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Send e mail of apology to Forest of Dean trustees for my not being able to attend tomorrow due to having this virus; I feel bad about this as I missed the last one too due to it falling immediately before my exhibition opening.
So pleased as Henrietta phones to say Samuel won first prize with his book day outfit as Robin Hood at nursery in the Peter Pan costume I made for Isaac last year!! He got a large Easter Egg and first Bible. In Year 2 Isaac got compliments on his Puss in Boots outfit and face painting. R notices a Little Red Riding Hood walking down our Lane.
We’re so disappointed as we’re going to have to miss Martin’s party, though Richard decides he will drive to Bristol to deliver the little painting I’ve made for him but doesn’t go in and stands a long way off when he delivers it!
Henrietta calls quickly to let me know that both boys had independently got stickers for being the politest child in their class for that week and gives a sigh of relief - she’d done well too in her being observed lesson and got ‘outstanding features’.
Edward’s envelope from the Racecourse arrives with the tickets for Gold Cup Day. He’s such a delightfully generous spirited person who goes out of his way to invite us each year knowing how inspirational it is. Richard read in the Echo that the Festival has almost sold out which is fantastic in a time of cut backs. Also yesterday had lovely e mail from Sally who purchased Seahorse suggesting that if we were there it would be fun to meet, which will add even more to an occasion that is always wonderful.
Receive a lovely e mail from the Alderman Knight School re a possible commission. Its a wonderful Special School which achieves outstanding results. Some years ago Henrietta worked there for a year with the speech therapist while they had special funding and again for a further year on a one-to-one basis with a delightful boy called Daniel and as a teaching assistant between her degree and PGCE and MA. So I have always felt a fondness for the school although I don’t know the head and haven’t yet visited it.
My sister Gill comes down to collect my Mum, to take her back to Bedfordshire for a week but we don’t see either of them for fear of giving them this bug, which still seems to be gripping on with all six legs; so progress a little slow in the studio.
slowed by virus....
Today is the first anniversary of the terrible tsunami and earthquake in Japan that swept away so many lives last year. I’ve been working on a painting that makes reference to this for the past few weeks
also working on tiny piece (size of a CD case) for the Injured Jockeys Fund which will be split between them and Multiple Sclerosis.
R delivers the little work to Jeremy Zelinski who is setting up the IJF stand at the Racecourse. He sees Edward en route in the midst of the Parade Ring who waves both arms to him in the generous way he has and then tells Richard that the beautiful string of horses in their green and red jackets have travelled over from Ireland and all 20 were part of the 37 exquisite racers brought over by the trainer Willie Mullins.
Call from Claire the head of a Alderman Knight School school, re commission for their new build.
Working in studio.
Lovely call from Sharon at Fosse Gallery catching up with family news etc. we suddenly realise we’ve been talking for an hour; she’s feeling very happy as Tom her eldest has just got a job at Bonham’s.
Richard comes back looking rather upset carrying a copy of The Citizen after he’s been to shop during the evening. He’d spotted a piece on the front page that said ‘Prayers for Carol’ and realised when he opened it up its our lovely friend Carol Bungard who was tragically knocked down on Monday afternoon en route to the infant and junior schools where she worked as a lollypop lady and also midday supervisor. Such a sweet lovely caring person (she’s married to Pete CEO of Gloucestershire CC) we last had dinner with them in Paris. She is being treated for a very serious head injury. I phone Frenchay to ask if they will tell Pete we send our love and prayers.
We’re off to Cheltenham as guests of Edward Gillespie for lunch. Its always such an exciting occasion and the crowds are enormous - as usual its a sell out at 65,000. We are sitting with Alyson, Edward’s wife and their two lovely daughter Siobhan and Rosie, who is studying at the London School of Fashion, we also have a young long distance runner whose hoping to qualify for the Olympics who Edward has been helping and Jan a teaching friend and on the Summerfield Trust board. Whilst there I also meet Sally who bought Seahorse and Mandy and Richard Pitman. Richard (who rode 470 winners in his career) again invites us to accompany him to visit the pre parade ring which is a great privilege as we get to look at these exquisite horses at very close quarters without their riders or saddles; I’m really pleased as Synchronised catches my eye and as we shortly are to discover, he wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup against the odds of the two favourites Kauto Star and Long Run who are also magnificently beautiful. It adds greatly to our excitement. Richard Pitman is a remarkable man who recently gave a kidney which was donated to a stranger. I also say hello to Toby Balding and enquire after his son Gerald who was one of the founders of Giffords Circus and also Theo, who he speaks to most days. Toby trained over 2000 winners. We also bump into Martin Horwood Cheltenham liberal Democrat MP and his lovely wife Shona who are guests in the Royal Box .
During the evening receive call from Pete who has been at Carols bedside at Frenchay all week with their son and two daughters, she is still in a coma, 9 on the Glasgow scale. I ask if their is anything we can do to help and tell him that they are continuously in our thoughts and prayers; he says he will keep us updated with text bulletins
Statement from Bridgeman Art Library for reproductions in the UK, the USA and France. Carol still on ventilator in morning though moved up to ten on coma scale but by end of day just oxy mask (ventilator removed ) with score up to eleven
Door bell rings mid morning when Interflora deliver beautiful hand tied bunch of roses and deep pink lilies and large cream daises. When I open the card I am most touched to see it is from Nathan and Ruth. About half an hour later the doorbell rings again; there’s another Interflora delivery of an equally beautiful hand tied bunch with white lilies orange chrysanthemum and pink perfumed lisianthus. I feel so lucky to receive both bunches which light up the room with their glorious colours. My Mum comes to Mothers Day supper and I give her a deep red chrysanthemum - I’d already bought her boots as an early Mothers Day present when snow fell.
Am so pleased when Pete’s daily text comes through, to hear that Carol’s speech has returned although very quietly due to the soreness of the vocal chords when on the ventilator. She has now also shed the oxygen mask and moved up the coma scale to 13 which must be such a relief for Pete and their two daughters and son on Mothers Day in the ICU.
Carol now at 14 out of 15 on coma scale just held back by confusion consultant Neurosurgeon surprised at progress so far but explains that it could take months of recovery and rehabilitation.
Encouraging update, Carol has been moved from intensive care to high Dependency bed in ward though still nil by mouth.
Just working out my introduction for tonight’s 13th de Ferriers lecture for the Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum when Helen rings from the Museum to ask if I might be able to give their current exhibition a plug. So I add it to my list of thank IOUs to all the bodies who have been so instrumental in helping or funding the new architectural development, including the Summerfield Trust, Cheltenham Borough Council, Sainsbury’s Monument Trust, the wonderful Friends and their hard working committee and the Museum’s excellent team. I’m introduced to Dr David Wilson the great nephew of our Cheltenham hero Dr Edward Wilson who was the chief scientific officer and artist on Captain Scott’s 1910/12 expedition to the Antarctic. After reaching the South Pole on the 17th January the five of them sadly perished although left moving accounts of the expedition and letters to their loved ones. It was almost a year later when their frozen bodies were found. Edward Wilson, the son of Cheltenham doctor, was a pupil at Cheltenham College almost a century before Nathan was awarded an art scholarship there. Dr David Wilson’s talk is excellent as much of it is from a family members point of view and full of fascinating anecdotes that I had not been aware of before. I hadn’t realised that he’d had TB which he contracted as a young doctor working in the slums of Battersea. A magnanimous and courageous man; Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum have a fine collection of his beautiful water-colours and other expedition artefacts including his skis and fur snow suit in front of which many generations of children and adults have stood in wonder. The Wilson family have been exceedingly generous to them and in this centenary year also donated Edward’s christening cup and a balaclava
I’m working in the studio when Richard comes up tell me that Jane and David have just called in and that sadly her mother Joyce died yesterday. Joyce was a wonderfully spirited lady who got a scholarship to Cambridge just before the War and later worked on the Enigma project, which she would never talk about, having like all the others involved been sworn to secrecy. She was secretary to her parish council for very many years and also organised the poppies for her area for each Remembrance Day. In her eighties she still drove a small tractor around the land that surrounded her Elizabethan house unperturbed by the rain that often leaked in through the roof or the mice who shared her dog’s food. She became a target for a local gang of thieves who returned more than once, removing family heirlooms in the form of antique furniture. Arriving home to find them there she defiantly snatched back her handbag and threatened them with a rifle, chasing them down the drive! She often came to our New Year parties and Open Studios and bought several of my small paintings which she had hanging in her room at the nursing home that she ended up in. We last saw her when she came to tea with Jane and David last year. We will miss her very much.
Up early to travel to Gloucester for Bishop Michael’s breakfast meeting in the hospitality Room at the Cathedral. I am greeted as I get out of the car by John Holroyd the convenor and then by the new Dean half way in. Today’s presentation is by Susanna Hall-Gibbins from Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce, which links with the other Chambers of the South West. They are particularly keen on growing small to medium businesses across the County and helping facilitate them with exporting and linking them to larger businesses in the County to help them gain expertise. I sit between Edward and Mark. Edward tells me how much he enjoyed the de Ferriers lecture on Wednesday; also how keen he is on the new Design Festival. The programmes for which are handed round to each table certainly look very exciting. He also compliments Mark (head of BBC Radio Gloucestershire) on the political commentator who he was listening to on the way in. I tell Mark how delighted Richard and I are to have an invitation to David (his eldest son) and Emma’s wedding at the Cathedral in early June. Mark’s looking very tanned as he and Julia have just come back from four days in Lanzarrote.
Carol now on normal ward has been able to swallow small amounts of food, voice getting better though still complaining of headache; awaiting bed in Gloucester.
another glorious do some planting.
Sad to hear from Louise Allen at Gloucester City Museum that she has been made redundant. I really enjoyed working with her on m last two exhibitions there, which on reflection she’s very happy about as I guess there are many other challenges she might want to tackle. But it is a sign of the times.
Richard takes two smaller paintings that I have been working on for the past few weeks, to the photographers and unfortunately he has to go back three times as the transparencies keep turning out too light.
Carol still in Bristol Frenchay, dizzy though headache manageable, eating pureed food though still being fed by nose line at night; memory of past events good but not of previous day which is all as expected. Working on the painting for Rob.
Still glorious weather - I’ve been able to sit out in the garden all week.
Call from Colin Isted checking that the timing for my judging and opening of Cheltenham Art Club’s exhibition at the Gardens Gallery next week. He tells me he took a photograph of me opening the Gallery in 2006. Also e mail from Karen, head of art at Gloucestershire College inviting me to the arts festival they’re having there in April.
Working in studio when firstly receive call from Rob re painting for a Fair he’s doing in April, followed shortly afterwards by one from Rick Rumrell in St Augustine, Florida. He will be coming over in April for meetings at Lloyds re a big case he’s currently working on - so we make arrangements for him to come and visit.