It was my young friend's first ever football match she had watched from inside a stadium. And it was my second as my father had taken me as a boy to watch Reading play in their old Elm Park Stadium. (In those days they were called 'The Biscuit Boys' after the Huntley and Palmers biscuit company) What a contrast to Sir John's magnificent Madejski Stadium. During half time we went back to the lounge where tea and cakes were served. Then back to the game. Unfortunately Reading lost 1-0. A real afternoon to remember.
It was my birthday on Thursday which we celebrated at The Reformation in Gallowstree Common in the evening. Sister-in-law Val, cousin Paul, Brian and Jane came and my young friend surprised me with this beautiful birthday cake.
It represents my gardening exploits in her garden - although we didn't grow any carrots there. And this is what it looked like when the candles were lit.
We had a lovely evening - good food. Very friendly atmosphere and great company. I was told by the pub owners that on Thursday evenings the 'Tractor Boys' descend on them and it could be a bit rowdy. These men parade their tractors from time to time, sometimes totalling over 40 at a time. When they came in I noticed quite a few rustic faces amongst them - good subjects for portraits. But I didn't have a sketchbook with me. I did, however, have a portrait with me as I had just made a pencil drawing of cousin Paul and gave it to him during the evening.
He looks a bit suntanned, but he has just returned from a week's holiday in Spain where the temperature was in the high thirties.
I'm very fortunate in that my studio looks out on to a lovely view of the river which hopefully will never change - except, that is with the seasons. Here we see spring changing into winter through high summer and autumn. There's also the occasional foggy day.