Monday, 30 April 2018

Monday, 30th April 2018 - Hyacinth Shoots

Well that was a abundance of rain. The drains in Headcorn turned into fountains.

John, LeeLee and I spent a couple of hours mulling over the Weald of Kent Art Society for the year and into next. I have delegated some tasks. This feels so good. A tip from my Eat Your Frog book which I am still working my way through.

I have had two emails, one phone message and a text informing me that my art class has been cancelled this evening due to flooding in the school. I admire their thoroughness in contacting students.

I spent an hour and a half - at least - cooking our 243 calories meal for this evening. I think I have expended them already. Time and calories obviously don't equate.

Harriet, Herbs and I visited Mum. She was in the lounge partaking in a music session. It was wonderful to see her actually enjoying herself.

Harriet found me a bunch of pink hyacinths. They are now scenting the kitchen. Thank you for my gift.

Hyacinth Shoots
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Rough Clairefontaine
26cm x 17cm
£40 Unframed

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Sunday, 29th April 2018 - Bluebells of Benenden

I have lots of dairy free products in my fridge. My guests didn't consume much. They had a five course meal on the steam train last night. What a lovely thing to do.

Tim suggested we start the 5:2 diet. He has done this with success before. So Monday and Thursday we reduce to 500 calories. I had better stock up today. We weighed 125 grams of potato. It is such a piddly portion to what we normally eat. We will be a thin as rakes in no time.

I needed a little help with the WOKAS website. I find it time consuming and frustrating. Tim came to my side. Over an hour later I have learnt a little. Tim has tested his patience levels. The bits I needed to add are added. My over enthusiastic clicking was nearly under control. Bloody technology.

Donning wellies and hooded anoraks (how charming we looked) we struck out in the drizzle. A disgusting start to our walk. We were rewarded by ceasing rain and finding 'just about to flower' hawthorn. We have a vase of stems in the kitchen hoping to force it into flower in time for 5.34 am for the Morris hats on May Day.

I had a great evening with expressive paint splattering. So has the floor, dishwasher, sink and tablecloth - whoops.

Bluebells of Benenden
140lb NOT
17cm x 25 cm
£40 Unframed

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Saturday, 28th April 2018 - 'Enorma' Runner Beans

I may have a solution for the disappearance of my broad beans. Monty Don told me that when planting they should be put sideways. Plant them flat and they may rot. Could possibly be my problem. I have a 75% success rate with the runner beans. 20% germination of sweetpeas. The pea/bean situation is looking meagre this year.

I had to rummage in my recipe box for my Mum's Lemon drizzle cake recipe which is dairy free for my intolerant guests. What a height it reached.

I took my irritable mood to my studio and shut the door. I have been working on getting my pictures ready for my website.

I think Instagram has fooled me into opening another Facebook page. I now have spread myself thinly on social media even though my BMI says I am overweight.

'Enorma' Runner Beans
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT
37cm x 37cm
£40 Unframed

Friday, 27 April 2018

Friday, 27th April 2018 - Mouse

My day was good until I visited Mum this afternoon. I caught up with news before entering her room. After a trip to the GP and various medical examinations she is delighted to be prescribed morphine. It was not a pleasant time for myself. She is angry with me for telling the home about her secret visit from Whitegates and was going to tell me that she didn't want to see me again. Luckily, I am not sure is that is quite the correct term, I was not alone in my outlandish behaviour. If she is cross and dismisses us all she will get no visitors so at the moment has backtracked. I left feeling strung out. On my way home I got a comforting mug of tea with kind words in front of a woodburner. Thank you.

I have nothing much else for you today.

Pen and Watercolour
140lb Rough Clairefontaine
22cm x 17cm
£40 Unframed

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Thursday, 26th April 2018 - Dovecote at Nymans

The sun made enough of an appearance to have coffee and the same method of cooking was yesterday, croissant warmed on the woodburner outside out hut. I read a chapter of Eat That Frog. I couldn't find a piece of paper handy for a list. I will put it on my list tomorrow.

June, Barry, Nick, Alli, Si and Lesley came to view our accommodation. Nick liked looking underneath to get the full picture of the workings. It has made me wonder why we need so much space at home. Probably so we don't get divorced.

Another day another National Trust property. Nymans is part ruin and part left as the previous owner had it. The gardens are voluminous. With Si and Lesley wandered the house and grounds. We had coffee outside under an umbrella in the rain then departed ways.

Another diversion heading home to B&Q. The car was weighed down with 375 litres of compost, plants and teal paint for the hallway.

It was so good to see Harriet and my grandchildren. They are all looking beautiful.

Dovecote at Nymans
140lb rough Clairefontaine
24 cm x 17 cm
£40 Unframed

LTP/LTP Course
I got home in time to brew a mug of tea before joining Róisin for a catch up on course progress. A lot of people are further along than I am. We have a chair to paint with a palette knife. I find I am learning a lot from studying other peoples work. The last few days have given me plenty of ideas for future paintings. The ones in Monks House where Virginia Woolf hung out at weekends I studied closely.

Wednesday, 25th April 2018 - View from Beddingham Shepherds Hut

After my shower, during which I was a little concerned that the gas was going to run out and the water run cold, I put the kettle on for tea. I looked at the time. It was 7.30am!!! What was I doing up and about at this time of the morning on my holiday. We had croissant warmed on the woodburner sitting in the sun. It was a few hours before our The Clergy House opened. We went for a walk. A long walk. A steep, long walk. Tim wanted to head for a certain tree at the top of a monstrous mountain full of hazardous tussocks that got steeper the higher we climbed. The hillsides were covered in cowslips. Hundred and hundreds of tiny ones. The bodily strain was worth it. The view was 360 degrees of panoramic beauty. The winding path down was so much easier. 

Off the Alfriston for the morning. We picnicked by the Cuckmere with a point ended sour dough french stick. The Clergy House was the first property bought and restored by the National Trust. I didn’t know that. There was lots of history. I found it a bit lacking in accoutrements. The garden was beautiful. It gave me ideas beyond my station.

This afternoon we spent a couple of hours in Rodmell. The Monks House was stunning. One of the places that The Bloomsbury set had an influence on. I studied and was inspired by the many oil paintings, There was a very enthusiastic man giving a reading by Virginia Woolf. Another very pretty garden.

Three National Trust properties in two days. How pleasing to have an annual membership.

We got back to the Shepherd’s Hut for tea and biscuits. I had a sleep while Tim worked. 

This evening we drove to Firle and met with the beautiful people who bought us our honeymoon gift at The Ram.Tim took advantage of the mains electricity and powered up his devices in Nick and Alli’s bedroom. It was a fine evening with great friends. Back at the hut we were welcomed by the warmth of the woodburner.

Thank you June (the ideas and organiser), Barry, Nick, Alli, Ray, Linda, Si, Lesley, Mike and Pippa for coming to celebrate with us.

View from Beddingham Shepherds Hut
17 cm x 12 cm
£40 unframed

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Tuesday, 24th April 2018 - Honeymoon Suite

I served poached eggs to a regular guest. A quick trip to see Mum and find out what she has been up to. A 'bee in her bonnet' is telling her she needs to move to another nursing home. I have tried to dissuade her. Do you want to know a very naughty bit? She told the home she is in that a financial advisor was coming to visit. It was actually the manager of another nursing home. She looked a little surprised when she found out that both managers have to be present at the meeting. 

I have packed my bag for a couple of nights away.

Tim and I had lunch with Uncle Bill at The Abergavenny Arms in Rodmell. I think the reviews have been generous. We headed into Lewes and took refuge in The Snowdrop until the driving drizzle had passed. Waitrose and Asda and Tescos have had our custom today. Back on the road to Beddingham.  We are now ensconced in a Shepherds Hut. This is a most glorious wedding gift from ten friends. We have lit the wood burner. Tim is reading. I am painting. The views are stunning. I hope to appreciate them from our three foot off the floor bed in the morning. It had a window at the foot.

The hut is powered by a 12volt battery. I found this an interesting fact. 

Honeymoon Suite
Pen and Watercolour
19cm x 14cm
£40 Unframed

Monday, 23 April 2018

Monday, 23rd April 2018 - Bluebells

I wasn't allowed any more Ramipril until I had a blood test. I visited the nurse for my extraction. Now I have to check my blood pressure daily for a fortnight.

The Weald of Kent Art Society held their committee meeting at our kitchen table. The group is getting stronger in numbers. There are lots of events being organised for the year ahead.

I nipped over to see Mum. I thought (wrongly) that she seemed in rather good spirits. The staff and I thought (probably wrongly) it was due to an appointment for an ECG and blood test for Friday. I got a text from my brother saying that she has arranged for the manager of another nursing home to come and see her tomorrow. WHAT!!! I am heading over there tomorrow morning to try and find out what and why. You cannot but admire her tenacity.

It was mark making at art class this evening. I had a lovely expressive time with ink, sticks and card. Next week my tutor said I should work bigger. I am looking forward to it already.

Tim picked me a bunch of bluebells from our woods. They are sitting on the kitchen table.

140lb Not 
26cm x 20cm
£40 Unframed

LTP/LTP Course
I have been watching the Craft section of Module 2. It is about composition. Some of it is familiar. Unity, balance and variety I understand but have never heard of them in connection with art.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Sunday, 22nd April 2018 - The Fire Hills

We picked up Tony and Wendy and their study walking boots. We really needed them today. Passing Mum's house I collected a case full of clothes and two pots of vitamin B complex. Her summer wardrobe comes out in the spring and the winter clothes get put away. I just pile them all in the wardrobe together is much simpler. We left the car at Brenda's. Elizabeth joined us for a while as we walked some of the most exquisite countryside. A break was taken at The Two Sawyers. We left wondering if we had the impetus to keep going. The views took our minds off any stiffening joints and stretched muscles. We strolled along Steam Lane and finished with tea and coffee cake with Brenda. Seven hours and 15,339 steps later we returned home.

The Fire Hills
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Not
25cm x 18cm
£40 Unframed

While doing a pile of ironing this morning I revisited the videos from Module One. Module Two was released yesterday but I am not ready to move onto it yet.

Walking the Fire Hills with beautiful people fed my creative well.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Saturday, 21st April 2018 - Perfect for Porridge

Being on the Weald of Kent Art Society committee means I had an excel spreadsheet to do. The last time I did one was a year ago. My skills being a little rusty I had my tutor standing behind me. I sometimes get a little eager with clicking. Patience prevailed and my task was completed.

We took the MG on the road again. Tim left me with Mum who after a story about her ailments was in quite good form.

Harriet gave me a gift. She has a bowl that I very much admire apart from the black on it. She has found me a very similar one with blue. It is called Kenza

Perfect for Porridge
140lb Not
27cm x 18cm
£40 Unframed

Friday, 20th April 2018 - 'Weather With You'

I could have had a lie-in but the weather was glorious, Tim was chatty and I really needed a mug of tea. Herbie and I sought out the patches of shade in the garden. We found a joint delight in the trees and flowers, a particular favourite of Herbie's were the white daffodils.

Hetty and Bella had great fun of being 'accidentally' sprayed with the hose while I was watering the pots. Oh to be young and beautiful and run around with no clothes on. I am tempted to strip off too. I don't think I will today.

I didn't visit Mum. I have heard she is still being difficult. I feel bad but I really don't want to see her at the moment. Partly because I may say something I regret. She will be fine for a couple of days won't she?

I thought it was the heat of the sun over a period of time that warmed the ground beneath us and radiated it during those warm balmy evenings. Tonight it was warm enough to eat and cook pizzas outside. Nick, Alli, Si, Lesley and June joined us before we headed into Tenterden to listen to Barry playing with his band 24/7. They played Weather with You by Crowded House. This is one I treasure in my soul. I have heard Barry sing it forever. He played it at our wedding.

Quick sketch tonight as it is getting late.

'Weather With You'
140lb Not
22cm x 15cm
£40 Unframed

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Thursday, 19th April 2018 - Extra Strong Rhubarb

I have an interesting day. My guests happily departed clutching my homemade jam and cards.

We put a pot over the rhubarb to force it. It has definitely done that and with mighty force pushed the pot off.

Tim cooked dinner. We ate it in the warmth of the evening sun in the garden. How wonderful.

I zipped over to see Mum. There have been a few phone calls with the home and family members today. They have got her up and dressed today much to her dislike. She is not happy. Not enough pain relief for her back and angina. They are monitoring her carefully and can see no signs of either ailment. I told her I would voice her concerns to them. She said they took no consideration of her dietary requirements and have never asked her. They give her too much. Really not a problem. I was present when she was interviewed at Oakside and this was covered. I said I could mention it. Would she like soup and a sandwich for supper? Yes she would. Thank you. This is what she has been getting. She said if she had been at home she would have called an ambulance. They are doing an incredible job with her care. We could not ask for more.

I got home and had a phone call from Mum wanting to know what the home was going to do. I said she would get an ECG soonish. She said 'So nothing' and put the phone down on me. This is all becoming a little exhausting.

Extra Strong Rhubarb
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Not
19cm x 27cm
£40 Unframed

LTP/LTP Course
I carved out a couple of hours this afternoon to paint a pear with a knife. I am still trying the best layout of paint/easel/shadow box. A quick rearrangement and all looking good. I was up and down the stairs collecting my materials including my model. I had to cut the bottom off the pear to make it stand up. Next task was to mix my colours and tones. This needs working on I have them all over the palette in no particular order. With George Michael to accompany me and my knife at the ready I got started. I don't think this should take longer than 30 minutes. I am not sure how long I look but including preparation time it could have been a couple of hours. I did the best job I could. It was enjoyably immersingly difficult.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Wednesday, 18th April 2018 - Explicit Liaison

What a glorious morning to wake up to. Heavenly sunny days.

I have had social media training from FES. Emily and Fran tutored me in the direction I should go with my art. It is going to take a bit of concentration so I am going to wait until my brain is feeling a bit more bouyant. A fantastic session. Thank you girls. I see them for a follow up after I am up and running when they will guide me through the next stage. Tim is going to build me a website. Exciting stuff.

I was surprised to hear that Mum is not so good. Tim wanted to take the MG out so I hitched a lift. Oh dear. I am not sure that being in a nursing home is quite what she expected. They don't need to call the GP or ambulance as they can assess her with their medical knowledge there. She has got cross with Manuel for not calling an ambulance. When she gets cross she can get really really cross. I tried to talk to her but she was getting a bit muddled about where and what the excruciating pain was. It seems to wandering from heart to back. She said she thought she may have a fractured spine but was managing to get to the toilet on her own. I think that Hawkhurst House is in for a rocky few days. I had a sparkling water at Sarah and Nigel's to recover.

I cooked omelettes for dinner. What a marvelous quick meal they are.

I still have not done my pear painting. I need a couple of hours. Hopefully tomorrow.

Explicit Liaison
Pen and Watercolour
140lb CP
27cm x 18cm
£40 Unframed

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Tuesday, 17th April 2018 - Viola Trio

Have you ever been out during the day and wondered whether you remembered to put on antiperspirant. Thinking that you may smell at any moment. A surreptitious sniff of an armpit confirms all is well.

Sarah sent me a message about meeting up for coffee. We were both far too busy. So we made it just a quick one. I needed to go to Cranbrook and get some bits from the pharmacy for Mum so it coincided quite nicely for location and time. If I knew what the visit to Mum was going to bring I may have had more than a coffee. She was waiting for the GP to visit for excruciating pain. Considering this she managed to write a couple of cards beforehand. Being present during the visit was quite embarrassing. Speaking of her inability to eat due to sickness when there was a plate of partly consumed toast and marmite next to her. A few bodily malfunctions were discussed. She has antibiotics which will hopefully cure her. It is such a shame as she really could be having a charming time.

Harriet and I took Herbie to be weighed. He doesn't like being without clothes and let the health visitor, all the other mums and babies know. I admire his vocal capacity. He is doing really well. I am so proud of him and Harriet. Well done good team work.

I was delighted with a trip to Tescos. I got twenty violas for £3 and twenty petunias for £3. What a lot of plants for very little money. I spent a happy time in the sun putting them in pots to adorn the patio. I am so charmed by them that I have potted some up to keep on the kitchen window cill.

My To-Do list was far far far too long. A good many items will have to be delegated to Wednesday.

Viola Trio
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT
27cm x 25cm
£60 Unframed

Monday, 16 April 2018

Monday, 16th April 2018 - Back to School

I would like to say I was up before sunrise but even at 6.30am the sun had beaten me. I have great guests who enjoyed my breakfast. I am getting to like them even better. They have their four day stay planned so don't need me for suggestions.

Hetty and Bella are back at school. How wonderful to see their joy in going. They were wearing what looked like dresses but had shorts. Excellent idea when they spend most of their playtime upside down.

I did some weeding under the feeble sun. This is not what was forecast. My runner beans from Richard are up - well two of them. They have had a good drenching to get the rest on the way.

My art class has started back. I knew we were working in pen and ink which I like. The copying of a Van Gogh I was not so keen on. My tutor does know this and did ask if I was happy to tackle it. It is to learn technique so I gave it a stubborn unenthusiastic go. It would have been better if I had used a bigger piece of paper.

Back to School
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT
20cm x 12cm
£40 Unframed

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sunday, 15th April 2018 - Ready, Steady and Step

A bit of a manic morning with guests breakfasts followed by a room clean/change then off to The Bell and Jorrocks beer festival. Tim was dancing with the Weald of Kent Morris along with a couple of other sides. Taking it in turn to dance it meant the older/less fit members were able to rest. Brett arrived with Hetty and Bella. Much to my surprise they both joined in the dancing. I have not seen many Morris wives for many weeks and it was good to catch up with their antics.

More guests more tea and cake. Unfortunately the weather was too disgusting to sit outside.

I had a bit of recuperation with a book.

Herbie was in fine fettle when I topped up Harriet's fluid levels with a mug of tea. He loves the mobile above his change mat. His arm and leg movement are very energetic and expressive. Mum got a visit from Hetty and Bella at their request. I asked them their reason and they said they had made her a card. Funny little pair. Reports back say that Mum is looking and feeling good. They do seem to be doing a find job of looking after her and her unusual needs.

Ready, Steady and Step
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Rough Clairefontaine

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Saturday, 14th April 2018 - The Birthday Boy

There is an art exhibition on this weekend in the village hall. Tim and I walked passed Tony who had been litter picking in the village and had a van filled with 7 sacks of rubbish. Loads of artists showing some beautiful work. I met Gillian from my Monday night art class. We are doing 'turbulent seas' as our next project. There was an artist who specialises in turbulent seas. We closely studied her work. We bought a ceramic Nuthatch to attach to a wall.

The weeds are growing in abundance after the rain and now the warm sun. I tackled the rose garden and extruded grass, hairy bittercress and dandelions. After a phone consultation with Alan Couchman Tim got the mower going. The grass now has tidy tufts.

My guests were able to have tea and cake in the garden. The banana and butterscotch cake turned out to be delicious.

We celebrated Mike's birthday with drinks at The Vine while waiting for fish and chips. Back at Caxton Cottage we couldn't quite work out how to get a DVD to play so watched a film about Churchill. Happy birthday Mike.

The Birthday Boy
Pencil Sketch

LTP/LTP Course
Ròisin says we cannot be creative if we do not feed our well. Mine is overflowing with artistic inspiration from looking at other artists work.
I found a YouTube video from the DaVinci Institute on how to make a shadow box from black foam board. I made mine this afternoon. The great thing about it is it fold flat so I can slide it into any nook or cranny.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Friday, 13th April 2018 - Forget-Me-Not My Love

The chickens have scarified the lawn. There must be some tasty bugs under all the moss. It would be even more helpful if they raked up too.

I made LeeLee's Banana Butterscotch cake for incoming guests. The recipe says it improves on keeping so I have made it a day in advance. What a bloody faff. After making the caramel and adding the bananas aerating the eggs, oil and sugar, it suggests sifting the flour three times before folding. I skipped this part. I just hope it tastes as good as I remember.

The daffodil season has been rather short. I went on the hunt for budding blooms and found four. Not really enough to fill a vase.

Sometimes in the bustle of our lives we forget to let the ones nearest to us know we are there for them. Even unconditional love needs a little reminder now and again. There is no harm in letting someone you feel a little abandoned or lost.

Eleanor Oliphant is no longer my bed time reading. Great book. I have a book about bees that Harriet got me for my birthday. The first few pages tempt me into thinking it is going to be a good read.

Forget-Me-Not My Love
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Rough Clairefontaine

LTP/LTP Course
I shut myself in my studio this afternoon for a timed challenge. My bendy daylight lamp is broken so I had to use a table lamp without a shade. The exercise is four paintings of an apple. Starting at 10 minutes, then 8, followed by 6 and finishing with 4. It took me a while to mix my colours. Using paper palettes is not good practice as they flip and slide around under the palette knife and are too small. I used five brushes and three knives, loads of kitchen roll and quite a bit of Zest-it to clean up. Alexa told me when my time was up. It was very tempting to cheat. I didn't which concluded in not finishing. Stalks are absent, highlights are missing and as to blending - no chance. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Left to right, top to bottom. 10, 8, 6 and 4 minutes.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Thursday, 12th April 2018 - Colouring

I have decided that going to bed after midnight and getting up late, is not the way to continue. I am out of kilter with the rest of the family. So I now set my alarm. The problem is I have not as yet revised my bedtime. I am feeling a tad tired. Tonight, I will get to bed earlier. My book is a distraction from sleep. I like to read just a few pages snuggled under the duvet but then it becomes a few chapters the clock has marched on.

Harriet, Hetty, Bella and Herbie met me for juice, tea and colouring at Mum's nursing home. She seems well but a bit frail. She walking about really well which is so heartening to see.

Tom was told he would know by 3pm if the offer had been accepted on a house in Northampton. We waited and WhatsApp'ed. Two hours later he phoned to say he had been successful and accepted. I expected no less. We are so very pleased for him. Excellent news Tom. I am still not sure you should get a dog. Get a rat. Much less of a commitment. I worked in the 'Animal House' at school. They bred mice and rats for dissection - I am not sure they are allowed to now. I saved Eric. Mum was not so delighted.

My many items on my list, this is a very important part of eating your frog, have been crossed off, bar one. A satisfying end to the day.

Pen and Watercolour
140lb Torchon Clairefontaine

Today we had an on-line tutorial with Rò. It was to answer questions and keep us on track. My brush is too big and my palette knife too small. We have to keep feeding our well or it will run dry.
I have put a ground on a couple of boards ready for a timed challenge tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Wednesday, 11th April 2018 - Nectarine and Valentine

Tim has meetings, events and a symposium in London. I have three days alone. I think I will be ok. LeeLee came for tea and left me with a recipe for Banana and Butterscotch cake. I have eaten her version on a couple of occasions. It was delicious and freezes like a dream. With many bananas in the fruit bowl the time is ripe for me to have a go.

The news is concerning.

I am ending the day with the weight of guilt on my shoulders. I should have visited Mum but didn't get around to it. Tomorrow. I will go tomorrow.

Nectarine and Valentine
Watercolour and Ink

LTP/LTP Course
This is an extra bit to my blog about the oil painting course I am taking on-line with Róisin O'Farrell.
There are loads of resources in the course. I have been watching the videos since Saturday when it opened. I decided I needed to stop prevaricating and get to it. 

First mix black with a palette knife and test by adding white.

How hard can it be to paint an apple? Incredibly difficult. The mixing of the paint was a new experience. I had to stop to mix more. Mostly painted with a brush. Painting vertically is not what I am used to and the paint stays put. No happy mistakes like watercolour. The paint stays where it is put. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Tuesday, 10th April 2018 - Tour of Pashley Manor

My guest had breakfast and was out the door shortly after 8am. Good start to the day.

I managed to watch a few videos relating to my painting course. There are many. They are helpfully tuitional. I suppose they should be. I have painted my gesso board with a neutral ground in preparation for possibly painting tomorrow as long as Tescos brings an apple

Pippa chauffeured Sarah and I to Pashley Manor. As bed and breakfasts hosts we get a free annual tour of the garden and latest updates on changes like a new toilet block. We are allowed a plus one so we took Pippa. We learnt that it takes six weeks to plant possibly 40,000 tulips and eight weeks to dig them up again. I am not overly keen on tulips. The cream tea is always a nice touch. Keith only showed us part of the garden so we wandered the remainder without him. As a birthday gift Sarah bought me two gorgeous primulas. They are a variety called Belarina and have tiny leaves surrounding multi petalled flowers. I am delighted with them. They will have pride of place in pots in the garden. Thanks Pip for the Teapigs tea. I don't allow myself to buy such extravagant tea bags. Hetty and Bella have their sights on the biscuits.

After a walk to deliver Morris posters to The Bull we ate a pheasant. It may have been two but it was jointed by Tony and I didn't feel inclined to puzzle it back together to find out. It slow cooked for ten hours with left over pizza topping. A successful meal this evening.

Tour of Pashley Manor
Pen and Watercolour

Monday, 9 April 2018

Monday, 9th April 2018 - The Popes' Campanula

I spoke to Luigi, he is the nurse/toxologist who has taken a keen interest in Mum's drugs. He told me Mum is having plenty of fluids to 'wash down the bladder' - nice.

My studio is looking splendid. There are about 120 students on my course. We have a dedicated Facebook page which is great for sharing, advice and comparison. I shouldn't do the comparison bit. I am feeling a little overwhelmed as there are professional proper working artists in the group producing well good paintings. Some of the studios are amazing. Large - more tidying. Basements and Attics - lots of stairs to carry canvases up and down. Garden rooms - could get cold or hot and lonely. More than one easel - well, you can only do one painting at a time. I love my space very much and am very lucky to have a dedicated to me and mine. Lots of the other students don't.

I have used most if not all my domestic cleaning machines today in readiness for one guest.

Wendy told me that it could be mice eating my pea seeds. I went and had an inspection today but couldn't see any signs of disturbance in the pots. My bets are still on the woodlice.

Eleanor Oliphant is not so funny anymore. It has got incredibly sad and touching and moving. If you read it be prepared to laugh and cry.

The Popes' Campanula
Pen and Watercolour
140lb HP

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sunday, 8th April 2018 - New Roofs

I am privileged to have had a glorious birthday. Harriet and I had a joint birthday cake made by Tom. It was a carrot cake sandwiched with cheesecake, dripping in frosting, studded with rainbows, unicorns, roses and candles. I have had gifts galore. Spending it with my family and cake made it a perfect birthday.

Wendy took Tony, Tim and myself on a long long long walk this afternoon. Starting in Frittenden going via Sissinghurst Castle gardens, the gardens are looking and smelling charming, and back to The Bell and Jorrocks for drinks, crisps and nuts.

Tim cooked me birthday pizza in our Giles and Poster pizza oven. It is a marvelous device. Followed by a film with the rather gorgeous Johnny Depp.

My Withings tells me today I have walked 13,166 steps and burnt 201 calories. I may have to cut down on my cake intake tomorrow.

New Roofs
140lb Torchon Clairefontaine

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Saturday, 7th April 2018 - Watching Prisoners

Today my oil painting course officially starts with Roisin O'Farrel. How wonderfully exciting. I will take a look at it later but managed to catch the on-line welcome talk. Looks marvelous for far.

What a glorious sunny day. I went out without my coat, then came back and put it on with a scarf. It was deceptive out there.

Tim and I parted ways. He went into the village hall to show what the Benenden Neighbourhood Plan group have been up to. I went into Tenterden to do my stewarding stint with Clive at the Weald of Kent Art Society exhibition. Last day today. I have returned home with all my paintings. I would have been troubled a few years ago, now I don't mind. They can always go on the dining room walls for guests to purchase.

I was wandering the aisles of Tescos when Tom phoned. He was behind me! He has driven from Northampton just to see me. What more could a Mum ask for on the day before her birthday. Steak for dinner?  Yes, got that too. Just add Tim, Harriet and the children.

Watching Prisoners

Friday, 6th April 2018 - Chimneys at Sunset

How long would it have been before you told me I had the days of the week wrong on my blog? I have only just realised that I had two Monday's and since then been a day out. I have now edited my mistake. It is rather concerning that for three days this week I had not realised and merrily typed in the wrong day, posted and published it.

My studio is on its third arrangement. This is the last time I drag my pine cupboard around. It is diminishing. Every time I move it a few more bits drop off. My easel is a pain with its long tripod legs that splay out in an exuberant angle. There must be a better design. It takes up a lot of space.  There must be a better design. I will get the family on it.

I cooked some pear for Herbie. He had it with rice this afternoon. Harriet said he enjoyed it very much. His spoon skills are getting better. What went in used to come out and twice as much with all the dribble. He can now swallow from front to back. Well done Herbs.

Tim popped to have a haircut. Half an hour and £8 later and he wont be needing one for quite a while. I like it short.

Tom phoned. It is Friday. We discussed the continuation of our alcohol free status. He reckons he is saving a few hundred pounds a month. If I am it is all going on art materials. He is looking at buying a house. What a exciting prospect. You can get a lot more for your money in Northampton than Benenden. It looks a great house I just hope he doesn't get his hopes dashed. Good luck Tom.

Blimey! It has gone midnight. I should be in bed.

Chimneys at Sunset
Watercolour and Ink
210lb Hahnemühle rough

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Thursday, 5th April 2018 - Multi-way Conversations

Harriet bravely took me to visit Mum. She was bright as a button. We had the door to the garden open and the girls played in the sunshine before settling down to watch a programme of upcycling furniture. They are working on sorting out Mum's drugs and getting a bit of weight on her. It was so good to see her looking so well. Keep it up Mum you are doing great.

I am still sorting through my studio. I have decided the furniture needs moving. I have emptied the cupboards onto the floor and landing. It will be easier to do it during the daylight.

Multi-way Conversations
Pen and Watercolur
140lb Rough Clairefontaine

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Wednesday, 4th April 2018 - Beauty or Beast?


As you know I am fine in the morning but am unable to communicate until I have had a mug of tea. It was an early start I needed two before I could utter or think about feeding delightful guests. I do like the stories they tell. People are fascinating.

There were plenty of visitors to Hawkhurst House today. I thought Harriet, the children and myself would be best saved for another day. I presumed Mum had settled in nicely. She seemed mighty fine yesterday at 4pm eating a trio of cheese, brown bread, grapes, celery and peeled apple. Today, well I wasn't expecting her not wanting to get out of bed or have a bath or get dressed for lunch. that wasn't much of a honeymoon period. Mother....really!!! I will pop in and see her tomorrow.

Tim returned from London. The weather had cleared so we walked and talked about how to tackle our out-of-date hallway. We are now on our third plan and I possibly have a fourth. The frogs will have spawned at this rate. The fritillaria are just coming into flower of the verge of the woods at the bottom of our garden. Harriet is a fan. I am not too sure about their chequered appearance. It doesn't seem quite right.

I had an on-line date with Roisin O'Farrell who is going to lead the way to me becoming a working artist. Our first task is to organise our painting space. This means a major tidy up of my studio. I can still use the kitchen table to do my blogging as that involves a bit of pencil, pen and a splash around with some watercolour. It seems that oil painting needs more space for palettes and canvases and other lovely things that I have bought in preparation but little idea how to use it. All terribly exciting apart from the tidying bit. I am keepint Amazon busy.

I am off to bed with Eleanor Oliphant. Such a great book. I am tempted to take a mug of tea but then I will be needing a pee when I should be sleeping. Just a glass of water then. Goodnight.

Beauty or Beast?
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Torchon Clairefontaine

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Tuesday, 3rd April 2018 - Many Bags and Mum

Happy birthday to you - Harriet my amazing, wonderful 33 year old daughter. You are a patient friend and an inspiration.

Mum has been moved from Oakside to Hawkhurst House. It went very smoothly. Luigi is a toxicologist and is keen to sort out her medication. He is on a mission. Good luck. Mum has a room with a wetroom, dining bit, sitting bit, kitchen bit and a bed which goes every which way. She will be able to open windows and a door into a garden. Let's see what happens next.

My guests ate chocolate brownie in the dining room. It wont be long until we are having tea in the garden.

We have been watching the Great Indian Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo. I really want to go back to the noise and chaos and explore more.

Many Bags and Mum
Pen and Watercolour

Monday, 2 April 2018

Monday, 2nd April 2018 - Sarah, Tim and a Stranger

Happy Easter Monday to you.

On my list of things to do was to plant my runner beans from Richard and the bulbs from Brenda. Done. I have investigated some seeds I planted a while ago. The broad beans are up. The sweet peas are slowly making an appearance. The other pots nothing. I emptied one out. Then another and another. I seem to have been growing woodlice. Many, many, many pots of woodlouse. Not a seed in sight. Most odd. I think they were 'mange tout' - well, something has definitely been and gone and done that!!! Could it have been the woodlice?

I have started tidying my studio in readiness for my course. There is a lot of sorting to do. I need a bigger space.

We had chocolate cake and tea, Tim had beer and no cake, at Sarah and Nigel's. Issac played with his tractor, tractor train and tractor plane.

I made a thin salty broccoli soup and flat cheese scones for dinner. What a waste of an hour.

Sarah, Tim and a Stranger
Pen and Watercolour
140lb HP

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Sunday, 1st April 2018 - Setting the Scene

We had an egg swapping morning. Tim has eaten his milky bar eggs already. I have been working through my caramel egg. I am pleased to see the packaging tells you how much chocolate is your suggested daily allowance. I am way over my allowance for today so need to abstain for a few days then I can get back to my daily portion. Hetty and Bella were disappointed that the eggs were empty. I am sure you used to get your sweets in a bag inside.

I packed the car with more stuff for the WOKAS exhibition. I remembered my paintings and a ham sandwich. The setting up seemed to go reasonably well. The paintpot dustbin is a little chipped around the edges but still has a presence on the pavement. I have control of the bar. Tim joined me later to serve to our adoring public at the preview. It seemed pretty busy. Five paintings were sold this evening. I just hope the rest of the week goes as well.

We returned home to Tim's homemade pizza and Agatha Christie.

I missed Radio 4's April Fools. What was it?

Setting the Scene
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Torchon Clairefontaine