Safe Delivery

My postman deserves a medal. This letter was delivered yesterday.

It was a thank you letter from my 5-year-old great niece Kate. She’s such a lovely little girl and here’s what she wrote inside. It’s all her own writing and composition. I like the bit about ‘bringing the “crakurs” (crackers) and spending time with us’.

On New year’s Day my young friend and I took a trip to Kew Gardens. We were surprised how few people were there – I expect the New Year’s Eve celebrations were taking their toll. As we entered the gate the sound of a carousel greeted us.

I seem to come across carousels wherever I go. Being a pretty cold day it was nice to walk into the several glasshouses – especially the tropical one. This young fella doesn’t feel the cold. (I thought it was a girl till I walked round to the front of the figure!)

We came across these beautiful Balinese style carvings near the restaurant. Although not actually carved by a Balinese, the woodcarver has used different types of wood for all the changes of subject – look at the hair on the man.

Before the rain poured down outside I photographed these images in the Temperate Glasshouse.

Although photography is not allowed in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art our visit there was really worthwhile. It’s the first gallery in the world solely devoted to botanical art, and some of the larger life-size examples are stupendous. As there seemed to be no sign of the rain stopping, and as we had about half a mile to walk to the gate, we were pretty well drenched by the time we reached the car.

Painting-wise I’m now in the middle of my 'Spitfire over Henley' painting. Here it is so far - it measures over 28 inches wide. When it’s finished – in a couple of months I expect, as the aerial view of Henley is taking a lot of time. I’ll wait till its complete before deciding whether to lighten the background a little to bring out the aircraft somewhat.

On Saturday afternoon the sun shone brightly so we had a little walk along the river towards Hambleden lock. As the sun went down I took a couple of pictures of Temple Island and a crew of late afternoon oarsmen.

I have to end this blog on a sad note. Yet another of my very good friends died on Friday. I’ve known Terry Jordan and his wife, Herchel, for over 30 years, and have had many happy times with them when staying at their lakeside villa in the Algarve. We spent many years together at Henley Regatta and the Music Festival, and I painted several pictures of the entire family. Recently they bought a house in Cape Town, and it was there that Terry died. I made this large life-size painting of him a few years ago. Sleep peacefully Terry, you’ll be very much missed.