Sunday, 7 July 2019

Sunday 7th July - A Day of Rest

A Day of Rest, during which I've got quite a lot done, things I've been waiting to do, wanting to do...

I've brought my Quotations Book up to date, including these drawings, copied from a website (I've just spotted I need to add a few more lines to the ridged pattern)

and this poem, discovered on twitter

That poem - it is remarkably difficult to copy something accurately. I've accidentally added a full stop after 'smooth back her hair', and now can't easily cover it up. The errant full stop has a significant effect on the meaning.

I think there is something exceptional, memorable, in nearly every line of this poem.

Then I've done some more on the top I am sewing.

 The pins are marking out a felled seam that I am in the process of sewing around the arm hole, to conceal the raw edges, instead of just using the pinking shears to finish them.

The fabric was previously used as the kitchen curtains (or was it the bathroom curtains - I can't remember). This top is a trial run for making it up in a pretty blue embroidered fabric I bought earlier this month.

The pale lemony-creamy background really doesn't suit me, so I plan to dye the whole thing 'tulip red' once it is finished... we shall see how that turns out! At least it will only have cost £3.60 for the dye and rather a lot of time.   

This is the fabric I really want to use;

The dark blue with the bright white pattern is the 'right side', but I like the 'wrong side' so much I want to try and make the top reversible, which means deep thinking about how to manage the seams.

Before I could do any of this, I had to tidy the table - this is a recurring reality. I wonder if recurring realities are worse than recurring nightmares?

Tidying isn't really that bad - pick it up, put it somewhere (where it belongs, or in the bin, or in a stack hidden on a chair) and repeat...

All this achieved by ten o'clock - and I even had a lie-in beforehand!

I'm still in the midst making preparations and practising for doing painting when we are on holiday. Today I started thinking about what colours to use. It is so much more complicated than it seemed at first. It's not enough to buy choose pretty colours for you paint box, or 'palette' as I am learning to say. Oh no, are they warm, or cool, transparent or tinting or glazing or opaque or granulating? It makes a difference to how they react when you mix them together. The old red + yellow = orange formula is no longer subtle enough.

So I've actually done some of this; taking three colours from the selection in my box, and doing mixing trials. 

It has been surprisingly helpful.

All that sun shining on the sketchbook is a bit of a false lead. Those were taken around 4 or 5 pm.

When we went to have lunch at Shoreham, we left in the rain. We had Welsh Rarebit in a cafe called Tom Foolery (good, but too salty). The rain had stopped by the time we finished, so we walked across the bridge to Shoreham Beach, and followed the boardwalk. These houses sell for around £1,00,000, the ones in the street behind for £600,000 and the other houses for in the town £300,000.  

Sea cabbage is an extraordinary looking plant.

We turned back halfway along; looking back towards Worthing we could see the gathering clouds.

Halfway home, we were driving through clear Summer sunshine...

Friday, 5 July 2019

Friday 5th July - a longish week

If last week ended on the Thursday, then this week, which ends tomorrow, has been nine days long. Nine very long days long...

Friday was travelling to Leicestershire for my father's 90th birthday party, held at my cousin's house. Why Leicestershire? (It would have been in Rutland if they hadn't renamed it some years ago). Well, that's a long story involving relatives from Florida who came over for the celebrations and to visit the place where their grandfather, or maybe great-grandfather came from.

That's my father, on the right - so I suppose the photograph must be nearly 90 years old!

It was a great day, and the final part of that part of the junketing which had lasted several days.

But, there was more birthday yet to come - we took part in a sort of 'flashmob' tea party in London on the Sunday. The Floridians had already scattered in different directions, some to the Cotswolds, some to Paris, and some on a 'Game of Thrones' tour of Ireland, this this was a separate set of relatives and friends.

Monday could have been a day of rest, but I was teaching for six hours...

And Tuesday was a Brompton Hospital day - a very early train to make sure of being able to get a seat and arrive in time for 9am. The hospital checkup was very encouraging. It looks 

The Brompton checkup was very encouraging - looking back over the years, it seems that although my lung function drops a little in the winter, it picks up again in the Summer in a regular pattern. We were in and out pretty swiftly, and spent the rest of the day at the V and A;

Beatrix Potter Drawings

Huge, ancient doors

A fifteenth century French staircase

We wandered through rooms and rooms full of ceramics on the way to the display of Port Meirion china - I didn't take any pictures of the china, but this set of plates amused me

  It has been very, very warm this week. The cats can't decided where to sleep; inside?

or outside?

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Thursday 27th June - A short(ish) week

This week has ended (already?) on a reasonable high.

Yeah, I know, it's only Thursday. But I'm not teaching tomorrow (grand family celebrations all day), so as far as I am concerned the teaching week, which begins on a Saturday, has ended a day early.

Quite a few of the lessons went much better than I expected, and only a very few went worse than expected. (There are always a couple of tricky pupils, who, for one reason or another, are difficult to teach).

Accomplishments so far?

I have become adept at getting the painkiller medicine into McCavity. I studied a youtube video, and more or less replicated the action;

  • prepare the dosing syringe and get a handful of cat treats
  • give the cat some of the cat treats
  • stroke cat while it munches
  • interrupt the munching by grabbing the cat by the scruff, bringing its head back enough to be able to get the syringe into its mouth, steadily pushing the plunger while the indignant cat reluctantly slurps the stuff down, 
  • give the cat the rest of the cat treats
This has been reasonably successful five times in a row; she must know what is coming, but it seems that the cat treats are worth the disgruntling.

The other night it was only a partial success, but that was my fault. I got the actions slightly out of sequence and started pushing the plunger on the syringe before I had got it properly into her mouth. Messy. I reckon she got at least half, though, and most of the mess fell on the cat treats, which, after some consideration, she decided to finish up anyway.

The plate is empty, because the deed has been accomplished. You can see she's not really bothered by the whole procedure.

I've done a bit in the garden - mostly picking (and eating) strawberries, and sorting out one of the big tubs of plants, evicting all the random daffodil bulbs I stuffed into it last year, and replacing them with random patio roses that I haven't quite killed through neglect. 

This is last night's 'practising for the holiday sketchbook' effort. The large brown reptile lurking bottom right is actually a stone-and-iron-railing wall at the edge of the viewpoint looking over the ravine. And the brown train crossing the bridge is really the houses at the top of the hill on the other side of the ravine. I was copying a photograph of Knaresborough from last Summer. 

How hard is it to draw ears of corn? Not hard at all, it seems.

The random twiggy seed-head thing on the left reminds me; this morning I saw a Giant Hogweed growing in the verge of the lane I was driving along. They always cheer me up, looking like some alien triffid. If you look them up, you discover that they are an invasive species (see, aliens!) which can cause serious skin burns if you touch them (see - triffids!) so I suppose I shouldn't be so happy to see them...