Stop work in studio to go to Francis Close chapel at the University for the installation of the new Chancellor, Baroness Rennie Fritchie, pro chancellor, Sir Henry Elwes and the vice Chancellor Stephen Marston. The sun comes out and adds a lovely glow to the chapel through the leaded windows. We bump into Chris Oldershaw on the way in and I decide to sit in a front pew so that I get a good view of the colourful ceremony. So Richard and Chris do likewise. Pete Bungard stops and chats, we exchange a hug and I enquire how Carol is - he says she’s started back at work in her lunchtime duties looking after the children at the school where she has worked for some years, which I am heartened to hear as the road to recovery for head injuries is always a long one. Then see Shona (chief medical officer for Gloucestershire) who also stops to talk. I offer to move up so she can have a seat on the pew but she says Martin her Lib Dem MP husband is there also so they both end up joining us. Its a lovely ceremony and service and Baroness Rennie looks very striking in the glorious robes which have been designed for her. Bishop Michael who is also a pro Chancellor, has written and conducts the ceremony. Baroness Fritchie is I feel a very good choice, a woman who has without the privilege of going to University achieved through her hard efforts and lifelong learning , her work in the Equal Opportunities Commission later becoming Commissioner for Public Appointments, chair of Gloucester Health Authority and many other public and charitable roles, so much. I really like the way she mentions her family and particularly her grandchildren in her addresses. Nice reception afterwards where we meet many familiar faces.
Henrietta’s birthday today. I count my blessings to have such a lovely daughter.
Working on the Big Breakfast, very aware that time is running out.
Cressida sends me a copy of the feature she has written for ART Magazine’s December issue so that we can select images of suitable paintings to accompany it. Its beautifully written as Richard Storey the editor says, “..terrific article, such an accomplished writer..”
Richard sends high resolution images to the ART Magazine’s designer.
Travel up to London to collect Nathan and Ruth en route to Greenwich for Henrietta’s birthday celebration. My sister Gill is already there and the little boys are very excited when we arrive. Isaac runs downstairs and shows us with great pride, love and affection the new addition to the family who they collected from the animal shelter last weekend. She’s an exquisite black and white kitten called Doris who was a stray. Samuel too picks her up very carefully Its a lovely afternoon and evening but rushes by far too quickly. We leave at 11, arriving home at 2 am.
Busy day on communications front from press, galleries etc.
Catalogue has to go to printers at beginning of next week so am trying to finish two of the larger works in time to have them photographed for it.
Phone call from Simon at the Alpha Gallery regarding when the works will arrive for hanging etc. R goes up to London to collect the bronze angel from the foundry in Chelsea.
Time’s running out so send postcard to Stephen and Jane to apologise for not being able to make their ‘fond farewell’ to Bownham Grange on Sunday after all. I had been over optimistic in thinking I could do so.
Painting continuously - its a good job I love it so.
Beautiful sunny day so good light in the studio for the big bash. R has to deliver artwork to the printers in the morning after he’s taken painting to the photographers and scanned the transparency
Richard takes the big Breakfast painting to the photographers whilst I transfer my energies to Burlesque as that needs to go tomorrow and also The Doorway and the Sojourn of the Angel the Parrot and the Tiger.
After Richard has relieved me of the last three I’m back working on Zebratto. The printers will replace the snapshot with the final transparency on Thursday morning.
...Up all Wednesday night until 8 am when Richard forces me to relinquish Zebratto and takes it to the photographers at the last possible moment. Its a sigh of relief when I awaken. Start to reply to some of the correspondence that has built up over the last few days.
Phone call from Nathan
Although its a relief that the catalogue and cards have now gone to print, I still have to paint around the tops and bottoms of the frames and finish some small works that didn’t get finished in time to include in the catalogue.
When looking at the Interiors section in Weekend Magazine, I spotted an ad with a picture of a very nice stair runner. I have for some time been looking for something to replace the beautiful old black and white geometric kilim type runners that Richard had laid on the stairs more than twenty four years ago as that on the bottom flight has worn on the edge of the tread in a couple of places although I have darned it, I guess it will still have to go at some stage. This company, Hartley and Tessier seem to be half based in Paris and half here but I’m very surprised to find that their headquarters in the UK are just outside Cheltenham and even more so to discover that Julian the weaver who runs it, lives in Bishops Cleeve too. I’d e mailed him in the early hours to ask if they open on Sundays - they don’t but he phones to say he’s happy to meet us there this afternoon. Interestingly he knows my work and had told his children that I had painted the Rood in St Michael's. He had done his Foundation Course in Cheltenham where I studied, and his degree in Winchester where Richard studied.
finishing small works
Photographer arrives from Weenend Magazine for an Interiors feature they are writing. Shortly after she leaves, Clive delivers catalogues and invitation cards for the Alpha Gallery exhibition in London. It is well produced and there’s no white dust on the black or coloured pages as there was last time so I am very pleased. Start addressing envelopes by hand.
Henrietta Kev arrive with the sleeping little boys about 11.30 and all go straight to bed.
Nice day with the boys building a ship with large cardboard boxes and then making Halloween decorations for their celebration next week.
They leave before I’m up but Richard sees them off as he’s going up to london to deliver the catalogues and invitations and three of the paintings whilst I work on in the studio. But he’s back in time for us to get to the Honourable Company’s Annual Dinner just as everyone is seated at the tables. Really pleased as Stephen Davis stands up to greet us as does Stephen Marston. I’m sitting between SD and Tony, which is a really nice place to be. Richard’s next to someone we haven’t met before, Alison to his right, and Anthony Maclaren to his left. Lovely Jane Davis is the other side of Tony and next to Stephen Marston. Artichokes as starters and R and I have stuffed pumpkin for main course which seems very appropriate as we near Halloween, sitting in this magnificent Arts and Crafts Princesses Hall of Cheltenham Ladies College. Patrick Brook the Warden comes up to greet us too and Mark Hurrell in between courses - the Principal is our speaker.
Studio in day then Martin Horwood MP’s 50th birthday party at the Spice Lodge a lovely occasion with classical Indian dancer who then got all the children to join in. A beautiful solo danced exquisitely by Martin and Shona's delightful little daughter Mia and a her brother who is equally charming played Happy Birthday on his guitar. Delicious Indian food.
Joyce’s beautiful new house for for lunch with Janet & David all dear and Long time friends then the lovely Taylors with Zak here for tea such fun.
Big last haul finishing the works