Another Book on a Chair

I thought I would share the view from my bathroom. I was fully dressed when I took this photograph – it is a bit fuzzy because I was trying to zoom in on the flax fields. Yes, I sometimes sit in my bath and pretend these are fields of lavender and that I’m in France.

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A Bathroom with a view….

And here is another picture of a book on a chair seeing as the book on the chair in my previous post proved so popular. I have decided that ‘A book on a chair’ is my new thing. This is The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas – a jolly romp through Victorian London theatre land. As I’m reading I am envisioning Clark Gable in the lead role alongside Warwick Davis and Jenna Coleman, plus my envisioning is in black and white and was made in 1939. I am on page 284 (of 513) and the obligatory reference to Jack the Ripper has just turned up.

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Book on chair…

Meanwhile, I have finished this. I am not happy with it. It is suffering from Kolner Miniatum pucker…. meaning the surface of the gold is wrinkly; this is probably because I applied the miniatum too thickly – or because I didn’t breathe on it correctly and therefore introduced unnecessary moisture to the surface before applying the leaf. Ack. This is a fuzzy photo to deliberately disguise my shortcomings.

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Finished….

I am happy with this though….

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Addressed….

Until next time when I will have another book on a chair.

Catching Up…..

As it was sunny Charmaine brought the Rolls round to the front of the house in preparation for a trip to the seaside; after a buff and polish with Mr Sheen the old girl was ready for her first outing of the season. The sun shone, birds pooped on the windscreen, whilst Charmaine crunched gears, narrowly missed hitting small children and got her flip-flop caught on the accelerator. Finally we arrived at our destination in time for our first lesson in stone balancing…..

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Well balanced…

Sadly, after believing I had a natural talent for this sort of thing I was expelled from the workshop. Apparently the use of superglue was not considered to be a viable option.

I returned to the Rolls to read my book, leaving Charmaine to frolic in the surf and hopefully dislodge the pebble that had balanced itself on her forehead.
After 5 hours of solid reading in variable light with no interruptions for ice cream, fish’n’chips, or anything cheerful, I finished the damn book. And it was a damn book. This one…

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The Visitors

The Visitors by Sally Beauman. 540 words of misery; death; more misery; a bit of tragedy chucked in just to make it even more miserable; only one miserly paragraph alluding to sex; grumpy men looking for treasure; posh people stealing from Egyptian tombs; death; more death; typhoid; TB; DEATH. I think the book might have been about death. Set in the valley of the kings it was hardly going to be about the life and soul of the party [she was murdered early on]. Good grief. On the plus side it was extremely well written.

SO…. after finishing the book Charmaine drove me home, sans pebble but with an unsightly weeping wound on her forehead, where I decided that I should photograph this piece of work that has been gathering dust in my studio for the past two weeks begging to be finished….

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Gold witterings…

I am slapping this picture in this post with the promise that I will finish this piece for next week’s blog post. AND THERE WILL BE A BLOG POST NEXT WEEK.

I thank you.

A Musical Interlude

Dr. Clive Mutterfort DGM, MRCOG, MClinPscychol, MFFP, DCH, PhD, GCSE looked up from his colouring book and gestured for me to be seated on the Chesterfield sofa opposite his desk. After 30 minutes or so he packed away his crayons and gave me his full attention.

‘Oh, I’m so sorry, I don’t appear to be relevant to this post; there seems to have been some sort of administrative cock-up.’ He said, rummaging through my medical notes, ‘Oh… hang on a moment…. there is this… it was delivered last week… it’s a meme from some chap called Mr Device, he’s requesting answers to some devilishly difficult questions in reference to your musical memories…. just relax and answer as truthfully as possible…. no need to answer with proper sentences or complicated grammar… just say the first thing that comes into your head.’

I leant back in the sofa, closed my eyes, and prepared myself for unconscious waffle. I heard Dr Mutterfort unscrewing his hip flask before asking, ‘What does music mean to you?

I frowned and concentrated hard. ‘Music can be a better representation of emotion than words… music reaches further than the mind.’

‘Is that all you’ve got to say?’ Asked Dr Mutterfort.

‘Yes, let’s not get too soppy…or philosophical.’

I heard Dr Mutterfort polishing his golf clubs, eating a blueberry muffin from M&S, and ironing a shirt. He was obviously thinking about Freud, but was desperate not to show it.

‘WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MUSIC RELATED MEMORY?’ Shouted Dr Mutterfort in my left ear, taking me completely by surprise.

‘Erm…. Arthur Askey…. And His Silly Little Songs, specifically The Bee Song….

…my mum had a portable record player, which was the size of a small suitcase. The speakers made up the lid and were detachable. It was possible to stack several records on the turntable so that when one had finished there was another ready to drop down to be played. I used to spend hours sitting on the sofa eating Opal Fruits whilst listening to records, Arthur Askey was a favourite along with Peter and the Wolf, Lady and the Tramp, and The Jungle Book.’

There was a long silence and I pondered whether Dr M had left the room.

‘Are you still there, Dr Mutterfort? DR MUTTERFORT????’

‘So sorry, my child, I had cottonwool stuffed in my ears, shall we move on swiftly to the next question….What was the first album you ever purchased yourself?

‘Do I have to say???? Really????? Do I have to??? Okay, well seeing as you asked it was David Essex. I bought it with my birthday money. To be fair I didn’t really like David Essex but my older sister did, and I bought it in an effort to appear grown up. I was 9. The track called ‘Window’ scared the living daylights out of me so as soon as ‘Gonna Make You a Star’ had finished I’d run to the record player and lift the needle to skip it….

….I think it must have been all the screaming at the end that chilled me and I….”

‘Yes, yes, yes… I think we get the idea, can we move on… what is the latest music you purchased?

‘One Strike by All Saints….’

I could hear Dr Mutterfort bopping around the consulting room. It was obvious that he was liking All Saints. Sounding out of breath he flopped back in the seat behind his desk before asking me the final question, ‘What is he very last song you listened to before writing this post?

‘Cake by the Ocean by DNCE…. it’s difficult not to hear this at the moment because it’s officially played on the radio after every ten minutes….

….and it features cake, so what’s not to love?’

I could hear Dr Mutterfort’s eyebrows creak as he raised them, ‘I don’t think it means actual cake.’ He replied.

I sighed, read through the post I’d just written, and wondered what Arthur Askey would have made of DNCE.

If anyone would like to do this Meme then please feel free to do so. Ay-Thang-Yaw.

Calligraphy Tip no.17

Apologies for my extended absence. I have been scrubbing. Specifically, I have been scrubbing the grubby grey tiles in my shower. I am something of an overzealous scrubber, as Charmaine is so fond of telling me, and this has proved detrimental to my lettering. I cite Exhibit ‘A’ – prior to scrubbing…..

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Exhibit ‘A’

And, Exhibit ‘B’ – post scrubbing

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Exhibit ‘B’

As you can see, Exhibit ‘A’ is smooth in line, whereas Exhibit ‘B’ is a shaky mess. This is because the repetitive rhythmic pressure and forceful overexertion of the lower arm, which is needed for a good scrub, causes the muscles to contract and spasm. Therefore my advice to fellow calligraphers and lettering enthusiasts is to learn to scrub with their non-writing arm. This may mean that you have to live with grey grouting in your shower; that your mirrors and windows may look a little smeary; that your teeth may be permanently stained yellow; and that other areas in your life may become less than satisfactory causing significant frustration and complaint from loved ones and casual acquaintances, but I feel that this is a small price to pay for smooth, flowing, confident letterforms.

Meanwhile, I am still up to my eyeballs in gold leaf and calligraphy correspondence. I do mean to post more regularly on my blog – I’ll aim for Thursdays, but sometimes it might just be pictures – it is difficult to type with just my left hand. Please bear with. Thank you.

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Mmmmmmm….

Happy Birthday…..

…..to me…..

Yep, it’s that time of the year again when I am allowed to sit on the sofa all day and eat cake. I did have a fabulous post planned… but I seem to have lost it.

Meanwhile, isn’t this photograph peculiar?

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Old Benson and Hedges Advert?

This one is not so peculiar… further gilding experiments with silver leaf…

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Silver Leaf

Apologies for this rubbish post. But it is my birthday.

Coming soon:- Charmaine finds out what it means to be British; Aunt Scarlet makes an International faux pas; and we finally find out what was in the picnic basket that Charmaine left in the hallway several posts ago…

Less Dramatic….and unfinished…

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A damp grey day in Devon…

I have no words. Well, I have a few…. Yes, someone has left the remains of an ancient fertility symbol on my driveway. It is huge. I live in fear that a passing chainsaw artist will drop by and carve it into a giant squirrel perched upon an undersized toadstool…. or worse, someone will feel inclined to whittle it into a spoon…. probably a Londoner…probably a Londoner with a beard…. I have seen evidence that spoon whittling is popular in the south-east. Apparently this is an oak burr; whatever it is, it has been on my driveway for 5 months, and has worked well as a bird table.

I am not going to speak of Charmaine in this post, she has upset me too much… something to do with ‘not taking myself seriously’…. and she has been insistent that I ‘get a proper blog wiv nicer photos done by someone proper’…. you get my drift.

I will deal with her later.

Meanwhile, I do seem to have accumulated a few unfinished projects….

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Work in Progress

The Dramatic Entrance….

Charmaine has returned home from her stint at being a genius crossword compiler. Apparently there was an ‘incident’ at Cousin Windsor’s [a right Batarde] that she will not speak of. Knowing my Cousin Windsor, trying to forget about it is the best way forward, and I will not press her further for information. With her she brought a picnic basket, which upon arrival she dumped in the hallway before ascending to her rightful place in my attic. Such a pity that in her absence the attic sprang a leak, so it came as no surprise to hear her shouting, screaming, and possibly stamping a bit before stomping back downstairs to disturb my revelry by bursting into my studio in an overtly stroppy manner.

‘What is the problem, child?’ I asked, barely looking up from whatever I was looking at.

‘The roof is leaking, all my clothes are soaked through and there is bird poo all over my vintage bakelite collection. And I bet you haven’t paid this?’

Charmaine stood in front of my desk waving a piece of paper. It was the electricity bill. I smiled wanly as the lights dimmed and then went out.

‘Obvously not,’ I said.

‘There’s nothing else for it, Aunt Scarlet, you’ll have to reopen the wedding calligraphy business, we can’t carry on living like this.’

And I said, ‘NO, NO, NO!’

I sighed, she did have a point, I had rather let things slide over the past five months, and it was true the roof was leaking, the paint was peeling and, much much worse than this, we were running out of gruel. Thankfully, at the back of my mind I had a spare plan.
I looked Charmaine up and down and considered how much money I could get for her if I advertised her dextrous skills on the right type of Internet site. She could look quite fetching in the dark, it suited her skin tone.

‘NO, NO, NO!’ Shrieked Charmaine as if reading my blog post over my shoulder as I typed.

‘Well, what do you suggest we do?’

‘These,’ said Charmaine, stabbing my latest creations with her stumpy index finger, ‘flog these, everybody loves a bit of gold and a bit of bling.’

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Flog these???

‘How?’

‘Don’t worry, Aunt Scarlet, leave the marketing to me, I have ideas, and Asmodeus will help.’

With the hazy image of Asmodeus hanging in the air, Charmaine flounced out of my studio in a purposeful, determined, #girlboss sort of way. Who the hell was Asmodeus? I shook my head dismissively. The girl had obviously gone a bit peculiar, but still, her positive ‘can do’ attitude had made me feel uneasy. Cousin Windsor had obviously instilled these ideas, ideas that were well above her station, and possibly above the steeple at the end of the lane, which was very high above indeed. I shuddered in my seat and felt a little faint because if she was successful it would mean that I would [heaven forbid] have to work.

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Work in progress…
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Now c ‘ere…