but at only £1 it definitely is a winner, if rather inelegant to eat. A very cheap lunch. Met David for coffee and did a little shopping. Later I pitched up at Mamuska for the open mic. I have to say I was unwise enough to order their potato pancakes, which were rather tough and tasteless to this non-Pole, so had to follow it with ice cream with a kind of berry sauce which was much better. I sketched Ian and his sidekick once more. Later, a rather exciting little jazzy combo turned up to have a practise. They had a competition on Monday night. Cant remember their name but will check them out if they appear again. Will finish my sketch later today, but this morning I need to get up to Camden Town to do a bit of drawing. Kook has become a fleabag, so have had to lash out £37 for some stuff at the vets. Dear me.

Stupid Old Bat

Yesterday I was really stupid and went to a drawing thing in Camden, having invited someone else. No one there apart from my invitee, Sally, who was about to go home. Over a coffee we checked and discovered it was next week. Dear me. We went to Borough Market and had a snack before a walk in the sunshine at Bankside. I carried on with my sketch for bit after Sally went home, and eventually managed to meet Dorothy at 3bis, the gelato place, where a tall blonde waitress mistakenly and rudely tried to make Dorothy join the end of the queue when he had been first. Common sense prevailed after an appeal to another member of staff and we enjoyed sherry trifle gelatos before Dorothy succumbed to a Monmouth coffee. I purchased some half price merguez at the French stall. These were very good and reminded me of the merguez Jeremy and I used to eat in Algeria in the sixties. Neiges d'antan and all that. I keep remembering all sorts of stuff from Oxford and Algiers in those days and am becoming sentimental in my old age. Tragic. I am seriously considering going to the jam session at Toulouse Lautrec tomorrow night.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Messy Life

My living room and my bedroom are a complete tip - pictures, frames piled up on every surface in the living room and clothes and sketchbooks all over the floor and furniture and every surface in the bedroom. I definitely have the old person's reluctance to throw anything away. Trouble is, it leads to mislaying things. My eagerness to purchase specs to match my clothes has led to buying so many that I can never find the ones I need. Yesterday and today I am wearing red and purple colours, but I put the (red and purple) specs down yesterday somewhere and cannot find them this morning. Hopeless. Yesterday I braved the Sundial Cafe downstairs in the Elephant & Castle. Ordered a chicken Caesar salad. What arrived was a small pile of Iceberg lettuce with a couple of tomatoes and the dressing, fortunately, in a plastic container. On the top of the lettuce was a liberal sprinkling of what looked like Cheddar cheese and three long things covered in thick cold batter. On scraping off the batter these turned out to be rather tough strips of chicken. Dear me. Very cheap and nasty at £3.45. The salad concept has not reached the Sundial cafe yet. Drank a diet coke, ate the lettuce and tomatoes
and drew the cafe. Some of the other food did look rather better than my obviously bad choice. I spent ages drawing some of the many illustrations of the food on offer and got many angles wrong but it was all rather difficult. I finished it later in the afternoon. It looks a bit more wonky in the snap because the paper kept curling up a bit. Today I shall visit the GP for a repeat prescription, and consider what to draw later. May possibly go to the Mamuska open mic, depending on how I feel.

Still Ill

Now a chest infection but 'feeling better in myself' and had a good sleep under my new duvet with my linen sheets and covers. Showed David yesterday's drawing which he liked - particularly the foreground figure walking away left. Here it is anyway. Today I braved the cafe downstairs and just have to finish this (took ages) before posting it tomorrow. The whole day has gone in a daze with nothing else done.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Tame and Tired

which is about me all right. Used to be the nickname for the now defunct Time and Tide mag many years ago. Restless night and now coughing. Heard chattering outside the flat and peeped out (after midnight) to see my new lodger outside on the steps. Not sure who with. I shall await the inevitable complaints from my nasty neighbour. Dear me. Did some washing today and a bit of shopping before a rather desultory drawing of downstairs at the Elephant & Castle. I need to work on this a bit more but will post soon. Spoke to Nibby on the phone this morning. She tells me my work is improving which I suppose is a good thing. Apparently it is 'quirky' whatever that means. It's not meant to be but who cares? Using my new double duvet set from H & M for the first time. Lovely pale grey linen, and only £49.99. I may lash out on the white set at a later date. Made masses of banana cake with the surfeit of bananas and a rather dismal chocolate and peanut butter one. The recipe sounded great but the cake is a bit boring. Froze it and will ice before serving. Also made some Jewish penicillin for my cold - chicken soup, which is very soothing.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Failed Again

Rather foolishly got on the scales this morning to confirm my 7lb weight loss, only to see that I have regained 6lb of this. Tragic. Also woke up this morning sneezing with a runny nose and sore throat AND a cold sore. Purchased some Acyclovir cream. Yesterday I went to the Imperial War Museum and had lunch in the cafe which has amusing retro plates and food. Best of all I could have had the children's size portion of macaroni cheese for only £3.75 or so. But I decided to have cottage pie. Temptingly they had some very good looking cakes and puds and scones with jam and cream. Another day maybe. Or maybe not judging by my weight. Anyway settled down in the main bit downstairs
and drew. And drew. And rubbed out. And drew etc. In no time at all it was after four so I left to walk back to Elephant and get a bus up to Borough Market where Dorothy and I had tea at Pain Quotidien. Julian is back again and I hope we will meet soon. Today I did a bit of watercolour on my War Museum drawing. I really do find drawing these things very hard indeed. A bit below par, so won't be going to the jam session at Toulouse Lautrec as I had intended.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bad to Worse to Better Again

If the leaks were not bad enough, my lodger saw a mouse in the kitchen on Friday. I have now put down a couple of poison trap things, reluctantly. The mouse has not reappeared. Forced myself out to Mamuska for their open mic night on Friday. Starts quite early and they turn the lights down for a bit of atmosphere. I managed to find somewhere to sketch and drew a few quickies of my fellow diners after I had eaten a large but virtuous salad. Later the owner, Ian and a friend belted out some good standards and played requests from the audience. These however, were reluctant to get up and perform themselves, but later a guy turned up and did very well. Ian is quite a good singer and it made for a very pleasant evening. I only did one main drawing (below) which I may work on a bit more. The only drawback was that I had a very large vodka shot later on (only £3) which I managed to spill all over the table after a couple of sips. Suppose it saved me from drinking it all. On Saturday I set forth for Greenwich to meet the other sketchers. I was lured away from virtue in McDonalds by the siren call of a Crunchie McFlurry. Having ordered this, I commented that there was no calorie number on the pot, whereupon the waitress gave me a piece of paper with all the calorie contents of all their stuff which is very handy. The only problem being that the McFlurry was 330 calories, of which I ate at least 300. Met up with fellow sketchers and Sally and I decided to sit at a pub by the Cutty Sark. She drew me and I drew what I could see over the foliage on the wall. This was mainly bits of the masts etc of the Cutty Sark. Given my general inability to draw a straight line, I became a bit frivolous with the brush pen resulting in what you see below. We then went to a pub near the park gates after lunch and chatted and drew punters and bits and pieces. As we arrived at the point where we were to show our wares, a local photographer from something called 'Daily Shopper' assembled us in a group for a photo, then asked me to sit with my drawing and took another snap. Dear me, I don't suppose they will use it, otherwise I can look forward to chips being eaten and Greenwich backsides being wiped with my image. Then we all went home. I had fun watching the X-factor, but compounded the McFlurry felony by defrosting and eating some of my boiled orange cake, which was rather delicious. This morning I very reluctantly got on the scales to find I had lost half a stone! Things are looking up. Must try harder this week. Kook, far from hunting mice, is lying on a suitcase under the window.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

shiny surface could not snap

properly, but here's the only charcoal I kept from my foundation at Kingston. Some young guy on the course - it is very dark and moody but I thought it one of my better efforts at the time. Looks very gloomy now though!


A trip to the probate office, and also WAC who were keen to accept my cheque, which has left me somewhat boracic. Imagine, therefore, my horror this morning to discover not one, but two leaks from my towel heater in the bathroom. No money to pay a plumber, so as you can see, jam jars are placed underneath to be changed frequently. The leaks are worse when either the heating is on or when I take a shower or use the sink. Dear me. Nibby had suggested I did some charcoal drawing so I purchased a cheap offer of some charcoal pencils and sharpener in a little tin from Cass Arts. I also went to see the Portrait competition, which was a bit depressing. Plenty of technical competence but most things looked liked photographs which was a bit boring, but probably what clients like to see these days. Anyway. Started sketching a woman being interviewed but then the charcoal became horribly messy and so did I. I wiped it away and did a rather desultory ink sketch over the top. Oh well. Watching a cheery programme last night I suddenly heard a ferocious rainstorm outside, and also in the kitchen, so I had to rush upstairs and close the back door and wipe the floor with a towel. Dorothy rang for a chat. Today has been very quiet indeed. Sprayed more Roundup over the encroaching brambles and bamboo and tore down a bit more of the passion flower. Tesco due between 5 and 6 with groceries and must leave the garden refuse thing out for collection tomorrow. I am thinking about going to the open mic at Mamuska to draw a few people tomorrow evening. We shall see.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Wrong delivery address

Seems that John Lewis think the people upstairs live here, hence all the supposed deliveries for me were in fact for the people upstairs. Good thing my neighbours offered to go to Mandela Way and collect the parcels or I really would have been annoyed. And exhausted since all their parcels are huge and heavy. I am actually waiting for delivery of some published sketchbooks and some pond weed. Yesterday I spent ages pulling the huge overgrowth of passion flowers down. I wish I had trained it against the back wall since it has killed most of the plants where it is by growing over them. And nearly pulled the fence over. I really need the fence to be fixed but a) I can't afford it and b) I could not stand the disruption. Oh well. I have been completely unproductive lately. I had a go at sketching in Pain Quotidien on Sunday but it was a dismal failure, with proportions all over the place. I may redraw it and correct these since I spent so long on it and apart from the proportions it is fine. We shall see. The plumber came yesterday and replaced four parts in the boiler. However, this morning the shower is still running hot and cold. He replace the fan so at least it is much quieter and the change from hot to cold is quicker at least. There is only one other part he hasn't had to replace. This is now no longer available so I will have to have a new boiler within a year or two. Let's hope it will limp along for a bit. Dorothy rang me to say the probate people want to see my decree absolute, which I may take up there today. I must also get over to WAC and pay for the gallery hire which I think I can just manage. Did not get to Toulouse Lautrec last night because I was too tired. I am having extremely early nights and extremely early mornings these days. My lodger gets up at around 7.20 so I manage to get showered and dressed before this. So glad I bought several of my stretchy dresses which will be handy to wear under other stuff when the weather changes. Wearing a mustard coloured one today with my cobalt trousers and a rather nifty scarf in white, cobalt and mustard which Romy found in Spain.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Surrey Docks Farm and bloody hot day

it was.Well that's my excuse for the rather desultory sketching efforts shown below. Surrey Docks Farm is a great place with an excellent cafe - Frizzante - causing me to gain 2lb this week dammit, and we met to sketch there with Luke's Drink and Draw group.(For me, it was Eat and don't Draw Much). After a couple of hours we headed off to a pub near Surrey Quays by the river, I think it was near Greenland Docks. Anyway I did another sorry sketch of some of my fellow sketchers. I was rather knackered by the end of the day. The others all produced excellent work as usual, and masses of it. I really enjoy these days. I think we are going to Greenwich next week and am looking forward to it. It really was bloody hot yesterday though, and all the animals were moving so fast that I was reduced to doing a rather stylised sketch of a stuffed cockerel in a case in the cafe. Dear me.Unfortunately I found a red card from the post office when I got back because my lodger did not answer the doorbell. I have now shown her that there is an answering thing right outside her bedroom, so hope this won't happen again. As I spent all day in the house yesterday waiting for the plumber who did not arrive from Heatem, and who will now come, supposedly, tomorrow, I shall be stuck in the house for yet another day, then forced to go to Mandela Way to collect my post on Tuesday. Such is retirement. Tragic. I shall and force myself to get out somewhere today as we are promised what may be the last hot day this year.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lazing in the sun

is how I spent a lot of the day, outside in the garden reading, punctuated only by a couple of deliveries for the people upstairs and making cold drinks. Met David for coffee and a chat. I did sort out a few more clothes. The discarded items are now packed into five black bags inside my airing cupboard. All I need to do now is to colour sort everything on hangers, which will be today's task. The heating engineers are due to arrive today so no doubt I will spend a lot of time hanging around, though if they ring and are coming much later I may be able to escape. Looking through my emails I see Groupon are offering 'boudoir shots' with false hairpieces, false eyelashes, make up and up to five changes of outfit. Was almost tempted for a giggle at only £19, but decided it would be too cruel to the organisers. Mind you, the Kookster can look misleadingly cute in his birthday suit, so could be a possible candidate. Oh well. Ate too much as usual. I have decided that every day I should aim to eat 500 calories. I might then manage to eat about 1200 calories so should lose some weight. We shall see. Hmmm... Nibby is going forth to Scotland for the weekend. She is so intrepid, always going to different places. Maybe one day when I get a cat-friendly lodger I might venture off to Barcelona for a few days. We shall see. I have managed to lose all the screws I need to fix to the backs on my frames so will need to purchase some more when I get to the shops. Hopeless.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Getting On

with things this week. I have finally sorted out the probate forms for my ex and taken them up to the office at High Holborn, who will eventually interview Dorothy and hopefully release the money. I have meanwhile been doing the accounts for the very small estate. I have done a bit more drawing and painted some prints which has added an extra interest to them. Kate came around to return my dress and will look for a door for my bedroom, which is essential really when having lodgers since the one bathroom is opposite my bedroom. Still scratching around for £300 to pay the gallery for my exhibition. I may be able to do it this month, just about. Selling something would help. I have decided to make some limited edition prints of some of my images in very short runs of say, 20 of each. I can then sell these very cheaply and some will be worth more when painted, but I have decided they will all be the same price. Yesterday I sat outside the Castle Brasserie and drew this, but it was quite difficult and I need to get more depth into it I think. We shall see. The guy who does my printing is on holiday, but will be in for a bit of work when he gets back since his prints have been greatly admired. I am reading a rather odd book, I think it was recommended by Robert Hughes. It is 'Journal of my life' by Jacques-Louis Menetra, a glazier in Paris in the eighteenth century: one of the few journals from that time by a working class man. Quite hard going because of the age, lack of punctuation, different sense of humour untruthfulness of the author etc etc. but still a lively read. Also reading some of Pope's letters. Having a huge clothes turnout. So far there is a two foot high pile on the floor. When I decide how to dispose of this lot I shall go back to sorting the rest by colour and removing it all to hangers and drawers: at the moment I have two chairs absolutely piled with stuff. The shower is being awkward, only working when the heating is on, and locking out, so the plumber is coming tomorrow to have a look at it. I am hoping to get out drawing on Saturday to Canada Water, which sounds quite exciting. My lodger was back fairly late last night so there may have been some after work drinks. Or she is working too hard.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Strange Sunday

Tesco delivered my shopping on time, so I set off for Barnes from Waterloo. Managed to get on a 33 bus at Barnes and arrived at Strawberry Hill around 12.30. I then discovered that my group were in fact meeting there next week. Dear me. I sat and did a rather bad sketch of Strawberry Hill. It looked rather like a large decoratively iced wedding cake with new trees obscuring it in front. I sat in Walpole's shell seat and as I looked at the house a rather gothic gloom overtook me so did a rather desultory dark sketch. As I left I noticed my rubber on the seat, which seemed like a message from Walpole to erase the drawing. I then had some soup for lunch and wandered around the house which was quite pretty but really needed books, furniture etc to bring it to life. The main thing of interest to me was that Walpole's windows and wooden blinds were made to slide back into the walls so that the views were uninterrupted. Might have been intresting to open the windows and draw the view. Oh well. Went to Twickenham on the 33 and got the train to Waterloo. Noticed that the dreary Twickenham Co-op supermarket is now a Waitrose. Nils has been out all the time recently and starts work on Monday.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Friday and Saturday

On Friday I finished the short sketch I did at Cafe Nova in the Elephant & Castle. Found an old jazz tune for David and played on my ipod - he hadn't heard it since 1956. The proposed meeting with the cafe owner where I am supposed to be drawing keeps getting cancelled so I shall forget this for the time being. Did a bit of a sketch which seemed to take ages in Pain Quotidien at Borough Market. Had the prawn and chorizo salad which was delicious. Dorothy came and had a chat then paid for my lunch. It is definitely getting a bit colder so will have to haul out my winter coats again. Must do a bit of printing on Monday. The art shop were amazed at how good my prints were and could not tell them from the originals. They loved the interior one I had painted over the print, so I may do some more of these. We shall see. Had a brief meeting with Julian, who was looking well, on Friday. Tomorrow, my plan is to go to Strawberry Hill House. I shall probably get the tube to Hammersmith then get the 33 bus which stops opposite, apparently. Just hope it isn't pissing with rain all day. Hmmm.