Thursday 28 February 2008

Banana bread with Taggart, after breakfast with Margaret.

Yesterday Mas was late getting home, so I took the opportunity to recycle some bananas and made banana bread. All went well until I was washing the blender. I poured hot water into it and it burst into about eight pieces which is odd as I am always blending boiling hot soup in it. Maybe after so much soup blending it had glass fatigue! The house smelled nice from the cooking though.
Mas came home exhausted after his meeting and trailing through all the tube labyrinths of St. Pacras and King's Cross. We had dinner and watched a violent Taggart episode (just the kind of TV show to give you pleasant dreams!) before going to bed rather early for us.

Margaret called round after breakfast today and we had a coffee and cake and talked for a while. We live in the same street, but had not seen each other for a month or so. After this Mas and I did a few chores locally.

Camellias in our garden.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Tudor buildings in Pinner high street

Today Mas went off to town early to go to a business meeting. I took myself off to Pinner again to see the friendly framing people. I also took some photographs, remembering to take my camera this time.

The Qeen's Head pub below is supposed to be the oldest building in the street.

The doorways in this passage way get lower the further back you are, from the road ahead.
The last one is less than shoulder height.

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Nitwits with blinds and other misadventures.

We had a very humiliating time today.
We have a conservatory attached to our sitting room, and it is fitted with blinds which we pull up rather like the sails of a boat, except for one blind which is pulled up by a small motor. The motor for this blind ceased working about a week ago, so we thought the remote control gizmo's batteries had gone, and we bought some new(expensive) batteries, but when we tried it the engine still did not work.

We phoned the company who had fitted the blinds, and they said they would fix it for us. On cue, one of the men, who we knew, arrived, and we explained our problem, and also told him that the spring on one of the blinds was not working well.

The man looked at the motor for a few moments, then looked at the electric plug on the wall, and turned it on! Of course the blind worked immediately. He then tried the blind with weak spring, and that worked perfectly as well!

Mas and I were overcome by our stupidity and could have given ourselves a good kicking! Needless to say, the blind man laughed, and was still laughing as he left us and drove away.

In the same vein, here is a worse story that happened many years ago: Various heads of department in a large London hospital were having a board meeting when one of them fell face down on the desk with what appeared to be a heart attack.

Someone rushed to get a stretcher, only to find that the poles had been stolen from it! They managed to get him into a treatment room to treat his cardiac arrest by electric shock. The electric pad terminals were placed on his chest and he was zapped, except it did not happen! All were stunned; someone then turned on the electric plug, and tried again, and he was saved! Phew!

In the evening I went with some friends to an introduction to the Landmark Forum. We did not sign up for a course, but it was fun catching up with each others news and talking for a while.

Sunday 24 February 2008

Pinner and parking fine, Mex and the London International Art Fair

On Friday Mas and I went to Pinner to find a picture framer, we did find one, but not the one we were looking for, although we will take future work to him as he and his wife are very nice people. Pinner is an interesting place to visit, and has some beautiful medieval buildings in the High Street, but sadly I had forgotten to take my camera. While we were there we had a coffee, and bought some china, which we did not need at all. Later we found that we had inadvertently got a parking ticket for £50. When we got back to Stanmore we consoled ourselves by having a pub lunch.

Yesterday I met Mex at the Royal College of Art, in Kensington Gore, right beside the Albert Hall, and we went to the International Art Fair. We had an interesting time, and there was some very unusual art that we liked, and both of us liked Simon Garden's paintings; he has a very original style.

We had some tea and cakes, and lots of chat before leaving, and also bought some art books. I was feeling quite tired as I seemed to have had nightmares and restless sleep the night before, but it was a lovely afternoon and I really enjoyed it. We walked to the station together before going off in opposite directions. Luckily I got a seat on the tube, even though it was Saturday evening!

......and another one!

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Springy feet in St. Albans, shopping and Sasio's

Today we woke up to a foggy day with temperatures of 3° and feeling chilly. Robert and Tania could not meet us for lunch as Robert seems to be suffering from the same illness Mas had over Christmas.

We went to St. Albans and did a little shopping, and as we walked through the market we saw these springy feet extensions being demonstrated. I have seen them in a TV advert, but did not know that they were available to buy. I would have liked to try them, but in a secluded place, as I am sure I would fall on my head with terrific loss of dignity. Supposedly they are good for toning up muscles.

As usual, click to enlarge.

There is a good art shop in this arcade, and I was looking at fabric paint (thinking of shopping bags). The arcade looked warm and cheerful compared to the grey streets outside.
We snuck in to Sasio's and had a nice lunch, and Mas charmed five extra almond cookies from the friendly waitress to have with the coffee. We left feeling really warm.

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Lunch with Pete and considering making bags

Today Pete called and said he would collect the illustrations I had done for him. He was with us by midday, so we all went to The Man in the Moon, and had a cheerful lunch together before he left for a meeting, taking the pictures with him.
I have been tidying up my studio trying to get rid of things I no longer need, and looking at some material with the idea of making some shopping bags for sale. It seems a good idea as we are all being encouraged not to use plastic bags, and cut down on waste. Here are some designs I made a while ago, and sold.

Monday 18 February 2008

Relaxing in technicolor with good fortune birds

When I am relaxing with my eyes shut, the insides of my eyelids are washed with colours that float and change shape, and as I watch this display I become more relaxed. When doing this and listening to Vivaldi Glorias being sung there was a wash of bright turquoise with a network of purple, and when the male chorus was singing there were shots of maroon as well. I must try this with other music to see what happens.
Today I was thinking, with my eyes shut, and could see a wash of lavender and Potters pink. I wondered what would happen if I prodded my solar plexus, and when I did, everything turned lime green and turquiose. What does it all mean? There is probably a life time of research here.
Getting back to more practical matters, here is a picture I painted recently called Birds of Good Fortune.

Saturday 16 February 2008

Hospital appointments and walking around Hampstead.

Yesterday I had to go to hospital for some test results. The doctors in the clinic where I had my appointment were off sick, except for one, consequently I had to wait there for two hours before being seen. Afterwards I walked around Hampstead, while I waited for a different appointment at the same hospital, and looked at the children playing in the playground of the school that my mother arrended. It was a crisp but sunny day; I took these pictures as I was walking.

I went back to the hospital to the Medical Appliances area as I was ordering some more arch supports. The man who runs this department is very nice, and very cheerful; I always leave his office laughing about something . The first time I went to see him I had almost forgotten the appointment, so I said that as well as the arch supports I needed a new head. He turned to me looking very serious and said that he couldn't supply one.......I would have to go to Head Office!

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Photograph of Ontario's February woods and minicards.

Most of today I spent trying to paint a Jake picture for Pete.
I had a nice e-mail from Joan who sent me a photograph of the woods where they are, (in Ontario,) in February, as a contrast to our local woods! Cats and dogs join in the walking as well.

These are some mini business cards that Mex had made for me as a gift, using sections of some of my paintings. The cards are made by and come in their own rigid plastic box. They seem too nice to give to strangers!

Lunch in Soho with Mex and China town decorations

Yesterday was a bright sunny day, and after the frost disappeared, it became quite warm. As arranged I met Mex in a bistro in Soho. We had a wonderful meal, which was reasonable and very good value. We had a lot to talk about as we had not met up for a long time, lunch time passed too quickly before we had to break for Mex to go back to work. I had really enjoyed talking to Mex, and it was really nice to be strolling around in the sunshine, so I took a few pictures of the Chinese decorations which are put up to celebrate the new year.

I took the tube home, and walking from the station I met the vociferous cat who belongs to a neighbour who, after I took the photo threw himself onto the pavement and rolled about so much I could not take another picture of him.

Sunday 10 February 2008

Walking in the woods and biting fish.

Yesterday we did some shopping, had a qiuck bite at The Man in the Moon, and then went for a walk in the woods. We had not walked in these woods for a long time, and everything was looking wintery and rather colourless, and we were saying how nice it will look soon when all the trees are decked in leaves again, and we saw this bright patch of crocus, the only flowers in the woods.

In the evening we were watching something on TV and I decided to get some oranges to eat, although it is a hazardous thing to do sitting on a cream sofa. Usually I peel fruit and pass some to Mas, who trustingly eats it, while his mind is otherwise engaged.
Last night I thought we should eat a whole orange each, so I passed him one. I began peeling mine, then Mas said he needed a knife. I replied "bite it " (to start it off) "Bite it!" He exclaimed aghast, staring at it in horror, it was as if I had passed him a live fish and told him to bite it. Immediately he realized how it had sounded, and we both had a really good laugh at such a small incident. I guess you had to be there!

Friday 8 February 2008

Garlic and vampires

Yesterday I was notified that my pictures had not been selected by the Mall Gallery for their annual exhibition.
Having considered various options at length, and with my ears intact, I did the next best thing and had my favourite sandwhich for lunch. This is guacomle with about four cloves of garlic crushed into it; I knew I would not want to talk to anyone for a while!
I finished another picture, and watched an old film with Mas, then went to bed in the certain knowledge that whatever else happenend I would not be attacked during the night by Vampires.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

St. Alban's market and lunch at Sazio's

We set off this morning to go to St.Albans to get shopping from the market. It was a bright day, and as usual the market was bustling with shoppers. We did a little window shopping, and bought a few toys, and fruit and vegetables.

St Albans market has been held on Wednesdays and Saturdays since Saxon times, it was run by the monastry, as recorded in 1287. After the dissolution of the monastries in 1539 the rights to hold a market were transferred to the Mayor and burgesses by King Edward VI in 1553, and it has carried on till present times.

We had lunch at an Italian restaurant called SAZIO (Italian for satisfied), we had a really nice meal there; I think they must have a new cook now.

While we were eating I was reminded of my mother. She was a good but plain cook (unlike my aunt Kay who used to exotically grate nutmeg and lemon zest into rice puddings). When I was young we hardly ever ate in a restaurant, but she would like to have a cake and pot of tea sometimes in tea shops. Once we were in Heath Street, Hampstead, and noticed a very smart Italian restaurant which had just opened; my mum decided we should try it, and we went in and ordered tomato soup to start with. The soup arrived, it was rather thin with herbs chopped into it. My mother tasted it, and was extemely disdainful, complaining to the waiter that she had never had such horrible soup, and we left. The problem was that it was not Heinz tomato soup, which was the only 'real' tomato soup in the world.

St Alban's Cathedral

Monday 4 February 2008

Deer and danger.

Yesterday after doing lots of chores I decided to go for a walk, and find the wood near Stanmore with the deer in it that I had seen when walking with Jana. Eventually I found it, and several people were around walking their dogs. I was surprised how far I had walked, as it had seemed no distance at all walking and talking with Jana.

When I returned home Mas said that he had a narrow escape when driving. Mas is a very careful driver, but as he was heading uphill an approaching car skidded out of control and turned around, and would have hit him if there had not been a post in the way. He returned to the wrecked car, and the lady who had been driving it was not hurt, but said that her car steering seemed to lock. There were two dogs in the car, and the one in front seemed shocked, but luckily the driver was not.

We thankfully had a quiet evening.

Le diner de cons or idiot's dinner.

Yesterday was bright and sunny, and Mas and I went out early to get shopping. Robert came over as planned, but sadly Tania was not able to come over as well. We had a drink, lots of chats and dinner. We were all feeling a bit tired, and watched one of my favourite films that I thought Robert would like as well; a funny well written French farce (talk about shooting yourself in the foot!). Afterwards we watched some more TV until we became sleepy and had a coffee before Robert went home.

Friday 1 February 2008

Annual exhibition of watercolour paintings at the Mall Gallery.

Mas and I took four pictures down to town on the tube, this was not easy as they were framed, heavy and different sizes. I have entered them for the annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and now will have my fingers permanently crossed for two weeks until the selection committee has decided which of all the different entries to show.

After Mas and I had taken the paintings in, we walked to Piccadily and had lunch at The Stockpot, off Leicester Square. It is a cheap and cheerfull place, and we sat next to a young French couple and got warm, as it is cold today, before returning home on the tube again.

Here are two recent efforts.