Wildlife in the Cotswolds

This is the sight that greeted me when I visited the Cotswold Wildlife Park near Burford yesterday. The wind blew hard and I wished I’d brought a coat with me. They have a large walled garden there, which houses a great variety of animals and birds. I especially liked this amorous couple (or maybe more than two) who seem to be having a group cuddle.

In the same part of the garden I came across a little collection of lemurs, also cuddling together against the cold wind.

Well worth a visit – here are a few more pics of some of the wildlife

After a look around the biggest Garden Centre I’ve ever seen, in Burford – I called in to see my old friend Joanne Dalston in Bampton. She had a surprise for me. A couple of weeks ago while rummaging through an antique shop (I think that was where it was) she came across an old Huntley and Palmers Christmas biscuit tin, and somehow thought it might be one of mine. She was right – I’d designed this tin way back in my apprentice days and remember it well. I painted it in 1955 just before I did my National Service. Here it is

What else has been happening? Friday was the day of my Colonoscopy at the Berkshire Independent Hospital in Reading. I must admit I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the procedure - or the preparation leading up to it, but in fact needn’t have worried at all because all I remember is chatting to Mr Farouk, the surgeon, about Spitfires, and nothing else until the nurse helped me off the bed. “When is it going to be done?” I asked. “It already has.” she replied. So that half-an-hour has completely disappeared from my life, as I have no recollection at all of what happened. Mr Farouk told me afterwards that he’d removed a small piece for analysis but nothing to be worried about.

Talking of Spitfires, I’m getting on well with my big painting and now look forward to receiving a picture of an aerial view of Henley, which will form the background, and if I can fit it in, the winding river Thames as it passes under Henley Bridge. My original idea of painting a naked lady on the fuselage similar to the one on the American Boeing Flying Fortress, Sally B, after a visit to Duxford, has elicited a few comments – mainly whether wartime Spitfire pilots would find it objectionable. Any comments anyone? (Although I have seen a photograph of a wartime Spitfire with what looks like Donald Duck on the fuselage). Anyway I’ll be leaving a space in that area for the time being. Joceline, however, is excitingly planning on 1940’s makeup.(Not that it will be that apparent on a face less than half an inch in height). And thank you RG9 for your helpful comments . Still on Spitfires, my balsawood model is coming on well, although it’s pretty tricky in parts.

One of my clients came over the other morning to see the miniature I painted of her first child. She’s pleased with it and brought the other boy to be photographed in readiness for his miniature, which must be finished before Christmas. I’ll start that next week.

Now it’s back to packing and parcelling up Christmas presents – 45 so far! I have too many nephews and nieces - and great nephews and great nieces.