Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Tonight. Have tweeted that I am hiding at home wearing a garlic necklace. I spent this morning chasing money which may show itself at some stage next week. Must go and see if one of my print buyers was serious about a possible purchase. I seem to feel hungry all the time. Dorothy has managed to get my food diary back to my iphone so i should be using this but have somehow forgotten the vast amounts of calories consumed today. Hoping for a better day tomorrow. This afternoon and evening I have framed extra drawings and made holes in the backs for screws and attached bits of string as required by the gallery. I have also done another list of my 'stop press' latest drawings. As I only have two more frames, only two more drawings will make it to the exhibition. My main problem at the moment is my inability to send a press release since the gallery apparently do not have a mailing list. To my amazement. Julian suggested that I trot over to ASC nearby who may have some useful advice on this front. And I was rather pleased with the press release I had prepared. Oh well. It may have to be a largely secret event. Tomorrow evening I hope to have the energy to go to the 'Dare to Wear' thing at St. Pancras Church crypt which is only on until 4th November. Francesca rates it very highly. Reading about all this kitsch stuff reminds me of my 'office' at UCH, completely painted and decorated with the most vulgar kitsch I could find - even the computers did not escape my attention and were very floral indeed. The plastic beaded curtains at the entrance and the Barbie scented unholy water stoup where visitors were required to do the sign of the Barbie bow (a kind of figure of eight gesture with the right hand, executed with clerical dignity) before entering my 'office' were just the beginning of the experience. This reallywas a bit of a secret location, visited only (apart from hospital staff who actually worked there) by a select few fellow artists. It was however greatly appreciated by one of the patients, a child who had inadvertently wandered into my wonderland. Ah, those were the days! My hommage to Pierre & Gilles images superimposed with the heads of hospital staff were apparently used as screensavers on the wards. I have probably written about this at length before, so sorry for boring you again.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Toulouse Lautrec last night

After a lazy day went to Toulouse Lautrec hoping not to see Alice again. Fortunately since she did not pay her bill she has been giving the place a wide berth, thank goodness. So I was free to sketch away all night and proceeded to produce more quick sketches, some in my sketchbook and some on paper. Today I realised that I was paying nearly £60 a month in income tax so rang the tax office who had made a mistake and will change my tax code and get me a refund from January this year which will be very welcome. Went to the printers and spent more money. I shall now be able to label the backs of my drawings. Soon I will have to do a 'stop press' list of my more recent efforts. I am hoping my son will be able to come tomorrow and collect my ex's legacy, then pay some into my account so I can send cheques for the small sums owed from it before distribution to the main beneficiaries. I shall be so glad when it is all dealt with. My lodger has not yet found a flatshare. I suspect the agents are sending them to look at properties which are with several agencies before the landlord lets them privately through Gumtree to avoid fees. I am keen to get enough money to put a door to my room and get a chest of drawers and generally have a cleanout of the room I am currently letting which means waiting until my current lodger leaves. Although she will be away while my exhibition is on because my sister needs the room for a couple of nights, I shall be busy all week invigilating at the gallery so even if I had the money I shan't have the time to do anything about the room. Dear me. My community charge has gone up from £70 a month to £126 a month because I have a lodger. Will just about balance with the tax refund.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Festival Hall Yesterday

This was a bit of a washout as we were supposed to meet for coffee first at QEH. I arrived and was told the place was closed. Texted Julia but no reply. After wandering around for a bit I spied Francesca, so we went down and started sketching. Soon we were joined by a few others. As it become colder we decamped into the Festival Hall where I sketched Rade and Francesca, and later did a short, bad sketch of some children playing. My camera strap got in the way and shows in the snap as does the lack of straight lines.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Crypt Cafe, ICA and Mamuska party

Well, I did a short sketch of the crypt followed by a longer one of the sketchers on Friday at St. Martins in the Fields.I then dashed over to Waterloo where I met my son and we did the legal declaration, followed by a chocolate at Paul's. Now all we have to do is arrange for the money transfer which involves a visit to Denmark Hill next week. Yesterday I went to some exhibitions at the ICA, and met some interesting people there where we had a coffee and a chat. This was
followed by tea at Mamuska where there was a children's party going on, so did a quick sketch of that. Fortunately my telephone remembers to put its clock back, but Kooky is unaware of this arrangement and started clawing at me from about 4 am. I am following Nibby's advice: managed to find some half price steak mince to roll in balls and freeze. I am taking one out each evening and giving it to Kook in the morning so he gets some raw meat which is apparently good for cats.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Uphill work

trying to deal with my ex's legacy. Very depressing but the end seems to be in sight, which is just as well as the misery is making me eat for England. Soon we will have to contact my son's brother in Spain to ascertain whether we should go to Spain or whether he wants to come to England to collect his little legacy. Meanwhile, after we have the money we will need to pay the debts on the estate. I have had a couple of dull days. The TV has finally bitten the dust - seems masses of TVs are misbehaving themselves, on mine the standby light blinks on and off and when you try to turn the TV on you have to press all different buttons for about 15 minutes before it decides to go on. Tonight was the last straw as i spent 30 minutes trying unsuccessfully to turn it on. I suspect I shall throw it away and have a life without TV. We shall see. Today I went to the Mall Gallery to look at miniatures and marine paintings and watch a very interesting pastel demonstration. The paper the guy uses is called Fisher 400 and the surface is like fine sandpaper. Also the guy said he does not use fixative but puts a sheet of some special cellophane over the drawing before it is framed. To get rid of excess pastel he gives it a shake or a quick blast with a hairdryer. I may give pastels a miss. Tomorrow we are meeting at the Crypt at St. Martins-in-the-Fields to draw at lunchtime. Later I am meeting my son at the lawyers for them to witness a declaration before the final part of dealing with the legacy, which will hopefully take place some time next week. I can't wait until it is over, not least because I am owed money for certificates etc. Instead of TV tonight I shall continue reading Middlemarch, which I have not read since school. I have also re-read Daniel Deronda and the Mill on the Floss. George Eliot is a very acute observer of humanity.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Don't Forget

Strange Fruit in Hedge

St. George's Road the other day.

Bollywood Dibujo London

Staggered off to this event in Bloomsbury yesterday - a lunchtime Meetup for free theatrical drawing - I think the movement started in South America and went to Spain and has now started in London. The idea is to spend from 12 to 2 drawing themed theatrical stuff in your very long lunch break. Anyway it was good fun and surprisingly, free Indian food and tea was provided. There were plenty of short poses, hence the feebleness of my efforts, but it was all good fun and met some interesting new people and some familiar faces. I have put some stuff on Facebook but here's one of my better efforts:
I keep finding strange things in odd places. The latest was a cushion placed in a hedge in St. George's Road:

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Was taken out on Friday by Romy. We 'did' her fave dress exchange, Paraphernalia, before dashing off to Blackheath and some charity shops, where I purchased rather a jolly purple brolly. We met Bernie for lunch at a wonderful place near where they live and I was treated to a fab cheeseburger with fat chips and then devoured some made choc and hazelnut ice cream. Fabulous. Went back to their flat for coffee afterwards and met kitty again and spoke to Ben, since I had a slight misunderstanding with some of his Facebook friends. Different sense of humour, no doubt. Anyway I am forgiven I hope. Yesterday I set off for South Ken with Luke and the Drink and Draw crew. We went to the Science Museum where I did this (for me) quick sketch of a plane. We lunched at Pret before setting off for the Natural History Museum. Unfortunately this was awash with noisy children so I sloped off to draw in the Hoop and Toy pub, where the others appeared at around 4pm. Then the usual moment of shame where I had to reveal my sketchbook together with books from all these professional designers, animators etc. Oh well, onward and upward!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mrs Piggy

I seem to do nothing but eat at the moment. I cannot continue blaming the changeable weather but I am feeling very unsettled. Yesterday I went to see my friend David's studio in New Cross. He is doing huge oil paintings which make me feel quite inferior with my little scribblings. Anyway, it was interesting to see what he is doing and I met another of his artist friends, Karen, there. She also does figure painting which is so different and rather good. I may take up knitting soon but I suspect I would be always dropping stitches and so on. Anyway, today I read about a dodgy pub in East Street which has changed hands recently, so decided to sketch it today. The yellow has turned out rather sulphurous, but tant pis. The pub was full of old men who swore a lot and talked in hushed tones so I suspect the clientele has changed less than the management. I was the only woman in the public bar. On Saturday we are going to the Natural History museum which will make a change.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

and here's Berwick Street

It Just Gets Worse!

Nibby said I should not let people put me off going to my faviourite gig, so I set off last night to another jam session at Toulouse Lautrec. It was Nolan's 30th birthday, which made it even more fun. I enquired about Alice, and it turned out she had still not paid the bill! Extraordinary! Feeling guilty because I had introduced her to the place, I said I would pay it, because I saw no reason why they should lose out. Just remind me to chose my companions more carefully next time. Anyway it was a great night despite the inauspicious beginning, and Nibby is right. I just hope they will bar Alice or insist on advance payment if she has the cheek to go back. I will certainly not be inviting her to my table.
It was the Urban Sketchcrawl on Saturday, and I met the excessively talented Jenny Linn-Cole who has been beavering away at her graphic novel. Can't wait to see it. Anyway the weather was not brilliant so we sat about at a cafe in Berwick Street all day and drew and nattered before meeting up with the others. As usual, Jenny's work was brilliant.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

and here's the rest

AND I forgot to mention I saw a great fun sculpture in a window in London Road. It is the work of Songul from Turkey, pictured here with it. She is setting up an office furniture shop in London Road. I thought she should stick with sculpture/pottery.


I have it. Drew at the Mall with Artists & Illustrators on Monday. Just in my sketchbooks. Then drew at the lunchtime concert at St. Martin in the Fields. Great steakhouse round the corner where we had a late lunch. Later went to Toulouse Lautrec and while I was sketching, Alice texted and announced that she was joining me. Not the ideal companion when sketching. She left before the end having eaten a meal, then texted to ask me to pay because she had forgotten! I texted her back to say she would have to sort it herself as I do not carry cards or much cash when walking around the local streets. Apparently they told her she could pay the next evening but I felt rather embarrassed by being associated with someone who didn't pay her bill. I may have to give the place a wide berth for a bit dammit. Yesterday I worked a bit more on my sketches and today sketched some students lunching at the Albert Arms. Tomorrow I am due at Kew at lunchtime clutching my sketchbook. Here's some bad snaps of copies of my sketches:

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Lodger Problems

I had rather a dull day yesterday. My lodger is annoying me a bit by putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher after I have turned it on so that I find these among the clean ones. Christophe and Victorine have what they think is the perfect lodger: never cooks, goes out all the time and is away most weekends. He is a young student and never brings anyone else to the house. I could do with one of these. I need a cat loving non smoker who works all day, goes away at weekends and eats out all the time. Ha ha. Anyway here's a couple of bad snaps of bad sketches done on Saturday.
Quick sketch over the water.
Tower Bridge from the pub.
Fellow sketchers

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Prince of Wales

Yesterday I drew the Prince of Wales pub nearby. The landlord was very grateful as it is to be converted into a B & B next year. He was keen to have a print and I will contact him about this. He was also interested in a drawing from the outside, which I was thinking of doing anyway. Today we met at Borough Market and sketched for a bit before having lunch on the terrace outside Southwark Cathedral where I did a short sketch of a few of us. After this we meandered down to HMS Belfast where I did a couple of desultory sketches before we met up at the pub there. A very enjoyable day. Here's the Prince of Wales drawing:

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Another plumbing disaster

Yesterday I decided to tackle the mess in my bathroom cupboards. I have already mentioned the two leaks in my bathroom towel rail. These have slowed down a bit but are still there of course. Anyway, I opened the doors of the cupboard under the sink and detected a mouldy smell. There is a place there under the sink with a plastic tray full of bits and pieces, on top of an upturned box lid full of makeup. This area is rarely disturbed, but I noticed to my horror that not only was the plastic tray full of water, but also the box lid - and covered in stinking mould. Obviously another leak. I cleaned it all up but the plumber can't come until Tuesday. On looking in this morning I can find no water, so it is a slow or intermittent leak. By Tuesday I will have spent three weeks rent on the plumber. Dear me. The new shower head and bedroom door I was planning to get are now on hold for the foreseeable future. Romy emailed to say the Urban Sketcher meeting is now on News Shopper and she will bring me a copy. Had a glimpse of it on their E-edition. Happy days. Kook arrived drenched with rain this morning, so I dried him with paper towels.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Local tragedy

A child was killed in a traffic accident near here yesterday. This is awful, and has made me feel miserable, especially since the news is full of the missing child in Wales too. Reminds me of the time many years ago when I was in our local newsagent in Twickenham. There had been talk of a child being killed by a car, then the police came in to tell the shop owner that it was her little boy. Dreadful. I have not achieved much in the past few days but did manage lunch with Romy yesterday. We are planning an outing in the next couple of weeks which should be fun. I am trying to do a list of my drawings and have just ordered one lot of wine for the opening. Will need a few more and some food. I think I will not provide a lot of food, but we shall see. Long chat with Nibby last night about funerals. She is against the idea and is looking into having her body collected in a bag and cremated without ceremony so that her friends and relations can just go to a wake. I pointed out that the misery of a funeral is probably important for achieving closure, but we shall see. My suspicion is that the undertakers have a complete grip on the death business and that the best one is likely to achieve is a so-called 'basic funeral'. After all, a body may need to be stored until the cremation takes place, and is probably put into some kind of coffin for transport purposes. A funeral director would arrange this so probably those costs could not be avoided. What was more interesting was Nibby's idea of producing cool ceramic urns for ashes. These could have a cheap plastic inner to be removing for scattering ashes and the urn kept as a memorial. I suppose these could be personalised, and I would quite favour a kind of Grayson Perry look to it. I thought it was a really good idea. I may commission one of these from Nibby. I suppose it could be handy to keep flour or sugar in afterwards. I imagine mine full of flour, with my fat lady image on the outside, to serve as a terrible warning to someone about to make a cake with it. I could have a balloon coming from my mouth with the legend:'just don't make the cake' or some such. I am sure Nibby or Dorothy could think of something more pithy. Oh well. I seem to have gone from tragedy to trivia in these few words.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Rain, rain, go away

is all I can say. Anyway it went away for a bit and Madeleine appeared on Sunday. We had a rather disappointing brunch at the Laughing Gravy: a very, very small alleged rarebit with not very crispy bacon, after which we strolled up to Joan Street and looked around the restaurants under the arches. We were searching for pudding, and this proved a vain search, as Madeleine did not fancy Baltic, which is a rather soulless space. We did attempt to go to the gelateria at Borough Market but could not get anywhere near it with the car. Finally we tried Bermondsey Street, but I think Madeleine was looking for the tea shop in Barnes, and nothing tempting presented itself. Finally we went home and settled for tea with some chocs I had acquired in Borough Market with Dorothy the day before. These were delicious. I printed some invitations to my exhibition yesterday and will attempt to snap one today and create a Facebook event. We shall see. Last night I did another sketch at Toulouse Lautrec.