Thursday, 10 November 2011

Preparations

Normally I’m quite happy giving a presentation, or making a short speech, but trying to prepare for one I have to make next week will not be so easy. In front of 200 guests I have, on behalf of The Prince Philip Trust Fund for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, to give a speech to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at a dinner, prior to presenting him with my painting. The painting will be covered with a blue drape and edged with gold braid and mounted on an easel near to the Duke of Edinburgh at the top table. I was originally going to have a pair of curtains made with a draw-string for the reveal, but as I’m a bit clumsy I daren’t risk bringing the whole thing down on the Royal Head! (My friend Felicity is making the cover right now). It’s bound to be a very special evening, as it will mark the retirement of The Duke of Edinburgh from the chairmanship of the Trust, and the painting will be a gift from the Trustees and former Trustees. I’ve even bought a new dinner jacket - and my young friend is practising how to curtsy!

Today I should be going to the hospital for my Colonoscopy, but unfortunately the surgeon has had to postpone the procedure for a fortnight. Grrr!

The Miniature Society of Florida has just informed me that my painting of Jade has won First Prize for Portraits at their forthcoming annual exhibition. As the MASF exhibition is the largest in the world for miniatures, and usually attracts well over 1,000 entries, I’m very pleased to have won this award.

On a very grey day last Sunday we took a look around Cliveden. Now in the care of the National Trust, Cliveden was the scene of the Profumo Scandal in 1963. The swimming pool where Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies frolicked with Eugene Ivanov, Stephen Ward, and the others, is not open to visitors, but we had a nice walk around the extensive gardens. This is the famous photograph of Christine Keeler that titillated the country at the time.


And more currently, here’s a couple of photographs I took in the gardens.



As the clocks have gone back and the evenings are getting darker I’ve started to make my model Spitfire. Apart from stabbing my thumb and dropping blood over the balsa wood, I’m beginning to get the hang of it now. It’s a delicate operation and I just know that sooner or later I’ll mess it up, but so far so good.


I’m not very good when it comes to domestic matters, so apart from the kitchen sink problem on the day of my birthday party, my spare bathroom hasn’t been working for some weeks. It’s been so difficult to find a plumber – they are like gold dust! But finally, when I was in despair of ever getting it fixed, Felicity came to the rescue by recommending the man she uses. Hooray! Paul, together with a mate came over on Monday and spent all day putting a new cistern in (very tricky considering the tiny little space they had to work in) and a new shower unit. So I’m happy again.

Another week to go and I’ll have finished my painting of the lady playing her saxophone, but in the meantime did I ever show you the pencil drawing I made of my youngest great-niece, Kate? It’s about 15 inches high – I gave it to Val, her grandmother, as a present.


To end today’s blog - here I am on a garden ‘Titanic’ as ‘King of the World!


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