This is a detail from a painting which I started as a demo. at an exhibition, I did finish it at some point but everything was overshadowed by what happened in the 36 hours following the exhibition.
Lovely aunt came to the exhibition with her visiting carer, they had a look round and some coffee and cake and off they went, quite jolly really. By the next day my aunt was keeling over sideways in a chair so I called the paramedics who bundled her protesting into an ambulance, I was with her until 02.30am in A&E she was probably six hours on a trolley but we were at least in a cubicle. She had pneumonia but scans revealed more serious problems that were not going to get better. Its never going to end well when they look concerned and say was your aunt a heavy smoker? No she wasn’t but… that conversation stemmed from an initial misinterpretation of a scan and what was wrong was not related directly to cigarettes, rather old age.
She recovered well enough to get back out of hospital and her triumphant grin when she got over here for Sunday roast was worth a fortune. She enjoyed Christmas, especially the halibut I bought for Christmas Eve. What do you do when you are standing in the fishmongers just before closing on Christmas Eve and there is very little left? I panicked and bought a magnificent slab of halibut and then some sea bass in case that was not enough…it cost as much as the goose for Christmas day! There was too much but it was utterly delicious and mother and lovely aunt both enjoyed it. I made a sauce with cream, lemon and capers from the pan juices. She had lots of visitors during the winter and her live in carers worked very hard, so did I in fairness as I provided almost all the breaks for the carers. Lovely aunt had always given money to various charities but the only organisation that helped in this period in a practical way was the hospice to which she had never donated. Social services? give me strength…it can take two solid days to phone them, if you speak to someone they may promise to phone you back….they don’t get back reliably…they tell you that you have made a mistake and that there is a social worker attached to the Memory Clinic who will deal with you…there isn’t….it takes two solid days to get someone on the phone to tell them what they should know and they then promise to get back to you and of course they don’t. Many charities ask for donations showing happy clients being supported at home by the charity…but don’t make it obvious how one accesses that help or only offer a service in other districts, advice lines are helpful but not the answer to everything.
There is a great deal wrong with our system of care for the elderly….there is not really a coherent system for starters…visiting the hospital every day made it abundantly clear that there were terrible things happening to many elderly people.
My aunt died of cancer last month and there was a lovely funeral beneath the Downs on one of the first dry days we have had this winter of storms. The snowdrops were just opening then but now they are almost over and life must keep moving forward. I am belatedly pruning the cooking apple tree and splitting logs- its therapeutic.
This is the whole picture:
size 15cm x 30cm, 6″ x 12″ approx.
There was to be a mornings painting of fruit with lovely aunt but she, not being able to concentrate as well as before, ate the still life!!
This is from the sketch book I took to France which is now full.
We went to the Midi which is very lovely. It is a long way south but quite harsh in some ways, it lacks the softness of many other places so close to the Mediterranean; no wonder really, the temperature in the village we stayed in went down to -15c last winter and just like the UK they say “it was ridiculous! we did not cope, the pipes burst and so did the water mains”. This explains why they don’t bother trying to grow lemon trees in their gardens even in the walled gardens of the villages, Figs and olives yes but lemons no and no straggly five foot high Pelargoniums either.
No picture…because we ate it…one huge ripe strawberry, probably the first outdoor one on the allotment- but I’m not really bragging (much).
A ten minute sketch done to a chorus of “we are hungry can you hurry up?”.
It’s Mont St Michel last summer.
This sketch is just like the weather at the moment: a bit rough round the edges but I quite like it ( warmer would be better as colour might be better).
I am taking work to the festival in Burgess Hill.
There will be prints ( as in handmade ), cakes ( as in handmade) framed watercolours from this blog and otherwise www.art-in-burgess-hill.co.uk/ I am in St Peters Road B. Hill weekend 9th June-10th and 16th June to 17th June. Some of the felt brooches will be for sale.