The Apothecaries Hall

This is the coat of arms of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. It shows Apollo, the God of Healing, overpowering the dragon of disease, represented by the wyvern. The unicorn supporters were King James’s special beasts and show his personal interest in the Society’s incorporation. The crest is a rhinoceros, whose powdered horn was alleged to have numerous medical properties. The motto translates as Throughout the world they speak of me as a bringer of help.’ I’ve included this coat of arms in my blog as I can now show my latest miniature portrait.

It’s of the Past Master of the Society, and will soon be on permanent display in the Apothecaries Hall in London. Following the dissolution of the Dominican Priory in 1538 the Society acquired the building and created a hall, courtroom and gallery. Unfortunately most of the old building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but part of the walls survived. This picture shows the entrance to to Apothecaries hall from Blackfriars Lane, as it is today, with the Society’s Arms above the lintel. 

 It has long been a tradition for a Past Master to commission a miniature portrait of himself to donate to the Society. This portrait is the second of mine to be honoured in this way. Additionally the Past Master arranges for his Armorial bearings to be represented as a stained glass window to be added to others in the Great Hall. Here are some of the existing Armorial bearings of Honorary Freemen and Past Masters in one of the windows

I’m still awaiting the results of my Pet scan, but should know what they are on Monday afternoon when I see the oncologist. Keep your fingers tightly crossed as it’s been preying on my mind for a while now.

Last weekend I spent many hours working on a scale model of the venue for my forthcoming exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum. These pictures don’t show it very well.

The other day the pair of Canada geese, which had nested on the point of our garden by the river, finally hatched and we had seven little goslings. Aren’t they great – that is before they grow up and mess all over our boats and gardens?

And the following day the proud parents took them out of out Mill stream into the main river where, no doubt, some will not survive, if the pike have anything to do with it.

Last Monday, it being the hottest day of the year, and revelling in wall to wall sunshine. Val and I drove down to Denmead, where we’d been invited to lunch with Neil (Val’s eldest son) and his family. I’ve lost my satnav so we chose a route that avoided motorways and main roads of any sort. I became a magical journey with the pink and white blossoms sparkling in the sunshine and the spring colours of the leaves forming a picturesque background all the way there. Becky was there too. (She starts her new job in London next week in publishing, which is very exciting, as she’ll be meeting many famous authors.) Here’s Val enjoying the sunshine.

The journey home was equally nice. Hope I remember the route next time.

Last Sunday, on the way back from Reading, as I neared the motorway turnoff, coming towards me was the most colourful group of people I’d seen in a long time. Preceeded by a score of hi-viz yellow-jacketed policemen were hundreds of Sikhs. With turbans of yellow and orange and brightly coloured saris, the procession was headed by a highly decorated lorry. It reminded me so much of my many visits to India. And to cap it all, as I passed the parade, my car radio burst out with one of those frenetic and energetic songs from a Bollywood movie. A total coincidence.

On Friday evening my young friend and I were invited to dinner with Paul and Debbie. Debbie’s parents, Babs and Pat were there too. Later we drove to Wargrave to see some of the exhibits in the ‘Henley Arts Trail’. Just before we left Paul corralled his two white rabbits to take them indoors for the night. Here he and Pat are having successfully recaptured the one who escaped. 

Yesterday I was asked to meet the Mayor of Henley in the Mayor’s Parlour in Henley Town Hall where a framed limited edition of my painting ‘When the Queen Came to Henley’ was erected there. The Mayor, Elizabeth Hodgkin, had donated the picture to the town.