Wednesday 30 December 2009

Birthday visit

We were expecting Pete to come to stay, so Mas got in some shopping, and I made up the bed and generally tidied up the house in readiness. Mas lost his voice, and when Pete arrived he briefly joked that we had found Mason's mute button, and when his voice started coming back and he was whispering Pete said he sounded like a Mafioso.
We exchanged presents, then we had a sloe gin (courtesy of Pete, but next year I resolve to make some too,) before having a tasty meal of roast ribs and all the fixings. We later watched 'I love you to death' with Kevin Kline which Pete had not seen before, and is based on a true story, but is funny. After this Pete and Mas began to watch 'Batman Begins' while I cleared up.

It had been a nice day, apart from Mas having a sore throat.

Today we got up earlyish and had a relaxed breakfast together, listening to the music CD Lorraine had given me, which is very peaceful. Wynford called around bringing me a present that Glen had put aside for my birthday today. He told us the details of his mother's passing, and was extremely upset and sad.

Pete and Mas finished 'Batman Begins', and we had a nice turkey dinner together before Pete headed off home, taking the subdued painting I had done for Lorraine with him.

Not long afterwards Maheena called in bringing me a birthday present, and I had the chance to give her Varun's preset as it is his birthday today as well. We stayed talking for quite a while, Maheena very sad about Glen's passing too. When she left, Florence called and chatted too, and Diane as well. By this time I was feeling very tired, and Mas was feeling much worse.

Monday 28 December 2009

Shocking news

After another poor nights sleep we thought we would take it easy today, and Poppy called to see if we knew what was happening next door as they had seen the ambulance too. Mas went round to next door, and we found out that Glen was still in hospital. Mas invited Wynford and Barry to come round as we could cook something for them, but they were too distracted. In the evening Maheena and Satish called round and told us the shocking and sad news that Glen had died in the early evening. Everyone was stunned. They said they were going to tell Poppy and Ben next.
Mas was beginning to get a sore throat, so we took it easy all day, and kept warm, but I am sure both our minds kept wandering back to the sudden and unexpected death of our friend.
Today Poppy and Ben called around, both saddened and shocked by Glen's passing. They also bough some leftover dessert and a bottle of red wine which neither of them like. We took it easy again, Mas feeling somewhat worse, and both of us feeling exhausted.

Saturday 26 December 2009

Boxing Day

After a rather poor nights' sleep we had a late breakfast, and relaxed until 2.00pm. We had been invited to Poppy and Ben's for a meal with some of their family. Poppy had laid out a long table in their conservatory for the grown ups, and everything looked cheerful, bright and cosy.

Poppy had made a huge meal with a roast chicken, lamb and a turkey, and rice cooked in a traditional Persian way, all of which were delicious. Later she served multiple desserts, which were also too tempting. At one point a sweet little 18month old girl was told by her mother to apologise to Lilu, the dog, for hitting her, which she did.

There was lots of laughter, and Ben was imitating the odd TV advert, making us laugh again. They have a really nice family, and everyone seemed so good natured. Eventually some people left, but we stayed on for a little while with them, before dragging ourselves home, across the road.

We were just getting ready to go to bed when we noticed that an ambulance was parked outside our next door neighbours' house. I noticed Glen and Wynford walk to the ambulance and get in, and it was a long time before it drove away; we wondered if Barry had been taken ill, or whether Glen had fallen and hurt an arm. We went to bed feeling rather concerned.

Friday 25 December 2009

Christmas Day

Today the weather was bright but very cold, and Maheena's birthday too! At 2.00 Oktay, as planned, picked us up and then drove off to pick up his niece and nephew as well. We arrived safely at Cheshunt where we were greeted by Monika who said that Milan had hardly been able to wait for all of us to arrive.

Monika had laid the table which looked beautiful; she said it was the best one she had done. It was at this point I found I had forgotten to bring my camera! There were eleven of us, and Monika made a splendid Czech meal for all (last year she made a Turkish meal), that consisted of lots of different courses and many colourful platters of food, including one with lots of different small sweets that had been home made in a traditional way.

We spent a long time eating and talking, and had a large shot of gluvine made from plum brandy before we started; for medicinal purposes of course. Afterwards, some of the more stalwart of us went for a walk in the snow with the children, looking at the splendid decorations that were displayed by some of the people in the neighbourhood. It is amazing how easily Monika's mother Olga and I can communicate, neither of us having a word of the other's language.

We sat around talking and eating more than we should while the children played upstairs. Little Milan and a friend's daughter decided that they would get married when they grew up (they are presently only five years old). When it was time to go home Oktay took his nephew and niece home, and then drove back to Edgware with us, luckily there was not much traffic on the roads. We arrived home about 1.30am, only to find that the cat had almost finished packing his bags as he thought we had left home for good as we had been out so long. We then went tiredly to bed. It had been another nice day though!

Thursday 24 December 2009

A Winter Wonderland day out

This morning I took a few small presents next door to Glen and Barry's.
Tania and Robert arrived about 2.30pm, and we walked to the station leaving Mas working contentedly at home. We tubed to Green Park, and then walked to Hyde Park where the Winter Wonderland had been set up. While the moose head below was speaking at some length in German, Tania found out that her friends would be arriving later, so we decided to get something to eat first.

Tania wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe in Park Lane, and so we did.

Entrance to the Hard Rock Cafe.

As we went in, we were told we would have to wait some time before there was a free table, but we had a drink, and the time soon passed. It was very busy and crowded. Eventually we were served by a very friendly, but incredibly loud Spanish waitress, no doubt she had to train her voice to be heard above the rock music.
We returned to the Winter Wonderland afterwards.

And before long we met up with Tania and Robert's friends, and had some mulled wine and chatted. I was shocked to hear later that Robert's friend was going to do his yearly Christmas swim in the Serpentine river tomorrow, despite there still being snow on the ground!

Haunted House

There were lots of people with their children enjoying the lights and rides.
As it began to get very cold and time for the children to leave, Tania, Robert and I walked back to the Station and then home to Stanmore. When we did get home, walking carefully on the slippery ice, we found Mas had cooked a very tasty Christmas Eve feast, which we all enjoyed.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Walking with Margaret and Henry, and a magnetised cat.

Robert and Tania phoned, and talked about their recent holiday in Dubai. They then invited us to go down to town tomorrow and visit the Winter Wonderland with them, and some friends. I said I would go with them, but Mas wanted to stay home and work.

The snow was still on the ground, but the sun was shining, so I walked round to Margaret and John's to give them the small gifts we had for them. Margaret was looking after the dog, Henry, so we went for a short walk with him.

Mas and I watched old video tapes in the evening, including an old Bergerac, it was strange to see John Nettles looking so young, and to see the Jersey scenery.

I woke up during the night to the sound of stampeding cats. Needless to say the dark intruder had eaten all Salty's food, we can always tell because he licks the plates clean and is very neat and tidy, and I am sorry to say Salty is a very sloppy eater with poor table manners. It is now obvious that the Tabby has procured a magnet too, so can use our cat's door.

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Diane's visit and a night at the opera

Today Diane is coming to visit, so after getting up rather late on this cold day Mas shot out to get some shopping, while I tidied and straightened up the house and made up a bed for Diane. It began to snow quite heavily, and Diane called to see whether we could collect her from the station, which we did.

We had a really nice day with her. Mas volunteered to cook while we watched The Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (I think he would prefer to have his teeth extracted rather than watch the Marx Brothers!). We had a leisurely meal , a succulent salmon dinner with sparkling wine ( and sparkling repartee?)

Later we saw another favourite film, which Diane had not seen before, but I do not remember which one, before we tottered off to bed.

In the morning we had a slow relaxed breakfast before Mas took Diane off to the station as she had to get some Christmas shopping. It had been like old times!
The weather got colder, and in the night Salty came upstairs, and slept lying along my leg, not from affection, but for my body heat!

Sunday 20 December 2009

Snowy bonhomie and keeping cozy

I spent the next two days trying to sort out small gifts for friends and neighbours, and wrapping them. The weather being colder we cooked warm soups for lunch, and baked things in the evenings.

On the way to the post office I saw Maheena and Glen, and we were joking with each other. It had snowed again overnight, and I walked very carefully to the post office as there was black ice on the roads. I met another neighbour, and we chatted and joked. Complete strangers were telling each other to be careful and not to slip, and there was a lot of bonhomie about. While washing up, from the kitchen window I saw one neighbour in his 90s walking up the road to take his younger friend the newspaper.

On Saturday it was still snowing on and off. I noticed that we had paw prints of various sizes all over our garden, and bird prints. These were also over most neighbouring shed roofs, but our vandal neighbour's garden was pristine, no living thing had entered his space at all; it is as if the area has an invisible barrier around it.

In the evening we watched 'Merlin,' Colin Morgan plays Merlin, and he did a great job of acting when he found out that he was a dragon lord. We also saw another excellent Wallander, but the snowy wintry scenery seemed a bit too real and familiar.

On Sunday morning Poppy called round to say she was going to the shops and would we like her to get us some shopping too, we did not need anything, but thought it so kind of her to ask us. Lilu the dog has got a chest infection, and Poppy thought she may have got too cold with snow on her fur, and she ate lots of it too.

I have been listening to lots of music on, especially crisantemi (Chrysanthemum) by Puccini, and all the spaghetti western music by Ennio Morreconi. The weather is very cold so we are keeping ourselves cosy during the evenings.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Snow Party

I woke up early, and was quietly listening to the radio in bed when Salty meowed urgently under the door. Thinking he was in trouble I let him in, and he burst out purring. Once I was settled in bed again he lay on my arm and wedged his head under my chin and went to sleep! He stayed put until I eventually got up, which was unusual.

We had been invited round to Margaret and John's in the evening where we met up with the usual suspects. In all there were ten of us and three children. As usual Margaret and John had made a lovely party spread which we all enjoyed, and John had cooked an apple pie with apples from the garden.

It was nice to see our friends, and everyone had a good time chatting and laughing until it was time to go home. As we left we all found that it had been snowing all the time we were indoors, and we had to be careful walking home as everything was frozen, especially the roads. Nevertheless, it had been a really nice evening, and John and Margaret deserve medals for giving everyone such a nice time.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Snow in Ontario and here too.

We started writing some Christmas cards, and thought about putting up decorations, but because we have bought all the Geraniums into the conservatory there really is no room.
In the evening Manu and then Margaret phoned, she is planning an evening party.

Later we watched a funny film called 'Mars Attack!'. It was fairly stupid, but I thought the funniest part was when the invading Martians were destroyed by the broadcast sound of Slim Whitman singing The Indian Love Call from the show RoseMarie in his yodelling style ( which I like even if the Martians didn't). Sadly for the Martians it made their heads explode!

On Monday we went to Stanmore and got lots of shopping and had lunch at The Man in the Moon. In the afternoon we made a Madras curry and a fruit pie for dinner tonight. Salty got overexcited by the smell of the cooking curry, and he jumped onto the cooker twice to see what was happening; it was fortunate that we did not have pot roast cat too. As a concession we baked him some Pollack which he loves.

Today I started putting up a few decorations. Joan sent this picture from Ontario, they have had quite a snowfall, and are expecting more!

Surprisingly it snowed here as well, just a light shower or two, but it has got much colder. We watched a few reruns on TV and had a cozy evening.

Salty does not mind snow or the cold weather, but his tail fur stands on end when he gets really cold. We had more snow today. We had another cozy evening, and had boeuf a l'orange after a glass of sherry. We watched another stylish Poirot with interesting art deco scenery.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Unusual films and a French Market

The weather turned colder. After breakfast I found another small dead mouse hidden in a corner, and disposed of him in the green recycling bin. We went off to Stanmore and did various chores, then in the afternoon I walked to Edgware and posted things at the post office, and then did some window shopping.

In the evening we watched a video called 'Tai -pan' about Hong Kong around the time of the opium wars. It was a colourful and interesting film.

Today we went off to St. Albans early, and found that the French Market was there as well as the usual street market. Tania and Robert were on holiday, but we had a nice lunch at Sazios as usual, and our waitress was from Estonia originally.

Pete called and chatted in the evening, and later we watched a French film called 'The Poisoner,' it is a good film, but could end up making its' viewers claustrophobically paranoid about small villages and gossip. Later it was quite a relief to watch Wallander which was just a normal murder with a good plot.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Traumatic vet visit and beginning to do Christmas cards

Yesterday we had to take Salty for his booster injection. He meowed all the way to the vets, and when she examined him he left wet footprints on the examination table he was sweating so much. He weighs nearly 4 kilos now, and the vet thought he looked very healthy, and gave him a worm pill too. We went carefully home again, Salty still very unhappy in the car, and us reeling from how much the outing had cost us. Salty spent the rest of the day recovering and sleeping, and I cooked him some pollack as he really enjoys that fish sometimes.

Today was bright and sunny, and Salty back to normal chased rainbows from the crystal all over the carpet, and watched them moving across the ceiling, while we had a late breakfast. Making the most of the weather I moved the Geraniums from the back window box, and planted them in a tub to overwinter in the conservatory. I called Margaret, and had an early surprise birthday card from Christiane and Eddie. Later I started doing some Christmas cards, which I know I should have already finished.

Monday 7 December 2009

Nice lunch and good eyes!

We had to get some shopping, and as the sun was shining we went off to Stanmore where we also had one of the roast Sunday dinners at the Man in the Moon. They do very nice Sunday lunches there, which includes a drink of your choice in the price. We came out feeling cheerful, and later for exercise I walked to Edgware and collected Mason's prescription medicines. It was dark when I got home again.

Toby phoned in the evening too which was nice as well. In the evening we watched an old tape of the Corsican Brothers film which made a change.

This morning I had an appointment at Specsavers to have my eyes tested. It is about three years since they were looked at, but I was told my eyes were healthy, and only the reading vision had changed slightly, not enough to warrant new glasses. I had been told before that I was getting cataracts, but these are still very small and don't seem to have got any worse.

Afterwards Mas and I went to Stanmore as we had seen two Opera mask faces that we really both liked, and reminded us of Budapest. The shop had been closed on Sunday, but when we got there today they had already been sold. Spoke to Pete later to see if all was well.

Saturday 5 December 2009

Feeling end of yearish

Salty was out all night again, and the reason was probably that he lost his collar, with the magnet on it ,and so he could not get in. Luckily it had not been so cold during the night. We went off to Borehamwood and bought another collar for him, and put it on him, with a spare magnet. Now he will look like a spectral cat at night...white with glowing eyes and a reflective collar. We deactivated the cat door until he gets used to the new adult cat collar. The Tabby cat found that the cat door was no longer locked for him, so came in at night and ate up all Salty's food as usual.

Mas continued to have problems with his recently opened bank account, and once again had to queue up in the bank to try to get it sorted out. It is like Ground Hog Day with these banks. Feeling fed up we had lunch in the pub, and came out feeling normal again (or what seems to pass for normal).

Today Mas had to visit the bank again, and when he came back he cleared up the last of the leaves from the front garden and cut the grass. I did the back garden accompanied by Salty.
This should be the last grass cutting this year!

Poppy called round, and we walked Lilu to the park. There were lots of different dogs in the park being walked by their owners. We got talking to a nice boy who was taking his dog Dizzy Rascal walking, but the puppy was not old enough to be taken off the lead yet. Poppy and Ben have also invited us to visit them on Boxing Day.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Party animal and racing dog.

In the morning I walked down to the library and poked about looking at the books and music for a while, and later Mas and I went to Stanmore to check our bank balances and look in some of the shops.

Salty went out as usual around seven in the evening. We watched a 'Lewis' detective story; they are putting one on each evening this week. This is a follow on series from 'Morse,' and is also set in Oxford with interesting and rather involved story lines. Luckily there is very little shouting or car crashes and the background music is good.

We prepared to go to bed, and Salty still had not shown himself; he usually returns for a snack before we go to bed, and the temperature suddenly dropped.

When we woke in the morning there was a thick frost everywhere, luckily Salty came indoors as we got up; I expected him to have frost bite on his toes, but he was looking as usual, but he had obviously had an active time, dancing the night away, as he slept all day without waking for food.

I walked down to Edgware went to the post office and made an appointment to get my eyes checked as it is about three years since I have been to an optician's.

Poppy called in for me, and we walked to Stonegrove Park with Lilu the dog. We walked round the park several times, but there were no other dog walkers around. Lilu rushed around like a miniature race horse looking very funny with bouncing ears and tail. She also ran through some muddy puddles, and chased Magpies.

When we walked home Poppy said she would bathe her dog when she got home; she had been for a job interview that morning and was waiting for a phone call with the results. Later she popped over and said she had got the job she wanted, which is excellent.

Mas and I watched a Poirot, with David Suchet and Hugh Fraser. I am always surprised by Hugh Fraser as he bears such a strong resemblance to my father, which is strengthened by the period setting. We also watched another episode of Lewis and eventually staggered off to bed with square eyes.

Sunday 29 November 2009

Thanksgiving meal

We planned to go swimming today, but somehow the time ran away and all we seemed to do was to go round one supermarket after another. Having generally exhausted ourselves we stayed home, and started preparing for the Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, and made ourselves a nice dinner in the process.

Today we tidied up the house and began the preparations for the meal. Poppy and Ben arrived first, quickly followed by Tania and Robert. Although we had put snacks in the conservatory, everyone was drawn naturally to the fire and we had drinks and chatted until Lorraine and Pete arrived.

I had previosly laid the dining room table, and we had our Thanksgiving meal in soft lighting with candlelight and sparkling white wine, followed by the red wine, and chatted for several hours; it was a very nice evening.

Lorraine and Pete stayed overnight, and the next day we had a light breakfast of pancackes and coffee, and spent time talking. Lorraine showed us pictures of the unusual house she will be buying soon.

After they left Mas and I, feeling at a bit of a loose end, took ourselves off to The Man in the Moon for a roast Sunday dinner. In the afternoon I listened to the classic serial on the radio: ' Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,' by John Le Carré.

Christian sent pictures from Basel which is having a food market, and everything gearing up for Christmas. In the evening we watched New Ticks, but it was rather a depressing episode. And so to bed.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Injection, 'restraint' and a sausage

Mas went to the surgery and had his swine flu injection, and went off to meet a friend at lunch time. I walked off to Edgware and got some shopping. Later I did some more painting, on my 'restrained ' picture, and later fearing I may go mad and add some bright colour declared it 'finished' to myself.

Later, showing it to Mas, he thought it was good...not that he is prejudiced in my favour in any way! Luckily he seems to be having no ill effects from his injection today.

Today we went to Borehamwood to get shopping and cat food. While there, we bumped into Marion who is keeping busy as usual. We went to The Golden Plaice and had a fish and chip dinner which we enjoyed, and were also given a sausage for the cat!

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Dreary weather and a Cool Cat

On Sunday I seemed to spend the whole day washing up and cleaning the kitchen. This being partly due to a soup disaster. I put a container of soup onto the blender, which unluckily was turned on by mistake, and before I could put the lid on had plastered the walls, ceilings, curtains, floor and me with tasty thick soup!

We had one loud clap of thunder which caused us to unplug the computers, phone line and TV, but after a cup of tea all had quietened down again.

On Monday I did lots of necessary chores like sorting the house insurance out for the next year, and I cancelled my appointment for the swine flu injection after thinking about it for a great deal, and on advice from Christian. To take a break in the afternoon we watched Angela Landsbury in Murder She Wrote, but I don't really like these as all the people seem so completely unreal.

Tuesday, and the weather is still dreary with lots of rain. I sent some emails, and continued trying to paint my 'restrained colours' picture. Salty is bored as it is raining so much, and keeps meowing at me so that I will play with him all the time; I am beginning to think I will have to go out into the rain to get some peace and quiet.
Joan sent this picture of Lucky Jim, who is looking handsome and healthy, sitting on moss that looks nice enough to eat.

Saturday 21 November 2009

In the swim with chickens

Mas and I went swimming in the afternoon; it did not seem very tempting as the weather was dreary and grey. There were not many people in the pool, but Mas got talking to a man who was trying to learn how to swim. After showering and dressing we felt more lively than we had when we going into the pool.
I called Pete to see how he was, and while we were chatting his cat Calliope was meowing pitifully as she was trying unsuccessfully to bite Pete while he was talking.
There have been heavy rainfalls in some places, and in one area in Cumbria they had 12" in 24 hours which is the heaviest rainfall in the UK since they started keeping records.

Today Mas worked on his computer, and I raked and collected leaves from the garden, admiring the colours on the leaves of the cherry blossom tree. One of the neighbours from down the road stopped to talk; she was surprised to know that Salty belonged to us as he sits on her fence sometimes while he is admiring the chickens next door. I was surprised to hear about the chickens as I had recently said to Mas that I would have thought people would keep chickens while times are so hard now.

Later I saw Poppy who independently told me she wanted to have chickens, and had been looking up on the Internet how to care for them. She also said she would call for me sometimes when she was going to walk the dog, and we could walk together.

In the afternoon we went to Borehamwood and got some shopping, and a cat collar for Salty. When we got home I put a collar on Salty with the cat door magnet on it and, surprisingly he was purring all the time while I adjusted it.

Laater we had a thunder storm and hail. In the evening we watched an episode of Merlin which is silly, but fun.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Art and Antiques at Olympia and Xmas decorations

It was a grey, windy drizzly day, and I spent time 'being restrained'. I also emailed Christian who has been sending me articles and links about the swine flu injection. I also heard from Christiane and we planned when to meet tomorrow as she has tickets for the Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia.

Today we met up at 10.30am, and travelled to Olympia on underground trains. We were not quite sure if her ticket would admit two of us, so en route we planned an alternative day out. As it happened we were both admitted after having our handbags searched.

There was a lot to see of both the antiques and the art which had been collected from a variety of periods including Art Deco. It was an interesting exhibition, and I found some of the art quite amazing. I really liked this small, jewelled, enameled picture.

After a while we stopped for a tea/coffee break and made a picnic from the food we had bought with us, and talked of interesting things for a while. We then continued looking, and Christiane found out where she could get her pearls professionally restrung from one of the dealers.

When we had seen everything' we decided to go home on the bus so that we could see the Christmas lights which have been turned on now. We caught the bus and looked at the decorations which seemed better than for a few years, but it was difficult to see as there was a log jam of buses in the way. We got off at Oxford Circus, where the decorations did not seem quite so good, and then walked to Tottenham Court Road to get the train home as the buses seemed to be going so slowly.

I felt quite tired by the time I got home, so we relaxed and watched TV. While we were doing this the tabby cat into the house through the cat door, but ran away when he saw me. Later I saw him in the garden with Salty.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Two films and two paintings

I woke up from a nightmare, which is unusual for me. Once we were downstairs we had a suspicion that the rogue tabby cat has been in the house again as Salty's food was neatly eaten, and the plates licked clean. I spent some time on necessary housework, then took out some of my paintings. I decided to put two of them on the website, so photographed them.

In the afternoon we watched Diagnosis Murder and in the evening a tape of Heaven's Gate; it is visually beautiful, but I had not remembered that it had such an enigmatic and negative ending.

Today , after breakfast I began painting a view using very restrained colours which is quite a challenge for me. Having had enough of being restrained I thought I would have lunch, as I went downstairs I noticed I had paint under my fingernails, so scrubbed my hands, and glancing in the mirror found I had dark paint on my teeth, which gave me a jaunty medieval air.
Later as a respite from subtlety I put my bright pictures up on my website.

In the evening we watched Les Visiteurs, with Jean Reno and Christian Clavier. Despite having seen this quite a few times it always makes me laugh, and that is a good way to end the day

Sunday 15 November 2009

Lunch with Robert and bright walk

Salty took his hedgehogs upstairs this morning, and put them on the bed. He had black oil on both his ears, so later I tried to remove it with detergent which did not work at all. Trying my old remedy I warmed up some butter and rubbed it into his ears, and did get off some of the oil. Salty was looking very dishevelled and scruffy with patches of fur stuck together, and smelling strongly of butter, and by the time I was finishing up he was growling, and so was I. Later he thanked me for doing it though.

It was windy and wet, but we decided to go to St. Albans and have lunch with Robert. Poor Tania is still feeling tired after the flu, so decided not to join us. We met in Sazios and had a bottle of wine and lots of talk while we ate. The weather had improved a bit, and we got our shopping from the market afterwards as the traders began packing up. Later I heard that there had been a tornado in Essex, it lasted for less than a minute, but the tornado tore roofs off and did a lot of damage.
Once home Christiane phoned and said she could not meet as we had planned to go to the Tom Merrifield exhibition in Hampstead tomorrow.

We woke up to a bright day, and as we were having breakfast Salty entertained us by pouncing on the rainbow lights from the crystal that I had made spin slowly in the sunlight. Mas and I decided to go for a walk and take advantage of the good weather, so we walked in Edgwarbury Park, round the flower beds, the football pitch as the players were packing up, and into the forest. We saw lots of squirrels running about, and birds feasting on berries.

Friday 13 November 2009

Flu jab and Friday 13th!

In the afternoon I walked down to the doctor to have a seasonal flu injection. There were a lot of us waiting, and before I went in a patient came out feeling rather faint, and he said it had been very painful. When it was my turn it was quick and painless, and then I was told I should have a swine flu injection, and should book an appointment before I left.

I went off to the library and returned my books, and then found some new ones to take home. Looking at the biographies I was surprised to see that John Le Mesurer had been divorced from Hatti Jacques, and that his subsequent wife had an affair with his best friend Tony Hancock. If all that had happened today it would have kept the gossipy celebrity magazines going for months.

Pete phoned, and we chatted for a while which was cheering. In the evening we watched The Odd couple by Neil Simon, with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, which had some very funny scenes.

Today I walked off to Edgware as we had a circular telling us that Mas should have a swine flue jab too, (because he lives with me) so I went to make an appointment for him. There was a lady shouting in the reception area in a very arrogant way, and I was pleased to leave as it had been so noisy I could not hear myself think. I also picked up Mason's medicines from Boots chemists, but when I got home we found that they had left out the essential medication.

We drove down to Edgware and sorted it all out. The drivers all seem to be driving in a reckless and strange way today, so we then went off to Stanmore, and Mas had another go at sorting out his bank account and setting up direct debits. Everything seems very annoying today, and we remembered it was Friday the 13th (ooo err). This done, we had lunch in the Man in the Moon to cheer ourselves up, and a glass of red wine, and left feeling more relaxed.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Suspicious and virtuous characters

I spoke to Margaret who has been feeling ill for quite a while. I also managed to catch up on a few emails, and went for a long walk in the afternoon.

When I was doing things in the kitchen I noticed a couple of suspicious characters looking at Ben and Poppy's house, but luckily Ben had seen them and told them to clear off, which was good.
Mas went over to talk to Poppy and Ben for a while in the evening.

Despite the weather being really cold Mas and I reluctantly dragged ourselves out and away, and went swimming. As it was so cold there were hardly any people in the pool. At one point two very tattooed people jumped into the pool, and swam for about five minutes and left looking virtuous and pleased with themselves. Mas and I managed to stay in for an hour. We felt much warmer when we left, and invigorated.

On the way home we stopped off to get some food for Salty, and a couple of other things.
In the evening I began to think about what I want to paint next, and trying to whip up some enthusiasm.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Fun flying visit and burglary

Pete phoned to say he and Lorraine would be calling in briefly before going to a wedding reception at Hatfield House, around 6.00 in the afternoon. They also planned to stay overnight and have breakfast with us before going back to Brighton.

I tidied up a bit, and they arrived as planned. We managed to have time to chat before they went off for the evening. Mas and I had dinner and watched TV until they returned. Then Mas made a sandwhich for them.

In the morning we had a light breakfast, just toast and coffee, but hung around talking for a while, and sorting out a few jars of jam for them to take. I tried to persuade Pete to take some of his books and old records, but he only took a couple of books back. They left before lunch as Lorraine's parents were visiting Brighton briefly.

When they left we felt at a bit of a loss, so went to Stanmore and got shopping, and had a Sunday lunch at The Man in the Moon which was very enjoyable.
Later that night we found out that the house next door, but one, had been burgled, probably when we were out. The robber had forced the front door and gone in that way!

Friday 6 November 2009

Alls well that ends well

Mas was to meet friends , so I did more leaf sweeping, and walked for a while in the afternoon. I saw Maheena and Glen briefly, and Ben and Poppy, otherwise a fairly uneventful day.

We went to Stanmore, and Mas found out that money had been fraudulently taken from his account, so after several consultations the bank said that they were unable to prevent these people from taking more for about three weeks, which seems extraordinary. From our point of view the only thing to do seemed to be to close the account and open a new one which is what Mas did. After this we went to the Man in the Moon for a restorative coffee, but this turned out to be so horrible that I could not drink mine. What is going on?

Today I had to go back to the hospital again to see one of the surgical team. Once again I was reassured that all was well, and given another appointment for May next year; I am so pleased that they are taking such good care of me.

When I left the hospital I found it had been raining, but the sun came out briefly and I looked at St. Stephen's church which is undergoing restoration.

When I got home I caught up on a few emails. Mas had bought a couple of Larel and Hardy fims, and we watched one of them. Toby phoned in the evening and chatted which was a nice end to the day.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Tania getting better, and good news for me

On Monday I walked to Stanmore and posted my letter to claim £20, 500.00 as I have been told I have won this! If only! I also went to the bank and got a small amount of shopping and walked back in the sunshine. I saw Ben who is rebuilding the entrance to their house, and also saw Maheena and Glen, and chatted to each in turn.

I swept up leaves as usual, and later called to see how Tania was. She had the flu in a mild dose, but it still seems pretty horrible, and she did not sound well at all, but is over the worst now.
I then spent ages working out how much we spend on gas and electricity, and changed our supplier which should save us more than £100.00 a year, in theory. At this rate I will soon be rich!

Today I went off to hospital to find out the results of my scan. After waiting for almost two hours I saw the doctor who told me that my scan was clear, and blood tests were fine too. I am glad that they take such good care of me!

When I left the hospital, the sun was shining after a heavy downpour of rain, and all seemed right with the world.

In the evening we went next door to Glen and Barry's, and had some sherry, lots of talk and dinner with them. Having put the world to rights we took the long journey home, and watched a quick episode of P.G.Woodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster before bed. A good day!

Sunday 1 November 2009

Swine Flu and Halloween followed by rainbows

Yesterday was our day to go to St.Albans, but when we phoned Robert we found out that poor Tania has got Swine Flu. I decided it was safest not to meet with Robert as my immunity may be a little low. In any case I was feeling a bit under the weather and did not think the drive would make me feel better, so I decided to take it easy all day.

Later Mas and I got some shopping at Stanmore, and stocked up on Halloween treats. We only had two groups of children visit, the younger ones being watched by their parents at a safe distance. Sadly people are afraid for the safety of their children. Later, people started letting off fireworks, and this will probably go on for weeks now, but is not very comfortable for the animals.

This morning the sun was shining while we had breakfast. This time of the year the sun is so low that it shines through the Chrystal ball, that Toby bought in Portugal, which hangs in our window. This causes an array of small rainbows, that look like exotic tropical fish, to cover walls and ceiling. As they move slightly it gives Salty endless fun chasing them and trying to catch them.

I had a nice email from Therrie giving me all the interesting news from Basle, and did a bit more pinning and sewing. For someone who does not like sewing I seem to do lots of it.

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.