Hold the front page

Fame at last! It seems my painting of a Spitfire flying over Henley has proved popular locally. So much so that the Henley Standard decided to feature it on the front page of last week’s issue.

Have you ever tried to import wood into Australia? I once wanted to exhibit miniatures painted on vellum at the World Federation of Miniature Painters exhibition in Tasmania and was told that it would be impossible. Australia has the most restrictive rules on any sort of import that could affect the environment. Quite right too. However as I am due to send a painting I recently sold there in the next couple of weeks I have a bit of a problem. Because the painting is housed in a wooden frame and the box I was intending to have made to protect it is made of wood I’ve had to make alternative arrangements. Hopefully the frame maker I telephoned in Queensland at some unearthly hour in the morning the other day (due to the time difference) will be able to make a similar frame to the one it already has. I’ll need to very carefully encase the picture in two pieces of very thick pieces of plastic to save a big customs problem.

Lately I’ve painted several miniatures and this one of ‘Henry’ was completed the other day. It was commissioned to be given to the little boy’s grandmother who I’m told will keep it by the side of her bed.

My sister-in-law, Val, had a knee replacement last week so I’ve made a few visits to the Dunedin hospital in Reading to see her. She’s now home and doing well after a successful operation. We’ll have a big family party tomorrow lunchtime at the Malsters pub near Henley, but today her granddaughter Becky, and Becky’s mother Stephanie,are staying with her for a few days. I popped up to see them this morning. Here’s Becky and her mother.

Yesterday morning I visited Paul Daniels and Debbie - it being Paul’s birthday. What a glorious morning it was. We sat outside in the garden and when the sun came out it was quite hot. Paul has just bought a new boat and was in the process of stripping when I got there. (No, you won’t be treated to the sight of a naked magician, as he was stripping the teak wood slats from the deck in preparation for varnishing.) Here he is giving his impression of Leonardo DiCaprio standing on the prow of the Titanic.

When Debbie’s parents and her sister Donna came over we all sat out on the verandah.

I’m currently painting a miniature of Kevin Giddings, the Royal ‘Flueologist’. It should be finished by next Tuesday then I plan to start a large oil painting of Kevin, complete with flue brushes and Sooty, his black cat. This morning I called in to See Rolf. He’s a man of many parts – while we had breakfast he got out a tiny diamond-headed drill and worked on a stone to make a pendant and then later, when Timmy Mallett arrived, we all went down to the workshop where Rolf is working on a large nude woodcarving. Here’s Timmy.