You probably know that the Post Office produce ‘Smilers’.
These allow you to incorporate your own photograph or painting with a variety
of actual postage stamps. I ordered two designs. Here’s one of them – with my
painting ‘Spitfire over Henley’.
I’ve also ordered another set illustrating my latest river
painting entitled ‘When the Queen came to Henley’. This time with a union flag
stamp motive. They should arrive before Christmas. This set , depicting my
‘Snow in Henley’ painting has just arrived.
Last week heralded the start of party time – at least the
end of the week was. My friends Stan and Fee Stride always start Christmas off
for me with their Friday evening party at Broadplat House, and I always arrive
exactly on time, (it’s a tradition that I’m first there) although I mistimed it
by 10 minutes this year so sat in their car park for a while before going in.
Such a warm and lovely atmosphere. Then, the following lunchtime (after calling
in with my young friend to take a cherry cake to Debbie) I went to
Herchel Jordan’s party at Wooburn Common. Great to see so many old friends
there – and as always, a sumptuous array of food. Here are a couple of
photographs – the first with Herchel, Jimmy Tarbuck and Gerald Ratner. The
other with Jimmy and his wife Pauline.
The day didn’t end there as it was my young friend’s office
party in the evening in Henley. Very nice evening – even though I was mixing
with a large collection of PHD intellectuals. After dinner we had a quiz, and
our table, much to our surprise, was the winner. (We shared the bumper box of
Ferrero Rocher chocolates with the other tables afterwards).
At the end of the week my client – The High Sheriff of West
Midlands - came down, with his wife, to collect his large portrait. It’s always a
bit daunting delivering a portrait – especially after spending so many hundred
hours on it. However they were delighted, and I breathed a sigh of relief!
Yesterday I went to the picture framer in Reading
where I collected my latest portrait. It’s quite a small watercolour (about 10
inches high) but I think I’ve captured Fred’s twinkle in his eyes. I often put a little secret in
the background of my paintings, and this one is no exception as it contains two
personal references for him. Here’s the painting. I've just delivered it. Fred is very happy with the picture and was intrigued to see that his eyes follow you around the room as you walk past it.
On Wednesday I took the Phyllis Court coach to London where
I met my old friend Trevor Wayman from our Hong Kong days. We had lunch in
Waterstone’s in Piccadilly. Trevor is a fantastic artist and a true romantic.
Every year for Valentine’s day he makes a beautiful little present for his
wife, Laura. I’ve seen the collection going back over twenty years. His latest
is a wooden carved heart resembling an old typeface block.. Somewhere he’s incorporated the words ‘You are my type’. (But I’m sure there are also more
terms of endearment hidden somewhere).
After lunch I bought the remaining half-dozen Christmas presents I
needed at the Science Museum – always a great place for unusual and classy
presents. Next door – outside The Natural History Museum I took a picture of
the skaters and a nearby carousel.
Then a quick visit to Harrods. Here’s one of their Christmas
window displays, plus one with my reflection showing at the back of this window.
Glad I went to London by coach as I read in the paper today
that the daily 7.44 train from Henley-on-Thames to London was named the most
overcrowded train in the entire country. This First Great Western service
carries nearly twice its passenger capacity and tops the league table of shame
published by the Transport Minister. It has a ‘load factor’ of 180 percent,
which means it is at 80 percent over capacity.
Did a bit more Christmas shopping on Sunday morning and
bought a new iPad. On this version it has an interesting extra called ‘Siri’.
Just press the home button and ask it any question you like. It’s amazing how
my voice immediately translates into text on the screen and then the answer
appears next to it together with a fairly deep male voice on the speaker. Just
for fun I asked it “Do you love me?” And the answer? “Well, you’re definitely
starting to grow on me”. I daren’t take our relationship any further!
It just remains to wish everyone a very ....