I hate wire coat hangers with a vengeance! If any manage to venture into my wardrobe they instantly seem to mate with each other – causing me to swear loudly when I attempt to untangle them. If my bedroom was big enough I now know how to solve the problem – by hiring this 12ft high gorilla as a guard. Why? Because he’s entirely made of wire coat hangers and would surely keep my sex-crazed intruders from their devious games.
I spied this monster when we visited the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in London on Thursday morning. He’s called ‘Silver Spark’ and was made by David Mach. A truly gigantic and arresting piece of work. You are not supposed to take photographs in the Royal Academy, but I couldn’t resist just taking this one – while my young friend scampered into the next gallery – pretending not to be with me!

Later in the day we collected a few miniatures and two of my large paintings from the ‘Not The Royal Academy’ Exhibition from the Llewellyn Gallery, where they’d been on display.
It turned out to be a day of exhibitions as Bindi, (Rolf Harris’s daughter) had invited me to the private view of her paintings and sculptures at the City and Guilds Art School at Kennington. Apart from being stuck on the overcrowded tube between stations for about twenty minutes on the hottest day of the year while an ‘incident’ was investigated (someone had pressed the emergency button), Bindi’s work was well worth seeing. This is one of her sculptures – It’s a cathedral in the shape of a female torso. All the little figures and faces are tenderly rendered and around the back runs a curved human vertebrae.

Later that evening I staggered over to the Henley Bowling Club to play my first competitive game. The rules state that the first player to reach 21 wins the game. I was dead tired after such an exhausting day in the searing heat of London, but maybe I should get knackered more often, because I won the game 22 to 5.
Bowling is a little like skittles, where on the previous Sunday I’d attempted to equal my record of last year at the Harpsden village fete. Although I got the top score – as did a few others – I failed in the final. This is the scene.

But I did win a coconut.

Encouraged by my win on Thursday, yesterday morning I went to Jackson’s Department Store in Reading to kit myself up a bit more from their bowling section. I need a decent carry-case to hold my woods in – and as there was a sale going on I bought a couple of shirts and a white hat as well.
I was hoping to make a trip up the Hennerton Backwater this weekend but my dinghy is still not completely mended. The leak is not too bad, but if two of us get into the boat we’ll either sink or my companion will be constantly bailing. So I found an experienced boatman who will repair the leak properly. He rowed Marsh Midget down to the boatyard the other day while I drove there to meet him. After up-ending the dinghy we discovered exactly what was wrong – a small hole in the bottom, and a couple of rotten planks. He’ll temporarily mend the hole so I can have the boat back for Henley Regatta nest week. (No I’m not rowing in it, but I'll watch some of the races from the booms along the course.) At the end of the season Trevor will replace the planking, properly repair any other defects, sandpaper the outside and apply about 4 coats of varnish. As this is a totally labour-intensive task and therefore very costly I’ll defer the sanding and varnishing of the inside of the boat till the following year.

Today, Sunday is forecast to be the hottest day of the year, with temperatures reaching well over 30º (near 90º Fahrenheit). Yesterday afternoon we took my big boat through Marsh Lock and up to Shiplake. I’d invited Debbie and her friend Kerry to join us for a boat trip. Debbie had made the picnic – we supplied the Pimms (in nice little cans – just perfect for the river). Poor Kerry, who was arriving from London, was unexpectedly confronted by a motorway closure at the Henley junction, so, apart from being stuck in a horrible and frustrating traffic queue, ending up on the other side of Reading. Anyway she eventually arrived, and we were all soon enjoying a lovely cruise up the river sipping our fruit decorated Pimms on the way. After an hour or so we found a secluded tree-shaded bank and moored there to eat our picnic. The sun beat down as it travelled down in the sky below the shade of the trees. We chatted away as we sat in the boat watching all sorts of craft gliding by on the sun-dappled river. About 8, after a refreshing cup of tea on Debbie’ s verandah, we finally made our way home through Marsh Lock where a kind American guy worked the intricacies of the new mechanism there.

I've just been watching England being beaten by Germany in the World Cup. Germany deserved to win, except for our would-be second goal which was clearly over the goal line. In these days of modern communications why can't they emulate tennis and have an instant replay based on the sightings from the TV cameras?