When I get involved in a really interesting painting I tend to spend so many hours on it each day that I become oblivious to most of what’s going on around me. Take the current painting I’m working on. It’s as large as I can make it and is only restricted by the size of the watercolour board available. It’s a joy to make the details as realistic as I can make them. For example here’s a small section of ‘work in progress’ showing one of the hands and especially the lace cuffs, silver buttons and part of the silk hat which the sitter is holding in his hands.
But Christmas is rapidly approaching. I like to be well prepared so I’m not rushing around the crowded shops of Reading on Christmas Eve. So yesterday I wrapped up over 40 presents! That’s made a nice dent in my list. Also tags. I usually print off multiple images of one of my Christmas cards and use those. Another job done. All the Christmas cards are ready to be sent out – just waiting for the stamps for overseas to be issued. Sarah, a talented friend of mine, makes jewellery and each year, around this time, she holds a lovely sale of her work at Phyllis Court. So I popped along last Tuesday morning and bought a number of beautiful pieces – mostly bracelets. I stay away from earrings, as I never can remember which of my friends has pierced ears.
As I’m typing this I’m watching the Remembrance Day Parade on television. Such a marvellous sight. As they now allow ex-National Servicemen to march I intend to apply next year. Last night, from the comfort of my armchair, I watched the fantastic television broadcast of the Remembrance Service from the Albert Hall. To see whole swathes of colour as the various sections of our armed services marched, played their musical instruments and formed patterns in the arena, was truly memorable. The climax, to me, was at the very end of the evening when thousands of poppy petals floated down from high above in complete silence. Marvellous. Foe several minutes everyone stood stock still, most, I’m sure with their own thoughts about lost comrades, relatives, or other memories of conflict. As the poppies landed slowly and silently on the flat hats of the sailors covering them with red petals I just revelled in the occasion.
And towards the close of the service when the words from the Kohima Epitaph “When you go home tell them of us and say ‘For your tomorrow we gave our today’” two small six-year old children came to the centre of the arena to present their poppies. I was very impressed with the little girl’s faultlessly given words.
Not much has happened this week – I went to friend James Porter’ funeral on Wednesday – another sad occasion. Too many of these lately. ‘Marsh Mundy’ has been laid up for the winter – just in time before the river rises above the landing stages, and my young friend and I had a very nice time watching the fireworks and bonfire at Phyllis Court on Saturday evening. Better than Henley Regatta fireworks we thought.