On Friday evening Debbie and Paul invited my young friend and I to The Mill at Sonning to see a wonderful production of 'Enchanted April'. It's about four women who rent a villa in Italy just after World War One to escape humdrum lives and crumbling marriages. I was particularly impressed by the sets and stunning performances by the actors.
However if you are wondering where the title of this blog comes from I'll admit to one of my (as my young friend calls them) 'Silly Billy' moments. When we arrived at the theatre as I was getting out of the car I looked down and noticed that I was wearing a trainer on one foot and a shoe on the other. My young friend just laughed and laughed, but it was too late to go back home so I spent the entire evening pretending that I'd hurt one of my feet so had to hobble around - remembering which foot was the injured one! When we returned home my young friend took this incriminating photograph.
My favourite time of year is springtime. Everything is new and green and bursting into life. The Canada geese have nested right next to my boat and just produced a new family of 6 little goslings.
And this wisteria graces the entrance to the Herb Garden in Sonning Common.
It was such a lovely day on Monday and being Mayday we decided to take a picnic for our first trip on the river this year. We'd cleaned the boat the day before, including scrubbing the tonneau cover ( MYF did more than me as too much scrubbing wore me out). It was a magic day on the river with few boats out, so after a chat with Nigel, the Marsh Lock keeper, we made our way upstream to Shiplake where we moored in the sunshine. Here I am lolling around on the boat after imbibing a few Pimms.
On the way back my young friend took over the helm and drove us downstream and around Temple Island passing the jollities of the Mayfair on Marsh Meadows.
I live at Marsh Mills. Originally a pair of flour mills, about 40 years ago they were torn down and six flats built on the foundations. A friend sent me a couple of photographs of the mill the other day. The first one shows the setting near Marsh Lock, the other a closer view.
I'm very privileged as I look out to a constantly moving view of the river scene as I paint. Very calming.
Yesterday we drove to Bromsgrove, near Birmingham, to deliver the large oil painting of the headmaster which I recently completed. The assistant head was delighted with it and couldn't stop walking backwards and forwards in front of it. This was because his eyes follow you from whichever direction you view it. (My young friend is delighted it's finally left my home because every time she walked past it she felt his eyes boring into her!) Chris Edwards, the headmaster, will first set eyes on it at the end of June when he leaves the school for an appointment in Singapore. It will be revealed on the school's Commemoration Day and will eventually hang in the hall together with all the other portraits dating back some hundreds of years. I can't show the painting yet but here is a miniature I finished yesterday.
Now it's back to gardening - via B&Q - to buy bits and pieces, including a few cans of paint in preparation to tackling the garden shed.