Clumsy Clot

This is my first attempt to write my blog on the iPad. Hopefully it will work, then I'll know I can successfully use it for writing blogs when I go to the Far East later this year.

My carousel painting has now taken over 250 hours - I can't stop working on it. The other day I had a good idea - why not attach (and if possible, unobtrusively) somewhere behind or below the frame, a sensor and speaker which will play 20 seconds or so of fairground - or carousel - music as you approach the painting. The device as just arrived so I'll have a bit of an experiment over the weekend if there's time.

I can be a bit clumsy at times! No more so than last Friday. It was a beautifully balmy evening so I decided to take my young friend to Phyllis Court by boat. All was ready - until I tried to turn the key. It was a bit stiff so I gave it a hard twist. The result? It broke in two - and completely flush with the control panel. My very powerful sea-magnet wouldn't shift it. I was just starting to dial Ivan, the boatman (not that he could have done anything just then) when my companion found a rusty old pair of tweezers, and no doubt having had previous practice with eyebrows, plucked the key free! So having located a spare set of keys, off we went for a nice dinner in the Orangery and later a tranquil ride home in the dark.
Saturday dawned, and after an hour or so visiting Rolf Harris where he showed me his latest paintings - three 5 ft square allegorical oils. What a prolific artist he is. Later in the morning I went to Phyllis Court where a Regatta for the Disabled was being held. All sorts of things were going on. Here's a Royal Barge - normally used when a member of the Royal family visits Henley.

Punch and Judy, dragon boat racing,face-painting, boat trips - there was something for everyone. This is the prow of a dragon boat - and if I can I'll add a little video of one of the races.

Later in the afternoon my young friend joined me for a trip upstream on the motorboat. She's a fast learner and soon got the hang of throwing the ropes at the lock. A mile or so further on we moored at Vince and Annie Hill's house. Elaine Delmar - the wonderful jazz and blues singer was there. Here's a miniature I painted of Elaine a couple of years ago.

After a drink or two we resumed our trip up river. I thought I'd show my friend a magical backwater near Shiplake lock. It's where the weir pool is caressed by beds of floating water-lilies. But I made a mistake! We soon found ourselves in a very shallow backwater. As soon as we entered it I knew we were in the wrong place - mainly because the propellor hit bottom, rocking the boat all over the place. I managed to part raise the propellor, and after a ten-point reverse turn, bashed our way back to the main river. By this time the temperature gauge had soared to a dangerous height. But we eventually arrived home safely.

At this time every year the village of Greys holds it's fête on the lawns of Greys Court. I was hoping to test my strength and stamina on the rowing machine but, drat it, it wasn't there this year. (much to the relief of Val and my young friend who probably thought I'd have a heart attack, as I always go for broke on these machines). Here's the band.

There also was a demonstration by a couple of rustic-dressed men of their birds of prey.

I won a coconut but left it there as I couldn't be bothered to carry it around all afternoon.

Now that the bowling season is over for the year it's back to snooker. Jilly and I had a practice game last Wednesday, and we both entered the 'Colours' competition the following evening. I started off in great style with real chance of winning the tournament, but soon got snookered by Fred the oldest member. Fred's a real P.G.Woodhouse character. He warned me if I potted the pink ball he'd beat me - and sure enough he did just that. This is a photograph of the snooker table at the club, with Romeo - our newest member - playing.

I've been wondering why Paul Daniels has been a bit cagey lately. He and Debbie have been so busy this year. Now the secret is out - he'll be appearing the number one rated BBC Saturday evening show - 'Strictly Come Dancing'. We'll know tomorrow evening when the show opens who his partner will be. Hope it's Ola (she was Cris Hollins partner last year - and they won) as she and Paul would be great together. She's about his height too! As for Debbie, tune in next Tuesday evening (14 th) at 8pm as she'll be appearing in 'Celebrity Come Dine With Me'.

The new series of 'Mad Men' started last Wednesday evening on BBC 4. Stylish and glamorous it's all about advertising in the '60s. That was my era in advertising too when I was working for an International US ad agency. It perfectly portrays that time - it's completely realistic and even mentioned my own agency - Kenyon and Eckhardt - this week. So nostalgic for me from the trauma of losing, and gaining clients, takeovers and ambitions, and clients who didn't really understand how to market their products. I was transported back to my thrusting executive and creative days on the international scene and totally absorbed. An era of my life totally different to my secluded life as an artist these days.

One last thing. I read in the paper the other day another little bit about a rail journey. It seems a couple, Emma Clark and David Winter-Bates were travelling home to Southampton, but decided to get off the train earlier to visit friends at Eastleigh. Only to be told that they weren't allowed to vary their journey and had to pay an extra £57 each! They'll be charging us extra if we leave the theatre early next!

That's enough for today. Now let's see whether I have success with the iPad.