Friday, 30 October 2009

Routine CT scan

I called Diane today as we had planned to meet tomorrow, and I started making a new cover for the sofa in the conservatory as the old one had water marks on it that I could not remove. I did some leaf sweeping up, and in the evening we watched New Tricks.

Today I went off early to the Royal Free Hospital and had a blood test before going downstairs for my CT scan. This has now become a familiar procedure for me with the warm flush that you get, once the dye is injected into you. The good part is that there is no need to undress or even take your shoes off.

I was going to meet Diane in the foyer, but the entrance is being redesigned, and there is no foyer at this time. I called Diane, and we met walking towards each other on Haverstock Hill. We went into the George pub and I had a ginger beer, and we talked for a while before walking up to Hampstead.

We had a takeaway sandwich sitting in the sunshine watching the tourists coming to visit Fenton House, which is late 17th centuary, and has important collections of musical instruments, embroideries and china. We did not go in, but walked to the Whitestone Pond and then back to the station and then back home.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Plants and Secondhand Lions

Salty heroically bought home another minute mouse this morning, thankfully he does not deposit them on the bed. Later I re potted some of the cactus plants, which is always a bit of a prickly job.

We have quite a few plants, more than we have the space for, but somehow I cannot throw them out. One of them we bought years ago when it was about 3 inches high, now it has reached the ceiling and is bending to grow along it so I must prune it soon ( next spring) Cuttings from a Kangaroo Vine that Maureen gave us years ago has also reached the ceiling....if I put a net across the room they would meet in the middle.

Today Mas went off to meet a friend, and Glen called in, as planned, bringing a bottle of sherry with her. We sat in the conservatory as the sun was glimmering paley through the clouds, but at least it was bright in there. We had tea and Stollen which everyone seems to like, at least ones who like marzipan, and talked for a few hours.

Later I walked down to Edgware to pick up a few items from what we call the cheap shop, this shop sells all kinds of odd things that it is hard to find elsewhere. It is rather melancholy to see the evenings drawing in so early now.

We watched a film called Secondhand Lions with Robert Duvall and Michael Caine in it. We had seen this film before, but it is such a good film we enjoyed it as much as the first time we saw it.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Sorting things out and School of Rock

On Saturday we went off shopping, and had lunch at the Man in the Moon. Afterwards I spent time sweeping up leaves from the front garden path and pavement in the interest of keeping the peace, and tidiness, but I enjoy it too.

Toby phoned in the evening and chatted which was nice. Mas and I watched School of Rock in which Jack Black, who wants to be a rock star, poses as a substitute teacher. It is funny and curiously uplifting.

Today I did more leaves, and saw Maheena and Glen. Later I began to tidy up my studio which has all my art stuff, knitting stuff, and sewing stuff all untidily stuffed into small spaces. I got out all my knitting projects which are only half done, and I hope to finish over the winter.

Friday, 23 October 2009

The Affordable Art Fair

Today I went off by tube to Sloan Square to meet Pat at the Oriel as planned. We were going off to The Affordable Art show in Battersea Park, bur had a drink in the downstairs bar, which Pat liked, before we set off. We took the courtesy car to the show, scrambling out of it in a stiff and undignified manner from the seat over the boot.

Pat had not been to one of these shows before, and I was not sure if she would find it boring after a while, but she did not, and took a real interest in the artwork. I saw my friend from the Scottish Art Gallery. I always look carefully at his exhibition because he shows interesting and colourful art. This is the 10th year he has shown work at The Affordable Art Fair, two displays each year and he used to go to the Chelsea Art show as well.

We looked at pictures until we both got really hungry, and finding a cough sweet was not enough, we went to the cafe on the premises and had a Cornish pastie each (the worst I have ever eaten) with salad, and a flapjack biscuit.

Thus fortified we continued looking at the art. Having looked at everything, and feeling tired we decided it was time to leave. We waited momentarily for the courtesy car, and had more comfortable seats this time. As we drove across the bridge the view was stunning because everything was bathed in bright light with the setting sun, and the Thames looked as if it was liquid gold. One of the other passengers asked if we could all drive up to Edinburgh by the scenic route, avoiding all that motorway nonsense. It would have been nice......! On reaching Sloan Square we slipped into the tube and went in different directions home. Pat's parting shot was that we would have to think of somewhere nice to go next month.

When I reached Edgware it was dark with a new moon looking very evocative. I decided to walk for a bit more exercise, and as I was going along a car pulled up, and my terrible neighbour asked if I would like a lift home! I was so surprised, and all the way back he talked about cars, nothing controversial at all.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

On not being too serious!

This morning our neighbour spent a lot of time putting up a flimsy fence, to prevent us walking around the gate, as we all have for years, and to prevent us putting one footstep onto his property!

Coming home later, I saw Ben across the road, and crossed over to chat to him, but Salty had followed me outside and was meowing loudly, and looking as if he would run across our road. At the same time Ben's dog was barking and jumping up on the inside of his front door, so Ben said they would come round in the evening.

When Ben and Poppy came round we had coffee and caught up to date with certain local events and chatted for a while. Poppy was trying to persuade Ben to get us a metal detector, so that we can go off and find buried Roman treasure, and we generally had a funny time. On leaving, Poppy ran noisily and extravagantly across our neighbour's gravelled front there! She did make us laugh.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Buying, not selling

I called Pat as it was her birthday today and arranged to meet later in the week. I also spoke to Diane who is off to France tomorrow on the Eurostar.

I walked down to Edgware with the idea of selling a few books I did not want, but ended by buying 'My family and other animals', which is a favourite book; I had given it to someone to read in hospital years ago, but it had not been returned, so now I will have the treat of reading it again.

Today on the spur of the moment we went off to St. Albans to get some fresh fruit and vegetables, and we had lunch at Sazio's. The drive was lovely, very colourful because the leaves are all changing colour on the trees.

In the evening, hearing shouting, we discovered the police were visiting our neighbour, so we will have to see if this escalates!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Exorcist needed

The cat bought in a very tiny snail which I tried to take away from him, but he ate it, cracking it like a nut, but a piece of it must have got stuck on his tooth as he was comically trying to take it off. Obviously this cat has a French ancestor.

We had rather a subdued Sunday recovering from our adventures yesterday. Pete called to see if we had got home without too much hassle. We watched an old 'Ello 'Ello, otherwise pottered around keeping a low profile.

This morning Mas went shopping, and bought some batteries for his keyboard, the same make as the original ones, and magically they worked, and the keyboard was working again. Once Mas began using it as usual after some time a message came up saying someone else was reading his emails. This then involved contacting the help line and changing the passwords.

I found that I had been billed for a newsletter which I thought was free, so had to sort that out. In the meantime the sound on the TV went! We contacted the TV repair man again, and he said he did not know what the matter was, but he would call in again later to see what was going on.

Later we found that the TV was working properly again, so phoned the TV man again and told him that the TV worked, but we thought maybe we needed the services of an exorcist instead.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Leaving aggravations and going to Brighton

Yesterday morning Mas took the video player back to the shop for repairs, and bought some new batteries for his computer keyboard, but when he tried them on his return it would still not work. At this point my computer started misbehaving too, and switching itself off after having clicking fits.

We had some home made vegetable soup for lunch and I went into the garden and cut the grass and viciously swept up leaves till I felt less frustrated.

Today we got up and organised quickly, and went off to Mill Hill to take the train to Brighton. There were problems because of a suspected fire so we had to take a different route and go for part of the journey on the tube, all of which took more time than we had planned for.

Once in Brighton we walked to Pete's house, but momentarily no one was in, so we were much relieved to see him when he came back from the corner shop, as we were beginning to think we had come on the wrong day. From that point on we had a lovely day, meeting Pete's friends and chatting to everyone. We had a really nice pub lunch together, and then moved to a pub across the street where the chatting and drinking continued. It was nice to see so many people enjoying each others' company and looking so cheery.

The jorney home was very slow, and we ended getting home around 1.00am, and had some soup before going off to bed; a memorable day!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Letter to the police and electrical problems

I finally finished putting up the curtain pelmet, and having tidied up went for a walk. In the evening we watched 'What women really want' which we have seen before, but it still has some very funny moments.

This morning I found Salty had left a present of the smallest mouse in the world in the kitchen for us; of course it was dead poor thing. Later in the day I walked to Edgware, and posted the letter we had written to the police about the vandalism to our tree. I also bought table tennis balls for Pete's cat Calliope, hoping she would play with them as much as Salty does.

Poppy called in for a chat, and bought some special herbs for us to use when we made dinner; we had previously tasted a meal that she had made with them, and it was delicious. We did use the herbs as suggested, but forgot to add the lemon juice, and somehow it did not taste quite the same.

We found that our TV would not work, and luckily when we called the repair man, he came over and told us after looking at our setup that the video player we had recently bought was causing the problems, so he disconnected it so that we could return it to the shop for repairs. Next Mason's keyboard to his computer stopped working, so assuming it was batteries he replaced them, but to no effect, it still would not work.

Diane phoned to say she would be going to France soon for a few days. Luckily we were able to watch New Tricks later as the TV was working.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Bullying vandal and paintings to Guernsey

Today Mason had words with the vandal next door, but to no avail, as he feels justified in doing anything he wants, and has not got the power of reasoning like most people. Maddening!

I wrapped and posted my paintings off, and feel very pleased that these Guernsey landscapes will belong to someone who lives there. Sarnia Cherie! I also called Pete to find out what had been happening in Guernsey as he had been too tired to interrogate yesterday.

This is the evening view from my studio, and Salty playing inside the studio. Watched another Poirot this evening.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Tree vandalism and two landscapes bought

We discovered today, that while we were out yesterday, our vandalising neighbour had taken a ladder into our front garden and cut off several branches from our Robinia Frisia tree, and one large one from about half way up the tree. These branches did not overhang his front yard as those had already been cut off, bit by bit, by him on other occasions. He hates trees, especially those that loose their leaves in the autumn in case some blow onto the shared garden path or his cars. The tree looks quite unbalanced now. Mas and I spent quite a bit of time ineffectively fuming about it.

Pete's birthday today, and he and Lorraine are flying back from Guernsey. Later Pete phoned and said he had really enjoyed his holiday. Another good thing happened; two of my original paintings were sold today. In the evening we watched one of Agatha Christie's Poirots with the excellent David Suchet.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Art London, The Royal Hospital, Chelsea

This morning, after a slow breakfast we took the tube to Sloan Square as we had planned to go to Art London. After a large white wine in the Oriel which tasted like green cooking apples ( I think I will give this one a miss next time) we walked towards the river, and into the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital where an enormous marquis had been set up to house the art works.

The facilities were very good, and the whole exhibition gave the feeling of being light and airey. There was plenty to look at, and some of the paintings were of very high quality. Here are some rather quirky and interesting exhibits:

This was made from metal cutouts on individual wires.

By the time we left I felt I could barely stand up, but we walked back to Sloan Square,in the twilight, to get on the tube and go home again. I was also feeling really hungry, so Mas got me some chocolate (oh no!) which I ate in a trice and felt much better afterwards.

When we came out at Edgware we drove promptly to a Harvester bar in Mill Hill and had huge salads and chicken to eat.

Once home Salty made us welcome by being pleased to see us again.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Fundraising for Incognito Theatre Group

Today we drove over to New Barnet to go to a fund raiser for the Incognito Theatre Group which was being held in St. Mark's Church Hall. We talked to various interesting people there, including someone who can fix computers. We also met up with Maria and Myk, and had tea and homemade cake, and I bought some nice greeting cards too.

When we left we decided to look in the church before going home. Maria and Myk came as well, and we were talking to either to the verger, or the vicar for a while, and his wife was flower arranging. The services are a High Church of England, but they have been sharing the facilities with a Greek Orthodox community for years, who have now found a church for themselves.

We spent some time looking at the religious paintings; Myk was being funny suggesting we were about to be struck by a thunderbolt for being irreverent, but we left all the same!

When we got home I found I had an email from Betty and Jana which was a nice surprise.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Patterned covers and Harleqin Blues

Mas had his flu jab today without any ill effects. I phoned Margaret who has been ill for two weeks, and now has a troublesome cough.

Having recharged some batteries we can now use the TV remote to change channels. Apparently trying to do this manually does not work. I finished painting the second chair, and did some mending and other things that had to be done. The weather was sunny, and I thought about Pete and Lorraine winging their way off to Guernsey today.

This morning when we woke up Salty was sleeping curled, up next to Mas, with his head on his favourite toy, the hedgehogs.....he looked the picture of innocence. When I went downstairs I found he had been up the chimney, and had been having fun making sooty paw prints on the cream covers again. Later I made a catfoil out of plastic coated board, and bent it to make a fireguard so that the chimney cannot be seen by him.

My stupid computer was not working properly so I took the opportunity to go to Watford on the bus, and walked through The Harlequin Centre with the idea of buying some blue fabric dye and swimming goggles. I got the dye, but the sports shops all seem to be closed down now.

Christmas decorations are already in some of the shops. I walked through the covered market, but did not see anything that tempted me there.

The bus journey home seemed rather depressing, I think it is because the nights are drawing in so quickly now.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Jumpy people and setbacks.

I went off to the library, got out some new books then walked to the Broadwalk. I found a birthday card for Pete, which, when you open it, a football crowd sings the Chelsea song, loudly. I showed it to Mas who almost jumped put of his skin when he opened it. It had the same effect on the cat when his curiosity got the better of him as well.

Today I went off to the Dental Hygienist, then Mas and I went to Stanmore to get shopping. Accidentally we backed the car out knocking another car that had parked in the wrong place, making a small dent in the side. We gave our insurance details and expect to hear more about this later.

Once home I could not make my computer work properly, and we found we were unable to change the channel on the TV. I also noticed that a tooth has been visibly scratched. I guess it is one of those days when a couple of stiff G&Ts and a large bar of chocolate would help.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Sprucing up

We drove up to St. Albans to have lunch with Tania and Robert at the Bua Thai restaurant, and get our shopping. We had a nice lunch together, but I still did not feel quite well and now had a bit of a cough as well. We got our fruit and vegetables and went home.

My computer is playing up again which is disappointing as it had been behaving normally for a while. The TV is also being difficult, but luckily it was mostly only the batteries in the remote control.

Today I undercoated the other wicker chair. I have decided that we should make and eat soups for the midday meal, as it would be healthy and hopefully not fattening. we had a very nice tomato soup today made from the following:

12 tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 dessertspoon of olive oil, 3 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of basil, 1/2 cup of parsley (luckily from the garden), pepper and pinch of turmeric.

Method: cook chopped onion and garlic in oil (adding oil if needed), then add chopped tomatoes, stirring for a while, before adding the stock. Cook slowly for about an hour before blending (or sieving, depending how particular you are) then put the mixture into the blender with herbs and milk, and blend. Reheat with seasoning and serve.

Later I cut my hair which always makes me feel better (like Samson in reverse).

Friday, 2 October 2009

Dentist and wicker working

Mas had to go to the dentist again. The dentist had kindly wanted to finish his work on Mason's tooth before rushing off to the airport to be with his ill father, he also bought another Dan Brown book for me, despite having so many other things to think about.

I still have a sore throat, but decided to paint an undercoat on one of the wicker chairs we had bought at the car boot sale. It looked a bit weird, and Mas suggested we (we?) think of another colour.

This morning I felt a bit better, and we went off to Stanmore to do shopping and go to the bank. While there, we had lunch at the Man in the Moon which was nice. In the afternoon I finished off the chair in a very pale creamy white which slides unobtrusively into our colour scheme, and Mas thought it looked good.
Salty slides unobtrusively into our colour scheme too!