Saturday, 30 June 2018

Saturday, 30th June 2018 - Seedlip Garden 108

I had a list as long as my arm by 7am. Completed and crossed off by 11.30am. Loads of frogs digested today.

Tim's Mum arranged for a family gathering of twenty six at Fairlight Lodge. It coincided with her 89th birthday. Happy Birthday. Tom's absence was noted and missed. The venue was perfect with its relaxed atmosphere and splendid buffet. The weather glorious for being outside with active younger cousins (probably a few 'once-removed'), siblings and the odd dad. Fantastic choice Brenda.

When we got home there was a parcel on the doorstep. I now have a rather lovely bottle of alcohol free gin to add to my tonic. It has a hallucinogenic green donkey on the label. I wonder what secret properties it contains. A very thoughtful gift from Tim accompanied by three bottle of BeesKnees alcohol free sparkling wine. I will no longer feel like the odd one out when I am surrounded by drinkers.

Seedlip Garden 108
140lb NOT

Friday, 29 June 2018

Friday, 29th June 2018 - First School Assembly

Tim is back from Houston. My bed is no longer empty.

Bella had her first school assembly today. It was about pirates. Tim and I discussed, as we walked to the church to watch, how wonderful it is to be only minutes away. Well done Bella you made a fine pirate.

Accompanying our Bewl Water trout, we didn't catch it ourselves, we had our first runner beans. The espaliering method it working well and they are profuse with flowers.

First School Assembly
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Thursday, 28th June 2018 - Wild Meadow Flowers

I was reading an article about Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His drawings of women reminded me of Gustav Klimt. I looked up their dates.They were around about the same time. I wonder if they were inspired by one another. I didn't delve that deeply.

I collected these as I wandered through the meadow by the church.

Wild Meadow Flowers
140lb NOT

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Wednesday, 27th June 2018 - Hetty's Homework

I have found this most marvellous way of shopping. If you buy through John Lewis on-line it gets delivered to a Waitrose of your choosing the next day. I collected Herbie's new highchair today using this method. I was only a couple of minutes from Mum's nursing home so I popped in. She is struggling with being told she is well and was very negative and grumpy. We wrote down her food preferences which was the only positive thing I could think of doing and a way forward. The list was very bland. They said they will not be giving her pureed vegetables!!! I made her go the long way out into the sunshine when she wanted to return to her room for a lie-down. She is going to turn into a muscle free stick if she continues as she is. Blimey she was hard work today.

My guests seem to spend most of their day on the bus. They have a car but prefer to travel with our very limited public transport. I need to go to bed as they are adventuring on an early one tomorrow.

Hetty has gardening as a school project. I had some plants I needed to get into the borders so set her to work.

Hetty's Homework
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Tuesday, 26th June 2018 - Sarah and a Duck

Sarah and I met for a coffee. We tried a new venue. Sarah suggested the Fish Farm at Hawkhurst. The lakes were rather lovely dotted with topless fishermen. We tried to walk around the lakes but restricted by our lack of fishing rods.

A visit to Mum found her having lunch on the terrace. She is not happy following a trip to a consultant. She is clear of any internal ailments much to her twisted disappointment. She is planning a trip to the GP next.

Sarah and a Duck
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT

Monday, 25 June 2018

Monday, 25th June 2018 - Herbie's Rabbit

Tim and I are able to bond even though we are 7811 miles apart. The temperature in Benenden is similar to Houston. I can feel the heat.

A good day for drying the washing.

Herbie's Rabbit
140lb NOT

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Sunday, 24th June 2018 - Bingo with Great Grandma

Hetty and I took a break in our day and headed to Waitrose to return our shoes and jumpers. She had some spending money but wanted to get something for everyone else in her family too. It is surprising what gifts you can find in a supermarket. We got a novel for Mum. We arrived just as they were about to start Bingo!!! I was ready to make a rapid exit. Hetty has a lot more empathy, patience, and tolerance than I and joined in.  She even made a trip to the bottle bank an adventure. Tom dropped by on his way back home. He stayed for steak and salad. It is always pleasing to nourish your child.

Bingo with Great Grandma
Pen and Watercolour

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Saturday, 23rd June 2018 - Uncle Tom and His Nieces

My night was unaccompanied and uninterrupted by my husband. I didn't sleep well.

Tom made a brief appearance on his way to a friends birthday party. We may see him again tomorrow if he is not too poisoned by alcohol. Yes, he has taken up drinking again. Now it is only me left with a cleansed mind, body and soul. He has let me down.

Hetty was performing with her Musical Theatre group at Staplehurst fete today. I had the privilege of watching her. These are incredibly special moments. We celebrated with ice-cream and a few turns on the coconut shy. Bella smashed it and proudly showed her coconut to my Mum. We visited her in her nursing home. She didn't come out to the fete. Mum is fine in mind but her body seems to be diminishing. How sad to think of all those years she spent eating tasteless Weight Watchers food to try and loose a few pounds. She was delighted to see Hetty, Bella and a very smiley Herbie. Manuel found them Artic roll. I used to love those so much.

I adore the music from the new series of Versailles. The jewellery and costumes are stunning. I don't think the dresses would take kindly to a spin in my Whirlpool. Shame I would like to rustle about in all those skirts and petticoats.

Uncle Tom and His Nieces
Pen and Watercolour

Friday, 22 June 2018

Friday, 22nd June 2018 - 'Vision in Red'

Tim left me at 5.50am for Houston. Should I have gone? It is 35ÂșC plus and the only feature of interest is the Space Station. Doesn't sound terribly appealing. I will have to amuse myself in Benenden and the environs.

My guests have been terrible in their generosity. They have showered me with gifts of chocolate, sweets and a stunning plant for the garden. I am not complaining but I do feel just ever so slightly embarrassed. They bought me a beautiful blue Salvia last year which I have killed by leaving it outside over the winter. This time they have given me an Astilbe which is bit more hardy.

Tom phoned. We had a disagreement about whether to 'follow' or not on Instagram. Chris where are you when I need you?

I had minted lamb and stir fry with Poldark this evening. My spell check recognises the gorgeousness of Poldark by underlining him in red.

'Vision in Red'
Pen and Watercolour

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Thursday, 21st June 2018 - WOKAS at The Walled Nursery

My guests are delightful. They are regular visitors and it is always great to catch up with them. I felt slightly guilty at leaving them at the breakfast table. I did leave them under Tim's watchful eye. I had an appointment with my artist colleagues.

Through Penny, one of the Weald of Kent Art Society members, we were allowed to paint at The Walled Nursery. I was delighted to see so many members turn out with their paints and brushes. The weather was perfect. There were oils, watercolours, acrylics and pencils being used with great enthusiasm.

WOKAS at The Walled Nursery
Pen and Watercolour

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Wednesday, 20th June 2018 - Snowdrops and Primroses

I have been painting today. Not picture painting. Hive painting. I think the bees will be delighted.

The Weald of Kent Morris entertained a large crowd at The Bell and Jorrocks in Frittenden. Being supplied with beer and cheese by the publicans made for a happy Morris side. The only disappointment was that Alan kept his socks up and didn't sing.

A very kind and thoughtful friend is hosting an event to raise money for a bed for unwell friend of hers. I have donated two of my pictures and hopefully they will raise a bit towards the much need fund.

Snowdrops and Primroses

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Tuesday, 19th June 2018 - Tim In His Office

I have a robotic cleaner. I gave my old one to Harriet. It went wrong. They are expensive pieces of kit so I decided to operate. Wielding a screwdriver I disembowelled it on the kitchen worktop, cleaned it out and found the probable cause of its disfunction was due to a faulty battery. This was easy to diagnose using the nifty noise and flashing light system. A search on Google revealed a long list of combinations making it easy to diagnose. A new battery inserted and hoping following a full charge it will be up and running again. Such a useful gadget.

Tim was working from home today.

Tim In His Office
Pen and Watercolour

Monday, 18 June 2018

Monday, 18th June 2018 - Art Students at Wren's Nest

My art class was en plein air. One of the students hosted us in her garden. What a stunning position. They have far reaching views east and west. How gorgeous to be able to watch the sun rise and set.

Art Students at Wren's Nest
140lb NOT

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sunday, 17th June 2018 - Mum and Blue Socks

Yesterday I remembered to buy strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for bnb breakfast. How the hell did I forget eggs. Our hens are laying well but they have taken to eating their eggs. Little sods. I have been having to buy them. My mug of tea and I in PJs were the kitchen at 6am this morning only to find one egg in my basket!!! That is not enough for four guests. Damn. A trip to the hen house, hoping that no one was watching me in my bedroom attire, rewarded me with eight eggs. Breakfast panic over.

Theresa May is giving the NHS a birthday present!!!! This is appalling in so many ways.

I am reading a book called 'How to Sell Art Online' by Cory Huff. So far it makes sense but I am waiting to get into the nitty gritty bit that will probably be beyond what I can or want to understand. I still want to do a website. I hope the book will guide me. A friend has offered to help with the minefield of social media. I am hesitant to accept as I wonder if they are only being polite.

I have been worried about Mum. I put some onions and spices on to render down for curry, it is Sunday the traditional day for curry in our house, and left them for Tim to keep any eye on. I drove to Mum's nursing home and found her better. She is hardly eating. Her supper sat untouched on the table. She said a couple of poached eggs at lunchtime had perked her up no end. She seemed pleased to see me and an hour and a half later I returned home to find the fish and yogurt curry ready.

Mum and Blue Socks
Pen and Watercolour
140lb CP

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Saturday, 16th June 2018 - Musical Theatre

I have seen a stark contrast in physical abilities today. At the Benenden Village Fete I proudly watched Hetty dance in a team with her Musical Theatre Group. Later I visited Mum who was in bed. She very slowly, with the aid of a zimmer, tentatively made it to her chair. I am amazed that her body can function with such a bent spine. It was sad to see. She seemed as feisty in spirit as always which was encouraging. Bendy youth and bendy old age.

Musical Theatre
140lb CP
Pen and Watercolour

Friday, 15 June 2018

Friday, 15th June 2018 - Hardy Geranium

I was pleased to have produced four differing breakfasts. Even better I remembered what went with what and who had ordered it. I did make some rather disgusting gluten free bread. It is like a brick in weight and appearance. It sizzles disturbingly in the toaster due to the high oil content. I have given my guest a reprieve from it tomorrow by buying a loaf from Tesco. It looks so much better.

My guests can be useful for research. Four of them went to Cloudberry, a new restaurant in Cranbrook last night. They gave it very good reviews. Handy.

The garden is becoming a bit overrun. It makes me irritable or that could be raging hormones. I have so few runner beans I have espaliered them. Seems to be working a treat. My sweetpeas are pathetic. I am looking forward to trimming my box hedge now Derby Day is over. I may even have the beginnings of recognisable topiary chickens.

A slow cooked pheasant made an easy dinner. Tim said the vegetables were rather soft. They would be after eight hours. I like there squishiness.

The geraniums that come up each year around the flower beds are charming. They compete for my favour with the bright red annuals. Both have a place in my affections.

Hardy Geranium
140lb CP

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Thursday, 14th June 2018 - Gift from Gwen

Bella has taken John the caterpillar into school. Nibbles a smaller one has been added. John has grown considerably and now easy to identify as the caterpillar of a Mullein Moth. The downside is that the girls will not be able to see its metamorphosis. Google informed me that they pupate underground for up to four years. It would have been a long wait in an ice-cream tub.

Herbie was sleeping in a sling on Harriet. I took advantage of her free hands. She lined my cake tins and mixed a Victoria sponge plus a gluten free version. They both look very similar after cooking. I am sure my guests wholeheartedly appreciated the double gesture as they ate it with tea at the newly rejuvenated (pressure washed and oiled by Tim) garden table this afternoon.

This evening I was alone with Poldark and a salad. I wasn't quite prepared for the topless beginning. I must be getting tender.

Gwen has propagated three tomato plants for me. They have a metal skirt on their pot. I am guessing it is to keep slugs and snails at bay. Gwen nourishes the Morris men with fortified gin and the children with anatomically correct gingerbread men and women. A greatly talented lady.

Gift from Gwen
Pen and Watercolour
140lb CP

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Wednesday, 13th June 2018 - Bella's First Sports Day

I didn't have to tie my hair up having no breakfasts to cook. I applied so many products I was worried I may spontaneously combust. None of them worked. I clipped it up.

My car has passed it's MOT with just one tyre needed. It is always a financial relief.

It was Hetty and Bella's school sports day. I always detested it as a child but love watching my granddaughters uncompetitive attitude. They did brilliantly. I was tearful with pride. Such precious moments. I was honoured to share it with them even though they didn't know we were there watching. But I had photographic proof to show them. Well done Rochester.

I have Chad and Dave staying for one night. They are working locally so it will be an early start.

After many a month we had a book group this evening. Kath has move to Kennington. Woodchurch seemed a good midway meeting point. It was with apprehension that we went to The Six Bells. The food was actually not bad. The chips were thick and crisp and chunky. We have just read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I have mentioned in previous blog posts what an excellent read it is.

Bella's First Sports Day
Pen and Watercolour
140lb CP

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Tuesday, 12th June 2018 - White Flowering Shrub

The Evans have been to Legoland with Grandad Evans. They stayed in The Wizards Rooms. It sounds like they had an amazing time. Perfection for a five and six year old. The adults and Herbie had a good time too. I missed them very much. It is good to have them back home.

I have been trekking loads of weeds down to the bonfire in the woods. Amongst the thickets of brambles and nettles I found a shrub in flower. I am not sure what it is or how it got there. It is very pretty in a vase on the kitchen table.

White Flowering Shrub
140lb CP

Monday, 11 June 2018

Monday, 11th June 2018 - Peonies from the Garden

I was at Benenden Hospital for a 8.30am consultation. It is very swish with its new extensions. I am going to have laser treatment on a varicose vein. This sounds fantastic with just local anaesthetic and maybe a bit of sedative if I look terribly nervous. The pre op assessment was not so good. My blood pressure was high - nothing unexpected as I have 'white coat syndrome' even though they were wearing blue. I was tested for MRSA. Under the armpits not so bad I think all they will find is Dove roll-on antiperspirant. Not so sure about the bilateral nose swabs. The worst bit was finding out that I am two inches shorter than I thought I was. That means my BMI tells me I have quite a few more pounds to shed than I thought before I am normal. I am sticking to 500 calories very strictly today.

I had a thoroughly great time at my art class this evening. I even knew what I wanted to paint. I like doing garden portraits. You can miss out the difficult bits because they don't fit into the composition.

I came home to find Tim had cooked me a low calorie dinner. Pasta, tomatoes and asparagus. A great way to finish a Monday.

Last thing today is to paint a picture. I find this therapeutic when it goes well and damn frustrating when it doesn't. Lets hope for the first option.

Peonies from the Garden
Liquitex Ink
140lb CP

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Sunday, 10th June 2018 - Biddenden Food Festival

After sorting out the morning we met Sarah and Nigel at Biddenden. The vineyard has an annual food fair. It was teeming with stalls and people. We fought our way heroically through the crowds. Sarah and I were sampling and eating ice cream. I have a favourite. Coffee and Cobnut by the Simply Ice-Cream people with the blue van. Tim and Nigel were left to purchase many bags of delicious delights to take back to Sarah and Nigel's for lunch. They had to stop for a beer refreshment. We sat in the garden for many hours talking and eating and drinking. Sarah seemed coherent when we left but a typo-ed text message from her indicated the cider was quite strong. Thank you for hosting us for so long. Your roses are looking splendid.

Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Saturday, 9th June 2018 - William The Conqueror

I came home from visiting Mum, she was in a fine mood and due to have here fine fluffy hair tamed this afternoon, to find that Tim had arranged an afternoon out. After a 5am start I was hoping for a quiet afternoon lying down with a book and closing my eyes. A drive in our MG to Rye Harbour was a much better option. I must remember to take a blanket. With the top off it gets chilly even on a fine sunny spree.  Steve, Vivien, Bertie, Barnaby, Alan and Mary met us at William The Conqueror. It was research for a Morris Tour next month. Alan and Mary joined us for a very early reasonably priced dinner. It was packed when we left at 7.30pm. I would have liked a Mr Whippy for pudding but he was not in his lay-by. The obscureness of Rye Harbour intrigues me

I am knackered. I valiantly managed to keep my eyes open through a couple of episodes of Lucifer.

William The Conqueror
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT

Friday, 8 June 2018

Friday, 8th June 2018 - Metal Robin

Sarah took me to The Wealden Times Fair at Hole Park. It was not too busy apart for the queue for our mushroom burgers. They were worth the wait being delicious with chips and salad. We didn't have much trouble not spending money as there was not much we wanted to buy. I have a robin to mount on a fork or spade in the garden. I saw something similar at an art show and liked the idea very much. I am making my own version. Some lovely earrings made from silver and coral are dangling from my earlobes as I blog. I am very pleased with them. Thank you Sarah for taking me, bringing me home and being jolly good company.

The project for art class on Monday nights is a garden portrait. I took advantage of Hole Park being a beautiful garden with many reference photos to work from. Excellent. I have no idea what I am going to do and hope that it will come to me with enthusiastic spontaneity. This will probably be in the night and I will have forgotten the 'ever such a good idea' by the morning.

I came home to pack the car with drink and glasses to take to the WOKAS Summer Party. Sadly it was poorly attended. The jazz band were great and I enjoyed the company so the lack of turnout was of no concern to me.

Metal Robin
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Thursday, 7th June 2018 - Blue Tit Fledgling

It was worth getting up early - I have to tell myself this. 5.30am!!! This was a momentous effort. I kept waking in the night thinking the alarm was not going to go off. It did. My right heal does not want to flex when I get out of bed and I have to limp downstairs to the kettle. I was looking out the kitchen window while stirring my tea bag in my mug. Just outside the window was a very ungainly Blue Tit chick making a brave attempt to balance on a thin grass stem.

Mum rang. She has been to the hospital for an ultrasound. It sounds very thorough and included being dyed. Manuel. the nurse from Hawkhurst House, accompanied her on his day off. I think they had a good time as she wants me to buy him a bottle of Chianti.

We have had an unpleasant smell in the bottom of the larder where the spirits are kept. Alcoholic spirits that I don't drink anymore not the spiritual spirits who would be much more entertaining. Tim located it. A bag of salt cod we bought back from France three months ago did not smell as salt cod should. It is now in the dustbin.

Blue Tit Fledgling
Pen and Watercolour
140lb Not

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Wednesday, 6th June 2018 - Butterfly Bush and Caterpillar

I have planted the French beans in the chickens dust pit. The plants are armoured heavily with twigs. The few around them earlier was not enough to deter the hens. There maybe one fewer plant.

A variety of squash plants are settling in other raised vegetable bed. Alli gave them to Hetty, Bella and Herbie to raise. I am starting their nurturing.

We have a buddleia shrub growing between the stones on the patio. I discovered this lonesome creature a leaf. I am hoping to watch its progress.

Butterfly Bush and Caterpillar
Pen and Watercolour
140lb NOT

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Tuesday, 5th June 2018 - Lemon

With over an hour between cooking breakfasts meant I have now some ironed shirts. Not a terribly thrilling past time.

I retired to my studio this evening. I have tested out my shadow box with a lemon painting with a palette knife. Not quite a master of my art.

Canvas Board

Monday, 4 June 2018

Monday, 4th June 2018 - Mike's French Beans

I have the most adorable guests staying. It makes my job a delight.

A WOKAS meeting around my kitchen table was progressive helped with tea, coffee and cake.

Tim was given a gift of beans from Mike. We need to protect them from slugs below and dust bathing chickens from above. The hens have made a habit of cleaning themselves in the vegetable patch. I managed to stem the flow of gin into my tonic from Mike.

Mike's French Beans
Pen and Watercolour

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Sunday, 3rd June 2018 - Concurrent Flowers and Fruit

Our apple tree has gone awry. Possibly due to the strange weather we have blossom and apples simultaneously.

The strawberry jam I made this morning makes a perfect sauce. I drizzled inside a cream stuffed Victoria sponge for guests. Tim and I had it poured over peaches with meringue and ice-cream. Jam that sets is terribly overrated.

I wonder if Guatemala is worth a visit to see how they grow beans. Or Slovenia I have heard is pretty. I have the urge to book a holiday.

I am soooo looking forward to going to bed. Good night.

Concurrent Flowers and Fruit
Pen and Watercolour

Saturday, 2nd June 2018 - Not My Tom

While I was gathering art materials Tim made me a sandwich for my lunch. From 10am-2pm I was absorbed by Tom. He was modelling for a WOKAS workshop run by Clive. Clive is a very skilled oil painter whom I admire immensely. I get in a painting panic when told you have two minutes left before the model changes position. Thrilling.

While I was drawing Tim prepared dinner for Si, Lesley, Nick, Alli, June and Barry. The hollandaise was particularly good, the bread rolls tasty, I enjoyed the bruschetta, and the meringues were a triumph. I did make the ice-cream and wash the strawberries. This is a life style I could get accustomed to.

Not My Tom
Quink Ink - left
Watercolour - right

Friday, 1 June 2018

Friday, 1st June 2018 - Cerinthe

Welcome June, maybe. I am not sure about these long days of light. The pressure is to work longer. No excuse to shed wellies and curl up in front of a fire due to lack of sunlight.

I had to have help getting music back onto my phone. It was a mystery to me why I had to plug my iPhone into my MacBook Air and that was plugged into my iPad. Small, medium and large all connected by umbilical cords. Slightly freaky. I left them with Tim. It wasn't long before Ed (for ease), Sinead (for angst) and Eminem (for pleasure) were singing to me while I worked.

We broke the afternoon with a trip to Waitrose. 20% off fish on Friday. How can anyone resist. We purchased two sea bass that had been reduced due to a trainee filleter leaving bones in. I wonder if he kept his job. It was delicious pan fried for dinner. Many bargains filled our trolley. I have a 10p sunflower from Tesco. It is now recovering from dehydration and being pot bound in a larger container in the greenhouse.

Sarah Wickham....look what I found growing in the garden....Did we not try to grow this years ago?

Pen and Watercolour