Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An off day only if I let it

I admit to knowing nothing about Lady Gaga other than having heard one of her songs today (which I liked).  I heard it said that she enjoys wallowing in loneliness as it's what makes her the artist she is.

I am an artist of sorts, albeit a few thousand leagues below her apparent calibre, and understand a little of the loneliness of the studio and the creative process. Thank goodness for music, radio and regular distraction. I don't think I would cope without modern technology.

Today wasn't a good day.

Imagine how I felt when, after hours of struggle, I dropped today's painting wet side down onto fibre rich carpet. The lady wasn't the only one feeling gaga.

All is well...I just had to scrape off, dust myself down psychologically speaking and start all over again.

They say that it's what life is all about, but I can do without it :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Working with one family or another

Having spent the weekend at a CHinK charity sale and a work project at the home of one of my sons (which just about wore me out now that I sit here and feel the effects), oh, and socialising with Paul and Debbie...not to mention the normal routine of study, church, painting and shopping...I wonder if I'm not trying too hard to make the most of life.

More recovery time is a sentence that's bouncing around my brain right now...or have a more realistic calendar. The next four weeks show no signs of let-up and I can't amend anything. I guess I'll just have to stop complaining and be thankful for a full life:)

This is Friday's little painting which I forgot to post here...

Today the sun streams through the window as I sit to apply paint to canvas and I am grateful for the rest.

Here's today's offering...

Thomas Marent, the wildlife photographer, has kindly given me permission to paint this happy scene from a photograph found in several UK newspapers last week. I love the way the baby urang-utan is is trying to grab the parent's ear as they both screech for joy.

The details of the charity to which the proceeds of the sale will go, along with Thomas's website are over on my art blog.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pennies from Heaven

And I still managed to paint.
Fist of all, this is yesterday's painting the proceeds of which will go to charity.
Details of the charity is over on my art blog.

Today's offering...with a little help from the girls...they told me what I needed to do.

Highlight of the day...Hollie emptying all the loose change from her mum's purse into my piggybank.

Guess who's babysitting tonight while Bev and daughter go out?

Monday, August 15, 2011

He just isn't that bad. Not all rogues are criminals.

In my humble opinion this is a very misleading headline...

I knew Norman as hard working, articulate, confident, considerate, positive, likeable, resourceful and enterprising rogue. He was even humble and teachable to a degree. Yes, he loaned money without authority to do so, but it was never a secret as far as I remember. They were short term loans made to a few desperate individuals until the next pay day. He saw it as offering a helping hand rather than anything more sinister and would struggle to get his money back. He also offered a gift wrapping service in the run-up to Christmas as well as trying to establish his office cleaning business.

I liked him. I still like him. He's more honest than most in my opinion and certainly a person not deserving of this article which is a touch misleading. If Norman says someone was lying, I would tend to believe him...but who would believe a loan shark?

I'm not condoning the practice of money lending registered or not, nor of Norman's actions. I'm merely pointing out that you shouldn't believe all you read.  Everyone that knew him saw an indefatigably happy, helpful, smiling and positive individual. Rarely would you see him like this photograph...unless he felt aggrieved.

I once had an accountant who fleeced us for a lot of money for services I later found out to be nothing to do with our type of business. He knew he was charging for such services. Yes, there are real criminals who are licensed to fleece us and they are often well respected. There are others that I have had personal experience with that should be locked up... but not Norman. I trust my instincts and can usually recognise if a person is hardcore criminal and evil to boot...not Norman. Give the man a break.

It makes you wonder who else the press hang out to dry.

On a separate note, but still with crime...I finished this book last week...
It's a true story that shocked Victorian Britain in June, 1860. It was recommended by a friend and, although a terrible crime, the book is also crammed...and I mean crammed, with interesting facts. It was a fascinating book that has to be read through to the last illuminating page. Don't be tempted to google the original case as it will reveal who the murderer was...or will it? Things are not as straightforward as they seem.

The only time I found myself drifting was during references to the great crime writers of the time, even though one of them was a certain Mr Charles Dickens. Mr Dickens had his own suspicions regarding this crime.

I think this is the first book I've read which is of a specific murder and, strangely enough, I would recommend it.

Todays little painting...
This is another study of Featherbed Rock in Seaham, NE England.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I forgot to mention how it went last Saturday evening...
We arrived and saw that we weren't included on the table plan...I'd forgotten to RSVP! Bev gave me one of those looks that told me I wasn't doing too good today.

As luck would have it Kirsty, Corrine and Karen spotted us and insisted we come in. I've known Corrine for years and I'm still unsure how to spell her name. Anyway, it was so good to see everyone and we enjoyed chatting and generally catching up.

Kirsty is a down to earth kind of person who speaks her mind and I was mightily relieved she didn't blow me out of the water for not replying.

I was disappointed with my not remembering the names of some of the guests that I worked with just a month or so ago, but after having more than my fair share of the buffet, the old brain cells kicked in.

I spent six years of my life with K, K and C, and you couldn't ask for a nicer gaggle of people...if you catch them on a good day :) Seriously, they are what life is all about. You could write a book about those three and, if Jane was alive, it would have been a best seller. It was a chapter in my life that isn't without extremely fond memories.

I'm feeling a little emotional right now as I remember my friend Dot who was diagnosed the same time as Jane and who has been informed she has, at best, a couple of months before she's taken from us. She is so positive and grateful for the time she has had and, even now, thinks about others more than herself...just like Janey.

Anyway...back to the wedding. It's a shame we couldn't get to witness the actual wedding ceremony, but thanks for the invite to the reception Kirsty and Andrew. You are a lovely couple and we are grateful to have shared a little of your big day.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Accidents will happen...

I've been away for a few days helping our son to board and plaster two bedrooms...including the ceilings, and I'll be back on Monday to do the stairwell. One of these days I'll have a normal midweek experience.

I slept solidly and woke in leisurely manner. I read Jean's blog and thought I'd do whatever takes my fancy.

We treated ourselves to a hand-held walk to Newark and visit the market...after a breakfast treat at King Charles 1st.

We tried the downstairs room this time...
Bev gazing out onto the busy street...she saw 7 people in town that she knew...I saw none.
A smaller version of this jug caught our eye at the market and so we bought it and I, being considerate, took the responsibility to carry it home...
On the way home, the bag handle snapped and the jug hit the ground and smashed. Bev no longer wanted to hold my hand.

As she silently walked home alone, I dashed back to the market to buy another. Sadly, the smashed one was the last one...but the lady let me have the larger one and didn't charge me.

So, Bev is smiling and will hold my hand again at Kirsty's wedding reception tonight because she got the jug she really wanted anyway.

Just a thought...when Bev came running into the house in tears last year after she backed our new car into our newly built gate pillars and damaging both, I hugged and consoled her as it was only an accident, right?

Today, when I accidentally dropped an inexpensive jug, Bev's consoling words were...'You are dead meat if it's smashed'. No hug, no sympathy, no warmth. Okay, I know I shouldn't have accommodated that thought. It just popped into my they do.

Incidentally, the market lady put it in a stronger bag and then into a second bag for good measure. As she smiled to hand it to me, our eyes met and I could almost hear her men aren't used to carrying bags. Here, I'll make it easier for you not to mess things up again.

We men are sensitive to unspoken words (as well as unguarded spoken ones), you know:)

This little painting is the day's work. It's story is on my painting blog.

Monday, August 01, 2011


Yesterday we enjoyed a really nice walk along the river to the Queen's Sconce (fort). If you click on the image twice you might be able to glean some details.

Then a walk to the castle to take a photo to show where King John died (poisoned). He died at midnight in the room behind that narrow arched door to the left on the first floor with the four narrow slotted windows (click image for magnification).

Now, for clarification on the hanging demonstrations that I mentioned in my last post...

The hangman was in period dress (1351) standing next to the gallows and he was explaining the process of being hanged, drawn and quartered and demonstrated how each tool was used in the quartering process that lay on the table before him.

William Wallace was believed to be the first to be found guilty of of High Treason and, as such, the recipient of this barbaric torture.

The victims (males only...females were burned at the stake) were first dragged behind a horse to the gallows. He was then hung but cut down before he died in order for him to witness having his intestines and stomach drawn from him. I should have taken a photo of the tool used for this process...pretty gruesome. It was a three-pronged fork on a two foot shaft.

There is some confusion about if the 'drawn' refers to being dragged by the horse to the place of execution or the removal of intestines. Anyway, the next process was to hitch a horse to each limb and send them on their way. To ease their burden...the horses burden, someone was given a cleaver to make the first cut at the base of the limbs. The head was then hacked off. The various parts were displayed in different locations as a deterrent to others.

The practice was abolished in 1870.

After the demonstration I enjoyed a hearty lunch consisting of chicken...quartered.

Incidentally, the most common profession of those who have been hanged in England is butchers. Who'd have thought that?

Now, whoever said the English were cultured?

On a brighter note (s'cuse the pun), I learned that musicians were paid more than archers during times of battle... lute players, no doubt :)