Monday, 29 April 2013

New iphone snap - not that I am narcissistic

Actually I think I look a bit severe here.

Here's the flowers:

Keep on Trucking.......

Anyway, I am plodding on, doing the odd small sketch between spying filth everywhere in the flat and wiping it away. Dear me, I had not realised how dust and dirt accumulates. My life has become tragic. Anyway, still reading Anthony Hope - this time Rupert of Henzau which I have managed to get through most of, mainly due to what are becoming predictable twists in the plot, but fun just the same. My honeymoon couple came in completely knackered last night and collapsed into bed before I had stopped watching telly. The Village is definitely getting better and better. Have been playing with the camera on my new iphone, which seems much better than the old one. It whizzes round so you can snap yourself easily and I took one before I realised what I was doing. Outside at the end of the road the untended bed is looking good with some pretty wallflowers and a huge mass of comfrey which will not doubt invade the rest, but very attractive with lovely blue flowers. I once heard the leaves are good for headache. Today I may see if my coffee partner is available. Must remember to tell him to put sunblock on his nose, which has become a bit sunburned from the last bit of sun we had. Am toying with the idea of Toulouse Lautrec tonight. I may also pop to the art shop as a pen has broken it's tip, which I think can be replaced. We shall see.

Sunday, 28 April 2013


or nearly. Had a cancellation the day before the last guest was due, so rapidly changed my cancellation policy from 'flexible' i.e. no show no dosh, to 'strict' i.e. 50% payment for cancellations within five days of due appearance. We live and learn. Complacently, I was just vegging out for a couple of days, with four more days of leisure ahead when I had a sudden booking for a couple for three days. On honeymoon and travelling all over the place.This paid more than the cancellation, so I was quite pleased. Yesterday I managed to fit in a bit of desultory drawing at the National Theatre after looking at the rather good Parkinson exhibition upstairs before arriving home to swish a duster about the place before welcoming my guests last night. Apart from that, Madeleine kindly invited me to the first night of Othello the other day. The first half was rather long, but it picked up very well for the second half. Rory Kinnear and Richard Lester both excellent of course. I think we are drawing in Richmond next Saturday, which will make a change. I keep fiddling around to try and make the flat better: defrosted the freezer which had been overdue for some time, and I have done a couple of window boxes at the front to try and brighten things up a bit. They are selling huge bags of compost for £1 at the pound shop, so took my shopping trolley out yesterday and purchased a bag, which will be very handy. I have just graduated from the primroses, hyacinths and other scented plants to some pelargoniums for the summer. I shall try and find some trailing lobelia to put around the edges of things. I now have a wonderful new iphone which Dorothy kindly spent hours sorting out and connecting with my ipad and so on. It was a really long job. My coffee partner, David, is due to disappear to Malta for the month of May, so I shall feel a little bereft, particularly since Nibby is also going walkabout around the borders and other places. Had lunch with Romy at the Slug and Lettuce, somewhere to sit on the last sunny and warm day last week. She is looking very fit, and we virtuously ordered low calorie lunches and plan to meet again soon. I shall plod on with my bnbs this week, this couple disappearing on Monday and another young couple arriving on Tuesday. Apart from my nerves which are in shreds from the incursions into my space, I am quite enjoying the challenge of having people to stay. How I shall cope in the long term remains to be seen, but I have managed so far. I suspect that Barcelona will provide a welcome break in July though I have not travelled for so long I am slightly dreading the trip and the heat.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Too busy

I am now on my sixth Airbnb guest. Totally knackered. I keep finding filth all over the house and cleaning desperately, to little effect. I also go around touching up paintwork and marks on the walls. And buying house plants. And pots and pans to replace my tatty old ones. I managed to do a sketch of the fireplace about a week ago, but have not picked up a pen or pencil since. Oldie literary lunch today. Kooky brought in a tiny fledgling this morning. I think its wing was broken but had no idea what to do about it. I decided to put it into the pagoda bird feeder where it could not be attacked further, with a capful of water, but I think it is too young and will die, but I can't bear to kill it. Oh dear. I think it may have fallen out of a nest to the ground but can't find a nest. The weather is warmer, but rather dull today. The garden is slowly improving and Pete has put up the wall lamps for me. I did not realise that the old lamps had left a thick plaster line on the walls. I tried to knock and sand it off but failed so did a rather botched job of just painting over this. Tomorrow I have to babysit the gallery. Del has removed two of my paintings and is very keen to have my drawings. I am rather reluctant to sell these but she has agreed to put in framed prints instead, which will make them very cheap indeed. At least the prints are limited to 20 per image only. My last guest has very kindly given me a sketchbook with a cover she made from quilted materials, which is very American and pretty. So kind. She also took me out to dinner on the last night. We were due to try the Greek place, but it was covered in scaffolding and completely empty so we went to Brasserie Toulouse-Lautrec instead, which proved an excellent decision. Made some more orange cake for David which I gave him when we met for coffee yesterday. Romy is in Spain and surrounded by her Spanish wild cats again. She sent me a very pretty picture of one on the terrace. Another relative, Andrew, my cousin, has popped up out of the blue on my Facebook. I am not certain we ever met before, but he used to come and stay with the parents, probably when I was living overseas. He has been in a relationship for over 30 years and winters in Las Palmas, returning to the Isle of Wight for the summer. It seems that my uncle Michael is 88 and still going strong there, and my aunt Kim is 90, still driving around and volunteering at Osborne House. Amazing. Nibby now wants to rush to the Isle of Wight and see them but I have bookings all through the summer. Funnily enough, had I been working I may have gone in July since the punters are going on holiday there and I could have met up with the long losts, but such is life.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

End of an era

Here's the demolition of the old Lye Torng, previously Bedlam, previously The Gibraltar pub. Wonder what it will be next? a Costa I shouldn't wonder. We shall see........

Monday, 1 April 2013


Again. Dorothy was due but did not turn up until quite late having overslept. Expecting a label anglaise hen I was a bit disconcerted to be presented with a very different creature complete with a white feathered head and huge blue feet. Covered with authenticity labels this was a very expensive poulet de Bresse. Nightmare. I had not eviscerated a chicken for at least fifty years, and then only once, when Tim Williams brought an experimental hen back from the lab for the pot. That had needed plucking, which was not a good experience. Amazingly we succeeded to gut this one with the help of instructions from Dorothy's mobile. Actually it was quite delicious, which it should have been at £30. Of course we ate and drank too much. My new guest is due tomorrow evening and groceries from Tesco arrived today. These included lots of wild bird food, including seed rings, fat balls and a half coconut which I hung outside. I saw a robin in the garden which cheered me up a bit.