Sunday, 26 February 2017

Bionic Bill

Things are moving along now. The swelling on my knee will take a couple of months to subside but the pain has eased somewhat. I had a consultation with the surgeon on Tuesday who was pleased with my progress - especially as he recognised that I've been doing the physio properly (thanks to my young friend who's made sure I don't slack).
This picture shows the x-rays taken the other day.

Quite a lot of metal implants. It should be fun going through the airport scanners. Today was the first day I've been allowed to drive since the operation 6 weeks ago so it was great to go out in the sunshine. Called in to have a cup of tea with Debbie (nice to follow her adventures with Nigel Havers on the current TV programme - Celebrity Carry on Barging), then to the picture framer where I ordered a frame for the current oil painting I'm doing, and a frame for this pencil drawing - finished last week - of my niece Louisa and her daughter Kate. I've finally found some really nice paper for pencil drawing. It's called Fabriano Artistico 300lb Hot Pressed.

Our local cinema regularly shows operas and ballets live from the shows in London. On Tuesday evening 'Sleeping Beauty' was filmed directly from the Royal Opera House. Performed by members of the Royal Ballet it was a really splendid evening. What I like about these evenings is that Darcey Bussel introduces the performances and upon occasion interviews famous ballerinas, choreographers, and directors. On Tuesday we heard from a lady who was the principal ballerina in the 1948 production of Sleeping Beauty, also from the Royal Opera House. Being in the cinema it's always a bonus to be close up to the orchestra at times, and during the performances to be almost on the stage itself.

We saw a really great movie last week. Called 'Hidden Figures' it tells the true story of three very talented African-American women working at NASA in the early 60's (when segregation was still practised in the USA) These women were the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history - the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. This is Octavia Spencer who played Dorothy Vaughan - the mathematical genius.

This visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. At the end of the film they showed photographs of the original three women. A truly inspiring film. I urge you to see it.
Debbie invited my young friend and me, together with Donna, her sister, and Vince Hill to the Mill at Sonning last Saturday where we saw a fascinating murder mystery. Called 'Dead Simple' the twists and turns in the story were so good that none of us guessed who the murderer was.

Highly recommended - it's on for another week - the refurbished bar is great. We met the cast afterwards for a nightcap.
On Sunday my neighbours hosted a brunch party for those of us who live next to or very near Marsh Lock to say goodbye to Nigel O'Connor - our lock keeper. Nigel will be sorely missed. He really knows how to organise all the different boats as they enter the lock. Nigel was presented with a pair of engraved tumblers and a large print of the painting of the SwanUppers at Marsh Lock. (He happens to be depicted twice on the painting). Everyone at the party signed the card.
Well, it's now back to the physio and the hydrotherapy (which I started yesterday in the pool at the leisure centre at Gillots School in Henley.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Slightly Stir Crazy

At last I'm sitting at my desk and am back to almost eight hours a day painting. However it's difficult at times because my knee is very impatient to get better. My young friend has been terrific over these past three weeks in every way, and I'm sure I wouldn't have performed my exercises properly without her. I hadn't realised the pain would last so long as it has (and weeks more to go). The incision wound is healing nicely - it needed 22 staples which were removed last week - and left such a neat scar that myf said that only a woman could have sewn it together that well!

With a bit of difficulty getting into the car we were able to spend a couple of days in Suffolk last weekend and stayed with her parents. I felt a bit useless on crutches but managed. Now I'm promoted to just one - which means I can at least carry a few things when needed with the other hand.
Just a week after getting home again I started on a miniature of a secretary bird we'd seen recently. It took a while to paint as I could only manage a couple of hours a day at first. Here she is.

Val, my sister-in-law, had an eye operation last week. She's doing well and on Sunday she invited us to a nice roast lunch. Stew (my nephew) and Tina came too. I have been a bit 'stir crazy' lately, not being able to get around much, but things are easing up a bit now. One of the things we bought from the hospital was an ice machine. Specially made for reducing the swelling on new knees I must say it does help - especially lately when the pain got a bit intrusive at night. But now I've started professional physio at Activate8 in Henley my progress can be monitored. Last week I had to lay on a sort of rack while my leg was pulled, bent and stretched. I also sat on the exercise bike but couldn't quite do complete revolutions. So this Thursday my goal is to pedal all the way round.
My friends, Tom and Eleanor, very kindly picked me up on Tuesday and drove me to Warborough where we have sculpture sessions. I'm making a bronze head of Debbie McGee - it's about half way done so far. Really good to get back to sculpture. About six of us attend the three hour class. Very relaxing.
It's Monday today and I've just completed a small pencil drawing of my friend Norman Topsom.

My cousin Paul and his friend Em came over last Friday and we all went out for dinner at the Hawell restaurant in Wargrave. Really good. The decor is so stylish, the chairs are comfortable, and the service is impeccable. Oh, and the food is great too. I had my favourite - sizzling Tandoori King Prawns with Peshwari Naan. Paul's new car intrigued the girls in the back seat with its full glass ceiling which afforded them a great sight of the star studded sky.