Thursday 31 January 2008

Watercolour and Drawings Fair

Some of my paintings have been taken to this art fair by The Linda Blackstone Gallery which seems like a great honour. I was filling my bird feeder when a robin almost flew onto my hand, so I am taking that as a lucky omen.

Watercolours and Drawings Fair
Modern Works on Paper
The Royal Academy of Arts
31 January - 3 February

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Photographs of framed paintings

Yesterday I collected some of my pictures that have been framed. In the 'flesh' they look really good, framing makes such a difference! Mas particularly liked the butterfly one and wanted to keep it, but unframed he had not given it a second glance. I have painted the butterfly picture as if it was a silk painting, with gold outlining; the frame exactly matches this cool gold colour.
Unfortunately the photos do not do the framing justice, it is hard to get a good representation as the glass reflects everything in natural daylight.

Saturday 26 January 2008

Sark's way of life will change.

The island of Sark is part of the UK, but it has been somewhat independent and has a feudal laws which have had to be approved of by Britain. There is a small parliament; the head of the island is the Seigneur. This way of life has more or less remained the same since Elizabethan times, apart from the German occupation during the last war. It depends largely on tourism for income.

The reclusive billionaire Barclay brothers, (who own The Ritz hotel in London, and the Daily Telegraph,) live on their own island, in a castle, in Sark’s territorial waters. The brothers have bought up a fifth of Sark, including three of the six hotels. They are in conflict with the Seigneur, and have stated that their ultimate goal is the democratic reform of Sark. The Seigneur has called for his own feudal powers to be restricted, but Sark’s parliament has resisted. The Seigneur is popular, and his family have governed the island since 1852.

Last year the European Court of Human Rights bought pressure on the island to change the inheritance and some tax laws. On January the 13th Jack Straw (the British Lord Chancellor) demanded that Sark move to full democracy. On January the 16th the parliament,( the Chief Pleas,) modified some of the laws.

This is some kind of democracy when two extremely rich brothers, living on their own island within a fortress can bring pressure to influence the way of life of Sark, while at the same time buying up the island for their own profit.

La Coupeé, which joins Big and Little Sark.

Thursday 24 January 2008

Kaffee Fassett, Hampstead sites and lunch with Diane

Yesterday I heard Kaffee Fassett, (the renowned textile designer, knitter, quilter and artist) being interviewed on the radio. He was born in California, but lives here now. When asked what he thinks of British weather he said he really enjoyed it, and when it was dreary and grey outside he looked forward to sitting beside the hearth and knitting, which he can do really fast.

I always feel like knitting in the winter too, I think it must be something to do with the survival instinct. One of these days I will try my hand at one of his lovely bright designs.

I took the tube to Hampstead, and walked down to Belsize Park to meet Diane. On the way I took a few photos.

Flask Walk, Hampstead

Hot crépes!

Moroccan Cafe.

Diane and I met as planned in 'Ask', and had a drink before going back to Hampstead and having a small lunch with some laughs and a long chat in The Flask Pub restaurant before going our separate ways.

Monday 21 January 2008

Selecting pictures to frame and sociable goings on.

Having decided I could not paint a masterpiece right now, I enlisted Linda Blackstone's help to choose some pictures from those I have already painted, for mounting and framing. Although she was really busy packing up her gallery she took a long time helping me, and she picked exactly the right mount and frame for each picture. She is the artist! I am really looking forward to seeing them once they are done as they will look so much better framed.

Diane came over for dinner which was really nice and we drank the delicious wine she bought, exchanged Christmas gifts, and caught up with what has been going on. Due to one reason or another we had not seen each other for two months which is unusual for us.

Today I had a nice long e-mail from Betty who I also had not heard from lately. For some reason her computer had decided it did not need to work for a while, as they do, but after resting it is back, and standing to attention again.

I went the scenic way to Watford, on the bus, today and got some shopping. Now I must go and cook dinner.

Thursday 17 January 2008

Swimming and The London Art Fair

We managed to go for our first swim this year which made us feel virtuous, but the water in the pool was cold which was a disincentive to stay in for too long. In the evening we went as invited to our neighbours, Glen and Barry for dinner, which made a nice change.

Today we went to the London Art Fair which is held in the Business Design Centre at The Angel. We looked at the displayed art; a lot of it seemed quite underwhelming, but there were some very interesting pieces, and as usual I liked some of Chris Bushe's paintings.

When we left it was beginning to get overcast and dark, but this man was playing haunting Irish folk music in the street, while he was walking a tightrope.

Tuesday 15 January 2008

Friends, family and Tommy Cooper

The other day I was walking home and feeling a bit blue, probably just because it is January. To cheer myself up I began making a list of all my family and my friends and people that I have known and loved throughout my life. I reached home about 20 minutes later and had not stopped counting, but I was feeling extremely lucky to be me.

Here are a few of some old Tommy Cooper jokes that Tania and Robert sent me yesterday: ( they liked 9 best, but I liked 2 as it reminded me of silly breakfasts with Mas.)

1. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

2. My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli. A strong currant pulled him in.

3. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

4. So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me 'Can you give me a lift?'I said 'Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it.'

5. 'You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.' So that was nice

6. Two fat blokes in a pub, one says to the other 'Your round.' The other one says 'So are you, you fat bast**d!'

7. A man walked into the doctors, he said, 'I've hurt my arm in several places’ the doctor said, 'Well don't go there anymore'

8. A man takes his Rotteweiller to the vet. 'My dog is cross-eyed, is there anything you can do for him?''Well,' said the vet, 'let's have a look at him' so he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then he checks his teeth.Finally, he says, 'I'm going to have to put him down.' 'What? Because he's cross-eyed? No, because he's really heavy.

9. Two elephants walk off a cliff...boom, boom!

Monday 14 January 2008

Socializing, shopping and car maintenance

We have been fairly busy; I have painted two more pictures (but still have not managed to do a significant one) and Mas has been working on his web site. In between we went to St. Albans and had lunch with Tania and Robert in the Thai restaurant, and one evening we were invited to a party by Margaret and John who had prepared a lovely buffet with tempting food for a variety of different tastes, and it was fun seeing friends again.

On Saturday we went to Boreham Wood to get some shopping. We walked past one shop window where an elegant young boy mannequin was dressed in smart but casual clothing with a nice jacket over his shoulders; then he moved! We watched him for a while, saw him arranging his pose and then startling people in various ways. He was probably about 10 years old, but very good at it. I think he must have seen the mime artists that sometimes perform in Leicester Square.

Today we went to Watford where I bought a new swim suit (which I hope I will be able to squeeze into) and had lunch at Yummy, a Chinese restaurant that we eat about once a year, but the owners always remember us. On the way home the sound from the exhaust (or muffler as Mas would say ) meant that we had to replace it immediately. We had a downpour of rain driving home, and I saw another double rainbow.

Romy relaxing in Belize.

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Stanmore churches and W.S Gilbert

Mas and I, feeling somewhat stir crazy, decided to have a pub lunch in Stanmore. After lunch we went for a short walk through Stanmore for a bit of exercise, and because I wanted to look at the church which I had only seen in passing before.

In the church grounds there is a ruin which is securely locked, but a notice says that it can be viewed from April onwards. Being curious about the history of the church I found that there had been several churches on the same site.

The first that is known about was built in the 6th Century by Saxons, after they conquered London. The second church on this site was built in the 14th Century, dedicated to St. Mary.

The third replaced St.Mary's in 1632, and was the first church made of brick in England. It was dedicated to St. John and was consecrated by the Bishop of London,William Laud. After the civil war William Laud, who was then the Archbishop of Canterbury, was put on trial for High Treason because he had consecrated three churches (including this one) and it was considered a papist tradition. He was beheaded at Tower Hill on 10.1.1645.

The present church was built close to the ruin. The foundation stone was laid in the presence of the Dowager Queen Adelaide (married previously to William IV, and aunt to Queen Victoria), who was residing in Bentley Priory at the time. This Anglican church, named St. John the Evangelist was consecrated in 1850.

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert is buried here: Dramatist, librettist, poet, illustrator who worked with Sir Arthur Sullivan to write 14 comic operas.

After this we went home for a cup of tea to get warm again.

Tuesday 8 January 2008

Computer problems and infectious smiling

The beginning of the year has been a bit fraught for us. Mas updated the computer security systems which caused problems for days on end. Hopefully things will be better now. I have been urgently trying to paint a masterpiece, but listening to protracted conversations with computer help lines has not proved too inspiring. I have painted two pictures, but they have not worked out as I intended.

On a more cheerful note, Chris sent me this from Switzerland :

Smiling is infectious
You catch it like the flu;
When someone smiled at me today
I started smiling too

I passed around the corner
And someone saw me grin
When I smiled back, I realized
I`d passed it on to him

I thought about that smile
And realized its worth
A single smile, like his or mine
Could travel round the earth

So, if you feel a smile begin
Don`t leave it undetected
Let`s start an epidemic quick
And get the world infected.

Tuesday 1 January 2008

New Year's Eve

The last day of the year, and Mas is feeling better, but still with a cough. We went out and got a little shopping then, as we walked along the street, there was a smash and grab incident just in front of us with various people shouting. It transpired that a young man had gone into a small shop and snatched a handbag from a dummy in the window dragging half of it away. Two of them were chased out of sight by a security guard, but I think that only the dummy body was found.
After this we had a pub lunch at The Moon Under Water, just for a change of scene.

We had another quiet evening, but did stay up long enough to see the New Year in, watching TV.

Happy New Year!