Monday, 26 November 2012

Keep on Trucking

It's well and truly over now. I made almost enough to cover the gallery hire. Art materials, framing and so on are another matter. Oh well. Including prints, but not cards, I sold 14 works which seemed to amaze the gallery. Seems they don't usually sell much there, but again, the work was not expensive. I am so relieved it is finished, but glad to have met such nice people who came to have a look around and buy things. True to form, Christophe and Victorine arrived and helped me take it all home. We then subsided with tea, followed by wine, and I suggested going for dinner to Toulouse Lautrec (where else?). Just then Nicos arrived, so we staggered off only to discover that there were no tables. Fortunately Nolan managed to find us a table upstairs so we were able to order from the bar menu. Barrelhouse Blues were on. As Nicos said it was amazing that a singer with no voice was so compelling that in no time we were all singing along and having a fantastic evening. There was great enthusiasm from the mainly young crowd, and it was someone's birthday, which made it even better. Nicos had to leave early for Spain the following morning, so after seeing him off I vegged out a bit until the arrival of Madeleine with other relatives. After a coffee we went to the War Museum. I was so tired that after a brief perusal of the Home Front shop and cafe (great cakes), I sat about while the others explored the place. My lodger had not texted so I texted her, but she had apparently booked herself into a hostel for another night, strangely. When she appeared last night she asked where the yellow trolley was, and when I told her about the damage she categorically denied it, and tried to blame my sister for it. Extraordinary. I caught her out by showing her the butterfly badge (which I had removed with difficulty with a sharp knife,) and asking if she recognised it. She did, but then said it could not have been stuck to the trolley, because there was paper on the back, and no corresponding mark among the other stains she had made on the trolley. I placed it over the matching stain, and she then said she had not realised the trolley was valuable and I should have put a cover on the top. Dear me. She will have to go, and the sooner the better. I don't know whether it is a personality flaw, or a cultural difference, this refusal to accept any responsibility or blame for anything. Anyone else would just apologise and move on. On the brighter side I resumed my meetings with David, and had home made toast and jam for breakfast at Mamuska. Today I shall meet Romy and another friend of hers for an early lunch, and I shall take along the drawings and prints she has purchased.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Plodding On

and babysitting. Had a super dinner at Les Deux Salons with Madeleine, Nicos and Dorothy. The food really is good. And the service. And the atmosphere. Various people have popped in and had a look around, and some have actually bought drawings. Mark and Rade had a sketching session with me which helped to pass the time. Yesterday Romy came in and bought some things and Kaff purchased a drawing too, which was great. I am hoping Christophe and Victorine will fullfil their promise of helping me pack up tomorrow otherwise I will have to do it on Sunday. Madeleine is coming round on Sunday with relatives, and my lodger (presumably)will be back, as Nicos leaves early on Sunday morning. So I will be washing sheets and changing beds early on Sunday. Friday was a bit boring at the gallery at first, then some pensioners from the charity turned up, had a good look around and bought some cards. A couple more visitors wandered around, then Eileen, who is 'local' and apparently a kind reader of this blog, appeared, and purchased a drawing and some cards, which was very much appreciated. Then Julia from college, who I had not seen for ages, had a look around and bought some cards, so altogether the afternoon was considerably brighter than the morning. Today is the last day and I shall close at 4pm. Christophe and Victorine are in fact helping me, thank goodness. The main problem with that place is parking, so I shall endeavour to pack up and then assemble everything outside ready to go. Julia thinks that someone should publish books of my drawings.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Survived the opening!

largely due to the help of my sister, Nibby, who womanned the drinks and welcomed the guests. During the day we had about ten visitors, and around twenty or thirty altogether at the opening which wasn't too bad. I sold some work, always a good sign! Unused to this kind of thing I did become rather tense, so arrived home last night quite relieved that there had been no disasters. The gallery had not provided enough hooks, so Nibby went out and found some little removable fixer things for one section which was excellent. There was tons of stuff to bring back and we are left with a bit of a wine lake, which I had expected, but was glad to have too much rather than too little. Nibby goes back to Macca today, and her exhibition opens tomorrow. I would love to have been there but have to babysit my things for the rest of the week. My good friends Christophe and Victorine are going to help me dismantle the exhibition on Saturday afternoon. I shall therefore have a bit of help, and they have a car, which will be useful. I now feel more relaxed, though there is a bit of a 'hot bed' situation chez moi: Nibby leaving this morning and Nicos arriving to stay tonight. Then Nicos leaving early on Sunday for my lodger to return and get ready for work on Monday. Dear me. We had a great time at Zedel, which I would recommend, on Sunday night, Wednesday we are going to Le Deux Salons, and out with Christophe and Victorine on Saturday night.


This is me in a very slightly over the top wig. And my Dame Ednas.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunday Hanging Day

Anne-Marie and Nibby turned up to help me hang my pictures and we trogged along to the gallery. Of course a) the ladder provided by WAC was broken, and b) the rods for hanging did not have enough hooks on them. This meant that a group of eight drawings remained to be hung. Very frustrating, but we hope to try and obtain some more hooks from the gallery today. They really are pretty hopeless. The room was full of chairs and there was some kind of pentecostal service going on in the room next door with lots of aggressive-sounding loud shouting. Poor Anne-Marie was quite alarmed and thought an urban riot was beginning in the place. We will have to get the chairs removed today and obtain a table. Fortunately we went out to Zedel later for dinner and had a super time with Nicos and Dorothy. So today it's back to the fray with the opening tonight and we have to cart all the food and drink etc along to the place this morning while trying to sort out the final problems. Hopefully after this it will be relatively plain sailing. My other problem is that my mobile appears to have partly kicked the bucket. It will not show me my messages or send any and sometimes does not work at all. Good timing really. Typical.

Don't know where to start

Because it is all too much for an old woman. My lodger left after cleaning her room. I then found an open box of cereal tucked away by the bed, and my sixties Kartell yellow trolley top ruined with marks all over it and some kind of badge stuck firmly to the top. I was horrified as this had been quite expensive and a gift from my son and his wife. I immediately removed it and have managed to get stuff off the top but I suspect it will need sandpapering and polishing to try and restore it. Nightmare. Changed the sheets but the room, despite airing, smells very musty. I have put the dehumidifier in there, but the smell seems to be coming from my lodger's clothes in the wardrobe. Though she does not do it in the house, she is a smoker, which must cause the smell. I do wish she would find somewhere else to live, and the sooner the better. If I ever get another lodger, which I doubt, it will have to be a non smoking cat lover. I then had some slightly confusing messages from my son's Spanish brother, so I was unsure whether he would come here to stay while Nibby is in the room, and realising he might come on Sunday instead of Tuesday as planned, dashed off to an army surplus shop in the Cut to purchase a sleeping mat thing. Just in case. At that point I had another confusing conversation with Madeleine about bringing some other relatives over next Sunday. This is the day when I have to take down the exhibition with only a two hour slot in which to do it. I am still thinking about this and trying to get a hairy arsed bloke to help me with the dismantling. Then Nibby rang to say that instead of coming to Mamuska for lunch at 12 they will have lunch at home and be arriving at 1.45. That will just give us time to pack and dash off to the gallery for 2pm, so that is OK. Then another message from the Spanish contingent to suggest dinner on Sunday evening. Nibby not desperately keen but I pointed out that it might be quite relaxing to go out early and be waited on after our hard work, and will be nice to meet, since I haven't seen him for years. She reluctantly agreed, so I booked and we will meet Dorothy too. Masses of people have said they are coming to the opening, but Dorothy says this type of information is not always reliable. One of the definite absentees will be Romy, who spent yesterday afternoon and evening sending me pictures from Spain where they are stranded at home by flooding and collapse of mountain roads. Her last comment was that she was going out for a walk, which I found rather worrying. Am rather concerned about her. I shall now go and purchase the papers and several containers of Febreze. And text Romy a bit later after fortifying myself with coffee. I have been trying to tranquillise myself by sketching in bed. And trying to improve a drawing of a pub exterior. Will snap these later.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Another Jam Session

at Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec last night. Apparently the musical theatre on Sunday night was absolutely amazing. ( Don't know whether I have mentioned that First Foot, the fishy pedicure place has closed. Too upmarket I expect. Oh well. I felt really sorry for the owner who is a hard worker and an asset to the shopping centre. I do hope she will come to the opening of my little show.) Did a couple of sketches at TL but there was another artist there doing huge A1 or A2 sketches in oil pastel with these huge Sennelier sticks. He was very good indeed so I was quite unsatisfied with my efforts. Because of my scalp psoriasis I am wearing a kind of black turban thing today. I may have to wear these a lot of the time if things don't improve so am practising. I may purchase them in a few different colours. We shall see. Getting a bit nervous about my show. Still, too late to cancel now so I shall have to grin and bear it all. May well get the fruit juices on the day of the opening since there is a Sainsbury's over the road, which will also be handy if we run out of wine - though probably no one will come and there will be a wine lake for Christmas. We shall see. Anyway here's the sketches I did last night:

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Strange Diet

So odd, eating an unhealthy diet.I keep stopping myself from eating fruit and vegetables apart from the odd banana and peeled potato. I am definitely missing mushrooms which I love. Oh well, all in a good cause. Went to Imperial War Museum yesterday but could not get inspired so did this sketch of the Flowers of the Forest pub instead. Full of characters, could have done several sketches. A guy came up to me and said he had seen me sketching in the Good Intent a couple of weeks ago and they had all thought I was a copper's nark! Quite exciting at my age. On Saturday I sold a print to the landlord of the Prince of Wales. He also wants a print of the outside, which I will do at a later date. Quite good that people want to buy things. I may trot along to the musical thing at Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec tonight, or if not, to the last jam session tomorrow before my exhibition next week. Very nervous about this. Unbelievably, I found a door parked with the rubbish at the end of the street. I measured it (right size) and dragged it back home. A real effort getting it up the front steps and nearly fell over a couple of times. However it is now propped against my bedroom wall. All I need are some hinges and handles. It has handles which look a bit complicated so I may try and get them off. We shall see. At least it will save me some money which I can ill afford. Came back from collecting the papers and the whole house stank as I walked in. Seems my lodger had been cooking again without putting the extractor fan as I had requested on several occasions. The pong filled the whole place. I pointed this out to her and she protested that she had only been cooking vegetables. I said that the smell was quite awful as one came through the front door. I then switched the fan on to get rid of some of this, only to discover a couple of minutes later that she had opened the back door and switched the fan off again! She really will have to go. She says she does not like the noise from the extractor fan. Jeesus! Not that I am intolerant ratty old bag, you understand.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Thank God the bit in the local paper was small and far in but still very embarrassing to me. There were a couple of bad shots of my drawings, not helped by being tiny, but still. All publicity will have to be good publicity. Did a couple of enlargements at the printers to use as posters outside the place and the man carefully widened the images to fit the page, so now my face looks enormously wide! Dorothy is in Macau, hoping to get back to Hong Kong tonight. Says Macau is really pretty. I purchased some more low residue foods today. At least they are cheap: things like tinned spaghetti, tinned carrots, tinned peaches, rice pudding and cheap old white sliced bread. Also purchased some chicken legs which I stewed with a very small amount of onion and garlic adding bayleaf rosemary and juniper berries which I shall strain out. Managed to find marmalade without peel also. Dear me. Have actually eaten a toasted cheese sandwich with very little cheese in it. And a banana, seemingly the only untinned fruit I am allowed. Can't remember what groceries I ordered online which are due tonight but no doubt they will be useless. Gave my cleaner the Reggae Reggae sauce I was trying, as this is evidently far too spicy and has bits in. Tragic. Tomorrow I will print the last of the drawing lists, purchase a stapler and fasten them all together. I shall also need masses of bluetac. I think I will have to type out all the main legends in capitals to put on card, too. More wine coming tonight.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Improving a Bit

Ventured to the shopping centre briefly today and purchased the Times. I have decided my innards are shot to hell so have decided to go on a 'low residue diet' which should give them a bit of a rest. Mind you, it is all very daunting, eating nothing which is normally considered good for you (ie fresh fruit and vegetables, porridge, pulses etc. etc.) but just a bland, invalid type diet. However I shall be able to eat bananas occasionally so stocked up on these, plus white bread and rich tea biscuits, but for today have just had one cup of chicken noodle soup minus the noodles, and two rich tea biscuits with tea. Apparently toast and jam without fruit pieces is OK so that is easy. I shall be trying the delights of tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce, custard, jelly without fruit, but I think I am still allowed tinned sardines, thank goodness. I suspect I must lose weight on this dreary diet which will certainly preclude dining out. We shall see. I imagine my insides must improve because they won't have much to do. Did some printing today and made up some more Christmas cards. Not at all sure about these. Oh well. Dreading seeing the Southwark News tomorrow. I shall not sleep all night worrying about what a fool I have made of myself. Oh God. Must get my jaws wired. And mouth taped up permanently. Finished a little sketch of Percy, Evon's basset hound which I started ages ago.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Worser and Worser

Still confined to barracks but must try and get out later to buy some papers of various types. Dear me. Slightly cross exchange on the phone this morning. Seems the council would like to charge my ex for another few months rent until they finally cleaned the place out for reletting. This is apparently done quite slowly in case a relative turns up at the property though I suspect it has more to do with local cuts or inefficiency. Of course I did not have enough money as I only had the rent statement found in his place, and had paid out all the other sums. I am also somewhat against paying for rent after his death, since this had been previously paid from housing benefit which had been stopped on death, and his very small legacy was only due to the sudden payment of a state pension. He had had to live without this for a long time because they had forgotten to pay him and had only been paying pension credit. They were quick enough to stop it when he died, and I still have to try and get my mind around the possibility of his owing money for months after he died when it was hardly his fault that they took so long to reclaim their property after being informed of his death. Anyway the official eventually advised me to just pay the amount owing on his rent statement since his account was closed, so will do this and hope they will not make further demands. My whole attempt to try and do what he would have wished for his sons has been a complete pain from the start, and just shows that everyone, however young or poor, should have a will. I am still quite cross about this council thing. I must try and get well enough to go out soon since I have to do lots of photocopying for my exhibition, and need to somehow get up to Waterloo Action Centre with the posters for the exhibition. Illness is always so inconvenient. Strict instructions to live on water for the next two days from Nibby, before graduating to full fat Coke. Dear me. At least I don't need to buy food, but will need to get out to get the papers and drinks. If I can. Am still a bit doubled up and certainly not confident enough to leave the flat.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Monday All Day

Had a call from Southwark News to say my snap was a bit blurry unfortunately so sent them a couple of less flattering ones of me. Should have sent this self portrait with Deirdre Barlow specs. Or not. Nibby rang to say I have now sold my Lyons Corner House drawing so will have a few prints made since it seems popular. We shall see. Have also been dealing with the council about my ex who appears to have owed some rent. Since they sent a statement about this I find it hard to imagine that he could have owed more rent after he died unless you have to give a month's notice after your death. Dear me. They will tell me how much it is tomorrow. We shall see. Very dull today and have had Delhi belly all day confining me to barracks. This will exclude any possibility of enjoying an evening at Toulouse Lautrec which is a pity. I also doubt whether I shall make it to the cafe in Chiswick on Friday. However I should manage the arranged visit to sketch in the War Museum on Saturday. I hope. I shall see what the Southwark News prints on Thursday, and depending how positive this is I might then see if the publican who was interested in buying a print still wants one, otherwise it will go in the show with the original.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Soaking Sunday

Pouring with rain today, as I realised early this morning when a drenched Kook made black pawmarks all over my duvet cover, changed only on Friday. Freezing cold too. Winter is obviously impatient, considering the summer was hardly noticeable. Oh well. Girded my loins yesterday and struck forth to the Museum of London on the 100 bus which of course was rerouted just before my stop, but walked to Little Britain and fortunately found a Pret for coffee. Succumbed to a Love Bar(so many calories they don't mention the number) which is one of my recent weaknesses in the food line. Francesca appeared and we chatted until the meeting time. There were plenty of sketchers, half of who I did not see until our final pub meet at the Lord Raglan at 4pm. The place was rather dark, but I finally sat and painfully sketched a transported bay window from a Lyons Corner House with a ghostly 'Nippy' waitress, I think they called them, in a filmed background. Quite took me back, though I remember being in similar places called Fuller's, always painted white outside, which were rather good and famous for their iced walnut cakes. I was not entirely happy with the sketch so may try and get a bit more depth into it as it took me ages fiddling around with all the decorated bits. After this I just did a very different and loose impression of the main entrance inside before giving up completely. The soup I had for lunch was quite good. There were excellent sketches to be seen later at the pub, not surprisingly since many of the sketchers draw for a living and are designers, animators, illustrators and architects. Gives me a bit of a complex and I am so jealous of their excellent skills, but I soldier on in hopes of improvement. Must try and be less lazy in future. I always call the time when I have to reveal my efforts the 'moment of shame'. I may do a couple of prints of my Lyons drawing and experiment a bit further with the light and shade on these. We shall see. A surprise email from Nicos, my son's half brother who may be coming to London for a week on 14th November but we won't know until Friday. He might be able to get to my exhibition if he comes and it will be good to see him again. If he stays with me it may well be on the living room floor so I shall have to obtain a folding mattress thingy but won't bother to obtain one of these until I know for sure and am sure he has not had a offer of better accommodation.

Friday, 2 November 2012

More Friday

Blimey, had a call from a local newspaper, wanting a chat and asking for snaps of my drawings so I may well be in Southwark News next week. I hope the article isn't too awful as I probably waffled on and talked complete nonsense in my surprise at being contacted. Oh well. We shall see. I may have to go into hiding after next Thursday, but they do say that all publicity is good publicity. Dear me. Evon just rang to say Cathy had not turned up at her place and she couldn't get hold of her. Good thing I had not left home, though I was just about to. I shall wait until summoned. Hmmm. Seems Cathy fell asleep so they are going to be really late and we may not get a table since they can't book. I have been asked to wait here until they set off which seems a bit daft as I could leave and make sure of a table. Oh well. Well, the C10 bus is a bit of a nightmare in rush hour. However I managed to find the place in Maltby Street and get a table and the others arrived soon after. We had a great evening eating, drinking and chatting, fortunately got home early as I am drawing again tomorrow. A week tomorrow I am glad to see we will be drawing at the Imperial War Museum, so I shan't have far to go.
Evon is on the left. It's her last night in her forties, so I gave her a birthday card featuring my drawing of the stairs to Elephant & Castle bingo hall just to let her see her future. She thanked me and gave me rather a bitter little smile.

Friday Again

Seems Dorothy is popping off for a short break in Hong Kong on Monday, back next Saturday. I hope this is fun. Washing my sheets today I turned the heating on to dry them. After a while I went in to my lodger's room as she had complained that the radiator was only lukewarm. It felt very hot to me, so I suspect the main problem is that she leaves the window open all day. It might be better to just leave it open a tiny crack but all the time, and put an extra cover over the bed which I can provide. Oh well. Meeting Evon and Cathy for an early celebration of Evons 50th birthday tomorrow. We shall apparently go to a local place which I have yet to find. Nibby told me that you can make home made condensed milk from dried milk, sugar and water. Tried this and it tasted a bit nasty so added some vanilla and almond essence. Then discovered I had not put enough dried milk in. Dear me, may try and add some more. We shall see. Unless it is totally wet tomorrow may well go and draw at the Museum of London in an attempt to provide something to frame for my exhibition. It really is getting bloody cold. I may try and purchase some navy dye to dye one of my large cashmere jumpers in the hope that it will felt up, shrink a bit and become warmer. We shall see.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Day of the Dead

Well it has been in Southwark. I took Julian's advice and went to ASC who were unable to make any suggestions re publicity since WAC dont have a mailing list and the people from the art shop said ASC would only want to promote their own people. I am ploughing a bit of a lonely furrow/pissing in the wind here, I can see, so rather than waste my news release, just fired it off to some local papers who will probably completely ignore it. Oh well. Tant pis. Sent some flowers to my mother-in-law for her birthday today. I am looking out some snaps of my decorated skull and some other kitschy things to take tonight. I suspect I will have to wear some bright colours and only hope I am not expected to have a tree on my head. We shall see. My lodger is complaining about the cold in her room. She has the door firmly shut at all times, otherwise the heat might filter through from the hall and living room. It probably doesn't help that she leaves the window open all day for fresh air so it is freezing when she comes back. Nothing much I can do apart from offer her an extra quilt for the bed. It will be ages before I can afford to have the radiator knob thing changed which will probably help. Two heating engineers have checked that the radiator does not need bleeding. Dear me. I shall probably report back to this blog again either later this evening or tomorrow morning. We shall see. Dear me, I am all overcome by kitsch. Arrived at the Crypt and found friends, grabbed wine and cupcake and wandered around. Well it was over the top and then some, but great fun, with an altar for Day of the Dead, some people dressed as their favourite dead artist (Frida Kahlo's by the dozen) etc. etc. So here's some snaps:
That's quite enough for now. More on Flickr and Facebook.