This painting has been framed and is for sale at Burgess Hill Open Houses see blog for June 4th
size h 7″ x 6″ 17cm x 15cm
There has been a long gap when I have written and painted nothing. In my defence it was Christmas and then I was ill.
Christmas approached and as always the creative life was swamped by the mundane. There were presents to make, cakes to make, cards to send, lovely aunts social life to mend and her medical needs to be addressed, husbands dumped friend to console, and then there were the floors, the loos and the bedrooms which all needed my attention-in addition there was still the shopping and ordering.
I have a major difficulty with being ill in this household and it’s to do with timing; ideally being ill should be a solitary activity much attended by concerned (healthy and vigorous) loved ones, that is in my dreams. Now my husband seems able to time his occasional bouts of man flu so that he is able to announce to the world, work, and his closest relatives that he is really ill as he collapses sideways onto the red settee with the remote control. He varies his illness by retiring to bed with a book on Greek Naval Warfare or the Odyssey and calls for his basic needs, conversation and fussing whenever he feels like it. This continues until he is fit enough to get up and go back to work….protesting that he is not yet fully recovered ….he then comes home and collapses sideways onto the red settee with the remote and is exhausted. He is of course excused household duties until he is at least a little better i.e. well enough not to want to come home from work and collapse sideways onto the red settee. I may be imagining this but it is possible that his episodes of ill health tend to finish when he has exhausted the recorded episodes of Startrek, Frost and Lewis. This Christmas holiday he must have been truly unwell as I found him watching a recording of a Harry Potter film followed by two of the Narnia films. I am quite worried however as we were given a swanky new set top box at Christmas which is much more effective in recording whole series of programmes and has a HUGE memory; thus we will soon have every single broadcast episode of Frost etc .
I got ill first this year for a change and by rights should have been able to collapse gracefully onto the red settee etc. etc. But I mistimed it badly, I started to get ill on Christmas Day and having found out on that morning that we were to have 13 at lunch the next day I was forced to battle on. There were arrangements in place for the day after Boxing Day as well -eight for lunch. Note to self , do not volunteer to entertain three days in a row at Christmas or at any other time. The last day was fine as there was woodpigeon pie ready to go in the fridge which we had with bubble and squeak made from left over mash and sprouts with chestnuts. Once all people had gone home and I felt able to actually be ill as opposed to falling asleep in the middle of things, I was overtaken by diy dad who, having done enough diy to empty all the cupboards in the house, caught my chest infection. Of course he was worse than me and needed attention, as he recovered No2 son came back from a days shopping with the winter vomiting. We have managed to contain his personal pandemic this time ( his best being 11 people infected)and the only person who has succumbed this time is …well of course its me.
Day One hundred and seventy two
Click here to bid size 8 in x 6 in, 20cm x 15cm
Written last night :
There’s nothing like being rung up and told that your child was due in school after a bleary breakfast when you dragged yourself out of bed only to be convinced half way through ( too late to enjoy going back to bed of course) that it was actually an inset day. We were sceptical and checked the school website…it was an inset day….I retrieved dinner money and set a revision paper….but the noble souls who teach my son were working through their inset day ( as well as doing the training presumably), in order to sort out the knotty bits that need to be fixed before the exams, they phoned to complain after the event. Damn, blast and double blast. All revision that occurs outside home and doesn’t involve major complaint sessions within earshot is worth real money in my book and today the money just rolled down the drain. I was humiliated and bound to apolagise abjectly , as the I lowered the receiver I turned to the snivelling brat responsible…….
Last night and the night before we had a barbeque…as it was glorious again today a hat-trick was suggested…it’s that dreaded call, ” I’m on the TRAIN and I think we should have a BARBEQUE!”. I’d run out of ideas and cholesterol capacity so got trout from the supermarket and put them in a fish gadget which holds them together. They looked very enticing with the skins scorched and curled, bread, lemons and salad were all that were needed. The day time temperature on a north facing wall has been up to and above twenty -three days running so it has been warm enough to sit out until dusk.
Last night I saw a pair of bats chasing each other, today I saw an orange tip butterfly the first in a few years. I am trying really hard to catch up on weeding and planting…I made some grim rotting corpse type discoveries in the shed, improper storage/extreme cold has cost me a very fine dahlia and some so so ones and a Colocasia .I will leave the final excavation until I am feeling braver.
There are quite a few losses in the garden from this time last year, the raspberry scented Salvia is all gone, the Dryas colony has died ( calls itself an alpine too), a pretty delicate Hebe is toast or rather kindling and a delicate south African Rhodoxis? has turned to dust ( I am almost sure). I’ve lost all the Siberian wallflowers including a good looking cutting. I also lost most of the seedling Hellebores from last year but that was drought last summer not the cold. More hedge is succumbing to the honey fungus and so are the potentillas…however they are producing insane numbers of seedlings. I can’t believe it when they were so hard to grow from seed originally.
Lovely aunt is enjoying the good weather and the barbeques at which she claims to be an almost complete novice…I can’t believe she has missed everyone of the barbies we have transported to my mothers house in the past and cooked for the extended family; she was always at weekend gatherings there until my cousins whisked her off in a hurry to the cleaner air in Hampshire. Her description of this to the G.P. had the G.P. ‘s eyes doing that “ you are kidding me “ thing at me. I ended up muttering “don’t go there” as it is all very distressing for her still. I can’t tell their side of the story as they refuse to discuss it.
I have tucked some sprigs of rosemary and Siberian Wallflower (taken from mothers magnificent plant…how come…oh never mind) into the cuttings pot to try and get some new plants. The seedlings of Tiarella which I put out in the shady area last year are looking fantastic, fresh green plants which are starting to merge into effective ground cover (effective free groundcover). The apples are starting to come into flower Owen Thomas two days ago and Katy today.
Onwards to the next barbeque day….
#172 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday. size 4.5″x6″, 12cm x15cm, watercolour on heavyweight rag paper
It’s a quote of a quote, the title of the book by H.E. Bates quotes Shakespeare :
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May | And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Must have been a spring like this one where you fear for the delicate buds of all the good things to come.
The hawthorn is also called May or Mayblossom or Mayflower. It is supposed to be bad luck to bring a branch inside but I am going to call this a sprig or a slip and see if it doesn’t bring me good luck instead.
Incidentally my spell check is querying Shakespeare’s use of English!!
There’s a bit much detail in this I may need to come back to it. I have altered two previous blog painting because I just can’t stop myself from doing it.
#54 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday 6inx6in 15cmx15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
This is a fast and furious very wet on very wet watercolour, I hesitate to use the word technique as I think that would be over selling what I just did here.
The colours are quite sharp which is right.
Today was busy with visitors. I made the remains of the venison casserole into a pie with some additional mushrooms and very good it was again. I always feel that I have scored if there is a meal to be made from what is already prepared in the fridge. We opened a bottle of red that had been in the cupboard under the stairs for a couple of years, and it turned out to be terrific, South African Brede River Origin. It was 15% alcohol so everyone became very boisterous and inclined to insult each other. I think it was a bottle that came mail order in a mystery bargain mixed case, I am a sucker for that sort of deal, the unpacking and consideration of each bottle is great .
In the afternoon I went to see Cheek by Jowl do Macbeth at the Theatre Royal Brighton. It was completely packed in the centre of Brighton but the theatre was only half full. It was one of those pared down productions and parts were brilliant but at times it was hard to pick out all the words and that made it less vivid. The porter is utterly fabulous and Macduff magnificent. It felt like one of my less even paintings, there was a need to get the levels consistent.
#50 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday size 9 in x 6 in 23cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
This is not giving me everything that is good about apple blossom. I love it for its’ sturdily curled petals and its subtle blushes. The blossom is soft and opulent and the supporting twigs are knobbly and grey.
I saw my first cabbage white butterfly of the season this morning, they used to be so common in London when I was growing up, the caterpillars were a familiar sight destroying my father’s cabbages. In the bush in Botswana, and come to think of it in town, clouds of white butterflies would drift past on the breeze. Here I look up if I see one.
I picked some asparagus today in honour of my brother in laws visit; it looks rather weedy still but was crisp and delicate stir fried. The strawberries have 30% blackeye from the frost which will prevent fruit forming. Some of the plants have set fruit already so it’s to be hoped that they at least grow into edible strawberries.
#49 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog