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 SEPTEMBER 2022 Thursday 1.9.22 With my breakfast I had fig, apricots, blackberries, apples and a plum layered over my muesli all fresh from the garden. On my Bridgeman Images statement I notice that the French publisher Leon are using my Camel Herdsman in their new book of Exotic Animals; always a delight to be part of Leon. Friday 2.9.22 Nathan arrives with a very lively Bea his boxer puppy who is just over one year old. We’re playing with her in the garden where she demonstrates Nathan’s training with the tennis ball but she’s equally excited by the green Bramley apple windfall which is almost the same colour. She is so amazingly agile and leaps over lower walls enclosing borders with the greatest of ease and as Richard points out has the running action a horse. She’s beautiful and very muscular. However when I retrieve her tennis ball to throw in her excitement she leaps up and catches me off balance so over I go falling on my right side thus it’s my right hand that sustains the most impact. Nathan has a sleep as he’d only flown in from New York this morning so is suffering from jet lag but wakes up in time to collect Henrietta fro the station at 8.30. Poor girl had missed her train - she was lecturing at Goldsmiths until after 3 then went home and did some chores but by the time she had made sure the boys and Kev were OK, her timing was too close and she just missed the earlier train. Richard cooked us a lovely tuna steak with salsa and pomegranate and bulgar wheat salad followed by an apple and plum crumble, his first of the year, again using our Bramley apples. Jai, their younger half-sister, arrives about 9.30. She isn’t hungry and feeling a little queasy so Richard makes her a mint tea with mint from the garden. The three of them are travelling tomorrow to Weston super Mare to collect Geoff, their father and my ex husband’s ashes to scatter at the wildlife sanctuary in Glastonbury. Saturday 3.9.22 Richard’s laid out a lovely breakfast but Nathan’s the only one who eats it, spreading Richard’s plum & apple jam on his croissants. He’s had to take Bea for a walk first. Again she’s very excited when she sees this time some of our Golden Delicious apples on the table. They set off shortly after 9. We go back to bed so that I can rest my wrist as it has been too painful to sleep soundly last night but when I get up later in the day it is feeling a lot more comfortable and I’m able to lift my arm without it being agonising. It is though rather noticeable as Richard has put a white bandage round it to offer some support. The body’s capacity to heal and mend has always amazed me. Sunday 4.9.22 It feels a lot more autumnal today and whilst we’re sitting in the garden having brunch we feel raindrops gently falling and gradually becoming more frequent so we move indoors. Henrietta and Nathan ring on their way back from Glastonbury having dropped Jai off in London. Nathan will have a break and Bea will be able to wander in our and Henrietta’s garden before he drives on to Ramsgate. He’s off to Bulgaria on Wednesday having done all the preparatory designs he needs to go and oversee the sets being built. Since he only got back from New York on Friday morning it is a career that entails a lot of travelling. We discuss Isaac and Samuel going back to school tomorrow; Isaac in his new sixth form suit. Monday 5.9.22 Copy of Trev’s autobiographical memoir Sky Trails and Pie Tales arrives in the post looking very beautiful with its black shiny cover and an image of my painting The Enlightenment which Trev owns. He’s designed the cover himself Start new little painting. Tuesday 6.9.22 So pleased to hear from Stefan in Köln, Germany that his little painting has arrived and he says it was well worth waiting for. Wednesday 7.9.22 Working on the fifth small painting for the Panter & Hall Cecil Court Thursday 8.9.22 We are sad to hear that doctors are concerned about the Queen’s health and that her children are all travelling at speed to be with her at Balmoral. Even sadder when the news breaks at about 6.30 of her death two hours earlier. Such a remarkable and dedicated woman to have spent seventy years carrying out public duties, even being there to accept Boris Johnson’s resignation on Tuesday and then asking Liz Truss to form the next Conservative government. She looked tiny and frail but remarkably bright eyed and smiling. She was an amazingly astute woman always abreast of all that was happening across the globe. She worked with fifteen British Prime Ministers, ten American Presidents and leaders from all around the world, taking hber role exceedingly seriously. It must have been so hard for her when she lost the Duke of Edinburgh, her consort over all those years. We had the pleasure of meeting her when she came to open the new creative arts department at the National Star College (of which I had laid the date stone a couple of years previously). We also had the pleasure of attending one of her glorious garden parties. She not only shone on the political stage hosting banquets for foreign leaders but added so much to charities and institutions that she was associated with. Always dignified and gracious she will rest in a very well earned eternal peace. We had the pleasure of going to Estonia at the invitation of the wonderful ambassador to London Dr Margus Laidre when I had a joint exhibition with the Estonian artist and national treasure Jüri Arrak to celebrate the Queen’s first visit there in 2006. Friday 9.9.22 Nice conversation with Mark from Trinity House regarding the sales of Anubis and the Bride and The Children’s Party and payment thereof. He’s had Covid three times so thinks his immunity should be pretty good now. It’s always nice to hear him talking about his three boys, wife and family; he’s on his way to watch one play football before collecting him. Saturday 10.9.22 Today was the official proclamation of the accession to the throne of King Charles 111. It is fascinating to see the pomp and ceremony which has continued pretty much unchanged for a nearly a thousand years. It is the first time it has been televised, making it accessible to people not only in the UK but across the globe. The queen’s coffin processes up the Royal Mile from Holyroodhouse to St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh Nice e mail from Marianne Sweet who does the PR for the National Star College asking if as Patron I would be prepared to speak to the BBC about the late Queen’s visit to the National Star College in 1991 which of course I will be delighted to do. I have very fond memories of the College, staff ad students at that time and the excitement and secrecy in the run up to the glorious occasion of the Queen’s visit. How thrilling it was for everyone. Sunday 11.9.22 Visitation from Lucy, Nick and their two children Corrolie and Sebby. The children are a delight and very patient as they have had to sit in the car for a whole hour whilst they were driven here. I give them one of the Childrens Art Books pub. Dorling Kindersley which Isaac first discovered when we went to Tate in their bookshop. I often relive the moment when he came running up to show me he’s found it and that it had one of my paintings in it. I also give them two of the delightful little Editions Leon bilingual art books, one wearing Manga on the cover of ‘Writing’ and the other ‘Sport’ with my painting Local Derby of a football match inside. Nice ‘phone call from Henrietta- Isaac is enjoying it in the sixth form and Samuel his younger brother commented on how smart he looks as he now wears a suit so he has one in a deep turquoise and another in black. Monday 12.9.22 Sad to notice on the Chelsea Arts Club notices that Ken Howard has died. I last saw him about five years ago when we both judged the submissions for the Broadway Festival for Lady Arabella Kiszley who organised it and also owns and runs the Little Buckland Gallery. Always a wonderful teller of stories, he started collecting art as a young man on a small budget. On another occasion he generously donated a small work to a charity exhibition I was organising in aid of the National Star College in 2006 which was bought by a lovely man called Jeremy Davies and his lovely wife Anne; sadly Jeremy also died a couple of years ago. Ken Howard did a very good series of paintings when he was an artist in residence with the Army in Northern Ireland; I remember one in particular that he exhibited at the RWA which was of a wall of graffiti. Tuesday 13.9.22 Exciting box arrives from Japan with twenty of the new hardback catalogues they have just had a second edition printed as the original edition have sold out. So this brings the collection they have of my work up to date with Metamorphosis and Stepping Out and to Richard’s great joy a reproduction of his wood engraving of my Angel, Tiger & Dove. They’ve also sent me a copy of one of the quizzes the Museum does where it awards badges with details of some of the paintings on as prizes. In the note it also says the two beautiful bags containing incense are from one of my fans. The Japanese are such a kind and generous people. Wednesday 14.9.22 Nice e mail from Yoshio who has asked us to invoice them for the extra text fee for the new edition of the catalogue. Had to go for my second appointment with the dental specialist in Nailsworth who has been doing some work on the root of a tooth I broke. Again we couldn’t go in our Land Rover as it has been at Ebdons the garage for the past couple of weeks. Richard drove me in the small Nissan than Ebdons had kindly loaned us. Both receptionists at the dentist remember last time’s saga which enamoured them to me as they eventually managed to get me a taxi. Richard’s very excited as just after we return Jonathan rings to say the car is now repaired having had new rear wheel bearing and replacement disc pads on the front two wheels. Then I’m finishing off the two smaller paintings for the RWA We watch the procession leaving Buckingham Palace on the gun carriage. It is very moving and the pageantry hugely colourful. The precision and the planning are immaculate, even the horses pulling the gun carriage; again the Queen’s four children, King Charles 111, Princess Anne the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex followed by Prince William, Prince Harry and the Duke of Gloucester. She will lie in state in Westminster Hall for the thousands of people who will file past to pay their respects. Thursday 15.9.22 Henrietta sends an e mail saying that Isaac is off on a trip to Tate Modern with the sixth form art & photography group to see the Cornelia Parker. I tell her that Cornelia did her Foundation course (like Henrietta and Nathan) here in Cheltenham. Isaac’s just been to football practice and Samuel’s very pleased as he’s just been selected to play in the A team for rugby. Friday 16.9.22 Richard is delivering three of my paintings to the RWA, Bristol in a large hired van to accommodate the largest six foot square oil on canvas. I’m very impressed as he’s back by 2.30 having already returned the van to the rental hub. Start a new small painting - the smallest in the group so far. Vigil of the Princes at Westminster Hall is very moving to watch and includes The Princess Royal. Saturday 17.9.22 The good thing about this piece being small is that it doesn’t take too long to resolve the composition, a table top with three card players. Nathan rang to say he’s back from Bulgaria and in Ramsgate. This afternoon he’d been surfing. But he’s off to Turkey to do a reccy next week for the latest project, most of which will be filmed in Germany. Vigil at Westminster Hall by the Queen’s eight grandchildren; very touching. Sunday 18.9.22 Jane arrives promptly at 2, bearing a bag of her home grown vegetable, courgettes, tomatoes and a lettuce. plus a box of plants for the garden as she has over ordered again. So very good to see her and catch up with all she has been doing with her volunteering for environmental organisations and charities. Monday 19.9.22 We spend a lot of the day watching the magnificent pageantry of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II the extraordinary precision with which the 147 naval ratings pull and balance the old gun carriage. The poetry, pattern and picaresque is mesmeric and the music by the five military bands is spellbinding with its regular beat to which every foot is in unison. The weather started by being overcast but gradually grew brighter on this mile and a quarter long-parade with the crowds thronging the streets up to the barriers where the police stood at regular intervals facing the crowds so missing this marvellous spectacle apart from the music and glimpses in their peripheral vision. The two church services, at Westminster Abbey and later at St George’s Windsor. Perhaps I found the best reading was by Lady Scotland (secretary general of the Commonwealth and the first black woman QC in 1991) in the Abbey which housed 2,000 guests, 50 being kings queens and royalty from other lands including the Emperor of Japan and presidents and prime ministers including Joe and Jill Biden, Emmanual Macron, Justin Trudeau heads of Commonwealth countries etc. The King and his three siblings Princess Royal, Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex walked behind the coffin followed by William Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex. In Westminster Abbey Prince George (9) and Princess Charlotte 7) the Queen’s great grandchildren also walked behind the coffin which had been adorned with the crown, sceptre and orb for the whole of her lying in state but were removed and placed on the altar just before her committal in St George’s Chapel Windsor. Tuesday 20.9.22 Working on two of the small paintings, one that I started only yesterday and the larger of the two several months ago. Nice e mail from Simon Rendall choosing The Supper Meeting to reproduce in next year’s Chelsea Arts Club Yearbook. Wednesday 21.9.22 Richard was entertaining two plumbers this morning re some work we might want doing and was pleasantly surprised when one of them said this house reminded him of Salvador Dali’s house in Cadaques that he had visited several times and that this was rather like a museum. It’s warm enough for me to have my brunch outside after which I pick more apples from the small Golden Delicious tree in my studio garden. Nice call from Henrietta on the bus on the way home from Goldsmiths. She’s off to Amsterdam on Friday with two of her friends. Thursday 22.9.22 This evening we drive up to the National Star College for a reception to meet the new CEO Lynette Barrett who has actually been working at the College for twenty two years. I chat to Dame Janet who I haven’t seen for some time. She was the University’s first vice Chancellor having seen it from its transition from Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education to the University of Gloucestershire. She later chaired the NHS Trust and then became Lord Lieutenant before Edward. She still chairs four different charities including the Nelson Trust Friday 23.9.22 E mail from the RWA asking if they can reproduce Time Now Running Out as a postcard to aid the RWA’s coffers. ‘Phone call from Lee in the USA. They are coming over en route to Paris the weekend after next. Saturday 24.9.22 Richard’s painting outside whilst I’m painting inside. Interesting to see In my statement from the Bridgeman that the lovely French publishers Leon are using one of my Extinction Rebellion paintings in one of their educational bi lingual books on animals Sunday 25.9.22 Wrote an e mail to Rory congratulating him on the splendid article on his work in Cotswold Life reproducing lots of the superb sculptures for St Albans Cathedral and York Minister and the beautiful more recent piece for the NHS commemorating the pandemic. Such a talented and fascinating artist though we are distressed to learn he has incurable cancer. Monday 26.9.22 Still trying to finish off the seven smaller works for Panter & Hall at Cecil Court. Lovely call from Henrietta who has just been to Amsterdam with two of her close friends from student days Becca and Katrina. They were using tickets they had bought just prior to lockdown which had been renewed for them but were about to expire. The went to the Anne Frank and the Van Gogh museums. Isaac, Samuel and Kev are at the World Cup match between England and Germany which ended up being a 3 3 draw. Gas Board come to replace the electric box and put a large stake for the earth in the studio house. Tuesday 27.9.22 Richard drives us to Worcester to visit Janet and David. As we drive in I’m very impressed to see the topiary box trees she has shaped. Their garden is always glorious and beautifully tended by them both and it’s always a joy to be with them in their exquisitely stylish home where many of Janet’s striking paintings adorn the walls. Colourful and vibrant we are immediately drawn to them. It’s always so good to catch up - Janet and I were art students together in Cheltenham along with Joyce who is usually here with us but didn’t feel well enough. Janet has as usual prepared the most amazing array of food; she’s a wonderful and elaborately creative cook. It’s an absolute banquet since we’ve just come for tea! They are both looking well and Janet beautiful after recovering from the twelve bee stings she suffered to her face from her neighbours beehive. She had a hyper allergenic reaction and her face swollen out of all recognition. We do a lot of talking about families and friends. When we leave she presents us with a bag of bulbs for the garden and a big box of apples which Richard will stew and freeze. Invitation to lunch and the Higher Awards ceremony at Gloucester Cathedral. Wednesday 28.9.22 Invitation from Hartbury University to lunch and the English Rugby Championship game in early January from the vice Chancellor and one of their governors Patrick Brooke whom I do know. Also a rather sad message on Facebook from Adrian the son of Eddie, to tell us that his father had died last week which makes us very sad and reminisce about the years that Eddie worked for us on the house. Such a clever man who could work out possibilities and ways of doing things that even architects couldn’t see. He also hung the Rood or crucifixion painting I did for St Michael’s. His funeral is there on the same day we are going to have supper with Rory, Mark and Julia and Mark’s brother and sister in law in Cirencester. Nice phone call from Nathan who is back from Turkey and off to New York tomorrow morning. Thursday 29.9.22 Richard is repairing and painting the window frames. Invitations seem to be coming in fast as we have one today from the University inviting us to the installation of the new Chancellor, Lord Michael Bichard. Friday 30.9.22 Finishing off varnishing seven little paintings to take up to London next week to deliver on Tuesday. Received proofs from the RWA for the postcard they are making using my painting Time now running out. Nice email from David Ellis saying thank you for all the support of him and the National Star - it’s his last day there. He did so well navigating them through the pandemic where the logistics of caring for their students became increasingly difficult and guiding the College, students and staff to their many achievements.
MAY